Chief Detective 1958 — K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Man From A Small City

Episode 1 of Chief Detective 1958 opens with now-retired Detective Park Yeoung-han going to the police department to meet his grandson with rice cakes. Upon going there, he learns that his grandson is rushing outside for an emergency patrol. Yeoung-han watches his grandson leave and is taken back to his own time as a Detective.

A flashback takes the episode to the year 1958 when Yeong-han worked as a cop in the local village of Hwangchun. There, he manages to take down local thugs using his wit and stealth. Yeong-han arrests a cow thief and is rewarded for having the most number of arrests in the village. The cops celebrate Yeong-han’s success and bid him farewell as he is being transferred to Seoul.

Yeong-han bids his dad as well as his team a farewell and leaves for Seoul. In the capital, Yeong-han is fascinated by the big buildings and the life in the metro city. He goes inside the Jongnam Police Station and meets Chief Yu Dae-cheon. Chief Yu invites Yeong-han for a drink and the two get to know each other.

After going back to the station, Yeong-han meets the other detectives at the station and uses his wit to stop them from ganging up on him. Just then, a woman brings her husband – Mr Oh in and the couple complains about the Dongdaemun gang who beat up Mr Oh. Yeong-han decides to find the Dongdaemun gang members and chases after them.

With instructions from Chief Yu, Yeong-han learns that the gang consists of 30 members. He decides to take them down in 30 seconds and uses his wit to do that. He spots a snake soup shop and brings a sack full of live snakes to the restaurant where the Dongdaemun gang members are. He threatens to let loose the live snakes and asks Oh Samryong aka Viper to go to the police station with him.

The gang members get scared of the live snakes and ask Viper to go with Yeong-han. Yeong-han closes the sack full of live snakes and takes Viper with him. On their way out, the sack full of snakes gets stuck on a nail and the gang members end up caged in a room with more than 50 snakes waiting to attack them.

Meanwhile, The Dongdaemun gang’s leader – Lee Jung-jae is having a meal with Jongnam Police Station’s Superintendent Choi Dal-sik as he bribes him for the protection of his gang members. At the police station, Yeong-han tries to interrogate Viper and learns that he beat up Mr Oh for not giving him timely extortion money.

The rest of the cops at the station are worried for Yeong-han’s safety for messing with the Dongdaemun gang. Yeong-han gives Viper an earful for beating up Mr Oh when Superintendent Choi shows up and asks Yeong-han to let Viper go. Yeong-han clashes with Superintendent Choi but the latter asks Viper to be let go. Yeong-han tries to stop that from happening and pushes Chief Yu away when he tries to stop him.

Chief Yu takes Yeong-han outside and tries to calm him down. He takes Yeong-han to get him a new suit. There Chief Yu asks Yeong-han if he is going back to his village but the latter claims that he has good reason to stay in Seoul for now. Meanwhile, Detective Kim Sang-sun is being beaten up by a group of thugs in a lonely alleyway. He beats the thugs back and takes them to the police station.

At the station, Chief Byun Dae-sik scolds Sang-sun for messing with Lee Jung-jae’s thugs and asks him to let them go without making a report against them. Sang-sun is furious but Dae-sik pleads with him. Just then, Chief Yu and Yeong-han show up at the station and see Sang-sun knock the thugs out.

Chief Yu tells Yeong-han that Sang-sun is called The Mad Dog in their station and refers to him as a wild detective who beats up thugs. That night, Yeong-han goes to his boarding house and meets his landlady – Paju-daek as well as his fellow roommates – Eun-dong who works at the bank and Guk-jin who is studying to be a legal officer.

After dinner, Yeong-han goes to bed and is woken up by a nightmare of having to shoot innocents during his time as a soldier during the war. Meanwhile, Sang-sun gets drunk all by himself in a nearby restaurant. The next morning, Yeong-han learns that the snake soup store where he purchased snakes has been broken down by Dongdaemun thugs.

The owner of the shop refuses to take help from Yeong-han and kicks him out. Due to this, all the other restaurant owners also refuse to take Yeong-han in as a guest during lunchtime. Grandma Ho invites him to her restaurant and applauds him for his courage. She asks Yeong-hanf to come to her restaurant whenever he is hungry.

At the same time, a local porter – Jo Gyeong-hwan tries to ask Geum-ok – the vegetable shop owner out on a date when the Dongdaemun thugs show up and cause a scene at the village market. Gyeong-hwan clashes with Rattlesnake from the gang. Rattlesnake tries to flirt with Geun-ok but Gyeong-hwan slaps him and beats the thugs up single-handedly.

Yeong-han notices the commotion and is impressed by Gyeong-hwan’s beast-like fighting skills. Superintendent Choi sends Chief Yu away to Daejeon for some work. Meanwhile, Yeong-ran arrests a man for trying to touch a woman inappropriately and brings him to the station. There, Chief Byun keeps Young-ran busy with some clerical work.

Chief Yu asks Yeong-ran to keep an eye out as the cops at the station often teamed up to cater to Lee Jung-jae’s demands. Yeong-ran gets working and finds Sang-sun sleeping inside the cupboard in the room. After finishing his work that day, Yeong-ran notices all the cops leaving to go home at the same time. He learns that the cops are trying to protect a smuggler named Lee Jung-bum.

Yeong-han runs to wake Sang-sun up and asks him to join forces to catch the smuggler who was Jung-jae’s relative. On the drive, Yeong-han learns that Sang-sun is also just like him and Chief Yu. The two arrive at the spot where the cops are all helping smuggle Jung-bum by smuggling goods from the American military trucks.

Sang-sun and Yeong-ran barge into the place and threaten to shoot the cops if they do not put the goods back in the American trucks.  The episode ends with Sang-sun hitting Yeong-ran on the head with the back of his rifle, knocking him out.

The Episode Review

This is an interesting drama to watch and it is so much fun to see Lee Je-hoon in his element. After seeing him as the mostly calm taxi driver on Taxi Driver Season 2, we see him in his hyperactive cop element in this show. It is interesting to see how Korea of 1958 looked very similar to the Korea we see in period dramas.

From the first episode itself, we can see that Chief Yu and Yeong-han are going to be a team. However, Sang-sun’s loyalty is questionable with the way we see episode 1 of Chief Detective 1958 end. We can assume that Sang-sun knocked Yeong-han out to try and get into Chief Byun’s good books but we will only find out what happens after watching the next episode.


Next Episode

Expect a full-season review once the season ends!

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