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Series / Cheo Yong

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Cheo Yong (Hangul: 귀신보는 형사, 처용; RR: Gwisinboneun Hyeongsa, Cheo-yong; lit. "Ghost-Seeing Detective Cheo-yong") is a 2014 South Korean television series starring Oh Ji-ho, Oh Ji-eun and Jun Hyoseong. The first season aired on cable channel OCN from February 9 to April 6, 2014 for 10 episodes. The second season aired on August 2015 for another 10 episodes. Both seasons are also available on Netflix since July 2017.

The series follows police officer Yun Cheo Yong as he solves cases with the help of the ghost of high school student Han Na-Young, her friend, fellow investigator Ha Sun-woo, and the members of the Wide Search Investigation Team, a special branch of the South Korean police that focuses on unsolved cases, eventually facing his own demons in the process. The show generally follows a Police Procedural format, and feels like a cross between Law & Order and Ghost Whisperer.

The second season reunites everyone except Sun-woo and one member of the original team, who were replaced by new characters filling somewhat similar roles. Where the focus of the first season was generally murder cases with a supernatural angle and some outright supernatural cases, the second season delves into police bureaucracy and politics and the conflict of justice vs. law.

Tropes included in the series:

  • Actionized Sequel: The second season has a lot more action scenes, sometimes with entire SWAT-equivalent teams while the first season deals more with more personal, smaller scale detective work that rarely requires major mobilizations. Presumably, this is because the WSIT was no longer seen as a fringe entity within the police department.
  • Agent Mulder: Despite being mostly rational detectives, Soon Woo and Ha-yoon are a lot more willing to believe in spirits that most police officers. In both cases, it's because Na Young possessed them at some point.
  • Almighty Janitor: Cheo Yong was a traffic officer at the start of the first season before being recruited into the Wide Search Investigation Team.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Ha-Yoon, Soon Woo's replacement, was a lot more analytical in her approach to investigations. In fact, she managed to deduce that Na Young had been possessing her, and even managed to work out her age and time of death by studying the clothes she wore and her own behavior when possessed. On top of that, she managed to work out that Cheo Yong knew about her. It's particularly notable given that, unlike Soon Woo, she had no connection to the two of them at all prior to the start of the season.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Big Bad of season one turns out to be Na Young's killer. Her unsolved murder case also turned out to be the last case Cheo Yong worked on before being demoted.
  • Ghostly Goals: Most of the ghosts encountered in the series were restless spirits who want to be laid to rest by having the truth about their deaths come to light and, in some cases, bring closure for their loved ones. We also see some ghosts who were content to play pranks on people. On the other hand, there are also overtly malicious spirits who just like to wreak havoc. In fact, the Big Bad of the first season was one. There's also Na Young, who's content to just hang around Cheo Yong and pretend she's a policewoman by helping solve cases.
  • Girly Girl: Na Young, also seen as a tsundere.
  • Foreshadowing: In one episode in season 2, Na Young called out a ghost for not knowing the difference between a living person and a ghost. Later in the episode, she apprehended that same ghost while possessing Ha-Yoon, effectively masking her ghostly presence by hiding inside a living person.
  • I See Dead People: Cheo Yong can do this, which is one of his advantages when investigating cases, especially when he gets acquainted with Na-young and starts using her as basically his forward scout. Na-young, being a ghost herself, takes it a step further by being able to relive another ghost's experience when they make physical contact. If anyone else does this, it's usually a sign that they're either dead themselves or possessed.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Cheo Yong in the first season. He's not too abrasive, but he definitely was not looking to make any friends.
  • The Masquerade: during season 1, nobody outside of Cheo Yong and Soon Woo knew about the existence of Na Young, or the fact that a lot of their cases were solved with the involvement of the supernatural. This was averted around the midpoint of season 2 when Cheo Yong needed to exorcise an evil ghost that has possessed their suspect and was responsible for the murders.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Park Min-jae and Han Tae-Kyung from the first and second seasons respectively. They're even treated as such in-universe. The second season also features appearances by some South Korean boy bands, just for the Fanservice.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jung Ha-yoon from the second season.
  • One-Man Army: Cheo Yong regularly storms into enemy hideouts and take out multiple criminals without backup. often barehanded.
  • Powers via Possession: People possessed by malicious spirits usually get increased speed, endurance, and strength. A spirit who has fully gotten used to a mortal body is pretty much unstoppable. The reason why Cheo Yong is such a badass is because he was trained to physically fight these monsters on top of being gifted with spiritual powers to counter them.
  • Psychic Powers: Na Young start to develop telekinesis as season 2 goes on. It started with her being able to affect things like a normal human and turns onto full blown telekinesis as she learn to affect things at a distance.
  • Red Baron: Cheo Yong was widely known as Crazy Ghost in the police circle do to his off-the-wall theories and actions which all turn out to be correct while still working as an investigator prior to being demoted.
  • Red Herring: There's usually at least one suspicious person per case who, despite all appearances, did not do the crime.
  • Resurrected Murderer: "Memories of Murder" features Chong Nam-ho, a vicious misogynistic Serial Killer who was active in late 90's, who murdered women by snapping their necks, then carved their victim number into the roof of their mouth. Executed by the lead detective following killing a kind hearted care worker, Nam-ho's evil spirit returns two decades later by possessing a hapless camper. Now using his body, Nam-ho carries on his killing spree intending to carry on murdering for all eternity.
  • Say My Name: Inverted with Cheo Yong and Na Yeung. The former usually calls the latter high-schooler while she usually refers to everyone by general terms like uncle, gramps, or hottie. This includes Cheo Yong, and she only uses his full name when she's annoyed at him.
  • The Stoic: Cheo Yong rarely shows expressions other than annoyance, anger, and intrigued, and speaks more to Na Young, the ghost, than to other people.
  • Tomboy: Soon Woo from season 1 is seen as this, being considered as One of the Boys by the rest of the crew. The only moments she's seen more feminine is when Na Young possesses her.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Season 2 Cheo Yong is noticeably nicer than season 1 Cheo Yong, even though he's still The Stoic. This is mostly due to the final events of the first season which allow him to get rid of a lot of his mental baggage.
  • Vengeful Ghost: In both seasons, there were several crimes that are the work of vengeful ghosts, including the Big Bad of Season 1, a former partner of Cheo Yong that seek vengeance against him.