This drama reminded me of an onion. You know how when you’re peeling an onion there’s the outside layer and then another layer and another and another? Well, Class of Lies (aka Mr. Temporary) has layer upon layer of deceit, lies, and evil the likes of which I haven’t seen in quite some time. Figuring out one thing just leads to another, which leads to another and on and on it goes without loosing momentum for 16 episodes.
When a young girl from the most elite high school in the country is stabbed, Songha Law Firm’s ace attorney, Ki Moo-Hyeok is assigned to defend the young student accused of attempted murder. Attorney Ki is instructed to simply have his client’s sentence reduced but that’s not the way Moo-Hyeok works. He’s always in it to win and when he discovers something that could very well cast serious doubt on his client’s guilt, he runs with it. Unfortunately, the whole thing backfires and Moo-Hyeok takes the fall for things not going the way they had been so carefully planned out by his boss. He his kicked out of the law firm, his license is suspended, and he’s ordered to move out of the company residence and return the company car. With his career as an attorney hanging in the balance, Ki Moo-Hyeok decides to discover the truth about the young girl’s attempted murder and goes undercover as a temporary teacher at the high school the victim and defendant attended. With the help of the P.E. teacher, a computer whiz friend, and a prosecutor he attended law school with, temporary teacher Mr. Ki has a lot of unraveling to do and it seems everyone at the school has something to hide.
Ki Moo-Hyeok was the top lawyer at Songha, one of the best law firms in the country, who represented many VIP clients and believed “the only ethic lawyers need to follow is to work for their client’s benefit.” He valued his good reputation and enjoyed the monetary benefits he received. Under the alias Ki Kang-Jae he gets a job at Chunmyung High School teaching law, politics, and German. As he digs into the lives of the students and faculty he comes to realize justice is more important than status and sees first hand how money, prestige, and power can sometimes turn a decent person into a very scary one.
Chunmyung High School’s P.E. teacher is Ha So-Hyun. She is a single woman who takes her job seriously. She thinks of the students as her kids and wants the best for them. She accepts an added job of student counselor and does her best to be the type of person the kids can go to for help. She’s willing to help Ki Moo-Hyeok in order to find who is turning the “students into monsters.”
If there was a king of the school, Yoo Beom-Jin would be it. He comes from a prominent family, his father being an assemblyman, but doesn’t seem to flaunt his wealth. He is thought of highly by both the students and facility.
Lee Ki-Young runs the school photography club. His father is the president of Songha Law Firm and the man who suspended Ki Moo-Hyeok.
Han Tae-Ra’s life is dictated by her mother who runs a cram tutoring school. Although she is an accomplished pianist it is just an added stress in her life. She and Yoo Beom-Jin are dating.
Na Ye-Ri is an idol trainee who is hoping to debut soon. She secretly is the mastermind behind an unofficial school website called The Dark Bamboo Forest, where students secrets are told and lies are made to appear as the truth.
Lee Tae-Seok is the general manager of the school who runs a shady entertainment company on the side. He is a slimy man who would sell out his own brother for a dime. He has absolutely no morals and only cares about himself.
Prosecutor Cha Hyeon-Jeong went to school with Moo-Hyeok where she earned the nickname “Bulldog” because she doesn’t let go once she bites. She cares more about the law and justice than she does about what her superiors want.
Jeong Soo-Ah was raised in an orphanage until the age of ten when she was adopted. She is very intelligent and wants more than anything to be rich and influential. She’s also very willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. She was part of Chunmyung High School’s top in-crowd kids but was also bullied by them.
Kim Han-Soo is the defendant on trial for the attempted murder of Soo-Ah. They grew up in an orphanage together and when he met her again at Chunmyung High School he wanted to pick up their friendship right where it had left off. He is very protective of Soo-Ah.
If you’re interested in Yoon Kyun-Sang, the guy who plays Ki Moo-Hyeok, you can go to my Clean with Passion for Now review.
There are lots of people in this drama who play a significant part in the storyline. Sometimes an over abundance of characters can clutter stories but every single one of these people are an asset to the plot. Who stabbed the victim and why? We guess and eliminate and guess again and eliminate once more until the fog is lifted, the perpetrator is discovered, and the motive becomes clear. It’s a very well written mystery.
I appreciated the fact that the writer chose to show us that it’s not just low income folks that have it tough. The rich kids have their own set of very valid challenges. There’s a part in the show where a father says to his child something alluding to the fact that everything the kid does is a reflection of the father and that the kid’s main priority should be to elevate his dad. The idea is that once the father has more prestige and power the kid will be able to benefit from it. How would you like to be a teenager with that message playing in your head day in and day out? Yikes! The poor and socially awkward students are tormented by their peers. The rich and socially advantaged are tormented by their parents. It sucks any way you look at it.
I wasn’t thrilled with the ending. Unless the writer has a sequel planned, where Attorney Ki and his helpers go after the person who silences ***** at the end, I’m not okay with the killer’s consequences. Who? Why? You just can’t leave those questions hanging like that! (Sorry to be so vague but using specifics would ruin everything for you.)
Class of Lies is one of those dramas that replays at the beginning of the episode everything we previously saw at the end of the last one. A small recap is okay but quite often the entire last scene is played once again, taking up to seven minutes, and it ends up being tedious, redundant, and boring. I understand writers/directors want the audience’s mind to be refreshed on what just occurred so they can build on it but replaying an entire scene is too much. That’s the biggest complaint I have about the show. My tiny gripe is – there’s no way ***** could have known about *****’s clock! (Once you see the show you’ll know what I mean and it will probably bother you, too.)
The soundtrack is extremely small but very good. I loved the rap songs, A Silver Spoon and Win. A Silver Spoon has siren sounds in the background which adds the perfect touch to the edgy song! It’s awesome. The instrumental songs on the soundtrack – Soo-Ah Secret, His Presence, Cornered, Their Secret, Reasonable Doubt, Darkest Mind – are excellent and serve to heighten the tension in the drama.
Of course the high school is the main focus of the show. It’s mentioned over and over how Chunmyung High caters to elite, rich, and influential families but it looks just like every other high school I’ve seen on Kdramas. I kept thinking it needed to be more expensive looking. I don’t understand why classrooms are so bare in South Korean schools.
I was surprised I liked Class of Lies as much as I did. Thanks to some excellent mystery writing, this Kdrama is sure to keep you guessing and glued to the screen. (There’s no way ***** could have known about the clock!)
Storyline flows well
Wasn’t thrilled with the ending