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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Lookout" Episodes 1-2


MBC's latest Monday/Tuesday drama "Lookout" is a 32 episode run, but don't let that number fool you. It is a part of a new test split that both MBC and SBS are trying. A single hour-long episode is chopped into two half-hour episodes and aired the same night. In terms of your time, you'll be spending 16 episodes with the characters and stories of "Lookout". It's just all in a different package. Despite the awkward cut that the split has thrown into the middle of this first episode, Director Son Hyeong-seok ("Two Weeks", "Personal Taste") and Writer Kim Soo-eun have delivered quite the riveting first two episodes.

Everything about this drama screams of polish: the music, the cinematography, the action, the acting, the dialogue, the editing. Within seconds we not only have amazing camera work, but a female-led chase scene that introduces us to the amazing heroine, Jo Soo-ji played by Lee Si-young. She is bloodthirsty for revenge and the story flashes back to May of 2016 to show us why. During this time period we meet all of the other major players involved in the death, whether they be the perpetrayers of corruption or those who seek to rid society of the immoral. Promo material tells us that there will be a ragtag team of heroes who help solve the crimes that the system can't. Soo-ji will be an obvious leader. A sweet-tempered, mooney-eyed prosecutor named Kim Eun-joong (Lee Tae-hoon) who seems like a stiff neck turns out to have much more to him than meets the eye. Jang Do-han (Kim Young-kwang) appears to be nothing more than a country-bumpkin turned ladder climbing prosecutor until we see his intimate involvement in the case that Si-young worked when her daughter's life was lost. Seo Bo-mi (Lee Seul-gi-I) and Kong Kyeong-soo (Key) mysteriously involve themselves into Soo-ji's search for her daughter's killer under orders of -- wait for it -- a priest. Which is just a most fantastic turn of events. As a side note, while I loved Key in "Drinking Solo" I wasn't sure if he was cut out for acting, but he proved me wrong. Yoon Seung-ro (Choi Moo-sung) and Oh Gwang-ho (Kim Sang-ho) play crooked prosecutors who are tied up in affairs we don't yet know about save for the fact that those affairs are much more than just shady.

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That's just a basic introduction of who we have. The cast is excellent and the way gender dynamics are fleshed out with what is shaping up to be a strong mystery-driven plot, I'm pretty pleased as a reviewer. Lee Si-young is an especially strong stand out as a young, single mother who has a great relationship with her child and her grandmother, but who, like many working parents, doesn't have enough time to spend with her kid. The mother/daughter pair have a winning relationship that can win anyone over in one episode (or two episodes if the drama is split like this one!) Kim Young-kwang plays an arrogant man, as usual, but there is a touch of the overdramatic that has not yet been seen in his work. I'm looking forward to seeing more of what he can do with this character who is proving to be quite interesting. As a Kim Seul-gi fan I want her to appear on screen for more than a minute. She has never disappointed before.

These first two episodes are put together quite well, using the past and present to great effect and making sure each time period is delineated clearly, either by a tiny bit of grey scale to indicate the past, or a chyron to indicate the actual date. Or a series of scenes montaged quickly to reveal an intriguing secret as with Do-han's.

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There is, of course, the killer who seems to be a student. I'm already curious as to his motivation. Was it revenge? Is he just crazy? Was it put up to it by someone else for money? So far the teenager himself isn't interesting, but his role in this tightly-woven plot is.

Until episodes 3 and 4!

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Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Lookout" is directed by Son Hyeong-seok, written Kim Soo-eun, and features Lee Si-young, Kim Young-kwang, Kim Tae-hoon, Kim Seul-gi, Key, and Choi Moo-sung.

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