What can an event that happened decades ago have to do with three people who seemingly have nothing in common? Kim Moon Ho (Yoo Ji Tae) is a popular broadcast reporter for a major news organization. Chae Young Shin (Park Min Young) is a reporter for a second-rate tabloid news website. Seo Jung Hoo (Ji Chang Wook) is a mysterious errand boy known by the codename “Healer.” When these three people are brought together, they go on an unusual journey to discover what happened years ago when a group of friends operated an illegal broadcasting station, and they try to help the people affected by the event. Can their quest to learn the truth about the past somehow help them to discover their future fates? “Healer” is a 2014 South Korean drama series directed by Lee Jung Sup.
The above quote is viki’s description of my new kdrama crack Healer. This is the first kdrama this year that’s given me just the right mix of humour, romance, tragedy, action, suspense and mystery. The balancing act that it’s accomplished thus far is quite impressive. A caveat if you will, as of this writing there has only been 6 episodes so it can still possibly go straight to hell; this is the risk you take by falling in love with an airing drama. Occupational drama viewing hazards aside, at this particular moment I am completely invested in Healer.
This drama gives me major City Hunter feels which is awesome for me because I fucking love City Hunter. The titular Healer (Ji Chang Wook) is pulling double duty with a bumbling Clark Kent persona by day and a parcour/gymnastic/martial arts Batman persona at night. Ji Chang Wook is really adept at juggling the different personalities; prior to this I had never seen a drama or movie of his but I am aware that he was stole everyone’s hearts in Empress Ki and I can see why.
Jung Hoo is an intuitive, intriguing, grumpy, unintentionally funny loner whose goal in life is to buy a desert island which is his impetus for the jobs he does. He is hilariously out of touch with current events and pop culture, with not knowing who Superman is. It made a great meta joke too since he is basically a comic book superhero come to life.
Park Min Young has found her calling as the spunky, relatable heroine; she is at her most charming as Young Shin. Young Shin is a reporter for an online tabloid with aspirations of becoming a ‘real’ journalist hence she’s on the hunt for her big break. When faced with the choice between her biggest scoop ever and helping a woman in obvious distress; Young Shin had a very human reaction, she hesistated before going to woman’s aid. It was such an infinitely identifiable response as opposed to so many of the “Candy” heroines dramaland loves to serve up, which is what won me over to the character.
Young Shin more than anyone else thus far is extraoridinally brave. Girlfriend clearly suffers PTSD from childhood abuse yet she does not back down and is especially protective of persons that she views as weaker of herself. Her emotional issues has not stopped her from developing wonderful familial bonds with her adoptive father and the ex-prisoners that he has employed over the years.
Yoo Ji Tae (Kim Moon Ho) rounds out the main leads playing what has to be the most complicated character in the drama. He is both haunted and complict in the events that link the main leads lives in the past for some reason. In his own way is trying to make amends to Young Shin for whatever incident lead to her father’s death, mother’s paralysis and everything that happened to Young Shin during her childhood. He clearly feels remorse but has not done something to actively clear his conscience.
To the world Moon Ho is viewed as a journalist who fights to ensure the stories of the underdog are properly represented however, he is aware of every dirty deed committed by his older brother and has not taken steps to deal with it. This contradiction is so well emoted by Yoo Ji Tae, you can just feel the depths of his struggle and self-disgust.
The cinematography is very slick and stylish but the drama has so much heart; and to top it off, there’s some truly spectacular wire work and stunts. In addition it has some really interesting music choices; for instance, it joins the ranks of being one of the few kdramas with a song “Eternal Love” by a non-Korean group Michael Learns To Rock (Danish pop/soft rock band) on its OST. Futhermore, if I’m not mistaken this song was played under some of the action sequences which gave an interesting contrast between the badass moves onscreen.
Additionally, the supporting cast has to be one of my favourites in recent memory and would have me talking about these characters especially Ahjumma/Jo Min Ja played by the excellent Kim Mi Kyung (who by the way is the best thing ever and my fav character thus far) for ages. Just trust me and take my word on their awesomeness.
Basically, Healer right now is everything I could ask for in an action drama and I highly recommend it.