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Smooth Criminals

At first glance, it seems like Ch 8 is churning out another drama that rips off a foreign hit series. The Crime Hunters bears a close resemblance to the American Golden Globes-nominated CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, but the local version is more than just about scalpel and knife – it offers romance and a wonderful cast totally at ease with each other, judging from their hilarious banter at a press conference at Amara Hotel.

The talented cast includes recent Star Awards 2003 Special Achievement winner Xie Shaoguang, in addition to veterans Aileen Tan, Liu Qianyi, Edmund Chen and Xiang Yun. Shaoguang plays Bai Ze, an introverted schizophrenic cop who is widely known among the police force after capturing serial killer Mad Wolf, played by Liu Qian Yi. Shaoguang humbly says in Mandarin, “I learned a lot from Qian Yi Da Ge [big brother in Mandarin]…” to which Qian Yi immediately interrupts in Mandarin, “Yeah, he did learn quite a bit from me, but I am referring to [his] gambling, not acting skills!” He continues, “I think I learnt more from Shaoguang. When we act a scene, I will come up with 3 expressions while Shaoguang will come up with 30!”

Aileen plays Fang Si Jie, an analytical detective so devastated by her boyfriend’s death in a robbery that she decided to major in criminal psychology, to use her skills to nab criminals. In the 5-part serial based on true stories, she is involved in a love triangle relationship with Lan Tinghui (Edmund) a prosecutor turned detective and Xiao Ziying, a psychiatrist (Pan Lingling) as the 3 work closely to crack the different cases in the show.

Such high praise leaves Shaoguang blushing, but he wasn’t the only one. Edmund Chen, who sat next to his wife Xiang Yun, must have felt just as awkward with his peers’ teasing.

Aileen Tan says aloud in Mandarin, “It is really amusing to see Zhi Cai (Edmund) so shy when acting with Xiang Yun! Do you know that his hands were trembling as they went

through the script? I was thinking, ‘Is he really that scared of his wife?’True to her outspoken personality, Aileen mentions ex-colleague Chen Huihui – she recently switched to rival station Channel U- who appeared on the show.

“I hope that those bu zai [not around in Mandarin] anymore will still switch channels and watch the show when they are free,” she jokes in Mandarin. Qian Yi chimes in, “What do you mean by bu zai? It is not a very nice way to put it. It feels as if the person you are referring to has left the world.”

As the 2 debate the meaning of bu zai, the rest, including the press, crack up. It took a sobering Shaoguang saying, “Ok, let’s stop here. We have not really forgotten Anita Mui,” to stop them.

With so much spontaneous talent around, maybe the next series should be a comedy instead?

The Crime Hunters airs Mon to Fri, 9 pm from Jan 26.



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