‘Stranger’ deals with corruption within justice system

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : May 31, 2017 - 15:03
  • Updated : May 31, 2017 - 15:03

With President Moon Jae-in stepping up efforts to reform the prosecution, new drama series “Stranger,” with its take on corruption in the powerful organization, could not look more relevant right now.

Ahn Gil-ho, director of the tvN drama, however, said “Stranger‘ seeks to touch upon the universal value of justice.”

“Many people said it would be tough to do a drama on the prosecution. The message we are trying to convey is that of justice, which I think everyone can relate to. The power of the story and the acting will sufficiently explain what we are trying to say,” he said during a press conference at Imperial Palace Hotel in southern Seoul.

The star power behind the project is formidable; Bae Doo-na will take a break from a series of English-speaking roles -- including ”Cloud Atlas,“ ”Jupiter Ascending“ and Senses8 -- to act in her native tongue. 

Bae Doo-na (left) and Cho Seung-woo pose for a photo prior to a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (CJ E&M)

Cho Seung-woo, who played a prosecutor trying to get to the bottom of a corruption scandal in the 2015 hit “Inside Men,” stars opposite Bae.

“It will be completely different from ‘Inside Men.’ The drama depicts in detail what goes on inside the prosecutors’ office and the corruption,” said Cho.

Director Ahn said casting two of the hottest actors in Korea was a challenge in itself, which he said paid off in the shooting.

“I wanted an actor with experience and expertise to play the roles, and having Cho play it was such a pleasant experience,” he said. “In the case of Bae, she has already become such a star that it was intriguing just to work with her.”

Cast of the new tvN drama “Stranger” during a a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (CJ E&M)
The poser for the new tvN drama “Stranger.” (CJ E&M)

Bae welcomed the differences that acting in K-dramas provides.

“There is such quick feedback (from viewers), so I think I was able to show myself as I am,” she said.

In the show, Bae plays a police officer Han Yeo-jin who is all heart and passion. This contrasts drastically with the heartless prosecutor Hwang Si-mok played by Cho.

Si-mok’s world is turned upside down when he attempts to take on a convoluted serial murder; nearly everyone around him has a motive to be a killer, and he finds himself lost in a whirlwind of greed, corruption and personal vendetta against him.

Firmly grounded in reality, ”Stranger“ deviates from the cable channel’s better known repertoire of light-hearted fantasy romance pieces. But the officials expressed hopes that the drama will turn things around at tvN which recently suffered a streak of commercial flops like ”Tomorrow With You” and “Chicago Typewriter.”

Cho said that the new drama will bring both fun and meaning.

“Political messages aside, viewers will both enjoy this drama and be furious at the same time after watching it. I believe they will also feel catharsis,” he said. “I hope someday people would watch these (corruption dramas) and think ‘Yeah, right. Like that’s ever going to happen,’ instead of ‘That’s so similar to the reality’.”

”Stranger,“ starring Cho, Bae, Lee Joon-hyuk, Shin Hye-sun and Yoo Jae-myung, is on tvN at 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The first of the 16 episodes will air on June 10. 

By Yoon Min-sik