The Threshold of a Persona


Reviewed by: sukting

March 04, 2012

Rating: three

How long
30 episodes

Foreword
This is the first TV series with immigration work. The department is called Immigration Department which seeks out to prevent criminals from entering Hong Kong. It only not creates a demanding task for the officers and also challenges them to identify frauds as accurate as possible.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Kwok Chun On as Fong Chun Kit
He works in the Lo Wo customs and detects fake passports easily. He gets the gold award during his training days. He marries Si Man and has a son to have a happy family. He is a nice guy but his weakness is to keep quiet to please everyone.

However, when he discovers her ugly past, he cannot accept it and they part. He is prejudiced against Kai Ming as he fails him twice in his promotion exams. Once as he finds his answer unsatisfactory and the second due to his attentiveness over his divorce.

Kai Ming then challenges him to work in Investigation Department. He makes the transfer and does well to have his promotion to lead A team. He regrets parting with Si Man and seeks her forgiveness. Both patch up but her death cause them to part forever. He nearly kills Pak Yu over this but luckily On Kei stops him. He then accepts On Kei and both become a couple. Chun On maintains his standard as usual. I must comment that he looks unusually smart in the uniform.

2. Wong Chi Hin as Chung Chi Wing
He is Chun Kit's elder brother in name. They have no blood relation but are as close as brothers. He works under Pak Yu as a sergeant and admires his abilities. He dotes on Chi Yan and tries his best to treat her well. His impression of him changes when knowing that Pak Yu kills Uncle Dong. He passes the criminal CD to Si Man but doesn't expect Pak Yu to kill her for this. He feels remorseful and helps Chun Kit to arrest him.

3. Leung Jing Kei as Chung Chi Yan
She is Chi Wing's younger sister who grows up in New Zealand with their mother after their parents' divorce. She is used to grow up alone after her mother dies early and returns to further her studies. She has thought that Kwok Sing forsakes them over Mei Ping.
Upon knowing that she is actually the love child of her mother and Kwok Sing's shop assistant, she doesn't know how to face Kwok Sing although he treats her as her own. On Yi is like a sister to her as they are classmates doing their final university thesis on immigration department. Both get to know Shun Fung to become close friends.

She isn't hostile to Chun Kit and they become colleagues. She finally acknowledges him as her brother when he saves her from an attack. She falls for Shun Fung and he finally accepts her upon knowing that On Yi doesn't accept him.

4. Yiu Kar Nei as Cheung Si Man
She is gentle and sweet. It is a dreadful mistake when Chun Kit finally gets her to stay in Hong Kong. She is tricked to be a prostitute in the past to pay off her father's hospitalization debts. Kit Shum was the bouncer then to take care of her. She sees how a woman is discovered of her past to get ditched by her husband and is fearful that Chun Kit knows her past.

Her nightmare comes true and she heads for home when Chun Kit can't forget her mistake. Chun Kit leaves messages on her phone but she doesn't listen to them. There, she meets Kit Shum again and they become an item. She returns to ask for a divorce but Chun Kit tries hard to win her back. On the day she is about to move home, she discovers Pak Yu's crime and is thrown to death from her home. What a change from her usual stuck up roles to be a timid woman. She does her part well.

5. Wong Yat Tong as Chiu Lai Man
She is Chi Wing's calculative and bossy wife. She looks down on Si Man. Pregnant with his son, she throws her weight around and bullies Si Man on selling expired food or making the floor slippery to nearly cause her miscarriage. Si Man gets so disappointed that Chun Kit doesn't speak up for her that she walks on the street. She is nearly raped and luckily Kit Shum rescues her.

After Si Man leaves home, Lai Man feels remorseful to be a better person. She helps to look after Ka Hei. She also uses her own birthday and her son's full month celebration to lure Si Man and Chi Yan back, hoping they can return home to stay as a family soon.

6. Tam Jan Yut as Fong Ka Hei
He is the couple's son who is intelligent. He works hard in school to please his parents. He hates Mei Ping for chasing Si Man away and ignores her. Strangely, he doesn't hate Kwok Sing and is very attached to him. He is also close to Sze Sze and they often play together.

7. Hon Ma Lei as Chan Mei Ping
She is Chun Kit's mother who is a widow and works in Kwok Sing's provision shop. She has seen how he suffers when his wife gets away to help him out. They fall in love and marry each other. Seeing Chun Kit so badly affected by Si Man's case, she requests Si Man to leave. She has neglected Ka Hei's feelings and has a hard time to win his trust back. She ponders over her mistake and helps in asking Si Man to return.

8. Lau Kong as Chung Kwok Sing
He is Chun Kit's stepfather but treats him no different from Chi Wing. He misses Chi Yan and treats her like hew own to shower her concern whenever he can. He keeps the secret to suffer alone so that she will not know the truth. In order not to hurt Chi Yan, he helps to paint a beautiful picture of her natural father. Chi Yan appreciates his help and finally moves home.

9. Mung Kar Wai as Yip On Kei
She also works in the immigration department to take photos of citizens when the due date is approaching. All like to work with her. She is like a man in the house to be very organized and is loyal to friends, not expecting things in return. She is the one organizing gatherings while the other 3 men only come to eat. That is why she gets so frustrated when none remembers her birthday.

She is from the same class IM95 with Chun Kit, Chi Lun and Pak Yu as her classmates. She is Pak Yu's ex-girlfriend but they maintain as friends after their breakup. They reconcile later when he finds Joanna unsuitable for him. However, she feels lost and inferior when she meets his colleagues. To match him, she takes up the law course again to transfer to the prosecution department.

She finds her job demanding and gets unhappy. That is why she asks Chun Kit to think twice over the transfer although there are more prospects. She is devastated when they break up the second time and is even more in despair when Chi Lun is in critical condition.
She is in love with Chun Kit and despite of her assistance in winning her back, her heart bleeds. Si Man feels bad and requests her to take care of Chun Kit and Ka Hei to see through her intentions. Later, she makes her promise when she dies. There is nothing special in the way she acts although it is passable.

10. Tong Wing See as Yip On Yi
On Yi is On Kei's willful younger sister who aims for a high-flying job although she works as an immigration officer with Chi Yan in the same department. That is why she is so delighted to know Chi Hin, hoping to work in his uncle's law firm one day. She has Sze Sze out of wedlock so she tries hard to provide for her to be more careful in love now.

Shun Fung has deemed her irresponsible but changes his mindset upon seeing how hardworking she is. She also finds him very inflexible but has no choice as Sze Sze likes to play with him. She gets with Chi Hin for a while but finds him unsuitable. Her main focus is to look after Sze Sze and decides to focus her attention to bring her up. After working for a while, she becomes serious in her job and wins praise from her colleague for breaking a case.

11. Wong Yeuk Nam as Yip Sze Sze
She is On Yi's daughter but many have thought that On Kei is her mother as she is always the one meeting her teachers. On Kei wants the best for her but On Yi feels that making her happy is more important. She is cute and is a good playmate for Ka Hei when he is down.

12. Ha Ping as Lee Siu Kuen
She is old but has to take care of her great-granddaughter when her granddaughters are working. She maintains the family well. She is amused when Chi Yan can't cook well when she injures her leg and is unable to do housework. Shun Fung turns out to be the expert in cooking and babysitting as he does that frequently after his father's death.

13. Tang Kin Hung as Au Shun Fung
He is very positive towards work and is dedicated towards work. He likes challenges and is calm when dealing with cases. That is why he rises fast in his rank to be in charge of the sea patrol department at such a young age. Due to his observance, they often capture illegal workers. He looks after his family after his father's death so he gets unusually nervous over Shun Sui to be more like a father than brother to her.

He is later transferred into be the investigation C team leader. He is overjoyed to work under Kai Ming but Kai Ming is a very impartial man. He is like the middleman to settle disputes between Kai Ming and Chi Hin. He pities Chun Kit to be badly affected by his family affairs and takes care of Chi Yan to remove a load off his mind. When Chun Kit transfers into investigation team, he looks out for him as his superior although they belong to different teams.

He is initially prejudiced towards On Yi but later finds out that she is mature. He falls for her but keeps mum upon seeing Chi Hin also interested in her. She feels that she isn't good enough for both men. Thus, he is later with Chi Yan instead. How a vast improvement from how he acts in '˜King of Snooker' - he has done so much better in here.

14. Cho Wing Lien as Cheng Pak Yu
He is also confident of himself and is patient to show off himself. However, he can be overly scheming to get what he wants at the expense of others. He is Kowloon's Regional Crime Unit's senior inspector and formerly works under Kai Ming. However, he looks down on this unit as the officers are not allowed to bring guns to work. To make sure that Kit Shum fails miserably, he gets a mole to sneak into his triad.

He also gets to learn about Si Man's past to reveal to Chun Kit. That causes his marriage to break up after making her to be a greedy woman. It makes matters worse when Chun Kit changes departments and both units have to work together. He insists of calling the shots. All dislike him to be disrespectful to Kai Ming. To suck up to chief Inspector yin, he can clean his sport shoes for him.

After being with On Kei for a while, he decides that Vincy can help in his career as he becomes ambitious. Thus, he accuses her for liking Chun Kit when both work overnight together over a case to demand for a breakup. All friends isolate him after discovering his motive. He is later jailed when Chi Lun wakes up to tell the truth of Si Man's death. On Kei and Chun Kit stop him from killing himself to face the music.

This actor has a face that makes you try very hard to suppress the urge to punch his face. He does quite well this time. It is rare to see him acting as a rival against his real life father-in-law, Chiang Da Wai too.

15. Wong Tak Bun as Wu Kit Shum
He is an underworld leader who is ruthless to everyone except Si Man. He loves her deeply and hopes to marry her soon. However, Chun Kit is a big barrier to refuse to divorce. Upon seeing Si Man still loving Chun Kit, he gives up to let her return to him. After knowing Si Man's death, he sobs and gives Pak Yu the creeps by harressing him often. Pak Yu is pleased when Chun Kit isn't agitated by Kit Shun to kill him but he is still arrested later. Justice has long arms indeed. Tak Bun really shines even though it is a supporting role as the gangster.

16. Chiang Dai Wai as Mak Kai Ming
He is the chief inspector of the immigration investigation unit. He is very demanding towards others and self. He works in many different departments so almost all are his ex-students. However, his marriage is a failure as she has thought of him to have an affair.

He also doesn't know how to show concern to Chi Hin to be overly strict with him. Shun Fung is more like his son indeed to go with him fishing often in his yacht. His relationship with Chi Hin turns better when he sells his yacht to pay off his debts. He is a person who doesn't explain himself and that is why his marriage breaks up as he doesn't clear the air.

He isn't against Chun Kit but feels that he isn't matured enough to fail him in his two promotion exams. He shows him pointers and finally they work well together. He is shattered to know that Chi Hin works under Kit Shum. He has no choice but to get others to arrest him, hoping that he will learn from his mistake.

17. Chan Kok Bong as Leung Chi Lun
He is Chun Kit's good friend and subordinate. He is very eloquent but doesn't have any ambition to stay as the way he is. He has a car and ferries his colleagues to work so Chun Kit can save more money. His weakness is gambling and the three try very hard to kick off his habit. He is very loyal to friends. He can stand in for Chi Kit so that he can celebrate Si Man's birthday with her. He is his bridegroom and also Ka Hei's godfather. He also helps to take care of Ka Hei when Chun Kit is sick.
He sees how On Kei suffers over the breakup and stands up for her. He is bitter when Pak Yu doesn't lend him money to look to his grandmother's funeral like the other two. Pak Yu has claimed that he doesn't believe him due to his past. He only offers the money after the funeral.

The two fall out but Chi Lun helps Pak Yu to borrow money from loansharks upon knowing that Uncle Dong threatens him. Upon seeing Pak Yu being killed, he is shocked and wants to call the police. Pak Yu closes his mouth when listening to On Kei's call, causing him to suffocate from brain damage instead.

He is glad that he doesn't have the chance to tell all about him and frames Chi Lun for being unable to kick the habit. Luckily, On Kei believes him and the truth is uncovered when he wakes up. Although Kok Bong is often given supporting roles, he still gives his best.

18. Choi Chi Kit as Hon Wing Nin
He leads the A team and is capable. But he is very unfeeling - the only person he cares is his younger sister. He thinks that Chun Kit pulls strings to work under him. Kit Shum tries to bribe him and wants him to jeopardise an operation. He agrees as Kai Ming has not given him chances for promotion.

The plan is to blow the teams up in an operation. Pui Ka discovers him informing Kit Shum and wants to inform Kai Ming. He knocks her out and it is proven that he actually pretends to be bribed as he will never betray his team no matter how he is displeased with Kai Ming. Later, Chun Kit proves his worth and he starts to admire him. He doesn't understand why Kai Ming wants to transfer him to the records unit since he has claimed of him to be outstanding.

It is a promotion for him to head the unit. Kai Ming advises Chi Kit to show more concern to his subordinates so he treats them to tea on his last day. He also requests Chi Kit to take care of Team A when he is away. Also a brilliant shot by Chi Kit to be a nasty superior here.

19. Chu Wai Mun as Ching Pui Ka
She heads Team B and is Kai Ming's good helper. She seems to compete with Wing Nin every time but they also work well with each other. All her subordinates like her every much. She is interested in him all along and he detects it. That is why unlike treating the rest to tea, he asks her out for dinner on his last day of work in the department. Also an outstanding performance from Wai Mun as the professional.

20. Lee Kwok Lun as Wai Hon To
He is Chun Kit's boss and has admired his abilities all along. He also makes sure that On Yi and Chi Yan can work well in the team as newbies. He finds that Chun Kit is too easily contented and encourages Chun Kit to make the transfer. He is also a kind boss. Upon knowing what happens to Chi Lun, he comes with the rest to the hospital to visit him.

21. Li Tin Cheung as On Hong Cheung
He is Chun Kit's subordinate who is mild-mannered and kind. However, Chi Lun nearly sponges him dry by often borrowing money from him for gambling. They nearly fall out over this when he keeps delaying payment back to him. Luckily, they patch up later when Chi Lun helps him in choosing the right car to buy. He is interested in Chi Yan and treats her well.

22. Suet Nei as Wong Gwai Ho
She is a widow who brings up the children by herself. She rents the rooftop room to Chi Yan, hoping that she will become Shun Fung's girlfriend one day. Upon knowing that Ming Wai isn't a good cook, she teaches her how to cook to win his heart back. The two families' relationship is nearly strained when Shun Sui is pregnant with Chi Hin's child.

23. Lam Heung Kei as Wong Ming Wai
She opposes her father's wishes to marry Kai Ming although he is poor then. However, she isn't happy as Kai Ming hardly spends time with her. He hardly turns up for charity events she organizes. She spoils Chi Hin rotten as Kai Ming spends all his time on his career. She is also doubtful of his sincerity towards her. The last straw comes as he doesn't turn up in time when her father dies. She is unmoved when he finally takes leave to be with her this time.

She gets a divorce when seeing him with Suk Ching's photo - Actually it is a group photo of with other colleagues. There is hope between them when he keeps his brain tumour condition from her and Chi Hin. He has been with her during delivery Chi Hin so they will be with him this time. He recovers under her care but she still recalls his 'Infidelity'.

The truth is shown when Suk Ching holds her hostage. In his anxiety, he reveals that he only loves her and this is only Suk Ching's wishing on her part. They are finally back together but do not know how to face Gwai Ho upon knowing Chi Hin's deed. They can only take care of the baby till he is out from prison.

24. Chan Chin Pang - Mak Chi Hin
He is Chi Hin's son who gets along well with Shun Fung. He is often half-hearted in doing things - just like how he discontinues his studies. Ming Wai provides him money to do business. His first attempt fails when he hires illegal women as models unknowingly. He then works in Ming Chiu's law firm but later quits to work in Kit Shum's nightclub as he is too keen to prove his worth to Kai Ming. He frowns when many mainland hookers come openly to look for clients but still allows it.

He gets drunk one day after his breakup with On Yi and his resignation from Ming Chiu's law firm. He sleeps with Shun Sui. Despite this, he doesn't want to be responsible to her and all chide him. He then gets into trouble to want to run away when Kit Shum's nightclub is in trouble of peddling drugs. Luckily, Shun Sui is willing to wait for his release. He does well as the bad boy who often has conflicts with his father.

25. Mak Ho Yee as Au Shun Sui
She is naïve and also disinterested in studies. That is why Shun Fung is very worried over her and ‘screens' all her friends. She finally learns her lesson when she is robbed one day in the mainland and is nearly raped. She offers herself willingly to Chi Hin when he is drunk but is dismayed that he only treats her as a sister. She nearly kills herself but luckily her family provides her support.

26. Tsang Sau Ming as Kong Chak Fai
He is the assistant officer in Team C. He sometimes forgets his role and speaks before Shun Fung gives instructions. He thinks that Shun Fung will reprimand him but he turns out to be very nice to all of them.

27. So Yan Chi - Sin Yun Mei
She is On Kei and Chi Yan's superior. She frowns upon knowing that On Yi works part time as an insurance agent and reprimands her. Luckily, On Yi learns her mistake to work harder so she praises her.

28. Bill - Ho Lam
He is an impatient prosecutor in the prosecution unit. He scolds On Kei for mixing things up when she follows him on the first day of work to court. On Kei isn't briefed on what to do and he expects her to know everything. Thus, she does revision on her own. He wants everything to be done quickly.

29. Iris - Lam Suk Mun
She is the kind deputy head of the prosecution unit. Seeing On Kei and Chun Kit worrying over a case, she settles for them quickly.

30. Chief Inspector Yin - Doi Wai Chi
He is Pak Yu's immediate superior and recommends him to go for chief inspector promotion. He has seen On Kei but is pleased that he dates his daughter later.

31. Choi Hong Nien as Wong Ming Chiu
He is Chi Hin's uncle who hires him to work in his law firm under Ming Wai's request. He is frustrated that he makes so many mistakes at work and scolds him. Chi hin gets fed up and quit. He prepares the divorce papers for Ming Wai but hopes that they will reconsider but Ming Wai signs on them immediately so there is no turning back.

32. Wong Ching as Uncle Dong
He is always against Kit Shum so Pak Yu gets information from him to want to get rid of Kit Shum. Kai Ming sees through Pak Yu's intention and doesn't like it. Soon, Dong edits a disc that records his conversation between him and Pak Yu to look as if that he bribes him. He uses this to threaten against Pak Yu. Pak Yu destroys his triad business. This man makes a comeback but gets killed.

33. Yiu Ying Ying as Hon Suk Ching
She is Chi Kit's ex-colleague and Wing Nin's younger sister. She complains to him about Kai Ming liking her but refusing to divorce his wife. Thus, Chi Kit believes everything she says about Kai Ming when she resigns. In reality, she has mental illness and seeks treatment in the US. She returns to visit Wing Nin but throws her pills away. She never recovers and even harasses Ming Wai, telling her to stay away from Kai Ming since there is no hope in her marriage. Wing Nin has to force her to seek treatment again.

34. Leung Suet Mei as Joanna
She is Pak Yu's ex-colleague who teaches in a popular school. On Kei requests for her help to enroll Sze Sze. However, she gets fed up when the principal asks for Sze Sze's father and looks down on their single-parent family. Joanna is displeased that she doesn't appreciate her help and On Kei also gets too close to Pak Yu. In the end, the two break up.

35. Yeung Lok Ting as Vincy
She is Chief Inspector Yin's daughter. She doesn't mind Pak Yu being attached and waits patiently for him. Her waiting is not in vain when she finally gets him.

Interesting facts
The Chinese title ID stands for Immigration Department. It means Immigration Department to fit the title. The ratings are from 28 to 38 points.
Most favourite character
Shun Fung. He has done his best for his family, subordinates and friends. We can imagine how shattered he is when Shun Sui becomes rebellious and he can't stop her. He has to trouble On Yi and Chi Yan to take care of her on his behalf.

Most hated character
Kai Ming, he is simply overly obstinate. Being an introvert doesn't mean that he should keep his mouth completely shut. When he is free, he should spend more time with his family instead of Shun Fung. When Ming Wai asks for a divorce he agrees without doing much to change her mind. When he has a brain tumour, he insists of working, almost getting the rest into trouble for giving inconsistent instructions. If not for Chun Kit and Shun Fung, he could have just continued to pretend that nothing is going to happen.

He also doesn't tell his family about the operation although he only has 50% of survival. What kind of superior, father and husband is this?

Song
It is Conceal by Kwok and Tang. It is a plain song with little change. Tang is still a better singer.

Conclusion
There is nothing great and special about this drama. The cases are quite straightforward and are solved easily. The introduction of the triad dispute can be quite redundant although it involves Pak Yu's team. Luckily, Kit Shum has a hand in the illegal passport business or the story will sidetrack.

If not for the cast who has thrown in their best, I could have stopped watching midway. However, it gives more insight into the immigration department. I only know that there are customs but never know that there are so many departments involved. What we see is only the frontline and it is the backup that ensures the safety of all.

The cast as superiors show their professionalism well. Unlike other dramas who paint a very untrue picture on too good a boss is, we see how demanding (but with a good cause) they can be. Otherwise, the story is only average on the officers' daily lives as seen in other dramas.

I find the other 3 too trusting towards Pak Yu. They have known him for a long time. How can they be unaware of what a person he is really like? Chi Lun can't forgive him so easily upon knowing his misdeed after what has happened.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)
On song : *** (Scale of 5)


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