Cross: Organ Transplants

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While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I love me some medical dramas (only if they are done well and realistically, so BYE DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN). Cross is a medical drama focused on organ transplants which I am very familiar with as I work on a transplant ICU! The main character Kang In Kyu is on a revenge warpath to dig out the organ harvesting rings and stop the illegal trading of organs. His journey starts when his father is brutally murdered and all his organs harvested because they were scrapped for money for his sister’s treatments. As a result of a scuffle between In Kyu and the leader of the ring, Hyung Bom, In Kyung injures his head which in turn gives him a sharper sight than most humans. In Kyu decides to make it his life goal to find Hyung Bom and punish him. Under the guidance of Jung Hoon, a organ transplant doctor, he becomes a doctor as well. His personality is exceedingly cold and robotic as he is so focused on capturing the perpetuator that made him suffer for 15 years. Thus he becomes a doctor with an aim to harm rather than heal. Soon he becomes a prison doctor in an effort to kill Hyung Bom slowly with medicine. However, this plan is derailed when Hyung Bom finds out and escaped. In Kyu is shortly transferred to the same hospital that his foster father, Jung Hoon, works at. He tries to repair the strained relationship between him and his foster father due to past misunderstandings. However, he soon finds out that the hospital executives themselves are involved in illegal organ trading. With the help of tentative friendships he made along the way, he sets out to trap Hyung Bom and put him away forever.

While Ko Gyung Po was decent in the drama, I felt like this role did not suit him very well. He has a very puppy dog lost kind of look and just doesn’t feel harsh enough. I think a grittier actor may have fit this role better. However, it was fun to see how his sharper eyesight worked to his favor when fighting! Now for the unfortunate sexual harassment scandals that Cho Jae Hyun was involved in, I cannot fault him on his acting skill which is superb, but I am glad he come forward to admit his transgressions. This resulted in his removal from the drama, albeit the drama was in it’s final stages anyways. All in all it was a decent watch with realistic organ transplant ethical dilemmas to think about.

Forest of Secrets: Forest of Lies

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Tis’ the year for corrupt prosecutors and law enforcement! But wait, tis the year for whistleblowers as well! Hwang Shi Mok, a stoic prosecutor who literally cannot express emotions due to a surgery he had when he was younger is the only one who is one of the only non-corrupt officials in his organization. After meeting Lieutenant Han at a murder scene, he is caught up in a complicated scandal that implicates several of the higher up law enforcement officers. Because of his personality, people find it hard to work with him. However, Shi Mok doesn’t mind and marches to the beat of his own drum. Because of this personality, he is dogged in his desire to expose all the corruptness of his higher ups even if it costs him his job. Lieutenant Han is the heart of this team and slowly Shi Mok absorbs her compassion as well. Through their investigations, they are thrown many red herrings and everyone is constantly switching sides! However, their doggedness will certainly pay off!

tvN is always a trustworthy network that always gives me something interesting to watch. The actors are the core of the story. I enjoyed Cho Seung Woo’s stoic performance and those rare bursts of emotion. You never quite know what he is thinking, but that just adds to the mystery of the drama. As for Bae Doona, she is amazing as the down to earth cop. She is not necessarily using her visuals(thought I think she is gorgeous), but is rather dressing down to match her character. It just comes off so natural. I also thoroughly enjoyed Lee Joon Hyuk as the intense brown-noser who doesn’t hesitate to ingratiate himself with power no matter the humiliation he must endure. He struggles so hard to survive in a cut throat organization even if he has to beg on his knees. In the beginning I was hoping for a grand redemption, but I prefer him this way because he is more realistic! The most unfortunate loss was Shin Hye Sun. She was such an underrated character and I wished she could have made it through the end! The plot was very intricate and well written. I was guessing until the very end where everyone’s true loyalties lay! I like how it wasn’t just focused on action, but rather how clever thinking and manipulation solves the case! These shorter stories keep my watching until the end, so that the first impressions are more like general impressions (without hopefully giving too much away). However, this is definitely a must watch of the summer!

Pied Piper: Follow Me if You Dare

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Even though I am still withdrawing from the excellent Signal drama, I decided to start this crime thriller to fill that void in my heart. As crime dramas go, there is always a special unit that is established to utilize one special technique or follow one type of crime. Pied Piper decides to take the crisis negotiation route. Joo Sung Chan starts out as a private negotiator for big corporate businesses that need to get out of sticky situations. Confident and famous for his abilities, Sung Chan gets paid handsomely for his services that serve the business’s interest even at expense of citizens with lower social economic status. However, one deal goes a little sideways and he loses a hostage. However, he plays it off with the media so that he and the company will not look bad. Yet, karma comes back around as the remaining sibling of the hostage decides he wants to revenge. As a result Sung Chan loses his fiance and a police officer dies in a standoff that he was unable to diffuse. To make matters more complicated, he received a mysterious phone call in the middle of the crisis.  The person on the other side hummed to the tune of The Pied Piper (childhood story), and threatened him to confess his wrongdoings in order to save the person he loved. However, the situation became ultimately unsalvageable. The police officer who died was the uncle of Myung Ha, a young female officer who wishes to become as great of a negotiator as her uncle. She believed that situations could be diffused just by listening to the victim and eventually Sung Chan takes her under his wing. However, they get off to a bad start as she was ex-SWAT and believed he was a just a scammer. Later these two join forces in the police squad to diffuse more situations such as terrorism, suicides, standoffs, etc. Interestingly enough, each time they encounter a crises, they find that the Pied Piper is involved and is using these innocent people who are desperate to his own ends.

While the drama does not have many well known actors, Pied Piper still holds its own as a great crime thriller. It is interesting to see how each situation is diffused, hopefully with minimal casualties. I am also extremely curious to see who the Pied Piper is as he seems to be a mole in the police force because he is often a step before the team. I like how the female lead, Myung Ha, is physically stronger than Sung Chan and reins him when he gets out of line. It makes for a funny dynamic as Sung Chan has a silver tongue and uses that to worm himself out of sticky situations. With these two joining forces, they will be a team to be reckoned with.

P.S. Unfortunately subbing has been a little on the slow side as it was picked up pretty late by drama subbing channels.

 

Hidden Identity: Angels in a Demon’s Mask

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A thousand times yes! My special craving for crime thrillers has been fulfilled yet again. Interestingly enough, TVN takes a leaf out of OCN’s book and produces a grungy noir piece. Cha Gun Woo plays a broody detective who has suffered a lot of traumas in his career. As a man of few words, others find it hard to work with him. However, he has a warm heart and holds his friends dear. Unfortunately, on a stakeout, Gun Woo loses his partner of 6 years and falls into a deeper state of depression. He also blames himself for the death of his girlfriend a few years past when she became involved in one of his investigations. His sunbae, Tae In, is the brother of the dead girlfriend and threw himself into undercover work in a gang in order to find out who killed her. When Tae In became exposed, Gun Woo was called in to also become undercover in order to find where Tae In was being tortured. Gun Woo plays a gambler who would do anything for money and gets recruited by the gang. He becomes part of the gang’s scheme to steal the hologram for Seoul’s new printed money. Although reluctant, Gun Woo joins the team in order to repay his debt to Tae In and find his girlfriend’s killer. In a moment of moral conflict, Gun Woo had to “kill” Tae In in front of the gang in order to keep his cover as a cop. Luckily, each cop has a molar installed with medicine that will put them into a coma instead. Tae In survived the stabbing that he actually initiated so that Gun Woo would not have to pull the first move. Although Gun Woo is exposed after the hologram code is stolen, he continues to participate in the investigation team.

Color me surprised when pretty Kim Bum transforms himself into gritty Gun Woo. In the past I have always remembered him as the pretty playboy type who has the most gorgeous smile. What a change here! Barely saying a few lines each episode, he conveys all his emotions through his expressions. I never realized how expressive he could be and how well he plays the angst angle. His crew cut, mustache, and broody air really changes him completely. I also enjoy how this series has a strong female character who really kicks arse, multiple arse by herself! Although I wished he would be undercover longer as I love seeing double agent tropes, the story must move on! I feel like this is a great career move to play this variety of character for Kim Bum. Coming from the team of Bad Guys, the fighting choreography is also on point. With brilliant moves that gets my blood pumping! This is definitely my top drama to watch right now!

Marriage, Not Dating

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Original Title: 연애 말고 결혼

Episodes: 16

Year: 2014

Channel: tVN

Theme: Rom-com

Joo Jang Mi is in her late twenties-early thirties and like a lot of women at that age she feels the need to find her husband. She first sets her eyes on Lee Hoon Dong. Jang Mi and Hoon Dong have been seeing each other for quite some time now, but it’s always been in shady places. They are not official yet and that is something Jang Mi is trying to set straight. When Jang Mi introduces the topic of a more serious and steady relationship, Hoon Dong panics and runs! Hoon Doong starts avoiding Jang Mi hardcore – not picking up his phone, running away when he sees her, and the worst: asking his friend Gong Ki Tae to help him get rid of Jang Mi.

Jang Mi chasing after Hoon Doong gets her a reputation of stalker + a little trip to court where she faces STALKING charges T___T.

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A Witch’s Romance (마녀의 연애) Episode 13

The break up  makes Ji Yeon feel worse. Why is Shi Hoon acting like the bad guy? Is this the best he can do?! Shi Hoon explains that Ji Yeon’s mother mentioned how happy she was wearing her white wedding shoes back then. Now, she just looks nervous.

Dong Ha is about to leave when he sees a crying Ji Yeon walking toward her apartment. He stops her, but she doesn’t explain what’s going on.Once back in her apartment, Ji Yeon cries harder.

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A Witch’s Romance (마녀의 연애) Episode 12

Reality is catching up with Shi Hoon. It’s hitting him right in the face… 

Ji Yeon runs to Dong Ha’s apartment but he doesn’t hear her out. Even before she says a word, he explains that he is sorry for pressuring her (OMG why could you just remain silent for ONCE?!). He will move out as soon as possible to make things less difficult for everyone. The following days Dong Ha starts looking at apartments from right to left. Given his income, the choices aren’t top but he wants to move soon. Soo Chul isn’t happy about Dong Ha’s decision to move. Soo Chul even tries his best to persuade Dong Ha not to move.

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A Witch’s Romance (마녀의 연애) Episode 11

A painful walk down memory lane as both of our characters think about what their relationship could have been if they had met sooner or if other people weren’t involved.

Shi Hoon and Eun Chae both see something that they weren’t supposed to. Eun Chae sees Ji Yeon and Dong Ha kissing when she goes to give Ji Yeon her cellphone. Soo Chul, who closely followed her, urges her to keep silent. And Shi Hoon sees Ji Yeon helping a drunk Dong Ha in his apartment.

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A Witch’s Romance (마녀의 연애) Episode 10

Dong Ha breaks down in tears once in his apartment (T__T).

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The next day Shi Hoon picks up Ji Yeon. He vows to keep behaving well from now on (Let’s see how long that lasts). What is painful is that Dong Ha sees both of them in the car at a traffic light (Painful reminder… Not like he needed it). Once at work, Dong Ha focuses on getting his work done and nothing more. He doesn’t pay attention to Ji Yeon and doesn’t even try to help her.

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A Witch’s Romance (마녀의 연애) Episode 9

Take your Kleenex out. This episode was emotionally charged 😦 

Ji Yeon replays the back hug with Dong Ha. Dong Ha is also thinking about when Ji Yeon lived with Soo Chul and him – Dong Ha feeding Ji Yeon sandwiches he made, teasing her while she was watching TV, etc. (Can those two be any cuter?!).

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Yet, when both see each other at work they feel awkward. They don’t know what to say or  how to act around each other. They try to crack up some jokes and it slightly works. Ji Yeon says that she is happy to be home. Still now, she hears Soo Chul’s voice urging her to get out of the restroom.

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