Black & White Episode 1 Recap

A great drama stands the test of time. Black & White may just be the best TW-drama ever made, and not just because it stars my Vic Zhou (Zai Zai) as the male lead. B&W has it all – completely pre-shot on film stock with a seasoned PD, a star-studded cast, a riveting and tense story, a K-drama worthy emotional journey for all four leads, and a nail biting thriller execution.

Black & White (Chinese title Pi Zi Ying Xiong – Pi Zi is a Taiwanese slang term for ruffian or riffraff, Ying Xiong means hero) is about two completely different cops in a fictional Harbor City who find themselves reluctant partners investigating a drug trafficking case that turns out to be a larger conspiracy than anyone could ever imagine.

Rewatching episode 1 recently, I was reminded of just how brilliant this drama is. Zai Zai transforms into Pi Zi, a slick and sleazy cop just coasting by but armed with a devastating back story, while Mark Chao is Ying Xiong, a hot-headed detective brimming with righteous fury and a whole lotta of muscle. Along with Janine Chang as a CSI agent and Ivy Chen as the daughter of the biggest mob boss in town, B&W is the crackiest crack that ever cracked as a drama. This is one of the few dramas I’ve ever pulled an all-nighter to marathon, and it was worth the pain the day after.

Action 1 recap:

The title card reads: Harbor City. A naked young lady lounges in bed with Chen Zai Tian (aka Pi Zi), waking him up with a phone call from her mommy. Pi Zi sleepily tells her to inform her mommy that she’s in good hands, cuz oppa (or ge ge in Chinese) here is a cop.

The girl smirks and says her name is Lin Ke Le (heh heh, as in Cola), and her mommy is Lin…….Chief of Police of the North Precinct. Pi Zi’s eyes snap wide open. Dude, you are in so much deep shit.

Pi Zi gets chased out of the North Precinct by a shot gun wielding Police Chief Lin, warning him she’ll mow him down if she ever sees his face again, for daring to defile her precious daughter Ke Le. A uniformed fellow cop tosses Pi Zi a box with his belongings and he jumps into his yellow convertible, heading for safer pastures at the South Precinct.

*cue awesome music and title credits*

A team is assembling for an undercover assignment – the Major Crime Unit of the South Precinct is about to bust the drug trafficking of the latest drug called “Dreamer.” Leading the assignment is Wu Ying Xiong, styled to look like a thug, bringing along Hulk, their office agent who is going to pose as a buyer.

Ying Xiong and Hulk go to the buy armed with US $500,000 and a bevy of agents providing cover, but a cell phone drop leads to a change in location and Ying Xiong and Hulk find themselves alone in a warehouse facing the drug leader Gao Yi (played by a devastatingly creepy Kingone Wang).

The cops are fingered as cops by Gao Yi, so a gun fight and battle ensues, during which Gao Yi and some lackeys escape with the money. Yin Xiong pursues them and the gun battle moves outside onto the public streets. Pi Zi is having coffee with some floozy and happens to find himself in the middle of a shootout.

Gao Yi gets away and Ying Xiong moves to pursue when Pi Zi steps forward and draws his gun, thinking Ying Xiong is a criminal. Ying Xiong immediately disarms him but Pi Zi flashes his badge that he’s a cop.

The South Precinct back up arrives, led by Captain Chen Jun Lin, who is furious the undercover bust is, well, a complete bust – with the drug lackeys dead or escaped, and all the money gone.

Ying Xiong yells that he was impeded by that fool over there, pointing at Pi Zi.

They all head back to the South Precinct where Ying Xiong wants to personally interrogate this loser cop who interfered with their drug bust.

The South Precinct Police Chief arrives (played by Mark Chao’s real life daddy Allen Chao) and is told by Pi Zi that he’s not some random cop, he’s actually the newest transfer to the South Precinct Major Crimes Unit.

He identifies himself as Chen Zai Tian, and the entire South Precinct freezes to discover that this loser is THE Chen Zai Tian, North Precinct’s top case solver. What the what? This will be…… interesting to say the least.

Captain Chen is pissed his drug bust was ruined, so he tells Pi Zi and Ying Xiong that they are partners going forward (with the nickname Xuang Xi – double happiness, tee hee), responsible for cracking the Dreamer case. Since they collectively screwed up, he’s holding them responsible until this case is solved.

Gao Yi is pissed he almost got cornered by an undercover cop. He makes a call and orders the informant who arranged the buy to be taken care of. Who is Gao Yi talking to?

Ying Xiong drags Pi Zi along to the CSI unit to meet with Lan Xi Ying, the cool, calm, and composed scientist in the lab (played by Janine Chang). She’s got mad skills, and a little crush on Ying Xiong, who is just pissed he’s saddled with Pi Zi, who appears to have only one skill – to mack on chicks left and right.

Ying Xiong warns Pi Zi that he has one week to get himself out of Ying Xiong’s life, otherwise he’s going to get his ass kicked six-ways to Sunday (squeezing a poor orange to its death in front of Pi Zi to demonstrate the ass kicking to come). Pi Zi can’t get himself transferred again, so he just tags along with Ying Xiong since they are now partners.

Ying Xiong gets a call from his informant who wants to get out of town now that this drug bust went South and his identity might become known. Ying Xiong heads to his place to find the guy already dead. Ying Xiong is furious at himself, especially since the informant wasn’t a genuine informant. He was a member of the San Lian Gang, and agreed to inform for Ying Xiong in exchange for Ying Xiong getting his brother out of jail earlier because their sick mother was dying of cancer.

During the prisoner transfer for the informant’s brother, he’s murdered en route. Not good. Ying Xiong and Pi Zi arrive at the hospital where the informant’s sick mother is staying. Outside the hospital, Pi Zi sees a young girl assisting an older woman into a car. They discover from the nurse that the sick woman has been checked out already by a very pretty young lady moments earlier.

Pi Zi remembers the car and the license plate number (he’s good at memorizing girl’s phone numbers) so they chase after the car and have the police cruisers nearby pull said car over. They catch up to the car and arrive to find a solitary girl and no sick mother. The girl says she’s alone and has no clue about any sick woman.

Pi Zi starts to interrogate her and gets a little too touchy for her, which is when she back flips Pi Zi onto the hood of the car and tosses a few of the other cops for good measure. Ying Xiong manages to subdue her and they take her back for interrogation.

Pi Zi has her strung up like a turkey but Ying Xiong tells him to untie her since they don’t torture witnesses in the South Precinct. The girl continues to play coy and refuses to talk, making mocking faces at Pi Zi. OMG, I love her already.

Lan Xi Ying is testing for the Dreamer compound when she discovers that Pi Zi’s clothing appears to have traces of Dreamer on it. She informs Ying Xiong of this curious development.

We see a slew of cars racing to the South Precinct and pulling up to the drive way.

Suddenly Captain Chen rushes into the interrogation room and stares in horror at the girl inside. He yells at Pi Xi and Ying Xiong for dragging the only daughter of the San Lian Gang boss in for questioning without any basis. Chen Lin gives Pi Zi and Ying Xiong a smirk and a grin. Little girl’s got some big big back up.

Thoughts of Mine:

These recaps for B&W will probably be comparatively short on the prose and heavy on the screencaps. This is an action thriller that is stuffed with witty dialogue, intelligent plot development, and weighty emotional stakes. With a crackling OST and the sharpest camera work in any TW-drama, this deserves to be watched to absorb the full effect of its impact. But I love it so much I still want to recap it, and share some thoughts afterwards. I want to keep a scrapbook of this drama for myself, but feel free to join me in visiting or revisiting with B&W.

Pi Zi is hands down the most interesting character in the drama, from the first episode to the last. Zai Zai plays him perfectly – a cop without an ounce of gravitas and sincerity, loaded with only smarmy and lazy. But a Pi Zi needs a Ying Xiong as his foil, and we have the perfect hero that is serious and passionate, not to mention so ridiculously hot (Mark Chao, rawr) that he can melt polar ice caps. Pi Zi almost always wears white, while Ying Xiong goes rugged in black. But the title of the drama is switched, with Pi Zi representing the black hurtful world while Ying Xiong is the pure white hope. You’ll see what I mean as the drama progresses.

Ivy Chen owns me as Chen Ling, her character truly unforgettable and amazingly well-written. Janine Chang gets to play the straight woman to all the craziness, but her composure and intelligence makes Lan Xi Ying the brains of this entire operation. Tons of great Taiwanese actors show up in the drama, from bit parts to insanely unique secondary characters. We’ve already met Kingone Wang’s drug kingpin Gao Yi, but Xiu Jie Ke and Sonia Sui will be joining the party soon to kick start the fireworks. You’ll come to realize that this drama isn’t just black and white, but is rich with all the colors of the rainbow.


Black & White Episode 1 Recap — 33 Comments

  1. This is hands down my favorite Taiwanese drama to date! (Even better than Fated to Love You, which had its fair share of cringe worthy moments!!!)

    *spoiler*– But the last couple of episodes of B&W got on my nerves with it’s whole is he or is she not scenarios… o.m.goodness. They use to have it up on youtube, but when MJ passed away a few summers ago, B&W started to show up in the search ledges, and was taken down for copyright infringements.

  2. Thank you unni. After this intro i will most def be following your recaps and as soon as i can, i will watch it! That’s a promise.

  3. Unni…you’ve done it to me again! I’ve been meaning to watch this but have never really gotten around to it. I’m not as motivated to watch Taiwanese dramas since I don’t speak the language, but with an endorsement like that from you, I now have to go marathon the entire thing.

    ~toddles of to watch and resigns self to having no life for the next 24 hours~

  4. this is also my fav TW drama! with young ones i couldnt’ do a 24 hr marathon but i was tempted! it kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end. i’m so glad you are recapping it…maybe i’ll rewatch it again since there are no K-dramas that i’m following closely right now

  5. The only part that I really liked was w/ Kingone. Tried to watch the drama like 4 times and never got pass ep 5 or 6… and watched the last ep just to end it.

  6. Of all the dramas I’ve seen (in any language), this one is near the top, if not tied for top with, oh, maybe Buffy. (And even then, Buffy’s last seasons dragged that one down.) Why? Because the women are damn awesome in this series: they rescue themselves. (And in Janine’s case, twice!) I mean, sure, there’s double happiness for the lead guys, but for the female characters, there’s double and tripe MoCA. They’re smart, they’re capable, they have their own agency and motivation, and they have their own arcs — even the minor background female characters. Absolutely love this series, even the scenery-chewing parts with Kingone, who chews the scenery with an intensity worthy of, well, something that chews intently.

  7. ahh! it’s also one of my favorite Tdrama too! I was blown away at the whole production, cast, directing, and OST, the leads are all cherry on the top for me too.

    need to revisit this drama again!

  8. Dear Koala, you have made my day… Thank you, thanks…. Your recap has made me to re watch this drama again (third time, *sigh* with satisfaction and nostalgia)…

  9. Hands down one of my favorite TW dramas ever! When I watched it I only went in wanting to check it out for an episode or two. Ended up “marathoning” the lot in a weekend.

  10. I rewatched this recently. I had originally seen it as it was airing. Loved it! It does stand up very well even on a rewatch.

    Seriously my most favorite T drama EVER! 🙂

  11. love this drama – definitely one of my favorite tw ones, though like someone mentioned earlier, the whole relationship thing toward the end was a bit irritating.

  12. I confess I couldn;t continue past ep 10 of this drama cuz it didn’t quite get to me, and If it couldn’t have me in the first half I figured it probably wouldn’t in the second..and so I’d given up on it but because of how many people have been raving about I was always curious to know how it had ended so I’m kinda glad that you’ve decided to recap this series

  13. I love this drama so much! Thank you for taking me back down memory lane. I have loved my fair share of taiwan dramas, but I never realized that a tw-drama could be capable of something so awesome until black and white. There were so many twists and turns and me shouting expletives out of shock. I think Ivy Chen (can’t wait to see her in Skip Beat) owned the first half of the series (at first interesting and kickass, then a bit boring) while Janine Chang owned the second half (at first boring, then interesting and kickass).

    I hear there is going to be a movie, but Vic Zhou decided not to sign on. Part of why this drama was so great was the chemistry between the two male leads. I know Mark Chao won the acting award for this drama, but Vic Zhou was just too amazing in this drama. Not having him in the movie is just devastating.

    To those who haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you watch the episodes before reading the recap. Part of the fun is the shock value of the twists and turns and reveals. And THEN come here to go “OMG! That part was so mindblowing! Holy shish-ka-bob! “

  14. OK OK OK I love the casting of this suspense, light comedy, romantic mixed emotion drama….it’s the same roller coaster ride I get when I watched animation, something is always making me jump off my feet….the casting here was awesome….My fave scene was when Zai Zai and Ivy was on the couch and Zai zai wanted to rape Ivy and Ivy suddenly kissed him back and said she likes him, that was a winner….whopping overtake and Zai Zai went from monster to a lost puppy kinda Pussy in Boots cutie look….taming the dragon wahaha…. 😀

    Yup Zai zai was making a break through from his good image in Meteor garden to a wise crack head hopeless romantic playboy who by the way was really bad in running and action moves LOL 😛 …..the character was amazing….that was one character transition but hell it was smooth it never contradicted the flow…..


  15. Great review and I indeed loved this drama!
    With the fantastic cinematography and directing, it looks like a real movie too!
    I can’t wait for the movie coming out!
    Zaizai’s acting was superb here!
    Kingone’s acting as a bad guy was sooo natural and believable and I totally adore Jie Ke! So darn cute!

  16. Thank you Ms Koala for bringing TW dramas to life on your blog 🙂

    I really liked this drama too when it first aired. I haven’t seen it again yet but it also brings me down memory lane. Who can forget that first scene? LOL!!!

    Growing up, I watched tons of tw dramas (mostly romance related or period piece) and they were non-idol drama variety. And then idol dramas exploded after MG and it seemed like that was all I watched, asided from wu xia series. Then came Jerry & Janine and company’s White Tower. Loved that one… although a little too melo in too many ways for me. While there were many more dramas in between, Black & White was one the few that I felt wasn’t so idol drama-y. I always love a little CSI 🙂 Anyhow – great series!!!!!! I may just go and watch it again.

    I agree with a previous poster – you much watch the series before reading recaps. I also loved the twists and the turns. Some are guessable but all and all, it was a super great ride.

  17. This was one of the few T-drama which i love & watched w/o fastforwarding. Tot Mark was pretty amazing since this was his first foray into acting & he did well. Love ZaiZai here. He got that pi zi character down & you cannot not love him. I actually like him like this than his usual melodrama character.

  18. Reading this recap brought to mind City Hunter. And while I can’t really remember B&W anymore, I have the impression that it’s City Hunter in a much bigger plot. =P Best drama ever, in tw world.

  19. this is the best tdrama…ever!
    from its soundtrack to its cinematography…from the awesome…hot actors to the best supporting cast… and to its script and good directing..This drama is worth watching, straight…nonstop

  20. I remember when I watched the first episode of this show when it aired, it’s Mark Chao who did the best impression on me. I haven’t still w finished it.

  21. OMG YES!! black and white is my fav. taiwanese drama ever!! thank you so much for re-living the wonder of that fantastic drama for us, ockoala! an exciting thriller premise with a whole lotta heart–it’s got everything you ever wanted from a tv show: romance, action, humor, intrigue, you name it! zai zai was sublime as pi zi, and pretty much everyone else was superb too. i remember watching B&W at the edge of my seat, excited at every twist and turn of the story. i’d be reaching for the next episode right after finishing the one i was watching. it was a helluva ride, as the audience doesn’t really get to know who’s truly on the good or bad side until the very end. i remember drawing up a chart to line up who was on whose side (as i was getting mighty confused!), which goes to show how complex the plot of B&W was. however, it never got so convoluted that the audience felt like he/she was being led to run around in circles. i think the drama was trying to make a point of demonstrating how things aren’t as simple as black and white, that there are secrets that make it difficult to tell who’s really good or evil. there were some inconsistencies in plot logic that i had to fanwank, but overall, this drama is slick and fun and emotional, a gem of a tv show. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    i was excited when i heard there would be a movie sequel, but zai zai had bowed out, so now im torn as to whether i should check out the film. “pi zi ying xiong” won’t be the same without “pi zi”! i might check it out just to see how they continue the storyline, but i am truly heartbroken that zai zai isn’t in it : ((

  22. This is/was/will be the best drama ever on TV! So glad you’re doing this. Each episode feels like a movie. I can’t wait for the film follow up if it’s ever going to happen – please don’t do this to us 仔仔

  23. OMG!
    When you said that B&W is the “crackiest crack” drama ever you weren’t joking! Those dudes were very hot separately but together they make me forget sanity! 0_o
    They turn me into a freaking drooling idiot! Honestly, how is that possible ?!
    B&W was waiting for me on my computer for some time now, waiting for that final push to pull me back into the tw drama universe but I didn’t know that I’d be so sorry that I didn’t watch it earlier. Not many dramas have the power to make stay up in ungodly hours even though I have to go to work the next day. But daaaayuuuuuuuuuum this is good!

  24. aaa, yesterday I saw your recap and it reminds me that I need to watch this drama and I just did it this day. I’m now at ep 5 and wow, I love it! I know this is a great drama and I watched the first ep in 2009 but at that time, I couldn’t find good quality video until I searched this drama again this year. I download it and but still hesitant to watch it because I’m not into police drama but for now, I’m amused at how much I like the cases in this drama 🙂

  25. I even appreciate and love more ZaiZai in this drama because this is the first time I saw ZaiZai roaring with his deep emotions,and makes me fell in love more with him,it is so sad that a little sabotaging happens with the Bells something but It doesn’t matter how the bells ring now,but with all the praises that MY GREATEST LOVE received with this drama I’m thankful to Dir. Cai for making ZaiZai part of this drama,Zai evolved now into a great actor and making his every role a phenomenon in the eyes of his co-actors and to his beloved followers.I am truly proud to my ZaiZai.And I can’t wait to see his new film and series,Love ZaiZai forever. :))

  26. I my god, HOW did I miss the fist recap for B&W?!!! As a Vic Chou-Fan! I was so waiting for a post to arise to share my thoughts and I’m looking forward reading your thoughts! Your site ist my best 4ever!!!
    Keep up the spirit!
    This was my second tw-drama which I completely watched with my boyfriend and it was fun-fun-fun 😀
    Love the characters already and couldn’t imagine that there more lovely are shwoing up. And there’s the hottest bedscene (for me) ever seen in asian drama-production *____*
    Funny thing, I recently thought about recapping the drama myself after rewatching it, coz I’m such a big fan of Xiu Jie Kai 🙂

  27. I have a question. When was this shown in Taiwan? I just wonder because if you’re going to take a look at Zai Zai’s looks right now. He looks soooo different compared here or in his Meteor Garden or Mars days.

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