Hidden Identity is exactly what I need right now – a crime thriller in the heat of the summer. It’s slick, and has a really high production quality, thus making it not feel like it’s been rushed. Starring Kim Bum, Yoon So Yi, Lee Won Jong, and Park Sung Woong, the drama follows a covert crime investigation unit that is above the law, and utilizes undercover operations to catch the most violent and dangerous criminals.
I won’t attempt to recap this show as I enjoy it too much, but I would like to highlight some of my favorite moments from each episode. So far four episodes are out on DramaFever, and I gobbled them all up as quickly as I could.
First off, Kim Bum is HOT. I shouldn’t be so shallow, but who am I kidding? Since I last saw him in That Winter the Wind Blows, he seems a lot more manly now. The closely cropped hair suits him well, and so does the little scruff on his chin and his upper lip. He’s more chiseled, which also means he’s a lot skinnier too, but the tan (or the bronzer) makes him look older as well. Kim Bum has always looked like a child in my eyes, no matter what role and how old he was… until now.
Alright – on to my favorite moments in each episode.
1. Gun Woo is the brooding, quiet partner – but he remembers his partner’s daughter’s birthday.
I loved this scene because it was a bit unexpected, and because Kim Bum managed to portray Gun Woo’s sincerity despite not saying a word. I also like that it sets up the kind of person he is – he feels a lot of guilt for not being able to protect the people around him, and it’s his impetus for joining the Special Investigation Unit. I also like that he is fully resolved to take revenge against those who’ve hurt him all the way to the end.
2. Kim Min Joon as Teacher Jung
Man, I was so excited that he cameo’d in this drama as Teacher Jung, a deceptively frightening man who’s quite high up the criminal hierarchy, as I hadn’t seen him in a drama since his jokey turn in Romance Town. Both benevolent and ruthless, I enjoyed every minute he was onscreen. While his character did not have to be sympathetic at all, I thought that the twist of him having a daughter was a nice touch that did not feel too forced. Jung was genuinely a criminal, and also loved his daughter. I felt just enough sympathy for him instead of rolling my eyes at the obvious ploy to make him a three-dimensional character.
3. This drama reminds me of ‘Infernal Affairs’ – and I love it.
First of all, Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” > Hollywood film “The Departed.” I love the dubious characters and how the undercover cop has a difficulty keeping his morals intact. This drama has strong vibes of that, especially when it presents Lieutenant Min (Kim Tae Hoon) as an undercover cop working for Teacher Jung for the past three years. That’s dedication, all driven by the fact that he wants to take down the man who killed his sister (and Gun Woo’s girlfriend). And then when they put Gun Woo in the “Tony Leung” position, I got even more excited because I enjoy watching the manipulation and the infiltration.
Granted, Gun Woo did not have to do much except look sullen and follow orders, and he did get caught pretty quickly. But it only gives us more opportunities to see Gun Woo infiltrate in other ways.
4. Park Sung Woong as badass boss Jang Moo Won.
I haven’t really seen Park Sung Woong in anything; he was in Birdie Buddy as a secretary, which was nothing like his role in this drama. He is calculating and smart, and just as strong as his team members. He gets dirty with his team, not letting them just do all the fighting, and he seems to be a good judge of character. I like that he presents a very even temper when faced with his boss (who has to reject their existence because they technically don’t exist in official records) or with government agents (who get all huffy because they think they’re better but they’re not). But he is just as driven to take down the bad guys, and I hope he doesn’t find himself in a pickle surrounded by traitors.
I like that there’s an episodic feel to the episodes, even though there are only one or two main bad guys that they’re going after in the show. But for every clue and every turn, they encounter another victim who needs their help, or another minor criminal that they need to take down first, and that lends itself into the idea that there’s a “case of the week” that must be dealt with. But the one thing I don’t like in this show is that I can tell who’s going to die, and who won’t. The cliffhangers are frustrating because they cut right in the middle of an action, but I also know that our main characters won’t die. I don’t fear for their safety as much when I see their lives threatened at the end of the episode. If it happened in the middle of the show instead, then I’d be worried, because there’s so much still that can happen in the next half-hour or so. But it was pretty obvious that Jang Moo Won was going to successfully arrest Teacher Jung, or that Teacher Jung was going to die. I guess by not fearing for anyone’s safety, I at least won’t be feeling anxious for an entire week.
Can’t wait for episode 5.