It’s been a while since I last saw Korean drama. And these past months, a friend nagged. “It’s the talk in town!” as I was told about Coffee Prince, Legend, Hong Gil Dong, etc. But I think I’ve been saturated by K-drama’s plot, repetition, cliches, and melodrama. These things also get too caught up in “idol” and star factor lately. I just lost the passion.
But their music/OST is another thing. K-dramas have developed a rather solid ground in that department. So, rather than reading reviews on them, I listened to the OSTs. Hmm, Coffee Prince’s and Legend’s don’t attract me. Hong Gil Dong’s is interesting. Apparently there’s a touch of comedy in it . And at one’s music page at multiply, I accidentally listened to “Jayoobeehaeng”, first track of EIA OST. It sounds different. It gives similar feel to certain RPG tune and voices a call for adventure I couldn’t resist (I was obviously hallucinating!). I braced myself and decided to try out Evasive Inquiry Agency (EIA).
“How did things turn out like this?” — Kim Yong Soo, Evasive Inquiry Agency.
Well, it all started with a cat……………….
One of the cute kittens!
Meet the tenants of Gold building: Moo Yeol (Lee Min Gi) is a gawky, energetic taekwondo instructor; Yong Soo (Ryu Seung Soo) is a slacker with an encyclopaedic brain, who runs a manhwa store; and Hee Gyeong (Ye Ji Won) is a tarot master (hmm, mistress?) and actress on calls. They are neither grand nor important. They are………. a bunch of failures, a synopsis said, which reminded me of Anthony Browne’s musing:
“The happy people are failures because they are in such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.” (Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide)
Moo Yeol, Hee Gyeong, Yong Soo, Eun Jae
A lady, mistaking Moo Yeol and Yong Soo for private investigators, came seeking their help in finding her run-away cat. On the way, the three tenant friends accidentally found gold and a corpse inside the wall of Gold Building. These findings attracted the attention of a wealthy and beautiful young woman, Eun Jae (Lee Eun Sung), who seeks clues to a lost memory, and Baek Min Chul (Park Hee Soon), a gangster leader whose motive has yet to be unveiled.
And so, these eclectic ensemble are thrown into treasure-hunting adventure that will unearth not only gold, but also secrets, scars, and wounds from the past.
What should I say? I am at lost at how EIA should be defined and described.
This drama is a riot. Once I’d finished watching, I felt full as if I had been given a mass dosage of comedy, suspense, mystery, adventure, and drama. I laughed out loud at one point, so hard that my stomach ached. At another, I held back tears that my heart ached. Yet, it has balance. There is subtle poignancy, intruding in unexpected manner, that works effectively even in the briefest moment. It never overdoes things, unlike many Korean dramas that drag and prolong misery to drain tears, nor tries so hard to be funny it turns ridiculous.
I’ve got so much favourite moments. I like almost all the scenes with the trio (Moo Yeol, Yong Soo, and Hee Gyeong) in it. I think I like all the characters and how each one is treated (almost) equally. I like that each episode reaches a sense of closure, with interesting cliffhanger, they are almost film-like. And as in any good mystery/detective stories, clues, hints, and all that jazz are carefully planted in each scene, dialogue, and episode that you’d feel not a moment is wasted. EIA is one solid writing (credit to Park Seo Hyeon), directing (Ham Young Hoon), and acting.
I like the RPG-like music illustrations. Some are so funny, I can’t contain laughter when I listen to them. Oh, and I like all the “Super Hero” moments in the drama too. It’s one adrenaline-pumping piece, ay? It suits the ensemble so well.
I like all the ending sketches, especially the one featuring the side characters: the delivery boy, the detective ahjumma, manhwa-store visitors, ex-gangster hotel manager, the cat lady, Gold building landlord, Jo Man Gi’s wife and son, etc. “No need to force yourselves to remember them. They are just too busy being the main lead in their respective lives to participate in this story. That’s all.” (or sort of!) Really! this is one rare drama that has interesting main and side characters.
Too bad, EIA suffered low rating. But, that just adds another proof on how, once again, viewership rating doesn’t relate to quality. There are faults, of course, but this is one so “different”, so funny, clever, witty, and original, I’m willing to let it pass.
Yeah, EIA has it all. This is one entertaining drama. It is hilarious, clever, witty, intelligently funny, down-to-earth, profound, and heartwarming. And just as the story is about hidden treasure, EIA is one gem that I am glad I did discover and give it a try.