Eddie Cheung, Hong Kong Entertainment, Jessica Hsuan, Kenneth Ma, Michael Miu

Line Walker: The Prelude

This, obviously, was a prequel to the previous installment, Line Walker. How was it? Mixed feelings actually because it was hard to get used to the additional cast somewhat. It was also because of some tangent plots that got me annoyed, which I will explain later. Other than that, it was decent, I guess.

Main Cast:

  • Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (卓凱). Continuing to show solid acting from the first season, he allowed us to travel into his past along with the other characters. We got to see how his past journey had shaped him to become so cautious and so protective of his undercover agents as he did in the present time. He showed great restraint in some situations versus others. Did he lose his patience? Yes, he did. Did he feel lost at times? Yes, that had happened. Yet thanks to some of his fellow colleagues and good friends, he managed to get past that and continue on with his mission. He also made mistakes, which led to a rift in relationships and trust issues–as it did with Tin Tong’s situation. However, he proceeded to try and fix it and proved himself again. Because he was able to relate to their own struggles as undercover agents.
  • Jessica Hsuan as Sze Ka Lei (施嘉莉) / Scarlett. I felt Jessica should have received better challenges in her old days with TVB than just portraying her typical characters. This was one of her more memorable performances. I watched the majority of Jessica’s series already but had given up over the past few years. I think the last time I was impressed with her was in Gun Metal Grey because she was so lively and natural without looking like she was uncomfortable–although some people disliked her in there. It was different. The talk she had with Cheuk Sir in episode 14 was important because it defined her character and humanized her more. Although some of the past scenes already highlighted her capabilities, those were professionally and related to the crime operating business. The part where she told Cheuk Sir about her past assignment showed a small window into her past, and what her journey was like before arriving at the current point. She already showed us the wise and level-headed side of her. Not to mention her well-planned schemes. We finally got to see her vulnerable side and learned more about her background. I liked her throughout because of her struggles at times and her determination–regardless of which side she was on. I thought she–out of all the characters–had the right to doubt the authorities in general and on such a grand scale. It was like many of the undercover agents who had doubted their superiors and the purpose of the whole operation, even harming those who tried to protect them. On the grand scale, they hurt more people because of their greed, but sometimes, there was always a question, just like how it was addressed in season 1 with some of the characters who had gotten too attached with some of the gang members. However, I found it disturbing to the max that she chose to return to Victor’s side near the end. Of course, they didn’t succeed with their schemes. Yet I was still disturbed. Because she turned into a typical character who would follow some guy who would do anything for her. Didn’t she see how scary he was? Sure, he did everything for her, but did she forget that he manipulated her to stay by his side? Like she was there with the chip planted in her and she wasn’t sure if she was going to survive. He let her live in that fear. Not to mention the downside of how if she were to oppose, she would face a consequence worse than death. So, yes, I was really disappointed in that change. It downplayed her character in the final moment that the show was going down. I didn’t expect her to end up with Cheur Sir since that was impossible and unrealistic. But I expected her ending was how she rode off into the horizon and gotten away with everything. In fact, it should end up with how she was finally able to be free of everything and headed toward her final destination to find peace at last. Cheuk Sir was willing to turn a blind eye to that part because he sympathized with her past. So, making her return to Victor’s side sort of set her character up for destruction. I understand that it was probably her blind spot, but it didn’t make sense or it just seemed like a typical way to wrap up the plot. What would have been an even more awesome move though? She could have returned in the third season to aid Cheuk Sir with some side mission or as a contact or an anonymous tip. She didn’t have to be a key character to hog the scene like some people, but that could have been an interesting turn.
  • Moses Chan as Ngai Tak Shun (魏德信) / Victor. Someone give him a comb, please. Mean, but seriously, I was getting annoyed by it. It wasn’t like it was messy but the style made it look that way. I think I wasn’t impressed with this role as I was supposed to be. The most impressive part or the one that I got the chills for was actually the part where he passive-aggressively tried to dethrone his father with that speech shortly before announcing his father’s retirement. It was really chilling. Even more chilling than when he took down the others. The legit fear his father had for him said it all too. The whole scene was memorable in that it let us know how creepy he was. Aside from that, he wasn’t the least bit impressive to me. So what if he was ruthless and acted like he owned Hong Kong? Chum Foon Hei was even scarier because he was good at playing long games. Look who turned up on top, right? Moses miscalculated IF he had ever thought of stealing the show by being in this installment. I don’t want to blame him because everyone has bills to pay and TVB’s decisions are always tricky. So I don’t know all those inside plans OR whatever. But he couldn’t really shine for me in here. It was interesting to see another character, but he wasn’t what made this series for me. 
  • Benz Hui as Chum Foon Hei (潭關喜). It was already revealed in the movie (which didn’t have much to do with the first season and wasn’t really worth it if you didn’t watch) that he was an undercover agent already. However, this one extended to his back story even more and how he ended up going rogue. I mean, can you even blame him? It was like survival of the fittest out there. His cowardly handler didn’t make it easier for him. Although the guy did redeem himself and aided his escape, the damage was already done. Not to mention he wanted to survive under Victor’s empire, he had to go to the extreme. His revenge schemes were hurting lots of others as well. However, I didn’t really blame him for what happened. Sure, he manipulated people and got what he wanted. It wasn’t news. Yet between him and Ngai, I was rooting for him all the way. It was obvious who won because this was a prequel and we already knew he even survived with the other one, so why not, right?
  • Pakho Chau as Lok Siu Fung (樂少鋒). I liked him from the start yet felt a bit shame that he was from the supposed “bad” side. But soon learned he was an undercover cop, so I was reassured. I liked the development for him with being around the gang and Pak-key for so long that he developed an attachment to them. However, the grand twist of his true identity made everything even more intriguing. Like it stopped becoming a typical formula of the show with how they were either undercover or cop turned bad. YET this one sort of pushed us into thinking other possibilities again. I suspected that the timeline didn’t fit and thought the scriptwriters made a mistake when it was described that he somewhat grew up in the gang and had followed Pak-key a long time already. However, it was explained later that his brother was the actual undercover agent. That made more sense. What made his character for me was his complex relationship with various characters in here–whether it was romance, friendships, or some sense of loyalty toward. He vowed to avenge his brother and Pak-key’s deaths. He was able to carry out both in some ways. Even if he’d gone to the max with his method but it was in some sense understandable. At first, he was also hostile toward Chum Foon Hei but later also became loyal to him–or somewhat developed a bond with him. It was really unimaginable after how he saw Chum fled and saved his own skin after Pak-key’d gone down. But over time, they reached an understanding with many complex actors coming into play. Not to mention the similarities between their characters. I think Chum mentioned it at one point as well–with them being undercover agents and then becoming rogue. However, the twist was Lok wasn’t an undercover agent at all. He was just posing as one and also wanted to avenge his brother’s death. They also managed to cheat death, so yeah.
  • Priscilla Wong as Cheng Shuk Mui (鄭淑梅). I initially didn’t like her because I thought she was so awkward around Michael’s character, thinking she was uncomfortable with interacting with him. As the series progressed and I understood her character more, I felt it wasn’t like that. I was glad I stuck around. Her suggestion with creating their own codes to Lok Siu Fong was really smart because she said even Scarlett knew their CIB codes. Not telling Cheuk Sir was a good idea too. She had alternative motives, but in a way, it did help in the future. Perhaps, it was like what Cheuk Sir said, the reason Lai Sir picked her was because of her innocent nature and her vulnerability. Her genuine nature had made her an asset to them, making it easier for her to gain trust from people. Not to mention her determination to continue on and beat all odds, not giving up when she ran into an obstacle, like how Cheuk Sir had pushed her limits at the beginning with those training sessions and small tasks.
  • Benjamin Yuen as Tsui Tin Tong (徐天堂). I liked him at first because I felt his character was intriguing. Then I felt he was a typical villain character. Like the cunning type YET he sort of grew on me and I tried to get past that since it was hard to hate him with all the comedic scenes that he had. Then the truth came out with him being another undercover agent and it made sense with how he tried so hard to act like some money-grubbing asshole throughout just to gain trust. Although his comedic acts were fun to watch, I thought his best scenes were with Lok and not Ah Mui. Because it showed his constant struggle of keeping a level head and also to focus on his goals. Despite knowing his actions weren’t going to be rewarded or anything. His friendship with Lok and the struggle with helping Lok or not made it even sadder. Because it was another decision that they had to face. He had his struggles with trusting others and somehow learned to do so with Lai Sir again. Yet was disappointed when confronted by Cheuk Sir and Ah Mui. After proving themselves to be the real deal, he learned to trust them once again.

Supporting Cast:

  • Vincent Lam as Chai Fing (猜 Fing). How could I have forgotten to talk about him in the first installment? He was a very interesting character from the start. I was glad to learn more about him in his installment and how he followed Chum Foon Hei since then. We all knew how he died tragically fighting off those rivals and allowing for the others to run in the first season so he won’t return in the third season–unless he had a twin, lol. His loyalty to Chum was shown throughout and he proved it time after time. No wonder Chum trusted him so much after all these years.
  • Nathan Ngai as Ben Sir (朱志彬). I initially really liked him. Maybe it was because of my biases toward him being Cheuk Sir’s apprentice. His intelligence and his righteousness was his shining point. However, those were also what fused his ambition and ego. Sure, having ambition wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Yet his perfectionism and his ego got in the way, which finally led to his downfall. It seemed like he couldn’t be manipulated to cave. However, the other gang proved their capabilities by being able to twist things and find people’s weaknesses to get their way. I felt disappointed in Ben though, because of how he wasn’t able to let go. He was one of those supposed heroes who was only good for being a shell because he liked to look good on paper but failed the test when it actually mattered. Good acting from Nathan though. Especially, during the scene where he came back and had the memorial ceremony for Cherry. YES, I thought the actor brought out his emotions well, however, I couldn’t sympathize with the character at all. He chose.
  • Louisa Mak as Yeung Wing (楊詠) / Cherry. She was actually my favorite character in here in regard to the female population. Yes, I hate to compare, but she was the favorite one among the female characters, so it was really tragic and sad to see her death. She seriously was very likable from the start. It was to the point that I feared she might be another agent from the other side. It was a surprise reveal that she was also one of Lai Sir’s undercover agents. She was very smart and cautious. Too bad she trusted the wrong person, which led to her inevitable demise.

Others:

  • Eddie Cheung as Lai Sir (黎瑞權). I was surprised to see him in here. However, I enjoyed his brief appearance. He delivered flawlessly and I got a little teary-eyed when he died. I swear, I knew it was coming. It was basically a copycat version of how Hong Sir died in the first season but because of his performance, I got sucked in. I know these events were years before, but since this was written after, I couldn’t help but think they just somehow changed some details and location and that was it. Regardless, we still got to see a very wise Lai Sir at times before he exited the show.
  • Jimmy Au as Hong To Hang (康道行). I was soooo sad to see him killed off so shortly in the first one, but that was part of the setup for the whole chase in the first season. So, of course, I was glad that he was in the prequel, trying to see him in action versus having characters talk about him at various points like in the other one. It wasn’t exaggerating to say that it was one of his better roles and worth mentioning roles of recent years as well. He appeared sometimes in here but wasn’t the main focus because of the way the story was crafted, which made sense. We could see the bond between him and Cheuk Sir as they met up at times to talk and gave one another advice. It was revealed that he was gathering up the team for their next assignment at the end of the series, which unleashed the chain of the events of the happenings in season 1. He wanted to consult Cheuk Sir about the members that he picked. However, Cheuk Sir didn’t look. He wanted to go out first. That topic was obviously delayed once again and obviously never addressed until Cheuk Sir finally had to seek out the actual team members as seen in season 1. Couldn’t blame Cheuk Sir too much–after all the stuff that went on during this installment. Cheuk Sir needed a break and some fun, and he also trusted Hong Sir to choose his own team members, so it was never talked about again.
  • Kenny Wong as Pak-key (鄭弼奇). For the first time ever, I actually liked his character and performance. I meant he’d been shoved into our faces for so long with various projects and the same cast that I got tired of watching him and eventually wanted to avoid everything he was in. I was actually kind of unsure about this one too, wondering if he was going to hog the camera thus ending up minimizing other characters. However, this character was really intriguing and a mix of depth within the character itself. It was like it wasn’t supposed to copy any past characters on purpose. His performance was actually quite more genuine than some past ones. I think TVB shoving him in series after series might have overworked him thus not solid performance at times. Yet I was actually sad when he wasn’t around anymore in this one. Strange, lol.
  • Alice Chan as Yao San San (姚姍姍). Chum Foon Hei’s wife. In the movie, she was portrayed by someone else and also was killed by someone else. However, once again, ignore the movie if you watched it. Because the movie followed its own timeline somewhat and made a big mess of the overall plot. So, for once, I forgive TVB for being inconsistent in that area. Anyway, she sure was an interesting character and fought bravely till the end. It was too bad her husband couldn’t tell her that he was actually a cop all along. Her death also fused his anger even more and caused him to go rogue with his revenge schemes. However little she appeared though, she had a great impact on the overall storyline, especially that of how Chum came to switching sides and eventually was just looking out for number one.
  • Tony Hung as Wong Wing Cheong (王永翔). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. He was very charming and likable. It was too bad that he didn’t get to stick around for the later scenes. It made sense with the plot and how Cheuk Sir was even more cautious of his decisions and actions later on, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating.
  • Stephanie Ho as Sparrows (雀雀). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. She was another interesting character that I would have loved to learn more about if the plot had allowed for that.
  • Koo Ming Wah as Tomato (蕃茄). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. It has been a while since I’ve seen him portraying somewhere near an interesting character. To bad.
  • Shiga Lin as Cheung Yuk Luen (張玉瑄) / Birdy. An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. Yet another interesting character that could have been developed into much more. Once again, too bad.
  • Yeung Chiu Hoi as Tam Siu Lung (譚兆龍)/ Raptor. Assumed to be dead along with the rest of the undercover agents in Thailand. It was later revealed that he was the mole. He arranged the explosion and escaped. After he returned, he was chased down many times. Then he went and worked for Victor. Too bad he assumed that he would be spared by double-crossing Victor.
  • Karen Lee as Leung Si Man (梁斯敏). She was another undercover agent under Lai Sir before he passed away. She was so deep undercover that she gained trust from several parties within the triads/organizations. Also, she had terminal liver cancer. Um, recurring theme? The other one, Kobe died too. Tenfold more dramatic and tragic. But seriously? What gameplay were they doing? Seriously, she was a mixture of Kobe and Bao Seed because Bao Seed got so frustrated near the end that he didn’t care what extreme he went through to seek justice. He was frustrated that innocent people were dying and bad dudes kept living in such luxuries and getting away scot-free. So, yes, in a way, we could understand Si Man’s approach–even if we didn’t agree–because we were able to connect them to Bao Seed’s actions previously. Good performance from her though, because I’ve seen her in really sweet roles before and believed she couldn’t harm anyone, lol. This one, she exuded the creepy and mysterious aura quite well. It wasn’t until she finally revealed her identity to Cheuk Sir and explained the situation that we saw her vulnerability.
  • Gill Mohindepaul Singh as Yu Lok Sing (佘樂成). He was hilarious. He had some talents with the other two but were oddities among the cops hence being tossed out. He became a valuable connection while Cheuk Sir needed backup.
  • Kandy Wong as Law Siu Sze (羅小絲). She was equally hilarious as the other two recruits. She sure had some wit. It was funny to see her tossing it right back to the other two when they tried to pick on her height.
  • Penny Chan as Lee Man Hung (李文雄). The third of the recruits and was as valuable to Cheuk Sir when needed.
  • Kenneth Ma as Ngai Tak Lai (魏德禮) / Klein. I was rolling my eyes when he appeared. I meant I was sick and tired of the Ngai empire and their neverending dramas. Yet I changed my mind later when he appeared in the present time. So, I will stop here for now and save it for that review.

Relationships/ Friendships/ Romances, etc

  • Michael and Jessica. Like I said in the other review, I actually quite liked them in Gun Metal Grey yet just didn’t like the dragged-out story. So I was quite intrigued to watch how their story went in here. Obviously, we knew from the first season as a guide, they wouldn’t work out regardless and they weren’t the endgame. However, it was still one of the storylines I was looking forward to seeing their scenes more than some others in here. They were always friends more than anything else. As much as Cheuk Sir was able to share without compromising his identity and his fellow undercover agents, he gave her a lot of helpful advice yet didn’t force her to choose. His character seemed consistent for the most part with how he came to be in the other installment. I found it troubling at times that he wasn’t so to the book when dealing with her at various points and knew that it was his personal biases that had affected his decision as well. However, I treated it as that he sympathized with her and really wanted to give her a chance to run if she pulled out of the whole operation in time. However, she returned and deterred his goal in arresting Ngai, so she gave him no choice.
  • Moses and Jessica. I’m not even sure if they’d ever paired up before since I didn’t watch all of TVB’s recent series. However, I didn’t feel their chemistry like with their other pairings. Despite all the set up of touching moments for them during various scenes. I also tried to push aside their characters as being villains or in-between characters throughout but didn’t feel so strongly for them either. That was seriously bad, lol. Because their story worked out well for one another. They had the same mentality and seemed to operate on the same wavelength. They both had the intelligence and wit alongside one another. However, Moses and Jessica didn’t give me the couple vibe that I waited so long–even till the end of the series. Also, Jessica’s character was tenfold more interesting than Moses’s because she had many layers. Moses’ character had the same vibe throughout aka kill regardless of consequences and only the result mattered. It was homicidal and maniacal. Nothing special. Yes, that seemed harsh, but seriously, he was a disappointing villain because he fitted into a typical villain mold like some of the past dramas or stories had gone with when approaching the formula of how to present their villain to us. That was why I said in the section above that Moses wasn’t going to steal the show anytime soon. The spot still belonged to Benz’s Chum Foon Hei through and through. Like I said before, Chum was playing the long game. Ngai just wanted to defeat his opponents quickly and easily and through the cruelest methods. He wasn’t going to last if the story had stretched out even more. His underestimating of his enemies was also his downfall. So, aside from comparing Moses and Jessica’s characters and lack of chemistry, lol, I didn’t have much else to go on with them.
  • Michael and Benz. I actually wanted to put this in the other review but I decided to save it for this review instead. There were several overlaps here and there so yeah. I noticed their interactions and constant face-offs reminded me of their last memorable collaboration in The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung 1984. In fact, each time they appeared together, everyone was seeing the actual scene playing out, but I was seeing another image alongside the actual scene during their Chor Lau Heung confrontations all over again, lol. Their interactions once again made it one of the highlights of the show as far as the Line Walker installments went. It was the side talks that made me felt somewhat amused. The best scenes in the series were actually their confrontation scenes and the chess games they played with one another. They both made very good points during their various face-offs throughout. I have to agree with Chum Foon Hei when he said prison can’t stop someone like Ngai Tak Shun. But Cheuk Sir wasn’t wrong either when he said so many innocent lives have been lost because of the war between both sides, and because Chum wanted his revenge.
  • Michael and Eddie. I don’t remember anymore when was their last collaboration in the old days. However, I really enjoyed their interactions in here immensely and felt that their talks at the beginning were probably one of the hallmarks of the show. Lai Sir was indeed very wise and had a strong impact on Cheuk Sir’s perspectives and principles also.
  • Michael and Jimmy. Also, one of the best interactions in here. Like said before, their scenes were a little more developed. We got to see their friendships and how genuine it was, just like how Cheuk Sir and Lai Sir were. Two completely different types of friendships but in some ways, they influenced one another from time to time.
  • Pakho and Priscilla. They were all right, I guess. I didn’t feel as strongly for them as some couples out there. But considering how they were in such a complicated situation, it was hard to put that aside. Their only date was possibly the time before he said goodbye. It was indeed a relationship meant to fail.
  • Benjamin and Priscilla. It was obvious that Tin Tong liked Ah Mui, but they were friends for the most part. There were many funny scenes between them at first. I actually enjoyed them since they were somewhat comedic within all the hectic stories developing at the same time. However, it was ruined by her mother’s storyline. The confrontation between them after Lok’s death reminded me of how Bao Seed and Ding Jie argued in the other one, asking why he wasn’t there to save the day. However, I didn’t feel as strongly about it versus the scene where Tin Tong and Cheuk Sir were on the roof talking about Lok’s death. It was very touching and expressed all their emotions well.
  • Pakho and Benjamin. I mentioned above how I felt stronger with their bond than them with Ah Mui and my opinion remained unchanged until the rest of the story unfolded. They didn’t have many things in common at first and even had quite a strong misunderstanding regarding Pak-key’s death. What they were able to bond over was their common mentality with being undercover agents. Even if Lok wasn’t really an undercover agent but he’d been in the gang for so long that he understood too well of its operations and the harsh reality of it all. That was also why the two came to make the pact.
  • Nathan and Louisa. Every series has a model couple. I think Cherry and Ben were it for this one. However, they were ruined because of what happened in the story. I was screaming mad when I realized he was turning bad. Yet it was turning into a whole new level of tragedy. Yeah, it fitted in with showing us how one caved to temptation or when faced with obstacles, how they would react. However, it still sucked. I thought they might be untouchable. But looking back at how the scriptwriters completely killed Kobe in the other one and let Yan suffered during the last few episodes, it was on par with it. This one wasn’t less frustrating, but it was actually making more sense because they were all trying to complete their missions? Kobe? How random was that? Killing him off with a disease so unrelated to the case as an overall? Sure, people die from diseases all the time. But it seemed off course and way off base for going that way while the series was reaching its peak in the other one. Anyway, back to this one. I think we were all heartbroken along with Cherry. I mean, it was frustrating and beyond cruel of that scumbag’s actions. (Yes, that’s what I’m calling him now.) However, I think she didn’t see it coming either. I think there was a teeny-tiny part of me that wanted him to reconsider or have some kind of wake-up moment where he realized he had to turn back for her sake. YET he chose himself. He chose self-preservation in the end. It was expected. But weren’t we like a little bit hopeful it was otherwise? At least we liked to lie to ourselves, thinking that love might save him? Well, it was love, but his love for himself over anything. But I think I could say I completely disagree that the scumbag was still a good cop. He totally looked out for his own ass. How could anyone say that? Unless you would have to say all cops are equally the same as in they always look out for their own ass, then yes, he was good at that.
  • Cheuk Sir’s Thailand undercover agents vs Lai Sir’s undercover agents. Once again, I apologize for pitting them against one another. However, I felt more intrigued with the Thailand team more. They gave us some hints here and there and had them introduced. We were already invested in their characters and wanted to know more. Yet bam! They were gone. Well, boom, actually. But still. The least interesting person had to survive. Sure, that was the point of the plot and it was revealed he was the traitor. But still. I liked the characters who became the main focus of the rest of the plot as well or came to like them. However, I felt less intrigued because of their similarities to the characters in season 1.

Dislikes:

  • Quotes. Were they necessary? It reminded me of When Heaven Burns so much and later of Master of Play. Having Moses in all three didn’t help the situation, lol. I learned some new and deep quotes through them. But I sometimes questioned it. Because it sort of veered off course from Season 1. I usually like deep stuff and discussions made but felt this one sort of didn’t fit in that aspect. Sure, they still talked about some of the themes addressed in the quotes in the previous season and this season as well. But I felt it was sort of off.
  • Forgiving family because they’re family aka blood-relations. Enough with the BS about forgiving your mother because she’s your mother. In fact, enough with the BS about just because they’re family, you can’t cut them off. I know Tin Tong meant well when he tried to cheer Ah Mui up at the karaoke place. YET I’m sick and tired of the message about family and forced getting along OR brushing everything under the rug in the name of family. Just because those people give life to you that you have to take all the crap? If you looked at it, Ah Mui didn’t have a choice to be born either, SO why brought upon her all those miseries? Pathetic to think everyone could get away with it in the name of family. Although it gave Ah Mui some background story, I’m sick and tired of family dramas regarding gambling and all. I know it happened and is still going on in society in general. But this is a cop drama and finding the mole, etc. Just focus on that. They have other series where they could focus on those. And saying that having parents is better than none doesn’t justify their actions. NO one asked for their tragedies in life. BUT you can’t push your views on others just because you wanted parents OR whatever.  And unconditional love works both ways too if anyone wants to advocate for it. Because Ah Mui was ONLY useful to her mom because she worked at a financial company. But she was dead weight when she wasn’t making any money. OR at least wasn’t well off. It’s beyond pathetic to play the pitiful card throughout and guilt trip others into thinking that as long as they’re fragile and weak, etc at that age because they’re NO longer able to being abusive that you’re supposed to cave in. How come parents never have to be responsible for their actions? Or like face consequences for their actions? Just because they play the parent card? The amount of money Ah Mui gave her was already enough for expenses YET she still dared to gamble? Greed knows no bounds. Even if they want to play the angle she had addiction issues, at least make it that she gets help OR whatever. Stop trying to make it into major guilt trips just because she’s playing the parent card. It’s frustrating to no end to drag out that plotline. So what it was because her husband died AND she was wallowing in gambling to forget? It’s a pathetic excuse. I have enough and mean MORE THAN enough of the endless excuses that abusive parents get away with. It’s pathetic to make Ah Mui the one feeling guilty. So she didn’t stay in contact. But what was one supposed to do when one felt so unloved and unwanted? To keep staying in an abusive relationship? Or keep in touch just because? Always the wrong message regardless of time or situation. The pathetic act isn’t convincing anyone except for those sooooo deep in the Stockholm syndrome that they couldn’t pull out. What was supposed to be paved as a touching scene or whatever was intended to be that was really pathetic and beyond outrage that I just want to forward it so I could watch more relevant details to the plot. Again, Tin Tong meant well because his mother passed away when he was young. However, it wasn’t his call to say whatever or tried to pull them together. Again, the scriptwriters forced it that way. But it was seriously pathetic and infuriating.

Discussions:

  • The gray areas of life. The struggles between carrying out your duty as a cop and betraying someone who had your back actually was addressed more strongly in this one. The struggle continued with wondering if what you were doing was right. In the first season, other themes were also addressed, but the majority of them agreed that the bad person must be brought in. In this one, the gray areas just seeped all over, not knowing what to do when you were too close to everything. Like how Scarlett had said about busting the druglord in Thailand. He told her to run because she was innocent, despite knowing the rest would be killed, etc. Or how Lok was so loyal to Pak-key. Technically, Lok wasn’t the undercover cop sent in, but he still witnessed those within the gang looking out for him, especially Pak-key. The gray areas brought forth, becoming a mess even if they knew what their duties were supposed to be. Chum Foon Hei was also a gray character because there were many reasons he was driven to the end. His handler was an asshole, except near the end of his life when he finally covered for Chum to run to his wife. So many things to consider.

Recommended? I thought this installment was all right. If comparing with the first season, I felt the first season was much, much stronger in the sense of characters, plots, and acting. However, it was inevitable with the precedent being set already. As a standalone series, I would say it’s worth it. Some of the new characters and stories weren’t that bad.

Han Dong, Jessica Hsuan, Mainland China Entertainment

The War of Beauties

(image credit: as marked)

Initially, I started this ages back when I was hunting down for Han Dong’s dramas. Yet I had to halt because I ended up seeing some spoilers. After calming down a bit, I decided to brave it anyway. However, I had to make sure about twenty times (exaggerating somewhat but it was closer to there) that it wasn’t a certain someone’s drama. YES, when it comes to catfight related dramas and dramatic soaps, I tend to double-check and triple-check just to be sure.

Honestly, I came into this just wanting to watch Han Dong and Loura Lou. However, I felt this was one dramatic experience that I definitely wouldn’t want to watch ever again. It wasn’t that terrible as in the sense of quality. It was well done on some levels with the scheming and the backstabbing, which seemed scary and sadly true in cases seemed during those times. What I meant as never wanting to watch again was because of how heavy the drama was. People are like going “duh” at this point, but I swear, it was presented with a lot of stuff that I thought could do without. Like most dramas nowadays, every single formula got tossed in just to extend the episodes. Sometimes I didn’t see the purpose. Mostly, it was just “wash, rinse, repeat” routine throughout. So I didn’t think it should be 48 episodes. Especially when it focused on the household conflicts for about 99.9% of the time and then rushed near the end to add in some patriotic aspects to wrap up the story. In case anyone wanted to argue that the title was after all The War of Beauties so it made sense with the conflicts within the Bai household, that was just the English title, the Chinese title was different.

There were also rushed scenes of people repenting in the end as well. The most unconvincing was probably Old Madame Bai’s apology narration before she died. Seriously, the majority of the family conflict was conjured and/or manipulated by her throughout. Yet she apologized at the end during the short thoughts? Really? She was seriously let off so easily, considering how she had thrown everyone’s lives off completely by the end. If it wasn’t for her wanting to get some connections for the business of the shop by making Gan Sheng marry Fu Fang, their lives would be different. Then she told her scum servants to drugged Fu Fang all these years so Fu Fang couldn’t get pregnant. That led to Fu Fang’s resentment in herself and eventually others. The pressure was too much hence seeking out advice from her mother (who had plenty of experiences in the manipulation department just like her mother-in-law) and that had unleashed a chain of events onward. Sure, in many situations, it was Fu Fang’s choice. She was an adult after all and should be responsible for causing so much pain and suffering throughout. That was my initial thoughts as well. However, having all the pieces of the puzzle at the end, I realized I should pity her more than condemn her. She was so stuck that she had to choose other alternatives or be taken down. Her actions–guided by whatever reasons–had caused Gui Qin’s death and the children of Mei Xiang, Qiu Lan, and Cai Wei’s. Those events finally caused others to fight back–one way or another–then led to her child’s death. But whose fault was that from the beginning? Even Cai Wei, who was so kindhearted and pure at the beginning got tainted by the end, realizing she couldn’t survive in such an environment hence fighting back as well. Did I like it that she finally got a chance to fight back? Of course, it was way overdue considering how much she had suffered and tried very hard to keep peace with everyone. Something had got to give. Gui Qin was just too kind and ended up paying with her life. She was actually the most innocent hence her death being more frustrating. Mei Xiang–driven by revenge–ended up going mad. I was furious with her when she attacked Cai Wei, causing the final strain between Cai Wei and Gan Sheng to forgo her revenge plan. But in the end, I think I pitied her more. She was already past insane. Losing her son and having to keep waiting for a chance was too much. Perhaps, the person I sympathize with the least–among the wives–was Bi He. Sure, I got it that servants back then weren’t treated with much thought and it was tenfold scarier living in the Bai household because servants died left and right–whether through abusive torture techniques by Old Madame Bai or it was because they had to be scapegoats for their masters. But what Bi He did was unnecessary that I felt hard to forgive. I didn’t care if she repented in the end. It was too late. Unlike Qiu Lan, she didn’t lose anything to start with, what was her excuse in attacking Cai Wei? (Well, having Fu Fang breathing down her back to get the plans going was motivated enough but since she was soooo smart–or so she thought–why didn’t she find another way to escape it?) Qiu Lan misunderstood that Cai Wei had caused her child’s death–superstitious or not, but she had suffered hence being driven to the extreme. What was more, I thought she deserved to have a light ending. She was probably the luckiest among the wives because she was finally able to get away from the madhouse. She also had a chance to reunite with her childhood sweetheart, Chang Sheng.

Back to the ending, I felt really frustrated with it. Not only because of Old Madame Bai’s brief apology with her thoughts but because of how no one knew how much she did throughout. Gan Feng never knew that she manipulated Mei Xiang into killing off Fu Fang’s child. He didn’t know that it wasn’t because of Gan Sheng. The brothers’ conflict was never resolved. Sure, they were all captured in the end and were forced to get along–if briefly. Yet they never knew the truth. Ma Guo An’s words weren’t for anything. They didn’t trust him anyway so it didn’t matter. The most satisfying was probably Ma Guo An’s death though. He totally didn’t see that coming. He thought he got away, but he didn’t.

The ending actually had a lot of deaths (obviously, duh, I know) and it was paved out quite tragic for those cases. Yet it only stirred up things in a controversial sense, not closing the story the proper way. Sure, in life, sometimes conflicts were never resolved and people die hating one another because of some misunderstandings. Then there were cases like these where one could never have a chance to say anything to one another. But they managed to throw in the parts with various parties interacting and making peace, why didn’t they let Gan Sheng and Gan Feng make peace too? Or was that too wrapped up? I swore Bi He and De Gui had their moments, which I didn’t think Bi He deserved yet they included that too. So why not?

What saved the ending was actually Qiu Lao Qi sweeping in to save them. He first appeared in the earlier parts of the series during Gan Sheng and Cai Wei’s first trip out. Although he was a bandit and seemed to be ruthless and bordering on the despicable side at first YET he kept his words. Or perhaps he thought Gan Sheng was as crazy as him so he decided to release them all and agreed to Gan Sheng’s terms. I felt that at least he was straightforward about being a bandit rather than acted all good like some people. After all, I guess Gan Sheng’s loyalty to him was worth it. Once again, Jackie Lui’s performance was amazing despite his short screen time.

Whose death was the most tragic? It was actually Xiu Fang’s death. I initially didn’t like her at all, because of how snobby she was and how she had joined forces with her sister to bully Cai Wei when she entered the Bai household. Although she often threw tantrums at first, her character faded into the background, because she didn’t have the cunning fiber in her to compete with the others. Defeated, she sought out Cai Wei to actually understand Gan Feng instead of trying to attempt at another scheme. That was, of course, briefly before she and the others found out about the affair between her husband and her own sister–whom she wouldn’t dream of in a million years with having any association with Gan Feng. She was interestingly like Qiu Lin in a sense that she was used to using her power to achieve versus the scheming bit, but realized, in the end, Cai Wei was a good person hence becoming allies with Cai Wei as well. That was so unexpected but so welcoming since she ended up helping Cai Wei in ways others couldn’t. To be honest, I didn’t expect her to die. I thought she would have fled home to seek her parents for some justice. That was my assumption based on reading some spoilers. But then I understood why she couldn’t go back home when that truth about Gan Feng and her sister’s affair came out. Her father only wanted to use her–like how he did with her sister–to forgo his plan in taking over the Bai family’s business. So why would he care? Her mother would be too scared of him to speak up for her anyway. Not to mention how she learned that her father had forced Gan Feng to marry her so how could she use her family pressure to force him even more and causing him to hate her even more? Even though Gan Feng had the right to get mad about the whole scheme from her father, but I felt it was too cruel saying those words on Xiu Fang’s death bed. Sure, he clarified what was going on and after how he just lost his child and all, he had every right to be mad and fight back, but I thought since Xiu Fang did try to be a good wife after listening to Cai Wei and no longer causing dramas around the house, he would at least treat her with some decency, not give her the cold treatment all the time. He didn’t need to accept her or be with her, but he could have made an effort to be nice or at least make it easier for her to live within the household. Sure, that would be hard on him, but I thought it was already hard on her trying to change her attitude and make him happy by cooking for him and more. (And I didn’t totally agree with Cai Wei when she chided him about how he’d changed and was becoming cruel. Although she didn’t know it was because of his mother’s manipulations that had caused a lot of things, she knew that his child just died and he became more bitter because of it, not caring for anyone anymore. So yeah, it wasn’t like I was picking on him on purpose.)

What about the others? Gan Feng actually was quite pitiful as well. In a way, he was like Fu Fang, being used by his mother to extend her power. Sure, she wanted what was best for her son, but he said he didn’t mind or care since Gan Sheng was his brother after all. His mother manipulated events into happening, forcing him to attack his brother and hating his brother until the end. He had his moments and hot tempers, but he had the right to be upset with how his life was turning upside down when he returned. He didn’t need his mother to conjure up dramas for him. What I felt was the most unforgivable about him wasn’t his affair with Fu Fang, but it was his attempt to save Cai Wei but had condemned her to a death sentence hence causing her child’s death too. It was the part where he and Cai Wei got staged and framed for having an affair, which led to her punishment and the ultimate damage with Gan Sheng’s trust. (I did curse Gan Sheng to death so he wasn’t let off easily, but this section is about Gan Feng so I want to focus on that for now.)

Who was the most loyal in here? Yes, there were a lot of loyal servants in here and other friends. There was no doubt Gui Qin was a loyal friend. De Gui seemed loyal to Gan Sheng yet later got pulled into other schemes. Then there was Mei Xiang’s maid, Chun Xiao, as well. Yet who I admired most was Cui Ping. She was like a little sister to Cai Wei. She never abandoned Cai Wei regardless of how bad things were. She and her mother actually–for the later parts that her mother joined her in the Bai household too. They were like the true family in here. They stuck together throughout. It was good to know that they survived the tragic events of it all. Also, it was a happy note to know that Cui Ping and Da Shan ended up together after all. I thought they were cute that one time. Of course, that meant I was so glad Da Shan made it through.

What about the main couple who was the sole reason why I dived into the drama in the first place? I initially felt sorry for Gan Sheng for having to face a lot of pressure. He indeed faced a lot of pressure. I pitied him for being forced to marry Fu Fang because of business connections. His other wives were either by obliging to Old Madame Ma’s request or by accident. I felt bad for him that he couldn’t be with Cai Wei only. However, I changed my view later when he supposedly was intelligent in many ways yet still fall into the traps of others, especially Bi He. Sure, he claimed many times that he didn’t want things to go on further with people fighting and all. Yet there were some things he could control. Then I felt like there were things he was good at saying and made others pity him yet he couldn’t fully carry out. Or he had overestimated himself so he didn’t realize the outcome until it actually occurred. Like how he claimed to love and trust Cai Wei YET when the test was there, he totally failed. What was most frustrating was how he kept falling into Bi He’s trap–even after he realized what kind of scheming person she was–like mentioned previously. Only in episode 39 that he finally managed to gain back somewhat of the momentum by giving Fu Fang the ultimatum, telling her not to cause any more trouble. He also told Li Chun to tell Bi He to stop all the fuss and that if Bi He was unwell, she should seek out the medics, not him. Although he wasn’t cleared of being a drama king quite yet. He acted like an asshole when Cai Wei told him she wanted to leave the Bai household. All right, I know that it hurt like hell that the one he loved said she wanted to leave him. YET Cai Wei was right. Where in the world was he when she needed him the most? When she was framed and things were going to hell? In the midst of all the tragedies, her father and Gui Qin died respectively and she was left behind trying to hold on, where in the world was he? He dared to say he was innocent? Even if he was hurting because of the misunderstandings but he did promise to protect her. So it was like I said, he overestimated himself and promised left and right without a care in the world–until things happened, that was. It wasn’t until around episode 46 that he realized what Cai Wei said was true regarding living within the Bai household and all. Again, I swore it wasn’t anything new with how messed up the house was and not so peaceful at all. He knew from the start, so I didn’t care when he acted like a madman. It was still unforgivable that it shall take another chaos for him to get it.

What about Cai Wei? There were many things admirable about her. She was probably one of the strongest characters in here. She was very smart and understanding of many things. Though she was seen quite feisty in helping some of the townspeople in unmasking some con men in the markets, after she entered the Bai household, she really knew her place. She didn’t want to rupture the atmosphere or cause trouble for others. It fitted with her personality since she was already so smart, she knew that her so-called mother-in-law hated her and know she should act proper to win the other wives over. What couldn’t be helped was how her righteous personality would override and cause more trouble for her, like how she had defended Gui Qin hence bringing trouble upon herself. But I felt it was worth it because Gui Qin had saved her life previously so it would be suitable that she stand up for Gui Qin and rescue her from Qiu Lin’s bullying. And her reactions to many things around her sure surprised me from time to time, especially how she ended up exposing the person who was trying to put some rats into the kitchen to sabotage her. Of course, she couldn’t investigate further with the person behind the schemes, but she managed to exude some power to deal with the situation. It showed that she wasn’t so helpless, needing rescuing all the time. However, what bugged the world out of me was her shielding the whole investigation regarding her father from Gan Sheng, causing her downfall in the later episodes. How frustrating was that? Even if Gan Feng had a point with how they should investigate first, etc YET Gan Sheng was her husband after all, and knowing her history with Gan Feng, she shouldn’t let others have a chance to harm her even more. Even though she understood afterward and realized Gan Sheng was right about how they should communicate with each other at all times, it was too late, because those tiny slips had allowed others to harm her. I know it sounded like I expect her to be perfect, but I felt she was WAY smarter than that. Even if it was her father’s situation and she just wanted to focus on that matter, but she should realize what she was getting into when she was sneaking around with Gan Feng when investigating. She redeemed herself during episode 19 onward, finally pulling herself up with the determination of avenging her father and Gui Qin. I gladly welcomed her return since she’d been passive for too long. Well, she had to try and behave within the household or try to merge in YET I didn’t like how she kept giving in to others yet kept getting shoved around. Her master plan proved that she was WAY capable yet didn’t want to resort to it unless she had to. Her efforts paid off since all the misunderstandings and conflicts were resolved by episode 42. At least what was of the past. Episode 44 came around and I wanted to toss something at the screen even more, considering how things were turning topsy-turvy again. Yet after I calmed down, I realized that must be resolved too in order for them to move on. That final conflict made them stronger, in the end, not falling into the trap of that one dude who tried to con Cai Wei into thinking that Gan Sheng had already left first.

Gan Sheng and Cai Wei’s conflicts finally dissolved around episode 46 when Cai Wei helped Gan Sheng with the overthrow scheme. That moment reminded me of the good old days of how they worked together to resolve different conflicts at the shop and other medic related discussions. I once again wanted the series to stay on the side of medicine-related stuff instead of the constant conflicts within the Bai household and all the catfights. It wouldn’t be realistic if they all got along, etc. However, I was so sick and tired of the whole back and forth scheming or fighting within the house. It was like SUPER repetitive so I prefer the focus on the medicine side. Even if I would have to deal with Ma Guo An and the other people, it would be way better. Or is it just me with being sick and tired of all the soaps of recent years and wanting to see other stuff?

The conversation between Cai Wei and Fu Fang when they were imprisoned sort of summarized the whole story. Yet it was much needed because they were finally able to make peace between the two of them. It was essential that Cai Wei pointed out that Fu Fang had the right to want her husband’s attention and love. Fu Fang also had every right to be jealous. It wasn’t that they were blaming society for anything to get away with what they were accountable for. But they did have a point with how men were allowed so many wives yet women were stuck in their position without a say. It was the truth, the cruel truth.

Recommended? Um, 48 episodes! Even if it was like 30 mins or so each episode, but I swore the intensity of it all was so much. I did get it that it was about the conflicts within the Bai household and all those wives, and then some other side dramas. Yet it all depends on what you like to watch. (Obviously.) I hang on because I actually liked the chemistry between Han Dong and Loura. And the reason why I dived into the drama in the first place was because of them.

Hong Kong Entertainment, Jessica Hsuan, Raymond Cho, Roger Kwok

The Fate of Roger and Ray

I just want to post this for fun since Roger Kwok and Raymond Cho are two of my favorites. I just noticed some certain details about their collaboration and a little of real-life and want to share with everyone–for fun.

TV series they were in together:

  • Square Pegs (戇夫成龍): Roger was Ah Wong aka Ting Seung Wong (丁常旺) while Raymond was Bao Gai Chung (包繼宗). It was later found out that Ah Wong was actually Gai Chung and the current Gai Chung was brought home by the uncle in a scheme to gain family assets. Gai Chung was seen at first very jealous of Ah Wong and even looked down on Ah Wong because of Ah Wong’s supposedly retarded state (but it was only because Ah Wong had lost his memory). However, Gai Chung redeemed himself near the end of the series by trying to help the now normal Ah Wong who had regained his memory. Gai Chung was not bad in general but was just jealous of Ah Wong because he could not end up with the girl he loved at first and what was even worse, the girl he loved at first had married Ah Wong. Gai Chung later realized Ah Wong’s good nature and also became more understanding. He and Ah Wong became good brothers so Mr. Bao ended up with two sons.
  • Life Made Simple (阿旺新傳): Roger reprised his role as Ah Wong while Raymond had to take the role of Lok Kui Shing (洛渠成) since the meaty rich guy role had gone to Bosco Wong. However, they had retained some of the little details in association with Raymond and his interactions with Jessica’s character, Fung (鳳). Like how Shing accidentally spill water on Fung’s pants that one time and had to buy her a pair of new pants (while in Square Pegs it was her dress/whole outfit). Shing liked Fung in the later parts of the series but also lost to Ah Wong. Contrary to the previous series, Shing was a normal guy next door and lovable in his own way. He was not jealous of Ah Wong or anyone around him but had a very kind heart. He liked Fung but did not go out of his way to sabotage Ah Wong or anything. He later became Fung’s best friend and even supported her final decision in returning to Ah Wong’s side. One of the funniest scenes was during Ah Wong and Fung’s wedding, Shing was drunk and when Ah Wong and Fung were going around to different tables so others could offer them wine and words of congratulations, Shing was actually offering wine and saying his words of congrats to Ah Wong’s mother and Uncle Shui instead. A sad moment for Shing BUT kind of hilarious for the rest of us who were watching.
  • The Threshold of a Persona (ID 精英): Roger was Fong Chun Kit (方浚杰) while Raymond was Cheng Pak Yu (鄭柏宇). Both were best friends since whenever. However, their priorities were different from how Pak Yu was willing to cut corners while Chun Kit believed in honest, hard work. Pak Yu’s greed and his way of doing things regardless of method caused him to drift down the wrong path and eventually met his fate. It was very intense between these two, considering how Pak Yu had caused Chun Kit’s wife’s death near the end also.

Conclusion: Raymond can’t win! It was Roger after all. But that was interesting to see them in the past three series together. Possibly the next collaboration will be different? Or not? Whenever that might be.

Real Life:

  • Their English names both start with an ‘R’. Roger and Raymond. Great combination, huh?
  • Their sons’ English names both start with a ‘B’. Roger’s son is Brad and Ray’s son is Brandon. Coincidence?

Anyway, those are all I know for now. Does anyone want to share more?

Hong Kong Entertainment, Jessica Hsuan, Johnson Lee, Joyce Tang, Selena Li, Sunny Chan

Just Love II

DISCLAIMER: The following content may have some affiliate links in which I receive a commission from said links.

This was surprisingly better than the first part–in my opinion. It was possibly because of how the father-in-law was no longer around. Of course, Mr. 13 was not any better with his sabotage schemes and rude behaviors but it was better for them because they could choose not to care about him. And maybe because Johnson was more tolerable than the father-in-law’s character that made me like this part more. They kept most of the characters’ personalities intact for the most part. My only complaint was Mr. 13 since I barely remembered him being more likable. Or it could be because they needed someone to play the ruthless part after the father-in-law was out so they had to sacrifice Johnson. However, he turned out all right in the end, which was convincing enough since there were enough events leading up to that point. Although there were still traces of his smart-mouth running, that was him, he could not change that or it would not be him at all.

Like Factors:

  • Sunny Chan and Jessica Hsuan as a couple. I really liked their collaboration in the past part and could see the chemistry but was turned off at how the story was paved out because of their unreasonable behaviors at various points in the previous part. It carried over for this part also but I like how their relationship was developed into something deeper than just the usual one-night stand and trying to make it work afterward for the sake of the baby.
  • Johnson Lee and Joyce Tang as a couple. It was strange at first although I could see it happening because of their characters and background. However, I was glad it worked out in the end since he curved his attitude a bit. Besides, he really cared for her so it made sense that he was capable of taking care of her and giving her the proper attention, making sure she won’t suffer in the future.
  • How the Ko family and the Ho family still treated Hei Man and Sau Sau as their daughters. It was a mistake from the hospital and it was irreversible but it was great to see how both families still accept and care for both as their own daughters despite what happened.
  • Gill Mohindepaul Singh as Ap Ba Deen. Although he only appeared bits and pieces here and there, I really enjoyed his character and performance in here. Very funny. One of the funniest scenes must be him diving into the pool to save Ho Si Fu (Hui Siu Hung) because he was instructed by Hoi Tung (Mandy Wong) to do so.
  • Mandy Wong as Ng Hoi Tung. I really like her although this was the first time watching her. Although she was a bit too materialistic at times with handbags and all, she really cared for her godfather. She was also very funny in her performance at various times. I hated those tricks with the whole one-night stand and then the whole dramas afterward but I really liked this one since Mr. 13 deserved some of it too since he was always so foul-mouthed toward others. (Of course, nothing happened but he took her words for it and was so burned out by her demands later.)

Dislike Factors:

  • The ongoing thing with CK (Ken Wong) and Bowie (Natalie Tong). I don’t know. Although I was all right with their characters, the pairing seemed odd to me. Were they continuing the idea with how Bowie was into older men? But glad she matured over time and how he learned to stay away from the sticky situations.
  • The fact that everyone was DNA testing happy. Yes, it was the proof in uncovering some of the most unbelievable mistakes made by the hospital ages ago. But it was like everyone and anyone could do it. It made me feel like they abused it too much and wondered if that was how it worked over there.

Posted (on Xanga): September 3, 2009

Re-posted: Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Ellesmere Choi, Hong Kong Entertainment, Jessica Hsuan, Vivien Yeo

ICAC 2009: Episode 1

*WARNING*: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

While Ma Yat Ming (Bowie Lam) was riding in his car, he received a call from his wife,  Lam Boi Kei (Krystal Tin), telling him that she was back in Hong Kong and she wanted to go confess to her crimes. Shocked, he convinced her not to do such a thing. She did not want to listen to him because he had betrayed her by having an affair with the finance manager, Ho Lai Man (Vivien Yeo).

While that was going on, Annie (Jessica Hsuan), Henry (Raymond Wong), and other ICAC investigators were following both Ma Yat Ming and Wong Hoi (Ellesmere Choi), a stock analyst, closely in trying to find proofs of their acts.

While following Wong Hoi, the ICAC investigators discovered that he was committing suicide. Annie gave Henry the orders to stop him. However, he was a step too late since Wong Hoi already jumped. Fortunately, Wong Hoi had some surrounding objects cushioning his fall so he was only severely injured but not dead. Wong Hoi finally confessed later at the hospital.

What was happening was Ma Yat Ming, Lam Boi Kei, Ho Lai Man, and Wong Hoi were trying to manipulate the stock markets and bring profits for themselves. Yat Ming convinced them all to join in on the gig in making money. Yat Ming used both his wife to become a chairman of the company while his finance manager and the stock analyst manipulated the figures and boasted about the company’s credentials.

Boi Kei fled Hong Kong to Taiwan after learning that the ICAC was investigating their company. However, she changed her mind after learning of the affair between Yat Ming and Lai Man. Though it could be truer to say that both Yat Ming and Lai Man were only in for the money. It was just that Yat Ming was getting craftier with his words of how he cared for both parties, Boi Kei and Lai Man, when he conversed with them–individually. It was more a stunt to shut them up, preventing himself from getting caught.

Not being able to convince Boi Kei from coming in to make a confession, Yat Ming tricked her into meeting him by implying how much he cared for her well being while at the same time hiring a hitman to go after her at the arranged meeting.

It appeared that Boi Kei’s father (Lau Kong) had served a sentence in the past for the same crime. He did not want to cooperate with the ICAC investigators at first because he was going by what was really good for her, i.e. not going to personally put her in prison. He soon changed his mind after knowing that Boi Kei was nearly killed at the meeting with Yat Ming. Henry was there in time to save Boi Kei though she fled again with Yat Ming aiding in the process.

Boi Kei, through Yat Ming’s persuasion, finally agreed to return to Taiwan and back into her hiding place. However, he had slyly snatched up the evidence from her bag before saying his farewells to her when a boat arrived to take her away. Yat Ming fled the scene after playing out the tragic goodbye scene at the pier. He tossed the evidence into the water and drove off into the night, knowing everything would be over within seconds.

Luckily, Annie and Henry finally discovered their whereabouts through the last call that Boi Kei made to her father. When the hitmen hired by Yat Ming were about to carry on with their pre-given orders, Annie and Henry arrived in time to save Boi Kei from being killed–once again. Boi Kei still did not know of the incident and still insisted on keeping her mouth shut regarding the matter, not knowing that she had been deceived many times by Yat Ming.

The ICAC investigators continued to follow Yat Ming and finally got a break when they discovered Yat Ming giving Lai Man the last of the money she asked for. They managed to snap some shots of the two and finally got a confession from Boi Kei.

This first story seemed to be a warm-up for the rest since the seriousness of the atmosphere reflected on the dark and thick background accompanying their black suits. Everyone meant business in here. It was that serious. The case was all right, considering they only had about 40 minutes to map everything out. Jessica and Raymond were a good team. It was nice to see Raymond in the action for the most part. However, I could not help but found it very funny that Raymond and Vivien were on opposite sides this time since I recently watched A Great Way to Care with them pairing up.