My Name is a Korean TV show that doesn’t need much introduction, based on how Netflix has been pushing it – and I’m glad it debuted in the top 10 (at least where I can see it in the UK), even if it might have dropped off lately (probably because of new releases and viewing habits relating to Hallowe’en). It also probably shouldn’t count as a horror-thon entry, but I decided it would last night at around 2 am when I wasn’t feeling well last night and had forgotten to put on an actual film. So there.
The story, I think, is unique. Ji-woo (Han So-Hee) is a schoolkid. She lives in a crappy part of town, gets bullied daily (Christ, knives??), and rumours abound that she’s a gangster’s daughter, all while police are harassing her on her dad’s whereabouts. Fed up of his frequent absences, she tells him during a birthday phone call not to bother showing up, that she’s done waiting for him. Dear dad (Yoon Kyung-ho, from Itaewon Class!) chooses to show up but it shot to death by a hooded man – right in front of Ji-woo, who witnesses this from the other side of their apartment door. Now orphaned and with nobody to turn to (the police, unsurprisingly, do fuck-all), she goes under the wing of her dad’s crime boss business partner (a charismatic Park Hee-Soon) and trains under his tutelage – and then enters the police force under his direction to try to find her dad’s killer.
That’s only the first episode, but it’s a cracking introduction to several characters, most notably the brutal fuckhead Gang-jae (an enigmatic Chang Ryul), and hard-headed wanker cop Pil-do (a still-likeable Ahn Bo-Hyun, also from Itaewon Class, and whose star is deservedly on the rise). But it’s Han who carries the weight of the show, at least in episode 1, and I can’t wait to see where things progress plot-wise from here, and what choices these characters make and how they will interact.
The level of violence is by turns shocking and surprising (a car door is closed by an aggressor so he can punch through the window to the person behind it), and the neon-lit, seedier parts of Seoul on display (lesser-shown in most internationally distributed kdramas) is a refreshing, gritty change from endless chaebol designer apartments (for more against that trope, you’d do well to watch Strangers From Hell). Add a cracking, synth-soaked soundtrack and pacing that doesn’t waste a frame, and I actually want to stop writing this so I can get back to watching the rest of the show, so, based on the first episode alone, I’m giving it: