CN Dramas

Reimagining Justice Bao: Detective Alliance 新神探联盟 initial thoughts

Last night I was planning to write about “Dragon Gate”, but instead I got lazy and started watching this. Detective Alliance / New Justice Bao (新神探联盟) is a reimagining of the iconic Justice Bao – you know, the righteous judge with the dark skin and crescent shaped birthmark on his forehead? I’m not sure what is the official English name of this drama, but hey – did I mention GEORGE HU is in this? Based on the first episode alone, I think I like this more than “Dragon Gate”?

When I was young I watched the 90s version of Justice Bao and rather enjoyed it. The cases were interesting and the ‘golden trio’ of Justice Bao, his secretary/advisor Gongsun Ce and imperial guard Zhan Zhao were memorable characters. This version is so popular, they’re still making it some 20 years later. (with the same actor as Justice Bao!) That’s over 600 episodes! Crazy right?

remember him?
remember him?

Detective Alliance is set in a fiction city (De Cheng) during the Republican era – supposedly. While the locations and props are from that timeframe, there is also something very modern about this drama. De Cheng is a city which has lost its conscience and the crime rate is high. Our main characters work at DBI – where the top crime fighters investigate the most difficult cases. These cases will be the retelling of some of Justice Bao’s most famous cases, the first one being ‘Executing Chen Shi Mei’.

 

We’re first introduced to one of the top inspectors at DBI – Gongsun Ze (Wang Kai), a serious kinda guy who likes to play by the rules.

Assisting him is the inexperienced officer, Zhan Chao (George Hu) who is more brawn than brains. He may have wuxia-like skills hopping across car tops but he isn’t gaining any favours with his new boss since he received many complaints from the citywide damage he has done so far. He’s a bit impulsive and clueless at times which gives George the opportunity to showcase his cheeky side. (I made this gifset even before finishing the first ep because his faces just make me LOL.)

 

Since this is a Justice Bao remake, of course there’s also Bao Zheng (Zhang Duo), an independent judge** newly assigned to DBI to assist with their investigations. Although he comes in with a distinguished record, he isn’t exactly the most likeable guy. The crescent birthmark is missing, but he still has rather dark skin!

**Having grown up in a common law country (and watched a lot of US legal dramas which is also based on a common law legal system), the Justice Bao here is more like a prosecutor. However, as China’s legal system is based on civil law, and in the drama Bao Zheng signs off on search warrants, I’m going to label him as a ‘judge’.

 

Another important member of the crime fighting team is forensic pathologist Hu Xue Li (Zhang Li), an independent woman who also loves Jane Austen.

Using familiar characters and cases can be risky, on the one hand, fans of the earlier dramas might resist the change (Bao Zheng rides a motorcycle!) but it also gives them the opportunity to introduce a classic story to a new audience. I’ve only watched episode 1 so I can’t comment too much on how well they can execute this but there is definitely potential.

 

I am worried about one thing though, Bao Zheng has some rather superior powers of observation and deduction. He was able to deduce the victim’s age, occupation, she is recently married, her extramarital affair just from a few short moments looking at her body. His interpersonal skills are lacking because he’s blunt and not particularly tactful. Sounds familiar?

 

My English language television viewing consists of a lot of crime shows, including Elementary and BBC Sherlock. Bao Zheng here reminds me so much of Sherlock Holmes! I’m not sure that’s how I would’ve imagined Justice Bao to be in a modern day setting.

 

It’s early days I suppose. Detective Alliance had recently started airing in the mornings (not exactly a great timeslot?) but will also air during primetime from 8 August. I need more hours in the day to fit in all these drama watching! With Love Around, Detective Alliance and the upcoming King of Lan Ling, there will be a lot of George Hu on our screens!  (not complaining here!!)

 

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Kappy A
    August 4, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I watched the first two episodes raw a few days ago. ha. George is so cute in this drama. The other two main guys are okay for now. Their bickering might grow on me. heh.

    • Reply
      kat
      August 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      hahaha George seems so adorkable in this drama, I want to watch more of it but might have to wait until I actually finish some of the other dramas on the list first >< The other two guys seem to have some history between them which will be revealed later I guess?

      • Reply
        Kappy A
        August 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        Let’s not talk about how many dramas we’re watching… 😛 Cause that would make us seem crazy…and without a life. XD

        I guess they do have history, judging from their no, me, no, you attitude.

        • Reply
          kat
          August 6, 2013 at 11:17 pm

          lool Are you still watching A Good Wife? I’m two weeks behind now. >< But it would be good to marathon later...

  • Reply
    annedarmawan
    August 5, 2013 at 7:03 am

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  • Reply
    Henry
    October 20, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Where can I watch this with English sub? 🙁

    • Reply
      kat
      October 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      Had a quick look around and couldn’t find anywhere with English subs. 🙁

  • Reply
    jnewin
    November 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Nice review! I heard about this drama from Dramatictealeaves. Nice you’re doing a review on the modern Justice Bao. Justice Bao 1993 with Kenny Ho remains my favorite version.

    • Reply
      kat
      November 18, 2013 at 1:00 am

      Ah yes the 90s Justice Bao were a classic! Haven’t had time to finally start watching this but it’s on my list lol.

  • Reply
    Thao Nguyen (@creidesca)
    May 31, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I believe on cfensi, it’s mentioned this drama is set in an alternate universe Republican Era. Which kinda makes sense if you’ve seen the alternate universe in American tv series Fringe (especially when the other young Peter Bishop was still alive).

    • Reply
      kat
      June 1, 2014 at 12:20 am

      I haven’t seen Fringe, although I don’t mind the ‘alternate era’ thing… the biggest problem I had was really the similarity to Sherlock Holmes. But then I never had time to keep watching, so…

  • Reply
    Rahmah Nerkhan Sanyu
    December 26, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Where can i watch this pls send me a link on my email remmysanyu@gmail.com

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