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Police drama makes for arresting viewing

Updated: 2021-02-25 09:20 ( China Daily )
Veteran actor Wu Gang, as police officer Gao Xiaotian, is set to bring gangsters to justice. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Realistic approach to tackling crime sees TV series win praise for acting and plotlines, Xue Mengchen and Xu Fan report. 

Bomb explosions. Gun fights. Car chases down narrow alleys. Such adrenaline-filled scenes often pop into our minds when picturing a crime movie or TV drama.

However, the actual police officers' work to hunt criminals is a more time-consuming yet less dramatic procedure most of the time, as observed by the creators behind The Dragnet, a TV series that has recently made a splash online.

Backed by the Ministry of Public Security, the 38-episode television drama now available on the streaming giant iQiyi is based on several real stories of Chinese police officers' overseas operations to tackle crime.

Currently, the drama has notched up 8.6 points out of 10 on iQiyi and 7.6 points on the popular review site Douban, with its major audience being men aged from 30 to 35, according to the producers.

Teaming up a dozen veterans, such as actor Wu Gang and Simon Yam, as well as actresses Ke Lan and Yu Feihong, the series has seen directors Yu Chun and Lyu Zibo join hands to shoot for more than six months from late 2019 to mid-2020.

The TV drama traces three cases in detail: persuading witnesses to return to China; transnational telecommunication fraud and assisting local law enforcement personnel to crack down on Chinese immigrant gangsters.

Producer Li Xiaoning says the creators spent two years reading, studying and watching documentaries, as well as interviewing police officers who have participated in overseas assignments to get firsthand information.

"We have heard many interesting stories. In foreign countries, Chinese police officers don't have law enforcement power. They need to overcome a lot of obstacles, varying from language barriers to cultural gaps, and seek help from Chinese embassies to establish cooperation with local police forces," says Li.

Chinese police officers who are assigned to overseas tasks are usually highly educated, speak English fluently and master knowledge of the law in foreign countries, Li adds.

Plainclothes officers, played by Wang Yu (left) and Ma Yinyin (right), check information on a computer. [Photo provided to China Daily]
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