Wanted: Series Review

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This series started out so strong. I feel that the drama was afflicted by some production and scheduling troubles (delaying the last two episodes for Olympics did not help its momentum probably), but more so by the revelation of the “big bad.” I dragged my heels in watching the following episodes after I saw episode 12, so now that I’m super behind I’m going to just talk about the series overall and what I thought of the last few episodes. (Yes, there are spoilers.)

Quick Rundown of episodes 12-16

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We discover the mastermind of all this is actually Joon Goo, who started this show as a means of getting his exposé finally on air. Going through normal means of revealing SG Group’s evil by pitching to a TV network and getting approval would have slowed down the process. It’s revealed that his wife, when pregnant with their first child, died because of the chemicals found in SG Group’s air purifier-and-humidifier machine.

Ji Eun’s father knew about this and was killed for it, and Young Hyun’s family was destroyed because of it. His brother Jae Hyun tried to expose it with Tae Young’s help, and Hye In tried to stop it from happening. Her only crime in all this is trying to protect the family she wanted to start with Tae Young in France, and while it’s not as severe as other people’s, she does end up apologizing to all the victims who have suffered from the illness since for it. She didn’t want Tae Young to expose SG Group’s crimes and thus risk his freedom, but Tae Young was killed by his brother anyways.

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Joon Goo eventually kidnaps Tae Suk and locks him in a freezer with the chemical that killed his wife being released in the air, only they end up in a scuffle and Tae Suk accidentally stabs Joon Goo. Joon Goo is arrested and held on lockdown in the hospital while Tae Suk has to now mitigate the media fallout. Hye In gets her ex-brother-in-law on air to try to pin him down for his crimes, but he’s a slippery eel and good at manipulating things to his favor. That is until Hye In gets Jung Ho’s recording of Tae Suk talking to Jo Nam Chul about Tae Young’s death. How did Jung Ho get that? Because he has the dirt on everyone.

So in the end, all is right in the world. Most importantly, Hye In also gets her son back after a frantic chase through the bus terminal, racing against Tae Suk’s men to reach her son first. Dong Wook and team use their cameras to prevent Tae Suk’s men from getting involved, which was probably one of the most brilliant scenes in the drama.

Overall Thoughts on the Drama

Wanted had a really unique set up where we had to basically watch in near real time how Hye In was going to get her son back through a reality show. It had all the makings for a really good thriller.

My biggest problem is that I did not like the reveal on the villain, and how the pacing of the show died down towards the latter half of the show. I did not like some of Hye In’s later missions because I felt it was starting to be very vague and trying to involve more people than I thought was necessary. This could be explained by the fact that perhaps the mastermind was becoming more desperate and had a few screws loose with things not going his way. My problems with Wanted towards the latter half could also be because I felt very partial and biased towards my theory on who was behind it all, which is a bit faulty as a viewer because no matter what happens I will always feel like it’s not good enough. (Rarely has a series exceeded my expectations and turned out way better than I have hoped.)

I felt that Uhm Tae Woong could have been used a little more effectively with Park Hyo Joo, especially since they constantly butted heads regarding the moral direction of the show. I wish I saw more of Park Hae Joon, Kim Sun Young, and Lee Seung Joon – their characters become mere plot devices that were leveraged only when useful. They were not fully-fleshed out characters on their own, even though they could be. Bae Yoo Ram‘s storyline fell incredibly flat and went almost nowhere, and he barely suffered from the fact that he was a stalker. It was a bit disappointing to see a good cast underused, and I think it was a big problem on the writer’s part. Ji Hyun Woo did well in his role, and I think Kim Ah Joong could have been better; I could not get past her acting weak in one scene and then acting strong and calculating the next. It was inconsistent and the transition never felt fluid enough. It doesn’t help that her plastic surgery has gotten more distracting over the years… This show was rushed – its air date was pushed up and they were racing against time to complete each episode, and I think it eventually hurt the drama overall.

I will give Wanted credit though for making this set up of “kidnapping case reality show” more than just a straight up “whodunnit” thriller. There was actually a conspiracy behind it all, and the conspiracy was quite compelling. I was sold on the whole “evil corporation hides its role in poisoning millions of unsuspecting people.” I was just not sold on the motivation and the follow through.

Verdict: You might enjoy the “mission of the week” aspect, but it’s best to binge through this if you really want a crime drama. It doesn’t quite hold up the suspense to the end. 4.5/10

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