In this series, two police officers communicate solely by walkie-talkie in order to solve cold cases. The twist being that one is living in the past. As well as these two individuals is a third officer who worked with the first as a trainee and now works with the other one as a detective.
In this kind of story it can be difficult to maintain a logic guiding the time anomaly. This is especially the case in Signal, since the communications from the past aren’t even in chronological order: the first two transmissions are from a particular year and then the next (which doesn’t happen until eight years later) is from three years previously.
If I’ve made it look complicated then don’t be put off. This all happens over the course of the first two episodes and the phenomena is introduced slowly, so there’s plenty of time to understand what’s going on.
As a police drama, it works well. The stories are interesting, the procedures seem realistic and it’s played straight. The acting is fine, with Kitamura Kazuki putting in by far the most compelling performance as Ouyama, the police officer from the 1990s.
Everyone else is good, but a little bit typical for the genre: there's the gruff career cop, the US-trained profiler with his new-fangled ways, the female detective who is basically The Sensible One in the team and, of course, an evil police commissioner. But I suppose you need a few archetypes in a police drama. It certainly saves time in introducing characters.
I’ve already seen the original Korean drama so, if it stays true to that storyline, I know it’ll be a strong drama with a satisfying conclusion. And so far it seems to be doing just that. This is a great example of how to do a drama that links two different timelines without it getting messy or unrealistic.