It’s rare for K-drama series to get follow-up seasons. For a show to get all the way to a fourth season is practically unheard of – but that’s exactly where the procedural thriller series Voice finds itself this summer as it returns to screens two years after season 3. Beyond taking a longer break this time around, Voice 4: Judgement Day also finds the series occupying a new home on cable with its move from OCN to TVN. Following the death of Do Kang-woo (Lee Jin-wook) in season three, Kang Kwon-joo (Lee Ha-na) gets a new partner this season in the form of bereaved LAPD cop Derek Jo (Song Seung-heon). Kwon-joo is a uniquely skilled member of the “Golden Time” emergency call centre team, whose extra-sensitive hearing allows her to hear clues over the phone to help her team solve cases. Each season she has been paired with a male detective in the field: first Moo Jin-hyuk (Jang Hyuk), then Kang-woo for seasons two and three, and now Derek. The new series kicks off at night in the countryside, where a teenager has bound his grandparents in Christmas lights and is forcing them to eat chicken droppings. However, the youth is actually following someone else’s directives and before long the “Circus Man” group of mysterious figures in black hooded rain slickers enters the home and kills him. The killers are led by a woman who spews deranged aphorisms, among them that it’s a blessing for a family to pass away all at once. Her right hand, who commits the vicious slayings, is a dwarf in a clown mask, who may be a reference to the classic Venice-set horror film Don’t Look Now . Following that cold open we catch up with Kwon-joo and her team, who are receiving special commendations for their work in the field, as well as a well-deserved two-week holiday. Yet on their way to get drinks to celebrate, a call comes in and they rush to a suspected bomb location. Kwon-joo locates the threat, but soon realises the ticking sound is actually coming from a toy. Six new Korean dramas to look out for in July 2021 Elsewhere at the same time, Seoul and Los Angeles detectives have converged on a nightclub for a sting operation to catch a notorious American gangster. Derek, who leads the LAPD team, corners the hood in the bathroom and a brawl ensues during which he narrowly prevails. Meanwhile, Derek’s mute sister Lisa (Lee E-dam), who joined him on his trip to Seoul, has secretly begun trying to track down their birth father. But while doing so she happens to pass by an apartment where the hooded killers are attacking another family. The leader of the killers hears Lisa outside and though she hides and calls the cops and her brother, she is caught before they get there. Derek winds up being guided through the scene by Kwon-joo on the phone, but to his horror finds Lisa’s body. Kwon-joo has been receiving strange emails from someone who claims to have the same abilities as her and to be her twin; this person turns out to be the leader of the killers. Believing the woman fled to Vimo Island, Kwon-joo gives up her holiday and follows her there, where she assumes command of the local emergency call centre. Derek also heads to Vimo to find his sister’s killer and after a rocky start, he starts to collaborate with Kwon-joo. On the island the pair tackle various local cases, which include a camper being chased by wild dogs and the disappearance of the daughter of a haenyeo , a female diver who scours the seabed for molluscs. Kwon-joo and Derek continue to try and track down the hooded leader of the killers, who has a tattoo on her arm and bears a striking resemblance to Kwon-joo. The killer may not only be connected to Kwon-joo – Derek spent time on Vimo as a child and has bad memories involving the same tattoo. The main changes for this new season of Voice have been co-star Song Seung-heon, whose LAPD character adds some dodgy English to the proceedings, and the Vimo setting, a fake location that seems to be a stand-in for Jeju Island. The rest of the show is largely the same, with the action being a combination of Kwon-joo at the call centre using her hearing skills, while Derek does the grunt work in the field. Some examples of Kwon-joo’s sensitive hearing are more inspired than others, but for the most part the show has been a serviceable procedural so far this season. With a dwarf killer, victims wrapped in Christmas lights and a case of clinical lycanthropy, the show is aiming for over-the-top theatrics but thankfully has remained more grounded than something like the recent show Mouse . There’s a lack of balance between the main killer thread and the side investigations which hobbles the overall narrative, leaving the show largely in Lee Ha-na’s hands as she does her thing in the call centre. But Lee can only carry the show for so long if the narrative fails to produce some sparks going forward. Voice 4 is streaming on Viu.