Finally, a Ji Chang-wook who doesn’t need to leap around buildings on screen…
- Ji Chang-wook (from The K2) as No Ji-wook. Prosecutor (or rather, a soon-to-be former one) who is infamous for bring hard hitting on the criminals. He may be intelligent (he is headhunted by a prominent law firm), but is stubborn and doesn’t connect well with others.
- Nam Ji-hyun (from Shopping King Louis) as Eun Bong-hee. Aspiring lawyer-to-be, she is still re-taking her exams. Spunky and rash, Bong-hee tends to jump to conclusion or engage in silly acts that have repercussions down the road.
- Choi Tae-joon as Ji Eun-hyuk. For some reasons (maybe he slept with Ji-wook’s ex?), Ji-wook cannot stand him. But that doesn’t stop Eun-hyuk from being extremely friendly with Ji-wook. Maybe they were best buddies previously? Before the betrayal?
- Nara as Cha Yoo-jung. Ji-wook’s ex, who was caught sleeping with another guy. We haven’t seen much of her in the debut yet though.
Our OTP first meet happens on board a crowded subway, with Bong-hee accusing Ji-wook for groping her behind. (of cos he didn’t) However, when Ji-wook rescues her from an embarrassing show-down with her disgusting ex, Hee-joon (Chansung), whom she caught sleeping with another girl, Bong-hee revises her impression of him. She ends up drinking soju with Ji-wook, and wakes up the next day in his house, wondering if they slept together. (we wonder too)
Their “chance encounter” is lengthen when Bong-hee is told to intern with a prosecutor for 2 months cos she failed her exams. And said prosecutor happens to be Ji-wook, who isn’t Mr Popular in the Prosecution Officer. Not only is he reputed to be harsh towards suspects, he is also aloof towards his colleagues and superiors, eschewing promotions in order to get things done “his way”. Naturally, Bong-hee doesn’t get off lightly under his “tutelage”.
Amazingly, Bong-hee survives the 2-month internship with Ji-wook, and finally gets time off to go home to rest. Unfortunately, that’s when things start to turn for the worst. On the night where Bong-hee is home, she unwittingly becomes a witness for a murder. Or rather, the murderer sees her stretching at her balcony, but is unaware that she is blind without her glasses. Bong-hee is blissfully ignorant of the danger she is in, and goes off to buy a can of beer to celebrate the last few days of her internship. On her way to the convenience store, the neighbourhood suffers an electrical outage.
She comes home to find Hee-joon, dead, on her floor. With the blood on her hands, and her previous silly sing-song death threats to Hee-joon, Bong-hee quickly becomes prime suspect. Doesn’t help when Hee-joon’s daddy happens to be Chief Prosecutor, and is baying for her blood. Ji-wook gets assigned the case, with the instructions “not to let the criminal off lightly”.
Although all circumstantial evidence point to Bong-hee being the murderer – she and Hee-joon had a fall-out, on the night of murder, there were no working CCTVs to back up her alibi, and the convenience store asst couldn’t remember her face – Ji-wook is unconvinced that Bong-hee killed Hee-joon. Against all his misgivings, he requests Eun-hyuk (whom he knows to be a good lawyer) as Bong-hee’s Defence Lawyer.
Bong-hee’s innocence is proven when 2 murder weapons are found. One of them at her house, and another several miles away from her house. Both weapons have Hee-joon’s blood on them. Ji-wook knows that the knife found in Bong-hee’s house is likely planted by Hee-joon’s dad (or his cronies), the real murder weapon is the one found far away from her house. Too far for Bong-hee to dump it there and make it back in time to greet the paramedics.
With this piece of conclusive evidence, Bong-hee is released as the prosecution (aka Ji-wook) dismisses the charges against her. The bad news though, is Ji-wook gets fired, and his prosecution career ends.
I love the characters, but I’m a little iffy over the direction of Suspicious’ narrative. From the onset, I like the chemistry between the rash, and over reactive Bong-hee, and the slightly off-putting Ji-wook. The incident of who-touch-my-butt in the subway is particularly funny, with Bong-hee running off with her (no basis) suspicion that Ji-wook is the culprit. She is so cutely aggressive when she literally eye-daggered (a rather frightened) Ji-wook from getting off the same stop as her.
But I am glad that Bong-hee isn’t one to stick to first impressions (like some female leads from other rom-com OTPs). When Ji-wook saves her from Hee-joon, she does backpedal and apologises for accusing him without basis. Though she conveniently digs up this incident whenever she feels the need to take Ji-wook down a peg or two, when he is mean to her during her internship.
Ji-wook too, is a fairly interesting character. He may exude the air of preferring to be a bystander, but he runs in to help Bong-hee whenever she is in trouble. From helping her snub Hee-joon, to sternly (but nicely) telling her to stop her childish “death threats” and finally, giving up his career to absolve Bong-hee from the murder accusation. And we are not the only ones who see good qualities in Ji-wook. CEO Byun, who runs the law firm which is intent on headhunting Ji-wook, plays something of a proud Daddy when Ji-wook gives up his career for the sake of Truth.
While the characters are endearing so far, I have no idea what type of drama Suspicious will turn out to be. Firstly, which of them is the “suspicious partner”? The earlier working title was Beware this Woman (or Watch Out for this Woman), so I guess it would be Bong-hee? Given that Bong-hee is the most transparent of characters in Suspicious, I find this rather amusing. If anything, Ji-wook is more shifty than Bong-hee. We know less of his backstory, and although we suspect the discovery of his ex’s betrayal had changed him; we have no idea WHAT changed.
Otherwise, we may have to read the title literally – Bong-hee is technically still a “suspect” in Hee-joon’s murder, so she is a “suspicious” person.
Then there is the problem of a random murderer running around, and I suppose he is also the same guy whom the real groper witnessed killing somebody. If so, that makes him a serial killer. But there is no mention of any serial killings in Suspicious’ debut. (or are those bodies never found??) In the blurb, he is said to be suffering from amnesia. Which, huh? Is Suspicious setting up Ji-wook to be a future suspect too? We have seen some of his rather scary outbursts during his confrontation with Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee.
I guess I will have to continue watching to find out then.