KBS2 Korean Drama 1 Hour Special (2012)
Masterpiece, Grade: A+
Murder Mystery, Mature Audiences
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

(Warning: End Spoilers)

Recommended: Watch The K-Drama Special First
Then Scroll Down To Read End Spoiler Review



This one hour and five minute KBS2 Korean drama special from 2012, Re-Memory, is the very best K-drama special I have ever seen (and I easily have watched close to one hundred of them over the years!). The female author of this fantastic script, Hwang Min Ah, would have pleased Alfred Hitchcock; her brilliant murder mystery story was that suspenseful! I kept getting Hitchcock vibes while watching!

The actors were perfectly cast, including the stunningly beautiful leading lady Cha Soo Yeon (Liar Game, Fates And Furies), and intensely handsome Kim Tae Hoon (Operation Proposal, Angry Mom) who in real life is the younger brother of actor Kim Tae Woo, who was unforgettable as the villain in That Winter, The Wind Blows. As support we have the always familiar face of veteran actor Kim Kyu Cheol, who has been in so many dramas that I've lost count, although one of his most memorable roles was playing Ye Jin Son's morally bankrupt father in Shark.

I've decided to write end spoilers for this drama special, something I very rarely do for my reviews, because I could tell from many of the comments left on YouTube that a lot of people were confused about the ending and what it really meant. I will clear it all up for you, but do watch the special first and see if you can figure it all out by yourself first. :)

The Story:

Pretty and poised Lee Young In (Cha Soo Yeon) works at a modern art gallery in the city. She seems to be a loner, not so much through an active choice, but because she suffers from the face blindness disorder called prosopagnosia. She can recognize voices, however, so that helps her recognize co-workers at the museum, like sympathetic female secretary Kim Min Joo (Lee Mi Soo).

One afternoon, near the end of her workday, Young In happens to see two men arguing violently on the museum's rooftop. She can't recognize them, but frightened she runs off; however one of the men noticed her looking at them as they fought, and he plans his revenge to shut her up about what she saw. Before Young In can leave for home that night this man (Nam Dong Jin) chases her down the hallways of the museum, and she, terrified, tries to hide. However, he still manages to find her and confront her, in an obvious attempt to sexually assault her, perhaps even kill her. She lays on the floor crying and trembling, and apparently blanks out.

When she awakens from her stupor she feels blood on her hands. The man who tried to assault her lays dead at her feet. Young In looks up and sees another man staring at her from a distance down the hallway. She looks at his face but it's all blurry because of her vision disorder. Could this man have killed the nasty attempted rapist who was threatening Young In?

The police are called in to investigate the death of this man, who actually happened to work at the museum as a night watchman. Police chief detective Seo (Kim Kyu Cheol) doesn't have many clues about how he died, except that someone probably cut his carotid artery with something sharp. Young In is brought in for questioning but she isn't much help to them: if you can't recognize faces how would you recognize a possible killer? She does tell them about the other man she saw down the hallway that night, and they wonder if this man could be the killer.

A younger detective named Kang Ji Hoon (Kim Tae Hoon) is called in by detective Seo to help with the case. Ji Hoon offers to take over the case in full. It seems he has a deep personal interest in what happened to Young In because his own younger sister years earlier had been kidnapped by two men and raped and murdered. His deep interest in Young In seems in part sacrificial and protective: he doesn't want to see another woman's life destroyed by a rapist. Then the detectives discover that Young In had developed her vision disorder after she had been raped as a teen! This really touches Ji Hoon's heart.

Sometimes Young In feels overwhelmed by Ji Hoon's abiding interest in her and the case. She just wants to be left alone in peace! However, if he leaves her alone, what might happen if the second man on the rooftop that day also wants to attack her? Ji Hoon is determined that that catastrophe will never happen, so he follows her everywhere.

At a visit to a park Young In asks Ji Hoon what she looks like, because she can't even discern her own face, and he gifts her with a small mirror. But while Ji Hoon is on his cell phone, talking to Detective Seo, Young In looks in the mirror, first at herself, and then at Ji Hoon behind her a few feet away. Suddenly she trembles with fear because she remembers the face of the second man in the hallway the night of the murder: and that man had been Ji Hoon! Was Ji Hoon actually the killer of the man who attacked her that night?

She flees from Ji Hoon's sight and he has to wander around frantically looking for her. As he does so he has a horrible memory of his younger sister being dragged away from him in the same park, to be raped and murdered by two men!

In the interim, the second man (Choi Moo In) who had argued with the first on that rooftop, confronts Young In and forces her to another rooftop to assault and kill her. Thankfully Ji Hoon shows up and kills that man before he can hurt Young In. Young In is in shock and disbelief. Detective Ji Hoon is arrested for the murders of both men who had tried to attack Young In.

Epilogue: At the end of the story Young In, as therapy, has been trying to draw a face while in her apartment, since she'd always been a frustrated artist, especially after enduring her vision disorder. She hadn't been able to draw faces for years afterward. She finally ends up drawing a sketch of a complete face ... her own! She can see herself clearly now and she realizes in shock that it had been she who had killed the first man who tried to attack her! It had not been Ji Hoon, yet Ji Hoon had lied and claimed he had killed him so Young In could have a free and peaceful life!

Will she remain silent about her restored memory, or go to the police to tell them the truth? It is also subtly revealed that Ji Hoon had wanted to kill both of the men all along ... because the two of them had been the rapists and murderers of his own beloved sister years earlier! Young In had killed the first man before he had a chance to do it himself that night!

My own opinion is that Young In was a pretty moral young woman and of course would have gone to the police and informed them of her restored memory about the first killing. After all, it was done in self-defense, so she wouldn't go to jail for murder in any case. Plus Ji Hoon had killed the second man partly to protect Young In's life, but also as revenge for that man raping and killing his sister.

Two lowlife rapists and murderers destroyed. Could anyone shed a tear over their loss? Pas moi! :) 

What an outstanding, cerebral Korean drama special this was. You really needed to pay strict attention to all the little clues in the script, either dialog clues or visual clues. Re-Memory is the kind of unique story that is truly unforgettable. I think all writers of murder mysteries could learn some valuable lessons from watching this drama. I really wish this authoress Hwang Min Ah was still writing dramas! She only wrote two other drama specials around the same time. Please, someone in Korea inspire her to start writing again.

Don't miss watching Re-Memory. Enjoy.