Review: Signal

Genre: Fantasy, Crime
Written by: Kim Eun-hee
Directed by: Kim Won-seok
Starring: Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo, Cho Jin-woong
Number of episodes: 16
Average rating: 12.8% (TNmS)
Original network: tvN

Hello guys! I know I haven’t been here for awhile now, but I have good explanation for that. Actually I’ve taken a 1-month vacation to Shenyang, China and I didn’t bring my laptop along so I couldn’t update my blog. The Wi-Fi connection was terrible there so I could barely finish this particular drama before it drove me crazy. Anyway… Soon you can check my first traveling post out!

Moving on to this drama… This drama’s far from perfect, but this is the first time I got this emotional over a crime-thriller drama. How come I didn’t discover this one sooner though?! However, even though I fall in love with everything in this drama, I do realistically realize that Signal isn’t for everyone.

What’s about?

If you’re given a chance to communicate with someone in the past, what do you think will happen? In this drama, someone met his closest friend, someone got a chance to confess, and someone found his way back to live.

What to expect?

  • Amazing performance by every single person involved in this drama
  • Great fast-pacing suspense
  • Getting really emotional
  • Some dark, violent, cruel events so it’s not suitable for everyone especially those with traumatic experiences
  • Twists here and there
  • A relieving ending

What not to expect?

  • Any kind of those lovey-dovey romance
  • Good OST (does it even have one?)
  • Too much usage of logic
  • Everything fell back into place perfectly

My long review starts here

Spoiler alert.

The very first episode gave me chill already. I have no freaking idea where this story will take me. I thought this is all about Kim Yoo Jung’s case alone from the beginning until the end so I was kinda surprised when the new case being served so immediately after.

Things started to get really interesting when the “fantasy” took place for the first time in the second episode. When the victim, Lee Mi Seon’s status changed from victim into survivor, at the very moment I knew that I’m going to love this drama.

Honestly, we all have thought about changing the past right? Maybe some poor decisions you made, stupid actions you took, or even wrong words you said. At least, I have thought about this countless times like how I wish I could be given a chance to go back to the past and change those things. What differences will it make? I’ll never know, but one thing for sure is when the past changes, the present changes.

I’ll continue with only some of the MOST interesting things I found in this drama, not everything because honestly there are way too many.

I think the movie theatre scene’s so heartbreaking and it made me cry so much and smile like an idiot afterward. Lee Jae-han why are you doing this to me? He could’ve saved her, but fate didn’t let him. I think in life there are things that we indeed cannot change no matter what we do. In Lee Jae-han’s case, if Kim Won-kung had been saved, then Lee Jae-han wouldn’t have anything to do with Cha Soo-hyun.

Well.. Was it only me who smelled a noona-dongsaeng relationship in this beginning? I’m glad it didn’t happened though, I like Park Hae-young and Cha Soo-hyun better as a teammate. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t care for each other. When Cha Soo-hyun “died” in the explosion, the normally hot-blooded and emotional Park Soo-hyun didn’t drown in the sadness for too long. Instead, I think he already had a plan to save her by changing the past. He knew about the consequences of changing the past, but he still did it because he care for her too much.

My favorite character in this drama is the righteous and bold Lee Jae-han. At first, I didn’t really consider him as my favorite. I like him, but I don’t think he’s that interesting. But soon, I realized how multi-dimensional his character is. He’s harsh and a little bit rude sometimes but he truly does care for everyone around him, from Cha Soo-hyun to his colleagues. To be honest, I was a little scared when the romance took place, his quirky personality would change. Fortunately, the writer knows better. He cares for her more but he’s still harsh and being hard on her for her own good. I’m so touched by the scene where Lee Jae-han found Cha Soo-hyun during the Hong Won Dong case, he became so emotional and angry because Cha Soo-hyun got hurt. And later when it turned out that the Batman photo frame was actually Lee Jae-han’s, I couldn’t help but SO HE ACTUALLY LIKES HER BACK ALL THIS TIME? AW.

Okay, let’s get serious again. I really think that this drama has its dark side. I’m claustrophobic (phobia of confined places) so I can relate to one of the cases, yes, the Hong Won Dong case. I could feel myself trembling during the culprit’s flashback of his childhood. Seriously, it’s so terrifying and depressing. My friend said that this drama has a depressing vibe since the beginning and I couldn’t agree more. 

The cold case squad is great, Lee Jae-han is great, Cha Soo-hyun is great, Park Hae-young is great, everything about this drama is great! But I do have some confusions. I don’t know if I missed it or my imagination just runs wild, but if any of you can give me the answers, please do so! 🙂

In my opinion, the whole thing can be understood as Park Hae-young and Cha Soo-hyun tried to change the past to keep Lee Jae-han alive by sending him transmissions not to go to Sunil Psychiatrist Hospital on August 3rd. But since the beginning they are meant to do that so Lee Jae-han went there. Thinking back, it’s actually necessary for him to go because if he hadn’t gone, then Park Hae-young wouldn’t have found Seo Hyung-joon’s body and Kim Yoo-jung’s case would turn into cold case. The cold case squad wouldn’t have be formed and Lee Jae-han would still die nonetheless but at different location (remember that Ahn Chi Soo was ordered to follow Lee Jae-han). Still with me? Am I correct?

I don’t know the motive behind Kim Yoo Jung’s case until the end, it’s about debt right? But I never get the motive of the 2nd case (South Gyeonggi serial murderer), well, maybe I really missed it.

Another thing I’m confused with is at first, when something changed in the past, Park Hae-young’s the only one knew, but later suddenly Cha Soo-hyun also knows.. How did that happen? Was it because she used the walkie-talkie?

I think money’s a scary thing. It determines a human being’s position in the society. Or in this drama, it drove someone to kill, malign, and blackmail. Someone with no money and power, like Park Sun-woo and Lee Jae-han are expected to lay low and let those with money and power do everything.

Let’s talk about Park Hae-young. He’s not my favorite in this drama but I sincerely feel sympathetic towards him. His life’s ruined by something beyond his control. He never complained and he kept going no matter how rough the paths were.

This never made sense from the beginning. Ever since I received transmissions on a radio with no batteries. So there’s no reason to be disappointed already. I don’t know what awaits me at the end of this road. Though I’ve never met him… I may meet my closest friend. Or a dangerous fate may await us. I can’t do anything now. There’s only one thing I’m sure of. These transmissions started because of one person’s determination. That voice over the radio taught me one thing. It will work out if you don’t give up. If you don’t give up… The work of toppling the corrupt power that seemed so insurmountable… And meeting the person you wandered and searched 16 years for… are all possible. If you don’t give up… There is hope. — Park Hae-young

If there’s one thing I learnt from this drama, it’s determination. Everyone in this drama never gave up, even the villains. They truly believe that everything’s possible only if you don’t give up.

Seems like I haven’t said this, I’m so freaking happy and excited knowing that Lee Jae-han survived. I can’t bear having a sad ending at this point, I JUST CANT. But let me analyze this part a little bit, so basically he survived in the forest because of his colleagues appearance all of a sudden. But why? Did he call them before he went to the hospital? But why didn’t he do so in the past? Or were they late in the past? I think this part is crucial, but seems like I can never get an answer.

I’m already so happy that Lee Jae-han’s alive that I won’t complain about the ending, maybe just a little bit. If this drama ends like this with no plan for the season 2, well, it sucks. BUT if they ended it like this to leave a spot for season 2, I WONT COMPLAIN EVEN JUST A BIT. HOLY YES, SEASON 2 PLEASE!


Objective: 9.75/10
Subjective: 10/10

Last but not least

I have nothing more to say, just give me a season 2 with the same cast already.

And feel free to leave me your thoughts about this drama and recommendation of your favorites below!










4 thoughts on “Review: Signal

  1. “But I never get the motive of the 2nd case (South Gyeonggi serial murderer), well, maybe I really missed it.”

    Serial murderer honestly didn’t have any motive, that’s why those kind of case are always hard to solve. this case was actually inspired/adopted by the real cold case from Korea (if you watch drama ‘gapdong’ they have similar idea theme with Gyeonggi case in signal). Murderer on that case just like/obsessed (kind of mental illness) to kill anyone with similar ‘characteristic’. just like the murderer on Hongwondong.


    1. Oh thanks for the information! I just can’t imagine mental illness could turn someone into a serial murderer, it’s really sad though. Anyway, you’re the first person commenting on my blog post! 🙂



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