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The Weekend Binge: Flex X Cop

Meet Jin Isoo – adventurer, extreme sports enthusiast, surfer, pilot, lifestyle influencer, all-around gorgeous man, and… cop?!?

flex x cop, disney, kdrama, ahn bohyun

Ahn Bo-hyun stars as the reckless and big-spending chaebol heir Jin Isoo who is temporarily assigned to a police squad to avoid embarrassing his family any further. Soon, Isoo realizes he has a knack (and the connections) to solve some of their biggest and most high-profile crimes. But will he be able to solve the crime that haunts him and his family to this day?

The Plot

Ahn Bo-hyun plays a spoiled chaebol heir once again, but this time he’s not wringing chickens' necks like in 2020’s Itaewon Class. Thankfully, he now channels his sense of humor and athleticism as Jin Isoo, the enviable second son of the Hansu Group who has everything at his fingertips: a penthouse, expensive hobbies, access to the hottest spots in town, and friends in all kinds of places. He also has an entire eccentric wardrobe that’s split between vintage 80’s Don Johnson and corporate Tom Ford — not that we’re complaining. On the surface, Isoo is a reckless man-child who can charm his way out of any bind and an irresponsible heir who can even be more reckless with his money.

One night, Isoo accidentally catches a fugitive and gets into a serious misunderstanding with the local police. Since this scandal threatens their patriarch’s mayoral bid, his family strikes up a bargain: Isoo will have to work as part of a humble detective squad and keep a low profile until the election blows over. 

Isoo grudgingly gets to work but soon realizes that their cases need the insight and expertise that his fancy upbringing has given him. From being able to scrutinize a crime scene at an exclusive yacht club to understanding the world and minds of models, gallery owners, startup entrepreneurs, and high-profile actresses, Team 1 discovers that the best way to solve high-profile crime is to have a high-profile person who’s on your side.

But it’s all fun and high-profile games until they sink their teeth into a couple of seriously dangerous cases, forcing Isoo to confront the demons that have long haunted him. Now that he's helped solve some of the biggest cases in Seoul, can he now use his skills and his newfound friendships to finally close the cold case that has long hounded him and his family?

Our Review

The flamboyant Irish playwright Oscar Wilde once wrote, “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is.” We surmise that Wilde would have been very pleased with Flex X Cop and its simple — yet astute — concept:  To catch the criminal rich, it is only logical to have someone as rich on your side. 

We’re so used to seeing scrappy cops and squads making do with what they have just to catch the elusive rich, and being made fun of for not having enough access or not knowing certain protocols when operating in higher social classes. Flex X Cop, however, eschews that desperation by injecting a dose of fun and glamour into the system. Yes, there are standard ways to catch a runaway fugitive, but hey, why not by a private helicopter piloted by your own chaebol cop using chaebol money? Isoo's rich-kid hijinks are the humorous heart of the show, and this twist on noblesse oblige can be ridiculously entertaining. 

While the cases and the resolutions by Team 1 are a mixed bag — some are too predictable, some are fun to figure out, while others are still as stuck in the 80s as shoulder pads (still using hypnosis? Really?), Flex X Cop is decent buddy-cop fun for the weekends.

It also doesn’t hurt that the show flexes Ahn Bo-hyun’s innate athleticism; this actor was built for grappling, kicking, and sliding off emergency escape ropes. He also puts his charm to good use, turning on the puppy-dog eyes when he needs to fawn over models and actresses to extract information. When he’s not charming the socks off the underworld, he also delivers on the drama goods and hits the grief button flawlessly, especially in the last few episodes where he has to confront his demons (aka his family) head-on. 

Flex X Cop seems to also be very Miami-Vice-coded: you have a lead like Crockett (played by Don Johnson) who’s stylish and charismatic but struggles with personal demons, and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs (played by Philip Michael Thomas) who has a more reserved and methodical investigator with a tragic past.** In Michael Mann's groundbreaking 80s buddy-cop show, Crockett and Rico form a strong partnership as they navigate the dangerous Miami underworld. In Flex X Cop, Jin Isoo slides effortlessly into charismatic and stylish Crockett mode, while Park Ji-hyun, his team chief, is the Rico who keeps him in check while the team plunges into Seoul's glamorous underbelly.

Now we have no confirmation if the show indeed took inspiration from Miami Vice, but any 80s kid could read Isoo's white suits and Tropicana shirts as an indubitable Don Johnson tribute — fight us on this. The 80s slicked-back bad-boy hair and the sheer number of shoulder pads worn throughout the show are also kinda hard to ignore. Heck, the Miami Vice vibe is so strong, that you can almost hear the Phil Collins soundtrack as Isoo walks in.

But lest this be a review fawning only over Ahn, we must also fairly say that the entire Team 1 is well-cast as well. Park Ji-hyun (who plays Isoo's team leader Lee Gang-hyun) and the rest of Team 1 share a fun and equitable chemistry with Ahn and make us believe that these actors could be friends in real life. We also appreciate the deep friendship angle that the show developed for Isoo and Gang-hyun, instead of forcing a workplace romance. There are cases to solve and bodies to send to forensics! There’s no time for love (in this season, anyway)!

But despite the mixed-bag slew of cases and the rather predictably melodramatic final episodes, Flex X Cop injects the tired old buddy cop trope with serious cash and some incredible fun, making us all wonder why we don’t see this trope more often. Thankfully, the show has been renewed for a second season. Until then we know that Team 1 is out there, battling high-profile crime with Jin Isoo, flashy fast cars and speedboats in tow. 

Available on Disney+

** For viewers who don’t know Miami Vice or were too young to remember… go away.

Just kidding. Here you go: oh yeah Phil Collins!

Stream if you want an easy and entertaining watch on a weekend night.

Skip if you're looking for a serious crime drama.

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