Costumed drama The Imperial Coroner 御赐小仵作 aired a few weeks ago to little publicity and fanfare. Yet despite this, the series is quickly turning out to be early summer’s dark horse. If you’ve never heard of the drama before, alas you weren’t the only one. With no trending stars amongst its cast, no popular book to leverage on as some adaptations do and no big production teams to boast of, for the web drama to nab an unusually high Douban rating of 8.4 is no easy feat.
If there’s one thing for sure about the web drama, it’s that viewers are hooked. And the absence of the usual “gimmicks” to hype up new shows and bring in viewers seems to be quite a blessing in itself too as it really allows the script and its storytellers to shine. For The Imperial Coroner to have received such an impressive rating, it simply must be extraordinary… or something at least worth checking out.
The Imperial Coroner has been a regular on the trending list pretty often since airing last April 29. While mystery dramas set in ancient times are quite common, viewers have found the cases tackled by Chu Chu, Jinyu and their merry band of investigators engaging and the show, “easy” to watch. The dialogue and the visuals are spot on, the logic meticulous and the plot fast paced. Cast wise, while it’s sometimes obvious the cast is still quite green from their acting, they seem to be managing quite well enough. It also helps that the characters were written to be more dimensional, even the supporting roles. And unlike other dramas where characters behave ridiculously, the writers have refreshingly made sure that every character’s thoughts and behaviour are logical and intelligent!
So if you’re on the hunt for your next summer hit? This might be it.
The Imperial Coroner Synopsis
The Imperial Coroner tells the unusual tale of Chu Chu, a young lady from a family of coroners who wants to get into the “family business”. Hoping to realise her dream, she travels to Chang’An alone to take the Imperial Exam. There she meets Jinyu who also acts as a magistrate as part of his role as a Prince of Anjun. Jinyu recruits the meticulous and observant Chu Chu to partner with him to investigate cases including a 18 year old cold case that remains unsolved to this day. Will Chu Chu and Jinyu’s partnership turn out to be successful and will Chu Chu ever realise her dream of becoming an imperial coroner?
Su Xiaotong stars as the plucky heroine Chu Chu and Wang Ziqi as Xiao Jinyu. The drama also stars Yang Tingdong as the perky Jing Yi, Zhao Yaoke as master swordswoman Leng Yue, Wang Yanbin as Xiao Jinli, Guo Jun as the Emperor and Mu Huaihu as the Eunuch Qin Luan.