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Written by Bridget Au


"I love the way the wardrobe department dressed him (Louis Koo); he is extremely good-looking in that hooded black jacket."




SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!




Cantonese Title
"Ying See Jing Chupp Dong On IV"

Released In
1999

No. of Episodes
50

Theme Songs
One Thousand Miles- Edward Leung & Louis Koo (opening)
The Colour of the Night- Lauren Christy (Fei & Chinchin's song #1)
Big Big World- Emilia (Fei & Chinchin's song #2)
Whenever You Call- Mariah Carey & Brian McKnight (Fei & Quin's song)
I'm Just A Man- Artist Unknown (Zhi San & Man's song)

Cast
Louis Koo as Tsui Fei
Jessica Hester Hsuan- Mo Chiu Kwun (Quin)
Sunny Chan as Kong Zhi San
Charmaine Sheh as Man Yuen Lan (Man)
Lee Sansan as Tong Sum Yu (Tong Sum)


Guest starring a bunch of well-known and familiar-looking actors & actresses in the cases, with appearances by...
Maggie Siu as Kong Zhi Ching/Kong Zhi Yiu- Zhi San's older twin sisters
Anne Heung as Chinchin (CC)- Fei's ex-girlfriend

Character Description and Background
Tsui Fei
Calm, cool, aloof, mysterious, observant. Sergeant under Zhi San in the Special Investigations Department in the HK police. Tendency to solve cases with a quick but accurate instinct. Bright, independent, stubborn. Has been pining for ex-gf Chinchin for years after she mysteriously disappeared. Her disappearance had a huge impact on Fei, who went even more into his already hard shell. Has an awful reputation in the HK police department because he is seen as unfriendly and is rumoured for rendering one of his superiors handicapped and thus unable to collect his pension. Incredibly passive when it comes to love, but finally accepts Kwun, only to have Chinchin reappear.

Mo Chiu Kwun (Quin)
Bright, observant, rational, direct, stubborn, determined. A psychiatrist who lost her mother
at a young age who was raised mainly by her aunt and keeps a close relationship with her dad. Knows what she wants. When it comes to love, is direct. After a misunderstanding with Fei, falls in love with him. Encounters numerous obstacles before Fei accepts her love, only to have CC return and end their relationship.

Kong Zhi San
Chief Inspector in SID. Morally upright, mature, responsible, tolerant. Treats his team well. Has a habit of taping everything when he is investigating a case. Fell in love and started a relationship with Man while studying in England. Since Man lacks self-esteem, he is an overprotective boyfriend, causing imbalance in the relationship. The relationship ends due to numerous events (see below) and Zhi San then starts a relationship with Tong Sum who has been secretly in love with him for years. Unfortunately loses Tong Sum when she dies for Man on their wedding day, but does not want another attempt with Man.

Man Yuen Lan (Man)
Waif, wimpy, passive. A filial only child who was raised by her father after her mother committed suicide when she was a young girl. Man has been hiding the deep psychological hurt that was caused by her childhood, which is discovered by Zhi San. He convinces her to receive therapy from Kwun, which isn't very successful. Works in the HK police administration department. After making plenty of mistakes (see below) her relationship with Zhi San ends although she remains deeply in love with him. Is heartbroken after Tong Sum dies for her and tries to repair her relationship with Zhi San, to no avail. She ends up working as a teacher for small children in a remote area in China.

Tong Sum Yu (Tong Sum)
Man's best friend from elementary school. The opposite of Man: bubbly, cute, active, tomboyish and popular. A straightforward girl raised in a rich family. A little wild but not unreasonable. Optimistic but describes herself secretly as a clown (someone who is happy on the outside but crying on the inside). Has secretly been in love with Zhi San for years, but hides her love because he is her best friend's boyfriend. Has her love requited by Zhi San who asks her to marry him, but unfortunately dies at the end of the series (see below).

The Story
What else to expect from the third sequel of DIF? A bunch of murder cases intertwined with love triangles. Here we go.

Love Triangle #1: Fei-Quin-CC
Fei and CC had a rocky relationship because CC was an orphaned dancer who was flaky and prone to mood swings. After CC mysteriously disappears, Fei retreats into his hard shell. After being misunderstood for using force to wrench confessions out of suspects, Zhi San sends him to Quin who tries to open him up, to no avail. After (sort of) getting over CC and realizing his feelings for Quin, he starts a relationship with her. However, CC always comes up as a distant memory. Finally decides to marry Quin, but CC returns. Due to the circumstances of her disappearance (she was kidnapped for 3 years by a triad member who wanted to get back at Fei), Fei feels responsible and therefore returns to CC (not to mention she had lost a leg), although I believe he truly loved Quin by then.

Love Triangle #2: Zhi San-Man-Tong Sum
Zhi San and Man had, more or less, the picture-perfect relationship. Tong Sum wanted to keep both as friends and so she hid her love for Zhi San for years. However, Man makes a whole series of big boo-boos (she helps her father murder one of the cops in SID), ending her relationship with Zhi San, who then begins a relationship after Tong Sum. Unfortunately, Tong Sum dies on their wedding day when she pushes Man out of the way, who was about to get stabbed by Zhi San's older delusional twin sister Zhi Yiu. Man still adores Zhi San, but both know their relationship is irreparable.

My Favourite Cases
-the first one where the obsessed dude murders a bunch of women who received organs from his dead love interest

-the one on the remote island where the man kidnaps 15 people to reenact a murder case to clear his son's name (only because this is the part in the series where Fei realizes his feelings for Quin)

-the one where Man's dad murders Fei's sort-of brother-in-law (i.e. CC's brother)

-the last one, where CC returns after being kidnapped by an triad enemy of Fei's (since he worked as a undercover in his gang)

Evaluation of the Performances & Characters
Louis Koo as Tsui Fei
Terrific, although he really needs to get away from these calm, cool, aloof characters. I love the way the wardrobe department dressed him; he is extremely good-looking in that hooded black jacket. A good improvement in the love scenes, especially in the crying ones. He's way too dark (and thus dubbed Dark Man among my friends). His character focuses way too much on the past, but was my favourite character in the series although I hated his choice in the end.

Jessica Hester Hsuan as Mo Chiu Kwun
Very good but not great. Like Louis Koo, she needs to get away from this type of character which she has played thousands of times. Her wardrobe is horrible, but her hair is okay. Does a really good job as the psychiatrist and gives one of her best performances during the breakup scene. Excellent chemistry with Louis Koo and they really do look like a couple (compared to Anne Heung and Louis Koo, who don't even look like they know each other).

Sunny Chan as Kong Zhi San
Pretty good, but not great. He looks sort of the same everywhere but does a good job playing the leader role in SID. Why does he wear a suit in almost every single scene? His character's too weak/rational and therefore unrealistic. He's likeable enough, but this was not a breathtaking performance.

Charmaine Sheh as Man Yuen Lan
She's horrible. I can't stand her voice, I can't stand her face, I can't stand her so-called "acting". She's talentless, but then what else do you expect from the new wave of Miss HK's? I hated both her character and her portrayal of it. I can tell she tries hard but she's got the most annoying wimpy voice and most annoying crying. I don't like waifs and wimps and that's why I hated her. She deserves what she got (which is nothing) after making stupid mistakes like she did. However, she does look really good with Sunny Chan. *note: I wrote this review a long time ago and have since seen Charmaine in many other TV series, each time improving, which is impressive. I realize that DIF4 was one of her first works (I saw her in Flying Fox on Snowy Mountain with Sunny Chan, and liked her Miu Yeuk Lan in there), but I still couldn't stand her in this series. Way too much overacting and a very unnatural performance.

Lee Sansan as Tong Sum Yu
I liked this character a lot more than Man, but she needs to try a lot harder because she also can't act. BUT, she was way way better than Charmaine, who I wanted to smack every time she appeared on the screen. She doesn't look good with Sunny except for the height factor. Too bad the poor girl died at the end, she deserved Zhi San. And unlike most people who've written reviews and have posted in forums, I don't think she "stole her best friend's boyfriend", because she only started the relationship AFTER Man and Zhi San broke up.

Good Stuff
I like this cast even though it's completely different from the cast in DIf 1-3. The cases are also intriguing, with half being predictable and the other half being surprising. This series boasts well-developed characters and a well-developed plot, supported by a decent soundtrack. Some may complain that this series was too long, but I think it was necessary to truly develop the plot and the characters (at least it didn't drag too much). Loved Roger Kwok's performance as the last bad guy who, while being in love with CC, also wanted to kill her because she was the gf of Fei who betrayed him.

Complaints
Charmaine Sheh and her character, no doubt. Ugh. The ending- what's with TVB becoming obsessed with tragic endings? Also hated Anne Heung, who is possibly worse than Charmaine. TVB has always incorporated a strong friendship in their series but this is sorely lacking in DIF IV. They could have explored it a lot more in Fei and Zhi San's case, especially since the previous DIF series boasted a terrific and genuine friendship that was brilliant acted by Michael To and ...shoot, forgot the actor's name who plays Yee Jai in DIF 1-3.

Things that make you go "HUH"?
1) First of all, why is everyone involved in a case related to some member of the cast? That is so completely unrealistic and I'm sure the writers could have used some other way to introduce a new murder. And yeah, all the cases in here are murders.

2) In the case where the man kidnaps Fei and Quin and a bunch of other people to reenact an old case to clear his son's name...where the heck did the man get all the money to build a carbon copy of that street? And an isolated island? Who's heard of THOSE in HK?

3) How the heck does Sunny Chan manage to go after criminals when he's in a suit all the time?

4) Why do the two leading men live alone? Are they orphaned or something? Does this make them extra-attractive to women?

5) Anne Heung as Chin Chin. Who made THIS casting decision? An incredibly odd one...

6) The part at the end where Chin Chin goes to talk to Quin and to apologize for "stealing" Fei back, and Quin says that she could never take what was never hers anyway, and that Fei is lucky because Chin Chin sacrificed so much for him. CC then says that she's sure Quin would do the same, and Quin replies that there's no one she loves more than herself so she wouldn't sacrifice as much as CC did. Uh, no. It's so obvious that Quin would sacrifice everything and more for Fei.

7) When Tong Sum dies, Man and Zhi San almost IMMEDIATELY consider a relationship with each other again. What's wrong with you people? Two days after your best friend and wife dies you're done grieving and going to get together again? Blech, are you two even human?!

The ultimate question: Is it better than DIF 1-3?
A question that is very hard to answer. It is very difficult to compare DIF 4 with the first three parts because the cast and characters are completely different. Although the series share the same backdrop, there is no continuation of plot between DIF 3 and DIF 4. However, if one must compare, I must say that the acting in DIF 1-3 is much better. As much as I like Louis Koo's Fei, Michael To's performance as Dai Yung engaged the audience, something that is very difficult to do. Also, among the Big Sisters of TVB (Jessica Hsuan, Ester Kwan- who isn't a part of TVB anymore, Ada Choi, etc.) Kenix Kwok has always been my favourite. She is so versatile as an actress, much more so than Jessica Hsuan. The cases in DIF 1-3 were also more well-written, and the aforementioned friendship between Dai Yung and Yee Jai places the first three above DIF 4. BUT, DIF 4 is nonetheless an excellent series, and stands very well on its own as an entertaining and effective one.

To watch or not to watch, that is the question
Watch if you're a fan of any member of the cast. Watch also if you liked DIF 1-3. Definitely watch if you're a fan of the "profession" or crime series produced by TVB (like me). Stay away if you're looking for comedy or a yay-happy ending. And stay away if you can't stand Charmaine Sheh.

Rating


Related Links
Screencaps can be viewed at
http://tvcity.tvb.com/drama/detect4/image/scene/scene08s.jpg

and

http://tvcity.tvb.com/drama/detect4/image/scene/scene05s.jpg



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