I have recently developed a taste for unique crime thrillers, and after watching the series Guardian, it has made it worse. While I was on the lookout for Chinese Bromance dramas of the thriller genre, SCI Mystery pinged on my radar. I must say I wasn’t disappointed, although compared to Guardian, SCI mystery lacks some consistency in certain areas. But it makes a worthwhile watch for my mind that loves all things related to “Psychoanalysis.”
– Edited by TheFNGee
Although the main plot theme of the show remains solving mass murders, it heavily leans on the psychological expertise of our main lead, Dr. Zhan Yao.
SCI Mystery is adapted from a popular novel collection of the same name by author ErYa (耳雅). The novel is clearly of the BL genre, but as usual, has been censored into Bromance by the Chinese Government. The storyline follows Bai Yu Tong, the Chief of SCI (Special Crimes Investigation Unit), who, along with Dr. Zhan Yao, leads his team of Special Officers. This is another BL series that clearly focuses more on the relationship between Bai Yu Tong and Dr. Zhan, and to be honest, it isn’t subtle either.
Bai Yu Tong
Gao Han Yun or Kido Gao plays the role of Bai Yu Tong, an officer working for the Violent Crimes Division, who is later promoted to the position of Chief, SCI. The only thought that comes to my mind whenever he waltzes onto the crime scene driving up in his white Lamborghini is “A hot man with even hotter wheels.” Yu Tong is from a family of distinguished police officers, and he is quite smart and experienced. He is a legend in police circles and is also obsessed with the color white; you will never see Yu Tong wearing any other color, but. He has massive OCD and cooks quite handsome.
Dr. Zhan Yao is played by popular Chinese actor Ji Xiao Bing. Zhan Yao is an acclaimed Psychologist who chooses to work for Psychological Research Department. He is later promoted to the post of Deputy Chief, SCI. He also teaches part-time at a University because teaching is his hobby. He is very smart, quite adept at hypnosis, but physically weak.
Bai Chi, played by Jiang Long, is our second main lead. Bai Chi is Bai Yu Tong’s cousin. Bai Chi is extremely smart and has a high IQ (170). Before joining SCI, he worked as a regular patrol officer. But Zhao Yao recognized his talents, and on his recommendation, Yu Tong adds him to the team.
Zhao Zhen, played by Hu Xiao Ling, is a famous magician and also Bai Chi’s apparent love interest. He is also mass-murderer Zhao Jue’s nephew. Zhao Zhen really makes me swoon, “How can any man be so beautiful?” The only complaint I have is the ill-fitting costumes that make him look like he is from a foregone era. He helps the SCI team in the magical mass murder case.
Bai XinTang and Gongsun
Why is a straight couple mentioned here? Apparently, Bai Xin Tang was actually a male character in the novel and Yu Tong’s brother, rewritten to suit the Chinese Govt censorship again. Bai Xin Tang in the drama series is now Yu Tong’s elder sister and played by Wang Mei Ren. Quite a strong and bold character but very tyrannical. The censors forced the directors to change the gender but overlooked the need to feminize the original character’s macho behavior. Gongsun, played by William Fan, is the Medical Examiner, SCI. He is very competent but quite reserved. He only focuses on his work and has a love-hate relationship with Xin Tang.
The storyline focuses on our main leads Bai Yu Tong and Dr. Zhan, their dynamic relationship. Both are childhood acquaintances or friends. Highly competitive or frenemies! Bai Yu Tong only believes in circumstantial evidence, while Dr.Zhan focuses his energy on solving crimes using Psychoanalysis. Basically, both of them are always at loggerheads. However, there is attraction and even more history between them.
Yu Tong and his team are tasked with finding a serial killer who drives over his victims and then slits their throats with glass pieces. Oddly the crime scenes have an odd similarity to a case from ten years ago, where acclaimed former police officer Zhao Jue was the murderer.
Chief Bao immediately announces the formation of SCI, appointing Yu Tong and Zhan as the Chief and Deputy Chief. Following up on clues, Yu Tong and Zhan finally determine that Zhan’s colleagues at the University, Dr. Xu Yanqin and Professor Zhang are accomplices. The two of them carefully craft a master plan to help Zhao Jue escape from prison. Unfortunately, Dr. Lu is killed similarly as the victims of the mass murders ten years ago. Zhang dies in the ensuing scuffle on the river raft, where he had planned to trade Zhao Jue with the police. Zhao Jue escapes, but everyone believes that he fell to his death in the blast that happened on the river raft.
Zhan is attending a Psychology Seminar when Yu Tong intervenes and drags him to his erratic sister’s business party. While at the party, they meet famous Psychologist Professor Wilson and actor John Kim. Someone tries to kill Wilson, but Yu Tong shoots the killer. Thus begins their investigation, which leads them to a Mastermind Pang Yu. He is cleverly using people with insecure tendencies to split their personalities into dual identities and turning them into convenient killers.
We are also introduced to Fang Jing, who is John Kim’s agent. She is the main accomplice in Pang Yu’s entire plan. She is the one who falsely accuses Wilson of using John Kim’s girlfriend for his experiment. Kim believing her claims, feeds hallucinogens to Laura, Prof. Wilson’s wife. This turns Laura psychotic, and at last, she kills her own husband. Fang Jing had a traumatic past but fell in love with Pang Yu. To appease him, she acts like having a split personality, and in the end, sacrifices herself by taking the blame for the mass murders herself. Pang Yu is, however, unrepentant and plans to continue his research. The case takes a tragic end when Pang Yu is hypnotized and dies in a car accident. I really hate these abrupt endings that each case has like they have some unfinished business. Also, Zhao Jue resurfaces, and Bai Chi unknowingly meets him. The meeting is horrific because Bai Chi doesn’t recognize the famed murderer. Zhao Jue, however, correctly guesses Bai Chi’s true identity, and I’m almost afraid that he might use the nervous kid in the future for his evil plans.
Our smart investigators never get time to rest. A school teacher is killed at the premises, and the gory details on the crime scene resemble the “Magic Murder Case” also from ten years ago. However, Zhan quickly deduces that this is not the original killer, and someone seems to be imitating the case details. Also, famous magician Zhao Zhen has returned to town, and our dynamic duo with Bai Chi attend his show. Let me take a moment to appreciate Zhao Zhen’s beauty because he is “Magical.”
The case, however, takes a serious turn when the original killer returns to kill the schoolgirl. Since the case is based on magical trappings, Chief Bao takes them to meet Zhao Zhen. He explains that the symbols drawn on the crime scene represent the “Wrath of Heaven” where “Eye represents the eye of death, the snake represents deception and lies, while human outline represents an unclean relationship between man and woman.” The clues lead them to the murder of a young girl Jia Li. She was killed ten years ago in a similar fashion at her dance academy. Shen Ling, Li Jie, Kong Lingping, and the murdered teacher were all learning dance with her at the academy. Also, they get hold of Yong, the officer in charge of the case. He was dismissed for faking Jia Li’s case details.
Chemistry Between The Main Leads
I’m continuously surprised at how bold the digital platform Youku is when it comes to the Bromance dramas that it airs regularly. Because one, they don’t adhere to the Chinese Government restrictive on depicting homoerotic content, and secondly, the main leads in their dramas don’t have a subtle romantic representation. It’s always scaled up where you can clearly see their feelings, and there is no mediocre attempt to mask their emotions.
Bai Yu Tong and Zhan Yao
I won’t say they are Soulmates or bosom friends. These descriptions won’t suit them. Yu Tong and Zhan Yao have known each other all their lives. Their parents are family friends, and as such, they have been competitive with each other since childhood. Their thoughts often collide while trying to solve cases. Bai follows a strict code that is based on evidence, while Zhan loves to build the case based on psychological analysis. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Yu Tong is insanely protective of Zhan. In the initial episodes, when Chief Bao pairs them together, you wonder about their dynamics. But they soon settle down into a comfortable camaraderie that obviously has a shared history.
You can actually see how much Bai cares about Zhan when the serial killer tries to run the Doctor over with his car. Bai literally pushes Zhan out of the way, jumps onto the top of the racing car, backflips onto the ground, and shoots at the killer. You are just left stunned at his zeal. Similarly, when Dr. Lu makes lewd comments on their relationship, Yu Tong pulls Zhan closer and blows him a kiss. Dr. Lu ends up having heart palpitation, and Zhan is left flustered.
Bai Yu Tong always follows Zhan around to make sure Zhan is OK. That clearly makes our genius doctor very shy as he admits, “whenever you put your hands on me, I get nervous.” Bai is a totally touchy-feely kind of a guy, so imagine the poor Doctor’s plight. Their equation borders from frustrating to adorable. Bai is clearly the more expressive among the two, and you appreciate the sentiment when he handcuffs Zhan and drags him to a family dinner. The accompanying audio soundtrack just gives you major feels.
The most romantic scene is, however, when Bai rescues Zhan after the blast on the raft. Zhan is unresponsive, and that scares Bai too much. He tries to administer CPR, but you can see the obvious worry stemming from his love for Zhan. Finally, he breathes a sigh of relief when Zhan wakes up. Also, it has to be remembered that before leaving for the mission, Zhan gave Yu Tong an envelope and told him to open it if something untoward happens. When Bai questions him on what was written in the letter, Zhan gets flustered again and brushes it off. In an interview, both actors agreed that Zhan probably confessed his love for Bai in the letter.
Bai Chi and Zhao Zhen
Bai Chi and Zhao Zhen’s love story is, however, on the opposite sides of the tandem. Bai Chi has an intense dislike for magic and magicians. So when Yu Tong and Zhan drag him to the magic show, he cleverly deduces all of Zhen’s magic tricks and puts him on the spot. This manages to intrigue our insanely beautiful magician. I admit that I spent an inordinate amount of time swooning over his handsome features.
So begins the cat and mouse chase, where Zhao Zhen follows Bai Chi around. It’s hilarious when he breaks into Bai Chi’s apartment and makes himself at home. When Bai Chi adorably fusses at him about calling the Police, Zhao snaps right back, “Aren’t You the Police?” Trust me; I have never laughed so hard, both of them together make for an interesting watch. Finally, when Bai and Zhan visit Zhao Zhen with Chief Bao, we learn their past. It seems that Zhao Zhen and Bai Chi were neighbors. Zhen bullied Bai Chi with his magic trick, which is the cause for Bai Chi’s stutter and hatred of all things magical. How this relationship shapes up is yet to be seen.
My Opinion About This Drama
The plot heavily leans on psychological warfare, and more so on hypnosis. For someone like me, who finds this field of Science intriguing, the drama is truly worth watching. But surely the nonbelievers would definitely have reservations. Also, the end of each case is haphazard or discontiguous. I wish the scriptwriters had done a better job with handling the endings. But despite that, the show scores high on the chemistry between the main leads as well as the team spirit that the SCI members display. Each member has a unique strength with a different skill set, which ultimately helps them solve the cases.
Also, I’m quite fascinated with Bai Xin Tang’s character. She is very bold and has a domineering presence. However, the fact remains that certain events in her childhood have affected her mental state. I appreciated Bai Yu Tong’s honesty when he explained the same to Gongsun and requested him to take it easy with his sister. Xin Tang can be really annoying at times and also overbearing, but the fact remains that, like her brother, Xin Tang is a really smart detective as well as a shrewd businesswoman. This character and the romance with Gongsun have so much potential. I only wish that the show’s producers hadn’t changed the character’s gender to appease the authorities. Overall, SCI Mystery makes for a decent watch, if you are really into crime thrillers!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars [See our Review Guide]