My first ever completed and accomplished KPOP drama series!
I am always fascinated with law and order plots because such genre helps you think critically, thereby, letting you participate in the “watching process.” Remember (War of the Son) is one of those few series I patiently watched, and yes, its full 20 series til the wee hours of the morning. Why wouldn’t I be, instead of me crying myself to sleep because I was too sad missing my homies? Indeed I indulged myself to KPOP drama because I needed to calm down from the daily anxieties of living overseas.
Anyway, the series was aired in 2015 and it gained traction in no time. In fact, it was nominated for Baeksang Arts Award for Most Popular Male in Television and Leading Actor (both for Namgoong Min) and Baeksang Arts Award for Most Popular Female in Television for Park Min-young. But what makes Remember (War of the Son) a good KPOP drama series is its well-crafted story.
A fateful accident caused two families’ struggle to survive against all odds.
Born from a very poor family, Seo Jin-woo (played by Yoo Seung-ho) is born with an ability to remember everything, a special condition called Hyperthymesia or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) while his father suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Yes, what the father forgets, the son remembers. Isn’t that an interesting watch to begin with? Absolutely.
Years ago, Jin-woo’s family had a car accident. It was a happy day for the whole family of 4 back then. His father, Seo Jae-Hyuk (played by Jun Kwang-ryul), was driving that day when a fateful accident with a water delivery truck hit their car, causing the death of his wife and his other son. The truck driver also died, his son Park Dong-ho (played by Park Sung-woo), who was in the passenger seat that day, was then adopted by his father’s friend (Lee Won-jong).
Both victims of that fateful accident, Jin-woo and Dong-ho have been visiting the same memorial places on the same day every year, where their parents were laid to rest. Both however did not know each other nor has had any idea how their parents died. Meanwhile, Jin-woo who has observed Dong-ho visited his father’s memorial space, have remembered all his stories about his accomplishment, specifically when he acquired the license as a lawyer.
Years passed when, another twisted turn of events let the two met, this time, in a courtroom when Jin-woo’s father was framed for a crime he never committed. Jin-woo sought the Dong-ho’s assistance, who, at that time, has been regarded as a prominent criminal lawyer.
The Frame Up
Jin-woo’s father, Jae-Hyuk was on his way to his home after a tiring day at the villa. Out of his forgetfulness, he passed by to a phone shop and bought another phone for Jin-woo, without realizing it actually. On his way home, he got lost and saw a dead body in the woods in that wee hours of the morning. He tried to wake up the dead girl but police came and caught him for questioning.
Out of stress, anxiety and Alzheimer’s attack, Jae-Hyuk could not justify himself eloquently as to the reason why he was in the woods that time. He could not even remember why and what exactly he did hours before finding the dead girl’s body. Jae-Hyuk was convicted of murder and was sentenced to death penalty.
His son, Jin-woo, has been desperate to free his father and struggled to earn money to hire Dong-ho. Little did he know, Dong-ho’s uncle Lee Won-jong has been working with the Il-Ho company, that the Owner’s son was the same person who killed the girl in the woods. Dong-ho knew from the very beginning that Jin-woo will lose his case that is why he was apprehensive in taking the case to court. However, the latter saw Jin-woo’s determination to fight for what is right and free his father from the prison. Dong-ho also saw the same determination he had during his younger years so took heart to carefully study Jin-woo’s case and accepted him as his client.
Unfortunately, the struggle for both was too difficult as Dong-ho tried harder to get away from his Uncle’s request to drop the case as he would not want Il-Ho to hurt him. To favor his uncle, Dong-ho chose to lose the case, causing anger and frustration to Jin-woo. Dong-ho would then regret his decision and admit his guilt for not helping Jin-woo and standing for what is right.
After 5 years, news about a young and brilliant lawyer is all over the media. It was Jin-woo, who, after losing their case years ago, studied law and has passed the bar examination. His goal is to reopen his father’s case and clear his name once and for all.
Reaching the Verdict
Sure, it was a hard work for Jin-woo. He even came face to face with Dong-ho in the court room and he has been successful in defending his clients, free of charge. He does this because he knew that his clients are poor people and cannot afford a lawyer’s fee. Unfortunately, Jae-Hyuk passed away before Jin-woo re-opened the case for the 2nd time. Consequently, Jin-woo promised to avenge and clear his father’s name amidst his death.
During the course of Jin-woo’s investigations and Dong-ho’s realization, both lawyers learned how their lives intertwined, connected by the very accident Dong-ho’s father caused. Upon learning the facts, Dong-ho vowed to help Jin-woo to put Nam Gyu-man (played by Namgoong Min), the spoiled brat son of Chairman Nam Il-ho (played by Han Jin-hee) on trial for the crimes he committed. Dong-ho is doing this to atone for his father’s mistakes and for him as well.
Don’t we all love a happy ending? Remember (War of the Son) series has ended beautifully. Jin-woo’s father has been cleared of the crime he never committed, Il-ho company has been put into tight scrutiny and all the abuses the company committed and was given sanctions, Nam Gyu-man’s crimes were made public resulting to lifetime imprisonment.
However, Jin-woo’s memory quickly deteriorates while defending his father’s name. Due to extreme anxiety and stress, he started to manifest a progressive Alzheimer’s. Realizing how short his time is before he completely forget everything, he made sure that his father has been vindicated, and made arrangements to hand over his firm to Dong-ho on a one condition: to honor their agreement to continue fight for what is good and continue to adhere justice, and help those who require representation in the courtroom for minimal cost or free. Jin-woo also distanced himself from his beloved Lee In-ah (played by Park Min-young) but left a lot of clues Lee In-ah could see to remind her of his presence. And yes, Lee In-ah made a promise that she will do her best to make every minute count, at least help Jin-woo to remember how beautiful their life can be.
What’s my take on this series?
Two thumbs up! I liked the plot, the twist and the of course, the intense emotion. Court room drama and series are not easy to comprehend especially the terminologies and the like. However, Remember (War of the Son) is a well-crafted series with a lighter approach so audience could understand the whole story. I was so carried away with Jin-woo’s pain and resilience. I have observed the guilt and regret in Dong-ho’s character, well done really! And I should not forget also Lee Won-jong’s performance as Dong-ho’s gangster uncle. Seriously, regret will bring you to where you would never wanted to be in life. That’s how I’ve see the whole plot of this story.
I think, on the other hand, Lee In-ah’s character is too light for this series. I was thinking that a more serious-looking actress would be a perfect fit. Don’t get me wrong, I love Park Min-young and have watched her other series (I will write my reviews soon) but I think very serious plots like this is way too far from her usual rom-com series. And maybe I like her more doing wholesome, fun and rom-coms. 🙂
On a more serious note, Remember (War of the Son) has portrayed an ever increasing issue related to the painful truth about Alzheimer’s, how family members suffer when one’s memories started to fade. There was also this ongoing issue on the vulnerability of the poor when comes to defending their rights, their pride and dignity versus the wealthy people’s way of dealing, almost “buying the law” for their benefits. Lastly, the “justice will prevail” moment was there despite the heartbreaking moments, justice has been served, on time.
Watch out for my next review: Goblin: The Lonely and Great God starring Gong Yoo.