A Man Holding Flowers
Episode 1 of D.P. begins with An Jun-Ho enlisting to mandatory military service. As he stands, taking abuse from his commanding officer, he’s pushed backwards onto a nail sticking out the wall. It’s pretty shocking and a scene that immediately cuts us back to 1 day before Jun-Ho’s enlistment.
Jun-Ho works as a delivery driver but his boss receives a complaint from a customer, which gives him an excuse not to pay Jun-Ho. Given he’s already behind on paying Jun-Ho his overdue wages, our savvy worker promises to report him for violating labor laws.
This is simply the calm before the storm as Jun-Ho joins a motley band of new recruits who are forced to undertake 5 weeks of military hell. During their basic training, the gang are all assigned their units and different tasks.
On Day 601 of training, Suk-Bong is knocked down and reminded that he’s a first class private and needs to shape up. As he’s pushed again, that familiar scene with the nail now makes more sense. This is their bunk, and each man is forced to stand and take the hit by their commanding officer. Jun-Ho is next but he dodges the blow at the last second, which is just as well given the sheer force he’s knocked back.
Jun-Ho is part of Platoon 3 and a member of the milliard police. As Jun-Ho’s officer reads out his letters, Jun-Ho requests that he stop. Just before things get really heated, Sergeant Park shows and breaks things up. In fact, he even requests Jun-Ho show up for an interview.
Jun-Ho has a keen eye for detail (as evidenced by his earlier memory of the officer’s socks) and on the back of this, is offered a position as part of the D.P. Unit, which is responsible for finding deserters and bringing them back to the army.
Teaming up with Sung-Woo, their first mission is to find a deserter called Woo-Suk. Sung-Woo is in no hurry and Jun-Ho’s awkwardness only exacerbates their issues. The pair end up drinking heavily and singing karaoke at a local bar but as Jun-Ho steps outside to throw up and smoke a cigarette, a random boy shows and asks for a lighter. Thinking nothing of it, Jun-Ho hands it over.
However, later that night Jun-Ho receives an enraged call from his superior. Shin Woo-Suk has killed himself. The lighter he used just so happens to be the same one Jun-Ho handed over.
Sung-Woo and Jun-Ho are forced to face the music, with the latter feeling incredibly guilty. When Beom-Gu recovers the lighter from the scene, Jun-Ho suddenly lashes out and begins beating Sung-Woo to a pulp.
The Episode Review
D.P. is an absolutely fascinating drama and the mandatory military service is something that many would probably be aware of if they know anything about Korea. However, actually seeing how this training is conducted and the harsh reality of it all, is something that’s not often shown. In a way, this feels like the Korean version of Full Metal Jacket, or at least the first half of it does anyway.
Jun-Ho’s backstory is certainly interesting enough to explore and the crisp, short run-time makes this a very easy show to binge through. The ending certainly hints that there’s going to be repercussion for Jun-Ho’s actions but we’ll have to wait and see how that transpires. For now though, this looks like it’s going to be another must-watch k-drama.