Busted! (TV)

Show Details

범인은 바로 너 (Korean)
Originally Broadcast – 2018-Present
2 series so far
Starring: Yoo Jae-Suk, Ahn Jae-Wook, Kim Jong-Min, Lee Kwang-Soo, Park Min-Young, Oh Se-Hun, Kim Se-Jeong and Lee Seung-Gi
Available on Netflix

The Blurb

Tackling different mysteries in each episode of this game show, seven sleuths get closer to solving the biggest one of all: What happened to Project D?

The Verdict

Chaotic, confusing and frequently hilarious, admittedly Busted! isn’t much of a mystery show but it is enormous fun.

My Thoughts

Busted! (범인은 바로 너) is a comedic show that blends elements of game show, mystery and escape room formats to create something quite unique and often very funny.

The main cast is comprised of seven celebrities, each of whom play fictionalized versions of themselves (several cast members are from the long-running, popular Korean variety show Running Man). They have been experimented on by the mysterious K, injected with the DNA of great detectives to give them their abilities.

Each episode presents the team with a scenario that adapts different mystery tropes. For instance scenarios include a magician vanishing during a stage show, a cold case, several locked rooms and a case with supernatural elements.

It did take me a little while to adjust to the show’s sense of humor and to fully understand the concept but by about halfway through the first episode I was fully on-board. Those who are already familiar with Korean variety shows will not have that issue (I have since become a big fan – this show was my gateway).

Not every case is equally compelling and I will say that some clues will be hard for non-Korean speakers to crack (any involving Korean homophones for instance). Even when a puzzle was beyond me though, the chemistry between the cast remained highly endearing and I appreciated the imagination and creativity on display in creating so many different puzzles.

The majority of the puzzles though are pretty accessible – a few even rely on a knowledge of English – and the best cases are thoroughly entertaining such as The Vanished Magician and Battle of the Detectives.

I should say that for all the mystery-theming this show is first and foremost a comedic variety show with a focus on physical games and location-hopping. The success rate for some of these challenges is quite low and often there is a good dose of luck involved (or waiting for Park Min-Young to solve the problems for the boys) but almost every situation prompts lots of comedic bickering.

More than anything it left me with a tremendous desire to head to an escape room and solve some puzzles for myself and gave me a long list of places I really want to visit in South Korea (top of the list – C-Through Cafe in Seoul’s Yongsan district which produces gorgeous painted coffees and the lava caves on Jeju Island).

The second season debuted a few months ago and I was pleased to find that the quality of the games and puzzles remained high. The episodes do have a stronger connection to each other than in the first season with several characters and elements making repeat appearances. This means that the overarching plot feels more cohesive, particularly in the middle of the season, and I was more engaged in that story.

There is also a casting change that I have mixed feelings about. I enjoy the new cast member’s interactions with the existing group a lot but miss the departing cast member’s willingness to look extremely silly. I would also add that the way the character is written out is not particularly satisfying though I hope that will leave the door open for a return.

Though it may not be much of a real mystery show, I find Busted! to be enormously entertaining. Two seasons in I remain impressed by the creativity of the puzzles and situations and, more than anything, I thoroughly enjoy the interactions of the group.

Season Two ends in a bit of a cliffhanger and, so far, we are still waiting for a third season to be confirmed. Obviously I hope that we get news of that soon!

8 thoughts on “Busted! (TV)

  1. This show sounds like so much fun!

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about mystery-themed game shows or reality shows. I’ve been watching The Heist lately, and a couple years back I really enjoyed Armchair Detectives.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll have to check this out! Last spring, I did my first escape room. They are few and far between and kind of expensive, and it’s hard to find a group, but BOY! did I have a good time! If we ever have a chance to do an escape room together, Aidan, I would jump at it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a couple near me and we will sometimes do one for a special occasion (next weekend we’re going for my birthday) but it’s definitely a once a year sort of thing for me. Usually I will rent the whole room out and just suck up the extra cost – the one time I didn’t do I really regretted it. It is definitely more fun to do these with friends than strangers!
      On that note, if you are ever in Atlanta and have an afternoon to burn let me know Brad – I’d happily take you up on the idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I so love this show – thank you to you and Alisa for introducing me to it! Really enjoyed reading your thoughts, and agree with you on missing Lee Kwang-soo! It was so much fun to watch everyone make fun of him. 😀 What other Korean game shows are you watching?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mostly Running Man. There are over 400 episodes so it is taking a while. 😁 I also have been watching an idol olympiad show where Korean pop stars compete in sporting events. Both of those are through Viki.

      There were some suggestions that Lee Kwang-Soo may return for Season Three if it happens (though given he recently injured himself in a car accident that may be on hold).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow, Running Man must be popular! And I had not heard about Lee Kwang-soo’s accident! I hope he’ll recover soon. Both of those Korean shows sound like so much fun. And thanks to an earlier comment on this post, I looked up Armchair Detectives on youtube and watched the first episode – that was so much fun too! It really is like Cluedo, and I miss that show!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s awesome! I will have to check it out too.

        I hope he recovers soon too. Running Man is much sillier than Busted (if that’s possible) and some stuff is very culturally specific but I really enjoy the teasing that takes place among the team. Basically each week they compete to avoid earning points that go towards a penalty. This is usually something terrifying like being forced to go through an enormous haunted house or do the Nevis mountain swing. Much bickering ensues!

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s