“It just wasn’t as good as I was hoping it was going to be.” That was the first thing I said seconds after Wanted ended. It wasn’t bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but it definitely wasn’t great, either.
The drama begins with mega star Hye-In announcing to the press she has just finished her last movie and is now officially retiring from the entertainment industry to be a full time mother. Then, on set, the cast and crew give her a little retirement surprise – her son, Hyun-Woo, walks in with a cake and glowing candles. As it becomes late and she is preparing to go home, Hyun-Woo is invited to see how the make-up department makes fake blood. So, off he goes, with his mom’s permission and a warning to the crew member who is escorting him to bring him back soon. When he doesn’t return, she calls his phone but there’s no answer. She begins looking for him, getting other people on set to help her search, but all she finds is his phone. She receives a text message that Hyun-Woo has been taken and is warned to watch the video, that is attached, in private. As she plays the clip she sees her son, bound and gagged, in the back seat of a car. Shocked, she heads home and is given instructions to make a ten episode television show with specific missions for each episode which will be given prior to each show.
Wanting to get her son back safe and sound, she begins working on the kidnapper’s request. Hye-In approaches a recently fired program director and begs him to help her with the show. He agrees and they both go talk to Hye-In’s heartless, selfish husband (Hyun-Woo’s step-father) who is the CEO of a broadcasting company. It’s only after being assured the show will make him money that he agrees to let her broadcast there. A production crew, made up of freelancers, is quickly gathered and everyone awaits the first “mission.” Once Hye-In announces to the world her son is the victim of a kidnapping the police become involved, especially Detective Cha Seung-In, who is an expert in kidnapping cases. If all these people perform their individual parts flawlessly, will they be able to catch the kidnapper and find Hyun-Woo or will they accidentally cause a terrible unforeseen chain of events that ends up causing the kidnapper’s plans to go terribly wrong? A little boy’s life hangs in the balance and time is ticking away.
Kim A-Joong plays the part of Jung Hye-In who has been acting since she was seven years old. She was married but her husband died in a car accident while she was pregnant. She then married Song Jung-Ho who the world thinks is the real father of her son, Hyun-Woo. Hye-In just wants to be a regular at-home mother.
Ji Hyun-Woo is great as Detective Cha Seung-In, a cop with a talent for finding kidnappers and their victims. He is very intelligent and has a strong sense of justice. He is also hiding the pain he feels from his senior partner’s brutal murder seven years earlier.
Shin Dong-Wook, played by Uhm Tae-Woong, is the director of the TV show the kidnapper has demanded called “Jung Hye-In’s Wanted.” Although he cares about Hye-In’s son, his first priority is making “…Wanted” excel in the ratings no matter what it takes!
Park Hae-Joon plays the role of Song Jung-Ho, Hye-In’s horrible, selfish husband. He lives by the rule his father taught him, “Use people and stab them in the back before they do it to you.” Money and power are his goals in life. It’s not surprising he and Hye-In have a horrible marriage.
Lee Moon-Sik plays Choi Joon-Goo, a personal friend of Hye-In and her husband and the producer of “Jung Hye-In’s Wanted.” He volunteers to produce the show because he feels somebody needs to take the blame if everything goes wrong. Although he doesn’t take a tremendously large role in the making of the show, he is very supportive of the staff and helps however he can.
Yeon Woo-Shin, played by Park Hyo-Joo, is a single woman who lives with her mother and young daughter. She is the writer of “… Wanted” and often clashes with Shin Dong-Wook on how the show should be presented to the public.
Jun Hyo-Seong’s character is Park Bo-Yeon, a young woman who just wants a chance to work in broadcasting. She is a whiz with computers and does a lot of the leg-work for the show.
Park Min-Soo plays the part of Song Hyun-Woo, Hye-In’s seven year old son and the victim of the kidnapping.
Although the premise of Wanted sounded interesting, the main reason I watched this was for Ji Hyun-Woo. I’ve been charmed by his smile and impressed by his acting each time I’ve watched him perform, so much so that he’s earned a place on my favorite actors list. Catch him in Queen In-Hyun’s Man. You’ll love him and the drama. (If you’re thinking of turning on Wanted because you’re just in the mood for a good mystery, try Wild Romance or Sensory Couple first.)
I was impressed the writer brought out the fact that airing the “…Wanted” show was causing terrible consequences socially. In the drama, the public watches as horrendous things unfold and something like that would, most definitely, cause far-reaching effects. Think of how people often act out things they see, or kids want to play what they watch, on TV. I’m glad the writer of Wanted didn’t skip over those realities and actually called attention to the fact that what is acted out on screen is sometimes mimicked in reality.
The biggest obstacle I had with enjoying this drama was due to the many people that are referenced throughout the entire show. Someone is mentioned in episode two’s mission and a new person is brought up in episode three, and two new characters are talked about in episode four and… there are so many names to remember, I had a difficult time just sitting back and being entertained. The plot is simple – a boy is kidnapped and his movie star mom has to follow the kidnapper’s demands while filming it all on live TV. However, the storyline is very complicated – who are all the people being introduced to the public through the TV show, and how and why are they all connected? It’s a mystery that isn’t easily figured out. I had, at certain times throughout the whole drama, guessed almost everyone was the kidnapper.
The soundtrack is one of those intense instrumental kinds that fits perfectly with the tension encompassing the show. You don’t expect love songs and perky, snap your fingers melodies when people are on the run, buried alive, kidnapped, beaten, committing suicide, and being stabbed to death. All the scenery fits right in with the storyline as well. And there’s not a lot of vibrant colors or bright lighting throughout the drama, aiding in setting the dark tone of the plot.
When you’re thinking just about every character could be the bad guy, you know the writing is intricate and the acting is good. However, in spite of that praise, this Kdrama just didn’t live up to what I Wanted.
Interesting twist to a regular kidnapping plot
Difficult to guess “who done it”
Soundtrack fits well with each scene
Way too many names to remember how they fit into the puzzle