Also known as The Legendary Police Woman, Damo is a police action drama set in the Joseon Dynasty with Ha Ji Won as the female protagonist.
At a young age, slave girl Chae Ok (Ha Ji Won) is separated from her older brother and taken in by the family of Hwangbo Yoon (Lee Seo Jin). Alongside her childhood friend she trains in sword fighting and martial arts, eventually joining him as a police officer when he manages to become the Commander of the Left Police Bureau.
Class differences prevent Chae Ok and Yoon from admitting their long term feelings for each other and things become more complicated when they are called to investigate a counterfeiting ring. Chae Ok must arrest rebel leader Jang Sung Baek (Kim Mun Joon) but because of Sung Baek’s views against the unjust Joseon social system, Chae Ok finds herself at crossroads.
* The main score of Damo is much like Chuno. Powerful, dramatic and able to tap into many emotions. A mix of sad, peaceful and romantic. A few people have said the “pop” songs in the soundtrack do not suit a period drama but in the case of this series it works well. Take note of the tracks Song Of Devotion and A Song Of Sorrow.
* Ha Ji Won makes Chae Ok flawed and imperfect. She is not a super woman with perfect martial arts skills and an outstanding beauty to die for. Nor is she endearingly ditzy. Chae Ok is a justice-seeker and aggressive when she has to be, but also kind-hearted where necessary.
* Hwangbo Yoon and Jang Sung Baek – both brilliant characters who strive for a similar goal but have different ways of approaching it. Definitely not good guy hero types and definitely not villains.
* Damo uses lots of flashbacks and it works when you want to learn about the past of Chae Ok, Yoon and Sung Baek. You find out a lot of things about the characters.
* The so-called romantic scenes are not fluffy but are incredibly subtle. Even when there are no obvious “I love you’s” being exchanged, just simple looks or hand gestures are enough to keep you focused. Add the music to that and it makes the scene fill with angst and forbidden territory.
* The fight scenes are entertaining to watch (there’s a sword duel that takes place in the trees. Sounds very Crouching Tiger when I write that).
* You will find lots of minor characters who bring out the lighter side of Damo, lessening the seriousness coming from the main cast.
* Aside from it being a potential tearjerker and depressing…I can’t say anything else. I think this might be the first K-drama to do that to me.
Overall: It’s been five years since I watched Damo and up till now it still leaves a very strong feeling in my mind. As a
failed struggling fiction writer (and former fanfic writer), Damo is the story I longed to write about but could not accomplish with great success.
It has the characters I wanted to create. Chae Ok is my kind of heroine and Hwangbo Yoon is my kind of “Oppa”…as is Jang Sung Baek. The series hooked me from the first episode and I found myself determined to watch the next episode as soon as possible rather than leave it hanging for a long period. If you want amazing sword fights, stunning cinematography, incredible score and genuinely flawed characters who are on the lines of anti-heroes, I recommend Damo.
**I didn’t even know until recently that this was based on a Manhwa. Now I’m keen to read that if I see any scanlations.**