Episode 1 begins with a man helplessly dragged to his own execution, which turns out to be just a nightmare but one that suggests an impending reality.
Seo Jin Woo (Yoo Seung Ho) represents the man on death row and their exchange of words indicate that it is not their first meeting. Seo Jae Hyuk (Jun Kwang Ryul) is incarcerated for murder in cold blood, yet he does not have the slightest recollection of committing the act nor does he recognize the man standing before his very eyes. Flashback to events leading up to the present and we have the makings of an epic drama.
First Impressions: The story is compelling and the stakes are high. I was pounding my fists at the injustice because to exploit a man's already fragile memories is beyond low. This could have been an emotional rollercoaster by delving into dementia alone, but no, that's not depressing enough.
Clearly, the baddies lack a moral compass, yet at the helm is a psychopathic brat who has nothing going for him other than the fact that he is born to the right family. Yes Nam Goong Min can act, embodying a truly despicable human being with a warped sense of entitlement.
The first few episodes are gut-wrenching as Jin Woo's world crumbles. His desperate attempts at fighting back are crushed by men that have too much power with the only consolation being the overused trope of possessing genius abilities to tip the scales every so lightly.
I never understood the hype around Yoo Seung Ho and twisted as it may be, I only watched Son's War to justify crying foul over its towering ratings compared to my current fave, One More Happy Ending.
Needless to say, I was wrong because it is well-made, well-acted and if it follows through, it could certainly be something great.
Park Sung Woong deserves special mention as well after being a veteran supporting cast all too often. I am seeing him in a new light as Park Dong Ho, a character that has many layers, rough on the edges but oozing with charisma, and those suits are a winner!
For synopsis, cast and ratings, see 2016 kdrama listing.