The good news is I'm practically done watching this show so I have more than enough knowledge to give you regarding this wonder. I'll try not to spoil it for you.
I don't really have a genre I prefer when it comes to watching Korean dramas because, with Korean dramas, it's a mix of everything - like Bibimbap. So, I always test the waters by watching the first episode and if it doesn't do it for me with the pilot, it's a no. I'm not the type who waits for it to pick up except in very, very few cases because if it doesn't interest a viewer from the first episode, then it probably isn't good, right? Or am I the only one like that?
On to the main topic, Stranger or Secret Forest as it is sometimes referred to is a Crime/Thriller/Investigation drama that centers around a prosecutor. Hwang Shi Mok, who amidst his very corrupt colleagues, is hell-bent on solving a murder case involving political corruption even though everyone in South Korea ends up in jail. Now, on first thought, you may think this is one of those investigation dramas that Korean cable channels tend to put out once in a while. And guess what, it kind of is but really isn't at the same time.
The protagonist, Hwang Shi Mok (Jo Seung Woo), suffers from a rare brain disease which prevents him from feeling any type of emotion. And trust me, while watching this drama and seeing his reactions to certain things, you may tend to laugh because of how he actually doesn't give a damn about the situation and the confused looks he gets from his colleagues. Then later you realize that this is part of his illness and you are not sure if you should be laughing or not. He even became an outcast amongst his peers but don't be surprised that he couldn't care less. Like, literally couldn't care less.
Being really hooked on the show and sometimes deliberately not watching a week's episode so that I could have more to watch, I found myself getting really familiar with Hwang Si Mok. The extremely rare times when something makes him almost smile, I find myself smiling and thanking whoever it is that made him almost smile.
Police Lieutenant Han Yeo Jin (Bae Doo Na) is a female character that is definitely going to leave an impression on me. For starters, when I saw her first scene, I kept thinking I had seen her somewhere before but just couldn't remember until centuries later when it dawned on me that she was the Korean lady in Sense8. Yup. Her. Anyway, her acting in the show was superb (no wonder she was cast for such a show). She and Hwang Si Mok made a great team throughout the show as they tried to uproot corruption amidst their corrupt and dangerous colleagues. I always think that something would happen between them then something else happens. Sigh!
Another character that left a mark was Yeong Eun Soo (Shin Hye Sun) who also worked in the Prosecutor's office and had her own baggage and had a talent for being very suspicious in almost every episode. I mean, I can't count the times I bet my fortune that she was behind everything. I also think she had a thing for Hwang Shi Mok but didn't know how to go about it and even if she did, it was all going to be futile. You know why? Because of Hwang Shi Mok. Don't get me wrong, he is a very hot catch but once you interact with him, you start to think of your whole life and where you went wrong. He's hot like that making you think of why you're taking up space on this earth.
This drama comes with a lot of gasps and surprising moments. The last person you expect is actually the first person that you should have suspected. Betrayals, corruption, lies, deceits and everything evil are all the ingredients needed to create this perfect little drama. I can give you 100 reasons why you should watch this TV show and trust me, I would give you actual 100 reasons if you asked.
If you're looking for a TV show in which you can't predict what will happen next, then this is for you. You will rarely be right and if you are always right, then you're that guy. Who wants to be that guy.
If you like crime/investigation shows, then obviously this is a very good choice as it adds political corruption in the mix which is what we as individuals see around us every day. So, it wouldn't be something new.
If you also like characters that are not your normal happy-go-lucky Korean characters, then Hwang Si Mok is your guy.
Finally, if you love good and well-plotted shows with chair-gripping twists, then check out Secret Forest. And lucky you, all 16 episodes are out.