A single touch allows one man to scan through the memories of people in order to uncover what they assume they’ve lost in the depths of their minds.
Dong Baek (Yoo Seung Ho) has the extraordinary ability to read memories, aiding him as a celebrity Detective handling violent crimes but when a series of murders are committed, his ability is put to the test and repressed by those around him. Believing the murders are linked to his own dark past, Dong Baek sets out to unmask an elusive killer. Opposing Dong Baek is Han Sun Mi (Lee Se Young) an exceptional Profiler whose given the rank of Superintendent at such a young age. Her methods of investigation and personal objectives, has her clashing and butting heads with Dong Baek at every other turn yet their skills must be combined in order to catch a criminal whose been nothing but successful in manipulating and getting away with atrocious murders.
Alright so I’m a little late to the party but I had originally seen the pilot episode when it was first released and then thought it best to pause on the series since it was dishing out quite the extraordinary large scale story as the crimes per episode or a series of a few episodes, strung together to present the bigger picture. And I have to say that things were choppy, swift, and even slow at times in the beginning, really teasing your patience but by the fourth or fifth episode, certain revelations had your jaw dropping and glued to a chair. I am now at the sixth episode and there are a lot of things to comment on!
I might as well get what had me really irked about the drama so far out of the way! The way certain crimes and incidents are investigated was really poorly portrayed or extremely lacking in a way that had me biting my nails and quite verbally yelling at my screen. I give the drama credit for keeping its consistency with its elusive killer but it could have made its detectives more competent and self-aware of what may occur. I know its only a means to make Dong Baek and Sun Mi seem all the more extraordinary but I don’t buy it most of the time.
Memorist is also similar to He is Psychometric because of how the supernatural ability is portrayed and interpreted but still slightly different as a result of characterisation and the aims of the series since the latter leans more towards the growing pains of a youth and how he has to cultivate his ability while our lead in Memorist has already received medical attention and has harnessed his gift in order to catch criminals.
However, there can be no denying that the two dramas resemble each other in certain aspects although Memorist does tackle more mature content through the crimes and investigation process. At first, it does seem like things will remain light and only somehow serious but the “main” crime of the series delves much deeper and darker in terms of the subject matter the drama is willing to produce. It’s mainly the nature of the supernatural ability through physical touch to replicate and draw out memories and moments from others that categorise the two shows within the same group but as far as Korean dramas go, that’s a very particular niche.
The characters aren’t without their flaws along with their talents, making them more realistic and not always as levelheaded so your impressions of them are always changing, sometimes at extreme ends and for all it’s worth, make the drama all the more entertaining as well as frustrating. Dong Baek may be irrational at times and lets his emotions control him but he is a good Detective nevertheless, so the backlash he receives for simply doing his job in certain situations that demand quick action is a little puzzling.This is probably a way for the show to configure the cons of an intrusion of one’s memory and whether they should be tampered with but it does aid the Police overall, to get the crooks in prison. This being the case, Dong Baek isn’t a novel character but Yoo Seung Ho does breathe life into Dong Baek’s most vulnerable moments and executes the action sequences with ease.
Sun Mi on the other hand, is more of an enigma in the sense that she’s very closed off and fairly emotionless but it takes several episodes of her in action to understand her motivations and the deeper convictions of her character. She’s probably one of the few people who aren’t afraid of Dong Baek’s touch and it puzzles him and everyone else. It may be because she has nothing to hide, lost memories that can’t even be recovered from the recesses of her mind, or is willing to lay it all bare. It’s nice to finally see Lee Se Young in a leading role since she quite literally stole the show in Hwayugi with her performance and I’m going to go the mile and be that person and say, it was one of the very few things worth enjoying and remembering from that series. And the two leads combined, we’re given child actors who have cemented their acting abilities from their previous roles.
Once the show does pick up in terms of where its actually going, it does become more enjoyable and more of a high-stakes series. The introduction of a cult leader in particular, is where the hot trail leads and the case becomes more complex and astounding. It’s all about building layers for this show, and it’s this flair that has me forgiving the drama for its weaknesses. There is also no ounce of romance, the material of the show solely fixated on the crimes although considering it is a K-drama, there might be allusions to it but I wouldn’t keep my hopes up since it looks at two people acting within their given professions and battling with their own demons so the chemistry is conveyed through team work and the talents coming together for a manhunt, a supernatural gift thrown into the mix.
The real charms and cliffhangers of the series make this drama worthwhile, and not wanting to ruin anything, I’d say give the drama a chance and be patient with it because its been one of the rare crime dramas this year that’s unique and engrossing.
Realase Date: March 11, 2020 (Eng Sub available on Viki)