TvN's new crime drama, "Hidden Identity" is now done with its introductory episodes and has begun going into the main plot. Expectations for this show have been high, partly on a Hallyu level due to the participation of Kim Bum, but also because the promotion for the show has looked promising for fans of the genre and the way cable television treats it. "Hidden Identity" has a few key issues right now, but it has enough good things to do well.
First things first, it is important to define the series. While the topic of a revenge plot for the male lead is present, this is far from a personal story. It is also not a character drama, for the most part. Perhaps the series will further develop its characters as time goes by, but it is a pure action and suspense thriller at the moment. This is not really a bad thing if done well, but it can harm this particular series in the future.
As a suspense show, the drama is definitely thrilling. It is exciting to watch the individual situations unfold, the chase for the villains and the tension of the conflicts are very well done and keep one at the edge of their seat if invested in them. The series is quite impressive in atmosphere and presentation and is of good quality as a pure action and suspense piece. While there are some lapses in logic typically found in the genre, they are not too distracting or detrimental to the plot.
The cast is definitely a plus here, with people chosen who are very capable in their roles. Kim Bum does try too hard at times and the series is relying a bit too much on his appeal for the character of Geon-woo, but his role is not one of pure fanservice and the creators also use Kim's strengths well. The other members of the team do not get as much focus aside from the leader portrayed by Park Sung-woong, but they do get their screen time and matter in the crime solving parts.
As already mentioned, a series being a pure suspense action piece is not bad, but when there is an attempt to create sympathy and caring for what is still very superficial characters, there is a problem. The revenge plot and main character's issues are not very compelling, because the drama dives right into the action without having established the characters as people beforehand. They are all mostly stereotypical and the focus on the crime solving parts leaves little room for a more personal approach and character development.
So while the series is fun to watch for what it is at the moment and would work as a film, they will need to make their characters and their story more appealing, more emotionally charged and nuanced in order for 16 episodes of this to be enjoyable. The show's villains have felt more real and human than its heroes at times and this is a problem for a show not focused on the villains. Brooding showers, honorable mentors, funny one-liners and fancy action are great, but they will get tiring very fast.
"Hidden Identity" is a flawed, but interesting show so far. Its characters do have all that they need for their development, the cast has great chemistry and is suitable for their roles, the suspense element is done very well. However, the potential of what is to come is far more engaging than what has been shown so far. As the popular 'Inception'-inspired meme goes, we need to go deeper.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Hidden Identity""
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