Missing Noir M (2015) is the best and most intelligent crime melodrama I have ever watched in my entire life. The writer, Yoo Jin Lee, is truly gifted! I grieved when it ended at only ten episodes and I desperately want a season two of this incredible drama! I miss the characters already! The OCN (Orion Cinema Network) Cable channel in Korea runs older international movies and specialty shows made for television, often of the crime-solving genre. They must know what they are doing because this one knocked my socks off from beginning to end. I was glued to my screen every moment. A bomb could have gone off across the street from my house and I wouldn't have budged from my screen! On some dramas I tend to nod off -- not this one! I also loved that it had no romance to muck up the intrigue of each episode's stories. How refreshing! The cinematography was also second to none, with a lot of time spent on clever sets as well. I loved the brown-house style home that served as the temporary home of the characters. I must also mention the OST (Soundtrack) which was mesmerizing, unique, and perfect for this superb crime melodrama. I hope someone in Korea puts it on CD, or at least iTunes!
The two lead male actors had magnificent personal chemistry together, Kim Kang Woo (Story Of A Man) and Park Hee Soon (films Hansel and Gretel and The Scam). They both play forensic detectives who are hired to solve the most difficult missing person cases in the country. I was heartened to know that both men had worked with the late Park Yong Ha (a favorite actor of mine from Winter Sonata and Story Of A Man) who is now deceased), and that Park Hee Soon is involved in a charity school in his name, so I felt these two guys must have a personal connection there and a familiarity with one another that translated perfectly to the screen in the development of their characters as co-workers and friends. The lead actress is Jo Bo Ah (Horse Doctor) who did an outstanding job as a police detective computer and CCTV hacker who works with them to solve the cases.
I wondered at first if the show would lead to a romance between her and either of the two male characters, but although they seemed fond of her nothing of the sort resulted; though friendly, everything was kept very professional. In fact, one of the lead male characters is married in the drama, so that would really have proven awkward. I'm glad the writer didn't go in that direction. It probably would have taken away from the basic suspense thrust of the show if any romance had been depicted, and then it wouldn't have been as memorable a series. Second female lead was Park So Hyun who played a forensics physician named Kang Joo Young, who performed autopsies for murder cases. She was so dedicated that she would come to the scene of crimes if necessary because of a need for haste in determining how a victim died. She always shed much needed light on cases which helped the two detectives in their often difficult work.
I also loved playing "notice the guest stars" during each of these episodes. I would smile and say, "Oh, he was in Angel Eyes! Oh, he was in Doctor Stranger! Oh, he was in Master's Sun! Oh, he was in Shark!" I LOVE when supporting actors pop up in a new show I am watching and I enjoyed their performances in previous dramas. None of them disappointed me here! All were exceptional and often moved me to tears.
The Story: Forensic detective Gil Soo Hyun (Kim Kang Woo) is a genius intellectually, highly intuitive and analytical; he was born in Korea but raised by his older brother in America. At the age of only ten he was accepted into Harvard University because of his genius! After graduating there he decided to work for the FBI in America and worked there for a decade, gaining excellent experience and becoming famous for solving cases others could not solve.
Afterward, he decides to come back to South Korea under mysterious circumstances, which is where our story begins (we see this earlier information in flashbacks and learn it from dialogue with colleagues); he has a family background filled with tragedy, having witnessed the brutal killing of his brother and his wife during the L.A. riots when he was a young boy, a fate he avoided for himself while wisely hiding in a closet and dodging the gunman. Though he is brilliant, because of the sadness of his life, he seems addicted to prescription drugs. Because it doesn't interfere with his work no one catches on, he only takes them when he's alone and off duty.
He begins work as the leader of the Special Missing Persons Unit, appointed by police chief Jung Do Park (Kim Kyu Chul from Shark and That Winter The Wind Blows), who sometimes annoyed me because he seemed to pit the two detectives against one another, making them doubt each other, which I did not see as helpful. He was very suspect to me. This crime solving unit that he heads deals with about 1% of highly specialized missing people cases involving violent crimes, like murders, potential murders, and kidnappings which have remained unsolved by regular police departments.
Detective Gil is clean cut and dapper on the outside, but inwardly he holds deep secrets, and nurses grudges against the criminals who killed his older brother. The very reason he had become a detective was that he could eventually try and uncover who killed his brother and why, and then achieve his revenge.
Leader Jung (Kim Kyu Chul) seems to want
to cause friction between the two detectives
He is assigned a partner, Detective Oh Dae Young (Park Hee Soon), who has worked as a detective for twenty years. He is obsessed with observing the letter of the law, although he does become far more emotional and passionate than the analytical Detective Gil, which sometimes clouds his judgment. Despite this occasional fault he has become known as a master of missing cases as well. These two men quickly grow to trust one another and rarely is there friction between them, although this does change toward the end of the drama, spurred on by the questionable Leader Jung, with some electrifying results. Detective Oh is the scruffy one in appearance but in many ways seems more real and approachable. He is married and he and his sweet wife are trying to have a child but without success.
It's sometimes impossible not to
become personally involved with
All the cases the two men investigate were totally unpredictable and brilliantly drawn out and portrayed; when you were sure who the villain was, you were wrong! When you thought the victim was murdered she was alive! When you thought someone could not possibly commit suicide, they do! When you sympathized with one man whose child was kidnapped you find out that he had kidnapped someone else's child. When a co-worker's friend looked like she might be saved she was instead killed. When you think they will find a body in a red suitcase, it's empty, but there's another body somewhere else. When you think someone is going to kill a child with an injection of bad vaccine it ends up being benign vitamins instead! When you think there is a murderer driving a big truck on the highway he's not the one who committed the crime. When you think a corrupt politician can easily be exposed and taken down, he can't!
If you're at all squeamish don't watch!
The scene I cried the most at.
I never knew what was going to happen next. A total masterpiece. It's better than anything out of America, ever. It shows the inherent injustice of some who work in justice bureaus: Good is called Evil. Evil is called Good. A man's revenge causes more injustice. But "Revenge is mine, I will recompense, saith the LORD". You will definitely cry during this superlative drama. I'm still missing the characters and the drama ended a week ago as I write this!
The actual dialogue in the script was often thought-provoking, of a spiritual nature, profound. You really need to have a modicum of intelligence to watch and understand this drama. It is not for the faint of heart or the dull of mind, or for those who only want to watch flower boy romances. There is some violence and there is sadness. There are some macabre moments. There are also occasional lighthearted moments.
The best part of the show is the respect the two detectives have for one another, and the deep understanding and even affection that grows between them. There is excellent character development and a cohesive story line. I cannot for the life of me understand why this show wasn't at least twenty episodes. There is so much potential material still to be written about these two detective characters, their lives, their families, their work. I have read a lot of fans' responses online and virtually everyone raves about Missing Noir M, and they're crying out for a season two. I hope we get it! Do not miss it. You will love it.
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MISSING NOIR M PICTURE GALLERY
Shhh! There's a camera in the bottom middle flower!
He doesn't have "Angel Eyes" here!
He has the eyes of someone who
does this ...
We need Season Two!