I enjoyed Episodes 3 & 4 much more! The introduction of the murder storyline gave the episodes a good anchor to build our key characters and the relationships. I found the investigation and courtroom drama slightly sloppy and unrealistic, but am willing to forgive that because it provides much opportunities for quality character movements and development of the key relationships.
The focus was turned on Ji Wook and we saw him struggle between his conscience and career, between caring for Bong Hee and being cold towards her, between his general calmness and sudden convulsions into rage. We’re only 1 week into the show, but this character is already so much than Ji Chang Wook’s character in K2. I’m intrigued about the next directions taken as he’ll certainly be joining CEO Byun’s law firm, though not necessarily willingly. I loved the little comedic touches throughout like him not being able to question Bong Hee convincingly (really funny!) and him responding in her journal. I completely understand his decision at the end of the episode not to meet her again, which is a mix of his belief in ill-fate, the negative aftertaste of the whole trial and possibly even a fear of drawing near to someone again.
I’m liking what we’re seeing of the “friendship” (if you can even call it that) between Ji Wook and Eun Hye, that Eun Hye is eagerly trying to reconnect with Ji Wook. Ji Wook is deliberately shunning him but forced to seek his help because he needs someone to defend Bong Hee. This is a somewhat similar set up to I Hear Your Voice which I happen to be concurrently watching – in fact, the whole show has similar vibes, but that’s not an issue because I’m really enjoying I Hear Your Voice. Right now, I’m not finding the plot of the Suspicious Partner refreshing – murder mystery with unknown killer, protagonist being wrongly accused, courtroom drama etc. – quite similar to Innocent Defendant which I just finished. Nonetheless, those were plot devices that have potential to be used very effectively and meaningfully, so I’m looking forward to see how Suspicious Partner makes the most of them.
I’m getting more drawn into the character of Bong Hee, even though she didn’t really do much in this episode. However, the scenes between her and her mom were touching and with Ji Wook’s sacrifice for her, her character has been given greater purpose and drive to prove to Ji Wook that all the coincidences were not a result of ill-fate. I foresee more bickering and more snide comments being thrown at each other – which was fun in the first 2 episodes and I’m sure will continue to be so!
While coincidences are inevitably part and parcel of all dramas, I like that the show and its characters explicitly acknowledge that it’s fate that threw the characters together, especially as Ji Wook tells CEO Byun that his reason for defending her was “fate”. However, from their interactions and what we know of Ji Wook’s past, we know it’s not just fate.
On a final note, I’m also enjoying the directing of the show. There’s a softness and tenderness in all the scenes – even in the court scenes, I noticed all the characters, especially Ji Wook, were bathed in a warm glow. All in all, there’s lots to look forward in this show in terms of plot and character development. This show is certainl looking good!