Café Minamdang is the newest South Korean drama being debuted on Netflix this week. The show follows the trend of debuting South Korean dramas at the same time as in South Korea, with the intention of keeping audiences up to the day with the latest releases. Café Minamdang is a show based on a novel titled “Minamdang: Case Note” which was awarded in several awards shows thanks to its quality of writing and its memorable characters. Now a live-action version comes to keep us on the edge of our seats.
The show is a mixture of both mystery and comedy as we follow Nam Han-joon, and his expert team of investigators, as they solve crimes and help people. While on the cover-up story of Han-joon being a powerful shaman that is able to talk to spirits. The show is quite entertaining and although is a clear issue when it comes to tonal whiplash, the show has enough interesting elements to create great stories and keep the audience engaged as long as it should.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for episode 1 of Café Minamdang. Read at your own risk.
What Happens With Han-joon’s Team At The End?
The first half of the episode takes its time when it comes to introducing Nam Han-joon. He is our main character. He is charming, polite, and has quite a big ego, he considers himself quite handsome, and the best at what he does. We see that Han-joon has been hired to oversee an interviewing process for the position of manager at a big, important hotel y South Korea. The owners of the hotel want the best people in charge so that the business can prosper.
Han-joon sees the interviews and, true a secret microphone, offers advice. He reveals the secrets of every single person coming to the interview, showing that they are not as good as they appear, and showing that all of them have terrible dark secrets. Including a high member of the board that has been sexually harassing coworkers. The criminal gets arrested, and Han-joon maintains his reputation as the best at what he does.
But what does Han-joon do? Han-joon is the owner of a coffee shop that also serves as a fortune-teller place. In this establishment, he serves coffee and uses his good looks to attract clients. Han-joon pretends to be a shaman, a says he can talk to spirits. From them, he says he gets secret info that can solve the problems of his clients. In reality, Han-joon is a former criminal profiler, and he can acquire information from his clients with just seeing how they dress or behave.
Han-joon doesn’t do this alone, he is also accompanied by a number of criminal detectives that now work at the fortune-teller place. The team also includes a genius hacker that basically can get information about everyone, everywhere. Together they create profiles on their clients and use that information to pretend they get all the secrets from spirits. The scam works, and Han-joon is able to seize big amounts of money from corrupt clients and help those who need it.
The first episode case involves a wife trying to reveal what is happening to her husband. It is revealed that the husband not only has an affair, but also crashed and killed someone while being out with his mistress. Han-joon and his team discover the last location of the husband’s car and discover the body of the man that got hit. However, the man is still alive, so they report it to the police. This good action is met with suspicion by a member of the police.
Who Is Han Jae-hee And Why She Knows Han-joon?
During the episode, we are also introduced to another main character. This woman is Han Jae-hee, who new detective who is joining the local detective department. She has been on the job for three years now and has created a reputation about it. She is an expert fighter, and a great detective in her own right, quite smart. Furthermore, she gets trapped with a couple of coworkers who are quite stupid. The situation becomes fuel for some funny interactions.
We don’t know the reason Han Jae-hee was transferred to this small post. She is quite accomplished, so why is she here solving small cases, instead of working the more important ones? Despite this situation, Han Jae-hee is quite humble and kind to her coworkers. It seems she really wants to make this work, but there seem to be some obstacle on her way. Her coworkers don’t see eye to eye with how competent she is.
A big revelation occurs at the end of the episode when, Han-joon reports the body of the person that got hit, and the detective that goes to investigate the scene is Han Jae-hee. She recognizes Han-joon from somewhere in the past. We see glimpses of Han Jae-hee watching a corpse, and we also see Han-joon crying and then going to prison. Han Jae-hee introduces herself, but Han-joon cannot place her face, although she looks familiar to him. Han Jae-hee watches him with pure hatred.
Later, Han Jae-hee goes to the coffee place and starts going through the trash to find something about Han-joon. She knows she is a fraud and wants to bring that to the light. Was the dead person Han-joon’s friend and Han Jae-hee’s boyfriend or husband? The relationship gets complicated as Han-joon seems to be smitten by Han Jae-hee.