Mystery Queen 2 Review
Mystery Queen 2 is a 16 episode kdrama that aired February 28 – April 19, 2018. Mystery Queen 2 is second season of this series and its predecessor Mystery Queen was a 16 episode series that aired from April 5 – May 25, 2017. Mystery Queen 2 follows a detective and intrepid civilian adept at discerning connections as they solve crimes. There is a hint of romance between them but obstacles keep this as a possibility not a probability.
What I liked
Yoo Seol Ok (Choi Kang Hee). She was smart and not shy about offering or even foisting her expertise when it could aid. Her deductive skills weren’t as impressive as expected, ala Sherlock Holmes, but she did have the ability to see threads between evidence that were invisible to others. Seol Ok struggled to pass the police exam so her investigation into crimes was done unofficially (initially) then officially when she became an employee at the police station, ignoring that she did not have a role that sanctioned her activities.
Detective Ha Wan Seung (played by Kwon Sang Woo). He was smart and adept at his role as detective. He knew that Seol Ok increased the speed at which criminals identified were caught. He was considerate and did many things to prove he cared for Seol Ok though he lacked the gumption to move their relationship out of the friend zone following a botched ring delivery. He was a bit of a jerk to his co-workers, especially superiors.
Partnership. Seol Ok and Detective Ha were equal partners. Seol Ok was a smart, persistent slueth. Detective Ha was smart, determined police officer. Their pairing was the magic of this series. I loved the way Seol Ok could cajole all the men characters to get what she wanted. I loved the way Detective Ha respected Seol Ok’s abilities. He got high handed once when he left her behind to protect her from a dangerous situation. Underlying all his actions was genuine concern and caring for her. She had it too though she wasn’t as overt as he was. Bottom line – the best part of this series was their professional and personal relationship that offered the possibility of future romance.
Support Characters. Several characters enhanced the fabric of this series.
Hwang Jae Min (Kim Min Sang) was a precise and ego centric forensics expert who provided much of the humor for the series.
Kim Kyung Mi (Kim Hyun Sook) Seol Ok’s friend and police academy attendee who was assigned to be Mr. Hwang’s forensics science trainee. Kyung Mi was absent for a portion of the series but livened up the series with her interactions with Mr. Hwang and her support for Seol Ok.
Profiler Woo Sung Ha (Park Byung Eun) was a rigid and private man who found Detective Ha irking (and vice versa) but got along well with Seol Ok. There was a stellar moment when Mr. Hwang and Profiler Woo interacted.
Room for Improvement
The writing. Mystery Queen 2 was penned by the same writer from season one, Lee Sung Min. Season two began with a bait-and-switch flirty relationship between Seol Ok and Detective Ha implying they would become a romantic couple. But this was squashed with a drunken botched ring delivery in the second episode. For the rest of the series they reverted to “just friends” and intermittently wondered what happened to the ring. Besides the misdirection on their relationship, the core focus of the series were the cases they investigated. Every procedural drama lives and dies by how engaging the crimes and criminals are. The first two cases were interesting but were followed by a slew of cases with victims that didn’t resonate. The last quarter of the series Writer Lee regrouped and focused on the overarching mysteries of the series and managed to deliver some resolutions. Enough was left unresolved that a third season is a possibility.
Would I recommend Mystery Queen 2?
Maybe. If a strong sleuthing pair solving crimes is your sweet spot, this series would work for you. If you want a cohesive series that builds answers in every episode, then the midsection may irk you until the latter part of the series.
This series’ OST was prolific with 12 songs, many in the ballad genre. I liked this OST. My favorite song was the romantic “I Don’t Know Love” by Lucia. Interestingly, the artwork for each OST wasn’t an image of a cast member but art. Dramawiki has all the details. My YouTube channel has a playlist (link) of the OST.