Bad guys all over the place. Greed, power, and prestige- it seemed like anyone would do anything for just a little more than what they had. Just what exactly happens in Room No. 9?
When prison inmate Jang Hwa-Sa collapses from a heart attack during a consultation visit with Attorney Eulji Hae-Yi, Doctor Ki Yoo-Jin rushes into the room and tries to keep her alive by using the only thing he has at his disposal – a very old defibrillator. As the lights in the prison begin to flicker and spark, Attorney Eulji trips and falls on top of Hwa-Sa, also receiving a shock from the machine and knocking her out. When the women awaken they are both stunned to discover they have changed bodies. Now that Hwa-Sa is no longer behind bars and has access to legal resources as Attorney Eulji she is determined to go after the man responsible for her being on death row for the past 34 years – CEO Ki San, the head of an international conglomerate and a monster who isn’t who he claims to be.
Attorney Eulji Hae-Yi is obsessed with status and riches. She loves to brags about her 100% success rate but it wasn’t shear talent that earned her that bragging right. She has no trouble breaking the law, getting her hands dirty, and hurting others as long as she can secure her place as senior partner of the law firm she works for. The minute she meets Doctor Ki Yoo-Jin, younger brother of CEO Ki San, and discovers he stands to inherit Sa Nae Hospital her claws come out and she sets her sights on marrying him.
As a young woman Jang Hwa-Sa was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend and has spent the last 34 years of her life on death row. But when she discovers the truth, that the man she was accused of killing is not only still alive but has been posing as his own half-brother the entire time she’s been locked up, all she can think of is getting revenge. And when she finds herself occupying the beautiful, young body of a rich and powerful attorney she begins a plan that will be the man’s total undoing.
While still in high school, Ki Yoo-Jin fell in love with Eulji Hae-Yi who was, at that time, just a college student. When he confessed he liked her she turned him down flat because she said she wasn’t interested in high school boys. Years later he is now happy being her boyfriend but oblivious to the fact that she changed her mind about him simply because she found out he was from a rich and powerful family. The poor man has no idea the woman he loves is really a selfish, power-hungry, witch. Yoo-Jin is a successful, kind doctor who happens to be CEO Ki San’s younger half-brother. He lives in Ki San’s mansion and has a good relationship with his sister-in-law and nephew.
Kim Hee-Sun, who plays the part of Attorney Eulji Hae-Yi, got her start in the entertainment world by winning the 1992 Fair Face Beauty Contest while she was still in middle school and from there it was on to modeling in teen magazines. As a high school sophomore she was in a commercial that lead to her acting debut that same year. During the mid to late 1990s she appeared in many hit Kdramas and was, at that time, the youngest person (at 21) to win the Grand Prize award at the SBS Drama Awards (in 1998). Her career on the big screen, however, wasn’t as grand but her popularity among Chinese viewers landed her the female lead in Jackie Chan’s hit motion picture The Myth (I loved that movie) in which she also sang the show’s theme song with him. In 2007 she married a businessman and quit acting for five years while she became a full-time mom to their baby daughter. During that time she appeared in magazines and wrote a book that was published in 2009 entitled Kim Hee-Sun’s Happy Mom Project. Her official comeback was in 2012 via the Kdrama Faith (a great time travel show) in which she starred opposite the handsome and talented Lee Min-Ho.
Sixty-three year old veteran actress Kim Hae-Sook, who’s character is inmate Jang Hwa-Sa, made her acting debut in 1974 with the TV show Chief Inspector. Two years later she was making her big screen debut in the movie Angry Apple and has been in a plethora of both TV dramas and feature films ever since. Some of the dramas she been in that I’ve seen and recommend are About Time, Judge vs. Judge, Whisper, Pinocchio, and, my personal favorite, the heart-wrenching A Thousand Days’ Promise.
For information about Kim Young-Kwang, the actor who plays Doctor Ki Yoo-Jin, visit my Go Ho’s Starry Night review.
I’m a fan of fantasies. You know how much I love time travel plots and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed body swapping dramas such as Two Cops and Secret Garden, but this one… not so much. Although the writer tried to explain away some things that were obvious problems in Room No. 9’s storyline the answers just weren’t satisfactory. I was able to find holes in so many of the explanations and that kept me from being able to accept what was going on. If I have to say “what was” or “why didn’t “ or “how could” about too many major things in a story it’s hard for me not to poo-poo the whole thing.
Every true Kdrama fan can recall the marvelous acting Hyun Bin and Ha Ji-Won did in playing the part of each other when they swapped bodies in the fantastically entertaining fantasy drama Secret Garden. Unfortunately, we just don’t get the same kind of amazing performances out of Kim Hee-Seon and Kim Hae-Sook. I was totally convinced Kim Joo-Won and Gil Ra-Im we’re trying their best to act like each other (in Secret Garden) but maybe that’s because we really get to know those characters well before the switch is made so we actually see how well they act like one another. In this drama that isn’t the case. The swap is made by the end of the first episode so we don’t have a lot of knowledge of the mannerisms of Attorney Hae-Yi and inmate Hwa-Sa before the switch. We just watch Eulji Hae-Yi and have to guess Jang Hwa-Sa is acting and talking like her the best she can, and vice versa. I found it strange no one around the character even questioned them behaving or speaking differently than they normally do. This show’s body swapping just wasn’t extremely convincing.
There are two things in Room No. 9 that show great symbolism – in the opening we see a bug doing its best to walk upon the cold ground and Hae-Yi comes along and crushes it under her shoe. Oh yes, that’s Hae-Yi’s personality to a T. She thinks of everyone else as below her and doesn’t bother smashing whomever gets in her way. The other shows a moth caught in a spider’s web, struggling to be free of the life-draining trap. Not surprisingly, that whole thing is in one corner of a room in the prison Hwa-Sa has been hoping to free herself from for the past 34 years. Symbolism at its very best.
I really disliked Eulji Hae-Yi. Less than halfway through the first episode some guy who works for her actually (out of ear shot) describes her as “a bitch.” Perfectly accurate. I kept comparing her to Go Hye-Ran in Misty, and you know how I felt about that character. Both women are selfish, greedy, and possess no morals whatsoever.
Ki Yoo-Jin is a great character but I lost a bit of respect for him when he caught Hae-Yi in a lie and she pouted about it like a child so he actually apologized to her for bringing it up. What? How many guys would do that in real life? Maybe zero? Do you really want to have a significant other that sincerely doesn’t mind lying right to your face? I wish Yoo-Jin would have had more self-respect than to be with someone he knew had no problem lying to him.
I really hate when a writer has a character be evil throughout the whole show and then has the person see the errors of their ways, beg for forgiveness, and the folks who have been wronged or deceived happily forgive them. “I’m glad you turned over a new leaf but I’m moving on. You’re no longer part of my future. Have a great life,” is more normal than hugging them and saying, “You must have felt the need to do that for some reason. I can’t judge you. This shocking revelation hasn’t changed my feelings for you in the least.” Writer’s need to get more real.
I’m sorry to say, Room No. 9 had way too many “oops” for me to overlook. In my point of view, it was just plain old sloppy. The first mistake came just 13 minutes into the show. A man is eating when a box (holding a name plate) is placed in front of his bowl. As he scoots the box closer to himself we hear the bowl slide across the table but one second later the bowl is no longer there. I guess it just magically disappeared somehow. The fact that this sloppy editing occurred right at the beginning of the show made me decide to start writing down all the “oops” I caught, and there were a lot! Just seven short minutes after the first “oops” we get the second – a scratch Hae-Yi got on her cheek in the morning is completely gone that evening. I won’t go into details but I will breeze by a few more mistakes – (20 minutes into episode #3) hair in someone’s face disappears a second later, (23 minutes into episode #4) during a hug we see a person has their hand placed on the outside of the other person’s sweater and then a wider shot shows it under the sweater, (33 minutes into episode #5) a man is hit by a car and falls but the very next second he is standing, (35 minutes into episode #9) a shocked woman touches a table that is in front of her in order to ease herself into a sitting position on a couch but one second later the table has vanished as a man squats directly in front of her, (50 minutes into episode #9) a woman is walking with her suitcase by her side on all four wheels but a new angle shows her dragging it behind her on just two wheels, something is thrown and smashed but a little while later (59 minutes into episode #16) it is shown again in pristine condition. Sloppy, sloppy editing/directing. How do the people in the scene and the director not catch those glowing mistakes? They either don’t care or they think the audience is too dumb to not see them.
I wasn’t impressed at all with Room No. 9’s vocal soundtrack. There are only two songs on the album and both I would put in the “not good” category. Navi belts out the song called Rewind which is too loud and monotonous. I couldn’t wait for it to end. The other song, Answer in Life performed by Lim Jeong-Hee, just seemed off for some reason. Maybe it was supposed to come across as strange to emphasize the strangeness of the show’s plot. There’s another album that just has the drama’s instrumental music and that one has some pretty intense songs on it which are perfect for the many nail-biting moments in the show. Other songs just gave me an off-balance kind of feeling. It’s definitely not an album you’d be able to relax to, that’s for sure.
How are the backgrounds/settings? Well, the prison scenes are unsettling. I just have a tense feeling when scenes are shot with a prison as the background. Jails are no big deal but prisons shake me for some reason, and the prison scenes in this drama were no exception. On the other hand, Hae-Yi’s home and office are amazingly classy, along with Ki Yoo-Jin’s residence (Ki San’s house).
I’m glad I saw this drama but I can’t highly recommend it. If you decide to spend the time watching it, put a paper and pencil close by and write down all the “oops” you find. That might make viewing this show more fun. I’ll bet there’s even more than the ones I mentioned. Oh, and watch carefully – there are actually two Room No. 9s in this show.
Sloppy – lots of “oops”
Rotten Attorney Eulji Hae-Yi
Not everything explained