This Kdrama reminds me of Golden Cross with its over abundance of bad guys. They’re everywhere – crazy for power and status, and driven by their insatiable greed for money. But in these kinds of shows there’s always a “Robin Hood” who, with his little band of “Merry Men”, goes up against all the rich and powerful people to make sure their criminal acts do not go unpunished. Do the good guys always win? Maybe the title of this drama will give us the answer to that question… Goodbye Mr. Black.
Cha Ji-Won and Min Seon-Jae have been best friends since they were ten years old, in fact, Seon-Jae lived at Ji-Won’s house and became part of the family in the eyes and heart of Ji-Won’s father. Ji-Won and Seon-Jae join the Navy together and are part of a special underwater demolition team (UDT). Although he never lets on, Seo-Jae is jealous of everything Ji-Won has – his family, wealth, and fiancé. That jealousy and greed drives Seon-Jae to the point of betrayal resulting in him being part of Ji-Won’s father’s murder, his sister’s disappearance, and the attempted murder of Ji-Won, himself.
After barely getting away with his life, Ji-Won (who assumes the name “Black”, referring to his choice of clothing color) is helped and hidden away, by a friend and a girl he met briefly while in Tailand, which is where all hell breaks loose. The young woman is an orphan who survived a tsunami as a child and has no memory of her life before being found in a trash heap by Ji-Won’s friend. By posing as Ji-Won’s wife, Kaya is able to help hide Ji-Won from his enemies. Ji-Won gives Kaya (which means “garbage” in Thai) the name Swan because he says she may be an ugly duckling now but she’ll grow into a beautiful swan. It’s not surprising Swan begins to fall for handsome and kind Mr. Black, all the while knowing he is planning on leaving soon to go after his father’s killer and find his missing sister.
When Ji-Won returns to his life, five years later, he discovers his best friend Seon-Jae (whom he knows is the person who tried to kill him) has taken everything he once had – Seon-Jae is married to his fiancé, living in the beautiful house he grew up in, and running his father’s lucrative construction company. But Mr. Black is determined to bring his father’s killer to justice, find his sister, and take back his father’s company. He enlists the help of a few close friends and goes after the culprits. But can a small bunch of good guys beat the large bunch of bad ones?
Cha Ji-Won is, by nature, a positive and playful person. He’s a loving brother, a respectful son, a sincere fiancé, and a devoted friend. He’s also the type of person who always put 100% into whatever he does. His military training has made him fast, strong, and very clever.
You can’t help but love Kim Si-Won (Swan) also known as Kaya. She has pretty much raised herself. Although she’s not had any formal schooling she’s loaded with street smarts. When we first meet Kaya she sells fruit juice and lost/stolen passports in order to survive.
Greed is Min Seon-Jae’s downfall. He had a rough childhood but was taken in by a loving and well to do family when he was just ten. However, that wasn’t enough for Seon-Jae. His selfishness stems from his total lack of self-esteem – he still sees himself as the little boy who has nothing. What he really wants is to be Cha Ji-Won.
Cha Ji-Soo is Ji-Won’s beautiful little sister. She has a crush on Seon-Jae and is his main cheerleader. He thinks of himself as her brother but she’d rather have him as a boyfriend.
Close friend of the family, Yoon Ma-Ri is the woman Ji-Won has loved “since before he (I) was even born.” Unfortunately, she is also the woman Seon-Jae loves.
Baek Eun-Do is about as evil as one man can be, in fact, Seon-Jae says he’s the devil. The man has no morals whatsoever. He doesn’t have a problem taking a life but prefers to get others to do it through blackmail, fear, or offering them money.
I was thrilled when I saw Jin Wook and Kim Kang-Woo were scheduled to be in the same drama. I’ve loved Kang-Woo ever since I saw him for the first time in the Kdrama Haeundae Lovers, and Jin Wook is on my favorite actors list. I was sure it would be a great pairing. Why didn’t it cross my mind that one of them just might play an evil character? Although it broke my heart to see Kang-Woo as a bad guy, he deserves a loud round of applause for playing the part so convincingly.
This drama was adapted from a manhwa (Korean graphic novel) of the same name that was very loosely based on the story of The Count of Monte Cristo. Although Hwang Mi-Na penned the manhwa, Moon Hee-Jung wrote the drama’s screenplay. It’s quite a lot like two other Kdramas I’ve seen by that same writer – Missing You and Can You Hear My Heart – dark and heavy with bad guys winning at every turn.
The music is nice. Most of it is instrumental to go with the tense, action scenes but the ballads that accompany the love story part of the show are very pretty. My favorites are Goodbye sung by Baek Ji-Young, and Bear performed by 2BiC.
The scenery is beautiful, especially the stuff filmed in Thailand. The ocean is a beautiful aqua-blue, the trees surrounding it are lush and green, and the little shack on the beach is oh, so charming. There’s also a scene where Mr. Black and Swan go to a lantern lighting ceremony. All those giant, illuminated lanterns sailing through the dark sky is a breathtaking sight. I wanted, so much, to be there in real life and have my own lantern to wish upon.
Good vs. evil and the love that is born through it all is pretty much the theme of Goodbye Mr. Black. Maybe you’ll cry, maybe you won’t. That’s up for you to decide.
Jin Wook and Kim Kang-Woo in the same drama
Fantastic action sequences
Heavy and dark
Bad guys win a lot