International Dramas: Touch Your Heart

Promotional photo of (left) Lee Dongwook and (right) Yoo Inna. Copyright goes to Rakuten Viki and tvN.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I am back into the K-Drama watch list and this was the one that was first recommended to me on Netflix. So, I decided to give it a shot! The drama was seemingly made because of the drama ‘Goblin’ and its popularity. Though I haven’t watched ‘Goblin’, mostly because it isn’t on Netflix, I have heard a lot about it. The two leads in this drama specifically are the same actors who played the side plot romance couple in that show. And from what I know about ‘Goblin’, I know that most people were unhappy with the way the side-plot romance ended. So, in the hopes of assuaging some of the fans they decided to make a drama starring the two. Most people are still hoping for a second season, but they were all fairly happy with the idea of this drama. As I have never watched ‘Goblin’, my opinion of this drama is very unbiased in regards to that. But I did find the purpose for the drama being made very interesting and you can certainly tell that the actors have chemistry! And two actors who are great working alongside each other usually make for a great drama! But, to be honest, their chemistry can’t save everything. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Summary: Famous actress Oh Yoonseo finds herself jobless and blacklisted after being involved in a scandal even though she is found innocent. Eventually she finds herself a role in a law drama, but the only way she can be involved is if she agrees to study her role by working at an actual law firm. She soon finds herself working as the secretary for an awkward and seemingly cold attorney named Kwon Jungrok who wants nothing to do with her. But he may just be more soft-hearted than she takes him for.

The Good:

Female Lead: A lot of times in dramas I find that the female lead isn’t given much plot for herself outside of the main romance. This drama doesn’t suffer from that at all. This is also one of those rare dramas where the female lead doesn’t suffer from blank slate syndrome. She has her own well developed character without it ever feeling like a self-insert. But for the most part, her personal arc revolves around her learning responsibility rather than her romance. While she begins the series viewing the job as something fun with no responsibility, she eventually decides to become the best she possibly can be at it. And she definitely does. Because of Jungrok’s personality, it is often Yoonseo who appeals to his clients on a more personal level. And seeing her become just as useful to his work as he is, is everything I want from female characters in dramas.

Male Lead: Jungrok is both adorable and interesting. Though he’s considered the star of the law firm he works at, the rest of the employees don’t seem to understand why he’s so successful with his clients. Mostly because he’s known for his more stand-offish personality. But as you see his work style when Yoonseo becomes his secretary, you realize that his popularity does have to do with his kindness just as much as his sense of justice. And his unexpected kindness is focused on by the series much more than any sense of mysteriousness. I personally prefer my male leads to be more kind than mysterious. I also loved his seemingly realistic awkwardness. It wasn’t blown out of proportion or made to be something for him to overcome. It was just an endearing part of the character that made him even more enjoyable to watch.

Main Couple: Definitely the best part of this drama was what everyone was expecting it to be. The chemistry. And really the main couple in general. Their relationship is entirely based off of trust and doesn’t actually grow until both the individuals grow as people. All of the moments with this couple are wholesome. One of my favorite things about them is that this couple demonstrates consent in some of the best ways. This is one of the few couples in a drama where the guy makes sure he has consent before he kisses the female lead. Which was great! The show also depicts the couple treating work professionally even after they get together, though they are still working together in a close capacity. The over-all respect that this couple has for each other comes across in so many ways. This couple is what makes the drama good. And there’s no second lead, so no love triangles means we can focus more on them as a couple!

The Bad:

The Side Characters: When I said that the couple is what makes this drama good, I really wasn’t kidding. I can’t think of one other character that I genuinely like. Junrok has a best friend who is likable, but he feels so incredibly disconnected from the story that he doesn’t feel like he has a purpose. And all of the people at the law firm were either not focused on enough or extremely annoying. Just for comparison, ‘Vincenzo’ has a similar cast of wacky side characters in the building tenants and I also accused them of being occasionally annoying in my review for that drama. But they served a purpose in the growth of the main character and they weren’t always incredibly bad. Specifically the boss character at the law firm in this drama was awful. I was so annoyed with him by the end of the drama that I started skipping through his scenes. If you want to see a character with comically extreme vanity that never gets better and always results in him acting like everyone else is beneath him, I guess this character is for you. His lack of decency just got to me and the drama refusing to acknowledge it as anything other than funny made it even worse.

Side Plot Romance One: This is yet another drama with two side plot romances and, as you probably already figured out, I didn’t actually like either of them. The first was between Jungrok’s two college friends, who weren’t bad because they were dislikable. They were bad because their plot had nothing to do with anything else in the drama. Occasionally Jungrok would hang out with them when he was sad, but we could have just as easily watched him brood alone. The show tried to show their importance by having them be Prosecution in a few major cases, but they never really found out anything that the main characters didn’t. They just felt like a weird break from the story.

Side Plot Romance Two: This was between two of the more obnoxious characters at the law firm. One of them was like the even more clueless version of Gaston from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the other one was just creepy. They both start out the series absolutely hating each other and by the end they were suddenly together. Even though they weren’t developed nearly enough for that and it seemed like the writers were attempting to give the audience every reason why they would never work out. I just didn’t enjoy any part of this. I don’t think their romance was even supposed to be cute, because it was only ever portrayed for comedy. Even the writers didn’t take this relationship seriously.

The Cases: The cases at first seemed like they were pretty serial. There was about one case per episode and if it was more plot relevant it might take up two episodes. Which was a structure I originally thought was pretty smart. About half way through the show (predictably, after the couple got together) the writers seemed to have no idea what to do with the plot anymore. So they would randomly bring back old cases or throw in a weird trope-y case that would automatically be solved for no apparent reason. There was a stalker storyline that had no backbone in the plot and was solved after Jungrok punched Yoonseo’s assailant once. My least favorite case, however, was one involving domestic violence. A woman was accused of murdering her husband though many were arguing it should be lightly sentenced because she was being abused and it was likely self defense. Reasonable, right? They then introduce this odd plot twist where she didn’t actually kill him, it was actually a very sweet autistic man that she knew who was trying to defend her. Though the autistic man was still shown in a very negative light. Films and shows need to stop presenting people dealing with mental issues as dangerous. It’s an awful stereotype that needs to die. But then they bring this case back almost ten episodes later for no reason because they realize the autistic man is actually innocent. The woman actually did kill her husband with the help of a different accomplice and it was all premeditated because she wanted the insurance money. Are you kidding me? First you try to show people with autism in a negative light and then switch to victims of domestic violence? If they would have stuck to the simple case structure it seemed like they were leading up to at the very beginning, they wouldn’t have made such questionable moral decisions in a show that’s mostly supposed to be lighthearted anyways. My guess is they couldn’t make a decision on what exactly they wanted the tone of the show to be.

I would have absolutely loved to say that I loved this drama. And I actually really really liked the main couple! My issues were literally anything that wasn’t the main two characters or them as a couple. The plot and the other characters were where the writing crushed the show for me. Over-all, I wouldn’t say that the show was bad. It had some great moments and definitely some very cute moments. But I wouldn’t say that the show was good either, because the writers couldn’t decide on a tone for the plot. If you’re interested in giving this show a watch because you like the premise of an actress falling for an attorney or because you liked these characters in ‘Goblin’, I would say go for it. It isn’t a bad watch. But if you’re going into this looking for a good plot to really draw you in, definitely look elsewhere. Personally, I may return to a couple scenes from this drama, but it isn’t one I would include on a rewatch list.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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