Signal (2016) KDrama Review and Ending Explained

Signal is often regarded as one of the standout Korean dramas in the crime and thriller genre. The series follows the story of detectives from different time periods communicating through a mysterious walkie-talkie to solve cold cases and prevent crimes.

The show brilliantly intertwines past and present, creating a captivating narrative that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The character development is strong, especially the main trio: a detective from the past, a profiler from the present, and a detective from the future. Their interactions and growth throughout the series add depth to the storyline.

The writing is top-notch, keeping the audience engaged with its suspenseful plot twists and well-paced storytelling. The concept of altering the past to change the future adds an intriguing element of mystery and ethical dilemma.

Moreover, the production quality, acting, and direction are exceptional, contributing to the show’s overall success. It effectively combines crime-solving elements with emotional depth, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre.

However, some viewers might find the time-travel aspect a bit complex to follow at times. Additionally, the ending has sparked discussions among fans, with mixed reactions to how certain storylines were resolved.

Overall, “Signal” is highly praised for its gripping plot, strong performances, and innovative storytelling, making it a standout series in the Korean drama landscape.

The Casts

The main cast of “Signal” includes:

  • Lee Je-hoon as Park Hae-young: He plays a detective in the present time period who communicates with a detective from the past through a mysterious walkie-talkie.
  • Kim Hye-soo as Cha Soo-hyun: She portrays a detective in the past timeline who communicates with Park Hae-young through the walkie-talkie, aiding in solving cases.
  • Jo Jin-woong as Lee Jae-han: He is a detective from the past timeline, communicating with Park Hae-young to solve cases and prevent crimes.

These three actors form the core of the series, with their interactions and collaboration forming the crux of the storyline. There are other supporting actors and actresses who play crucial roles in various episodes, contributing significantly to the development of the plot and the overall narrative.

Signal (2016) Ending Explained

“Signal” has a complex and thought-provoking ending that ties together the threads of its intricate storyline. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished the series!

In the final episodes, the show unravels the mystery behind the walkie-talkie’s ability to connect different timelines. It’s revealed that the walkie-talkie was originally possessed by a criminal, the culprit behind many unsolved cases, including the murder of Lee Jae-han, the detective from the past.

The series concludes with a resolution to various ongoing cases and a confrontation with the main antagonist. The past is altered as the characters strive to prevent tragedies from occurring, leading to changes in the present.

The ending showcases a moral dilemma regarding changing the past to influence the present/future. Park Hae-young, the protagonist, faces the choice of saving someone important to him versus maintaining the timeline integrity. Ultimately, the series suggests that the past cannot be entirely altered without consequences, and some events are destined to occur.

The finale emphasizes closure for the characters, with resolutions to their personal arcs and the mysteries they’ve been pursuing. It also hints at the possibility of a more hopeful future despite the limitations of changing the past.

However, interpretations of the ending can vary. Some viewers appreciate the closure and character resolutions, while others might find the time-travel elements and resolutions ambiguous or open to interpretation.

Interesting facts about the Korean drama Signal (2016)

“Signal” isn’t just a gripping drama; it’s also notable for several interesting facts:

  1. Real-Life Inspiration: The show was inspired by real unsolved criminal cases in South Korea. Some of the cases depicted in the series were based on actual events, adding a chilling layer of realism to the storyline.
  2. Critical Acclaim: “Signal” received widespread critical acclaim, not just in South Korea but internationally as well. It gained a dedicated fanbase and consistently high ratings throughout its run.
  3. High Ratings & Awards: The drama was a massive success, achieving impressive viewership ratings in South Korea. It also won numerous awards, including Best Drama at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards in 2016.
  4. Unique Time-Travel Element: Unlike many time-travel-themed shows, “Signal” focused on communication across different time periods through a walkie-talkie rather than physical time travel. This concept added a unique twist to the genre.
  5. Cameo Appearances: Several well-known actors made cameo appearances in “Signal,” adding to its allure. Cameos included actors from other popular dramas, making it a treat for fans.
  6. Director and Writer Collaboration: The series was directed by Kim Won-suk, known for his work on “Misaeng,” and written by Kim Eun-hee, who also wrote the hit series “Kingdom.” Their collaboration brought a fresh perspective and strong storytelling to the series.
  7. Impact on Korean TV: “Signal” left a significant impact on the Korean drama landscape. Its success paved the way for more interest in crime and thriller genres in Korean television, inspiring subsequent dramas to explore similar themes.
  8. International Popularity: The show gained popularity beyond South Korea and has been widely praised by international audiences, contributing to the global popularity of Korean dramas.

These factors combined to make “Signal” not just a standout drama in its genre but also a significant cultural phenomenon in Korean television.

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