Y’all, I finished Answer Me 1988 a day before we posted the poll and I had to wait THREE WHOLE DAYS for the poll to close before I knew what I was going to watch next. I maaaaaay have whined to Unni Amber about it and she may have suggested I Remember You as a great way to fill that time. Seo In Guk? Park Bo Gum? Mystery? I was in. And then I was completely hooked.
I Remember You was captivating. And NOT just because I have Seo In Guk and Park Bo Gum at the top of my bias list. They earned their way to the top of that list by being stellar actors, however. I swear I’m not in it for the pretty faces!!
How about a plot synopsis and then I’ll tell you how I felt about the series? Yes. Sounds like an excellent plan.
Synopsis, as presented by Wikipedia:
Genius profiler Lee Hyun (Seo In guk) returns home to Korea after something from a case he’s been sent triggers a memory he thought he’d lost forever. Unbeknownst to him, one of his team members, Detective Cha Ji-an (Jang Na ra), has been investigating him for some time. She is aware that his father was murdered and his brother disappeared under mysterious circumstances involving a criminal named Lee Joon Young — whom they both want found and incarcerated. Each seeks to unravel the other, unaware that they’ve been drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse by a master player and that both truth and evil are closer and far more twisted than they think.
Characters — The make or break point of dramas for me is the strength of the female lead. Jang Na Ra was an EXCELLENT casting choice. She is not shrieky or weepy, but instead is strong and determined and believably tender-hearted and funny. She was such a great character. I was rooting for her to solve the mysteries in front of her the whole time.
Seo In Guk plays the cocky Lee Hyeon very well. Honestly, I had a hard time thinking of him as himself, because he seemed to lose himself in the character, a character that was quite the departure from his character in Answer Me 1997. I also love that Lee Hyeon wasn’t one note — he was cocky, yes, but responsible and caring and even just a little bit funny.
Park Bo Gum! OH MY GOODNESS. This series solidified my complete respect for this boy’s acting abilities. He’s a sweet and sleepy genius in Answer Me 1988, but here he plays the coldly brilliant Attorney Jeong to perfection. I don’t want to give away too much, but as I watched his character development and his bromance with Seo In Guk’s character, I was struck by the impressive depth he pulled out of his character.
Choi Won Young is one of those “that guy in that thing!” actors for me — I’ve watched him in Hwarang and Heirs and that one episode of The Night Watchman’s Journal I saw before y’all voted for something else. I really enjoyed seeing him as a main character — he gave his character great depth and believability. There was one time when he smiled and I got chills.
DO (not pictured) did a great job playing the young Lee Joon Young. His cold face and fascination with the younger Lee Hyeon was well-done. Having seen him in My Annoying Brother, I knew to expect great acting, and I was right.
And a note about Lee Chun Hee (above), who played the special investigation team leader. I watched him in Dating Agency: Cyrano a while back and was impressed with his performance there. Here he was a completely different character and he did SUCH a good job! He absolutely struck the middle between someone who got where he was because of nepotism and a man who truly wanted to be a good team leader. I loved his interactions with his team and how he was able to win their respect despite his lack of experience.
Plot — Much like US crime dramas, there are smaller story arcs related to the crimes the team is solving, and the greater story arc that drives the story forward. They are fairly well intertwined in this drama (ah, the benefit of a limited episode run!) and made for an excellent, complex mystery that kept me hooked the entire way through. I kept comparing it to the BBC’s version of Sherlock as I watched — Lee Hyeon and Sherlock share many characteristics, though Lee Hyeon’s background makes more sense in shaping whom he became.
The romance in the story is understated, which is fine. This is NOT a romance-focused drama. This is a mystery. A romance was bound to happen, but the pacing was just right and doesn’t distract from the main focus of the series.
What I did not expect was to have so much sympathy for the bad guys. The story of their backgrounds and how they were forged into the psychopaths they were was intense and made my heart hurt for them far more than I expected it to.
I Remember You was worth watching. Absolutely. It’s going on my rewatch list, just so I can see the hints they dropped, now that I know how things end up. And it definitely reinforced my love for the lead actors and their capabilities.
(Gentle Viewer Alert: There was some swearing and there was some violence. I’d put it at a PG-13. The swearing was minimal, IMO.)
Until next time, drama fans!
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi