After having seen Ji Chang Wook play very macho and heroic figures in Healer and K2, the vulnerability and ineptness of his character in Suspicious Partner is really a refreshing change. It might be too early to say, but this show has the potential to be that career-changing show for him; even if the ratings don’t go sky high, I believe it will open up new possibilities for him for new genre of dramas. It’s too bad this is his last show before enlistment, at least he’s going out with a bang.
I’m once again glad to see the relationship between Ji Wook and Bong Hee moving to new places. They’ve come pretty far by working through misunderstandings, confronting their feelings towards the other (but only to themselves) and being able to look beyond their own pride to ask for help (for Bong Hee) or to help (for Ji Wook). They are at a different stage now – still not love yet – but Ji Wook is no longer pushing her away, and even actively offering his hand of protection and arm of comfort to her. Things were going too well in this episode that we inevitably could foresee Ji Wook’s ‘ex coming back into the equation soon. At one point, I was even wondering if Ji Wook’s faithfully waiting upon Bong Hee was another imagination or fantasy of hers. Bong Hee has rather quickly climbed out of her emotional rut. Just in episode 7, she was alone, down and homeless; now, she has a home and someone who takes care of her and protects her. Should there be a farewell coming up again between them, it’s going to be even more painful than the previous ones. On a lighter note, she also gained the upper-hand over Ji Wook with him waking up after a night of drunkenness and not knowing if they slept together.
I haven’t spoken much about the other characters in the show, namely because our two protagonists have been so fascinating. However, Eun Hyuk is definitely growing on me and I’m liking his fun and positive energy, a good contrast to Ji Wook’s more melancholic nature. His characterisation is not exactly deep at the moment, but I’m definitely intrigued to see what went on between him and Ji Wook in the past. This character is working much more for me compared to the darker, murderous Tae-Ho that Choi Tae-joon played in Missing 9. Honestly, I partly blame the character Tae-Ho for making Missing 9 boring for me, turning it from an intriguing mystery about island survival to a serial killer ‘thriller’. Coming back to Suspicious Partner, Eun Hyuk’s warmth is endearing. We know he’ll always be there for Ji Wook, regardless of what happens. I do hope he’s not the one that Yoo Jung slept with, because it seems a little too simplistic. For now though, I’m appreciating the fun he brings, like how he teased Ji Wook into thinking he knew about who Bong Hee was interviewing with and how he pushed the three scoundrel lawyers into their urinals.
And then we finally meet Yoo Jung in this episode as well. Not too sure how to feel about her character yet, though I’m liking that her and Bong Hee hit it off well and like each other. In fact, I see some potential for a budding friendship between both of them, which adds a nice complexity to their relationship instead of pitting them against each other as love rivals.
With our murderer’s face finally revealed, things are sailing along nicely in this show with a good mix of suspense, humour, warmth and sweetness.