Psychometric: A compound word combining “psyche” and “metric.” An ability to analyze a person or an object by touching them.
Because I hadn’t read anything about this drama I started the show thinking I would be watching a romantic comedy. Boy, was I wrong! He is Psychometric is an original mystery all tied up nicely with a fancy sci-fi bow. You’re going to love it.
A head injury as a child left Lee Ahn with a strange psychic ability – touching people and objects allows him to observe small parts of that person’s/thing’s history. Scenes flash through his mind and he is able to see pieces of a puzzle concerning that particular person/thing. Unfortunately, he hasn’t yet learned how to see the entire puzzle. In order to hone Ahn’s psychometric abilities so that he can work with the police someday, his foster big brother, Prosecutor Kang Sung-Mo, requests the help of Constable Yoon Jae-In, a rookie police officer and former high school friend of Ahn’s. While Jae-In is trying to make Ahn into a useful law enforcement tool, they work together to solve a murder mystery that could be connected to a case over a decade old. However, along the way they find clues and evidence that takes them back even further, to a sickening case from before they were even born. As things unravel and Ahn begins to see more and more, the cases prove to be tied a little too close to home.
Lee Ahn’s parents died in an apartment fire when he was a child. Because of Kang Sung-Mo, Ahn made it out of the building alive but the injury he received escaping the fire somehow resulted in his amazing psychometric abilities. Sung-Mo, also orphaned from the fire, became Ahn’s surrogate big brother but Ahn was left alone in an orphanage while Sung-Mo went off to school in America. When he returned as a prosecutor, Sung-Mo took Ahn to live with him. Although Ahn’s not sure what he wants to do with his life, for the time being he is having fun using his psychometrics in order to help Sung-Mo’s friend, Detective Eun Ji-Soo, with some of her cases. Since Ahn’s “visions” usually show negative memories/history and are only possible through touch, he always wears long sleeves over his hands and avoids crowded places to keep the unplanned psychometric experiences to a minimum.
As a young girl, Yoon Jae-In was raised by her maternal aunt because her father was serving time in prison for having stabbed three women to death and setting their apartment building on fire. Things were tough for Jae-In, being the daughter of a convicted murderer, and she appreciated her high school classmate, Lee Ahn, befriending her. In order to prove her father’s innocence she became a cop and works in a quiet, small town. She hopes to have the chance to solve a crime that could lead to her being promoted to the violent crimes division in Seoul.
Kang Sung-Mo is a serious, talented prosecutor who always follows the law. He thinks of Ahn as the little brother he never had and was encouraging when Ahn struggled as a young child with the “visions” he had. Sung-Mo would reassure Ahn he wasn’t a monster and tell him it was a relief he could see bad things people did because it stopped him from making bad choices, afraid Ahn would be able to see what he did. Yet, Sung-Mo is the only person Ahn has never been able to read.
Eun Ji-Soo came to know Lee Ahn and Kang Sung-Mo when, as a young teenager, she went with her police officer father to volunteer at the orphanage Ahn was in. She followed in her father’s footsteps and is now a detective on the police force working in the violent crimes division. Ji-Soo is one of only a tiny handful of people who know about Ahn’s psychometric abilities and doesn’t mind using him to help her try and solve cases. Although she thinks of Ahn as a younger brother, she has had a crush on Sung-Mo for several years. Sadly, he either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care.
Twenty-four year old Park Jin-Young made his acting debut in 2012 by way of the teen drama Dream High 2. Five months later he, along side fellow trainee JB, debuted as the singing duo JJ Project. In 2013 he was cast in a supporting role in the Kdrama When a Man Falls in Love. Then, in January of 2014, the two members of JJ Project debuted with five other singers as the boy band Got7. The group starred in the Korean-Chinese webdrama Dream Knight the following year. He was then cast as the teenage version of Lee Min-Ho’s character in The Legend of the Blue Sea. In 2017 he made his big screen debut in the movie A Stray Goat for which he received a nomination for Most Popular Actor. Lee Ahn is his first starring role but you’d never guess it. Park Jin-Young’s acting is flawless. Excellence indeed. I can’t wait to see him in more things. I wonder what he’d be like in a comedy.
Last year Shin Ye-Eun made her acting debut in the webdrama A-TEEN. Believe it or not, her first TV series, He is Psychometric, is also her first leading role, as Yoon Jae-In. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with her acting as I was with Park Jin-Young’s, or even the main supporting actor and actress (Kim Kwon as Kang Sung-Mo and Kim Da-Som as Eun Ji-Soo), but I’m sure her acting will get better the more experience she gets. Twenty-one year old Shin Ye-Eun majored in Performing Arts at Sungkyunkwan University.
This drama’s mystery has a lot of twists and turns and, I’ll be honest, it took quite a while for me to figure everything out, however, nothing is confusing. I jumped from thinking the culprit was one person to another before it even crossed my mind it was who it really turned out to be. The entire 16 hour drama is concerned with just one case – the one Jae-In’s father is convicted of committing – but it’s woven into others so we don’t get bored just thinking of that one thing the whole time. It’s a very clever idea.
When the lead investigators – Ahn, Jae-In, Sung-Mo, and Eun Ji-Soo – get right down to the origin of the main case (the “why” and “how” it all began) they have to wade through some extremely dark evils of humanity in order to see justice done. The two older cases that lead to the murders and arson Jae-In’s father is serving time for committing are things I’ve never seen discussed in a Kdrama crime show before. There’s good, original content in this script.
Two thumbs up for He is Psychometric’s ending. I’m so glad the writer decided to not sugarcoat the story by making everything all fine and dandy. I’ll say it this way – it’s not a perfectly happy ending, but it is a perfect ending and it does set things up for a He is Psychometric 2, should the cast decide to go another round.
One thing this story taught me was that South Korea has a constitution and Kang Sung-Mo gives us a quick little lesson concerning its 10th Article. “Do you know what the 10th Article is in the Constitution of the Republic of Korea? [It] is for all of its people to have human dignity and worth, and the right to pursue happiness. The country acknowledges each person’s civil rights… It is obligated to provide these things.”
How realistic is the idea surrounding this drama? Are there psychometric police officers in real life? Well, in looking for an answer to those questions I turned to Wikipedia and found this. I hope it’s helpful to you. “There is no scientific evidence that psychometry exists and the concept has been widely criticized. The majority of police departments do not use psychics and do not consider them credible or useful on cases. Proponents of psychometry have argued that psychic detectives have been used by law-enforcement agencies on specific cases.”
There are several “oops” I caught – like a sack being held one way in one shot but differently when we see it from another angle. One has to do with a kiss, another with how Jae-In is eating, and there are a few more. The sloppy editing didn’t mess anything up story wise but the mistakes are noticeable and the amount of them isn’t insignificant.
Want to hear an awesome song? Find the He is Psychometric soundtrack and listen to Take. It’s a fantastic song performed by Jus2, a new Got7 duo unit consisting of JB and Yugyeom. The song peaked at 25th place on the US World chart. That’s America, folks. 25th place in America. Yep, it’s that good! Minseo sings the beautiful ballad The First Love and although the entire song is pretty, it’s the harmony she sings with herself in the chorus that stands out as wow. (I’m just assuming she sings both parts because the voices sound exactly the same and no one else is credited as singing on the song.) Unfortunately, there are two songs completely sung in English that have crazy grammar – darn! The first one is With You sung by Fromm. I wasn’t thrilled with her voice and I really didn’t enjoy the music, either. The second one is Shadows on the Wall performed by Janett Suhh. Thankfully, it’s a bit better than the other. Spoiler alert: this song’s lyrics (although sung in imperfect English) directly hint at the contents of the show.
I’d love to be able to describe this drama’s most memorable background but it would mess up the wonderful element of surprise so you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s quite unsettling. You’ll know it when you see it, but don’t look for it right away. It doesn’t come until way later in the show. The scenery and setting in this drama are perfect for the storyline.
There’s a small handful of lessons we learn during our time spent with these He is Psychometric characters. I’ll end this review with my favorite two. – Sung-Mo teaches Ahn, “… learn from your past, and so you don’t ruin your future, … be careful of your actions in the present.” And he also tells him, “We either run away or overcome from our past sufferings.” I’ll do my best to overcome, and I hope you will too.
Extremely original ideas
Possibility of a sequel
Scenery and backgrounds fit perfectly with story
The song Take
Too many “oops”