Black (2017) by Kim Hong-seon

Black is a worth-watching drama that blends masterfully suspense, drama, action, and romance and it will please the fans of heavy plot dramas.


Black is OCN’s mystery-thriller about a woman with the supernatural ability to see who is going to die soon by the indicative of the presence of black shadows near them and she can foresee their precise way and time of death when she touches them. Black is written by Choi Ran, who had also penned the notable dramas 'God's Gift - 14 Days' and 'Iljimae' and is directed by Kim Hong-seon.

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Kang Ha-ram (Go Ara) is the aforementioned blessed and at the same time cursed woman who can the black shadows. Since she was younger, she had tried to use this ability to save the lives of people that are bound to die soon. She even tried to save the life of her own father but without successful end. This has led her to always wear black sunglasses in order not to able see the shadows and so to resist the temptation to help them. This was until her glasses fall off while she is on an airplane ready to go on a vacation.  At that moment, she notices that all the people on the airplane have the shadows of doom. Without much of a choice, she tries to save them and her life by stopping the airplanes’ take off but nobody believes her that the plane is going to fall. For this attempt, airport security removes her from the airplane which crashes moments later. Following the accident, we find Kang Ha-ram at the police station for questing by the police. There she meets Han Moo-gang (Song Seung-heon) who is a rookie and at first glance, a carefree detective. The truth is that Han Moo-gang has become a detective for the reason that he wants to find the murderer of his younger brother who was killed when he was young.

These two team up- when Han Moo-gang finds about the ability of Ha-ram and her efforts to prevent people’s death. But, this is until a runaway soldier takes Han Moo-gang as a hostage and Han Moo-gang is shot in the head by a free shooter and eventually dies from the wound. Immediately after his death, his dead body is possessed by the Grim Reaper 444 who entered Han Moo-gang’s body so to be able to find another Grim Reaper that went rogue. Nevertheless, during the course of using the ability of Kang Ha-ram, he falls in love with her.


Beyond the main two characters, there are also a number of secondary, but equally important characters that appear during the show and with the one or the other way, they are connected with the lives of the two protagonists. Furthermore, as the drama progresses, its plot becomes increasingly complicated and convoluted and every single event has its importance. For this reason, the viewer must pay an enormous attention while watching this series so not to miss anything and be able to connect the events of the story – or at least most of them due to some minor inconsistencies in the events.

Without spoiling anything, it’s worth mentioning that the explanation about the existence of black shadows and Grim Reapers is quite innovative. Moreover, the aforementioned connection between all the characters, the connection between present and past events and also the revelation of the ultimate villain are all well done. In every episode, little by little every piece of the puzzle is revealed until the final two episodes when the pieces fall together.  So, it’s no exaggeration to say that the last two episodes were also the best ones and that the bittersweet ending fits the aesthetics of the drama perfectly.  


Apparently, even though is not a light drama, still, there are various humorous elements especially during the first episodes with the Grim reaper no 444 being in Han Moo-gang’s body has to get familiarised with the human word. Thanks to Song Seung-heon’s acting and tactics, these scenes come as truly entertaining. Moreover, the characters Song Seung-heon portrays are quite challenging as they compose a vast spectrum of personalities. On the one hand, is Han Moo-gang who is naïve and carefree and on the other hand is Grim Reaper who at first is cold-blooded but afterward, his character passes through transformation.  Moreover, Go Hara is exceptional in her role as the conflicted Kang Ha-ram and the chemistry between her and Song Seung-heon is undoubtedly despite their profound age gap.

Generally, all the actors gave more than a decent performance. An exception is Kim Dong-jun as Oh Man-soo who predominantly exaggerates with his acting. On the contrary, the actor that captivates with his performance and is worth to keep an eye on his future projects is Kim Hyung-min as Kang Ha-ram's father. The words are not enough to express how superb he is and he is utterly convincing as the tormented detective Kang Soo-hyeok.

Black is a worth-watching drama that blends masterfully suspense, drama, action, and romance and it will please the fans of heavy plot dramas.



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Asian Film Vault: Black (2017) by Kim Hong-seon
Black (2017) by Kim Hong-seon
Black is a worth-watching drama that blends masterfully suspense, drama, action, and romance and it will please the fans of heavy plot dramas.
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