Sweet Spy is a Korean television drama (K-drama) that was produced in 2005 by the MBC network. The show consists of twenty hour long episodes. It is a romantic comedy set in a world of police officers and international spies. A young female police officer gives a man a traffic ticket, who she did not know was an international spy. From that moment, her life would not be the same as she slowly becomes wrapped in a world of deception and falls in love. Overall, Sweet Spy melds comedy, romance, action, and melodrama into one nice package, offering an engaging drama that is hard to put down. It is one that K-drama fans will not want to miss out on.
The story's primary female character is Lee Soon-Ae (Nam Sang Mi). Soon-Ae has a somber past. Her husband, Min-Wook, was a police officer who died in a car accident. His death came only weeks after their wedding. Honoring him, she became a police officer. She was assigned to a special detail protecting the First Lady. Unfortunately, Soon-Ae made a mistake was demoted to Traffic Patrol and later to Public Park Security. Part of the reason for her demotions is her attitude. She is tough on crime and does not think about consequences. In the opening of the series, she witnesses Han Yoo-Il (Dennis Oh) run a red light, almost hitting her. She responds in an overzealous manner. During the exchange, she uses Yoo-Il's pen, which she does not return.
Yoo-Il is one of two primary male characters and not a typical guy. At the surface, he is a powerful and wealthy businessman. In reality, he is an international spy. He recently returned to Korea from a special mission -- where he retrieved the pen that Soon-Ae took. The pen is device with top secret information. After losing the pen, he is determined to get it back. He tracks her down and reveals his standing as a spy. Yoo-Il and his kooky, older sidekick enlist Soon-Ae's aid to support their "secret" missions.
Meanwhile at Eunpyung Station, the second primary leading male character Kang Joon (Lee Joo-Hyun) is appointed as the new captain of the Investigations division. Kang is level-headed cop who is determined to do the right thing. He has personal issues, which are due to his father abandoning him. On his first day, Soon-Ae brings in a man who tried to run from a traffic ticket. He turned out to have connections leading up to the police chief. Kang supported Soon-Ae bringing him in, which was quickly squashed by the higher ups. From this moment, Kang developed an appreciation for Soon-Ae that turned into much more. Coincidentally, Kang was high school classmates with former husband.
At the same time Kang took over the Investigation division, Lieutenant Park Eun-Joo (Yoo Seon) came onboard as the latest recruit. Eun-Joo is a highly decorated officer and well-known for her beauty and fighting skills. She has a mysterious personality and an agenda not entirely known. When she arrives at the unit, Kang is shocked. They have a history, as she still has strong feelings for him. Her arrival produces some friction.
As the story develops, Yoo-Il recruits Soon-Ae to work on his behalf. The situation is pretty comical. Soon-Ae takes the matter too seriously while Yoo-Il and his sidekick try to find out who she is working for. They believe she intentionally took the special pen. Yoo-Il sets Soon-Ae on a variety of "missions" that are more like dates. The additional fact that Soon-Ae lost the pen makes the situation even funnier. The matters are complicated when Yoo-Il develops feelings for her. At the same time, Kang's interests in Soon-Ae develop as well. He feels for her and a dramatic love triangle ensues. The romance is further complicated by Eun-Joo's feelings for Kang and Soon-Ae's deadbeat high school friend Choi Ji-Su has her eye on Yoo-Il.
Eventually, the quest for the pen ends and the story expands into a complex situation involving a bunch of secrets. Kang conducts an investigation into Min-Wook's death. He quickly learns that the accident is connected to players in the spy world. These people include Yoo-Il and Kang's maternal uncle Song Hyun-Cheol. Hyun-Cheol is of particular interest, as he is one of the villains. His agenda is not clear, except for the fact he wants these secrets kept secret. He will stop at nothing to keep them silenced. Another key player is Choi Bum-ku. He is an old school gangster who was recently released from prison. He unknowingly stole top secret documents years ago. That act connects him to Kang, Yoo-Il, Song, and Hyun-Cheol, and he is mistaken for an international spy.
The story is unrealistic, but still a lot of fun. The excitement comes from different aspects. The romantic relationships between the primary and supporting characters are of interest. Unlike some other K-dramas, Sweet Spy uses romance as an underlying factor. While it is a critical development to the storyline and the characters, it is not as thick and over-the-top as other series. Nevertheless, it is still a fun aspect with the heat between Kang and Yoo-Il for Soon-Ae. The storyline is pretty solid. While it is over-the-top, the notion of spies and cops unraveling mysterious connections to each other has a fun tone. In addition, the pacing is very good and never fails to be engaging.
The series has a strong cast. In particular, Nam Sang-Mi is wonderful as the leading female Soon-Ae. Nam gives her character an adorable and likeable personality. She can be cute and sweet, yet tough and brash at the same time. Soon-Ae is also a great character due to the comical undertone she brings to her character in various awkward situations. While dealing with Kang and Yoo-Il, she repeatedly gets into some goofy situations. Both leading males Dennis Oh and Lee Joo-Hyun are also worth noting. They are strong in their respective roles and make for good opposites to Nam.
Overall, Sweet Spy is a fun K-drama with a solid storyline and a well-rounded cast. While some K-dramas can get pretty thick with drama, Sweet Spy is lighter on drama. Personally, I enjoy the soapy and thick melodramatic approach of K-dramas, but I also found this approach worked for the show. The fact of the matter is that Sweet Spy is entertaining and engaging with a great cast. Fans of K-dramas will definitely get their money's worth.