Doubtful Victory: Long Con

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Another con, but of a different type. Now this crime/detective story has a heavier plot than the other ones airing. Doubtful Victory tells the journey of a young man who escaped from prison to pretend to be a detective in order to find a large sum of dirty money! Yoon Gyun Sang pays Jong Sam, a young delinquent who was a sacrificial lamb in a big scam. He was put in jail on death row since his teens and has only known the prison life until he escapes in order to help his friend’s sister. He has a knack of escaping sticky situations and places. A fellow inmate had been discharged from the prison, but had become obsessed with killing his friend’s younger sister. After observing a fellow inmate, he was able to escape the prison. However, he encounters and becomes involved in a larger corruption scheme on his way. Recently a detective had been murdered because he was a whistleblower on some corrupt officials. Coincidentally, he had used the car that had the dead body in it to escape which drew the ire of the men trying to clean up the situation. While he did manage to save the sister, in a twist of events, he had to pretend to become the dead cop in order to find the stashed cash the cop had stolen. With many powerful people chasing after him as well as the betrayal of people he thought were mentors or friends, he has to find that money in order to survive in the outside world. Not only that, he still has to play the role of a detective under the watchful eye of the police force.

I swear Yoon Gyun Sang has the best comedic timing and expressions. He’s got that half apologetic and half exasperated look often in this drama. Also, I love a good long con and IL Seung is so slippery, he hasn’t been caught yet! I am also heavy advocate for underdog characters since I just love seeing them trump the more powerful and rich. What I would love to have seen more of is the childhood versions of our OTP as they had such sparking chemistry. Hye Sung plays a fun role here as well as the more skilled detective in the force, but isn’t getting the recognition for it. I love strong women and I hope she becomes IL Seung’s helper in his terrible situation. He is so caught up in the web of corruption, it is going to be hard to get his own life and identity back! This is well thought out drama that I am definitely going to watch till the end!

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A Love so Beautiful

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I started watching this drama in late 2017 and it exceeded my expectations. It is such a feel-good and cute drama. There are no obnoxious characters and every character has qualities that we can all appreciate. The storyline is pretty similar to Itazura na Kiss’ but I dubbed this drama Itazura na Kiss on steroids. I was never a huge fan of Itazura na Kiss for so many reasons. The male lead was a total douchebag and I was never convinced of his feelings for the female lead. It’s like halfway through the show the male lead decided he liked the female lead. Just out of nowhere. Also the female lead never truly grew a backbone. Luckily, none of this with this drama.

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Two Cops: Double Trouble

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One Cop. Two Cop. Detective. Con Artist. We are on a police procedural spree. Jo Jung Suk plays one half (or is it technically both) of two souls inhabited one body. His original self is a detective skilled in martial arts and chasing down the bad guys. However, after he tries to find out who killed his mentor and partner, it all goes downhill from there. With a mysterious gang chasing after him, his soul gets bumped for a con artist’s. They were in an accident together that left the con artist, Soo Chang, comatose and his spirit bouncing into Suks’ Detective Cha Dong Tak’s body in certain situations. When Cha Dong Tak is in possession of his own body, he is the only who can hear Soo Chang’s voice next to him. Soo Chang is charismatic, sly, and smooth talker while Cha Dong Tak is a blunt jerk most of the time. Both realize that they are not only connected in the past, but are now tied in the future until they figure out the mystery and corruption in the police force. However, the two hard headed individuals often clash and have their own motives. This makes it extra confusing for the reporter, Song Ji An, who is only trying to get a scoop from who she thinks is Cha Dong Tak. Both are flirty with her, but she finds it weird that the detective’s personality changes so often!

I like Jo Jung Suk, but I feel like Hyeri as the reporter is wholly unneeded in this drama. It wouldn’t take away from they story at all if it was just a fun bromance between Jung Suk and Sun Ho. It is very fun to watch Jung Suk act as the con artist, but I’m still finding the story oddly choppy and just not very engaging for me (I’m 10 episodes in so it’s not like I haven’t tried). Perhaps its not the right timing and I may come back for this later!

Chief Kim: Chief Psycho

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Some people are crazzzzzzy, but in a good way! I had skipped over this drama multiple times, but now I’m binge watching it like nobody’s business! I can’t believe I skipped over this hoot. Nam Goong Min, notable for playing evil characters perfectly, plays a psycho of a different kind. As a small time con artist/scammer affectionately called Chief Kim, he specializes in skimming money from small companies. He’s charismatic and manipulative. However, after getting caught with his hands in the cookie jar, he decides to step it up and skim money off a larger cooperation instead. He is a genius with numbers and had been able to help his old company avoid taxes for quite some time, but his book-making bit him in the butt! After barely getting into TQ Corp by a stroke of luck and how useful he would be to Director Jerkface, otherwise known as Director Seo, his original motive becomes a little skewed. While he always looks out for himself, he manages to accidentally save a widow and makes it on media as Mr. Righteous. He finds that he enjoys such fame and likes to do good things as well. However, his good deeds are majorly hindered by Director Seo, a previous prosecutor turned dirty director. Director Seo just wants him to play with numbers and make the company profits without getting caught. Chief Kim uses unique ways to convince and get one over the higher ups every other time. This earns him infamy at his corporation!

What a fun fun drama! I love watching underdogs get the best of the corrupt higher officials. Chief Kim is so crazy, but has a good heart underneath all his antics. He wants to seem selfish, but his internal need for justice, buried very deeply, always comes to the surface at the right times. I love watching him form unique relationships with those around him and win their hearts with his sincerity. I must admit I love the hate/love relationship between him and Director Seo. Seo, the gluttonous evil director, tries so hard to control him, but has a hard time handling the craziness of Chief Kim. It’s extra funny seeing the CEO’s son deferring to Chief Kim as well, almost treating him like a father figure after being scolded/beat by him. What would seem like a boring office drama is actually tons of fun and contains so much laughter!

Just Between Lovers: PTSD

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Raw feels and tender hearts. Ah I didn’t expect to become attached to this drama, but I did. Just Between Lovers is a simpler story about three hurt souls who are all affected by a mall building collapse. We follow the stories of Kang Doo, Moon Soo, and Joo Won. Kang Doo’s father had been a construction worker who had died in the collapse while he had injured his knee (and subsequently his athletic dream). He now floats through life picking up odd jobs and getting beat often with the dirtier jobs. Moon Soo had been at the mall with her sister who had a photo shoot, but she was the only one who survived out of the sibling pair. The tragedy tore her family apart and she can’t even go up escalators without having flashbacks. Joon Won’s father was the architect at the site responsible for the construction. His father’s suicide because of the incidence propelled him into a repressed family life when his mother remarried. All three are trying to get on with life, but become involved together on the reconstruction project at the old collapse site. Moon Soo has as good mind for architecture design and safety and is employed by Joo Won’s company of which he is the CEO. Kang Doo does construction at the site, but is conflicted about rebuilding at the same location. As these people’s lives become entangled, they are just trying to find someone to patch up the gaping hole left in their hearts by the past tragedy.

I always find it refreshing when a kdrama shines the light on a mental illness as it is not talked about very much in Asian culture. Not only that, but the event is a tribute to the real life collapse of Sampoong Department Store as well as the Sewol Ferry tragedy. Such tragedies definitely generate survivor’s guilt and PTSD which the drama talks about in a realistic fashion. Families are broken and the event affects them for the rest of their lives. However, I am hoping for a good bit of spirit healing in this drama through connection and empathy with other people. The pastel feels and simple interactions in this drama feel thoughtful and not dramatic as you usually see in kdramas. I also never knew Jun Ho was such a versatile actor. His past roles were different, but he has great chemistry with our lead female too. She reminds me of the classy Soo Ae. This drama is seriously a breath of fresh air in the slew of melos and procedurals coming to the small screen.

PS. It feels a little fun to watch Jun Ho in two different roles as I’m watching Chief Kim and this simultaneously. He could not be more different.

Plerng Boon

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This drama is angsty from beginning to end, which is totally the type of lakorn that I like. Before I go into more details about this show, I need to declare loud and clear that I love Janie as a nang’rai. Her acting in this lakorn was absolutely flawless and I am not sure that I want to see her play a nang’ek anymore  .

The storyline is fairly simple: Two friends and one man. Pim and Jai Rerng are childhood friends who’ve shared laughs and tears throughout the years. Pim is the kind hearted, pious and sweet one while Jai Rerng is strong willed and a go-getter. Nothing wrong with Jai Rerng’s character until you start looking at some of her flaws… Jealousy and greed. From secretly breaking a trophy won by Pim and stealing the limelight from her friend, it’s clear since the first episode that Jai Rerng is trouble. All this unbeknown to Pim (Yes, she’s that kind of naive female lead).

Jai Rerng’s jealousy might seem trivial at first but that’s until Rerk enters the picture. Rerk moves next to Pim and the two quickly become friends.  Pim quickly falls for him, but our girl Jai Rerng is faster and bewitches him. I am not lightly using the term “bewitch” but Rerk seemed almost obsessed with Jai Rerng. Rerk one-sidedly always put her first. Unsurprisingly their relationship doesn’t last long. Jai Rerng quickly dumps Rerk to get married with someone else – Terd, a successful businessman.

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Rerk when he discovers that Pim and Terd are getting married.

Rerk who is heartbroken gets comforted by the only person who has always been there for him. Pim of course. The friendship grows and evolves into a romantic relationship at which point Rerk proposes to Pim. The lakorn could end here but no. That wouldn’t be fun.

When Jai Rerng’s marriage hits rock bottom, she turns to Pim for comfort and sets to wreak havoc in her friend’s marriage. Rerng moves in with the married couple supposedly because she has no where else to go. Let me pause here. This is just wild. Why would anyone let someone like Jai Rerng move into his or her house?! Despite several warnings from her family and her own husband, Pim goes ahead and take Jai Rerng in. What a dummy Pim is…

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2017 End of Year Drama Review: Minutes Refund

Here we are this year again, begging for the precious minutes we lost watching some dramas…

The Liar and his Lover: I was lied to about the drama, from the casting to the chemistry….

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The Emperor: Owner of the Mask: Nobody cares about the mask, nor the emperor really. I just want more plot about the smart second lead.

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Mad Dog: I came in for Woo Do Hwan, but left because of the slow plot.

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Man to Man: Quirky and a little overhyped, was expecting more coolness from our spy.

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General and I: I wanted to love it, I really did. It had all the workings of an epic love story with smart people, but I got lost in the middle.

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Two Cops: Great premise, great bromance, less Hyeri please.

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