.dat Criminal Minds – Korea.

Don’t worry, unlike certain Chinese dramas, this remake is legit, in the sense that tvN bought the rights and consulted with the producers of Criminal Minds for this production. Let’s get right to it —

Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds tvN Poster.jpg

Promotional poster
Original title 크리미널 마인드
Based on Criminal Minds
by Jeff Davis
Network tvN
Original Release

July 26 – September 28, 2017

No. of Episodes



As you may have expected if you are familiar with tvN crime thrillers and/or the Criminal Minds franchise, this drama is INTENSE.

We start off with a little montage about how Kim Hyun Joon (Lee Joon-gi) develops a grudge against NCI profiler Kang Ki Hyung (Son Hyun-joo) because one of his subordinates died in a failed coop bomb defusion operation in which Captain Kang’s role was to wheedle the exact defusion method using profiling skills out from the serial bomber. However, this was all a misunderstanding, as the person who made the wrong call was not Captain Kang, but Kim Hyun Joon’s SWAT team chief. After a year, Kim Hyun Joon learns of this truth and the fact that Captain Kang still feels guilty despite the lack of his direct contribution to the young SWAT team member’s death. Kim Hyun Joon accepts the invitation to join the NCI team, bringing to the table his natural profiling skills to kick some seriously messed up criminals’ butts.


Seriously, Lee Joon Ki is a great actor and all, but his demeanor always gets to me because it always seems like he’s trying to be the cool, suave, charismatic, blunt,… you get what I’m saying right? type. Yeah. What I like about this drama is that there is no “male lead” per se, and while Kim Hyun Joon plays a vital role in these 20 episodes, he was not designed to be a screen hogger. Every move he makes is not “dramatic” (as in a kDrama cliched way), but communicates the nuances of his brash, yet assertively logical personality. I would have done a major eye roll if this drama tried to force a love line between him and Sun Woo, but thank goodness, we just get to focus on the criminals’ minds (no pun intended).

Oof. Always a solid actor, Son Hyun Joo delivers another stellar performance once again. His stoic expression (the deep black eyes and wrinkles help) perfectly portrays a profiling expert who has seen too much in exchange for the superb skills. However, when faced with a very real threat to his family, can he still keep his cool? I really appreciated that while he is the team leader, he sincerely cared about his team members and gave them a certain degree of freedom.

From some of the past roles I’ve seen Moon Chae-won has played, this character may be the most dry in the sense that the drama was not designed to allow for screen hoggers, but even with her few moments on screen, she was amazing! Calm, cool and collected, and calm, cool and collected she was. She is a NCI agent and behavior analyst who likes following rules, but she is not one to half-ass anything — she will chase the baddies down to the last place on Earth!

Nana gives me the LOLS. She’s that tech analyst who seems to have the fingers of God flying across her keyboard to whip some bad guys real bad, guys. Well — more like helps the team track down or narrow down the suspect(s). She has a backstory that one wouldn’t expect from her bubbly personality though…
As NCI’s media liaison officer, Ms. Pretty Min Young is not just a pretty face. She’s quite an unfortunate soul though, because she gets abducted/held hostage quite a few times…but she’s still one tough cookie.
Of course, no drama is complete without a genius who has 2 doctorate degrees under his belt. He’s a profiler who serves as the much needed encyclopedia. It beats me why Mr. Nerd has such toned abs though and perfectly styled OOTDs if he’s supposed to be socially awkward and a no-life though…
Direct of NCI, he is the perfect boss. Investigation can often be greatly impeded by outside pressures and protocols, but this man knows when to turn the blind eye to support his team.


I feel like I should name this section ‘Crimes,’ but yeah. this drama is quite a roller coaster and haunted house mixed in one massive boulder of delight. Crime dramas are usually my thing because you can always trust the writers to not screw up as badly in terms of predictability of the plot, but ‘Criminal Minds’ did a pretty good job. From the Reaper (I kinda suspected his identity though…but let’s just say I’m quick on the uptake) to…well basically, all the psychos, we learn one big lesson: Don’t Mess Up Your Kids!

As someone who dibble-dabbles in psychology, I fully understand that the environment a child grows up in plays a large role in their development, but boy, this drama will make you think twice about spanking your child. Each and every “villain” was amazing in terms of their delivery of a monstrous being. Goosebumps were a common occurrence. Although gore is not meant to be shown on most kDramas, and ‘Criminal Minds’ is not an exception, the drama still managed to creep you out without the vulgar stuff — bad choice of words — visible + tangible vulgar stuff.

If I must pick one thing to really complain about, it’s probably the fact that the drama ended in a very obvious “let’s keep this super open-ended so we can make a sequel if we get a chance to” kind of way. Although the Nadeul River Case that affected Kim Hyun Joon and Ha Sun Woo’s childhoods got a resolution to a certain extent, we never got something more concrete out of it because the Reaper got involved somehow, and all of our attention was quickly swept over to focus on his next crazed rampage.

I’m going to end this horrible review here, because for crime dramas, you can’t really talk about them in much detail without spoiling them, as each episode (or each couple of episodes) is a little mini drama in its own right, so there are too amny details. I really recommend this drama for a twisted reason though: the villains are amazing actors!



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