As I mentioned in my review of Tunnel, I’m always nervous going into a crime drama out of fear that it won’t be concluded properly. Mystery Queen clearly realised that they had no time to conclude properly and decided to do it on purpose: the lead characters ended the drama discussing that there were more sides to the case and more criminals to catch, and to the audience it was revealed that a character everyone assumed was dead was, in fact, alive. This could set up for a season two, but, as it’s a kdrama, I’d say that’s unlikely. And, as much as I love a good conclusion (we were also robbed of a romantic resolution), I like that they stepped up and took hold of the lack of conclusion – in that way, it was conclusive.
Reports are now saying that the writer/producer hopes for a second season (and that that was their intention with the ending), but as Dramabeans notes, the drama’s ratings weren’t incredibly high so it may be difficult to secure a second season with KBS. On top of that, the actors are quite popular and well known and unless they themselves want to continue with the drama, it may be hard to secure them as well. However, few dramas have been getting consistently high ratings lately and a second season of a drama with mildly good ratings (8-11% is not the worst I’ve seen on a public channel) may be successful enough to go forward with.
We knew where the characters were potentially going from here, we knew that Seol Ok had left her husband (likely to never reconcile), and we knew that there would always be more cases. For an inconclusive ending, I really liked it. If they had tried to conclude everything in the last episode, it would have ended up a mess and I’m glad they realised that before the did it – something which a lot of dramas could learn from.
The drama started with smaller cases, where a housewife that enjoys mysteries begins infiltrating police investigations to solve their cases. Eventually, these end around episode 13 and the leads investigate the case that has overarched not only the drama but the lives of their characters for a long time. The cases were always interesting and I rarely guessed what would happen next or who the criminal might be.
The lead characters, Seol Ok and Wan Seung, have great dialogue, always bickering and challenging each other but supporting and caring when needed. If there had been 2-4 more episodes, the overarching case may have been resolved and these two may have gotten a romantic ending, but I’m fine with imagining that they did. The drama was never a romantic one anyway.
I think I would eventually like to rewatch this drama – it was enjoyable and very rarely frustrating, pairing humour with serious cases in the best way possible – but I’d like to give it a year so I forget the cases. Overall, definitely good and would recommend.
For a crime drama: 4.5/5 stars. (0.5 down for lack of conclusion – if it gets a S2, it can go to a 4.75…)
Overall: 4/5 stars.