Our story follows Ah Jung Gong (beautiful), a nice single girl who lives with her widowed father Joon-ho Gong (Shin-il Kang). She happily passes her civil service test and is hired as a government employee at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. She gets along well with her colleagues and is in a generally happy frame of mind, until one day she has a silly argument with a long time acquaintance from childhood, So Ran Yoo (pretty and sprightly actress Soo Hyun Hong), and to avoid losing face in front of her married friend she falsely claims to be secretly married to famous chaebol and CEO of World Hotel, the handsome Ki Joon Hyun (Ji Hwan Kang).
Actress Soo Hyun Hong playing Ah Jung's friend So Ran, and actor Seung Soo Ryu (from Winter Sonata) playing her husband Jae Bum
Her lie mushrooms until it becomes the gossip of all the employees in his company and reaches Ki Joon's ears as well. He threatens to take legal action against Ah Jung, who now regrets her lying indiscretion, but then he decides that it might actually prove beneficial to him in his business dealings to seem to be married (he's proven right when later he completes a big business deal with a Chinese man whose wife is impressed with Ah Jung's sweet character).
Ki Joon takes Ah Jung on a boat ride and suggests they create the impression of a fake marriage, and while she tentatively agrees to it she wants everything drawn up in a contract, using two large napkins to write one up for him and for herself. (That scene reminded me of a similar one in the classic K-drama romantic comedy My Lovely Sam Soon). He warns her that if they break the contract then his lawsuit against her will proceed as he originally planned.
The inevitable happens with these two attractive people, though, for as they hold up their marriage pretense with friends and family they both start to fall in love with one another. We are treated to some beautiful and sensuous love scenes, such as when they kiss under the falling petals of cherry blossom trees, or when they are doing karaoke together at a friend's apartment and he suddenly grabs her for a passionate clincher.
An old love arrives (left) and tests the growing bonds of a new love (right)
Then suddenly the plot thickens and becomes even more complicated when Ki Joon's pretty ex-fiance Yoon Joo Oh (Yoon Hee Jo) returns from Paris, France after three years and is intent on picking up with Ki Joon where they had left off. They had originally broken up to avoid hurting Ki Joon's sensitive and artistic younger brother Sang-hee (fabulous actor Joon Sung from I Need Romance 3 - who is the real reason I started to watch Lie To Me!), who had been in love with Yoon Joo as well.
Actor Joon Sung playing Sang-hee - love his deep voice! Can we clone him so every woman can have her own copy?
Ki Joon at first feels an obligation to Yoon Joo, who had been very upset at their breakup and had even considered suicide; he tells Ah Jung he is going to go back to Yoon Joo and try to make it work with her. Ah Jung is devastated. But when she tries to move on with her life and date others Ki Joon thwarts her efforts, still in love with her. Finally Ki Joon tells Yoon Joo that he really is in love with Ah Jung. Yoon Joo is upset but doesn't really plan to hurt Ah Jung, unlike love rivals in other K-dramas. She seems genuinely concerned for Ki Joon, but eventually decides she will go back to Paris and start a new life.
Perhaps because of all the ups and downs in their burgeoning romantic relationship Ah Jung resists immediately committing to Ki Joon. She asks for some time by herself to have a breather and think things over. She gets a temporary job at a museum on Jeju Island where she plans to work for a month before deciding whether or not to marry Ki Joon. He comes to visit her and gives her a beautiful diamond necklace, and tells her that when she comes back to Seoul he will know she wants to marry him if she is wearing the necklace. There's a beautiful romantic ending where he sends her a box filled with items that meant something to them in their relationship, and she sends him a beautiful note telling him how much she loves him.
In many ways this is really an old-fashioned type of romance, and I quite enjoyed it, so much so that I would definitely watch it again, or at least my favorite scenes over again. I also liked seeing two actors in secondary parts who were both in the classic K-drama Winter Sonata back in 2002: Hae Hyo Kwon playing Suk Bong Hwang, a friend to Ah Jung (he had played Bae Yong Joon's business partner in Winter Sonata), and Seung Soo Ryu, who played the lawyer husband of So Ran Yoo here in Lie To Me (Ah Jung's first crush) named Jae Bum, and who played a vet friend to Yoo Jin and Sang-hyuk in Winter Sonata). Neither of them looked a day older than they did in Winter Sonata. Amazing! What kind of fountain of youth do they have over there in Korea? Their actors never seem to age!
So, to sum up, if you want to enjoy a nice romantic comedy with lots of chemistry between the leads, and lots of great kisses (for a change!) then check out Lie To Me.