OCN Network’s newest drama, simply entitled Voice, is intense, brutal, dark, grisly, and completely riveting. The very beginning of the show flashes these words, “Although inspired by true events, the characters and cases are fictional.”
As Officer Moo Jin-Hyuk and his team of detectives are fighting a gang of criminals a phone call from his wife goes unanswered. She is being hunted by a serial killer and when she can’t get through to her husband her next call is to 911. While she is hiding in an alleyway, call center officers desperately trying to find her location listen in shocked horror as her pleas for life go unheeded. A man’s voice is heard, the sound of smashing begins, and Detective Moo’s wife is now the victim of a horrendous murder. However, in trying to flee the scene the killer is confronted by Officer Kang, and his daughter, a call center officer, can do nothing but listen as her father receives the same brutal fate as the killer’s last victim. A man is caught, arrested, and tried for the murder of Detective Moo’s wife and he is right there in the courtroom, anxious to see her killer receive a guilty sentence and be convicted. But that never happens. Officer Kan, who took the 911 call, testifies that the voice she heard that night was not the voice of the man on trial, and the suspect is set free.
Three years later Officer Moo is irate when he is told he has been selected to be part of the new experimental Golden Time Team, an emergency response team headed by the woman whose testimony was responsible for his wife’s murderer walking away from a guilty sentence. When he angrily confronts his new boss, Officer Kang Kwon-Joo, she informs him she has been independently studying his wife’s and her father’s murder and is determined to find the real killer involved in the case. Together the two team up to see justice served and catch the man responsible for the horrible murders of the ones they loved.
Detective Moo Jin-Hyuk is a good cop who wants to make sure the “bad guys” are caught and people are safe. He is well liked by those he works with and is known throughout the station as “mad dog.” When his wife was murdered and the man he believed killed her was released, he was removed from the violent crime division and became a regular police officer. At first he is not happy to be working under the woman he thinks helped his wife’s killer go free but it doesn’t take long for him to be convinced she has always been on his side.
Call center chief Kang Kwon-Joo had an accident as a child and, as a result, her hearing is super human. She can not only hear sounds others can’t but she can tell what is making those sounds and how far away they are. After her father’s murder she spent three years in the U.S. studying voice profiling and getting tips on how to construct a superb call center response team. She is obsessed with finding the man she heard kill Detective Moo’s wife and her beloved father.
There’s no way I’m revealing who the psychotic killer is. The drama I remember him best in is a love triangle show (not saying which one) and he plays a decent character. I had no idea he could act so scary-crazy.
In 2014 Kdrama lovers were blessed to watch actor Jang Hyuk make his wealthy, arrogant character Lee Gun into someone we absolutely fell in love with in Fated to Love You. Last year (2016), he played the part of a genius neurosurgeon void of empathy in the medical drama Beautiful Mind. And once again he is perfectly cast in the part of Detective Moo Jin-Hyuk. One of the pluses we, as audience members, get is the fact that Jang Hyuk is a former professional Taekwondo athlete and has also practiced a martial art called Jeet Kune Do for ten years which makes his fight scenes phenomenal. I couldn’t help but wonder if he helped to choreograph them. They are so good!
I’ve never been a huge Lee Ha-Na fan, mainly because I didn’t like the characters she played in Merry Mary and Triple (I loved the drama Triple) but she won me over with her sweet character, Jung Soo-Young, in High School King of Savvy and now her strong, no nonsense character Officer Kang Kwon-Joo. Her father was a composer and she seemed to lean towards music as a profession herself, graduating from the College of Music at Dankook University with a degree in Life Musicology, but took another path as an actress. Lee Ha-Na’s entertainment career began when she was cast in a commercial.
According to Officer Kang there is a certain “golden time” between when a 911 call is first answered to the time the caller can successfully receive help. That’s exactly what her Golden Time Team is about. From the second a call is determined to be a life or death situation, a clock is set and the time is tracked as officers work on the case. There are many interesting cases the Golden Time Team works on through the 16 episode drama, cases like kidnapping, illegal organ trafficking, child abuse, murder… and all of it is pretty gruesome. The main killer in the show chooses to brutally beat his victims to death with a kettlebell (a cast iron weight resembling a cannonball with a handle attached at the top). Viewers complained about the show’s excessive violence so halfway through its airing Voice underwent Korea’s censorship board review regarding its “depictions of violence and shock aversion.” It was issued an advisory warning and OCN changed its viewing rating from 15+ to 19+ for episodes 11, 12, and 16. I happen to think the whole thing was excessively violent but that’s part of its intense appeal. If you’re not the type of person that can handle violence and the ugly, evil side of humankind I urge you to stay away from this show.
There are a couple “oops” in this drama, the main one being that it’s completely dark (night) when a kidnapper is caught but when the victim is brought out of a building, right after the guy is arrested, the sun is shinning brightly.
If you’re not a fan of hand-held camera filming, just letting you know ahead of time, this drama is full of it. As I’ve written many times, I much prefer steady camera work. Often the hand-held shots make me feel dizzy. Life doesn’t jiggle so dramas shouldn’t either. However, I understand why the director chose to use so many unsteady shots. The subject matter of the show is unsettling so the unsteady camera work adds to that uneasy feeling we get while watching the story unfold. It’s clever but I still don’t like it.
The soundtrack is extremely small but then the dark storyline doesn’t call for beautiful ballads. The music comes, mostly, at the end of the episodes because there aren’t many occasions where actual songs would fit in nicely during the action. The best song, in my opinion, is titled the same as the drama, Voice, and is performed by Changmo. The song is rapped and sung, lending a feeling of the fast paced, dirty world cops have to deal with.
The entire drama is lacking vivid colors, aside from the red blood that is everywhere. Since the shows plot/theme is so dark I’ll bet the director did that on purpose. Drab-colored rooms, clothing, and outside backgrounds are quite plain which helps draw our attention to what is happening and not where it’s unfolding.
I want to conclude this review with a quote from the end of Voice –
“Everyone… They are all our neighbors, and they are all somebody’s loved ones. We made this drama to apologize to the people who couldn’t be saved. We are sorry that we missed the golden time. We hope that no one looses their lives in unfortunate accidents anymore.”
Great fight scenes
Dark subject matter
Lots of hand held camera work
A couple inconsistencies (mostly minor)