I just finished the craziest Korean drama I have ever seen, and I felt very out of place in this murderous abyss of Voice after being a severe romantic comedy addict. Though it will be tough to forget all the graphic images that this villainous show displayed, I will go on to commend the show. In this uncharted territory that I had to struggle through blindly, I was still able to see some of the brilliance that the director and scriptwriter were aiming to capture in this incredibly unhinging ride.
We start off with a murder in progress of a woman who has already been brutally injured. Yet. she manages to place a call to the police while she is being tailed by her assailant. She is murdered while Kang Kwon Joo (Lee Ha Na), an operator at the police station is on the other side of the line. Kwon Joo, possessing super-human hearing, is able to make out things like what kind of street the woman is at, what kind of weapon might have been used, and what the murderer sounds like. It turns out later, that the woman was Detective Moo Jin Hyuk’s (Jang Hyuk) wife who was out to drop dinner at the police station for him.
It is only moments later that Kwon Joo gets a call from her father who reports that he’s patrolling the sight of the murder and is catching the criminal. Since he’s a witness, it’s only right that our resident murderer end his life as well. Hence, Kwon Joo witnesses two murders in the course of maybe 15 minutes, while on phone with both the victims. She registers that both have been murdered by the same person because of the way he talks. This is why when Jin Hyuk’s wife’s trial is taking place, and she’s called upon as a witness, she refuses to accept that the man being convicted was the real murderer since their voices are different.
Shortly after, Kwon Joo is sent off to the USA to study Voice Profiling, and returns after three years to lead a new experimental police unit called Golden Time Team. The aim is to reach the scene of the crime within about 10 minutes of the call, in order to limit the chances of the perpetrator escaping, as well as getting the victim immediate aid. Since she returns as Jin Hyuk’s senior, she has the authority to form her own team. So she chooses Jin Hyuk, who is convinced that she caused her wife’s assailant to be set free, and is therefore possibly a corrupt official. However, the duties of being a policeman make the two work very closely together, and over time Jin Hyuk realizes that Kwon Joo is really gifted with a sharp sense of hearing. Furthermore, the fact that both of them lost a family member to the same murderer, also brings them closer to each other.
Now for our resident murderer… I sadly, already knew that Kim Jae Wook was in this show, and that jawline and cheekbones are hard to miss despite the hood. In fact, that’s probably the only reason I even watched this. I’ve been a huge fan of his since his second lead role in Mary Stayed Out All Night, and it’s just unfortunate that we see so less of him in Korean dramas. A method actor to the core, he was such a great addition to the show. Such a handsome psychopathic murderer was such joy to look at. Granted, I started covering my eyes towards the end because there really was no stopping his continuous atrocities. Yes, I wanted him captured, but I was also in awe of how charismatic and mesmerizing he was as he went around bashing heads with his kettlebell. His portrayal of Mo Tae Gu was flawless, and sent shivers down my spine. Though I found his motivations to become a murderer very weak, and the fact that daddy cleaned all his messes utterly annoying, I still loved the way Kim Jae Wook brought out the devil within him. That false sense of superiority and the constant quoting of scripture was eerie, especially the fact that he did think that he himself was god. His sheer need to dominate his victims and hear them plea for mercy made him so utterly despicable. I’m just so happy to see this man make a comeback on the small screen, especially with the currently airing Temperature of Love.
The only other villain who comes any close to this is Jang Mi Kwan’s role in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, and it is a great deal if I compare Jang Mi Kwan to Kim Jae Wook. Though Jang Mi Kwan’s currently airing Manhole has brought my expectations down with regards to him.
The overarching religious themes of the show definitely piqued my interest. It was fascinating how throughout the show, Mo Tae Gu played god, but in the last epilogue, it was Kwon Joo who had a godlike presence in the control room, since she could hear every plea of the downtrodden, as if they were prayers to a higher being. That entire shift in perspective of god, from the all-powerful to the all-hearing was drastic and left a strong impression on me. The messages at the end for the viewers were utterly moving because no matter, how scared I was throughout the scenes of the crimes, the fact is, these incidents happen. Such unhinged psychopathic lunatics exist in this world, whether we like this reality or not. We tend to desensitize ourselves from this ugly aspect of society until it happens to somebody close to use. I guess that’s why the message was to look out for those around us and take care of each other because we never know what can become a grave societal injustice in front of our eyes.
A big shout out to the following cast:
Oh Hyun Ho (Super Junior’s Yesung) and Park Eun Soo (Son Eun Seo) whose conversations in the control room didn’t just serve as a good narrative device, but also eased us through the tension of the rest of the scenes.
Baek Sung Hyun, who played Detective Shim Dae Shik was so much fun to watch for me. Firstly, he’s one handsome man. Secondly, he can act very well. Thirdly, why have I not see him take on a bigger role? All I’ve seen him in is White Christmas and Doctors and I sincerely wish I can see him more often.
Kim Yoona of Jaurim sang for the drama, and as much as I enjoyed her surreal voice, her cameo was very welcome. I wish she could have been a regular on that show.