It's always a pleasure to find a drama where the leads are intelligent people and that's including the 2ML who has his own agenda. For me, this is the sort of detective drama that when done well surpasses everything else that come out of Cdrama land. The potential is there for that to happen but a lot rests on the writing which is so far pretty good. That said, I didn't think that the Ran Yan character really needed to be that impertinent towards Xiao Song right from Day 1 but it is one of those tropes that seems par for the course especially the show is determined to have the leads at odds in this early phase.
Xiao Song's strategy of course is to toy with her as would befit someone of his foresight and shrewdness as well as an innate self-confidence that comes from being certain of his abilities. Clearly he is a good judge of people and talent among his myriad of skills. On top of that he is rather open-minded for his time, engaging a feisty woman to be his personal forensic pathologists because he knows her skills are extraordinary. His nickname for her is on point: hu li... she can sniff out the details and from what I gather, foxes grip their prey with their canines until they're dead or disemboweled. He seldom takes offence at her outbursts (I imagine it's because he's generally in a superior bargaining position but also he's amused by her antics) and her bark is usually worse than her bite. He's the kind of male character that I relish watching. Not overly garrulous, not overly aloof but sharp and somewhat mischievous. While he toys with the FL, he doesn't feel the need to denigrate her. And that... I really really like. Plus his logical and pragmatic side also seems to override any egotistical tendencies which I also find very attractive. Her nickname for him is Xiao Ren Yu... Fishman Xiao or Merman Xiao because they have a meet cute in a steaming hot bath. All that to say is that her first impression of him is not a joyous one.
Unlike what she thinks initially, he isn't a heartless man even if he pushes her buttons to micro manage her recalcitrance. Her prejudice clouds her judgment somewhat but that gradually softens over time when she realises that he's not just a big shot official throwing his weight around. She's a good partner-in-crime for him not just to cover the forensic pathology side of things but as they deliberate over the cases. Like a Watson to his Holmes.
Ran Yan's relationship with Su Fu, the 2ML is surprisingly less cliche. He has been set up to be a possible contender in that it is possible she could ride off with him at the end except for the fact that he's involved in some deep dark plot against the throne. He is a sword-carrying, walking bag of angst and, on some level he really does care about her.
Whether he cares enough to abandon his role in the conspiracy that he's a part of, that remains to be seen. But she is crushing on him at this point so he does seem to be the frontrunner in this love triangle. At the very least she is responding to his gentle nature although his overt threats to kill her doesn't seem to be an impediment to them forming an attachment.
That said, I can't see why Xiao Song can't be with Ran Yan at the finishing line even if he's handicapped by the fact that Ran Yan is already betrothed to Su Fu and that he's been very "unlucky" with marriage... being twice widowered already. The resolution of all that will be interesting to watch.
As she notes, it might not be anything to do with how his stars are aligned but that might be an explanation much closer to home. That is a telling statement and perhaps there's an avenue that will be explored down the track in the context of the investigations. It's evident that he cares about her beyond the bounds of business and work. The hu li nickname is becoming increasingly a term of endearment especially now that he's given her a jade fox to commemorate their successful working relationship.
I also like the inclusion of the scholar character as a member of the team. A little bit on the timid side but has a useful skill set as well. Apparently he has picturing ability which should come in handy again.
The cases are nicely constructed and deconstructed by our detectives. This is the sort of thing I wanted more of in Under the Power. They are complex enough to be intriguing but not overly convoluted that they're dragged out unreasonably. The template is something I'm happy to buy into. Individual cases with an overarching storyline that functions separately. Any of that could change of course... but seeing that it's a 36 episode drama, I'm fairly confident we won't be bogged down by too many non-criminal related subplots.