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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Wanted" Episode 1


If you have already watched the first episode of "Wanted", please have a glass of water. If you have not, put the snacks down. There will not be any time for them. The series waits for no one and we are thrown in at the deep end right away. The kidnapping takes place and the show within the show is about to begin. There are a few issues with the writing and character introductions, but the atmosphere and suspense are spot on.

Creating an intense and fast-paced premiere episode might cause problems with the flow later on, but it also works for the genre of a thriller. After all, if the thrills are not in place to hook audiences, why would anyone return? The opening ratings for "Wanted" are pretty bad, but this decision can still be good for the story. Initiating the action early on is a good call if the goal is to develop the plot in tandem with the characters.

Hye-inDong-wook and Joon-goo

We do not get a lot on these characters in the first episode, but the relationship dynamics are well established. Jeong  Hye-in (Kim Ah-joong) is a loving mother. Song Jeong-ho (Park Hae-joon) is a lousy husband who uses her and does not care about a child who is not his own. Her other two partners, Choi Joon-goo (Lee Moon-sik) and Sin  Dong-wook (Uhm Tae-woong) do not have the best relationship with her either. She feels isolated and this makes her plight all the more sad.

The almost inhuman nonchalance of the people in Hye-in's life over the news of Hyeon-woo's (Park Min-su) kidnapping is unnerving and it also evokes suspicion in the mind of the viewer. Every important character could be the culprit, because Hye-in stepping out of the spotlight is bad business for some and a reality show at this crucial time is good business for everyone. I do feel the series pushes this lack of empathy to unrealistic extremes, however.

Seung-in and Yeong-gwanHye-in and Hyeon-woo

Everyone is too calm for the severity of the situation and the reality show is being created in the same manner. The legal implications of covering a kidnapping are not discussed, the complicated process of production happens too fast and despite everyone's transparency, nothing leaks out until Hye-in announces it. For a show promising to be the most realistic thriller, it demands quite the suspension of disbelief.

This extends to the culprits. There is clearly a mastermind behind the scarred kidnapper, but they are already making grave errors. The pawns are exposed, they leave evidence behind and they have traceable connections. I hope this simply means the villain is too secure to care. Detective Cha Seung-in (Ji Hyun-woo) is hopefully the smart and kind ally Hye-in needs to catch them.

"Wanted" is directed by Park Yong-soon, written by Han Ji-wan-I and features Kim Ah-joong, Ji Hyun-woo, Uhm Tae-woong and Park Hae-joon.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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