Reset is a 2014 crime/thriller Kdrama that’s… what is it, exactly? It’s tense, dark, violent, mysterious, unsettling, and a bit difficult to figure out. But it was also compelling enough for me to keep watching.
As a teenager, Cha Woo-Jin was with his girlfriend, Seung-Hee, when she became the victim of the brutal crime of rape. He was severely beaten in his attempt to stop the violent crime and when, as a result of the horrendous incident, he witnessed Seung-Hee hanging alone in her hospital room, he was determined to become a prosecutor to punish the person responsible for his young sweetheart’s premature death.
Fifteen years later he sees a group of high school girls out on the street and the leader, Eun-Bi, looks just like Seung-Hee. The next day, she is brought to the police station as the main suspect in the death of a murderer who had been released due to his crooked lawyer’s craftiness. She insists she didn’t do it and Prosecutor Woo-Jin is the only one who believes her. Having no family for her to be released to, Woo-Jin steps up and volunteers to become her guardian to keep her from having to be in a detention center, arranging for her to stay with a woman he works with, Section Chief Han. Unfortunately, somehow, Eun-Bi is related to a string of murders that just may be tied to the rape and death of Seung-Hee, and it’s up to Prosecutor Cha Woo-Jin to find out how and why. There’s also an evil, sadistic crime boss who plays into things and he’s one powerful and dangerous man!
Cha Woo-Jin goes through quite a lot of emotional and physical pain in the show. He is haunted by the brutal and heartbreaking events of his past and can’t even remember things clearly. His dreams are just slices of memories he can’t coherently piece together. Is he even remembering what really happened? Woo-Jin has learned the art of hypnotism which he uses in his profession, getting suspects to tell him the truth while questioning them. No one knows about that particular skill of his but because of that talent he has become a very successful prosecutor.
Jo Eun-Bi is a 17 year old high school drop-out who hasn’t seen her father in several years. She acts tough but really just wants to be loved. I was hoping the story would have Woo-Jin and Eun-Bi fall in love but they didn’t show anything romantic. It would have been fun to see a romance between a man and a girl almost half his age.
Investigator Go is to Woo-Jin what Robin is to Batman. He respectfully refers to Woo-Jin as “Master” and is willing to put his life on the line to help him bring about justice.
Prosecutor Cha Woo-Jin’s tough, yet feminine, co-worker is Section Chief Han. She is very opposed to the idea of Eun-Bi living with her but quickly warms up to the young girl. She even refers to herself as Eun-Bi’s mother and comes to her defense after she’s taken to the police station for fighting with some girls.
The really scary bad guy in the show is a man who is referred to as Company President Kim. You wouldn’t want to cross him because he doesn’t hesitate for a second to kill anyone he dislikes. And he actually enjoys killing them himself. Sure, he sends some of his henchmen to kill people but he also has no problem brutality ending someone’s life with his own hands while smiling the whole time. He’s one frightening dude.
Chun Jung-Myung plays Cha Woo-Jin. He began his acting career in 1999 at the age of 18, in the Kdrama School 2. It wasn’t a big role, he was only in one episode, but that was enough to start him on his way to being the recipient of 11 awards, my favorite being Best Dressed TV Actor. I’ve seen him in two enjoyable dramas, Foxy Lady and Glory Jane, playing a lovable character in each one. That guy’s eyes are so big and dark… they remind me of Hershey’s Kisses!
Seung-Hee and Jo Eun-Bi are both played by Kim So-Hyun. What a talented young actress she is. She does a fantastic job with every character I’ve seen her portray. That could be because she’s a well-seasoned actress already at the age of 16. Just a fun side note – she was born the same year Chun Jung-Myung made his acting debut.
Reset has enough twists and turns in it to fill 20 episodes in just its ten. I have to admit there were times I wondered just exactly what was going on but then I began to see that the writer gave the show two different crime mysteries that seemed like they were related to each other in some way, but in all reality weren’t. That’s what was so confusing for awhile. Once you figure out which two “crimes” aren’t one (and it’s not until more than half the show is over) things begin to become less fuzzy.
I’ll warn you, Reset is much more violent than most other crime dramas I’ve seen. At least it seemed more violent. I counted over a dozen murders in its ten episodes. That’s more than one killing an hour. Also, if you get a bit queezy when seeing blood you’ll definitely be closing your eyes a lot. The blood is blurred, as well as the knives, but red is red even if it’s not a clear picture. I have no idea why they do that. And it doesn’t just happen in Reset. I’ve seen many, many Kdramas that blurr knives. Is it illegal in Korea to show knives on television? Do they think we don’t know what the killer is holding? An evil person has something in their hand, getting closer to someone while threatening to kill them, and the director (or whomever is in charge of it) thinks if the picture is fuzzy we’ll imagine it’s a pen or a spoon? I just don’t get it.
Reset didn’t do well in the ratings, only getting a 1.27% at its highest point and a 0.9% at its lowest. Why would it get such bad ratings? Well, I can’t say for sure but it may have been because of the overwhelming amount of violence and/or the difficulty in trying to figure out just exactly what’s going on.
I’d say about 90% of the show’s soundtrack is intense instrumental music. Sad love songs and fun up-beat tunes have no place in either a murder or suspenseful type scene. It’s the fiery instrumental music that helps add tension to a nerve wracking scene. One pretty song, entitled Reset, that would often play at the end of an episode was sung by lead actress Kim So-Hyun.
The show is tough and dark so there isn’t any lovely scenery. In fact, a couple episodes have lots of scenes that take place in a prison. Compare that dreary background to the amazing, colorful shots in, oh let’s say… Autumn in My Heart. It’s like the difference between night and day, with Reset being the night, of course.
After all the awful things that happened in Reset I was glad it tried to end on a positive note with the words, “You can smile even in sorrow.” That’s a great motto for life.
Handsome Chun Jung-Myung
Talented Kim So-Hyun
Lots of violence
Not a great soundtrack
Evil, scary villain
Difficult to follow plot