TV Review: Queen of Mystery S2 (Spoilers!)

Korean dramas usually don’t get second seasons. More often than not, most Asian dramas have one season. If they do get greenlit for a second season, they come in a variety of froms- a spiritual or anthology sequel with the same spirit as the original but with a completely different cast; or a sequel with some or most of the original characters that continues their stories but all of their season one plots have already been wrapped up. What made the second season of “Queen of Mystery” so interesting is that there were still many questions from the first season that needed answering that would contribute to the main, overarching plot of the series. However, with casting changes and a totally new director, the second season of “Queen of Mystery” failed to live up to its potential as the show itself didn’t know what it wanted to be, and poor writing that failed to develop potentially interesting new characters.

As mentioned above, this season saw a change in director, as both Kim Jin Woo and Yoo Young Eum weren’t available to do the second season. In fact, Kim Win Jin Woo couldn’t make it due to the fact that he was slated to direct the Korean remake of “Suits” that is currently airing now. However, oddly enough, the series’ screenwriter, Lee Sung Min, stayed on. The director for the second season was Choi Yoon Suk, who also directed “Chief Kim”, which was one of my favorite dramas from last year.

Aside from the creative changes, the cast also changed, as Lee Won Keun who played Lt. Hong Joon Oh and Shin Hyun Bin who played Jung Ji Won dropped out of the series. Park Byun Eun, who played Inspector Woo, however, was added to the main cast, while Ahn Kil Kang, who played Captain Baek Kwang Tae, only appeared very briefly in the second series.

Queen of Mystery S2
Image Source: KBS World

The second season of “Queen of Mystery” follows amateur detective Yoo Seol Ok (Choi Kang Hee) and Detective Ha Wan Seung (Kwon Sang Woo) as they continue to solve mysteries together and try to get answers to the questions that weren’t answered in the first season.

Creatively speaking, because of the change in director, the show’s creative style changed in a big way. The first season’s light, noir-ish yet grounded mysteries and feel gave way to more dramatic and relevant cases, a brighter feel, and the humor became more slapstick and less subtle. The new characters that were introduced did have a lot of potential, but the writer failed to endear them to us as much as they did in the first season. Some of the characters, however, weren’t that believable, and the writing and development felt all over the place. In fact, the entire overarching plot felt too drawn out and too over the place as well, which just made me scratch my head most of the time, and made me wonder why I spent sixteen episodes waiting for what I knew was going to happen anyway, happen.

I did like the continuity with Seol Ok’s and Wan Seung’s characters and their progressing relationship with each other, but at a certain point, their character development sometimes felt stagnant. The two, however, are still able to carry the show no matter what, and make the entire show still worth watching.

Because of all of this, I felt disappointed, as I expected more from the writer and the director of this season. Also, with the way things ended, it is pretty obvious that they are angling for a third season. To be honest, I will only watch if the quality goes back to the way it was in the first season, and if not, I will end up relying on recaps just so I can finally get the answers to my unanswered questions regarding the series.

Now, you know the drill, turn around now, as there will be spoilers!

warning-spoilers-final

The second season of “Queen of Mystery” had a lot of changes as there were casting changes, and most of all, the director changed.

Having a change of director impacted the show a lot, as it’s feel and the way they handled their humor was very different. While the first season was a light, noir-ish, fun drama with heart; the second season was brighter yet more dramatic, had topical and more relevant cases, yet failed to endear its secondary characters as much as the first season did.

Queen of Mystery S2 Seol Ok KBS Site
Choi Kang Hee returns as Yoo Seol Ok! Image Source: KBS World

It did show us a very different Seol Ok and Wan Seung, as they have definitely changed a lot since the first time they met each other. Seol Ok has yet to become a police officer, but at least she is working in the station itself as an administrative assistant, which means that she gets more access to documents, and is able to insert herself into whatever investigation Wan Seung and Unit Two is doing. Here, we see that she no longer has to hide her true colors, and this can be seen in her drastic change of wardrobe. Gone are the pastels and khakis, and in came the brighter colors, from coats to skirts.

Wan Seung is still a lone wolf, but he has progressed a lot from allowing himself to work with Seol Ok to solve cases to actually allowing himself to actually function within a team.

It’s obvious that Wan Seung and Seol Ok definitely like each other, but they are just too stubborn to openly admit it to each other. I’m really hoping that the third season, if there is, will have them finally be in a relationship, and I’m hoping that Seol Ok finally becomes a police officer somewhere in the beginning or middle of that season.

Mystery Queen Men
Some of the men in Queen of Mystery S2 (L-R) Oh Min Suk as Lt. Gye Sung Hoo, park Byun Eun as Inspector Woo Sung Ha, Kwon Sang Woo as Lt. Ha Wan Seung, and Kim Tae Woo as Ha Ji Seung Image Source: Official KBS PR Facebook Page

We have seen Inspector Woo before, but it was nice to see him more in action, and as Wan Seung’s roommate. There was so much potential with building up the characters of Corporal Gong (Min Sung Uk), Constable Shin Na Ra (Kwon Mina), and Lt. Gye Sung Woo (Oh Min Suk). They did try to develop these characters by giving them cases in which their characters could be explored more, but it still failed to reach that level in which we would end up loving them. I also didn’t like the fact that they reduced Constable Shin to a background character after her own quest of catching the bus pervert and having her be the one to act as bait and put handcuffs on that law student turned rapist and murderer, as I felt that that was good character development for her, and was proud of her at the moment. I also felt that having Kyung Mi become a police officer all of a sudden because of Captain Bae with him only being present for just a few seconds in the season, made no sense. Also, if they wanted these characters to be really working alongside Seol Ok and Wan Seung, they should have formed that team sooner so we could be more endeared towards them, and be happy with the fact that they end the series working on another case together.

Queen of Mystery Lee Da Hee
Lee Da Hee as the mysterious Jung Hee Yeon Image Source: KBS World

My biggest gripe is how they handled the overarching plot, as it was too drawn out, confusing, and Kim Tae Woo, who played Ha Wan Seung’s brother, Ha Ji Seung, and Lee Da Hee, who played Jung Hee Yeon/Seo Hyun Soo,  were not as convincing as potential villains. I wish that they could have built upon that more, especially with Kim Tae Woo, as he is going to be a major villain in the third season. (Seriously, what did he do in the past that was so bad that had to be covered up?!)

I don’t like that we ended up resolving Seol Ok’s parent’s deaths, the whole Secretary Kim thing, and the question of whether Hyun Soo is still alive at the very end of the second season. I wish that they could have teased the bigger organization that was behind Secretary Kim already, or build our villains up and the reveal sooner so that it would be more fun to see how Wan Seung and Secretary Kim outwit each other.

All in all, “Queen of Mystery” was a disappointment, and just like any horrible sequel, I do hope that if they have a third season, that they can redeem themselves by either bringing back the director from the first season, returning the vibe to what we had in the first season, and to wrap up everything neatly without having to have the plot be too drawn out like this season. However, I am still holding out hope for other shows that do have upcoming second seasons, and hopefully, they can give us something that fans of the first seasons of the original shows deserve.

Have you seen “Queen of Mystery 2”? What did you think about it? Let me know what you think in the comments below?

Image Source: KBS World, Official KBS PR Facebook Page 

4 thoughts on “TV Review: Queen of Mystery S2 (Spoilers!)

  1. I dropped this after the first fiew episodes as I really didn’t like the new style and the changes they’d made. Don’t think I missed much though, going by what I’ve read of the later developments and the ending. I actually wasn’t as big a fan of the 1st season as many others either. I think I ff’d through most of the latter half of S1. 🙂

    Kdramas often don’t have a great track record with multiple seasons. S1 might be great but then they drop the ball at what comes next. E.g S1-2 of God’s Quiz were great but I pretend S3-4 do not exist, ha. Or we got shows like Vampire Prosecutor, Ten and Missing Noir M where TPTB leave us hanging with no conclusion as S2/S3 never materialises. Yes, I’m still salty about those. *gives a stinky eye to OCN* On the other hand Cheo Yong 2 was way better than S1 and I loved S1 and S3 of Chosun Police. 😀

    1. Yup you really didn’t miss much. They just spent the entire time dragging out things to set up a potential third season. In the end, I was just basically watching it out of obligation. I’m still holding out hope for voice s2 and I hope that the others like signal and stranger will be okay as well. And noted on the other ones! I haven’t seen those yet actually. I know that bad guys had a second season but completely different cast, but I am interested in watching the first season of that. 😁

      1. Ah, I didn’t watch Voice after the initial episodes as I found it needlessly violent, ditto for Bad Guys 2, which I didn’t even bother to start. The first instalment of Bad Guys was pretty good, even if it was rather bloody as well. The cast was great! Korea tends to go a bit too over the top with violence in general. You don’t need to show every punch, kick, flying blood drop or gory detail, implying is quite sufficient in most cases. One of the reasons I generally prefer Japan’s take on crime shows. 🙂

        Yup, I’m hoping Signal and Forest of Secrets will be one of the good ones, if the 2nd seasons ever get made.

      2. Voice was one of the few kdramas that I watched before really getting back into Kdramas again. I watch a lot of western crime shows, so I really didn’t notice, but yes, I do see your point especially as compared to Japanese ones. Really enjoyed forest of secrets and still yet have to watch Signal! 😁

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