Episodic Thoughts: “Bullet Brain” (Episode 5)

Bullet Brain <神探高倫布>
TVB Series 2013

Cast: Wayne Lai, Edwin Siu, Natalie Tong, Ngo Ka Nin, Sire Ma, Joe Junior, Corinna Chamberlain, Brian Burrell, Lau Dan, and Davily Leung.

Disclaimer: This is a watch as I write episodic thoughts and some information may not be accurate since this is memory based. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted. I apologize if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.



“I will never leave you, I will never give up on you. I await your return my good friend. I know you will come back to me someday.”

The confusion and disaster continues, and so is the boredom.

It was Columbo who arranged for the kidnapping. The reason probably is to show HK that without him the HK police will be crippled. Problem is that reason is assumed and Columbo did not appear at the right time to solve the case. Therefore for me the reason is probably because Columbo wanted to chase Ping On away. How you say?

Ping On found a kid, remember? He didn’t know who the kid was but knew it had something to do with Columbo. Meanwhile, the couple who lost the kid stole from the bank as was dictated by Columbo. They were promptly arrested for theft and at the station they explained why though no one believed them, until Ping On arrived with the kid in tow and immediately the couple said “That’s my son! Now will you believe me?” and they accused Ping On of kidnapping. Scott Sir told Ping On to see him in his room and grilled him whether Columbo had something to do with this. Ping On lied and said he found the kid wandering outside the station.

At home, Ping On finally saw Columbo and he was angry and thus began the same old same old dialogue. This time however Ping On screamed “In the past you used your own methods to solve crimes but I am ok with that because it was to help find the perpetrator. I can’t believe now you are using your own methods to do crime! The kid is innocent! The couple is innocent! Why? WHY?!” and Columbo calmly said “Well I am the devil, so what? Why are you still here? Leave! Leave me! And I will make the deal sweeter for you. I have deposited the ransom money to your wife’s account in England. You can retire there, in comfort” and Ping On couldn’t believe what he heard as he said “You dragged me into your crime? Why? So that you can threaten me, you can chase me away, frame me for a crime I did not commit so that I will leave you alone?.. No, I will never leave! You still have a conscience! You have it!” and Columbo said “In the past I needed you. But since then I have learned everything I have need to learn from you. I don’t need you anymore! I want you to leave because you’re useless to me now!” and Ping On shocked as he was shoved by Columbo onto the sofa said softly “No, Dai Hei, this is not you… I will never… you have a conscience” and he went to the box supposedly with the clay figurine in it but the figurine is gone! Ping On shocked said “Where.. where is it?” and Columbo now angry and smug said “You think I have a conscience? I don’t have one anymore! Here it is, this is the figurine, my so called conscience. It no longer exists, never!” and he threw the doll onto the floor, this time smashing it to pieces and HOPEFULLY the last I will ever see that damn doll again! And Ping On shocked and angry couldn’t believe what Columbo did and I think one of them left. I think it was Columbo. I can’t remember since I am writing this 2 days after the episode aired.

The next time Columbo came back, that darn doll was in one piece, again! WHY? WHY TVB WHY?! There was a letter and it was Ping On and he wrote;

This letter is meant for Ko Dai Hei to read, not for Columbo.

Dear Dai Hei,

I have fixed the doll for you. I know how much you love and treasure the doll and it represents your conscience. I will never let it remain broken in pieces. I know you are still there, and you’re the nicest person I ever know. You saved my family, you saved me, you and I were and still is best buds and that will never change. I will never leave you, I will never give up on you. I await your return my good friend. I know you will come back to me someday.

Your Friend,

Ping On

And we see Ping On leaving the house with his packed suitcase. Columbo’s face showed a moment of guilt, perhaps recognition, of what Ping On wrote, a moment of conscience flickered through his stony face and that moment is why Wayne Lai is KING.

Moving on, Columbo decided to pursue Eva for his own purposes, so he went to her house where she was recuperating from her twisted ankle and he knew the father was coming home and so he remained in here, in her room, and all that stuff insinuating they had sex or were about to. Father became so enraged he chased after Columbo with a gun and fired and missed. Eva was so angry and cried at her father, for not believing in her, for accusing Columbo and she said “It is so unfair! You have prejudice against Columbo because he is smart. He never asked to be shot in the head and became what he is now. He is just trying to survive, and yet father, you chose to prejudice against him for his intelligence. You refused to trust him simply because he is smarter than you, you feel threatened, for no good reason! It is so unfair!” and Father apologised but Eva said “No, you do not owe me an apology daddy, you owe Columbo an apology. You almost killed him!”

Wow, Columbo, I must say this is the ultimate eh? Like chinese says “Juet Jiu”.

And so he did, He apologised to Columbo and even raised his rank to Inspector, same rank as Eva and even make him Commissioner in a special task force division. He chose Eva and Fei Lung as members. And then he said “I would have chosen this excellent officer as the 3rd member. He graduated top of his class, he received special training at Scottland Yard, he is the master of disguise, great at science and a good investigator. That is Pao Ping On. But alas, he has tendered his resignation and leaving for England.” and Ping On walked forward and with a stony face said “SIR! I HAVE DECIDED NOT TO RESIGN, SIR! I HAVE DECIDED TO STAY, SIR!! I WILL NEVER LEAVE, SIR!!!” and yes he did shout. Columbo looked at him, he looked at Columbo, and then in front of all the policemen/women in the station (this announcement was made in front of everyone) they grabbed one another in a passionate embrace and kissed one another passionately as Ping On whispered “Dai Hei, I love you!” and Columbo growled “I hate you!”.


Of course it did not happen that way, but should have been.


Nahhhh, Columbo just angrily said “GOOD SARGENT PAO! GOOD!”.

How many stand offs they are gonna have?

Meanwhile, Fei Lung’s dad went to the station and saw Columbo who immediately smiled and said “It is you!” and was very friendly to him eventhough the old man had no idea what was going on and Columbo announced to everyone, much to Fei Lung and Ping On’s surprise that the old man was his saviour and what exactly did he do? Episode 6 will tell you. I suspect he was the officer who let Columbo as Dai Hei smuggle himself into the country. Columbo may have other plans since he did bug Scott Sir’s room and overheard Fei Lung’s dad and Scott sir speaking but the father may have actually helped Dai Hei before. That we will know in the next episode.

Seriously, may I be honest, what an absolute bore. I am seriously tempted to stop writing for this series. 5 episodes in and it feels like a lifetime. The story is on a loop. Doll, conscience, doll, conscience, if I hear these words again or the doll being smashed to pieces again I shall scream. Ping On seems to have only one set of dialogue to speak, Columbo is so busy getting everyone to second guess him, that by the end of episode 5 I am tired to wondering what he is up to. I am still waiting for Columbo to actually use that brain of his to investigate an unsolvable crime but it seems this series at this point is too busy being wrapped up in its never ending cycle of dramatic events that have been repeated to death. Just 5 episodes, and it felt like 25 episopde. What a waste of a good character, on paper. Every episode we see Ping On being angry and then humiliated and then insulted and then swearing his pledge of allegiance to Columbo because of Dai Hei. If he had walked away, that would be great storytelling. The fact that he is still around, just makes for boring TV. The problem with this series is it thinks it is intelligent, like Columbo thinks of himself but in the end it just is dumb, as in Columbo. I saw the presentation clip and I wished THAT was the series. At this moment, I am just bored out of my wits. And I am very tired of wondering between Columbo and Dai Hei. He has his plans and frankly I don’t care.

Performance wise, not much complain.

Pierre Ngo did well within what he is given, so did Wayne Lai. Pierre did very well with the confusion, the hurt, the fact that Columbo is twisting his around his little finger so to speak. Wayne did well with that moment of clarity as Dai Hei, the one second flicker of conscience. Problem is his Columbo is not very likable and more to the point, dancing on the same tune over and over again. Episode 4 might have been episode 5 and episode 5 might have been episode 1. It looks the same as any other. I can’t believe I looked forward to the flashbacks because Dai Hei was far more interesting that serious angry face of Columbo.

And Columbo is such a badly reasoned character. Doctor says he feels no conscience, he has no moral threshold, the smarter he is, the less “human” he is. And yet our Columbo sometimes have this moment of conscience, he smiled happily when he sees Fei Lung’s father (although he may have his own plans so he could have been pretending). He is not ruthless enough. Right now he seems very petty ruthless, as in ruthless in petty stuff. However his moment of truthfulness was with Eva where he actually told Eva his past, his feelings, and there were moments that Columbo seem human. Perhaps he knew what he was doing to Ping On and everyone is wrong but he didn’t feel sorry for hurting them. And yet with Eva, just 2 of them alone, he actually poured his heart out. Perhaps he knew Eva liked honesty and vulnerability in a man, and he wanted to gain her trust and that will be by being honest with his feelings. And I suppose this shows how calculating and ruthless he can be, where he can even betray his own emotions, his own self to gain something. What that something is I am not sure but perhaps he may want to dispose off Scott sir and Commissioner Kam. But I still feel his Columbo/Dai Hei is confusing himself and us all. If he is as cold as he is said to be, there shouldn’t be any trace of Dai Hei left in him.

I just wish this series just stop with these drama and just give us some crime and cases and punishment. I would have killed for such a drama in the past but since it is so poorly presented in here, I can’t believe I am hoping TVB goes back to being formulaic. Formulaic in this instance is better than this repetitive nonsense.

The others are ok. Sire Ma is ok. No comment. As to her accent, it makes sense since she probably grew up overseas. Edwin Siu is ok eventhough his role here is sorta wastes at this moment. I don’t think he is a fantastic actor, he tends to go OTT but right now he is serviceable.

No comment about the rest.

I hope episode 6 moves on to something else but I am afraid when Natalie shows up, it will still be same old same old.

Dear lord, this is damn boring!


This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://p2e-bulletbrain.blogspot.com

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  1. You probably wont see Natalie Tong’s role in the middle week and thus how many chances that I given to watch this series daily.

    1. Sad isn’t it that we are all so looking forward to Natalie. Seriously sad. I am sure if it was Christine Kuo, I will say the same thing.

      1. The lack of talent is really starting to show now when they push people into lead roles like that.

        I too was hoping by ep 3 or 4 they would’ve gotten into a big unsolvable case that has Columbo going against his “Moriarty” with maybe a dash of flaskbacks to patch up question marks regarding his own past.

      2. Yeah, really sad. Natalie has been shut out all over again with crappy dramas that she lead in.

      3. Look at it this way. It is crap now, but if things improve when she appears or because of her, that has got to raise her popularity point.

      4. We have to wait in the middle of the week when she comes in. I really want to see Natalie to be a lead role again and I hope it goes well.

  2. The series is now on air in USA and it draw hundreds thousands of people rushing to watch ; they really enjoy the series and give “five stars” rated for the series.

  3. Amazing… someone still watching the series. This is got to be the worst TVB series of 2013.

  4. I am not joking; not only many people in USA are enjoying the series , thousands fan in Vietnam also are waiting for this series in Vietnamese language appeared online to watch.

    1. Many Chinese in the U.S. that pay for TVB channel are desperate for anything TVB feeds them. What else are they going to watch? CNN? Discovery Channel? History Channel?

      As for our Vietnamese friends, any TV show from HK is better than what their local TV stations offer. You can throw them a stupid looking Edwin Siu (in AGWTC 2) and they will say he’s the greatest comedian out there.

    2. Yeah, many people who watch TVB in USA are mad on TVB pulling the plug on Direct TV. TVB you da best!

  5. People in Hong Kong only cares about action or family friendly dramas and never understand dramas that require some thought be hide it. People hate this drama mainly because they have no patience and gave up because they don’t understand anything. I hate how people complain about TVB dramas having the same plot over and over again. But when dramas that are different, they cannot adopt to the change and cry about how it is very hard to understand and boring.

    1. It has nothing to do with the plot (even though it’s pretty bad). The problem is Wayne Lai’s poor performance. He’s simply unbearable to watch.

      1. Wayne’s performance is excellent; Chinese people who is living in USA may have much knowledge about the mental illness and neuroscience so that they enjoy watching the series very much.

      2. @ Vann, What are you watching? Wayne is terrible in the role. The story is f’ up, Who the hell enjoy the series when it is F’ up?

      3. It just shows that you are a big fan of Wayne Lai.

        If Wayne is an excellent actor, he should have been able to handle his character better. He should make his character more interesting, instead of having to exaggerate so much in his acting.

      4. Not even Chow Yun Fatt could breath life into a prewritten role. Why blame him alone when clearly the writing is terrible? He did what he could do and I do think within what he could do he did well. He can’t rewrite the script. Some actors do but there are some who actually respect the script. He could have directed himself but some actors do follow director’s direction, and a series is as much as an actor’s interpretation as it is interpreting the director’s vision. If he is terrible he would have been terrible in every series. This is one is terrible not because of him. His Dai Hei was great. It is a matter of the script.

      5. Wayne can handle characters like Ko Dai Hei easily, but he cannot handle characters like Columbo. Instead of acting smartly, he overacts by screaming and yelling to show off his emotions. A super smart and brainy person will not shout at other people easily. His brain is too busily occupied with other stuffs all the time. Don’t forget ……. Columbo has an IQ score of 283. He will not have time to yell at Ping On.

      6. This role is just not for Wayne. I agree with Sandcherry completely. He just cannot pull it off as Columbo. He is just terrible

      7. “He will not have time to yell at Ping On.”

        This series he has a lot of time because that is how he is written on paper. Blame the script.

      8. Don’t always blame the script. A smart and capable artiste can always make his character more real and interesting. Wayne could have discussed all the flaws and nonsense with the scriptwriter or producer if he was that great an actor.

      9. Wayne did not act well either in “The Confidant”. Very surprised that he won the TV King award. I guess he had gained a lot of fans, and has become an IDOL actor instead of a solid actor.

        Power Chan obviously outshone Wayne Lai in “The Confidant”.

        Agree that Wayne Lai has been struggling many years with his “best” acting as supporting actor. It does not mean that he is a capable and excellent actor in any roles. He is good in some roles, and not good in others. Personally I think his acting is rather limited. He may be best as a BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, but not as a BEST ACTOR.

      10. Clearly you’re not a fan of his. But to blame the entire problem on Wayne alone is terribly unfair but I suppose that is the perils of being the lead actor. Sometimes you can actually blame the script. Maybe he is that sort of actor that doesn’t like pulling a Wong Hei on the director and writer. He goes by the script. He may be famous but perhaps facing a respected producer and a bigger director, he may not have the clout to change the script so he does best with what he is given. I believe he tried his best but perhaps editing may be a problem as well. It could be a number of reasons. Wayne is an excellent actor but sometimes even excellent actors will be faced with scripts that are so bad they can’t do much. As an actor I can’t fault him much. He did what he could with the material he was given. The situation you gave would only be applicable with someone of a very respected actor against a smaller director. I suppose because of Lee Tim Shing he couldn’t and wouldn’t say much. I don’t suppose an actor can tell James Cameron the script sucks, unless you’re Russell Crowe who told that to Ridley Scott in Gladiator and even then Ridley Scott persuaded Russell Crowe to utter the lines as best he could. Meaning the script was no changed, at all.

        So imagine in TVB where actors are not that powerful. Popular, yes, powerful… maybe if you’re Liza Wang.

        I admit he wasn’t great in The Confidant but so was Michelle and the problem again was the script which is overcompensating for the fact of the need to make the 2 main villains in history as 100% saints.

        Power Chan was wonderful but after a while he was a caricature. To me Raymond Cho trumps them all.

      11. I am not a fan of any particular artiste, obviously not a fan of Wayne Lai. I go for good acting. If an artiste acts well, I enjoy watching his/her drama series. So far, I can only say that I like Sheren Tang the best. However, Sheren Tang is not great in every single role. Her strength is to act a character with a strong personality, and she is not good in acting a little housewife character. Her role as Mung Ka Ka as a housewife was just okay, but not great. Sheren is a great artiste, but she is not good in every single role. She is excellent in some, and weak in others.

      12. In conclusion, I am NOT a big fan of any idols.

      1. I enjoy a good drama when it is available. Im probably one of the very few that liked WHB so much that I bought the series. So far Bullet Brain has not any moment that has engaged me except the family photograph flashback in ep 2. Besides copying some dialogue I feel like they are lifting entire scenes for replay that just happened 20min ago.

      2. smurf120
        I could not agree with you more. I also enjoyed watching WHB even most readers here didn’t. WHB ……….. good script, good acting, good scenes, good photography, good music. However, there is nothing good in “Bullet Brain”.

  6. Funn, I commend you for sitting through another boring episode. Hats off to you.

    1. And I shall be more persistent to finish all so that I suffer for you all and all you need to do is read my recap!

      Good deal? No? Yes?

      I seriously thought of quitting. I am not above admitting I thought wrongly about this series or any series. But then I thought maybe, maybe it will be better the next time. Maybe. So far nothing much yet.

      So now I have a new reason to continue. I recap for you all who don’t want to go through the torture of watching until a specific episode picks your fancy.

  7. Funn so glad to have your review because I fell asleep thru this one too. Whereas I had yhe courage to go back and watch episode 4 from where I fell asleep. .. could not do it for 5.

    Vann – I am viewer from USA im giving this my best tryand I am the only person I know who made it to episode 5.

    1. That bad huh? I didn’t fall asleep for ep 6 though but I must say end of episode things are looking just ok. Is it me alone who finds Dai Hei’s story more interesting than Columbo?

      1. I find dai hei to be way more complex interesting character despite being simpleton. Heck I find the lute playing dead dad more endearing than Columbo.

        The character story I want to see played out is why Columbo hates dai hei so much.

      2. Episode 6 was half-decent. The later half was far interesting.

  8. Also I would not want some one else playing this role because different acting style won’t save it. Roger Kwok will turn it into Ah Wang MAD Dectective. Already watched Moses Chan as police goes crazy. Kenneth Ma -I can’t imagine the level of mugging…Michael Tse will be like Laughing Gor in the 60s. Ron Ng is Columbo as a piece of wood breaking stuff. Bosco can’t do dai hei… takes a level of self depracation to lower oneself to “ugly” or “stupid” character.

    1. Then Wong Cho Lam is perfect. He is the same size as Sire Ma for the “romance” scenes.

      1. So you agree Edwin should be replaced by Wong Cho Lam? Because she will be romancing Edwin by the way.

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