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Park Moo Yul, a taekwondo instructor, and Kim Yong Soo, a Manhwa store owner, are two slackers. One day, a lady stumbles upon their quarters, reads the old sign outside ("We’ll take on anything you need"), and believes them to be an investigative agency. She offers them money to find her arrogant cat, Honey. Entranced at the idea of making a quick buck, the two take on the job.
Their neighbor, fortune-teller Jung Hee Kyung, also enlists their help to find out the "ghost" that's making the eerie noise in their building. Turns out to be Honey and her three little ones, who have made a home in the walls. They also come upon three solid gold objects and a withered hand. After reporting it to the authorities, a young woman named Eun Jae comes to them to find out more information about the hand.
Thus begins the Evasive Inquiry Agency (Hangul: 얼렁뚱땅 흥신소), a 2007 KBS2 Korean Drama, penned by Park Yun Sun.
Hee Kyung: (after seeing Eun Jae's mansion) My imagination is as pitiful as my A-cup. I only imagined a 50 pyeong apartment.
- In Episode 4 we find out she wears falsies.
- Accidental Hero: The trope gets the whole plot rolling.
- Affectionate Parody: The Tag is usually in a different style. The show itself is a parody of Detective Drama.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Moo Yul's "I like you! I don't care if you're rich or poor!" in Episode 3 nets only a "sorry" and an embarrassing silence.
- Answer Cut: As the characters are talking about regrets, Baek Min Chul says nothing but the scene immediately shifts to his delusional mother sitting alone on Christmas, waiting for him.
- Armor-Piercing Statement: "Jo Man Ki died in a wall."
- Armor-Piercing Slap: When they're running out of air, Hee Kyung delivers one to Baek Min Chul while he and Moo Yul are fighting.
- Aside Glance
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other:
- Bad Bad Acting: Every time the gang, Eun Jae especially, attempt to throw off people by acting.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Moo Yul's reason for why Eun Jae isn't evil is simply "because she's pretty."
- The Bechdel Test: Passes. Hee Kyung and Eun Jae's main conflict comes from their class differences.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Emperor Gojong hid his gold somewhere around Deoksu Palace, because he feared a Japanese invasion.
- Big Heroic Run
- Bit Character: The series has quite a bunch of these. Take for example, the three taekwondo students who start off the series chasing a cat, practicing taekwondo at Moo Yul's, visiting Yong Soo's manhwa store, etc. -- all random events that are linked to one another somehow.
- Blind Seer:
- Bound and Gagged: Eun Jae in episode 3.
- Brand Names Are Better: Because her closet is stocked with fakes, Hee Kyung is immediately suspicious of Eun Jae's brand-named goods. Also, Hee Kyung has trouble selling to a pawnshop because her stuff is fake.
- Brilliant but Lazy: To Yong Soo, one of the baduk-playing elders say, "(You) were such a smart kid. How did you grow up to be like this?"
- Broken Pedestal: Eun Jae finds out that her father murdered Yong Soo's brother.
- Call Back: Numerous
- Little taekwondo kid berates teenagers who read manhwa in-store as a Call Back to an earlier scene when Yong Soo demonstrated the Slippery Slope Fallacy.
- Moo Yul practices his later speeches to make up for his horrible public speaking, which was exhibited in the first episode.
- Why couldn't Eun Jae couldn't get her windows open? Because the Gold Building is linked to a series of tunnels so the ground keeps shifting!
- The Tag usually is a callback to a minor plot point in the episode.
- Can't Reach the TV Remote
Hee Kyung: Why are you watching the news?
Moo Yul: Noona ... (Stretches but remote is just out of reach) remote ...
Hee Kyung: Lazy bastard.
- Can't Spit It Out: Eun Jae
- Can Not Tell a Lie: Moo Yul
- Casanova Wannabe: Moo Yul
- Cats Are Mean: Honey. And Moo Yul has a scratch on his face to prove it.
- Chase Scene: A rather short one in Case 5
- Chekhov's Gun/Chekhov's Gunman: Too many. That paper that Yong Soo used to swat a bug a few episodes ago? Yeah, that's a map that shows where the rest of the gold is. The old man who plays baduk with the landlord? Yeah, he can decipher that map.
- Clark Kent Outfit: Moo Yul dons one in Episode 6.
- Claustrophobia: Eun Jae suffers panic attacks and fainting spells due to claustrophobia.
- Cluster Bleep Bomb: Moo Yul in Episode 4 after he finds out that his dojo has been ransacked.
- Cold Open
- Crappy Holidays:
- The gang decide to celebrate Chuseok together because none of them can go home to their families: Hee Kyung's sister-in-law is Christian so having a Phony Psychic around is uncomfortable; Moo Yul owes his father and brother money; Yong Soo's family fell apart since the disappearance of Jun Soo; Eun Jae's parents are dead and her uncles are having an inheritance dispute.
- The last couple of episodes, when the main characters are trapped underground, is set during Christmas--and intercut with scenes of the bit characters having anywhere from awesome holidays to crappy Christmases.
- Creepy Cemetery: Subverted
- Daddy Issues
- Dating Catwoman: Hee Kyung and gangster boss, Baek Min Chul
- Deadpan Snarker: Yong Soo
Yong Soo: (about Moo Yul's brains) Is that thing on your shoulder an accessory?
- Deliberately Monochrome: As Yong Soo trails Baek Min Chul, the scene is intercut with black-and-white flashbacks of a young Yong Soo watching his mother cry out "Why?"
- Demonic Possession: Several times in the story, Hee Kyung is "possessed" by a ghost.
- Designated Victim: Eun Jae
- The Determinator: Hee Kyung
Hee Kyung: I won't die here! I can't die here.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: "Treasure maps always come in three!"
- Disproportionate Retribution: Honey's owner stops paying taxes because the police won't find her "child," who happens to be her cat Honey.
- Distressed Damsel: Eun Jae
- Double Standard: After noticing that Hee Kyung didn't get beat up by the gangsters, a bloodied Moo Yul rails on them for having double standards.
- Dramatic Shattering: When one of Moo Yul's students say that he would have to quit taekwondo in order to take English classes, the sign behind Moo Yul crashes, causing Moo Yul to exclaim (in English), "Oh my god!"
- Drowning My Sorrows
- Early-Bird Cameo: Baek Min Chul is shown in the first scene of the show, but is not introduced until episodes later.
- Easy Amnesia: Discussed. Moo Yul asks Yong Soo to hit him over the head because he wants amnesia.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Baek Min Chul
- Evil Gloating: Lee Jae Seung's son, Lee San
- Evil Laugh: Yong Soo tells Hee Kyung that she resembles the Queen from Snow White when she cackles.
- Exact Eavesdropping: Eun Jae overhears Moo Yul's confession, "That's right, I like Eun Jae. I've liked her since I laid eyes on her!"
- Failed a Spot Check: Officer Jang comes to the gang's office and invites the gang to his kid's first birthday party--while the gang is kidnapping 007. And the only reason he entered the gang's office was because he noticed the suspicious gangsters.
- Female Gaze/Male Gaze: The show is equal-opportunity.
- Flash Forward
- Flipping the Bird: Hee Kyung flips off the camera while insulting Baek Min Chul.
- Final Speech: The main characters each deliver one when they're all trapped underground, running out of air.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Baek Min Chul has a scar on his right hand.
- Goth: Played With by Hee Kyung
- Hilarious Outtakes: At the end of the series
- Honor Before Reason: Lee San is willing to throw away his life to clear his dead father's name.
- Hostage for Macguffin: Inverted. The gang (the four main characters) kidnap 007 to exchange him for the map.
- How We Got Here: The first episode starts with the four protagonists trapped in some kind of underground cave-in. Then the show vault backwards four months in time and the story proper picks up.
- Humble Pie: Hee Kyung eats a bit of Humble Pie. Doesn't help that the other main characters die from laughter about it.
- I See Dead People: As a psychic, Hee Kyung claims to interact with ghosts.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is called a case.
- Idiot Ball: Apparently no one in Korea can recognize the sound of a yowling cat.
- Imagine Spot
- Impairment Shot: Eun Jae in episode 5 as her panic attack hits.
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: A perfectly obvious one affixed to the ceiling of the comic book store in episode 7.
- In Medias Res
- In-Series Nickname:
- Based on their professions, Moo Yul is "taekwondo," Yong Soo is "Manhwa," and Hee Kyung is "tarot card."
- Eun Jae is usually called "branded (goods)," "attic girl," or "branded attic girl."
- "Six-Fingered" Jo Man Ki, who was a grave robber and a thief--and is longer six-fingered
- Gangster Kang Seung Ho is called "007" (Double-oh-seven) by the main characters.
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted
- It's All My Fault:
- Yong Soo blames himself for Jun Soo's disappearance.
- Baek Min Chul's father was a murderer and as a result, Baek Min Chul suffered in his childhood.
Hee Kyung: (to Baek Min Chul) It's not your fault. You're not a bad person. What your father did has nothing to do with you.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Eun Jae's childhood memory loss is the reason she hires the Power Trio.
- Long-Lost Relative: Yong Soo's brother Jun Soo disappeared years ago.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Eun Jae
- Lost in Translation: The Korean title of the show can be translated as "bumbling, laughable investigation agency." Alternatively, the show is called "A Sloppy Inquiry Office" or "Mixed-up Investigative Agency."
- Love At First Sight: Moo Yul to Eun Jae
- Love Confession:
- Moo Yul makes an "official" one to Eun Jae in the hospital.
Moo Yul: I revealed my feelings before I wanted to last time, but now I'd like to tell you officially. I like you.
- Love Hurts
- Malaproper: Moo Yul messes up the old wives' tale of "pretty songpyun = pretty children."
- Meaningful Name: The gang headquarters is stationed in the "Gold Building," when the gold is first found. Also, the plot of the show is about finding long lost emperors' gold based on a series of maps.
- Milholland Relationship Moment: After spending a while debating on whether or not she should tell him, Eun Jae finally admits to Yong Soo that her father killed his brother. After a moment of silence, Yong Soo smiles, "Are you hungry? Have you eaten?"
- Monster Is a Mommy: Honey
- Mouthy Kid: Little taekwondo kid that Yong Soo "hires" is a budding Con Artist.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Doubly Subverted. When the four main characters are being chased by gangsters and Yong Soo is grabbed, Hee Kyung immediately goes, "Leave him!" But when Moo Yul points out that Yong Soo has the map that their pursuers want, she changes to "save him!"
- Non-Indicative Name: The Gold Building is quite run-down.
- One Steve Limit: Subverted. Rich Casanova, Kim Jun Soo, shares the same name as Yong Soo's brother.
- Only in It For the Money: The Power Trio
- Panty Thief: Moo Yul is a toothbrush thief.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Moo Yul and Eun Jae disguise themselves, including a cover story, to plant a bug in the hotel that acts as the gangsters' front.
Yong Soo: (to Moo Yul) You look just like Superman--before he turns into Superman.
- Phony Psychic/Not So Phony Psychic: Hee Kyung
- Power Trio: Moo Yul, Yong Soo, and Hee Kyung are a cross between Comic Trio and Three Amigos.
- Professional Slacker: Yong Soo
- Punch Clock Villain: Officer Jang
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- Raised Christian: Playboy Kim Jun Soo
- Ransacked Room: Moo Yul, Yong Soo, and Hee Kyung were all robbed and come home to ransacked rooms. Hilariously, Hee Kyung initially doesn't notice anything amiss because her apartment is always messy.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hee Kyung launches an epic one on Eun Jae in episode 8 after Eun Jae (correctly) questions the sincerity of Hee Kyung's new boyfriend.
- Retraux Flashback
- Running Gag
- What exactly is Reporter Yong's first name?
- Will the gang ever get free dumplings?
- Self-Serving Memory: When Moo Yul, Yong Soo, and Hee Kyung retell their stories to Eun Jae
- MacGyver theme song plays as Yong Soo dives into his encyclopedic knowledge of manhwa.
- Yong Soo retells the grave-robbing adventures of Jo Man Ki as Indiana Jones.
- Prison Break
- Moo Yul's Imagine Spot of Jo Man Ki begins with two men wearing trench coats and Hee Kyung immediately objects, "Don't you dare tell the A Better Tomorrow story!"
- The Leitmotif for the character nicknamed 007 is the James Bond theme.
- "And I .... will always love you!"
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Silent Movie: The tag to Episode 3 is a parody of silent films.
- Slippery Slope Fallacy: Yong Soo berates 3 high schoolers for reading manhwa books in his shop instead of buying -> violent altercation -> bad publicity for his shop -> manhwa industry stigmatization
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Moo Yul thinks he and Eun Jae are star-crossed.
Moo Yul: The distance between me and Eun Jae is the distance between Seoul and New York.
Hee Kyung: New York? This kid is still in disbelief. She's as far away as Andromeda. A goddess from another galaxy. Both of you are different species, even.
Moo Yul: Stick a knife into a corpse, why don't you?
- Stealth Insult: The Power Trio is fond of insulting one another.
- The Stoic: Eun Jae
- Submissive Badass: 007 to Baek Min Chul
- Super Window Jump: When the Gold Building is infiltrated by gangster, the only exit is through the window. So Moo Yul jumps.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
Baek Min Chul: (to Hee Kyung) Once I'd met you, I fell in love with you. (Beat) Would you feel better if I said that?
- The Tag
- Tarot Troubles: Hee Kyung gives Baek Min Chul a reading.
- That Didn't Happen: When Eun Jae turns down Moo Yul's public Love Confession, everyone around them has to pretend they didn't see/hear to save Moo Yul the embarrassment.
- Those Two Guys: The two gangsters who spy on the gang
- Torture Always Works: Moo Yul to Yong Soo - to get the creative juices rolling
- Treasure Map
- Twisted Echo Cut
Yong Soo: I wonder if anyone would notice we're gone. (Cut to a couple of customers standing in front of his manhwa store.)
- Undying Loyalty: 007 won't give up his boss for his young daughter.
- The Unfavourite: When Yong Soo visits his mother, she immediately asks "Is that you, Jun Soo?" Never mind the fact that Jun Soo has been dead for almost 20 years.
- Vehicular Assault:
- Moo Yul throws a rock at the gangsters' car when they're making off with Eun Jae.
- Also, the gangsters attack the car in order to kidnap Moo Yul and Hee Kyung.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Eun Jae has a panic attack when the gang is hiding in a subterranean passageway.
- What Could Have Been: Yong Soo invokes this as he flips through a photo album of his brother, Jun Soo, finally finishing up with "I'm just saying. He would have died anyway."
- What If: The Tag at the end of Case 10 finishes with "How many What Ifs are our lives built upon?"
- When She Smiles: Eun Jae
Moo Yul: If you're going to smile, let me know beforehand so I can prepare.