The 36-episode series follows a young female coroner, Chu Chu, who applies to the Three Judicial Department to be an official coroner. Prince An @ Xiao Jin Yu, who heads the Three Judicial Department, is impressed with her talent & keen observations as a coroner. As both their lives intertwine more, the cases coming their way keeps them (and the audience) on their toes. These cases include:
- Deaths of a few government officers, who seem to have died a natural death
- Xiao Heng (Jin Yu and Jin Li’s father)’s disappearance more than 20 years ago & the little clues left behind the story of the rebel army in Southwest
- Chu Chu’s own background as a daughter of an accused rebel
- Minting of fake coins in the Southwest
- Suicides at General Leng’s army
- Twin of brothers & the princess’ benevolence
Accompanying the two main leads are Jin Yu’s childhood friends – Jing Yi who is also his Vice Minister helping him in investigation and Leng Yue who is Jianghu female wanderer & also granddaughter of General Leng. When the team goes south, General Xiao Jin Li (Jin Yu’s elder brother) joins them in their adventurous investigations.
From the first episode, I was already hooked to the storyline which is fast-paced & engaging. The story hooks you in with little clues as the series progress, in a rational & structured manner towards investigating the cases. Very much Justice-Bao style.
The series focuses on teamwork, with each individual contributing their expertise & playing the role towards the investigation. Jin Yu’s structured manner in solving problems, Chu Chu’s meticulous & keen observations of the corpses, Jing Yi’s ease in collating information & analysis, Leng Yue & Jin Li’s effective execution of tasks. Their teamwork seems seamless, matched with their individuality.
No dramatic surprises, but down to earth build up towards the cases & solving the crimes.
The characters are very likable. Chu Chu is naïve but kind & generous, always professional in her treatment of her career as a coroner. Jin Yu as the rational & level-headed young judge who strives for excellence in his work without caring for the political maneuvering. Jing Yi as the key assistant to Jin Yu but still enjoying his carefree attitude towards life. Leng Yue as the freedom-loving general’s granddaughter. Jin Li as the caring brother. Their interactions with each other are genuine, with trust built along the way, and clear communication.
The supporting casts are also likable. Wu Jiang the protector of Jin Yu, always thinking of his master’s safety. Princess Xi Ping as the doting mother & proud princess, getting extremely angry at the eunuch. Her use of whip, woo hoo…. the best! Minister Jing and his wife – Jing Yi’s parents are almost like the typical parents not knowing how to manage their rebellious son. General Leng managing his own army, but unable to dote on granddaughter due to the many misunderstandings.
Villain-wise, they are despicable but each with their stories & objectives. Qin Luan keeping his power as the Head of Eunuch. Xu Rue Cheng @ Duke Chang-impostor(?) coveting the throne. Xu Ru Gui making more and more evil steps as he goes down the path of his own destructions. General Zhou Han and his greed for wealth & power.
Romance-wise, the series focuses on Jin Yu and Chu Chu. Their relationship is special, slowly building over time. Their innocence attraction towards each other is obvious and both suits each other so well!
Meanwhile, the pairing of Jing Yi and Leng Yue is also well-matched. Was a little disappointed that not much attention is given towards Jin Li and his love interest. There are pockets of scenes implying the budding romance, but never delved into details.
The story is set in Tang Dynasty, under the Emperor Xuan Zong ie Li Long Ji.
Most of the actors & actresses are considered quite fresh, which is a refreshing look at the new sets of talented actors & actresses (at least for me).
The last 2 to 3 episodes seem to be extremely rushed, with seemingly cuts in many of the scenes. It is a waste as I would have liked the pacing to be smoother with a proper wrap on the conclusion.
One of the best Chinese ancient series in recent period that I have watched. Fast-paced, engaging, realistic with really tightly scripted plots and likable characters. If you like suspenseful series with no dramatic & sad endings, what are you waiting for? Start the series, and see how fast you will be hooked.