I like this show. It has a little bit of everything: quirkly rom-com, psychological thriller, action, and Seo In-gook. [kooriyuki: He’s sab‘s. sab: yes, mine. hands off, everybadi]

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Main cast:

  •  Seo In-gook (from High School King of Savvy) as Lee-hyun. Genius forensic profiler with a shadowed past. He witnessed the death of his father, but there are gaps in his memories. Inscrutable, cynical and rather assy towards “low lifes” (read: those who are not on his brain waves’ level), he returns to Korea supposedly cos he was “baited” by a shadowy Somebody who knew his past.
  • Jang Na-ra (from Fated to Love You) as Cha Ji-an. A detective, linked to Lee-hyun cos she had a one-sided crush (?) on him way back. Or maybe she stalked him for a different reason. (more sinister, i hope?) Though not as brilliant as Hyun, she is nonetheless a rather persistent detective.

Synopsis:

Read full recaps from Dramabeans.

Remember‘s debut spends 70% of its time on Lee-hyun’s past, and 30% on the current case. A quickie on the case-of-the-day: 2 women were murdered with similar modus operandi, but in different locations. The police are stumped cos the perp left few evidence behind. And both women do not share any similarities in terms of background, residential locations, etc

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Enter Lee-hyun, a professor on Criminology, who was invited via email by someone who claimed to know of his past. The same person also mailed him pics of the first murder, piquing his interest enough to return to Korea. Using the available visual clues in the pictures, Hyun finds his way to the second murder’s location — juz as the police (and Detective Ji-an) arrive on scene. They mistakenly assume Hyun to be their new team leader, only to be confused when another Detective Kang Eun-hyeok (Lee Chun-hee) introduces himself as one.

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Even though the investigative team is a little miffed by Hyun’s unauthorised meddlings, they recognise that he may be able to help them solve the serial murders on hand. And Ji-an (who has knowledge of Hyun) volunteers to “persuade” him to assist them. Through her doggedness, she manages to glean (from Hyun) that the murderer initiates an offering of hyacinths as “forgiveness” prior to committing his crime. Plus, the murderer may be picking up his potential victims from dating agencies, where he can screen through a list of candidates before settling on one whom may bear some unfortunate similarity to a woman he knows.

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Lee-hyun though, has another personal reason for returning to Korea. He believes that the sender who baited him also has clues to the murder of his father and the disappearance of his younger brother, Min, years ago. His dad (Lee Jong-min), like him, was a forensic profiler. However, Jong-min was emotionally played by a brilliant, but sick in the mind convict, Joon-yeong. Joon-yeong manipulated Jong-min’s innate fear that Hyun may be a psychopath-in making.

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It eventually leads to Jong-min sealing off his son, Hyun, away from the world — on the pretext of “protecting” him. Joon-yeong though, isn’t satisfied to stop there. He cleverly fakes his own death, and enroute to hospital, escapes. Beelining for Jong-min’s home, the two engage in a struggle, ending with Jong-min’s death. Hyun’s brother, Min, escapes coolly out of the window when he awakens to witness the fight. As for Hyun, he manages to open the door from his basement prison to see his dad lying in a pool of blood. And Joon-yeong casually stepping out from the kitchen after washing away the blood stains.

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We are led to believe the current murders may be linked to Min, as Hyun remembers that Min loves to paint pictures of 2-headed monsters, or conjoined twins, finishing off with a signature that looks like an infinity sign/ a pair of eyes. Similar pictures were found in both victims’ rooms…and when the third victim is identified, Ji-an rushes there to find herself face-to-face with the murderer (?).

Review:

Although bulk of Remember‘s eps1/2 is spent on Hyun’s childhood, for once, I have no complaints about lengthy backstories. The story of the father who is scared by his genius son is very engaging. I’m not a parent, but I suppose an intellectually gifted kid who doesn’t act like a kid, but too much like an adult, may instil some form of fear/ worry in the parent. There’s probably awe — like how can my kid be so brilliant? — countered with fear stemming from insecurity, and being seen as “lacking”.

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Hyun is such a boy. In the absence of a maternal figure, he plays the roles of home maker, 24/7 secretary to his father, and baby sitter. Ironically, his adultness is forced on by the same parent who nags him to “act like a kid” and who eventually fears him. Jong-min is a very absent-minded (and absent) dad. He is more engaged with his cases than with looking after his 2 sons. I suppose Joon-young immediately senses this and uses it to his advantage. He begins planting ideas in Jong-min’s mind that little Hyun may grow up like him — a psychopath.

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So when Jong-min starts questioning Min about those paintings he discovered in the kids’ bedrooms, he is all too eager to validate his “suspicions”. (i am practically screaming at my screen calling Min a liar) As to why I have my suspicions about Min, call it a gut instinct from watching too many police procedurals. 😛

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At the tail end of ep2, the storyline starts to hint that Min may be that kindling psychopath in the family, rather than Hyun. Of course, that is assuming Hyun’s memories of Min being the one who painted the gruesome pictures are correct. Although that does not detract the significance of Min’s action after he witnessed the fight between Joon-young and his dad. I mean, which kid will calmly assess the situation, decide that his dad won’t win, wear his shoes and climb out the window to escape? He’s only about max 7 years old.

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I’m not sure whether Min is the serial murderer for both cases. At this stage, I think no. The mystery surrounding the two brothers (and not to forget, Joon-young) has still too many gaps for it to be resolved that quickly.

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