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Police drama makes for arresting viewing

Updated: 2021-02-25 09:20 ( China Daily )
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A scene from the TV series The Dragnet features police officers going abroad to tackle cases. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Director Yu, a veteran who has worked in the television industry for more than a decade, says he and Lyu set out to be as realistic as possible before shooting.

"One of the top rules that Chinese police officers should follow is that they must comply with local laws and regulations. So, it usually takes a lot of time in negotiations," says Yu, explaining that the TV series, as a result, has more dialogue than action sequences.

Ke Lan, a veteran actress who plays a female police officer, says she had online talks with the archetype of her character to gain more inspiration.

"She is a brilliant woman and an outstanding police officer. Through the video chats, I saw she has a tiny mole on her face, so I drew one on my face, too. When I was shooting the TV series, this tiny mole always reminded me to think that if I were her, what my reactions would be like," she says.

With its popularity online, the TV series has also gripped the attention of industry observers and researchers.

Yin Hong, deputy chairman of the China Film Association and a professor at Tsinghua University, says The Dragnet marks a breakthrough in highlighting Chinese police's overseas campaigns.

"The rise of China on the world stage has laid a realistic foundation for TV tales to display Chinese security force's effort to protect the safety of Chinese nationals overseas, making such stories convincing and relatable," says Yin.

Wang Yichuan, chairman of the China Literature and Art Critics Association, says The Dragnet exemplifies local talents' new effort to expand storytelling techniques of re-creating China's overseas missions, regarding it as the latest successful work following previous similar-themed blockbusters such as the 2016 film Operation Mekong.

"With a sophisticated blending of suspense and realistic details, the drama has demonstrated Chinese police officers' wit and courage, reflecting China's determination to battle against crime and protect national security," he says.

Officers recognized at an award ceremony in the series. [Photo provided to China Daily]
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