Review: Presumed Accidents (TVB, 2016)

Presumed Accidents (纯熟意外)

Genre: Crime Thriller
Length: 28 episodes
Producer: Andy Chan

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Cast

Lawrence Ng as Kiu Man Kit aka George
Sisley Choi as Yan Yi aka Eunice
Lai Lok Yi as Cheuk Sing Yeung aka Mantus
Selena Li as Princess Yuet Ngai/ Chong Wing Yee/ Ling Yeuk Fei aka Faye
Joyce Tang as Hui Kit Ying
Raymond Cho as Lai Yat Ming aka “Lo Lai”
Winki Lai as Madam Mok
Snow Suen as Yeung Yin Oi aka I.I.
Chow Chung as Brian aka “B Jai”
Yeung Chiu Hoi as Tang Cheuk Kiu
Max Cheung as Blue
Rachel Kan as Chan Ka Kei

and Claire Yiu, Lee Yee Man, Eileen Yeow, Kimmy Kwan, Jimmy Au, Jack Wu, Geoffrey Wong, etc.

The Review

What TVB really means by a “crime thriller” is hooking up a series of crimes for three-fourths of the series while leaving the real thrill to the last three or four episodes.

The series starts off with Sisley narrating what a happy and healthy family she has grown up in in her last twenty years. On the same day of her college graduation, she received the devastating news of her parents passing away in a car accident. Instead of pursuing a promising career in the medical field where she has always dreamed of, she became an insurance claims investigator, where she encounters a series of unbelievable events that eventually turn out to be part of a larger scheme.

A series that started off with a relatively strong footing, with Lawrence being one of my favorite veterans and his gentleman nature here being all mesmerizing, had some twists and turns, became somewhat slow-paced and picked up at roller coaster speed towards the last six or seven episodes. Starting off as a procedural drama with Lawrence and Sisley as a team investigating insurance claims, they spent half the series building up their relationship only to reveal that it was “something else” all along. With that revealed, Lok Yi can finally appear with more screen time to hangout around Sisley towards the second half of the series. The show really doesn’t pick up as a true crime thriller until the final five episodes or so.

While the insurance cases were quite entertaining to watch, the chances of them happening in reality is not likely at all. Take the blind girl’s case for example, the construction of the accident happening when her friend pulled her into the construction zone and having a truck pass by at the exact moment in a super busy Hong Kong where the traffic controls you more than you get to control it is not only unlikely, but making sure that the construction worker slips the sign down is even further not within their control.

My feelings are quite mixed for this type of crime thriller because the procedural aspect really made it seem like writers took the easy way out. While weaving all the cases and mini stories together made sense as it was one large insurance fraud corporation that was behind it all, I was expecting something a little bit more, something more substantial. It doesn’t come without flaws when Raymond and Joyce plays little to no role at all in the grand scheme of things. The characters can be better tied in together with the plot.

For a crime thriller, definitely expect many unrealistic moments, but if you can get pass the fact that there can be a supernatural creature in a modern-day drama and being deceived by a romantic relationship turned familial one, the series is entirely watchable and even entertaining.

While I definitely saw the first one coming after the debut scene of Lawrence being a general of the Yuan Dynasty (although I didn’t want to believe my eyes), I was a bit in denial when the bubble burst on the second one.

Lastly, in the final showdown between Lok Yi and Lawrence, we were all looking forward to see how Lawrence faces the public or what the writers have to say about a supernatural creature existing in a modern-day setting, but Lawrence choose to hide and leave HK, two things he’s best at besides his automatic healing powers. Again, the writers bailed on explaining why immortals exist by saying, “there are just a lot of things that can’t be explained in this world.” Gee, if you’re someone on the hunt for truths, this statement really helps.

Characterization and Performances

Lawrence Ng.

“Sometimes when you have a daughter so intelligent, it makes your own life difficult.”

A life elixir pill has kept him alive since the Yuan Dynasty. Living as the undead, he is an immortal that lives an eternal life with automatic healing powers. In modern day Hong Kong, he is cafe and antique owner who lives a slow-paced and low-key life and never seems to have to work for money. His appearance is always calm, gentleman, and knowledgable on many things in life, so much that you’ll wonder why he would only fail as a responsible parent.

I know Lawrence should have some kind of fate with Selena and her look-alikes, but there is nothing more tragic than all of the characters she played. Despite being a decade older than Sisley, all of Selena’s character had that element where she needed to be taken care of by men, which was too dependent for my taste.

If you can get past all his character loopholes and flaws (mainly because he’s an immortal creature living in a non-supernatural setting), Lawrence’s performance and character is a pleasure to watch. 4.5/5

Sisley Choi.

“A mutual understanding is important. Two strangers who just met can have a connection. Sometimes even two friends who have known each other for years can feel like strangers in each others’ presence.”

A sensible, logical, and independent 26-year old who eventually learns that her childhood was an entire illusion and her biological parents were merely her adoptive parents. Because she believed that her parents passed away in an accident, she became an insurance investigator and goes above and beyond in her work to find the truth to much of her superior’s frustration. She has a very mature and unusual relationship with Lawrence, whom she likes only to realize that Lawrence’s intentions and relationship with her isn’t what she intended for it to be.

Eunice is probably my favorite character of Sisley’s because I see many similarities between us. At first I was skeptical about the age gap between Lawrence and her but seeing Lawrence’s good and youthful looks and Sisley’s mature character, the chemistry was easily more memorable than her and Lok Yi. Their bantering and tacit understanding of each other is the epitome of a mature, intellectually playful, and healthy relationship so you can’t blame me when I got a bit heated upon learning they were father and daughter.

Sisley and Lok Yi were very physically compatible and had enough chemistry, but knowing that he’s the villain, they won’t be endgame. I groaned even more when Sisley was telling her friend how excited bad boys made her feel. Not only was that out of character for her, but it seemed like lazy writing because Lawrence turned out to be the father so now she had to jump back in with her ex. 4/5

Lai Lok Yi.

“We lost the most important things and people in an accident, we will now regain them all back by creating accidents.”

Time and trauma combined together helps a person evolve. Although he and Sisley were college friends dating and his good looks and athletic body made him popular among girls back then, his return marks a huge change in his life. This lead to a series of accidents in which he is the mastermind behind them. Although he has intimate relations with both Sisley and Selena, it is likely that he loved neither following his psychopath nature.

Mantus can easily be a breakthrough role for Lok Yi and you’ll definitely see a new side of him, which he portrayed beyond well. I’m surprised there isn’t more talk about him lately, but his performance and expressions were quite substantial in the final three episodes. Of course, he’ll still more memorable as John Ma in Come Home Love, but Mantus can easily come in second as his acting profile has always been on the weaker side. 4/5

Selena Li. For an actress who plays three different characters at different times, you’ll be surprised how few scenes she really has. Originally framed as the second female lead, she is more so of a guest star. She plays Princess Yuet Ngai of the Yuan Dynasty who desires who elope with Lawrence, but dies. In modern-day HK, she also plays Sisley’s biological mother (in flashbacks) who passed away upon giving birth and Lok Yi’s lover whom had plastic surgery as means of getting closer to seduce Lawrence.

By the end, I was relieved that Selena was merely a guest star because all her characters turned out to have a tragic ending or simply unhappy existence. Faye’s existence was so ambiguous and conflicting that it was almost cringeworthy to see Selena play such a character. 2.5/5

Joyce Tang. Aside from being the head of the insurance claims investigation department, Joyce’s role really had nothing to do the the plot in the grand scheme of things. Too much time was spent on her divorce and her dealing with a guy who was both a terrible father and husband alike. I enjoyed her scenes with Raymond, but wished they got together sooner and would stop hitting around the bush. For someone who heads a department, her personal life is too messy. 3/5

Raymond Cho. Currently an insurance investigator and previously a cop, he has the minds of both, which allows him to easily solve a case. This is also the reason Lawrence seeks his help on many occasions when he gets in trouble. Like Joyce, his character is also alienated from the crime thriller plot, but he has more significant towards the end when he was involved in taking Lok Yi down. 4/5

Winki Lai. Although a strict and cool cop by day, she is good and loyal friends with Sisley by night. Although it only happens in TVB dramas where a girl in her mid-twenties can head a team, her logic and toughness really makes things easy for everyone. 4/5

Snow Suen. I.I is Sisley’s childhood friend, a happy, carefree, and optimistic gal with an unstable living, works as a part-time model, and who always comes in uninvited to Sisley’s apartment.

Despite being only a supporting character, she was definitely more likable and missed when she was killed off than any of Selena’s characters. I was surprised she wasn’t a more prominent supporting star because her background and character is much more inviting. 5/5

The Verdict

Since Presumed Accidents isn’t up against anything in it’s genre this year, it’s flaws can be overlooked. It’s entertaining, has it’s suspenseful moments, despite it sabotaging itself by turning an unusually, perfectly-content romantic relationship into a father-daughter type thing. It’s one of those series that are fun and interesting to watch for the first time, but loses its excitement once you uncover the story.