I think I’m starting to learn that if I keep expectations low, I’ll enjoy a series more. Line Walker started last week and even though there wasn’t a really explosive first episode, the rest of the week provided some excitement and a ‘hook’ for the audience to continue watching – provided that you don’t mind the feeling at the back of your mind that you’ve seen it all before.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Following the sudden death of his co-worker and best friend, Chief Inspector of the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CIB) CHEUK HOI (Michael Mui) discovers that they have lost contact with all five of their undercover officers who have been in connection with the deceased. All five of the undercover officers are in possession of highly confidential information concerning the safety of the central figure of the police force and even the whole of society.
Determined to locate the undercover officers’ whereabouts, CHEUK HOI eventually manages to contact one of them, DING SIU-KA (Charmaine Sheh), who is the lady boss of a foot spa. In order to return to her true identity, SIU-KA promises CHEUK HOI to sneak into a gang and deliberately approach SIT KA-KEUNG (Raymond Lam), an active member of an illegal betting syndicate. The two thus develop a seemingly romantic relationship based on lies……
Just when SIU-KA is about to get to the root of the matter, CHEUK HOI suddenly appears to thwart her action. Due to the intervention of an ICAC agent, MOK SIN-YAN (Sharon Chan), CHEUK HOI gets to know her elder sister MOK SIN-CHING (Elena Kong). Meanwhile, gang leader CHUM FOON-HEI (Benz Hui) is released from jail, and his assistant LIN HO-KAN (Sammy Sum) catches the attention of CHEUK HOI because of the way that he deals with things. In addition to the complex identities involving both sides of law, they all claim to be fighting for justice. So, who will eventually be the one to uphold justice?
I don’t know who wrote this synopsis but “…his assistant LIN HO-KAN (Sammy Sum) catches the attention of CHEUK HOI because of the way that he deals with things.” ???? THINGS? LOL. They could’ve mentioned his high IQ or something.
Anyway, I was looking at my site stats earlier in the week (I like to see what search terms people are using to reach this site) and a couple of interesting questions popped up including:
- Who are the 5 undercover cops of Line Walker?
- Is Raymond Lam an undercover cop in Line Walker?
I only know the answer to the second question and it’s not really a spoiler right? If anyone is looking for it, the article I translated a little while earlier has the answer. 🙂
The story so far
- Cheuk Sir (Michael Miu) is the head of CIB tasked with trying to catch an underground criminal betting gang. His colleague and friend dies under mysterious circumstances and the identify of five undercover cops under his direction had been erased. Cheuk Sir is determined to find them.
- From various clues, Cheuk Sir finds Ding Siu Ka (Charmaine Sheh) who is an undercover working at a foot massage parlour. She has three ‘mothers’ who also runs the shop and they have a close relationship. With her quick wits and good observation skills, Ding Jeh (aka Sister Ding as she is known) is able to gather intelligence on criminal activities. She seems to be highly motivated by money, often asking her handlers to pay for expensive meals and payrises etc.
- Sit Ka Keung aka Bau Seed Gor (Raymond Lam) works for an underground betting gang. Not much is actually known about him at the moment except he is a rising star in the gang. For this reason, Cheuk Sir asks Ding Jeh to try to get close to him – first to find evidence of criminal activity and second, to find the other three undercovers.
- In the same criminal organisation, we see Chum Foon Hei (Benz Hui) about to be released from prison. He seemed to have reformed and wanted to spend some peaceful times with his young son. However, we find that he might have other agendas. While in prison, he is befriended by Lin Ho Kan (Sammy Sum), who has a high IQ and went to prison because of insider trading. Although Foon Hei Gor is very guarded and doesn’t easily trust others, he seeks Ho Kan’s help in order re-establish himself in the gang. Through flashbacks, we find that Ho Kan is actually an undercover. His mission is to find the missing $100million (HKD) worth of drugs that the police suspect Foon Hei is hiding. To gain Foon Hei’s trust, Ho Kan had to sacrifice everything, including hints of a previous relationship with ICAC investigator Mok Sin Yan (Sharon Chan).
What I’m liking
Charmaine Sheh. Oh how far we’ve come. I used to hate her and want to throw things when she comes on screen. But that was back in the Return of the Cuckoo / Point of No Return days, when Chilam and her were one of the hottest on screen couples and yet, I couldn’t stand her. (My bias for Chilam had nothing to do with this!!!) But like they say, practice makes perfect and after 10+ years, Charmaine was really missed when she left TVB. I’m glad she returned. Even though Ding Siu Ka is the sort of role she can play in her sleep, having her back in a TVB series gives a lot of incentive to keep watching.
At least the story asks a question and you want to find the answer. Sometimes I wonder if there’re so many undercover cops in one gang, who is actually a real thug? Plus, the undercovers are usually the ones who are willing to do the most risky things so they’re more likely to get noticed. It doesn’t help that even though they’re making Bau Seed Gor to be some ‘hot shot rising star’, he only has like one ‘follower’? You know what I mean? These naggings aside, I want to keep watching to find out. Plus, not much is revealed about Cheuk Sir and Bau Seed Gor as yet. I want to find out more about their background, and with this type of series, there’ll also be a question whether Cheuk Sir has a dark side as well.
Kobe Lin Ho Kan. In contrast to Raymond Lam’s character, Sammy Sum actually got a lot of screentime from episode 3 onwards. He had a whole backstory and it’s intriguing. I want to find out more about him, whether it’s his past relationship with Sharon or why he became an undercover… since he’s a ‘genius’ (He is very knowledgeable in Finance and earnt $6 million HKD in the stockmarket in the space of days), he has the ability to just live off his stockmarket earnings and never ‘work’ again… so why would become an undercover, go to prison and risk his life by getting close to Foon Hei? Maybe a ‘normal life’ is too boring for him. Side note – this was the role that was originally given to Sammy Leung right? But Sammy Sum suits this role so much more. Sammy Leung seems too much like the good guy to me, whilst Sammy Sum just has that ‘edge’ to him. He can play good and bad characters. Let’s see if this series can erase my image of him as LKF USB LOL!
What I’m not so sure about
Raymond Lam as a thug. I’ve been a LF fangirl for a long time but that doesn’t mean I’m going to defend him blindly. I’m actually quite critical of his work in recent years. He’s great in roles where he’s the ‘perfect’ type character (eg. rich, handsome, princely, good guy types) but in darker roles, I feel like I’m watching him act. It’s not coming across naturally. The weird thing is I was rewatching parts of Twin of Brothers (a 2004 series) a few weeks ago and he was convincing as a darker character. Does that mean his acting has regressed? Or my image of him as a person (well, not a thug) is tainting my view of his acting? I don’t know. He hasn’t had a lot of screentime yet but this is nawing at me. It’s the same feeling I got from Highs and Lows.
The same old story. This might not be a problem if you haven’t seen The Academy Trilogy (I think I’ve only seen E.U), Lives of Omission, Highs and Lows, Friendly Fire… it’s either the same ol’ story about undercovers, or you’re looking at 80% of the same cast from another series. We already have a lack of good casts in TVB and all the internal politics is making it worse. It’s not a secret certain producers have their ‘favourites’. So the audience must endure the same group of actors. It’s not just the leads, it includes the supporting casts as well. Like he ones you know the faces of but don’t know their name. How does that help creativity? It doesn’t. All the elements of Line Walker doesn’t seem original. But it does have one thing going for it, that is the lack of an ‘explosive’ selling point. You know how recent TVB series tries to steal the headlines by touching on controversial subjects, eg. rape scenes, girl / girl kiss etc. I haven’t seen this tactic used for Line Walker yet. Well, maybe they think the cast is already strong enough.
Starting the story in the future then do that “Nine Months Earlier” thing. Ohhh this deserves a special mention because I HATE IT. It’s supposed create some tension / suspense / interest in the story but I’m sorry, it’s totally spoilery and annoying especially if it’s done the wrong way. And Line Walker did it the wrong way. The scene turned out to be unintentionally funny.
Raymond Lam not singing the theme or ending songs. Regardless of what people think about his image, his acting or even how he doesn’t deserve those music awards TVB gave him, he’s a good singer. Not great as in having the most powerful voice and dragging out every note ten times the length they’re supposed to be just to ‘showcase’ their great voice (Oh yes, I really don’t care for those singing competition shows because they do that all the time) but whatever he lacks in power, he makes up for it in emotion. So not having that in Line Walker is unfortunate. Actually, I would’ve liked a pure music introduction and a Raymond ending song. <- Yeah, that’s not original I know.
Given that this is only the third TVB series I’ve watched this year, (I’m not sure Black Heart White Soul counts because I only saw eps 19 to 30.) I think there’s enough there so far to make it at least somewhat entertaining. Compared to Ruse of Engagement where I was about to abandon it after the first week (but ended up quite addicted to it later on), Line Walker had a much better start. I want Raymond Lam to prove me wrong! Plus I want to see Sammy’s storyline and of course, find out who are the other undercover officers. Actually, more Michael Miu would be good too.