I'm not going to lie, it's tough for an American to love Korean cop shows. The country has a latent distrust and disrespect for their police force that dates back to their occupation by Axis Japan and is deeply ingrained. As such, Korean police are often portrayed as stupid, lazy, amateurish bums who'd barely make it as mall security guards, let alone be entrusted with public safety. Korean police are under the direct authority of the Prosecutor's Office, analogous to the U.S. Department of Justice, hampering their ability to investigate independently and resulting in what in America would be a civil rights crime, collusion. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to be a fan.
It's this same hot mess that 'You're Surrounded' seems to be written specifically to combat. The story centers on four rookie cops fresh out of the police academy, automatically assigned to the Violent Crimes unit in the precinct of posh Gangnam, Seoul. Yes, it's the same Gangnam that PSY sang about in his record-shattering single, 'Gangnam Style.' Why are they given such a seemingly plush assignment with no field experience? Because nobody else wants it.
As I've said before, police don't get a lot of respect, and since Gangnam is where the rich and powerful live and work(most of them both crooked and well-connected) working that precinct is often a mix of being cursed by the wealthy for not doing their jobs fast enough and being treated like hired help by those same people. This setting is just one half of an intriguing game of cat-and-mouse, which actually starts in 2003 with the murder of a single mom and school nurse in a small town, whose son, known chiefly as Eun Dae Gu, witnesses his mother's murder and grows up to be one of the four rookie detectives. Add in that the detective who was supposed to be protecting Dae Gu's mom is now his direct superior, and that a girl who was two grades ahead of him(and about 30 IQ points beneath his genius of 150) is now his partner and love interest, and the stage is set for a largely enjoyable ride through laughs, tears, and suspense.
Watch it now:
Worldwide - Viki (free to watch, optional on-screen comments, optional premium service)
U.S. Only - Hulu Plus ($7/month, includes HD feed)