The South Korean Netflix drama series “D.P.” has drawn international attention for its treatment of that country’s conscription system, which requires all able-bodied men to enter military service before they’re 29.
The main focus of attention is the show’s unflinching depiction of the bullying that goes on in the ranks. “D.P.” stands for “deserter pursuit,” and the stories revolve around two military policemen charged with catching soldiers who’ve deserted. In many cases, these soldiers fled after suffering abuse, which the show portrays as being widespread in the South Korean army.
But that isn’t the only reason soldiers run away, and what’s notable about “D.P.” is how it extrapolates its central premise to elucidate South Korean society, particularly as it applies to young people. Though the bullying, which is often brutal, makes the biggest impression, it is essentially background. Harassment of all kinds is inherent in the military and as such inextricably linked to South Korean people’s outlook on life.