“Spy”: First Impressions

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Here is our first spy action show for 2015! The newest espionage thriller “Spy” from KBS offers an interesting adaptation of the Israeli drama “The Gordin Cell”. The focus of the series is aimed towards the loveable relationship between a mother and son. The premiere was surprisingly better than I expected: a simple and balanced narrative with nicely directed action sequences.

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I found the show quite intriguing on its own concerning how it was filmed. The handheld and close camera shots really deliver the suspense and the unknown which are the unpredictable fears about national intelligence. However, I’m not quite sold about the drama just yet. I really hope it doesn’t present too many characters being spies and secret agents leaving the story bloated with complicated loose ends, strange confrontations and patriotic nonsense. So far, I’m enjoying the ride with the series having a blend of adventure and romance.

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Embarking into the premise, we follow Kim Sun Woo (Kim Jae Joong), a NIS field agent who is as cool as Bond and as smart as Bourne, on his way back home to Seoul after a mission in Shenyang, China. After receiving a phone call from his mother, his vehicle is slammed by a truck with several hooligans stealing precious intel from his briefcase. The driver is stabbed to death and the scenery is disguised as a larceny by orders of North Korean Hwang Ki Chul (Yu Oh Seong). Fortunately, Sun Woo is spared from the attack and gets sent to a hospital on Korean soil. Worried, his mother, Park Hye Rim (Bae Jong Ok), rushes to her son to see him after the incident.

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Of course, his mother doesn’t know the nature of his work. Supposedly, she is a North Korean spy disguised as a housewife waiting for many decades a sign for a final mission. This proves Sun Woo is a talented liar camouflaging his career from the rest of his family. After a week of interrogations at the headquarters, the filial son is supposed to meet his girlfriend, Lee Yoon Jin (Go Sung Hee) and introduce her to his parents. Suspicions arise with Hye Rim disapproving their relationship after hearing about Yoon Jin’s shady background.

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Then, Sun Woo is assigned with the task of recovering a North Korean defector, Jo Soo Yeon. The reason behind the defection is Soo Yeon asking asylum while demanding a mounted rescue for her dying comrades from the hands of a newly assigned and ruthless team leader in her intelligence unit. Meanwhile, Hwang Ki Chul makes a visit to Hye Rim surprising her and ending the first episode.

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Following my thoughts about the premise, the character who caught my attention the most is Hye Rim. She can be seen as a mother who deeply loves her son and cares for her family. She also has this mysterious shroud darkening her past and she certainly has a connection with Yoon Jin, Sun Woo’s girlfriend, from her hometown in China. I’m very curious about the history she shares with Hwang Ki Chul and why the latter is so interested into Sun Woo. It will be interesting to see making her choice whether to obey her country or to strengthen her son’s future.

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As for the actor Yu Oh Seong, I really liked him in “The Joseon Gunman” and he usually picks the villain side so I cannot wait to see his role as a merciless operative. For Jaejoong, I’ve been anticipating his return on the small screen and I was quite impressed by his performance in “Triangle“. Although, I’m not really convinced about his portrayal of his character. Fortunately, he carries this natural confidence which should help him deliver later on.

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What are your thoughts about “Spy” so far? Let us know in the comments below.