The Case Solver 拆案 (2020) Head-scratching Cliffhangers

Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of the ending of a number of C dramas especially the shorter ones which are notorious for their cliffhanger endings even when no subsequent seasons are scheduled or forthcoming. It's a marketing ploy undoubtedly but if everyone does the same thing and if there's no set date for a sequel then all this ends up tainting the viewing experience rather than leave audiences wanting more. Some of us are still waiting for the resolution of Detective L's cliffhanger ending which is nowhere in sight. That was far more annoying because we remain clueless about the good guys' prospects of surviving the Big Bad's last ditch attempt to get away. But I'm going to pretend that The Case Solver ends in Episode 24 at around 21:33 with the main character's promotion. The rest of the finale is white noise and irrelevant filler.

It did take me two episodes to warm up to this one and to the male lead. However, somewhere around the halfway mark, I came to like the male lead who is more or less cut according to the Sherlock Holmes mould and started digging around for other productions that actor Jason Gu Jiacheng has been attached to. For an idol actor, I would say he's actually not bad. Gu Yuan, a newly appointed chief detective at the French concession, has a first-class intellect and handily has knowledge of feng shui (geomancy) applicable mostly to the first episode. Gu Yuan's promotion comes to the disappointment of chief aspirant, Kang Yicheng (Su Xiaoding), also the only child of Chamber of Commerce head, Kang Shaoqing. The quick-witted Gu Yuan, is well aware that Yicheng's biggest asset isn't his brains or his brawn but his connections especially when important inquiries have to be made pertaining to active cases. Gu Yuan humours Yicheng by indulging him in a faux rivalry now and again but it doesn't take long for these two essentially good-natured men to become friends.

A series of events purporting to be paranormal mishaps capture the imagination of Shanghai's populace. Gu Yuan is tasked on each occasion to get to the bottom of things. Of course he doesn't believe in ghosts, demons or the living dead. It's a no-brainer from the start that flesh and blood are the real perpetrators behind these seemingly inexplicable phenomenon as he gets embroiled with gangsters, corpse thieves, illusionists, pimps and prostitutes. It is the seedy side of Shanghai under the veneer of respectability. The show often feels like a cross between Psych-Hunter and My Roommate is a Detective although I find the female leads in this much more likeable.

Gu Yuan is also ably supported by the local medical examiner, Che Suwei who eschews the stereotypical typical female lead by being unscreechy, cool-headed, competent and reliable. The show hints that the two might have feelings for each other although the primary romance is between Kang Yicheng and his verbal sparring partner Cao Qingmeng, a reporter also with important family connections. She does her best to whip up public fervour by sensationalizing the criminal misadventures and occasionally she manages to bring vital clues to the table.

Each episode is roughly about half an hour long and each case is solved within 4 episodes. The low budget web drama an easy watch and not a bad way to while away 12 hours if you're a fan of whodunits. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to make comparisons with Scooby-Doo. It falls loosely along similar lines. And it makes the same sorts of gags as well.

And remember to stop the video at 21:33 towards the end of the last episode.