Genius criminal profiler, Hyun (Seo In Guk) returns to Korea for a serial murder case with a connection to his past. He reluctantly works with his secret stalker, police detective, Ji Ahn (Jang Na Ra) and her colleagues, along with cold blooded young lawyer, Sun Ho (Park Bo Gum), and enthusiastic medical examiner, Joon Ho (Choi Won Young). It turns out that everyone’s lives have been touched by serial killer, Joon Young, who has been among them all along.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★★
Only 만: ★★★.5
Only 만: You were initially hesitant to recap “I Remember You”, because it wasn’t a romantic comedy.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Correct. It was a police procedural, and during the first few episodes, it followed the head slapping stupidity of the K-drama police procedurals that I have seen. The police failed to do the most basic things like posting guards on a crime scene or protecting a witness.
Only: Yes, why should the police post guards on a serial killer when they know him to be capable of getting out of his handcuffs? Why would they stop a little kid from wandering into his interrogation room? I don’t know how many times I yelled at my screen in the first two episodes. And yet, “I Remember You” settled down into a pretty solid show, with some great characters.
Junggugeo Kaenada: They really did develop some multi-layered characters. The leads were interesting enough with a promising dynamic: Seo In Guk’s cold genius with crucial memory gaps versus Jang Na Ra’s competent yet emotional cop. However, I think the secondary characters were the standouts: Sun Ho, the angelic-faced, creepy attorney, Joon Young, the awkwardly agreeable medical examiner, and Eun Hyeok (Lee Chun Hee), the ridiculous yet principled team leader.
Only: Mid-series, I really enjoyed the mini-teams that formed, like when Hyun and Ji Ahn started solving crimes together, but also when Hyun, Sun Ho, and Joon Ho teamed up to save Ji Ahn. Not to say that the official investigative team itself was dull, because there was a surprisingly entertaining combative relationship between Hyun and Myeong Woo (Min Sung Wook). I actually enjoyed the two of them trading insults.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I suppose when the writers decided to focus more on the characters than the crime of the week, the show improved considerably. The overriding story of Hyun’s past did keep my interest, and I liked that they did not make it black and white, though other viewers may take issue with the way past murders were glossed over. I believe you objected to the writers presenting Joon Ho and Min in too sympathetic a light.
Only: There was a bit of a disconnect between how Min especially was portrayed on screen, and his string of murders. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed watching him open up to Hyun and their developing relationship as brothers. At the same time, I couldn’t shake the thought that Min was a serial killer, and should probably be in jail.
Junggugeo Kaenada: They went soft with the ending, as well. Initially, I thought the writers had decided to kill off Min and have Joon Ho arrested for his murder, and I respected them for making such a ruthless decision considering that they had used kid gloves with these two characters. Then, they reneged on those decisions, letting both Min and Joon Ho get away with murder. Though, how was I supposed to read Min’s final decision? He left behind the new identity envelope Joon Ho provided, because he is going to turn himself in?
Only: That was my assumption, that Min was going to turn himself in, and Joon Ho was going to be left loose in the world. Thinking about it, at least Min had Hyun to keep a lid on him; Joon Ho had no boundaries, and he was the one who got away. It’s actually not that happy of an ending.
I did like how both Min and Joon Ho were developed, and how their stories unfolded throughout the series. It was interesting how they ended up taking over the story, and it became about how the four of them – Hyun, Min, Ji Ahn, and Joon Ho – interacted with each other. It did fall apart a bit in the end, but the development of the story was good.
Junggugeo Kaenada: The romance between Hyun and Ji Ahn also withered in the face of more pressing, depressing concerns. I will spoil it for readers to give them faint hope: Hyun and Ji Ahn engage in a kiss at the end, but it felt flat. There was more tension in an earlier scene where Hyun simply tucked a lock of Ji Ahn’s hair behind her ear.
Only: When it happened, I appreciated the fact that Hyun was able to be an adult and tell Ji Ahn that there was too much going on to think about things between them, though I wish he could have been more direct about it. Later on, I have to agree that that admission really did suck the tension out of their relationship. By the time the kiss came around, there wasn’t much left.
On a side note, we were both fans of Ji Ahn as a character. As much as I liked the lead couple’s dynamic, Ji Ahn was also pretty awesome on her own. She wasn’t super smart, but she was resourceful and brave when it called for it.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Yes, and Ji Ahn was able to hold her own in a fight, which I would expect since she is a police officer. However, the fight scenes in “I Remember You” were the best that I have ever seen in a K-drama. You could tell that Ji Ahn had skills in hand-to-hand combat, but when her opponent was a hulking man, she got realistically thrown around. Hyun was slick and efficient in his fight technique, while Min fought like an alien. It’s impressive that they kept the characters in mind even in the fight choreography.
Only: And, they filmed it from far enough away that it didn’t look like a flurry of limbs. Actually, that’s another thing we haven’t yet mentioned: “I Remember You” is a really attractive show. Not only was it well shot, it made good use of fantastic sets, and also good use of its super attractive cast.
Junggugeo Kaenada: We could not stop admiring Seo In Guk and how attractive he looked. Same goes for Jang Na Ra, in spite of her pedestrian and practical styling.
Overall, I enjoyed “I Remember You”. I looked forward to each episode and every new reveal. My romantic comedy bias makes me regret that they let the romance between Hyun and Ji Ahn slide in the latter part of the series.
Only: Weirdly enough, if this was a romantic comedy, the closest we got to a second lead would be Min.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Considering what a weird appeal Min had, a love triangle would have been killer.