- Title: 조선 여형사 다모(茶母) / Joseon Yeohyeongsa Damo
- Also known as: Female Detective Damo (KBFD-TV) / Damo: The Undercover Lady Detective (DVD) / Damo, the Detective in Chosun / The Legendary Police Woman
- Episodes: 14
- Genre: Historical, Crime, Romance
- Broadcast network: MBC
- Broadcast period: 2003-07-28 to 2003-09-09
- Air time: Monday & Tuesday 21:55
- Viewership Rating: peak=26.1% average=19.1% (TNS)
This series and our heroine took place in the Chosun Dynasty.Chae Ok was separated from her brother when her father, a nobleman, was accused of treason. She managed to make her way and becomes a Damo, a low ranked woman detective. Skilled in swordplay, she must not only fight crime, but to face inequality for her status in society. Her brother grew up to be a rebel leader fighting against society injustice and both brother and sister faced off against each other on opposite side of the law.
- Ha Ji Won as Chae Ok
- Jung Min Ah as young Chae Ok
- Kim Min Joon as Jang Sung Baek
- Lee Seo Jin as Commander Hwangbo
- Lee Moon Shik as Ma Chook Ji
- No Hyun Hee as Ta Bak Nyeo
- Park Young Kyu as Jo Se Wook
- Lee Han Wie as Baek Joo Wan
- Kwon Oh Joong as Lee Won Hae
- Shin Seung Hwan as Ahn Byung Taek
- Yoon Moon Sik as Ahn Nok Sa
- Jung Wook as Jung Pil Joon
- Jung Ho Geun as Choi Dal Pyung
- Kwon Yong Woon as No Gak Chool
- Ahn Kye Bum as Kato Masayuki
- Chae Young In as Jo Nan Hee
- Sun Woo Jae Duk as King Sukjong
- Jun In Taek as Duk Soo
- Jo Jae Hyuk as Jo Chi Oh
- Seo Bum Shik
- Jung Doo Hong
- Chief Producer: Jo Joong Hyun
- Screenwriter: Jung Hyung Soo
- Director: Lee Jae Kyu
- Assistant Director: Kang Dae Sun, Kim Dae Jin
Before writing a review for a drama, I usually allow my obsessive streak settle down first. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'd be far too swayed by the present emotions at the time, writing a biased, slightly exaggerated (only slightly) review. It's surprising how, in retrospect, how many dramas that seemed amazing at the time, seem a bit stupid and a bit dragged out a few months down the road. So after I watched Damo, I decided to let my hyped-up emotions take a breather and watched several other dramas after it, including all of Mianhada Saranghanda (Sorry I Love You) and random episodes of other dramas. Yet, 3 months down the road, I am -still- as much in love with the drama as I was then. That must say something.
One of the most impressive things about this drama was the ability for the director to make the audience fall in love with both of the male leads. Too often there is a distinct separation between good or bad, powerful or wimpy. The audience can usually draw a clear-cut attachment to one character only, and you are left often feeling little pity for the other (eg. ....every single korean drama out there.) There is always a character that is a wimp, who holds onto the girl for dear life; the one you want to strangle. The line is usually so evident: black & white, not much of a challenge. Yet in Damo, the two male leads are equally righteous and passionate, equally perfect in their own right. Hwangbo Yoon (Lee Seo Jin) plays the commander who upholds the law and government; Jang Sung-baek (Kim Min Joon) is the rebellious leader who fights for the people. Both work for a better society and both strive for the same ideals, through different means. In that way, they clash viciously, but both have a vision.
This grey area that exists between what is right and wrong brings out the conflicted feelings of Chae-Ok (Ha Ji Won) who, against her intent, falls in love with Jang Sung-baek. Ha Ji Won is extremely successful in bringing out the raw and utterly pained feelings of Chae-Ok, a lowly Damo who cannot fall in love with Hwangbo Yoon because of her status in society. At the same time, she cannot fall in love with Jang Sung-baek because he is the enemy that she seeks. This constant fight and battle between two sides, neither of which are exceedingly wrong, causes the pain and torment that vibrates throughout the drama. She truly shines as the strong, intelligent, and beautiful heroine in this series. The integrity and the strength Chae-Ok finds in herself immediately draws the attention and admiration of the audience; although she is eternally confined to the status of a servant, she is able to garner the respect from officers much higher than her through her cunning detective abilities, and her fearless (and sometimes reckless) personality.
Furthermore, the beautiful cinematography distinguishes Damo from other dramas. It serves to heighten the raw and incredibly touching emotions present in the most subtle of ways. There is no dramatic spinning camera-work during a particularly heated kiss, nor a slow motion scene where the two main characters just miss each other, setting off a chain of misunderstandings. Each scene in Damo is significant to the plotline, but unlike many other dramas, it is used not to further the plotline, but to deepen it. Damo demonstrates the loyalty, the passion, and the heartbreaking pain of impossible love. It is undoubtedly my favorite drama to date.
Musical Accompaniment: The entire OST is absolutely incredible. Although I have heard some complaints that the "poppy" music is out of place for an ancient drama, I found it fitting to the drama. The mixture of ballads and fast pop music perfectly complemented the mood and scene changes. Just the other day, I was listening to the soundtrack again, and it brought tears to my eyes triggering a few extremely memorable moments. It was then when I knew I had to write a review about this one-of-a-kind korean drama.
- Rating: Life-Altering (5/5)