K-Drama Review: “D.P.” Delves On Disheartening Military Life Tribulations

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Qualifying military service rule-breaking that is deserving of a reprieve is generally what was tackled in D.P.

Depicting military life grievances from the perspectives of the military deserters and the special team tracking them, D.P. explored the ugly experiences that led soldiers to leave the military camp.

  • Main Cast: Jung Hae In | Koo Kyo Hwan | Kim Sung Kyun | Son Sok Ku
  • Streaming Site: Netflix
  • Thrill/Addictive Meter:
  • Overall Rating:
  • Rewatch Value:
  • Dramas of Similar Vibe: Prison Playbook | Doctor Prisoner


D.P. Quick Plot Recap

Private An Jun-ho (Jung Hae In) and Corporal Han Ho-yeol (Koo Kyo Hwan) are tasked to chase after military soldiers who deserted their posts. All the while, they become emotionally invested in the motivations of the AWOL soldiers in escaping the military ground.

Some have people they want to protect, some are bullied by senior soldiers, and some desperately want to change the harrowing corruption and unfairness that is seemingly unable to cease in the organization.


D.P. Peak Points and Series Musings

Portrayal and story-wise D.P. meets a gratifying drama experience for its six-episode run. Pretty much everything that was promised by the lead stars and director at the recent press conference was really captured in the series.

Jung Hae In is superb in his role which shows his growth from always holding back his emotions to understanding where he can put his life’s purpose. Likewise, Koo Kyo Hwan really brought in the zest to the relatively depressing situations featured in the story through his comedic antics.

Living a decent but repressed life, Jun-ho interestingly enters a new life of tracking fellow soldiers who left their posts. At the same time, he also nurses personal trauma that involves his family – specifically his inner rage towards his father who physically and emotionally abuses his mother.

The gripe for her mother’s pain and guilt for not being able to help have burdened him. Thus, conditioning him to become passive and indifferent.

Thankfully, the experiences he gained from pursuing deserters slowly thaw the wall he built to his mom, whom he cannot blame for being relenting and accepting of his father’s beating.

He also gained meaningful brotherhood with his partner Ho-yeol, Sergeant Beom-gu and fellow soldiers.

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A Message on Human’s Rejection To Inclusiveness

In a way, Jun-ho’s life is a basic representation of anyone’s life who is given options day by day to decide. Choices that can be trivial or life-endangering.

That scene when he was asked by the sister of the dead soldier why he never did anything to help, speaks about how people would choose the safe side than trouble themselves to involve with others’ concerns.

It supports another heartbreaking moment when they were convincing their friend who deserted and kidnapped the unit’s bully for revenge. Pitching his sentiments can be remedied, Jun-ho listened to his remark on how the military service system has stopped progressing citing their canteen tables dated 1953 as proof of his claim.

It is a demoralizing truth on why “making a difference” these days seems not to be meaningful anymore. We don’t know if volunteering to be a hero and castigating evildoings can move mountains at all. We are unsure if committing to a positive drive to correct an improper situation can be worthy enough of our time and efforts.

D.P. also challenges the idea of justifying the worst fate possible for remorseless evil people like Jun-ho’s power-tripping senior who pushed a kind person to a point of no return.

The waning scenes of the series carried the weight of the story targeting the faulty military service system and incompetent officers that overlooked the existing problems in the organization.

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Military Life’s Detestable Side

Slowly but surely getting to the point of raising awareness of the disgusting truth present in the military camp, D.P. bravely sealed its point. Albeit cushioning it from the early episodes, it eventually marked its true message, especially in the thrilling final episode.

From presenting the unruly senior soldier abusing new recruits to ranked officers who are inefficient to their jobs; D.P. provided a glimpse to a microcosm of a known corruption stigma in any organization.

A prevalent situation of a rotten system that can never be cured because the problem runs too deep and involves people of greed and power as well as passive onlookers. That holds true to the conflict tackled in the narrative where we see the basic military rule of following orders is disregarded.

Added to that, the general rule of treating humans with respect is also presented as lacking in the army unit carrying a significant weight on the flow of the story.

Honestly, D.P. felt like a long movie that did not swerve to its topic of bringing back military deserters and listening to their reasons why they had to do it. Hence, the six episodes are really enough to bring its flavor, lengthening its run is unnecessary. Scoring a striking final episode also made the message of the story piercing.

Although carefully constructed, the underlying chide on atrocious acts happening at military service units is evident. Bravely narrated, D.P. construes eye-opening realities that hopefully would bring essential and pervasive change.

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D.P. is now streaming on Netflix.


Photos: Netflix

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