Someone please tell me where this drama came from because it hit me out of nowhere and left me in a daze. What a story. So far, it is my favourite airing drama, and yes it does beat out even I Hear Your Voice. So far Heartless City is perfect. It is a noir, it is a crime-thriller, it is a melodrama, it’s sexy, it’s sizzling…
The official description of the drama goes as follow: After Yoon Soo Min’s friend, a detective gets killed while undercover, she decides to find her friend’s killer by going undercover herself and finishing the job. However, she ends up falling in love with the drug lord her friend was investigating. But things in a drama are never as easy as the description makes them out to be, so of course our plot is much more complex than that.
We start off with the Special Unit of the police force trying to capture a big time drug lord called Scale. They’ve been after him for a while but they’ve never been able to get anything on him. That’s when Jin Hyung MIn (Lee Jae Yoon) joins the Special Unit force as the new team leader hoping to finally get a break through on Scale.
Hyung MIn is engaged to detective Lee Kyung Mi (Go Na Eun) in the Special Unit and they often have fallouts over her work. She wants to be in the middle of the action while he wants her to take more of job desk to keep her safe. But no man can win an argument over a woman, so he just has to endure the danger she is constantly putting herself in.
It turns out Scale has his own problem when finds himself being overtaken in a coup by one of his lieutenants, our leading man Jung Shi Hyun (Jang Kyung Ho) whom they call Doctor/Doctor’s son. (I’ve heard it both ways so yes it is a bit confusing but for the sake of it we will go with Doctor’s Son). The Doctor’s Son has his own ring of people, mainly consisting of his aunt-figure Lee Jin Sook (Kim Yoo Mi) and bff Soo. He is tired of being at the disposal of Scale and decides to take the power for himself. In one of my favourite scenes of the series so far he says to his bff:
Doctor’s Son: “Soo… those streets… let’s swallow them all.”
You can already see the epicness of what’s to come.
Unfortunately things don’t go exactly as planned for the Doctor’s Son. He finds himself backstabbed by the organization’s headquarters, and cut off from the drugs supply. Thing is that when he overthrew Scale he got the distributions lines, but without the supply of drugs he can’t move a finger. Furthermore, headquarters send a minion, Safari (with whom the Doctor’s Son has a past) to frame him to the police as being the sole responsible in the organization’s crimes thus taking him down with one clean blow. The police however can tell something is fishy and starts to investigate further. That is where things go from bad to worse.
In one of the Special Unit’s uncover operation something goes terribly wrong and detective Kyung Mi is killed while she is in the same place as the Doctor’s Son, and of course he gets blamed with her death. Team leader Hyung Min, her boyfriend, goes insane with rage, more so when he finds out that Kyung Mi was pregnant at the time of her death. He vows to kill the Doctor’s Son with his own hands.
Not that the Doctor’s Son is doing any better with detective’s Kyung Mi’s murder. Turns out they both knew each other when they were children, having stayed together in the same orphanage. They kept in touch as they grew up but the Doctor’s Son suddenly disappeared from her life. You can tell that she used to love him, and he used to have/still has feelings for her. If you thought this is complicated, don’t worry, there’s more!
That is where our heroine, Yoon Soo Min (Nam Gyu Ri), come into play. She’s a cheery orphan girl with her own dreams of becoming a police officer. However everything changes after Kyung Mi’s death. Blinded by her own rage she tells Hyung Min that she will finish her friend’s work. He is driven mad enough by his anger to let her do it. He finds the perfect opportunity when Soo Min is arrested for attacking the man who almost raped her. He tells her that she will become an undercover agent for him and in return after she catches the Doctor’s Son she can become a police officer. The only thing left to do now is to accept her present charges and be transferred to the penitentiary. There she would have to become close to the Doctor’s Son’s aunt-figure Jin Sook mentioned earlier, who was busted for drug possession.
Of course he does have his hesitations when he imagines Kyung Mi talking to him about what they’re about to do.
And then we find out the Doctor’s Son is an undercover agent. THE FUCK!? Wait, what!? No, seriously what just happened??? Noooooo. Ok, pull yourself together, pull yourself together.
Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean here I was four episodes in thinking that while he might not have been the evil mastermind behind everything, he was definitely bad. I mean… I mean, everything he did, the rooftop scene where he was all like “Let’s swallow up the streets,” they totally become pointless! Nooooo, I wanted him to be the drug lord, the one who was neither black or white. I loved that set up, the potential impossible love. The angst of falling in love with Soo Min only to discover she is an undercover agent herself. But now he is undercover, and she is undercover, and they are both…..AHHHH my head hurts.
Turns out he became a police officer/undercover agent when he found out that Safari (headquarters minion) whom he’d known since he was a child, provided his mom with the lethal dose of drugs that killed her. And he got close to his bff Soo (I guess now it’s “bff”) and the other people around Scale and Safari… by going to the penitentiary they were held in? It’s like history repeating itself all over again. So basically now he has to get Safari and headquarters in order for everything to end. Yeah well, we still have 14 episodes to go. It’s a guaranteed fun ride. (Please notice the sarcasm).
Doctor’s Son, whom I think at this point we should call him by his name, Shi Hyun, since he is no longer a drug lord, is still upset about Kyung Mi’s death, especially after finding out that the bullet that killed her came from snipers only used by the police.
In prison, Soo Min tries to get closer to Lee Jin Sook, being nice to her, doing her hair and taking her side in fights between inmates. Except one of those fights turns deadly when Soo Min accidentally hurts another inmate who was sent by Soo the bff, to kill Jin Sook. Wait, so bff is not even “bff” anymore? He’s a traitor too? What a surprise….really who else is one? Well there seems to be after all a silver lining in all of this, and that is the fact that Soo Min seemed to have gotten close to Jin Sook after all. Jin Sook is left out of prison before Soo Min but when it’s Soo Min’s turn to leave, Jin Sook in outside waiting for her, even asking Soo Min to call her “older sister” from now on. I would say the plan is a success.
Of course the drama reveals more and more complications along the way, policemen who work for drug lords, and drug lords who works for policemen. Even one of the police Commissioners works for Safari and headquarters. Hyung Min gets more and , more blinded by his rage, beating people up, shooting co-workers in the legs, and stopping at nothing to get the Doctor’s Son. On his part Shi Hyun continues with his plan, to catch and bring down the entire organization.
And that is basically the first six episodes in a nutshell. What a story, right?
The thing that I love most about the drama is each character’s complex journey towards their goals. It can be said that there are truly three different journeys happening at the same time (Shi Hyun, Soo Min, Hyung Min) and they are all compelling in their own way. What I love even more is that each story and each character can stand on their own, and carry the plot through. And really, that says everything about the writing which so far consisted of a complex yet wellpaced narrative. I believe this is the first drama the author has pinned, and my god what a good first drama.
In fact, I can say that I love the separate journey’s of our characters so much as they are now, that part of me is a bit worried how the introduction of the romance between Shi Hyun and Soo Min will affect the drama. The romantic part of me cannot wait for them to properly meet and interact, and start their dangerous and toxic love affair. All I can say is that if the romance is done properly, this will be a drama of epic proportions.
And finally we have, what was for me the biggest what.the.fuck. moment of the drama so far: Shi Hyun as an undercover agent. Like I said before, I don’t know how I feel about this yet because this revelation seems to have undermined all the things I loved about the character. But I guess I need hold off on deep comments on this until the plot is furthered developed, after all we are only on episode six. What I am even more interested in knowing is the extent of Shi Hyun relations with his drug ring. I mean, he genuinely seems to care for Jin Sook and Soo, so whether or not that is only part of his undercover story I don’t know. And does Jin Sook know he is a police agent? Alas, we need to let the story unfold by itself.
From a technical point of view the drama is sharply edited and directed, and although I would not call the cinematography beautiful, it is definitely dreamy and suiting for the type of drama this is. The soundtrack is subtly dramatic, kicking in at all the right moments.
I am not going to do a recap episode by episode but I will definitely keep posting about the drama as more episodes air and as I get more pulled in by in.