Mystery Queen is about a married woman (Choi Kang Hee) who loves mystery novels and dreams of becoming a cop that ends up working with a detective (Kwon Sang Woo) to solve cases.
Choi Kang Hee is our crime solving ahjumma Yoo Seol Ok. She’s married to a prosecutor and lives with him and his family. But she’s never really taken to doing the housewife thing and prefers to spend her time using her excellent skills of deduction to help some local police officers solve crimes. She’s a quirky woman who is full of life and is always ready to jump in when needed.
Kwon Sang Woo plays Detective Ha Wan Sung. He’s a gruff man with a bit of a temper. He has some difficult first encounters with Seol Ok and finds her poking around crime scenes to be frustrating. His personality is quite the opposite of hers.
Then there’s Lee Won Geun as Hong Joon Oh, the chief at a small police station. He’s a good-natured man who sees Seol Ok’s many talents and abilities and loves to have her help him solve crimes.
Well, this is one of those reviews that is a bit challenging to write. My personal opinion of the drama is a somewhat contrary to the popular opinion. But a more objective opinion aligns more with the popular opinion.
Pretty much all of my reviews are strictly my personal opinion, but I always try to point out pros and cons. But on this particular drama, I thought I should make an extra effort to point out the pluses despite my opinion on it.
I initially passed up Mystery Queen when if first aired because it was yet another crime drama, plus I’m not a big fan of the lead actors. I don’t dislike them, they just never clicked with me. Then it ended up being a hit with fans, and I read all the praises for it. But I could still tell it was probably not a drama I would love.
Then Mystery Queen got a second season and all the promos started which resulted in renewed fanfare over the drama. I got curious again because pretty much all the reviews were glowing with how wonderful Mystery Queen was. So I went for it.
And you know what? Objectively, Mystery Queen is a pretty good drama. It’s a light and fun crime drama that has a cozy mystery sort of feel. It focuses on several mysteries that last a few episodes each. They are well laid out, well-paced, and mostly interesting.
Both Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Kang Hee are perfect for their roles. They play off of each other so well and have a great rapport. Their bickering is quite entertaining and a lot of fun. And there are plenty of other great characters that add to the world.
Despite some of the crimes being a bit dark, the drama never feels heavy because of its comedic elements and overall bright and airy feel. For those who don’t want a heavy crime drama, Mystery Queen is perfect. All in all, it’s an excellent drama in the lighter and more fun crime genre. If you like all of those things, go watch this drama!
So now onto my personal opinion. I could easily see why so many people enjoyed this drama because it had so many great qualities. But I personally just thought it was okay. And that’s because I really don’t care for this genre.
First, with crime dramas, I generally like heavily serialized stories. And I usually prefer them to be more serious and gripping. Mystery Queen is neither of those things. Cozy comedy mysteries are just not something I love.
And it does this thing that many Sherlock style mysteries do that I really dislike: it explains in great detail how a crime happened. The characters give very in depth narrative style details of every little element of the crime including retracing the criminals steps, why objects are positioned how they are, why certain weapons are used, what led up to the crime, what the criminal did exactly, and how the criminal covered it up. They are long expositions that are a staple of puzzle solving mysteries. Which is great if you like that.
I just never have cared for all that detail. Now don’t get me wrong, I like mysteries. But I usually prefer them to focus on just big things like who it is and why they did it. I don’t need to know every little detail of how they carried out their crime and made tiny decisions. To me it feels like being told a story with so many little details that I could care less about. Just give me the basics. I would rather spend time going deep with the characters and having a stronger plot than on those sorts of things. Mentally, I start to check out during these long narratives.
It did actually have an over arching story in place, but it was very much under-utilized and relegated to the back ground. It’s touched upon every so often, but it never felt like a big part of the story. Then it feels like the drama completely shifts gears, and it suddenly comes to the forefront in the last couple episodes. It was odd.
Because of these things, it was actually the comedic element of the drama that I ended up liking the most. The characters are fun and endearing, and they get into some funny situations. The bickering between Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Kang Hee was always fun. These are the things that I enjoyed and why I kept watching.
Even though my rating reflects that this drama is just not a style that I love, I can still see why it would be very enjoyable for many people. So again, I would encourage fans of this genre to not hesitate and to check this one out.
My Rating: 5/10
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