The trials and tribulations of Soo-yeol (Lee Dong-wook) and K (Wi Ha-joon) have come to an end. From corrupt politicians, corrupt cops, drug rings, childhood trauma and a whole lot more, Bad and Crazy had it all. Despite having numerous storylines that could have been underdeveloped or even deemed pointless, the writers were able to fully flesh out every plot point. They created a complex character that causes the audience to question what turns a person’s righteous intentions into bad ones, while simultaneously providing an overarching theme to trust yourself.
This review contains spoilers.
One thing Bad and Crazy will never do is drag out the mystery of who is behind the terrible events that occur. Episode 5 follows suit, by sparing no time to divulge it was Hui-gyeom’s narcotic division that set her up. The mastermind behind this was Captain Kim Gye-sik (Lee Hwa-ryong) who was working with a drug ring Yoo-gon was also involved in.
When Soo-yeol is caught up to speed on the extent of the captain’s corruption, it catapults a cat a mouse game between Soo-yeol and Gye-sik. In the eyes of the police department, Gye-sik is a beloved captain whilst Soo-yeol is known to be a bribe-taking corrupt cop, hence forcing Soo-yeol to only rely on himself and K to find a way to get Gye-sik behind bars.
Eventually, Gye-sik slips up when Boss Yong (Kim Hi-eo-ra) – the leader of the drug ring selling “The Eye” — orders him to steal back her confiscated drugs. As Gye-sik tries to flee, he and Soo-yeol get into a fight that almost leads to Gye-sik’s death. It produces a very powerful scene that shows how far gone Gye-sik is. He is more distraught with the bag full of money he had ripping, leaving all his money to drift away than dangling off a building. This reveals that even in the face of death Gye-sik is more concerned about money.
When brought into custody Gye-sik points out he and Soo-yeol are the same. To a certain extent, Gye-sik is correct in his thinking. It is no secret Soo-yeol has corrupt tendencies, however there is a clear distinction between the twos’ actions and how did that distinction come to be? What made Gye-sik turn from a just cop to one who is willing to do anything for money? The philosophy of nature versus nurture is one plausible cause for this distinction. Besides Hui-gyeom and another cop in Gye-sik’s division, the rest of the division was also corrupt. Gye-sik surrounded himself with people willing to go just as far as him. Gye-sik had no one to keep him in check, thus allowing his corrupt nature to freely grow, eventually leading to a point of no return.
On the opposite spectrum, Soo-yeol has a strong group of people keeping him from becoming too far gone in his search for money. His closet junior – Inspector Yang Jae-seon (Cha Si-won) – calls him out on his selfishness and laziness when needed. Soo-yeol also was instilled with a sense of loyalty and caring by his adopted mother and brother. The caring nurture of his mother is evident when she takes in a fatigued battered and bruised little Soo-yeol, treating him as her own. Soo-yeol — formerly Jae-hui — was abused and starved by his father, left homeless after his father supposedly dies in a fire. If Soo-yeol were left to his abusive father his worse side could have grown uncontrollably like Gye-sik’s. Luckily, Soo-yeol’s family and coworkers nurtured him to achieve a good enough balance between being a just and corrupt cop.
However, it is K who completely tips the balance towards the just side. K is the most important figure in Soo-yeol’s nurturing because he prevents him from ever going too far. His complexity is what makes the difference between him and Gye-sik so apparent. This is all thanks to K’s desire to be a superhero and defeat all the injustice in the world. Although as the show progressed, Soo-yeol’s split personality showed to have a greater purpose than just being a fighter of justice but a mechanism to trust himself.
The case of Baek Young-joo (Park Seo-yoon) – a girl gaslighted into murdering her abusive father – introduces the second half’s main conflict by bringing to light Soo-yeol’s childhood trauma and the reasoning behind K’s existence. Young-joo’s gaslighter is revealed to be a person from Soo-yeol’s past named Jung Yun-ho (Jung Sung-il) who manipulates people in difficult situations to kill their abusers to escape their misery. Yun-ho’s perspective to resolve issues this way isn’t a recently developed mentality. He attempted this before when he tried to make young Soo-yeol believe he killed Yun-ho’s abusive parental figure to save him. This is when K makes his first appearance in Soo-yeol’s life to save Soo-yeol from being manipulated, underlining K’s crucial role in keeping Soo-yeol from falling to the devices of corruption.
Just like Gye-sik, Yun-ho is highly regarded in the police department’s eyes, leaving Soo-yeol to only rely on himself once again. This is taken a step further because Yun-ho is an expert manipulator who can twist people’s perceptions, thus fooling cops to believe K is behind the gaslighting. After being shipped off to a mental hospital, Soo-yeol is completely separated from his major support group. During these circumstances, Soo-yeol could have regressed to his naturally corrupt ways. Except K is there to encourage Soo-yeol to trust his own abilities and anchors him to continue to fight for justice.
Throughout the entirety of the series, K provides constant encouragement to Soo-yeol for his struggles in obtaining justice; yet in the final showdown, Soo-yeol saves the day without K’s aid. Ever since K showed up, Soo-yeol’s coworkers noticed he has become more engrossed in his cases and no longer avoids confrontations. At first, this was due to K taking charge and diving headfirst into danger. However, as each case passed K has played a less active role. This forced Soo-yeol to have to rely on his physicality to catch the bad guys, leading him to trust his physical skills more. The initial sign of Soo-yeol trusting these skills is when he takes down Gye-sik by himself. While gaining trust in himself in the physical aspect he also begins to completely trust himself and gain full moral correctness.
Soo-yeol trusting himself was an ongoing process that occurred throughout the entirety of the series. Each new conflict Soo-yeol faced backed him into the same corner he was in as a child that resulted in K’s creation. K gave Soo-yeol the boost to trust that he can save himself from Yun-ho’s manipulative influence. Yoo-gon forced K to come out again because just like he needed the courage to save himself from Yun-ho, he needed K to make Soo-yeol trust himself again. Then Gye-sik once again pushed Soo-yeol into a corner but he was able to fight Gye-sik by himself. This was the first time since K showed up where Soo-yeol fought by himself thus showing he could trust himself physically. Then with Yun-ho’s return Soo-yeol completes his journey of trusting himself because Soo-yeol didn’t need K at all to bring Yun-ho to justice.
As each case passed, K pushed Soo-yeol towards trusting his own righteousness by forcing his own superhero agenda onto him, until K’s intentions completely became Soo-yeol’s own intentions. Hence the clothes Soo-yeol wears when he seeks to bring Yun-ho to justice. When K is introduced into the series as the crazed vigilant he is wearing a red and black biker jacket. Soo-yeol wears the same jacket during Yun-ho’s take down, showing how K’s influence has entirely rubbed off on Soo-yeol, meaning K no longer needs to be a separate personality.
Unlike where K popped in once during Soo-yeol’s childhood and came back decades later, sadly he will be gone for a good this time. On the bright side, the audience knows that Soo-yeol won’t revert to his old ways because when he had the chance to lie to the police ruling committee about the true nature of K, he doesn’t. It shows Soo-yeol was willing to lie for his benefit no more, and the self-proclaimed hero has left a forever mark on him. K didn’t only leave his righteous beliefs but his crazy too. This provides a nice full-circle moment where Soo-yeol does a flying kick to the face of his police commissioner — who is taking bribes — in the same spot and way K did to Yoo-gon at the beginning of the series.
The show ended its 12-episode run by delivering to its viewers a multifaceted character with a righteous split personality that sparked a conversation about how people in your life affect you as a person. Bad and Crazy was way more than your average cop story; it was a story about despite facing numerous challenges a person can come out the other side better as long as you trust yourself. It’s a message everyone can benefit from learning, even if you don’t have your own crazy superhero wannabe other half.
(Images via iQiyi.)