Mystery Queen Korean Drama Review

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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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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13 Responses to Mystery Queen Korean Drama Review

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks so much for this type of review, acknowledging that a drama is good for those who like that kind of thing but if it’s not your genre then probably a skip as it would be for me. I am always adding to my list based on the story/actors and I have never been a fan of crime or medical dramas no matter how many others love it. I tend to find my tastes don’t necessarily reflect ratings either, not sure what that says about my tastes but I’m glad there’s so much to choose from!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You’re very welcome! Luckily, this one was very easy to see why fans of this type of story and genre would like it. So I definitely wanted to point that out strongly. And while I really like a well done serialized crime thriller, I’m just never going to really love episodic crime, medical, or legal dramas. But there are plenty of people who love those, so I’m glad to point them in right direction for a drama like this 🙂

      My tastes definitely don’t reflect the Korean ratings, but those are frequently different from the opinions of international fans. I would say more times than not I do like most of the popular dramas as long as they are not the previously mentioned genres. Slice of life is also super hit or miss with me. My tastes are pretty varied outside of that from thriller to melo to rom com to fantasy. And like you, I’m certainly glad we have so much good stuff to choose from!


  2. D says:

    Hi Kay,
    Because this one is so popular I was contemplating whether I should watch it or not. Now that you have done this review, I know I will not like it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was debating about watching the drama,but to be honest, like you, it isn’t my favorite genre. Also, it didn’t really pull me in. At first I thought it had something to do with the age of the actors and that did factor in, but really it was just the genre. As for the age, I tend to gravitate towards those who are closer in age to me. I’m 30 and I can somewhat relate to what they are going through, unless an older character has the same maturity levels as I do, which is childish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yep, I definitely had multiple reasons I held off on watching it for so long and eventually went against them. Of course, I have had times where that worked out for the good, but this wasn’t really one of those times. I don’t regret watching it, but I definitely could have spent the time on something much more enjoyable. It really is perfect for those who like lighter comedy crime dramas. It’s just for me, if I’m in the mood for something light and fun, most of the time I’m going to go for a rom com, hehe


  4. fankdramas says:

    Hello Kay. I understand that it is not your style jajaja. I love this genre😊 . Regarding the rating, it did not do so well last year and it is doing worse. For now I still like the first one, but this is fun so it is easy to see. It is different and the writer has a way of telling and putting together stories that is not common. With this I mean I like it. Nothing else. Thanks for your review. Thank you for the effort you put into putting yourself in the place of the other. It went very well. Kisses 😍


    • Kay says:

      Hi! Haha, yeah, not quite my style. Glad to hear it was your style though 🙂 I’ve seen a lot of people comment that they think the second season is a bit disappointing compared to the first. And yes, the ratings are not quite as good. I don’t think I will be checking it out though, lol. Glad you enjoyed the review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Korean Drama Update for March 2018 | Kdrama Kisses

  6. Dame Holly says:

    It’s funny you mention Sherlock because the main two character’s names are homophonic references to Sherlock and Watson: Seol-ok and Wan-seung. The fact the woman is Sherlock and the man is Watson is awesome, as is the general theme of a middle-aged woman wanting more from her life than being a housewife (especially since she sucks at it and her husband is neglectful at best and unfaithful at worst).

    My problem was I felt like this show had a standard kdrama plotline slapped over the end of it in a way that I found really jarring. When you bingewatch it, it becomes really obvious. I was enjoying this a lot but found the final few episodes tedious because they were just so cliched. I can’t even remember what the overarching conspiracy was now, just that it was the same as 3000 other Korean shows.

    I have to give a special nod to Lee Won-keun for being such a little cupcake of a cop. I thought he was adorable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      Oh yes, I loved the theme of the drama, and Choi Kang Hee was perfect for the character. I know what you mean about the last few eps. I watched the drama in less than a week, so the change was incredibly obvious. By the time it happened, I didn’t really care that much though. But it sure felt out of place! And I agree, Lee Won Gun was all kinds of adorable as our neighborhood cop 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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