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Judge Dee’s Mystery Review: A Compelling Historical Drama With Some Flaws

Judge Dee's Mystery Review

The show “Judge Dee’s Mystery” revolves around Wu Zetian’s governmental reorganization  including the talented and driven Di Renjie being transferred to a remote village in the empire’s eastern regions. Di had a setback at first, but his extraordinary case-solving skills soon showed. 

Judge Dee's Mystery Review
Credits: Newhanfu

However, as he dug further into his research, a maze of secrets started to come to light, exposing the intricate and little-known details of the power struggles going on inside the empire. Now that we have a basic understanding of the show, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it. Is it worth watching? We have an answer for you.

A Captivating Experience 

Zhou Yi Wei plays Judge Dee in this engrossing historical detective drama in a gritty yet clever way that is reminiscent of earlier stories but with his own distinct flair.

The show “Judge Dee’s Mystery” centers on Judge Dee, who deftly and resolutely solves mysteries while navigating complex cases amid a backdrop of gorgeous sets and costumes. Every episode is captivating, taking viewers into a world where justice is both necessary and elusive. The cinematography is commendable and compliments the story well. 

“Judge Dee’s Mystery” and its fast-paced storyline captivates viewers. One thing to notice is that romance doesn’t take center stage until episode 8. It’s surprising that even though there is no romance or build-up, we don’t feel the need to fast-forward any sequences because the plot is always interesting and doesn’t drag. 

A Captivating Experience 
Credits: DramaPanda

However, one major problem with the drama, we feel, is that Zhou Yi Wei’s portrayal carries the entire team of investigators, leaving supporting characters underdeveloped. The chemistry between Ma Rong, Qiao Tai, and Judge Dee in particular is lacking; their exchanges come across as forced and implausible.

The dynamics visibly change with the arrival of Deng Xiaoguan, making this mismatch even more obvious. Also, Ma Rong’s character, who is meant to be delightfully irritating, falls flat in the plot and doesn’t connect with viewers since it isn’t funny or nuanced. 

Strengths and Weaknesses in Judge Dee’s Mystery

We also identified Cao An as the obvious weak link in the ensemble, pointing out that despite having a large amount of screen time, her character lacks depth. The portrayal of Cao An, leaves us unsatisfied, but we must say that Zhou Yi Wei and Wang Likun represent infatuation and love at first sight in a compelling fashion.

With that being said, Cao An’s character is mostly used as a decorative element for the majority of the series, but in the last case, her bravery allows her character to truly come to life. 

Strengths and Weaknesses in Judge Dee's Mystery

However, even with these small flaws, “Judge Dee’s Mystery” excels thanks to its deft blending of historical authenticity, gripping narrative, and vividly rendered characters. It has a lasting influence on the genre and is a shining illustration of the extraordinary heights to which Chinese historical dramas may reach.

Its exceptional performances, creative storytelling technique, and unwavering commitment to authenticity elevate it above any minor shortcomings. The visually stunning and emotionally captivating storyline of Judge Dee’s trek through the maze-like mysteries of the Tang Dynasty captivates viewers and solidifies the series’ status as a true standout in its category.

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While “Judge Dee’s Mystery” boasts a compelling premise and Zhou Yi Wei’s captivating portrayal, its supporting cast and character dynamics falter a little. The lack of chemistry among the investigators, especially evident with Ma Rong and Qiao Tai, detracts from the immersion. 

Additionally, the erratic presence of sidekicks and underdeveloped characters like Cao An contribute to a sense of inconsistency. Despite these flaws, the series redeems itself with its intricate plot and stunning cinematography. We recommend “Judge Dee’s Mystery” if you are a fan of history and mystery! 

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