Ha Eun Joong was kidnapped in an act of revenge when he was really young by the man who believed that Eun Joong's real father was the mastermind behind the collapsed building incident that killed his son. Eun Joong who grew up to be a policeman, was shocked to find out the truth that the father he loved so much was actually his kidnapper. His life began to get entwined with WooAh Mi, a 26 year old single mom as he seeks out the meaning of life after encountering numerous despairs and tries to heal the wounds in his heart.
Cast & Credits
Once the adults age and the children grow, however, the pacing adopts an uneven groove which alternates between satisfying speed and sleepy doddering. Some plot points evolve merely as long chains of people finding out secrets (or not). Several subplots, related to the main story in passing, are explored over time; these often fizzle quickly without much impact, but the characters introduced in them tend to stick around after the fact. Because of the intense focus on the kidnapping and its fallout, these become frustrating due to lack of development. The "romance" between the main couple suffers from this issue as well; their interactions are numerous, but feel hollow and unnecessary. Each secondary couple, some of which are surprising and strangely built, have twice the chemistry and a fourth of the airtime.
However, punch remains to be found. When something big happens, despite being padded down by the aforementioned fodder, it's like an explosion. Crisp cinematography works together beautifully with the wild turnarounds and shifts in dynamic. This drama knows how to swing emotional weight in spades. There are just too many episodes, with too little oomph to distribute over its course.
Of the numerous actors and actresses featured in Scandal, Jo Jae Hyeon offers the most laudable performance. Whatever the role of Ha Myeon Geun called for, he delivered without question. What struck me most was the veracity of emotion and striking normalcy this character exuded. Because of this powerful performance, my sympathies wrapped around this character in spite of his crime. Ki Tae Young also has a fantastic go as second lead, the "other" Eun Joong. His feelings were openly displayed in his eyes and face without exaggeration, a true mark of talent. As for the "primary" Eun Joong, my first experience with Kim Jae Won was a good one. Despite landing a slightly boring character, he elevates the part with good choices and natural charisma.
Park Sang Min confused me, as I have often heard him described as a talent. As Jang Tae Ha, despite an instance or two of strength, he overacted noticeably. Add to this misfortune the desperate attempts to make him look old enough for the role (stuffing him into "grandpa" clothes, dying his hair a new shade every episode). There are also several wasted characters, such as the one performed by Jo Yoon He. Her Wu Ami starts somewhat irritating, steadily improves, then drops in importance as a character separate from the loveline.
Scandal may count its atmospheric and masterfully utilized soundtrack among its strengths. Silences are strewn throughout scenes, allowing for the instrumentals (sometimes moving, others haunting), to shine when played. All of the vocals are memorable as well, with the best offered by Masyta Band ("I Am"), Kim Jin Seon ("Stay") and The Position ("Last Love of My Life").
Kim Jae Won is one of my favorite actors and he doesn't disappoint. He is very charming as Eun Joong. He has a subtle way of eliciting emotions from the viewer for his character. Ki Tae Young was also really good as the other Eun Joong. His characters emotions are written all over his face which to me is a sign of a good actor. Jo Jae Hyeon as Ha Myung Geun and Park Sang Min as Jang Tae Ha were just excellent. Kim Hye Ri as Go Joo Ran/Jang Jo Ha's mom is too funny at times. Her interactions with the other actors are usually comedic even when she is trying to be manipulative and serious. The other actors are good also.
There is some decent music in this drama. The Position's "Last Love of My Life" really fit well with the drama theme.
I probably won't rewatch this.
If you like melodrama, then this is a good one...just a little slow.