While other people may find medical dramas boring, I absolutely love them…if they are done well. RDTK, for short, is very appealing and gave me all sorts of feels just in the first episode. This drama tells a story of growth and development of three doctors, Teacher Kim, Dr. Dong Joo, and Dr. Seo Jung.
We start the story by seeing how Dr. Dong Joo stepped onto the path of medicine. When he was younger, he saw how corrupt the hospital system was when his father ended up passing away in the ER because a VIP received care before his father did. As a result, he tried to exact revenge by trying to demolish the ER through brandishing a bat and destroying equipment. Luckily, that day, a doctor was able to subdue him and talk him into exacting his revenge in another manner. He told young Dong Joo to become better and more skilled than his opponents instead. He needed to change his environment instead of beating powerlessly against the corrupt authority. Thus, Dong Joo puts his mind into becoming the very best and top of his class. During one of his residencies, he meets Dr. Seo Jung.
Dr. Seo Jung is the illegitimate daughter of the corrupt hospital director. She also has very talented hands and smarts to the point where she became the legend of the ER. It is no surprise that Dong Joo was so impressed by her that he fell head over heels for Seo Jung. However, in a freak car accident between Seo Jung and her then fiancé, Seo Jung ended up injuring her wrist to the point where she had PTSD from the event and could not even practice medicine. In a retreat hike during her period of grief, she ended falling down a mountain the boonies and recovering at a small local hospital. The famous Teacher Kim works at this hospital and used his expertise to help her recover.
We later learn that Teacher Kim was famous at her old hospital for his genius, but due to corrupt hospital directors, had to take the fall for a surgery gone bad. He was banished from practicing medicine, but managed to change his name and restart his career at the local small hospital. In a twist of fate, Dong Joo also had to take the fall for a surgery gone bad due to his greed of trying to reach the top. He was banished to this same local hospital where he meets the grumpy, but brilliant Teacher Kim. At first, they butt heads stubbornly, but gradually Dong Joo’s admiration for his skills won over. He decides to stay and this hospital and learn all he can. Of course, its not a coincidence that Teacher Kim was also the doctor who set him on the path of medicine. Furthermore, he gets to reconnect with his past flame, Seo Jung, who he has not heard from for the last 5 years due to her self-isolation.
For me, since I work in the ICU and understand all the medical parts that are happening in the drama, it makes them very interesting if the drama is done well and more or less realistically. For example, the medical parts of Descendants of the Sun were frankly laughable. However, RTDK puts a darker tone on the story and shows that not every patient can have a happy ending or be saved. People in the medical profession see the people in their most vulnerable stage and do the utmost we can to keep them hanging onto life.
I appreciate how realistic RTDK portrays the hospital setting. Furthermore, I absolutely love Seo Hyun-Jin who plays Seo Jung. She feels very natural and her emotions are portrayed in a raw way which is similar to her way of acting in Oh Hae Young Again. While I have not seen Yoo Yeon Suk and Han Suk-Kyu, who play Dong Joo and Teacher Kim, respectively, I see the effort they have put in to act realistically for a medical drama. Most of all, I enjoy the moral dilemmas of each episode where the doctors are conflicted when their ambitions and humanity cross. There are no one correct answer or right decision, but only the need for them to take responsibility for their actions. It is certainly a pleasure to see Dong Joo develop his humanity and practice under the tutelage of Teacher Kim.