Mad Dog: Call My Bluff!

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This is my bread and butter, peeps! Good old procedural, crime, squad goals! Some people find small story episodes annoying, but I love seeing all these different cases! Mad Dog tells the story of Kang Woo and Min Joon, two alphas of their field who are tied together by a common tragedy. Kang Woo is the head of Mad Dog, an agency that catches scam artists who commit insurance fraud. He used to be a former detective, but now he manages a team of specialists that help him expose these con artists whether that be through legal or more often illegal means. Before he quit being a detective, he experience a huge trauma. His wife and only son died tragically in an airplane that the pilot was using to commit suicide with. Coincidentally enough, the pilot’s younger brother was Min Joon, Kang Woo’s current competition. Min Joon is a genius swindler who seems have an ulterior motive and has been following Mad Dog closely. He at first seems to be working for the opposite team and naive-looking. However, his true cunning colors show as he is one step before Mad Dog in all their cases. They come to a head when Kang Woo and Min Joon make a bet on an insurance claim issue. Min Joon wins the first round, but shows his warmth by compensating the victims that he seemed to be against at first. Mad Dog are confused at his hidden motives and are not sure whether to trust him or not. However, it seems like he wants to cooperate and bring down these con artists as well!

Woo Do Hwan, my baby from Save Me is giving me another great performance as Min Joon, the young swindler. He has such a large range of emotions, some subtle, some expressive. I love how he can go from naive happy go lucky to cold one 1 sec. Kang Woo played by Ji Tae is a hard hitter too. I’ve always enjoyed his ahjussi roles as he delves into them deeply. Another member of Save Me, Jo Jae Yoon, is now on the moral right side of the squad! Though it looks like he can’t get away form that ex-convict character. He just plays it so well! I love his comedic timing! Mad Dog is shaping up to be an excellent though provoking piece as some procedurals always are. I hope to see a bromance between Kang Woo and Min Joon soon though!

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Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim: Gifted Hands

 

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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.

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Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo: Raising the Bar

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A cute college drama inspired by the real life story of Jang Mi Ran, an Olympic gold medal winner for weight-lifting. Kim Bok Joo is a promising collegiate level weight lifter who has a positive outlook on life even though her family is poor. She and her good friends in the weight lifting club are not very popular with the boys and are in a rivalry with the rhythmic gymnastics team. Meanwhile Joon-Hyung is a talented swimmer, but seems to have false-start anxiety and complications when it comes to the real competition. He decides to go into therapy in order to resolve this problem.

One day, these two athletes end up bumping into each other and find a familiarity in each other’s faces. It turns out that in their childhood, Bok Joo had saved Joon-Hyung from a fall. Thus, the two strike up an unlikely friendship with much teasing from Joon-Hyung’s side. For Bok Joo, she ends up having a crush on a weight loss doctor that she met on the streets and that had treated her like a lady. She has always been self-conscious that her sport made her seem manly and Dr. Jae Yi treated her differently. Thus, she decides to sign up for his weight loss program so that she is able to see him more.

However, that is in conflict with her competitions as she is suppose to increase her weight to enter a new weight class. On the other hand, she wants to be praised by Dr. Jae Yi for losing weight. Thus, she starts to lie to both parties, the weight-lifting team and the doctor, about what she is really doing. Furthermore, by coincidence, Joon-Hyung is actually the cousin of Dr. Jae Yi and her double life comes to a head when he finds out that she has been going to his clinic.

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Wonderful Nightmare: Second Chances

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I definitely love me some body swap hijinks! In Wonderful Nightmare, Yeon Woo is a charismatic and savvy attorney. She cares only for money and reputation, ignoring the poor. She had a hard life growing up and that shaped her outlook on life. She enjoys being single and doesn’t care for marrying as she thinks it will only bring her heartbreak. However, due to a mistake in processing in “heaven”, she ends up dying early through a car accident. In heaven, she is given another chance to live again if she temporarily takes the place of another woman’s life who only has one more month to live. Eager to get back to the living, Yeon Woo decides to take this offer. Her new life is her worst nightmare. She is a mousy, stay-at-home mom of two children, a cheesy lawyer husband, and part of a loud ahjumma group. At first, she can’t get use to this new life and hates how poor she is. She tries to even use her old life to get ahead in her new life. However, she is scolded by “heaven” to not slip up since she has all her old memories and abilities. Gradually, she learns the warmth of a family and even takes on the familial duties that scorned before. Her kids also manage to warm up to her and she also enjoys standing up for her husband. However, with only one month to “live” this other woman’s life, she is reluctant to let go of this new experience she now enjoys. Unfortunately, her son begins to develop blindness that we find was genetic. She had suffered through the same growing blindness as a child that required several expensive surgeries to fix. However, heaven gave her to option to return about to her own life and have the blindness never happen to the son or to stay in her current role, but with the blindness of her son continuing. Although it broke her heart to give up her new family, she chose to go back to her own life to save her child suffering from the blindness.

Wonderful Nightmare is a story about sacrifice and familial bonds. Yeon Woo starts to learn how to care for others more and that life is not just about money. She learns to make attachments and even develops a maternal instinct. Um Jung-Hwa plays an awesome charismatic character as well as the homey housewife. Child actors Shin Ae and Ji-hoon are cute as buttons while new hubby Song Seung Hoon will have you swoony over how protective he is over his wife. A excellent feel good movie that will tug at your heartstrings.

Coin Locker Girl: An Eye for an Eye

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In the lieu of Hwayi, Coin Locker Girl has the same dark feel which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Il-young, who is named Ten for short, was abandoned as a baby and stored in one of those 10cent coin lockers at the subway. As a result, she grew up with the homeless and was later kidnapped by a loan shark gang. Even as a young girl, she proved herself resilient and capable of handling her jobs. This grabbed the attention of the gang head, Woo-hee, who is known as Mother of the underground society. Ten grows up to become the right hand man of Mother, handling all sorts of dirty jobs with a dispassion and calculation that frightens many. One day, she is supposed to retrieve the debt from this father-son pair, but only encounters the son because the father had ran away. The son, Seok Hyun, shows her a kindness that she has never encountered before in her harsh upbringing. He cooks for, takes her to movies, and gives her the warmth that she craves for. At first, she tries to treat him harshly to get the money from him, but slowly becomes attached. However, their little world collapses when Mother issues the order to kill Seok Hyun because his father had completely abandoned the family and left the debt to be taken care of by the son. Ten is emotionally unable to kill Seok Hyun and instead betrays the only family she has even known. They try to run, but don’t get very far as the rest of the gang catch up. Seok Hyun is brutally murdered before her eyes aInd his organs used to make up for his debt. This completely breaks Ten apart as she is now hunted by those who she once called family. She decides to take fate and vengeance into her own hands.

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Descendants of the Sun: All is Fair in Love and War

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Slick and cinematically beautiful are the words I would use to describe this highly anticipated drama. Bolstered by famous A-lister actors, Song Joon Ki and Song Hye Kyo, as well as popular writer Kim Eun-Sook, it has the makings of a hit drama. Here, Song Joon Ki is Captain Shi-Jin, captain of the special forces, and his right hand man is Sergeant Major Dae Young. They specialize in defusing dangerous situations where political balance is precarious. One day, while on leave, they become involved in a motorcycle accident. Per chance he gets acquainted with Dr. Mo Yeon, who at first suspected him of assault. Dr. Mo Yeon, played by Song Hye Kyo, is a brilliant surgeon who practically lives in the OR, and often gets passed over promotions not due to her competence, but to her lack of VIP connections. However, as the misunderstandings are resolved, they gradually become mutually attracted to each other. Due to Shi Jin’s line of work, he has to go on multiple emergency missions for the nations and ends up standing up Dr. Mo Yeon a couple of times. Each time, their dates are interrupted due to their line of work. Furthermore, their ideology on life is different. Shi Jin takes lives in order to protect people. Mo Yeon spends hours trying to save lives no matter who they are. This difference ultimately facilitated their belief in incompatibility and they decided to part ways. Shortly after, Shi Jin is deployed to Urk to support the war and disease torn nation. Mo Yeon ends up volunteering in the same region because she refused the hospital chairman’s advances. While Shi Jin believes that they are just “bumping into each other” while passing by, fate has brought them back together!

As I am only two episodes in, I have yet to be completely drawn in, but am intrigued how this drama will pan out. I very much enjoy post-military Song Joon Ki who is practically reliving his service again in a drama. Although he is swaggery and arrogant in the drama, somehow it comes off full of charisma and effortlessly cool. His competence and seriousness in dangerous times is definitely a plus factor. While Song Hye Kyo is not my favorite actress, she is decent in her role as a competent doctor who believes in her ability and is not afraid of power/connections. For me, I do not quite feel the chemistry between the two, however I very much enjoy their witty banter. They are not people who cling, but cooly let go of each other if deemed incompatible. Their relationship seems grounded in reality, and hopefully I will see some fire between the two soon! However, I feel the fire burning already between secondary pair of Sergeant Dae Young and army surgeon Myeong-Joo. Their story has not been delved into yet, but the angst is already flowing! I also appreciate that the drama is not just about romance, but about international politics too. I look forward to seeing how the politics, violence, and ultimately, humanity tie in!