What If the Man You Married Wasn’t Who You Thought He Was?
My sister really wanted to watch this series as she likes the actor Lee Joon-gi and heard it was a really good mystery. You know I’m always down for a mystery.
We watched this on Vicki and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great mystery, good pacing, and the actors were phenomenal. My only complaint would be the last two episodes, the story was really strong, but I think the writers struggled at the end with tying up all the threads and trying to give a twist + happy ending.
The story is actually based on true events. There was a serial killer, Lee Chun-jae, who murdered people in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and in greatly impacted the Korean culture (kind of like how Bundy or Dahmer has did for the US). In fact they ended up jailing the Lee for the murder of his sister-in-law and only discovered he was the serial killer they had been searching for in 2019 when DNA testing came into play. Because at the time that Lee had committed the crimes, he still fell under the old law of a statue of limitations on murder (when they changed it, they did not make it retroactive), Lee would never be able to go to jail for the crimes he committed. He is currently serving his original sentence.
Our story begins with policewoman, Cha Ji-won (Moon Chae-won), who is extremely excellent at her job, solving the tough cases. She discusses the end of her most recent case with reporter, Kim Moo-jin (Seo Hyun-woo). During the interview Kim struggles as his pen constantly stops working, with Cha giving him one her husband made, hoping he’ll go do a story on him. Her husband Baek Hee-sung (Lee Joon-gi) designs pens, jewelry, and other metalworks.
Cha comes home from work to see her daughter and her perfect husband Baek. He cooks, cleans, takes care of their daughter, etc. Not to mention he is tall, handsome, and comes from a wealthy family and is an amazing metal craftsman.
The only fly in the ointment is that his parents hate her, especially his mom.
However, Baek turns out to not be so perfect after all. He has several secrets he’s hiding from his wife. First of all his mother doesn’t really hate Cha, Baek is the one who has designed to keep them apart. He doesn’t want them growing close or else his wife will find out…find out what?
Meanwhile, a death similar to serial killer Do Min-seok, (who was active in the late ‘90s and early 2000s and is based on Lee) has surfaced. Back then the authorities were searching for his accomplice, many believing that his son Do Hyun-soo was assisting him. But the search for Do Hyun-soo came up empty as he completely disappeared. Cha is investigating, and spends a lot of time trying to search for the killer and the last missing victim, Jung Mi-sook.
Reporter Kim is researching and wants to speak to a metal craftsman for more information as serial killer Do was one. In fact, Kim knew Do as he was the father of his girlfriend and the boy he bullied, Hyun Soo. He goes to see Cha’s husband Baek and Baek turns out to be Do Hyun Soo! The serial killers son!
Baek/Do insists that he was never the assistant serial killer but that people just assumed he was because his father was and he is on the spectrum, not having any “normal” social interaction skills. He blackmails Reporter Kim to assist him in discovering who the current murderer could be and the identity of the former serial killer assistant.
This part of the series is really thrilling as we have this giant game of cat and mouse with Baek/Do having to throw his wife off the scent, while getting involved further in the case.
After it is determined that Do Hyun Soo is not the current killer from now, as it is a copycat Cha still wants to try and find Do Hyun Soo. But to me this doesn’t make any sense as in South Korea there was a statue of limitations for 15 years on murder, it being extended to 25 years in 2007, and then removed in 2015 (currently there is no statue of limitations); the decision not being retroactive. The timeframe that the police believe Do Hyun Soo assisted his father was in 2002. Even if they found Do Hyun Soo, they could never charge him. Why such urgency to find him when there are other cases Cha could be working on?
Eventually Cha discovers Baek’s true identity and forces him to team up with her.
The mystery and twist is really well written until it reaches a point where the wife believes her husband committed a crime that would be impossibly for him to do as she been tracking him with GPS (unknown to him) and spending about 95% of her time with him. She also immediately assumes he committed a murder without even checking when the victim’s time of death was or confirming whether her husband’s alibi was true or not.
They also put amnesia in at the end that I didn’t care for; but I still recommend it as everything else about the series was really good. Especially Lee Joon-gi as the main role Do/Baek. He is just phenomenal! The other actor that steals the show is Kim Ji-hoon. I saw Kim Ji-hoon in The Flower Boy Next Door and thought he was a good actor, but wow is he amazing in this. You really see how great actor he is and the range of his abilities. He seriously scared me! I won’t tell you what part he played as I don’t want to ruin it for any who might give this series a watch.
For more Korean Dramas, go to Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)
For more mysteries, go to Ghosts or Madness?: Turn of the Screw (2009)
For more serial killers, go to People Don’t Realize That There are Killers Among Them. People They Liked, Loved, Lived With, Worked With and Admired…: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)
For more films based on true events, go to Father Knows Best: The Stepfather (1987)