TV Series: Defected 鐵探 (2019) - Hong Kong / China
Season 1: 45 minutes x 30 episode
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
One of the best police crime thriller TVB series in years, comes “Defected” a joint venture with Tencent Digital China, the series reached peak viewing local figures. It became the first TVB series to be screened internationally by Netflix. With a star studded cast of Kara Wai, Philip Keung, Benjamin Yuen, Sisley Choi, Mat Yeung, Oscar Leung, Grace Wong, Benz Hui and Ben Wong, directors So Man-Chung and Carmen So manages to excel in producing a high quality and tension filled police drama involving conspiracy at the highest level and the issue of power and corruption within. What impresses me the most is the manner the series managed to allow each character to be thoroughly engaging, villains and heroes alike, thus enabling us to feel for the characters and their pending situations. This is a rare series that ignite the former 90s TVB glories in the police crime genre.
Benjamin Yuen finally makes his career best performance as determined Inspector Sheung Sing, a policeman who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy plaguing the high-ranking within the police force. The struggle for power and authority are crucial themes of the series. Kara Wai embroils exactly this type of character with both authoritarian and commanding effect. Wai plays the all-powerful and manipulative Assistant Commissioner Man Hei-wah, providing the key focus of the series for the audience to love and hate. Wai makes her character so mysteriously unpredictable yet convincing, allows a direct access to the lingering minds of the viewers. Likewise Philip Keung continues his good form with a righteous undercover turned fugitive. What makes the series work so well is the rest of the supporting cast, each contributed in a memorable way that is not often seen in recent TVB series.
All in all, “Defected” works best when the series focuses on Kara Wai and her internal struggles of power and authority against all odds and her willingness to knock down all opponents that gets in her way, even if it is her own son. It affirms Lord Action’s famous quote “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Although the ending vision for justice is a-bit unrealistic given the current state of Hong Kong, it serves as a kind reminder of upholding justice, safety and well being of Hong Kong people and the role of the police force in modern society. Stay tune for a sequel in what I believe is one of the best TVB police crime thriller in years.
I rated it 9/10