Review: Lives of Omission (TVB, 2011)

Lives of Omission (潛行狙擊)
Genre: Modern Cop/Triad
Length: 30 episodes
Producer: Chong Wai Kin

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Cast

Michael Tse as Laughing Sir
Bosco Wong as Michael aka “Cripple Co”
Fala Chen as Jodie aka Madam Jo
Kate Tsui as Paris aka Barrister Yiu
Damian Lau as Harry aka “Kung Sir”
MC Jin as “Lap Ching”
Mandy Wong as “Ah Mung”
Derek Kwok as “Kau Tou Sir”
Elena Kong as Auntie Lam
Ben Wong as Spicy Ginger

Synopsis in Brief

The returning of Laughing Gor as a cop so this means Laughing Sir. His senior managers are Madam Jo and Kung Sir and of course, his opponent is triad member-turned-leader “Cripple Co.” Rounding out the main cast is his romantic interest, Barrister Yiu, a character whom you would love and hate. On the cop’s side is a team of newly recruited CIB members and future UCs who are obliged to go under training under Laughing Sir and Madam Jo. And on the triad’s side is a dirt-low triad gangster who through tortures of having to literally lick his boss’s shoes turns his own fate around and becomes a dangerous member of society.

“Laughing” My A** Off…

The dying and resurrecting of Laughing is probably not going to stop until fans get bored. Anyone else find it an insult to our intelligence for the triad members to accept Laughing into their group knowing that he was a former cop? Fine, let’s say they don’t care, but Laughing is a UC for the fourth time already! No suspicions. No doubts. No skepticism. Wow.

Michael Is Not The Same Without Paris

Let’s face it. The story of “Cripple Co” would not have been half as interesting if it wasn’t for his on-again-off-again relationship with Barrister Yiu which in between consisted of numerous passionate kisses, hair-grabbing, and psychological and mental possession of each other. Yep, it’s that type of relationship where when we’re angry with the other party, but can’t resist talking to them, we would sarcastically address them as “Barrister Yiu, rising the legal ladder now, huh?” You know, that “I don’t give a fuck” attitude which is the perceived coolness of every immature teenager out there today? It’s that type of relationship where both individuals has no moral standards and is willing to do, let me re-iterate, do anything to rise the ladder; and the only difference here is him the triad one, and her the legal one. Morals become such a waste of time for them since life is so short to not be with the one we love, Michael drives around and around in his car and only to come back and beg for a second, wait no, third chance with Paris. Sorry, if I lost count already. But yes, she is that irresistible. Maybe not to Kate haters, but to Michael, of course.

Ultimately, Paris’s emergence gave Michael an outlet to display his animalistic side, which takes every viewers’ mind off and away thinking whether or not the actor himself acts on his tiger skin with his rumored-girlfriend (not really despite her persistence of not wanting to publicize their relationship) on a daily basis.

You may also be interested in reading more about them here.

Fala Chen Unfit For Madam

Too young for Laughing. Too feminine to play a cop. Too girly to be senior giving orders to subordinates who are her senior in age. All these criticisms are accurate in netizens response to Fala playing Laughing’s boss and later handler. Just Laughing’s rich experience as an undercover cop itself makes it laugh-worthy to acknowledge a boss who is a beauty, but lacks the brains and experience in dealing with people. TVB dramas has always portrayed it and maybe that’s the way we all think it is, but realistically, is it possible to become a senior management staff in the Hong Kong Police Department without going through the cadet training experience, sergeant, CID, etc.? The fact that she was afraid to pull the trigger on that gun made us all ponder how she became a Madam in the first place. Even some cadets-who-just-came-out-from-training may have had a better handle at the situation psychologically. If Madam Jo was more clever maybe I would not doubt her abilities as Laughing’s boss, but quitting her duty as Laughing’s handler was certainly one of the smartest decisions she made.

And what is with Madam Jo running around in flats, fighting the criminals? Last time I wore them for half an hour, I had blisters and a scar that remained on my ankle for an entire month.

Kung Sir and Auntie Lam: Forgiveness and Mutual Trust

Maybe no one cared about this couple because of the hotness of the Michael and Paris duo or the weirdness of Laughing Sir and boss Madam Jo, but too bad they were the only pair who lived happily ever after. Would it be possible for us to forgive the person who came into our lives and made us feel like we found true love, but at the end of the day, only to turn us over to the police, act as witness for the crimes we’ve committed, and send us to prison for twenty years? That means losing twenty years of our prime time beauty. That means losing our family and friends. That means starting all over again when we’re released twenty years later. Clearly, this is a hypothetical situation as not many of us will be privileged enough to come across a Kung Sir in our lifetime. However, the possibility of forgiveness and mutual trust again towards those who have wronged us, whom we hold a grudge against remains an emotional obstacle for many.

And through many unexpected encounters, incidentally helping of one another, and of course, Kung Sir’s clever son, the two reconcile their differences. The truth is, Kung Sir was an undercover cop. The truth is, he did approach and woo Auntie Lam in order to crack the case at the time. However, the truth is also that in order to be a convincing undercover, he immersed himself into the role as Auntie Lam’s lover and his feelings for her were indeed true. Just because he was professional enough to bring himself out of his role at the end of his mission does not mean his feelings for her weren’t real. Perhaps for Kung Sir, his career was always more important than his love life?

The Fate of the Supporting Cast, Who Cares?

“Kou Tou Sir” and T Two, what happened to these two former cops who betrayed CIB for various purposes? We were never given anymore details about their ending and whether the HK Department of Justice decided to press charges for the crimes they committed.

Were “Ah Mung” and “Lap Ching” a pair at the end? It was clear that “Ah Mung” rejected “Lap Ching” as a romantic partner and although the two remained friends, that was it? The fate of the main cast was a hot topic amongst netizens for the last few weeks, but apparently, that also meant neglect of the fate of the supporting cast.

The Ending

TVB released two endings. In both endings, Madam Jo suffered a tragic death, leading Laughing to seek revenge for his to-be-wife. He killed Michael and was sentenced to prison for life. This also means a movie sequel is impossible.

In the alternative ending, Paris shot Michael and it was revealed she was a UC as well.

TVB wished for an unforgettable ending for Laughing, but this also meant sacrificing Madam Jo, whose death I thought was unnecessary. However, I’m glad for the ending for Michael and Paris. His saving, instead of heartlessly killing, the woman he deemed he loved (and she was in her wedding gown too!) made his character more redeemable. I simply cannot digest the fact that Paris is a UC for all the things her character did… and without emotions too!

Overall Evaluation

Maybe TVB was too anxious to turn Lives into a grand production, but the later episodes became a drag and made me wish for a 25-episodes drama instead. The time beginning Laughing’s role as a UC again also marks the onset of when Michael will be brought down by his opponent. We know he will suffer the consequences. We know his brotherly affection for Laughing will not be ever-lasting, if it ever existed in the first place. It’s just a matter of how he will be taken down from his pedestal.


I can’t guarantee you wouldn’t be bored throughout the 30-episode long drama, but I can promise a roller-coaster relationship between a triad leader and a lawyer which is something TVB haven’t produced in forever!


One thought on “Review: Lives of Omission (TVB, 2011)

  1. Unfortunately, the only thing worth watching in Lives of Omission – after all that hype – was Michael and Paris’ relationship and their chemistry; I don’t think I’ve ever seen such intensity and passion in a TVB couple before (if Bosco wasn’t already with Myolie, he should just marry Kate). The character development for the lead characters was otherwise absolutely woeful, and not particularly aided by Fala’s souless acting and Michael’s tendency to preen when he really is no George Clooney. And after all that talk about how Bai Co would be a very complex and grey character the only time the character showed real depth was through his relationship with Paris – so much for good writing.

    PS: Kate is possibly the most subtle young actress TVB has now; it’s just too bad she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. The final scene with Bosco finally reminded me once again why she has been the only TVB artiste to have rightly found (limited) critical success in films – unlike the rest of the TVB brood, she acts best with her eyes, not by contorting her facial muscles.


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