Drama Review: Doctor Stranger

So, I finally have a little bit free time and I’ve been spending my weekend leisure to watch a drama last time. ‘Doctor Stranger’ as it called, is a symbolic to how a doctor can be a stranger in the hospital, being Hoon as the stranger at the beginning of a story bcoz he was trained at North Korea. But later Jaejoon said he was the one who is the stranger, bcoz he didn’t acted like a real doctor saving a patient.


It was actually a korean drama recommended by a friend. She said it was a really good drama; a good mix of medicine and politics, and good actors but sorry, I dont know much about Korean entertainment so I have no idea how popular the casts are. But I’d invest my time for a good drama be it Korean, English, Malay, Japan or anything. So I went ahead and watch it. Honestly though, it was very very good at the beginning, but it went downhill at around the last quarter of the series. And because it had such a good beginning, the disappointment of a bad ending doubled, because it was such a waste to an excellent start. It was actually a story about a boy who was a child of a famous Cardiothoracic surgeon in South Korea, and his journey for freedom in their communism political policy. There are four main characters, in which they fought in a surgical competition. Whoever won between Park Hoon and Han Jaejoon could do a surgery for the South Korean president. I’ll give my review to their characters and characterizations which will also explain why I was utterly disappointed.


WARNING: It contain spoilers so read at your own risk. If you plan to watch and wouldn’t like to ruin the suspense, please kindly do not proceed.


1. Park Hoon



The main character. He is actually the child of a famous Cardiothoracic Surgeon in South Korea as I said. His parents got divorced because his mother couldn’t stand how his father is so stoic and workaholic. The story started off as Little Hoon was about to go to his primary school, then he watched the news of how North Korea’s president is missing. They are planning for some kind of nuclear bombing because of the uncertainty of their president. South Korea reporters were saying they have to get ready for war in case North Korea proceeds with the nuclear bombing. So the soldiers started to come out. Little Hoon on the other hand, turned off the news and gets ready to school. He then noticed his father’s law suit on the table. His father is battling with Myung Woo Hospital against a serious medical error towards a man who ended up dead, followed by the death of the wife soon after. Unfortunately his father couldn’t proceed with the trial coz later a man from South Korea cabinet appeared and told his father to go to North Korea. Apparently the missing North Korean president is sick and needed heart surgery and to prevent the war, they have to cure him. So his father is sent to North Korea, and Little Hoon followed coz his mother refused to take care of him. So off they went to Korea and his father treated the North Korean president flawlessly. Unfortunately, later the South Korea told North Korea to kill them coz they know the countries’ secret. But when they were about to be killed, the North Korea decided to let them live in secret at North Korea bcoz they wanted to invest in a skilled surgeon. So there starts his story being trained into a very skilled Cardiothoracic surgeon. Years later he grown up, and in love with a female doctor from the same university, and he proposed. Too bad the girl, Song Jaehee, was captured, by North Korea and was jailed. The girl was tortured to the point that she damaged both of her kidneys, and Hoon did a kidney transplant to her as a show to the North Korea, taking the kidney of Jaehee’s father. Then he spent his life to free his girl, and his father died in the process but managed to get his friend’s help to get Hoon and Jaehee to Hungary. They had a race with the North Korea and with some help, Hoon managed to escape but Jaehee fell into a river, unsure dead or alive. Two years later Hoon returns to South Korea as refugee, and there starts his journey as a real doctor. He tried so hard to search for Jaehee, but later he met an anesthetist Dr Han Seunghee who looked exactly like Jaehee, who turned out to really be her. They had their ups and downs, but finally they managed to do the heart surgeries for both the South Korean president and prime minister. He also found out his mother became mentally ill when she knew he was killed at North Korea 20 years ago, and she was kept by the prime minister. She kind of regretted what she did then became psychotic. After the whole political issues resolved, Hoon was trying to escape with Jaehee from North Korea, but they got shot by a spy and fell into the river. The spy later killed himself bcoz they failed North Korea’s mission and then the prime minister’s guard saved Hoon and Jaehee. A year later Hoon was thought dead by his friends, but was shown to live perfectly at a countryside, still being a doctor. At the end of the story, we saw a car approaching him, and out came Jaehee that they later hugged and finally live happily ever after.


What I like about his character: He has the perfect depth of a character. We know exactly his misery with his broken family, and how his mother blatantly refused to take care of him. And his stoic hardworking father who turned out to really care and love him somehow added to the very perfect melancholy effect of how we view his life. But despite all that, he remembered his father’s will that he should always be a ‘doctor’; which he did when he actually lost his competition with Dr Han Jaejoon bcoz he cares too much for the patient. He is also very skilled, even though some medical scenes don’t make any sense but that’s not the point.


What I dislike about his character: He started off a very skilled surgeon with a very good moral. But somewhere towards the end of the story, he turned into a man who thinks all about Jaehee. He degraded himself into a woman’s man who was being played on her palm. I think it was such a waste, and all the depth he had for his character started to fade since then. Everything he did was for Jaehee. It made me wonder where did those things with his parents gone to? He didnt care about the lawsuit his father had to let go, he didnt care that his father died to set him free, etc. Simply put, he lost his depth. It was a waste, to be honest. He became reactive, instead of proactive. He failed to show why he is the main character. All he did was trust in Jaehee, and do the surgeries to all the patients. Even his motivation to do the president’s surgery is bcoz of Jaehee. But then again, he had a clear principle to be a real doctor, so it was admirable to the very least.


2. Song Jaehee / Han Seunghee



She is a girl whom Hoon met at the North Korea president’s office, shown to be celebrating with him. She later grown up and was shown to be Hoon’s girlfriend who studied medicine together with him. When Hoon proposed, she invited Hoon for dinner to meet her parents. However, when Hoon arrived, her house was messy and empty. Apparently her father was from a communist party so she and her family were captured by the North Korea and jailed. She was tortured as I mentioned, to the point that she needed a kidney transplant. Her father pleaded to Hoon to save her and he’d give away his kidney even if he only have one kidney left functioning. Hoon did it. So her father died. She then fled with Hoon to Hungary but was separated when she fell in a river. Too bad for her, she was captured back to North Korea, and yeah, gets tortured once again. Until North Korea offered her that she can meet Hoon again only if she agrees to be their spy. She was then trained to be an anesthetist and a good spy, then returned to South Korea two years later and met Hoon after having her identity changed, currently being called Han Seunghee. Initially she pretended not to know Hoon bcoz she fears his safety, but sooner she admitted she is Jaehee bcoz she… Uh… Feel like it? They went through ups and downs fighting with Jaejoon to win the surgery battle so that they can perform the South Korea president’s surgery, even though Jaehee’s mission was supposed to kill the president on table. Jaehee didn’t do it in the end. She negotiated with the president to let them safe but due to that failed mission, she and Hoon was chased by North Korean spy and was shot down and fell into the river. Once again though, they were saved by the South Korean guard after the spy killed himself as he was unable to return to North Korea for the failed mission. Jaehee though, wasn’t able to seek asylum in South Korea becoz she has double identity. That was when Jaejoon sent her to China to diminish her Seunghee identity bcoz he had a lawyer friend there. After a year, she finally settled her legal issue and was seen to come back to see Hoon at the countryside. They hugged tightly as they finally reunited and lived happily ever after.


What I like about her character: She’s not a damsel in distress. No, I’m serious. I really hate the type of girl character where she only waited to be saved. Like… Oh my God, stand up for yourself. @___@ Jaehee might seem like a damsel in distress at the beginning of the story, but she fought herself out and even made effort to save Hoon, even though some political issues didnt make sense at all, but that’s a whole different thing.


What I dislike about her character: She wavered… Way too much. At one point she wants to help Hoon, at one point she wants to push him away. She even changes her mission plans too much. I feel like she’s only there to confuse the story. And somehow, I feel like she’s too gullible for a trained spy. She’s trained, but she trusted people too much which leads to lots of mess afterwards. She lacks depth in her character, we dont even know where she’s from. I’m not sure if she’s from North Korea, or actually from South Korea like Hoon. We only met her father once, and we dont know if her parents are really bad people. We literally dont know anything about her except that she loves Hoon and ended up being a spy. She even lacks chemistry with her interaction with Hoon which made me hardly able to feel their love.


3. Han Jaejoon / Lee Sunghoon



Okay, remember the lawsuit Hoon’s father tried to stand for? This guy is the son of the dead victims. His real name is Lee Sunghoon. When his father died, he begged the hospital director, Oh Joongyu, for explanation, but the director rudely shoved him away. All he wanted was a sincere apology, but the director was arragont and thought Jaejoon would record the apology and bring it to court. Hurt with the director’s arrogance, Jaejoon filed a lawsuit and Hoon’s father, Park Chul, decided to help. Too bad though, Park Chul didnt show up during the trial coz he already was sent to North Korea. Jaejoon didnt know that of course, and thought Park Chul lied to him and dumped his justice. He went to Oh Joongyu and threaten him that he will revenge, and then he left. He was later adopted by a couple at America and stayed there. He studied hard and after graduated from Harvard, he returns to Myung Woo Hospital with different name, Han Jaejoon, as a very well skilled Cardiothoracic surgeon. He is very skilled to the point that he gained the spot as department manager, just a step ahead to the director, where he originally aimed for revenge. If he could do the South Korean president’s surgery, he can become the hospital’s director. He thrives his way up with a cold heart, but on his way to revenge, he fell for Soohyun, Oh Joongyu’s daughter. He was later softened even more when he stumbled upon a patient who was mistreated by the hospital, around the same case as his father 20 years ago. He even destroyed his whole chance and effort to help that patient. And he also became friendly with Hoon since that surgery but when he finds out Hoon was Park Chul’s son, he despised Hoon again. Only when he finally won the competition against Hoon that he finally knew that Park Chul didnt leave his case on purpose. Nevertheless he got promoted as the director finally, and gets his hold onto all the confidential documents, including the illegal deeds of the hospital. When he went to apologize to Hoon, Hoon asked him to stop bcoz he’ll just hurt the woman he loved, but he insisted that only Han Jaejoon loved Soohyun. Hoon knew Lee Sunghoon loves Soohyun too, though. Jaejoon later submitted some of the confidential documents to the police, as a warning to the director as well as he finally admitted who he really is. Joongyu still stubbornly doesnt want to apologize, and Jaejoon threaten him that he will let the media and police get all of the documents. Shocked, Joongyu got a heart attack and fell on the floor. Jaejoon panicked at his sudden attack and performed CPR and said he only did it for Soohyun. The director was sent to the operation theatre–Hoon operated on him. When Soohyun knew what Jaejoon did, she fired him from the hospital, coz she didnt know Jaejoon tried to save her father. And even though he was the director, he felt guilty to Soohyun and left. He never liked the hospital anyway, and he decided to quit his revenge for her sake–even if she doesn’t feel the same. He later helped Jaehee regarding her legal issue, while he starts working in a law firm with his friend in America. A year later, he returned to South Korea and went to visit Joongyu for apology. When he saw Soohyun, she apologized first before him. Jaejoon then brought her to meet Hoon bcoz Jaehee is returning that day, in which she was shocked coz she thought they died. There, Hoon gave him a present; a stetoscope. Hoon said that Jaejoon suits being a doctor more than a lawyer and requested him to return to medicine. When Jaehee and Hoon finally reunited, Jaejoon watched them peacefully while Soohyun grabbed his hand as a sign of reconcilement.


What I like about his character: He is, by far, my most favorite character in the series. He has depth and development. We know why he became cold hearted. And when he softens, we know he soften bcoz the patient reminds him of himself. We know why he did this and that. We know how he became this and that. He justifies himself very well. He is skilled, and he knows exactly what he wanted, he even knelt and begged the director to give him chances when he almost got kicked out of the hospital. Some people hate him bcoz he played dirty and even blackmailed Hoon to win at the beginning of the competition. But that’s exactly what his character is. He is driven by revenge, so he’d do anything to win. But love made him forfeit. Which is why he was struggling against his love towards Soohyun, and acted cold towards it. That’s exactly the beauty of his development. And I love how even when he revealed himself to the director, he still wants to accept an apology, even if he didnt get one.


What I dislike about his character: He ended up with Soohyun. Really. He deserves someone better. I’m not saying Soohyun’s not good, in fact, she’s my favorite female character. But Jaejoon loves her so much, but she never even tries to understand him. Not even a bit. Not when he decided to give away his dreams for a mere patient, not even when he changed cold again after knowing Hoon’s father, not a single time. I wish he would have end up with someone else, or just stay single. She doesn’t deserve him, really.


I found an interesting screencap about Jaejoon. I’m trying to search for the other three characters as well if I manage to find some.


4. Oh Soohyun



The illegitimate daughter of the Myung Woo Hospital director, Oh Joongyu; daughter of a concubine. She has a paternal brother from Joongyu’s lawfully wedded wife, who hates her. She was always rivaling against her step brother in everything, trying to prove herself to her father. When she was a child, she stayed happily with her mother, but her mother soon gave her to her father becoz she couldn’t afford to raise Soohyun due to poverty. Her mother acted cold and shouted at Soohyun so that Soohyun wont come back to her. Soohyun struggled to fight against her brother’s and step mother’s bullying and finally becomes a doctor. But she’s not that skilled and was only seen as the director’s daughter. She started off as part of Jaejoon’s team, and at the same time, his girlfriend. When Soohyun gets to know Hoon, she learnt a lot from him and she started to prove herself as a real doctor, not just the director’s daughter. She even switched to Hoon’s team sometimes during the competition. One time she found out her mother had cancer, and she had major emotional conflict about it. And when her mother died, she finally knew her mother didn’t really hate her. And Hoon helped her throughout–Jaejoon was conflicted at this time about his revenge so he only watched from far. Sooner she harbored some crush for Hoon, and sensing her change in feelings, Jaejoon finally broke up with her. When she knew Seunghee was actually Jaehee, she gave up on Hoon too. She even helped Jaehee and Hoon to meet the president. But when she had a talk with Jaehee and Hoon, some bits and pieces she finally picked up and figured Jaejoon was actually Sunghoon. But she couldn’t convince her father to apologize to Jaejoon and she couldnt convince Jaejoon to stop either. Later when she knew Jaejoon went to confront his dad, she rushed to the room and found her dad unconscious by Jaejoon’s side. She blamed Jaejoon as a murderer for trying to kill her father and fired him from the hospital. When her father wakes up from surgery, she was surprised that her father insisted to see Jaejoon, and then her father told her that he wanted to thank Jaejoon bcoz even when he was on revenge, he still did CPR to save the director for her sake. Knowing how much Jaejoon did for her, she felt bad for all the harsh words she said to him and rushed to stop him but it was too late. Jaejoon already disappeared. Later she saw Hoon and Jaehee fell off the bridge, and thought they died, grieving. Soohyun then was appointed as temporary hospital director. One year later she heard Jaejoon came back, and she rushed to her father’s ward. She stared at Jaejoon for so long when she saw him and later apologized to him for not thinking of his position. The next day when Jaejoon brought her to meet Hoon, she was shocked that Hoon was alive the whole year she believed he was dead. But she became friends with Hoon again right away. And when she saw Jaehee returned and hugged Hoon, Soohyun hesitated a bit, but then grasped Jaejoon’s hand tightly, giving him a shy meaningful smile.


What I like about her character: While the other three characters are all inhumanely skilled, she’s quite an average doctor and she fought hard to prove herself to all her colleagues who looked down on her. She showed major improvement from a doctor who takes everything for granted to a hardworking one. From a doctor who can’t even do a surgery into a splendid director who can even teach medical students and interns. She blossomed from a spoiled princess to a wonderful warrior. I also like her love-hate conflict about her mom and it brought me into tears when she finally knew how much her mom loves her. She is a character in pursuit of love, being her life lacking parental love as much. I like her characterization and chemistry with both Hoon and Jaejoon that I almost hoped, at one point, that she’ll really end up with Hoon. I mean, I like her with Jaejoon too but I realized she didn’t really try to understand him the way he deserves to.


What I dislike about her character: She didn’t try to understand Jaejoon. Haha. Joking aside, she’s quite a likable character, except that I still dislike how she ended up with Jaejoon–I seriously believe she doesn’t deserve him. I don’t mind who Hoon ended up with; either Jaehee or Soohyun. But I’m disappointed that Jaejoon ended up with Soohyun. If they really want to let them be together, they should develop them properly. Yes, I dislike this type of forced ending that ruined the whole show.




Rating I’d give for the whole drama: 4/10. I thought I was able to give 8/10 in the beginning, but the ending really doesn’t make sense too much. I wish so hard I could re-write the whole ending and make it perfect. *cries*


This is what we called, a wasted potential. Coz really, it had a really good plot and start. They should have keep it that way. *sigh* Recommend me a very good story with great plot and characterization with an ending that won’t disappoint, please?


I’ll end this review with a saying from a fan that I agree so much:




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