KDRAMALOVE KOREAN DRAMA REVIEWS



Secret 비밀
MBC (2000) 18 Episodes
Melodrama, Grade: B
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

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I wanted to watch this oldie K-drama Secret (2000, not to be confused with the later K-drama from 2013 also called Secret) because I love the two actresses, Kim Ha Neul (A Gentleman's Dignity) and Ha Ji Won (Secret Garden), and I thought it would be cool to see them play sisters, one good (Ha Neul) and one bad (Ji Won). It WAS cool to watch this rare melodrama with these two wonderful ladies acting up a storm together, but Viki.com only has about half the episodes subbed to any degree, so in the interest of full disclosure I had to skim through a lot of the later part of the show to find out what happened (and don't believe anyone who claims the ending is sad, no it really isn't, it's a mixture of sad and happy).

There will probably be few Americans who will want to watch a K-drama without full English subs but I was one of those weirdos, just because of this cast. Kim Ha Neul and Ha Ji Won were actually in the film Ditto together (Kim Ha Neul was first female lead, Ha Ji Won was second female lead) which came out the same year
, 2000, but they had no scenes together. Secret fixes that deficiency in a mighty way!

The male leads were Kim Min Jung (
A Gentleman's Dignity) and Ryu Siwon (Truth). Ryu was a bit bland and wasn't given much of a romance with either lady, but Kim Min Jung was excellent, as usual (he was the male character I liked best in A Gentleman's Dignity), who played the lawyer who had lost his wife to cancer. Very expressive actor.

I also loved the music score for this drama that a nice lady on YouTube sent to me for free on MP3 because of course this CD is long out of print. My favorite track was track 10, so utterly beautiful! (Sometimes I think the main reason I watch K-dramas is because of their exceptional music scores!).



Kim Min Jung in Secret

I really do enjoy watching some classic oldies from time to time, just to see why these early shows created the Hallyu Wave to begin with. I guess because most nations' television shows today are just plain bad, that Korea's exceptional television fare stands out simply because it's far more intelligently written and produced the majority of the time, even if you go back 10, 15, or even 20 years ago, especially to an epic show like Sandglass.



Another reason why these oldies are fun to watch sometimes is because you see a star you like now when they weren't even known yet, for instance in episode 13 of this drama who should pop up in a tiny bit part but Dong Wook Lee from Scent Of A Woman and Partner and Kang Goo's Story and Wild Romance and Roommate and My Girl. (Do you think I've seen enough of his dramas? ;) ) He looked like a high school kid in 2000 and didn't even have any dialogue, but I'd know that handsome face anywhere!


The beautiful opening credits with music

The Story: Flashy Ji-eun Lee (Ha Ji Won) and demure good girl Hee-jung Lee (Kim Ha Neul) are two very different sisters who live with their father Jong-man Lee (
Park Geun-hyung from Sandglass), a plain spoken, no-nonsense truck driver. When Ji-eun inadvertently finds out that her sister Hee-jung is actually the daughter of the famous fashion designer named Ha Mirah (elegant Lee Ah Hyun from Tomorrow's Cantabile), she becomes jealous and attempts to take over her place in the woman's regard, and in the company that both girls have come to work at, Hee-jung as an ambitious designer and Ji-eun as a low level office go-between and aspiring model.



If looks could kill ....

Ji-eun lies, cheats, maligns her sister's name and talents, goes after her executive boyfriend named
Cho Young-min (Kim Min Jung), but Hee-jung only eventually grows closer to her biological mother and boyfriend no matter what her uncontrollably jealous half-sister Ji-eun does to ruin her life. There is also a man at work named Kim Jun Ho (Ryu Siwon) who quietly likes Hee-jung too, but the flamboyant Ji-eun goes after him, only to fail miserably at achieving his attention. It seems he can see right through her, and his feelings for her border on pity, not attraction. All this creates a huge amount of friction and rivalry between the two sisters, and they become alienated from each other, whereas once they had been very close, even sleeping together in the same bedroom.

Eventually a tragedy occurs which can either restore the sisters' relationship with one another, or cause them to go their separate ways.

Enjoy these two ladies: they've never been paired again in any other television drama or film since the year 2000, more's the pity! .