I Remember You series review

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

Side dish: All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Stop thinking about serial murderers, and have some Angel Food Cake. Here’s a popular recipe courtesy of Food.com.


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.

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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.

I_Remember_You_10_8

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.

Spoiler alert:

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.

End Spoiler

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.

I Remember You 8.7

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.

I Remember You 8.11

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.

I Remember You 7.21

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.


I Remember You / Hello Monster (너를 기억해)

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4 Comments

  • Well I have to be 100% agreeable with your thoughts and insights.
    I was disappointed with the finale but guess most dramas that started good will have a dismal ending.
    Actually I have prepared myself for such ending. Predictable.
    Luckily all characters/actors left an impact
    even such as Art Director Na.
    Not hoping for a sequel but maybe a spin off or something like having
    Hyeon Min and Joon in an investigative drama/movie
    I would love to have this three boys together again.

    I don’t think I can re watch this for a few more run like I did for PM & I (30x and still counting)
    But I will run through just to get the awesome screenshots of these three dudes.

    p.s. Love to have Hyeon’s and Joon’s home and not to forget Min’s ceiling lamps.

  • I think the team leader is kinda interested in Ji an and he said he likes her in ep 15 or was it 16.
    so if it were a romantic comedy he would have been the contender to Seo In Guk. Min’s interest is solely his brother. I really like the somewhat fresh concept that this isn’t a romcom, Sig and Jang Na Ra have no chemistry, the awkward kiss at the start and the finale was so painful to watch, I skipped it. SIG is a great kisser, so it is wasted and the show doesn’t really need it anyway.
    This is more about Min and Hyeon.
    I’ll miss you Seo In Guk and kudos to the styling team for the most fab SIG looks ever.
    and for the most well-dressed police team ever, Ji an, team leader, tall guy, 3 points detective and eun bok, the rotten one.

  • “Protect yourself from disappearing, when things get hard, remember me, I really want you, so I hope you’ll stop for a moment and look at me.’ At first thoughts, this sound like Min asking for Hyeon to stop and remember him. … but as we ponder deeper, not hard to discover its Ji-An the clear small voice always in Hyeon’s head, “protect yourself before you disappearing into self-denial / self-deceiving, before you lost your-Self, when things get suffocating, stop by 3 times or more, remember me, look at me….
    “I can’t stop, I can’t control myself, what do I do? Look at me, remember me.” Yes, when you think you can’t stop, you can’t focus, may lost yourself, look at me and remember. As Much as Min needs you to remember him, to save him. You need to look into yourself, “you can become a person completely different, you can become as you wish (not a monster).”Since childhood, Ji-An persevered and chased after him, the Voice Over in his head, that steer him back to feed the right wolf and become the Person he should be.”
    Going thru the whole 16 ep again, you can count how many times he smiled at a simple outburst from her, you can see the process whereby he gradually defrost before Ji-An, one ep after another. He came to Ji-An and asked her, what happened during those frozen times when he returned Korea, why? Because he knew, Ji-An remembered him, she was his hard-disc and memory bank. Like I said, with Min, he was the caring father that Min lost, indulging in “giving”, with all Min’s devotion towards him, knowing Min can die for him even, but still Min wouldn’t understand him as much as Ji-An did. But with Ji-An, he can be himself, did he not asked Ji-An when she slept, “if I ran away…” his unfinished sentence was, “if I am disappearing again, made me look at you, remember you, bring me back when things get hard…”
    from that time under the bunker, when Ji-An hug him after he revealed his self-reproach that if he didn’t leak about Min, LJY may not take Min,… when Ji-An tightened her grid on his hands as he broke down in tears while Min undergo OP after the stabbing… when Ji-an passed by his house after his awakening that Min has evolved into LJY cold blooded beyond redemption, when Ji-an hugged him when he recalled his memory that he might be the source of Min’s psychopathic tendencies…. All these crucial moment when he broke down, he found solace in Ji-An. By looking at Ji-An, then can he fed the kinder wolf, and chose the right door, remember how to be the kind of person he should be. Remembrance calls for responsibility, choose to be the kind of person your heart knows you should become.
    With Ji-An as his alpha, he can.

  • Agreed wholeheartedly with your review. Extremely good show and would have been the best kdrama that I had ever watched except for the ending which seemed really rushed and a bit of a copout. The characters up till that final episode were very well developed and interesting. It made you sympathetic even to serial killers, a feat hard to achieve. The ending with the protagonist smiling at the thought of Jo Hoon seemed really out of character though.
    Great show and great acting all round, could do better towards the end.

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