Korean Drama Review – I Remember You 너를 기억해

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5-stars

Plot & Script

Lee Hyun (Seo In-Guk) is a prolific criminal psychology lecturer living in the United States, but when a spur of serial killings begin in Korea, he finds himself returning to his birthplace to help catch the culprit; falling back into a past he hadn’t dealt with and a life he was trying hard to remember. That life had lead to his memory block, following his father’s murder by notorious psychopath Lee Joon Young (Do Kyung-soo) and younger brother Min’s mysterious disappearance, Lee Hyun finds himself on a dangerous path directly in search of the killer he befriended as a child, without fully remembering everything, but unbeknownst to him, a detective in his new team, Cha Ji-An (Jang Na-ra) knows a lot more about him than even he cares to remember. Can she help him beat the memory block and find the psychopath Lee Joon Young who somehow ties both of them together? Or will they both fall into a trap by a cunning and calculated murderer, who in actual fact watches and knows their every move before they’ve made it?

There are children who are pretty from birth. There are children for whom someone said, “How pretty, so pretty,” and so the children are pretty. There are children who were stupid from birth and those turned stupid because someone tells them, “You’re stupid, so stupid”. And also…there are also those who are monsters from birth. Someone saw them as monsters, called them monsters, so they become monsters

The script was thrilling to watch, it took me on a rollercoaster of emotion every episode, there wasn’t one where I wasn’t screaming at the screen, left completely speechless, gushing over how cute Lee Hyun ( Seo In Guk) and Cha Ji-An (Jang Na-Ra) were or laughing bucket loads of tears because of the incredible acting abilities of this stella cast! More so, it became the very show that you say, ‘only one more episode’ and you somehow stay up the whole night watching it, especially for us across the pond that have a much longer time difference to South Korea. It’s also the brilliance of cliff hangers, nearly every episode left the viewer craving more, since I’m one of those people who become impatient with shows I like, I usually wait for a TV series to finish or get to the halfway point before I begin watching it, but I Remember You had me hooked, so I patiently waited for Monday and Tuesday which ultimately became my late nights.

Since the plot itself is focused on the team of detectives and the cases they deal with everyday, I was reminded of NCIS, especially because the comic nature of the team echoed that of the American TV series. It is difficult when dealing with such gruesome subject matters to be able to add comic repertoire, but the individual actor’s ability to portray such characters was extremely realistic. And since the series was not static, you see a human side to the detectives, it’s probably the main similarity (other than the lighthearted nature of the characters) that relates it to NCIS and the very reason that out of the many forensic crime series it has gone on to do so well, because you can relate to the human side of the characters.


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Cast & Characters

Jang Na-ra and Seo In-Guk make a formidable team on screen, their chemistry in both their romantic and action packed scenes really showed off both actor’s incredible skill sets. When the series finished, you were really able to look back at the first episode and the last and truly see how much they had developed each character individually and together. They were the comic relief, the angsty but cute romantic break, but importantly, were also able to keep the main focus of the story together.

As a female protagonist,  Jang Na-ra is everything a viewer would want, not only is she beautiful but she made her character, by far, the most entertaining. You rooted for her from the beginning, because she was able to transform from a ditzy, slightly crazy stalker, to a strong and emotionally fierce detective. Connect this with Seo In-Guk’s character, the surly, extremely handsome, lost boy, that most girls want to save and it works so well. His comedic scenes with Jang Na-ra also broke up the serious side to Lee Hyun, since depicting an academic role in a character can work two ways, the viewer will either become enthralled with you or they’ll think you’re a Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), so it was fun to watch him mould his character into one that viewers fell in love with.

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Seo In-Guk & Jang Na-Ra

The lead detective played by Lee Chun-Hee begins the show in such a funny way that you don’t realise till right at the end how much he has grown. He begins as the character no one pays any attention to, even though he’s in charge, to later being a much loved member of the team, this is probably true not only for the characters in the show but for the viewer too. Like him, Choi Won-Young who plays the forensic scientist (every crime drama needs a forensic scientist) also develops incredibly by the end of the show, both actors put on such stunning performances you’d be forgiven for forgetting that at the beginning they were nothing more than on the side line of the main storylines.

The character of Son Myeong-Woo reminded me of Agent DiNozzo (Mark Weatherly- NCIS), not so much the ‘womanising’, but just the all round silly side to him, especially since he spends nearly the entire series calling Lee Hyun’s character ‘Dave’. He is definitely the comic relief, so later on, when he’s to forced depict a much serious side, you truly realise how gifted this particular cast are. I would have liked to see more from some of the supporting actors such as Min Seung-Joo (Kim Jae-Young) and Choi Eun-Bok (Son Seung-Won), like Min Sung-Wook, there is an episode much later on in the series where there is a greater focus on the two actors; it was thrilling to watch them take a driving seat and become centralised characters. But as comic relief and supporting the leading roles, they did incredibly well, especially with such formidable characters and storylines being the main focus.

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Do Kyung-Soo – I’m only slightly biased being an EXO fan, but Do Kyung-Soo was incredible as the younger Lee Joon Young, his character portrayal of a psychopath was beyond thrilling. Especially after watching him in interviews and reality shows with his fellow band members, he always seems particularly shy, so to see him depict such a strong and somewhat scary character left me awestruck and really shows the capabilities of the young actor and idol. It would be epic to have a spin off series focused on the life of Lee Joon Young, with Kyung-Soo as the lead, there was so much depth to the character and from the actor himself, that it’d be fascinating to follow a narrative from his point of view, especially from early overview of his life and the length of time after his escape. We only catch glimpses of these in the actual series, so it could be developed further and if all else fails, then a second series could also juxtapose most of this with a running storyline from the last episode.

“I won’t kill people anymore. If you tell me not to then I won’t. Then, is a happy ending possible?

Park Bo-Gum – To begin with lawyer Jung Sun-Ho (played by Park Bo-Gum) frustrated me so much, he’s one of those characters that you want to hate but there’s something holding you back, it’s only when you delve deeper into the series you understand what that something actually is. It was also the terrific acting abilities of Park Bo-Gum that allow you to feel this way about his character, he illustrates him as somewhat dark, but there’s always a niggling feeling of a deeper story, which is why many viewers are intrigued about who he is and what his role will ultimately be. In truth the complicated nature of his character add a lot to the drama, it is one of the catalysts for the rollercoaster. The development of lawyer Jung Sun-Ho was probably one of the greatest in my opinion throughout the series, it’s not an easy feat to have an audience change an opinion of a character or feel empathy for them if they are seen as the ‘bad’ guy from the very beginning.


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Click on the official poster to hear the soundtrack by Dear Cloud: I Remember You

Planning to watch it? Or seen it already? Leave a comment on what you thought everyone!


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