I’m just going to throw it out there, but where can I sign up to be one of Captain Chanin’s Charlie’s Angels? And where did Dream Natanop (yes his nickname is really Dream), the actor that plays Captain Chanin come from? Pardon my fangirling but Meur Prab Sai Diew – an evening lakorn at that – has really taken me by surprise. Of the best kind. I’m actually more surprised that this is not a primetime lakorn. So underrated, but highly addicting. For an evening drama, this show packs a lot of punch. Each hour goes by way too fast.
If you haven’t seen a lot of evening lakorns, they usually air an hour a day, Monday-Friday. Most evening lakorns that I’ve seen are lighthearted, funny, and gets you through the after-work-fervor before primetime lakorn hits. It’s the IV for the addict, so to speak. But Meur Prab Sai Diew is more than that, much more than that. Fast paced, tightly written, and compelling characters that make you root for them. It’s the underdogs – troubled females turned spies – who kick ass and take names. I can always get behind a show and its production team that doesn’t treat women like a china doll.
Currently airing on Channel 3 (27 episodes so far and I’ve made to 15), Meur Prab Sai Diew is spearheaded by Quiz & Quest, the production team that brought us Samee Ngern Phon and Duangta Nai Duang Jai. This show’s genre is action – and they certainly do it well – but what draws me to it and keeps me coming back for more is the heart. Show has a great story at the base of its action packed drama, and an elephant in the room that they want to bring to society’s attention: human trafficking is real and we can’t stand by watching innocent people get taken before our eyes.
The heroine Prim (Kat Nicharat, Sixth Sense) is presented with this issue head on, her kid sister gets kidnapped. Her mother has cancer and she carries the responsibility to provide for her family on her shoulders. Prim is a tough girl, she practices Muay Thai and decides she could enter a match to make ends meet. This is where Captain Chanin (Dream Natanop, Look Mai Lai Rak) first meets her. He went undercover at the fighting ring to catch the leader of the illegal trafficking case he’s currently working on. He spots Prim who was fighting with someone twice her size and getting her ass kicked. But in the end, girl’s got a lot of heart and won the fight. He takes note of her skills.
Captain Chanin has been after the human trafficking case that has been afflicting the city like a dog with a bone, 20 children has been reported missing all of a sudden, and he is determined to put an end to this. He gets an idea when he catches Prim for the third time doing something delinquent. His friend’s company, Phuwat (First Ekkaphong) had put on a jewelry show and a thief manages to steal the most expensive jewelry. Prim stopped the thief and pocketed the jewelry (maybe she was planning on returning it?) but she wanted to be at the party to find out where her kid sister had been taken. Unfortunately she gets caught red handed by Captain Chanin, and instead of giving up the necklace, the girl stupidly fights a trained professional.
Captain Chanin takes this opportunity to present to the Chief of an idea he has been mulling over. He wants to put together a group of female spies to take his human trafficking case to the next level. What’s different this time around is that he wants to use the highly skilled criminals – he bargains that their case will be forgiven if they decide to work for the police. Hence, his first perpetrator, Prim. He tells her that the police will cover her mother medical treatments and help her look for her missing sister if she join the force. Win win right? It is not like Prim could reject the offer, since the alternative is jail time. Captain Chanin handpicks two other offenders, an accused murderer who accidentally killed her boyfriend, he had been cheating and she was aiming for his crotch but missed, oops. As well as a bank thief who stole money from the bank for her boyfriend, who then used her and left her.
The Chief decides to throw in his own daughter Arathee (Jackie Jacqueline) to the mix, her biggest offense is her attitude. Girl is pretty but that is about it. Chief feels that he failed as a father and only tough love could fix his daughter’s bratty attitude. The Charlie’s Angels have been formed, but our Captain has some serious concerns about them: will they manage not to KILL each other? They have much to learn, from fighting skills to teamwork, Captain has his work cut out for him.
What makes this show compelling isn’t only turning these girls into women who kick ass (because they already do), nor the entertaining bitch fights they get into (I know I’m rooting for them to kick Arathee’s ass), but the fact that they have something to prove and so much to learn within themselves. Even the Captain has something to learn. As a rarity, Captain Chanin is a stoic, capable man who we see can do no wrong, really there isn’t anything he can’t do. He solves all of his cases, catches all of the bad guys, and skillful to a tee. BUT. Yes, there is a but. He’s such a machine that he accomplishes all of those things in detriment to his compassion. He forms this group of four spies and encourages them to be one (you know all for one, and one for all) but his mistake is seeing them as props, offenders that are simply a means to an end.
One specific event occurred which really clues us in on his character, and this may make you feel a little dead inside. The Charlie’s Angels (should we call them Chanin’s Angels? Buahahaha) are getting ready for their final test before they can get on the case, and Captain Chanin is cracking the whip. Word came out that Prim’s mom isn’t doing so well with the treatment plan and is actually dying. Captain decides that he will tell Prim AFTER the test. So cold, right? That night Prim dreams that her mom came to her and said goodbye, she wakes up in tears, but proceeds with the day. Captain Chanin gets word that Prim’s mom actually died that night. He goes to the hospital WITHOUT telling Prim. I love that they’re laying on the guilt extra thick. Finally he pulls Prim aside later that morning and looks at her with his damn I’m forgivable look (ok I made it up, he’s SO cute I can’t help it) and tells her that her mom had passed away. Ugh, the pain. It’s so good. Prim launches at him and spits that she will never forgive him. Who doesn’t love that conflict?
Captain Chanin starts to soften towards her because he feels badly and because he’s starting to see that his angels are really more than a prop. Another awesome nuance about Captain Chanin is that he has one firm rule that he must never ever break. Captain Chanin will always keep his personal life separate from his professional life. Absolutely no mixing. And that is what makes their love story all the more engaging, there’s that innate conflict that Captain Chanin holds dear, and he enforces it ruthlessly with his underlings. Until well, he can’t tamper down HIS own feelings for his employee, the spy, the delinquent girl. This makes for a mushy and entertaining watch when Captain Chanin, Mr. Robot, says all sorts of stupid things because he’s getting in touch with his human side. It’s SO great.
Case in point, in episode 15, after Charlie’s Angels performed their undercover dance number (the perpetrators own nightclubs and the cops needed to find out who’s all involved in this mess) and Prim recently caught Phuwat’s dad’s attention. My skin actually crawled because the man is so smitten by her. Granted, Phuwat’s dad loves his son dearly but that is his only positive attribute. But I digress. Anyway, Captain Chanin finds out that Prim was taken to a VIP room to have a chat with Phuwat’s dad. He knows nothing innocent happened there, so he tries to get the truth out of Prim.
At the rooftop, Prim finally relents that men want only one thing. The older man tried to touch her and kiss her but the sergeant managed to distract the man in time before anything untoward happened. Captain Chanin looks ready to kill someone, but instead he spits out that a woman has her ways to detract a man, why didn’t she use one of those ways? Is it because she wants the attention. OMG, foot, meet mouth. Prim relents that she didn’t want to blow her cover but realizes what Captain Chanin is trying to imply. She slaps him and warns him not to treat her like some criminal. But he reminds her that she is one, oof. His emotions get the best of him and he pulls her against his chest in anger, and their face touch. Both are aware of the electric charge between them and pull away. He apologizes. Oh, I can watch Captain getting jealous all day.
That night Captain Chanin keeps watch over the spies and he turns on the computer to watch Prim. Borderline creepy, BUT, she’s awake and he sees her touching the place where his lips had been. Gah. He reaches out to the monitor and touches her face. Ha, our Captain has feeeeelings. I am smitten by these two and I can’t wait to see more of them together. It’s only going to get more interesting and I can’t stop smiling. Someone slap ME.
First Ekkaphong as Phuwat is extra handsy and touchy-feely with Arathee, not that I mind. His character is hilarious. He’s a playboy, the standard, rich boy who falls for a girl out of his league. But he’s a good guy who happens to be a bad guy’s son. Angst is going to be in store for him, that is for sure. Arathee on the other hand, you might need an earplug. Girl does a lot of screaming, be forewarned. She’s the spoil brat that Chief sends to boot camp, so to speak. Through the experience though, we see her grow (albeit slowly) and come to truly care about helping others, without losing a sense of herself. At first, I really enjoyed watching the other angels kick her butt, haha. But when she started saving a little girl and opted to help the team on her own free will, she won me over. I find it funny that she warned the other angels that the Captain belongs to her (because who could blame her, did you see the Captain?) but she’s going to have to shake off Phuwat who’s sticking to her like glue. He’s adorable, and loving too much the fact that they have to pretend to be a couple to save the world.
I’m halfway through the show, and I think it may end soon, but I am so glad that I’m catching on at the right time. Better late than never, I’ll say. Meur Prap Sai Diew is anything but the average evening lakorn. Primetime lakorns should take note, it’s a gem in the making.