The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Lee Sung-min reflects on himself with ‘Shadow Detective’

Veteran actor feels his latest character Taek-rok seems similar, but not exactly same

By Lee Si-jin

Published : Nov. 17, 2022 - 16:42

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Lee Sung-min (Walt Disney Co. Korea) Lee Sung-min (Walt Disney Co. Korea)

Though Lee Sung-min played the role of detective in his previous projects -- thriller movies “Broken” (2014) and “The Beast” (2019), Taek-rok, a veteran detective who is on the verge of retirement, caught the actor’s attention from the beginning.

“When I first received the script, the title of the series was ‘Old Detective.’ The word ‘old’ seemed so moving and I felt I could relate myself a lot to the series,” Lee said during an interview with reporters at a café in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul.

The 53-year-old actor shared that he spent a lot of time contemplating about the word.

“I realized that I was in a similar age as Taek-rok. Being in your fifties is widely considered as the age for retirement, especially for a public official. That made me think a lot and look back on myself, while understanding the character,” the actor said.

Disney+’s “Shadow Detective” revolves around Taek-rok, who has been framed for a murder he did not commit and is blackmailed by the real murderer, named Friend. The story develops as the veteran detective chases down the unknown killer.

Though the members of the police department require a certain amount of sacrifice for their teamwork, Taek-rok decides to work alone and put an end to the involved case.

“I had many similarities with the character in the past. I was quiet, hesitant to meet new people and believed these characteristics don’t really matter as long as I do my work correctly,” Lee said, being immersed in his memory.

Actor Lee Sung-min plays a veteran detective Taek-rok in Actor Lee Sung-min plays a veteran detective Taek-rok in "Shadow Detective" (Walt Disney Co. Korea)

The actor shared that it was not too long ago he realized his personality influences his co-stars and staff members.

“As my role in films and series became bigger, I recognized that this can create unnecessary misunderstandings to my colleagues. I have worked hard to make a change for myself and try to be open as possible,” Lee said, adding that different sides of Taek-rok will be featured in the future series as well.

Lee emphasized that focusing on the emotion inside his character was a challenging task.

“From costumes to hairstyles, presenting the old veteran detective was not difficult. But I wanted the viewers to understand what kind of trauma and past experience led Taek-rok to behave in certain ways. I hoped the fans to be fully immersed in the stories of Taek-rok and this required more than his outer looks,” the actor told The Korea Herald.

Lee added that, although he knew who real Friend was from the beginning, it was an exciting experience to track down the truth behind the mystery figure along with the “Shadow Detective” fans.

The eight-part crime thriller “Shadow Detective” is available on global streaming service Disney+.