Vampire Prosecutor (2011)
The South Korean miniseries Vampire Prosecutor is about exactly that, a vampire who also serves as a prosecutor. Before you dismiss the series out of hand, remember that the premise of the show is no more ridiculous than one, say, about a vampire detective working in sunny LA or a 700 year old vampire working as a cop in Toronto. The show is a bit like someone threw Forever Knight, Dexter, and CSI into a blender and hit frappe. Prosecutor Min Tae Yeon is turned into a vampire by a mysterious cloaked vampire after a car accident. Rather than feed on the blood of the living, Min consumes the blood of the dead and uses his vampire abilities to help solve their murders. While Min works to get justice for the dead, he also tries to figure out the many mysteries surrounding his own existence from the unsolved murder of his little sister to the strange man who willed Min his house.
Unlike other vampire shows, Min is a young vampire, only 7 years turned and knows no other vampires. While his vampirism gives him several advantages including super strength and quick healing, he doesn’t have many of the normal vampire liabilities. While he can’t eat food and must consume blood, he can walk about in the sunlight, be photographed, and appear in mirrors. An unnamed club owner, a former doctor, keeps Min supplied with small amounts of fresh blood, which Min casually drinks unassumingly from a wine glass.
The episodes are self contained, much like CSI, and filled with science-y montages of the team hard at work figuring out who the killer is. In reality, the team mainly works to find evidence to corroborate what Min already knows from his vampiric powers, which include some sort of special vampiric blood spatter analysis and the ability to see through the victim’s eyes his or her last moments of life. Lee Won Jong as Hwang Soon Bum, a cop who knows Min’s secret, serves as comic relief much like Schanke in Forever Knight. He’s endearingly ridiculous, but fiercely loyal to Min. Kim Eung Soo as the naive but determined young Procesutor Yoo Won Kook is a predictable muted love interest for Min.
The cases themselves, while they often involve lots of surprising reveals, often strain credulity in order to keep the audience guessing. Still, you’re watching Vampire Prosecutor, not Law and Order. American audience members might have trouble with how the show slides quickly from wacky comedy (like Bum’s strange penchant for lecturing his informants while atop a plastic kiddie slide in the park) to gritty crime procedural as well as some of the differences between the American and the Korean legal system. Still, Yun Jung Hoon as the androgynous Min is absolutely hypnotic. His performance alone is worth watching and reminded me of Aidan Turner’s nuanced performance as Mitchell in the BBC original series Being Human. Fans of Korean cinema will enjoy the celebrity cameos from actresses like Jang Young Nam. Despite its weaknesses, this miniseries, which is only 12 episodes long, is gripping and entertaining.