- Starring: Jung Hae In | Koo Kyo Hwan | Kim Sung Kyun | Son Seok Koo
- Episodes: 6 (50 mins.)
- Aired: August 27, 2021
- Network: Netlfix
- Where to Watch: Netflix
I’m actually ashamed of myself for not finishing this show in one day. With how short and actually good it was, I could have devoured it. But in true lazy fashion, it took me 5 months to finish 6 episodes. But in reality, it was only 2 days. This is a triggering, yet insightful show on the dark side of maybe an antiquated societal system that possibly can use an overhaul. Humor mixed in with brutal realities of what it is like to be a man in the Korean Military, D.P, or Deserter Pursuit, gives us beautifully tragic tales of soldiers who have gone awol for various reasons and the active soldiers tasked with going to retrieve them.
I feel like the saying that comes to mind the most while watching was “Between a rock and a hard place.” Our lead, Jun Ho, played by the oh-so-broody Jung Hae In, is literally in a hard place. He has to go out and catch these men as he struggles with his own military life that is filled with various forms of bullying. This show made me angry because clearly the system is broken. Society tells them to go and serve their country but what they are met with is this archaic class system that usually ends in torture in the form of “bullying”. D.P neither glorified nor sugar-coated the acts and I think that allowed us as viewers to really live in the moments with these men.
With each new case that both Jun Ho and his partner, Han Ho Yul who provided a lot of the comic relief that the show needed if felt like a patch of a larger blanket. And that blanket was the final arc of the last two episodes. I loved that sort of “problem of the week” style with episodes 1-4. I would laugh when Jun Ho and Ho Yul would be breaking a sweat each time as they chased a deserter or fought with one. It really did give us a look that not all soldiers are the same and the reasons for deserting are all different. In the eyes of the military, they were criminals, and visually they all had the look. Black hats, head down, nervous eyes. But it is the dark cloud of bullying that took center stage. I won’t go into it too much, but I will say that once you finish episode 4, you really can’t turn your eyes away. I will say that I loved how full circle things came by the final episode, even if it was a tragic circle.
What held this show together the most was the acting. Without Jung Hae In’s righteous yet naive Jun Ho, Koo Kyu Hawn’s hilarious but heartfelt Han Ho Yul, and Kim Sung Kyun as their supervisor, this show wouldn’t have been as impactful. The chemistry between them all had me coming back for more. All of these actors, down to the lower-ranked soldiers were just so good that you felt as if you were watching a documentary instead. The direction and cinematography lent a hand to that feel as well. The show had a grit to it that kept you on edge.
Ultimately, I watched originally for my boo Jung Hae In because he does soldier oh so well. But what I got out of it was so much more. I got a story about what it means to really be human. Questions of what makes people do the things they do or is a system that has been in place for decades even be changed by just a few?
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