The Mysteries of Love

Reviewed by: koolkat

July 25, 2010

Rating: three-point-five

After all the hype about "The Mysteries of Love" being a copy of the Japanese series "Galileo", I expected something thrilling, with interesting mysteries being the mainstay. But TVB being TVB, this series is really much more of a melodrama with some police cases thrown in. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it thoroughly.

The highlight of the show was the pairing of Tavia Yeung and Raymond Lam. Tavia really has come a long way. She had potential but in her past series, she was just a little bit bland, not quite the finished product. But in this show, her acting has matured, she doesn't over do it and cries very heartrendingly.

Tavia acts as the rookie policewoman who joins Kenneth Ma's investigative team and on her first day of work impresses by bringing down the bad guy. She also falls in love with Raymond Lam's physicist character as she often has to act as the police liaison who asks for his help in solving crimes. She develops a case of hero worship for him as he's really brilliant at figuring out the clues for solving crimes. However, because of her working class background, Raymond Lam's family objects to her as they are rich. When he finally dumps her, she portrays her anguish well. She looked really pretty as well especially when she was dressed up.

Raymond Lam does well, spouting all the scientific terms naturally. As an actor, he has an intensity and charisma that draws the viewer. However, there's a certain aloofness that renders him unable to really gel with his female leads. He just isn't very loverlike. I get the feeling that he doesn't really love Tavia's character as much as she loves him and even when they are reconciled (yes, it's a happy ending with a very cheesy scene) he seems a bit forced. He gets to spout the most interesting line in the show when he dumps her, calling their relationship a binary equation. I got a good laugh out of that.

The other pairing of Kenneth Ma and Bernice Liu isn't as compelling. Kenneth Ma is a likeable guy and he does the police detective role well. But Bernice Liu just doesn't hold one's attention. Even if there were no such role, I wouldn't miss her. All that melodrama about her turning to another guy, even though he's so clearly unfaithful, was just a waste of time. Cutting out their relationship wouldn't detract from the show at all.

There's also an excellent supporting cast. I really enjoyed watching them, especially Tavia's father and brothers. There were also a couple of interesting cases to prevent the show from descending into total melodrama, especially at the end when Raymond Lam had to pit his wits against another scientific genius.

My only quibble was that the show at times was in danger of turning into a Taiwanese weepie, with the parents wringing their hands over how unsuitable Tavia was for their namby pamby son, and how she contemplated suicide after Raymond Lam dumped her. Kenneth Ma also got all the nice stylish suits while Raymond Lam was landed with the weirdest outfits, some of those vests were totally OTT and kinda sissy.

And now for some comparisons with "Galileo". Apart from the characters being the same, i.e. the male lead is a physics professor and the female lead is a policewoman, there really isn't much to compare with. "Galileo" is far superior as its cases are more interesting and thought-provoking. It also doesn't waste time with melodramatic interpersonal relationships. The two leads have a prickly and interesting relationship that's portrayed in a much more subtle way as their respect for each other grows. The male lead in "Galileo", Yukawa Manabu, is athletic, intelligent and eccentric, while the female lead, Utsumi Kaoru, is more fiery and passionate. If you like Western shows such as "CSI" or "Bones", "Galileo" is much more interesting. However, "The Mysteries of Love" is enjoyable if you want your investigative serials dosed with high drama.

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