By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- The hit Netflix military drama series "D.P." is back with its second season, featuring the same main cast along with new additions that expand its focus.
While the first season highlighted the harsh barracks culture, the show now delves into questions of responsibility with actor Son Suk-ku taking center stage in the deepening narrative.
Directed by Han Jun-hee, the show's first six episodes followed the Army's "Deserter Pursuit (D.P.)" team whose mission is to apprehend military deserters. The show gained acclaim for its realistic depiction of the dark side of South Korea's mandatory military service.
While the first season ended with the desertion and suicide attempt of Pvt. Cho Seok-bong, the second season opens with the armed desertion of Pvt. Kim Luri following a shooting spree. Once again, D.P. team members, Ahn Jun-ho (Jung Hae-in) and Han Ho-yeol (Koo Kyo-hwan), join forces to chase Kim.
As the 40-year-old Son reprises the role of Army Capt. Lim Ji-seop, a graduate of the elite military academy, in the second season, the once snobbish officer undergoes the most dramatic change, driven by a sense of responsibility stemming from past incidents.
"Season 1 mostly focused on tragedy arising from the brutal barracks culture and succeeded in resonating with many viewers ... Season 2 deals with a substantial social discourse to ask this question: Who is liable for this tragedy?" Son said in a group media interview at a Seoul cafe on Monday.
In the drama, Lim locks horns with his ex-wife, Lt. Col. Seo Eun (Kim Ji-hyun), while handling Pvt. Kim Luri's case and stands the other side of Brig. Gen. Goo Ja-woon (Ji Jin-hee), the Army's legal officer.
In episode 4, titled "The Charred Remains," Lim visits a guard post located just south of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas to reinvestigate a mine explosion case that left one of his former comrades dead.
Lim interrogates a rebellious Army soldier to get to the bottom of the case and discovers an uncomfortable truth about his former comrade.
"In the episode, there are parts shot like a mysterious horror film. It is both genre-defying and theatrical. It suddenly shifts the story's setting by telling the story from Lim Ji-seob's perspective, which was quite entertaining," he said. "It revolves around one incident seen from completely different perspectives. Being trapped in an unknown and mysterious world creates fear."
One of the defining scenes played by Son is where he makes a compelling statement in front of a jury and the parents of shooting spree victims to counter the Army legal officer's argument that the state bears no responsibility for the tragedy that happened in the barracks.
"They all came to protect the country. While living together, an incident occurred where one of them killed another. But if you say the country bears no responsibility, there is no evidence and it is not a direct cause, then what did they become soldiers for? To protect what?" he asks in the last episode.
Although the drama does not end with a clear answer, Son said it is still worth asking to provoke thoughts about the unchanging absurdity in the military.
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