If you’re under the impression the new Korean drama Beautiful Mind is a remake of the Hollywood film entitled A Beautiful Mind, which is based on events in the life of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash Jr., think again. The titles may be the same (plus or minus an “A”) but the two have completely different plots, storylines, and characters. The Kdrama happens to have been inspired by the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
After following a traffic violator into Hyun Sung Medical Center, Officer Gye Jin-Sung watches as the man causes a scene while screaming at a politician and a small handful of hospital staff. Later, as Jin-Sung is sitting in her car at night she observes a car deliberately hit a man, twice, and drive off, leaving him for dead. When she rushes over to help she realizes the injured man is the same one she chased into the hospital before. She accompanies him in the ambulance back to HSMC to get him treated. Unfortunately, the man dies in surgery and Officer Gye decides to look into what she’s convinced is vehicular homicide.
Lee Young-Oh is the brain surgeon who operates on the car accident victim. He is also the one who operates on the hospital director who happens to collapse one evening while intoxicated in the hospital. Although Doctor Lee insists the surgeries he performed were successful, both patients die during the operations so he decides to find out why the deaths occurred. In his search, the woman who has information about the two deaths, and how they are linked to each other, falls from the roof of the hospital. Doctor Lee performs her surgery and she also “dies” during recovery. With all the mysterious deaths going on at HSMC, Officer Gye is given permission to transfer into the violent crimes division while continuing her investigation of the car accident victim. Since the common denominator in all the deaths is Doctor Lee, fingers begin to point to him.
Although Lee Young-Oh is a brilliant neurosurgeon, he is very difficult to deal with. The man is aloof, egotistical, distant, and very clinical – without feeling, literally. He suffers from antisocial personality disorder. After a brain surgery he went through when he was young, the doctor that operated on him was given the devastating news that he had accidentally damaged Young-Oh’s frontal lobe during the operation causing the young boy to become void of feeling and sympathy for others. To compensate for that loss, and hide his disability, Young-Oh was taught how to read others emotions and he does it flawlessly.
Although she is a valiant traffic cop who gives 110% to what she does, Gye Jin-Sung’s heart aspires for something she considers greater and the recent deaths at the hospital give her the opportunity to prove herself as a competent officer in the violent crimes division. She possesses a positive attitude and is kind to others. Jin-Sung is no stranger to hospitals. She was a heart patient years ago and fell in love with her surgeon, Doctor Hyun Suk-Joo.
Lee Gun-Myung is a revered neurosurgeon, the head of the cardiology / neurology department at Hyun Sung Medical Center, and the adopted father of Lee Young-Oh. He taught his son all he needed to know to correctly read other people’s emotions so he could hide Young-Oh’s personality disorder.
Hyun Suk-Joo is the best heart surgeon at HSMC. He is a dedicated doctor and a kind person. He has a soft spot for Officer Gye, having been her heart doctor for several years.
26… that’s how many varied awards Jang Hyuk has earned over his 19 year career. He studied Film at Seoul Institute of the Arts and Theater and Film at Dankook University. Jang Hyuk has studied Jeet Kune Do, a martial arts style founded by Bruce Lee, for over 10 years and was once a professional Taekwondo athlete. He married his Pilates instructor (they’ve been together for 14 years) and they have three children – two boys ages eight and seven and a one year old daughter. I was first introduced to Jang Hyuk through the Kdrama Fated to Love You (which is on my top 20 favorite dramas list). He went through three different hair styles in that show with the last one revealing what a handsome guy he really is. His hair in Beautiful Mind isn’t flattering at all. Trust me, he’s much better looking than how he appears in this drama.
I first watched Park So-Dam act a couple weeks ago in Cinderella and Four Knights. In all honesty, I liked her character in Cinderella… better but Gye Jin-Sung is a sweet character, as well. The shows overlapped each other by 10 days, Beautiful Mind airing first. So-Dam hopped from portraying a traffic cop turned homicide detective in this show to being a poor college hopeful with several part-time jobs in Cinderella and Four Knights. She’s proven to be versatile actress.
Some camera angles in this drama are very creative. One shot I was specifically impressed with is where we are looking up through a sink full of water into a character’s face. I’ve never seen that done before. And it’s pretty cool when a surgeon turns the water on to wash his hands and we see the water come out of the faucet head in slow motion. I appreciate it when directors think outside the box and bring us something new. I remember in the drama The Time That I Loved You, 7,000 Days the characters pretty much looked exactly the same in the present as they did in the past and that really bothered me. I liked the fact Beautiful Mind‘s director chose to show the passage of time by giving Gye Jin-Sung long hair when she was younger and short hair in the present. Good call.
Beautiful Mind was originally scheduled for 16 episodes but due to its low ratings they knocked two hours off and ended the show with episode 14. I wish they had some sort of “reveal” concerning the things in Young-Oh’s desk that belonged to Jin-Sung. He kept her soju cap ring and the lottery ticket along with the handkerchief, but other than opening the drawer now and then to gaze at them, nothing happened. I was under the impression the contents of that drawer was a foreshadowing of something wonderfully romantic in the future but nothing came. I’m thinking maybe the writer had something in mind but never got around to doing anything about it because the show lost two of its originally planned hours at the end. That’s a shame. I really was curious as to what he was going to do with those things – use the soju ring to propose to her? That would have been fun.
I think the writer may have been trying to tell us something about mental illnesses through the way Lee Young-Oh was treated in this show. He admits to having antisocial personality disorder and everyone around him refers to him as a psychopath. His father even tells him he’s a monster! Some doctors believe antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy is the same disorder but others disagree. I decided to read about both and found the character Lee Young-Oh did not come across as a psychopath. He lacked empathy but that was it, the end. He wasn’t violent, manipulating, or had a problem with substance abuse, he didn’t repeatedly break the law or disregard the safely of others, he didn’t lie or fight like psychopaths I read about in the article I found online. Maybe we need to stop being so anxious to label people and just learn to understand differences. Anyway – that’s my take away from this show.
The music isn’t impressive, unfortunately. There’s one song entitled Dirt that I had a love/hate relationship with. If I hadn’t read some of the lyrics I probably would have liked it but the words just don’t make a lot of sense so I can’t honestly put the song in a “like” pile. The soundtrack doesn’t score too high in my book.
Gye Jin-Sung takes Lee Young-Oh to her hometown which is a little place beside the ocean. That particular scenery is quite pretty. Other than that, most of the drama’s scenes are inside the hospital which is expected since about 80% of the show takes place there.
As far as psychological Kdramas go, this isn’t my favorite but it’s watchable simply because Jang Hyuk’s acting is superb. He is what keeps the story moving along and it’s his character’s Beautiful Mind that keeps you going on to the next episode.
Lee Young-Oh’s interesting psychological condition
Jang Hyuk’s wonderful acting
Good storyline twist where Lee Young-Oh’s mental disorder is concerned
A bit slow here and there
Shallow romance (not enough for me to actually classify it as a romance)