If you’re thinking of skipping this show because a 40 episode drama sounds too time consuming, worry no more. Each episode is only 30 minutes long so it’s really like watching a regular 20 hour one. I’ve written 33 reviews so far this year and, in my opinion, as of right now, Suspicious Partner comes in right behind Goblin as the best romance drama of 2017.
When Prosecutor No Ji-Wook was a child, a monk instructed him to be wary of a woman who would come into his life and turn things upside down, and he’s never forgotten those words of caution. One evening, while on a subway, a strange woman, Eun Bong-Hee, wrongfully accuses Ji-Wook of sexual harassment. He tries to explain his innocence but she refuses to hear him out and as she leaves, everyone within earshot believes he’s a pervert. Later that night, he literally bumps into her at a hotel and she immediately asks if he would like to sleep with her. Being the knight in shining armor he is, Ji-Wook accepts the proposal, but only says yes so he can escort her out of the hotel, away from the watchful eyes of her cheating boyfriend. They next meet when she is assigned to his office as a prosecutor trainee and, once again, trouble ensues. But the worst is yet to come when Eun Bong-Hee is accused of murder and Ji-Wook is the one appointed to prosecute her case. It looks like Bong-Hee just may be the woman Ji-Wook was cautioned, so long ago, to avoid.
No Ji-Wook wins the “worst prosecutor” title year after year because of his short tempered, gruff, bossy attitude. However, he is highly respected and happens to be the best prosecutor in the district. Work is his number one priority. He loves his job and is excellent at what he does. Years ago his heart was broken so to play it safe he’s chosen to close himself off from love.
Life was good before Eun Bong-Hee saw her boyfriend coming out of a hotel elevator with his arm around another woman. From that moment on, things began to go down hill. He beat her to the punch and told everyone they knew that she was the cheater and, as a result, she became a social outcast. She works hard to become a lawyer and then is accused, arrested and tried for murder. Can her life get any more complicated?
Ji Eun-Hyuk is a competent attorney who hides a wounded heart behind a big smile and boisterous laugh. He grew up with Ji-Wook but an unfortunate incident abruptly ended that friendship. Eun-Hyuk wants more than anything to repair the damage but Ji-Wook is determined to keep a wall between them. When Bong-Hee is accused of murder, Attorney Ji Eun-Hyuk volunteers to take her case.
Cha Yoo-Jung is beautiful, sophisticated, intelligent, a great prosecutor, and was the third member of the No-Eun-Ji team while growing up. The three were inseparable until an incident happened that tore the friends apart. Because the three buddies broke up, she went to the U.S. for a while but is now back, hoping to patch things up between her two old friends and herself.
Last December, in my review of The K2, I stated that although Ji Chang-Wook is an awesome action hero, I would love to see him in a real romantic drama. Well, wishes really do come true because that’s exactly what Suspicious Partner is, and he’s as wonderful as I thought he would be, playing the main role of Prosecutor No Ji-Wook. Sadly, though, this is the last we’ll be seeing of Chang-Wook for the next two years as he begins his mandatory military assignment tomorrow (August 14, 2017). But four short days later Choi Siwon (he was fantastically charming and funny in She Was Pretty) is released from his enlistment so we’ll have someone to watch while we wait patiently for Chang-Wook to return to us. You can find more information about Ji-Chang-Wook in my The K2 review.
I’ve seen some things Nam Ji-Hyun’s been in – Will it Snow For Christmas and To the Beautiful You – but I remember her best as the young, blind heroin in the melodrama Angel Eyes and the cheerful optimist in the romantic comedy Shopping King Louie. I recall how impressed I was with her acting, when she was in Angel Eyes, and looked forward to seeing her in starring roles. She is wonderful in this as Attorney Eun Bong-Hee. Her first acting job was in a Chinese TV show when she was only seven, at the age of nine she appeared in the Kdrama Say You Love Me, and at ten years old she was in the feature film Shadowless Sword. In 2014 she enrolled at Sogang University as a Psychology major. Impressive.
The part of Attorney Ji Eun-Hyuk is played by Choi Tae-Joon. The first thing he appeared in was the 2001 drama Piano. Since then he’s been in 12 other dramas, three films, and one webdrama. Last year he was Yoon Bo-Mi’s (Bomi from the girl group Apink) virtual husband on We Got Married and he was a celebrity guest on the talk show Hello Counselor two weeks in a row. Evidently, he was well liked because he joined the show the following month as one of the regular hosts. Earlier this year he had a co-staring role in Missing Nine. His character in that drama is really scary. He did a great job making me feel uncomfortable. I’ve also seen him in Sensory Couple.
The same year Kwon Nara made her debut as a member of the girl group Hello Venus (2012), she also made her acting debut in the drama Take Care of Us, Captain. She’s appeared in two extremely good Kdramas – Entertainer and I Need Romance 3. I’m not positive but I think Prosecutor Cha Yoo-Jung was Nara’s first co-starring role. She has yet to appear on the silver screen but I’m sure she’ll get there someday.
I’m deliberately not mentioning the “bad guy” because it needs to come as a surprise. I will, however, say it was a well thought out character on the part of the writer and executed perfectly by the actor. He’s just enough “regular” to slip by unnoticed and just enough psycho to give you the creeps. Well done.
The chemistry between No Ji-Wook and Eun Bong-Hee is electrifying. I loved their sparring relationship that later blossomed to admiration and love. I’m sure the characters’ relationship worked so well because Ji Chang-Wook and Nam Ji-Hyun’s was good. The connection we feel from them is not easily faked. This wasn’t the first time they had worked together, though. Both were in the Kdrama Warrior Baek Dong-Soo in 2011, so they weren’t total strangers. I think there’s just something about their personalities that help them spark with other people. Chang-Wook had great chemistry with Park Min-Young in Healer and Im Yoon-Ah in The K2, and Ji-Hyun was wonderful opposite Kang Ha-Neul in Angel Eyes and Seo In-Guk in Shopping King Louie, however, their Suspicious Partnership is my favorite.
So many romantic Kdramas have that part where one of the lovers decides they need to leave the relationship for, what they consider, a noble cause (but is really some lame reason) and then end up getting back together. This show is a bit different, though, because the screenwriter has Ji-Wook and Bong-Hee call it quits because of something that kind of made sense to me. I still believe love conquers all and you should just push through situations that threaten the relationship but this time I actually could see why the sweethearts stepped away from each other. I mean, they would have had a hard time explaining their family background connection to their children. Guilt and blame have a way of destroying hearts.
Kihyun, from MonstaX, croons my favorite song on the soundtrack, I’ve Got a Feeling. It starts out with just a few notes on a piano accompanied by Kihyun’s whispered voice and then gradually builds into a powerful, lovely ballad. It’s exquisite. Very close behind that song is my second favorite, How Do I Say It? performed by the artist O.WHEN. It’s one of those soft songs that has a beat which makes it difficult to hold still while listening to it. My shoulders can’t help but sway with the rhythm. Yoo Ha-Jung performs, in English, the opening credits song entitled Silly Love. It’s not perfectly, grammatically correct but – oh, it’s close enough that I wasn’t bothered too much.
This drama’s main background is No Ji-Wook’s house, which is where his law office is located, so we see a lot of it. And get ready to crave some pizza while you’re watching the show because Ji-Wook’s mother runs a Papa John’s restaurant, which is where Bong-Hee’s mother happens to land a job, and everybody eats pizza, off and on, throughout the entire drama. Yum! We also get to see some courtroom scenes and a few in a hospital.
If you’re in the mood for a real romantic drama, complete with yummy kisses, fun sexual tension, and a tiny bit of heartache, complete with some legal aspects, give Suspicious Partner a try. It’s really, really good.
Great chemistry between Ji-Wook and Bong-Hee
Ji Chang-Wook and Nam Ji-Hyun’s chemistry
Great “bad guy” character
Its 40 episodes are only a half hour a piece – 20 hours in total
Nothing I can think of that I’d consider bad