Original Title: 개와 늑대의 시간 / Time Between Dog and Wolf
Country: South Korea
Theme: Action, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Plot: Time Between Dog and Wolf, a 16 episode drama, is a mask upon a mask upon a mask. In the beginning, Soo-Hyun, the protagonist of the story is traumatized as a child when his mother was shot right in front of his eyes by a gangster named Mao in Thailand. Luckily, he was quickly adopted by Jung-Ho’s family and grew up together with his son, MIn-ki in Korea. The two children grew up to be NIS agents following their father. By a twist of fate, Soo-Hyun manages to reunite with his childhood first love Ji Woo whom he had first met when he lived in Thailand. However, his normalcy was soon shattered when one of his missions ended in failure due to resurfacing of memories of his childhood trauma. Vowing personal revenge against the Mao, he ignored his superior’s orders and was subsequently fired.
However, the distraught Soo-Hyun was offered a new deal, an undercover role to infiltrate Mao’s gang instead and reveal his illegal dealings. Thus, he staged his own death and headed to Bangkok to worm his way into Mao’s graces. Little did he know that Ji Woo was actually the daughter of Mao. Meanwhile, Ji Woo, broken hearted finds some comfort in Soo-hyun’s brother who slowly falls in love with her. Starting from the bottom in Bangkok, and taking the name Kay, Soo-hyun becomes a Muay Thai athlete after hearing that Mao enjoyed watching the sport. After saving the life of Mao at one of the games where another gang tried to kill him, Mao made Kay his right hand man. Heading back to Korea to expand business, Kay’s new job is to protect Mao’s daughter from the rival Spider gang. Ji Woo was very shocked when Kay rescued her from the clutches of the Spider Gang, but unfortunately their reunion did not last long. During a dangerous high speed car chase, Kay was hit by a bullet in the head and careened into the bay. Although he woke up, Kay had lost all his memories. The Spider Gang soon captured him to set a trap for Mao who would come to get his man. Fortunately, the trap failed and not only was Spider Gang disbanded, but Kay managed to save Mao’s life again.
Mao now thought of Kay as his own son and whatever Kay’s words too were now law within the gang. Now, when Kay meets Ji-Woo again, he berates her for being heartless to her father, not knowing the past he shared with her. Furthermore, a horrible chance encounter with his father who he did not recognize ended with the father dead and his brother set on revenge against him believing that his adopted brother had killed their father. Meanwhile, Min-Ki and an ex-NIS agent team up with a few other NIS agents to investigate the true dealings behind Kay and Mao. Ji Woo is starting to think Kay and Soo-Hyun are one and the same. Kay, himself, starts to doubt who he really is as well. After one particularly triggering video showing who he was in the past, all his memories came flooding back to him. After suffering a mental breakdown of sorts trying to reconcile all the nasty things he’s done in the name of a gangster with his true nature, he once again has to pretend he is still a gangster so that no one would suspect him. He also manages to reunite with his brother, although in a violent way, but manages to gain him as an ally when the situation was explained. The deceptions come to a point when at last Kay is chasing Mao through a dark corridor, but still unable to kill him because Ji-Woo was present. At last they face each other, their pasts, and their future. They are connected in more ways than one, and the bond that holds them makes them hesitate. Shots are fired and the scene pans down to both Mao and Kay lying on the ground bleeding, but hands clasped. Enter a time jump for a couple years later and see Kay, or Soo-hyun alive and well, but now more like a free -lance agent.
Comments: Although one of the older dramas, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this action-filled series. Although it started off a bit slow in the beginning when it was setting up the relationships with all the characters, it gradually picked up its pace. What I really loved about the drama was how it developed the character of Soo-hyun, giving him almost 6 different personalities. The tightly controlled NIS agent in the beginning with a dark past, the agent who threw away everything for revenge, the agent pretending to be a gangster, really becoming that gangster, the reconciliation of agent and gangster, and finally the freelance agent in the end. It was an interesting character study of how revenge can twist you so much and how one can lose themselves in it. It also showed how much gray there is in placement of loyalty. Those ties of loyalty and trust are what held Soo-hyun and Kay together as one person in the end. Furthermore, this drama also made a great move in filming parts of it in another country, Thailand instead of just Korea. We are offered beautiful scenery of Bangkok as well as some educational information on Muay Thai and other Thai culture. In addition, the drama also focused on the issue of family. On one hand, we see the rejection of Ji-Woo and her father, whom she doesn’t like because what he chooses to with his life On the other hand we see Kay, who thinks of Mao as his father in his amensia-ed state because of how well he is treated. However, we also see the reconciliation of families, with Ji Woo and her father, Soo-hyun and his brother. But at the end, although Kay cannot forgive Mao for what he did to his mother, deep down, Kay had appreciated Mao as a father figure and Mao considered him a son.
Actor Review: Lee Jun Ki played Kay/Soohyun’s many different personalities brilliantly. Through his acting we were able to distinguish when he was in what persona. Furthermore, the scene where he regained his memories was particularly moving when he showed such pain and regret because he has to acknowledge all the wrong he had done. Nam Sang Mi as Ji Woo, was also played well. However, her character did not have a huge role in the story. Jung Kyung-ho played Min-ki and gave us a great performance as the brother who wanted but yet did not want to believe Kay was his brother. His acting was superb during the scene where he found out his brother was actually Kay, but was getting beaten to a pulp while high on the drugs the gangsters had forced down his throat. Choi Jae-Sung as Mao was also very good at portraying the cold Boss, but also one that doesn’t just abandon his own men.
Quotes: “L’heure entre chien et loup”