D.P is a stunning Korean drama. It’s a show that takes an unflinching look at bullying, the effect it has on mental health and larger societal questions about the mandatory military service in Korea.
At the center of this lies new recruit Jun-Ho. A man with a difficult upbringing, this young recruit isn’t exactly thrilled about enlisting. Still, he joins the military and begins counting down the days until he’s allowed to leave. It’s like a prison sentence for this boy, which is made all the more ironic given he starts off with the military police department.
However, Jun-Ho quickly establishes himself as a man with a keen eye for details. This turns the head of his superior, Sergeant Park, who recruits him to join the D.P. department. This small group of highly talented individuals are tasked with tracking down deserters and bringing them back to base.
With Corporal Han by his side, Jun-Ho soon discovers a darker side to the military, as several episodic cases come together to form a larger whole. The overarching story here is about how the military changes people, but also stems deeper than that to look at bullying and hazing too. No further is that more evident than in one of Jun-Ho’s old buddies, Suk-Bong.
No spoilers here of course, but Suk-Bong’s changed fortunes compared to Jun-Ho is one of the better juxtapositions in the series and it leads to quite the shocking climax for them both. In fact, the final two episodes are absolutely outstanding and end this show with a bang.
The cinematography here is equally as impressive too. The camera work shifts between claustrophobic extreme close ups of characters, dreamy establishing shots of the outside world to long cuts of dramatic moments. All of this combines with a slick aesthetic to make for a technically sound k-drama.
This idea of abuse runs much deeper than the surface level and infects every part of this story. From Jun-Ho’s past to the way it affects every supporting player – deserter or loyalist, culprit of instigator – is ultimately what makes this such a good show. At only 6 episodes as well, this punchy little series never outstays its welcome and leaves quite the lasting impression when the final credits roll. Although be sure to watch the post-credit sequence before you bow out completely.
D.P. is a special show. It’s a series that manages to explore a very sensitive and prevalent topic in a raw, artistic and unflinching way. In doing so, it also manages to provide a damn good story in the process, with just the right touch of levity to prevent this slipping into depressive melodrama territory.
D.P. is, quite simply, one of the best k-dramas of the year and easily the best Netflix have produced in quite some time. This one’s a must-watch.