Whisper

Whisper (2017)

7.8
Your Rating:
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 745 users
Reviews: 3 users

Shin Young Joo is a female detective, a section chief with charisma, although she spends most of her time with petty criminals. She has to pay the debt of her family and often speaks harshly, but inside she has a golden heart. Lee Dong Joon is a righteous elite judge, brilliant in mind, but with a warm heart and he always has a friendly ear for those who are weak. Both work read moretogether to solve a case of corruption, involving the greatest law firm of the nation, Taebak, which turns out to be one of the biggest scandals ever.

*from writer Park Kyung Soo (Punch, Empire of Gold, Chaser)

  • Native title:

    귓속말
  • Also Known as:

    Gwitsongmal; Advance; 진격;

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Fraxer
10 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 22, 2017
  • Overall 7.5
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
A drama which generates mixed feelings. But the feeling of "so near, yet so far" dominates them all. It had a bit of various genres, but not enough of any. A story with the backdrop of a law firm, but the law is overshadowed by politics. There isn't enough intuitive crime detection to call it a crime/investigation drama. Just some sprinkle of romance here and there, so can't be called a romantic read more one either.

Yet another saga of how power corrupts people who in turn corrupt others as well. An honest judge is forced to convict an innocent man. The convicted man's daughter who is a cop, decides to set things right. Things start off badly between the protagonists, but they gradually come to understand each other and work together. It starts off with a lot of promise, but it gradually turns out to be a tug-of-war. Expected things happen, but the audience are kept waiting in the tussle between (good and evil?)

The actors have done a decent job, but the major expressions in the drama are poker face and smirk, and not all of them seem natural. A bit more of joy would've been nice.

Rewatch value is kinda low for me. The last two episodes kinda killed it all.

It's definitely worth a one time watch, start with no expectations and you might be in for a surprise!
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namopanik
8 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 24, 2017
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 6.5
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
PROPER MINDSET
What to expect: a festival of backstabbing.
Don't watch it if you despise convenient plot points, because almost every single twist and turn here is exactly this.
Imagine a storyboard, an intricate and tensed network of possible outcomes. As the story flows, it forces some lines to close down. Some chess pieces are bound on their positions, limiting the movement of others. Some are taken down (destroying evidence is a read more recurring theme of the first half or so - which, realistically speaking isn't a wisest move on a characters' part, but it's necessary for the plot to move forward; once a deal is finished, it's impossible to restore the former status (but hey, there's a twist on this too!)).
The first episode is a gateway of sorts, filtering out the viewers who aren't for this kind of story (the controversial part is even in the official trailer). A journalist gets killed, his friend framed for it, and a judge known for his integrity blackmailed to announce him guilty. Framed man's daughter seeks the judge's help, but feels betrayed in the end and sets him up, trying to create a pressure point on him. He ends ups tangled between Taebaek law firm's all-reaching influences and her blackmail, facing an impossible choice. Sprinkle with hints of latest political scandals from real life and you have a Taebaekgate of your own.

WORLDBUILDING
There are no right choices here. It's a bleak and ruthless world in which power overcomes truth and justice can be bought. Everyone important knows each other and sits in Taebaek pocket. The law firm serves as a symbol here: it recruits its employees from the elite lawyers, prosecutors and judges by orchestrating their downfall from behind and generously offering them a place to stay. Then it feeds on their former reputation and abilities.
Many people complained that a hero introducted as just and incorruptible breaks so easily and turns shattered and 'spineless' during first few eps, but that's the point. 'Whisper' suceeds in creating a sense of encirlement, hopelessness and inevitability.

CHESS PIECES
Characters' cunnery manifests in being in right places at right time with right people and smirking knowingly. They're smart enough to forsee one or more moves of the opponent ahead, but it doesn't mean they don't lower their guard from time to time. And yes, deadpan and smirk (and furrowed brows…) are dominant expressions, but first, I don't think it was actors choice, two, there's much more to it (a honourable mention for Hyung Mook, let's hope to see more of him in the dramas).
There's no clear, progressic character development, only people being poked from different angles and reacting accordingly. In a sense, it's not about Dong Joon and Yeong Joo substantially changing at all, because those two (especially she) were badass from the start, only their means were limited. For them, it's about achieving their goals. They come to their original point, only stronger and calmer. What changes the most is everyone around them losing their comfort, realising that the rotten world they know so well affects them too, that they too could also fall prey of a betrayal, not just stage it for others, and that people they trust and love won't always put their good first. All the sense of comradery in crime falls apart.

ROMANCE TAG
There's a love line and it stopped me for some time from even starting this. (Two, actually, but I don't want to completely rob you out of feeling smart and perceptive in a first few eps.) Its existence may or may not feel a little forced. It develops gradually and for the better part of the show consists mainly of male lead spacing out watching female lead being awesome, his gaze tinted with guilt. If you don't feel like watching a drama with a romance tag, you can safely ignore that for the first 12 episodes or so and pretend they're just partners with a hostile start, reaching an adorable intimacy later [here would be a gif of Dong Joon stealing a bite of Yeong Joo's salad from her plate].
However, the important part is: they both have agency during the show, can act separately and aren't overly protective. In the end, them developing feelings for each other serves as just another pressure point.
I could say there's a 'strong female lead' (and it applies to both to various extent), but the thing is, not a single character is gender-limited to begin with. They aren't forced to act or behave like males or females at all.
Also - the poster is right. It's not about main couple and their vengance only, all four characters are equally important. I'd even argue that the other two carry the story once the things between the former are roughly settled.
What it doesn't depicts, are four fathers. There's a rivalry and resentment between Choi Il Hwan and Kang Yoo Taek and it cast a shadow on their children. Lee Dong Joon has family issues too. But all of this is treated as a mean to a purpuse.

17 HOURS OF YOUR LIFE
I tend to avoid crime/law/suspense/mystery/… dramas longer than 10-12 episodes, because stretching it further calls for people running in circles like a headless chickens and creating misunderstandings that could have been easily avoided if they just stopped and used their brains for once. Not a case here. On the contrary, obstacles come from constant betrayals on every front and people trying to protect oneself on other's expense. The pacing is fine. It takes some time to dismantle stalemates within stalemates and get enough power to force the truth. When this drama does prolong some event or a threat, it does it in such a manner to close all exits but one. For example, you can see someone soon-to-be framed for something at the beginning of the episode, but it takes some preparations to make sure that person will have little to no possibility to get out, and if s/he was taken sooner, s/he could save him/herself much easier (enters a fire destoying what little evidence have left). It's logical and kinda mechanical.
Anyway. I didn't skip a scene, which is something to brag for me these days. There was a week-long break forced with the presidental election coverage, but it's not noticeable. Recaps and flashbacks are minimal if any during the better part of the show, but there's more towards the end, because it was originally written as a 16 episode drama.
It's not super realistic in details, but uncanny in essence. The story is cleared out of all the accidental clutter and wholly focuses on the main plot and connected subplots showcasing the main players. Don't expect much of legal cases or police investigation. They do work, but it mostly serves as a setting since they don't meet mundane problems or unrelated cases. If something comes up, it's used as an exposure point, to reveal something from the past or to create a new problem that can be used against someone. Characters have only skeletal backstories - and for me it works. For many it doesn't.
Generally speaking, if you don't feel an urge to cheer for your characters, but rather shake them, throw on an arena and see who'll last, you've found yourself something to watch.

MUSIC
Tolerable and sparsely used for a kdrama standards, mostly instrumentals and background noises (clock ticking etc). Main theme is a latin chorus (with a hint to an early plot point), but it's nowhere near as pretentious as say, K2.

VISUALS
That's the biggest forte for me. First, it's stylish, two, it's fitting. It heavily relies on contrasts. Taebaek resides in a fortress-like building, a huge grey cube with slot-like windows. (Of course it has an open roof for dramatic conversations in the wind, duh.) It's interior is all glass, chromium, highly polished marble and some rough stone on the walls. Tight, dimly lit corridor leading to the owner's office ends with an anti-chamber filled with a terra cotta army and two hostess taking away all electronic devices from the guests. It's an example, but there are many locations and they all match the common theme. Interior decorations items are used within the plot. People mostly wear elegantly matte fabrics and everyone is coordinated for the sake of coherent screencaps. Even PPL doesn't hurt the eyes that much. The lighting is cold, blueish and artificial and it bonds all the scenes for the scale I haven't seen before in a kdrama. It's on par with Cruel City's grittiness and darkness or W clear division between two worlds when it comes to a coherent worldbuilding.

HUMOUR SAMPLE
'My father is not here today, they are having a praying meeting in their community, so the embezzlement of the temple funds won't be found out.'

Pros:
- Highly motivated, flawed, charismatic characters
- Reasonably smart intrigue (forming alliances and shuttering it, finding weak points and exploiting it)
- Good acting
- Even pacing, engaging power struggles, focused storytelling, clear and somewhat elegant structure
- Visually pleasing (and it's an integral part of the worldbuilding)
- Comic relief isn't overused, neither is the story too dry and serious
- not makjang.

Neutrals/cons:
- Convenience everywhere. Some things that never have any business be written take tangible form.
- Music fits the mood and action, although it ranges from forgettable to 'dear lord, not K2 again'
- Romance feels forced an unneeded.
- Not very engaging on an emotional level (there's a lame attempt of holding the viewer hostage with making one character badly sick in the middle, but I still don't really care for anyone or anything). It brings out repulsion, pity maybe, a satisfaction from people meeting their end and justice triumphing, but that's it.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (1)Recommendations

Both dramas include lawyers who solve a crime that is close to home. In Defendant the victims were his wife and daughter whilst in Whisper the assailant is his new bride and her lover (so he his less inclined at the beginning to solve it). In both dramas they have a female helping them solve the crime. Both have similar feeling to them as well.
Recommended by AmynaA
Both dramas deal with powerful plotting women and men that are changing sides. In both dramas a murderer plays an important role and involves nearly all the people.
Although the K2 has more action to offer for now, the suspense and the mystery and plotting between the characters is a lot similar.
Recommended by zuojenn

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Comments (323)

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  • Reply
    Sandy_Haqqy Apr 5, 2017

    a lot of whats going on in the show regarding politics is based on real life with disguise ...blue dragon = samsung and/ the Presidents doctor dad shady doings and also the bullet proof vest scandal

  • Reply
    Daisy Lili Apr 5, 2017 - edited
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      Huruhi Apr 5, 2017 - edited
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      Daisy Lili Apr 5, 2017
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    Huruhi Apr 5, 2017

    I think it'll be interesting to see the way that they'll fall in love, can't wait *.*

    Lee Bo Young is just amazing, as usual. When I saw the 1st minutes of drama, I thought it'll be just like I hear your voice. Omg, it just take a big turning point which makes me stop breathing.
    And Actors seem to get old.. Idk why.. Park Se Young look like Lee Il Hwa.. XD she looks not that young , maybe because of dark hair XD It's very interesting, all their makeup are made to give them a strong look ! I like it *-*

  • Reply
    Huruhi Apr 5, 2017
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    displacedmoon Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    what i'm enjoying about this drama is that everyone is constantly one-upping each other. noone ever has the upper-hand for too long. so far this seems to be one of those dramas you just have to roll with. and if you can keep up with the devious plotting (i've had to playback a few times), you'll probably enjoy it even more. i'm getting a kick out of whisper, but i'm wondering what evilness the writers have in store for us, and if my heart can take another 12 episodes of manipulation, schemes and corruption. lol.

  • Reply
    Taichi Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    PSY ccccccccc..drama - nothing special pity for other 3 good actors

    • Reply
      Ginger Apr 4, 2017

      She isn't half as bad as Hyun Su lol the actor is worse than idols!

    • Reply
      Taichi Apr 5, 2017

      Yes, how can idols become better with time like UEE and IU guys form 2PM etc. but those to are just looking Western and they think they are pale and pretty. For me they are not pretty they are ordinary

  • Reply
    evildodo Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    I was waiting for this drama so much but I just struggle with every episode. The cast is wonderful, so I don't know, but after 3 episodes it's a big NO for me ._. Maybe right after Defendant I wasn't ready for a drama like this ._.

  • Reply
    Daisy Lili Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    Even though Jung Il and Soo Yeon are bad, I still like them, even more than the lead characters.

    • Reply
      Ginger Apr 4, 2017 - edited
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      vanooshe Apr 4, 2017

      The same here.

  • Reply
    Panda Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    park se young is so beautiful but she cant act even if her life depended on it
    ......
    Doctor: you have 2 hours to live the only way to survive is to be good at acting.
    Park se young : ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • Reply
    inspirit91 Apr 4, 2017
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    Benedict Apr 3, 2017 - edited

    This drama is so unrealistic. If it were even slightly realistic I'd be a lot more interested. Episode 3 and I'm already skimming through the episodes.

    • Reply
      Sandy_Haqqy Apr 5, 2017

      no kdrama is realistic at least we have political corruption all are based on real life and no fantasy plots whats so unrealistic to you as this is a kdrama ..no one is a time traveler

    • Reply
      Benedict Apr 5, 2017

      You say none of them are realistic, but they are all based on real life? That is a contradiction. Tough to understand all of what you are saying since it is one long run-on sentence.

      The rampant corruption is simply so unrealistic. And it was also a massive disappointment that the male lead threw away his morals so quickly. Lost all respect already. Show just isn't that interesting.

    • Reply
      Sandy_Haqqy Apr 5, 2017

      did you follow the political situation in korea ...in six months only lots of officials including law makers and politicians went to jail for corruption including the president ... all the scandals mentioned in the show is based on real events thats what I meant by realistic
      actually real life is even crazier you can check the news

  • Reply
    Ginger Apr 3, 2017 - edited

    Kwon Yool is oozing with charisma...Lee Sang Yoon maybe better looking but Kwon Yool beats him acting wise..

  • Reply
    ines Apr 3, 2017

    Woah, episode 3 was incredible!! Now I can say I'm totally into this drama. I want to watch the next episode asap!

  • Reply
    Debra Apr 3, 2017 - edited

    Is anyone else having difficult with understanding the actual plot? I watched episode one and felt confused as to what was going on, the whole coorporate stuff- who is who, why, what is going on?? lol I love the actors but I moved to episode 2 and dropped it - I want to continue because I love the actors but -- I don't feel like working this hard at this point? Does it get better in this vein or can I just ignore that I don't know what is happening? ;-)

    • Reply
      Kate Apr 3, 2017

      write to me in private message, I'll try to answer all your questions :)

    • Reply
      SuperDrama101ohyea Apr 3, 2017

      me too lol, episode 1 was confusing

    • Reply
      Kate Apr 3, 2017

      sure, you can write to me too hahaha send the list of a confusing things :)

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      SuperDrama101ohyea Apr 3, 2017
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      NaijaLuv_88 Apr 3, 2017 - edited
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    MrBanana Apr 3, 2017

    Already down to 8.0 on MDL?

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    17
  • Aired:

    Mar 27, 2017 to May 23, 2017
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

    SBS
  • Duration:

    60 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    7.8 (scored by 745 users)
  • Ranked:

    #885
  • Popularity:

    #579

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