Korean Drama Impressions: Vampire Detective Episode 1 Review

Vampire Detective Korean Drama - Lee Joon

I thought I might try something new and give some insights and a mini review on each episode of a currently airing drama.  Vampire Detective seemed like a good one to try since it only airs one episode per week.  Also, since detective/crime dramas aren’t my preferred genre, I feel a bit more comfortable tackling a currently airing drama without as much fear that the week to week wait will be too much.  I’ll definitely be in more danger of dropping it, but I will give it my best shot.

Episode 1 of Vampire Detective starts out with a nice dose of action and a display of our vampire hero San’s (Lee Joon) abilities.  We quickly jump back in time to San’s pre-vampire life and see his early days in training and his subsequent undercover mission.

This all results in an apparent terrible betrayal by the woman he loves, Yoo Jin (Kim Yoon Hye), who ends up shooting him and leaving him for dead.  Then as she flees, he witnesses her car explode with her inside.

He is able to survive the gunshot, although he is left with some physical limitations, and we move back to the present time just before his transformation.  He is now part of a private detective agency along with his partner Goo Hyung (Oh Jung Se).

When a young woman named Gyeo Wool (Lee Se Young) shows up looking for her brother, San starts to wonder if Yoo Jin is still alive.  The team starts to investigate and find what they think is an illegal blood selling ring.  But we learn the blood belongs to some type of organization run by vampires and that Gyeo Wool’s brother is a vampire too.

Our detective team ends up in the middle of things, and San ends up jumping in front of a bullet to save Gyeo Wool.  As he laying dying, out of gratitude for saving his sister, her brother injects San with a substance that is supposed to cure any disease.  Gyeo Wool’s brother then kills himself by allowing the sun to burn him up.  San is able to survive, and as we know, will now become a vampire himself.

Vampire Detective had things I liked and things I disliked.

Things I liked:

  • Lee Joon as San: I liked his character, his weaknesses, back story, and origin story
  • Goo Hyung adds a bit of humor to the episode
  • Gyeo Wool’s brother and his girlfriend: I liked the little snippet of back story we get into their vampire lives
  • I’m interested in what happened during San’s undercover mission that made things go so wrong

Things I disliked:

  • It felt like a typical detective drama
  • The drama progressed a bit slowly for me (but if you like detective dramas, the pace was actually pretty good)
  • While I liked the main characters, I haven’t yet connected with them

It worries me that this drama will be more episodic with a different crime to solve each week.  I want San’s story to have more of the focus as well as more of the vampire stuff.  Since it is only episode 1, I’m still very open to what the drama wants to do.  Hopefully, things pick up a bit in episode 2.

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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8 Responses to Korean Drama Impressions: Vampire Detective Episode 1 Review

  1. joybran2015 says:

    I had exactly the same impressions that you did. There was an American vampire detective show called Moonlight that I liked very much. From the trailers, I was hoping this show might have the same mixture of action, romance and humor that show had. I liked the premiere, but I’m worried about how episodic it may turn out and whether it will focus enough on San and his feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I hadn’t heard of Moonlight before. Just looked it up, and it actually looks pretty interesting. Aside from sitcoms and comedy shows, I just don’t care for episodic shows overall. I just like to feel really invested in the main character’s stories and serialized shows are generally needed for that.

      I actually thought it was a solid premiere too. They set up San’s back story enough that I think it would make for a very interesting drama if they keep that main arc at the forefront with the other cases as side stories. I’m hoping that’s what happens, but we shall see 🙂


      • joybran2015 says:

        Moonlight was only one season of sixteen episodes and it didn’t feel episodic because each episode, even when it contained a separate case, moved the main story along. The balance of action, mystery, romance, and humor is what I’m hoping to get from Vampire Detective, although the first episode of Vampire Detective doesn’t seem to be promising much romance.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          That sounds like exactly the kind of detective drama I like 🙂 I love finding a drama with that type of mixture too. I’m not too sure what to expect either from Vampire Detective in the romance department. I hope they work some in there, but more importantly, I hope they at least develop some depth and complexity in the team’s relationships with each other.


  2. Bernice says:

    I’m worried too how good this drama will be in the future and that it was a bit slow otherwise, but I can’t really judge yet I wanna see a bit more before I really can say if I like it or not :p

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Timescout says:

    The first epi was mostly setup, so it’s a bit hard to say where it goes from there. It’ll probably have indivudual cases intertwined with a longer story arc about the vampire world. I just hope they give enough room for us to see how San himself feels about the transformation, how he’ll tackle the bloodlust etc.

    I’m totally being a contrarian here but I’m hoping there’ll be no romatic shenanigans. Yup, Moonlight did it right (loved the show btw.) but koreans haven’t mastered that sort of mixture yet, as far as I’ve been able to see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yeah, it was hard to judge exactly what direction it would take from just the setup. I’m perfectly fine with the individual cases intertwined with the main story arc, I just hope the main story arc gets more focus because like you, I want to dig deeper into San’s feelings and emotions about his new situation.

      I’m always up for romance, but it is definitely not a necessity if everything else is working. I know Signal had a dash of romance, but it was so minor that I consider that an example of a show that didn’t need romance because all of the other elements worked together so well. I just like to see in depth relationships that are fully explored and Signal was able to do that without the romance angle.

      Signal pulled me in immediately which was a huge plus. But I’ve seen plenty of dramas that take a few episodes to get going, so I’m interested to see where Vampire Detective plans to go now that the setup is complete 🙂


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