Prosecution Elite (2023) 公诉
Summary: An Ni ft DiLiReBa (迪丽热巴 Dilraba Dilmurat) joins the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in the fictitious city of Jiang Cheng after graduating with a law degree where she begins investigating cases in new online crimes. She works with her fellow prosecutors and fellow detective He Lu Yuan ft Tong Da Wei to investigate clues, discover the truth and prosecute the criminals.
Total Episode Count: 40
Initial Airing Date: May 29, 2023
Platform: Beijing TV, ZheJiang TV, IQiYi/Tencent
*Note – English translations may not match official translations
Initial rating 7.5/10 (after 10 episodes) – I’ve been pleasantly surprised at this drama. It tackles some very pertinent cases revolving cybercrime. This includes internet fraud, phone scams, gambling etc. It’s an interesting peek into how so many fall for seemingly harmless messages. Overall, the acting from the entire cast is top notch. The drama really peaks when Dilraba is in the courtroom or questioning suspects. The drama just drags a bit when there’s the mandatory scenes pontificating on justice and righteousness.
This is Dilraba’s first foray into more serious topics where she plays a young prosecutor handling online criminal cases. Fans have been eager to see this drama air on network tv as she transitions to a more serious actress. This drama is a new test in her acting career and I think she’s done an excellent job.
Final Rating: 7/10 – Dilraba does an admirable job in providing an intriguing glimpse into the lives of Chines prosecutors. The drama truly shines when it focuses on the cases and court room but loses momentum from the endless meetings. This is a very educational drama that is shines light into the cybercrimes of today.
The drama follows the story of An Ni (Dilraba Dilmurat). She graduated top of her class at a prestigious law school and is now assigned to the Fourth Prosecutor’s Department after she joined the Procuratorate. Based off of 10 real life cases, the drama unfolds as she and fellow prosecutors try to solve many difficult internet crimes.
In first episode, An Ni is sent on a mission to retrieve sensitive documents from an undercover detective but the mission ultimately ends in tragedy. 2 years later, she finally gathered enough evidence to continue the investigation. She is now paired with detective He Luyuan (played by Tong Dawei) to solve a variety of crimes. Based off of 10 real life cases, the drama continues to unfold An Ni and He Lu Yuan track and solve cases while also pulling on a thread that might get them closer to a larger criminal organization.
aN nI 安旎
Prosecutor with a sterling reputation who specializes in cybercrimes
he lu yuan 何陆源
Tong da wei 佟大为
Detective who at first is dismissive of An Ni’s capabilities
ZHAO JI KAI 赵冀凯
gAO xIN 高鑫
President of the gaming division at the large Hui Quan corporation
li yi tang 李仪棠
you jing ru 尤靖茹
Lawyer employed by Hui Quan
Prosecution Elite was a very interesting educational drama. This drama was partially produced by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which is the highest national agency responsible for legal prosecution in China, so there’s a huge educational component to this drama. It had the dual role of showcasing real life cybercrime cases while also moving forward a storyline that encompassed these cases. In that regard, I think it mostly succeeded. This is a fully original IP, one of the few in recent years, and the screenwriter drew inspiration from 10 real life cases that Chinese prosecutors investigated and litigated at court over the past few years.
I was rather shocked at how detailed the crimes were portrayed on screen. This drama really didn’t gloss over the ugliness of online scams, how scammers fell into this “profession”, how they lure prone individuals into poverty and desperation, and the resulting torture if a scammer didn’t perform to standards. The ways in which scammers are able to get someone’s data was so easy that it was scary. As I was watching the show, I couldn’t help but think that wow, these scams are prevalent even in the US and whether I should call my mom to make sure she doesn’t fall victim to these scams. So yes, I would say, the educational aspect succeeded.
In a departure to most other dramas, this is truly a workplace drama in the sense that there’s no true “romance”. This isn’t a romance idol cloaked under the guise of a prosecution drama. No, this drama really focuses on the capabilities of our main female lead An Ni.
In the drama, we follow the story from the An Ni. She is an excellent prosecutor that has an unfailing sense of justice but is nevertheless compassionate and loyal to her friends and coworkers. It’s quite refreshing to have a female lead legitimately focused on her career and truly embrace it. This drama really is about An Ni and her partners in the bureau and police as they continue to investigate cases, gather evidence, and bring cases to court. There’s side plots that revolve around her but those stories are really there to push forward the main mystery and additional cases around her.
Ratings wise, this drama has only done ok although from a review perspective, this drama has done very well. The lackluster ratings are probably due to the fact that the drama can be rather dry at times. Because this drama is supported by the government, it really had to pump up the pro-Chinese government anthem. That means a LOT of meetings that basically have senior prosecutors say stuff like – let’s focus on what not to do. Helpful from an educational perspective but VERY dry and stops the momentum.
From a career perspective, I fully understand why Dilraba took the role and on the flip side, why the government chose her to play this character. Dilraba is already the most popular female actress (from a social media presence) in China but she desperately needed to win over audiences with strong acting skills. She definitely delivered with her portrayal of An Ni, especially in her court scenes. As for the government, they needed a capable female actress to take on this role so that more people would watch this drama. It was definitely a win win for both sides.
Overall – definitely watch the drama for the actual cases and Dilraba. Skip all the meetings.
What I Liked
Strong Leading Lady: Dilraba does an excellent job in her portrayal of the exceptional prosecutor An Ni. She really turned heads in her scenes at court when she is questioning witnesses or suspects. She uses her own voice for this drama, and she’s notably been getting quite a bit of praise for how well she’s been able to articulate all the tough lines in those court scenes.
A well-rounded female character: Separate from Dilraba’s acting, the character of An Ni really is a shining beacon. We FINALLY get a lead female character who’s 100% focused on her career and not what we call in Chinese “Lian Ai Nao” or a “romantic head”. Sure she has suitors, but she doesn’t fall head over heels of them. She instead very much separates her work life from her personal life. An Ni is able to seamlessly move between the tough, meticulous, and thorough prosecutor while at court to the loyal and compassionate friend and colleague at home. An Ni as a character really shines through and it was rare that I was questioning what she was doing.
Original IP and Engrossing Cases: It was great chasing this drama live because this was a completely original drama so there was nothing that we could base our assumptions on. This meant that viewers were wondering who committed the crime, how the evidence was going to be collected, and how were the bad guys going to weasel their way out of their holes. The fact that these cases were all based on real life cases were just the cherry on top because viewers were quite flabbergasted that what they saw on screen really happened.
Great chemistry from the main cast: There was an ease to the main cast that helped push this drama along. Most notably our male lead Tong Da Wei. He and Dilraba quickly built up an easy rapport as the drama progressed and it was easy to follow. I also really liked Dilraba’s mentor / mentee chemistry with the character Han Xuan
What I didn’t like
Meetings: There were way too many meetings. Everyone joked online that this was basically real life but I really don’t need to see this on screen. I get it. Don’t gamble, don’t fall prey to scams. I don’t need to have this reiterated like 20 times
Questionable Motives for Supporting characters: Remember how I said that we finally have a great well-rounded female lead? Well, someone had to do all the questionable actions. That role fell to An Ni’s best friend Li Yi Tang. It was very annoying seeing this character make all of the idiotic choices in the name of love. It’s so funny because everyone online was like – hey, isn’t that typically what the main female lead do? Anyways – several characters make stupid choices and you’re left wondering, no wonder why you were scammed.
Superfluous cast: this cast is massive and many characters show up for like a scene or two. Totally didn’t understand why they needed to be there. Maybe to fulfill the education quota or the communist party quota? Definitely didn’t need them there.
The whole drama was filmed on location in the city of Chengdu in spring and summer of 2022. The running joke was that the entire city essentially saw the cast film in different areas of the city. Dilraba was so popular that there were hoards of people right outside of the shot, delivery guys took breaks when they bumped into the cast filming, and students from the local universities ran to wherever they were filming.
So when in the film, certain scenes were set in different countries, I was like wow, that’s awesome that they could find places in the city of Chengdu that can double for a European country or another southeast Asian country.
The drama also went to extreme lengths NOT to implicate any real country. For example, when talking about another country, they would simply say Country A or Country F. You can sort of figure our the region in the world they’re talking about and after the drama finished airing, the screenwriter posted where the cases were actually in, so you can figure it out, but I was actually somewhat impressed at just how much effort went into making sure no real country was implicated in this drama.
Finally – this is REALLY funny. Originally, this drama was solely going to be distributed online by Tencent. They then shared the distribution rights with iQiYi. There’s one main corporation Hui Quan featured in the drama and what’s SO funny is that it’s essentially an iQiYi building in which placard of Hui Quan is basically CGI’d onto the building. People online were like, now that’s REAL online sabotage.