Inspector Koo Season 1 Review – A tonally conflicted but enjoyable cat and mouse thriller

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4/5


In an age of remakes and sequels, it’s perhaps no surprise that Korea has started to jump on the bandwagon too. Whether it be The World Of The Married or the upcoming Korean remake of Money Heist, Asian countries are no strangers to adaptations.

Inspector Koo then is an interesting but somewhat muddled proposition. This 12 episode k-drama is heavily inspired by Killing Eve, but it wraps up that cat and mouse chase with a more formulaic political conspiracy. The result is a medley of influences that fires on all cylinders as often as it falls flat.

At the center of this lies our protagonist, Kyung-Yi. She’s a bit of a slob, has little desire to excel and spends more of her time gaming. She also has a pretty dark history, involving her enemy, K. Going by the name of Song Yi-Kyung, she’s mentally unhinged and desperate for revenge.

As the season progresses, so too does the rivalry between these two women as a political power struggle and a corrupt Director in Yong Sook add extra shades of grey to this otherwise black and white conflict. And therein lies the biggest problem with this show.

Inspector Koo is oftentimes tonally conflicted, unsure whether to lean into the quirky absurdism its characters adopt, or double down on the political conspiracy and play it straight. Sometimes the balance works really well, with the finale in particular bringing everything together in a satisfying way, while other times it falls flat.

The problem is, the intent focus on political scheming takes away from the more intriguing plotline between K and Kyung-Yi. That’s a real shame too because this is the glue that holds the show together.

The supporting characters are pretty run of the mill as well, with one silent character called Santa teased at having a big history which doesn’t really go anywhere.

Visually, Inspector Koo uses some beautiful overlays, including a particularly impressive array of black and white cartoon animations at the start and end of each episode. This really helps give the show a sense of uniqueness that this reviewer wishes Inspector Koo incorporated more of. And there are certainly some other visually appealing moments too.

Video game overlays for a barrel roll or a first person shooter show up, while the music chosen for the soundtrack works so well to reinforce that quirky tone.

Fans of Killing Eve will instantly see the similarities between the two shows but see this as second best. Fans of cat and mouse thrillers will find enough to whet the appetite, but not enough to fill their bellies. That’s not to say this show isn’t enjoyable though. There are some great segments here and when it comes to uniqueness, Inspector Koo certainly fits the bill. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite have enough in the tank to make it one of the best k-dramas this year.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

1 thought on “Inspector Koo Season 1 Review – A tonally conflicted but enjoyable cat and mouse thriller”

  1. I’m a fan of Killing Eve but the show has nothing to do with it unless you think that any show with two female leads are the same. Because apart from a female serial killer and woman trying to catch her there are no similarities. So it’s no surprise you were disappointed with how some things went on the show, you were expecting a remake o Killing Eve. I thought the kdrama was very refreshing in it’s plot and execution, the show never tried to play anything straight and if you try to watch it that way it will definitely fail. I enjoyed the political angle they bring and there is no conspiracy at all just plain old political corruption…lol
    But anyway one of the things that makes Inspector Koo so great is it’s characters and refusing to be convencional where even shows like “Killing Eve” who are lauded for being so groundbreaking are still struggling.

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