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‘D.P.’ series to tackle military service in South Korea

L-R: Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Sung-kyun, Son Suk-ku, Han Jun-hee, and Jung Hae-in of "D.P." Image credit: Netflix
L-R: Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Sung-kyun, Son Suk-ku, Han Jun-hee, and Jung Hae-in. Image credit: Netflix

Based on a popular webtoon, “D.P.” is now a Netflix Original Series that will shed light on the mental torment and growth that young men experience in South Korea.

That webtoon by Kim Bo-tong, who also collaborated on the screenplay, garnered over 10 million views for its realistic portrayal of the brutal violence and human rights violations committed in the military.

“This was something I really wanted to tell the story of, so for 5-6 years I wanted to bring this webtoon onto the screen. What was most important for me was what kind of stories could be portrayed through this series. Young men in their early 20s all go serve in the military and I think people can really resonate with the story and put themselves in the shoes of the characters,” said “D.P.” director Han Jun-hee during the Netflix APAC press briefing.

Stories of the deserters

In South Korea, military service for at least 18 months is compulsory for men, though a proposed bill would exempt those who have “promoted national prestige“.

“D.P.” is expected to balance the perspective of the Deserter Pursuit unit tracking down military deserters with understanding the stories of these young soldiers and their reasons for abandoning their post.

At the press briefing, where the set was made to look like a military locker room, the two main actors Jung Hae-in (An Jun-ho) and Koo Kyo-hwan (Han Ho-yeol) talked about the real-life D.P. unit.

“The term ‘D.P.’ is not something you hear often. I knew of it when I served in the military, but I got to learn more about them through the webtoon and through filming the series,” Jung Hae-in said.

“Some people who had experience being in a D.P. unit actually reached out to me and I was able to meet them over a meal,” Koo Kyo-hwan said.

Realistic portrayal

The series will revolve around the chemistry between the two main characters, and how they will react when they encounter the realities faced by the deserting soldiers.

Private An Jun-ho is a new addition to the team and is still rigid due to military discipline, while his superior, Corporal Han Ho-yeol, has become nonchalant because he has more experience.

“D.P.” is able to give a realistic portrayal of the Deserter Pursuit unit because of the webtoon creator’s own experiences.

“Writer Kim Bo-tong served in the D.P. unit and we talked about his experience being a part of it. I actually came to know that a lot of the people around us in the team turned out to have been in the D.P. unit, so we were able to get together and make the series more realistic,” Han Jun-hee said.

“D.P.” premieres on Netflix on Aug. 27.

Are you ready to learn about their stories?