I’d say I had higher expectations for Wanted. The idea of a kidnapper forcing a high grossing actress to star in a reality TV show against her will is refreshing. I was imagining all sorts of scenarios — from the kidnapper being a perverted anti-fan or stalker, to the kidnapper being someone in the same showbizness circle as Hye-in. After all, the incident happened soon after she announced her resignation.

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In a way, there are some perverts revealed along the way: such as Hye-in’s manager, Kyung-hoon, for example. He turns out to be her biggest stalker-fan, even resorting to secretly videoing her private life (where he has full access to) and then selling the vids online. Then there’s also her cover-husband, Jung-ho, who is so full of antagonism against Hye-in. Plus, the enigmatic Dong-wook, whom Wanted keeps hinting he was sacked for trying to produce a sensational show, which goes against the sponsors’ wishes.

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However, all these characters are wasted in WantedWanted starts off by teasing us that there are stories behind these side characters — then leave it as that. I feel that I am left hanging. For example, why did Jung-ho choose to marry Hye-in? For her share in UCN? Or why did she wed him? To hide her son from SG Group? I am sure there are other better choices than a husband who despises and uses her, and chooses to be aloof and distant from his “adopted” son. As for Dong-wook, I always feel that there is something more to him. Besides being ambitious and driven, there’s also something rather dark and callous about him, from the way he bulldozes through all the ethical concerns about continuing “Wanted”. Is it juz mere driven attitude on his part to complete the show? Or did something happened in the past to make him so cruel? Wanted did hint that it has to do with the variety programme he was producing until he was forced to stop.

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I suppose not realising a character’s potential is not as bad as making a character redundant. And this character is Detective Park, the other policeman who is on the case. Basically all he does is hover around, annoy everyone else with inane interviews, then don’t manage to catch the kidnapper. Which is a narrative flaw, imo. When Nam-chul was stabbed in the dressing room, why would the murderer (Soo-hyun) juz knock Joon-gu unconscious and not kill him? He is an eye witness, and if Soo-hyun is not above killing Nam-chul, Joon-gu shouldn’t be a problem. It is very obvious from that scene that Joon-gu is in cahoots. And it takes the entire team of police and media people to work it out in many, many eps down the road? (duh)

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Despite the lull in the middle portions of Wanted, when the narrative shifts gears to change from thriller to underdog-saves-the-day mode. I do enjoy the front and last bits of the show. Especially when the media and police work together to take down Goliath. The scene where Dong-wook and team forms a protective ring around Hye-in to prevent SG Group goons from grabbing Hyun-woo is daebak. It reinforces the main theme in Wanted that sometimes, you need not go through the “proper” channel via a lawsuit to prevent bad things from happening. Juz the mere thought of being exposed in the public’s eye is a scary enough deterrent.

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Which makes Ham Tae-sub’s continued thick-skinned denials of wrongdoing on national TV smacks of utter idiocy.

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