You’ve got a serial killer and you’ve got a guy who can bring people back from the dead… Abyss’ premise was interesting but the writing just didn’t do it justice. By episode ten I was ready for it to end. There was no reason to stretch it out so long, and stretching was exactly what it felt like – “You’ve got to come up with six more hours, so think of something, anything!”
When Cha Min’s fiancée dumps him (via message left on his phone) because she claims he’s not handsome, the man is so distraught he can’t help but contemplate suicide. However, at the last minute, after he’s changed his mind, he is accidentally killed by an alien. To rectify the wrong, Min is revived by that same alien who then gives him an abyss – a large, color-changing marble – the power that brought him back to life. The alien (and his celestial traveling companion) then leave Min with a totally different (gorgeous) appearance and the abyss (power over death) in his possession. The next day, when Min discovers his best friend, Go Se-Yeon, has been murdered, he decides to see if the abyss can bring her back – and is thrilled when it does. However, like Min, she also has taken on a different body. The strikingly beautiful woman she was is now just an ordinary-looking lady. Surprisingly, when they hear on the news that Min is the main suspect in Se-Yeon’s murder, the two friends set out to discover who really killed Se-Yeon and bring them to justice.
What Cha Min lacked in physical appearance he more than made up for in intelligence, always being first place in high school. In fact, he would often recite math formulas to Go Se-Yeon. He comes from an extremely wealthy family, his mother being the owner and CEO of Lan Cosmetics, a popular and very successful company of which he is the director and future sole inheritor. Min is an excellent businessman who has an Entrepreneur Of The Year Award to prove it. He is a kind, gentle, unassuming man who is generous almost to a fault.
Go Se-Yeon has always been beautiful, in fact, she was referred to as “the goddess of Sangmok High School,” the perfect 10. “I’m smart. I’m beautiful. And I have a hot body,” she insists. This pretty girl became a highly respected prosecutor who has just recently decided to reopen the long-term, cold Eomsan-Dong murder case. (Could that possibly be why she was murdered?) When Se-Yeon comes back from the dead she looks exactly like another prosecutor, Lee Mi-Do, who happens to be plain, short, feisty, and currently living in America.
Park Dong-Cheol is a detective who used to date Mi-Do before she left to study/work in the U.S. Because Se-Yeon now looks like Mi-Do he thinks she has returned from being abroad in the hope of resuming their relationship, which makes him more than willing to help “Mi-Do” with her investigation – who killed Se-Yeon?
Seo Ji-Uk is a prosecutor and Go Se-Yeon’s colleague so it’s not surprising he’s placed himself right in the middle of Se-Yeon’s murder investigation. His father is a prominent judge.
Oh Seong-Cheol is a well respected surgeon. He was a horrendously abusive husband and father who hid well his private, monstrous side.
Cha Min is played by 24 year old actor and singer Ahn Hyo-Seop. He attended Kookmin University studying International Business (that’s what my brother’s degree is in). He is a member of One O One, a four member project group created for YouTube Originals’ first Korean webdrama entitled Top Management, which premiered in October of 2018. Dramas I’ve seen that he’s been in are Splash Splash Love, One More Happy Ending, Entertainer, and Thirty but Seventeen for which he won a Best New Actor award. He was also nominated for that same award for his performance in this drama. Look for him in the upcoming Kdrama Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim 2.
Park Bo-Young plays the part of Go Se-Yeon. Information about her can be found in my review of Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon.
An abyss is a large, marble-like object that revives the dead into the form of its soul, however, the person’s fingerprints, DNA, and blood vessels in the iris remain the same. There are other rules to the abyss but I’ll let you discover those one by one as the story progresses.
This drama is simply a cop/crime drama that goes about catching the serial killer in a fantasy sort of way. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Abyss’ biggest problem is its writing. I found the first several episodes very interesting but as it progressed I kept wondering why it didn’t end. So many times it could have coherently come to a close but something ridiculous would happen that kept things going. Also, the show goes several episodes without the abyss ever being used. Four people are revived within the first four episodes and then nothing else happens with the abyss until way down the road. The story is all about Go Se-Yeon catching her own murderer. Because you can’t catch your own killer if you’re not deceased, they had to come up with some way of Se-Yeon being dead but also alive – hence the abyss. It resurrects her into a completely different looking person allowing her the opportunity to track down her own murderer. In my opinion that’s pretty much the only reason the abyss existed.
Ready for a complaint paragraph? Okay, here I go…
If you’ve caught the bad guy why run off to find the person in danger before you’ve made sure the killer doesn’t get away?
Why trust someone over and over again that keeps betraying you?
We see Prosecutor Seo Ji-Uk get hit by a car – there’s no fire or chemical involved – and then, boom, he has a huge burn mark on his neck for the rest of the show. Unless I missed something there was no reason for him to have that scar. Those kinds of things just don’t make sense and the viewing audience is smart enough to realize it.
There’s way too much back-tracking. Showing us (at the beginning of an episode) so much of what we just saw at the end of the last episode is completely unnecessary and a waste of time.
Min has had a gigantic, secret room behind a bookcase in his bedroom for the past 20 years and his mother doesn’t know about it? Yea, right. How could builders make a secret room for a little boy without the adult homeowner knowing about it?
The last few episodes concentrate on Min and Se-Yoon’s budding romantic relationship, kind of putting both the crime (catching the bad guy) and fantasy (abyss) elements of the story on the back burner. It reminded me of Blade Man which had a great super hero fantasy thing going until the romance began to bloom and then the writer obviously didn’t see the blade power as being all that important to the drama any more.
Remember Seo In-Guk and Jung So-Min’s pairing in the perfect 10 drama The Smile Has Left Your Eyes? Well, they’re back again as the aliens who give Cha Min the abyss. This repeat coupling is a wonderful surprise even though they are only on screen for a few minutes at the very beginning of the show.
Abyss was shown on a cable channel in South Korea (you can find it on Netflix, which is where I saw it), which always means the ratings will be lower than dramas shown on free channels. However, this show began its run with a 3.858% nationwide rating and gradually lost viewers along the way, its last episode only receiving 2.662%. Abyss’ average rating on Rotten Tomatoes is a very generous 83% but it’s score on IMDb is a 7.1 which I happen to think is overly kind but more accurate.
The song Into the Abyss is excellent, my favorite on the soundtrack. Sung by Suran and rapped by Coogie, the lyrics don’t begin on the music’s downbeat which tends to give it a kind of eerie, dreamlike quality – perfect for this drama’s plot! Fallin’, sung by Kim Feel, and Stay, performed by Kim Bo-Hyung, are both beautiful ballads that enhance the romance part of the story.
The show’s backgrounds are excellent, indoors and out. Min’s secret room is humongous and filled to the brim with tons of things his mother didn’t want him to have. Min’s family vacation home is quite nice, especially the patio which is complete with a pool and jacuzzi, and there’s a lake with a quiet path through the woods nearby. There’s a lovely night scene of Min and Se-Yeon on a huge boulder overlooking the city lights. And the bad guy’s hideout is dirty, dark, cold, and spooky.
Even though there’s not a lot of things praiseworthy about this drama (it earned a 5.75 from me) I’m still glad I saw it. If what you’re looking for is a romance/fantasy/crime drama all rolled into one Abyss can certainly check all those boxes – but so can Two Cops, and I gave it a 9.5.
Creepy serial killer
Backgrounds/scenery befitting the story
The song Into the Abyss
Writing just wasn’t great
Seemed stretched out to fit the number of planned episodes
No huge stars
Too many things just didn’t make sense