Crime · Investigation · Justice · Korean Society · Politics · Suspense

Secret Forest (Stranger) – New TvN drama


TvN made the right decision when they decided to invest on the recent new dramas: Circle and Stranger.

After having presented only mediocre dramas in the beginning of the year, these two dramas recovered my confidence on the channel.


Stranger starts with a murder case.

A man, who provides sex, drug and other illegal stuff to powerful people, was threatening them to avoid his own bankruptcy.

The next thing we know is that he was found dead by the Prosecutor Hwang Shi Mok, who came to the scene just after the crime and started the investigation.

The only suspect was arrested and, then, he suicided in prison, leaving behind a letter in which he accused the prosecutors of forging the evidence against him.

The case became public, a junior prosecutor is being blamed for the mistakes during the trial.

There are two options: Shi Mok can be accused by the way he conducted the investigation, while being misled by the circumstances, OR he can save himself and his junior, if he accepts to turn a blind eye for the corruption case.

Will prosecutor Hwang Shi Mok be a righteous person or will he give in to the threat?


This drama is not a super production, but I’m very glad because this aspect of the drama is very acceptable.

(한드) 비밀의 숲 2회 리뷰

Because of the subject, I tend to compare this drama with Whisper (SBS). In my opinion, considering both dramas, Stranger is much better than Whisper. There is no annoying background soundtrack, there are not too many dark scenes, there are no bad taste scenarios, there is no careless edition or mistakes with the scenography. Everything is simple but efficient in Stranger.


Jo Seung Woo is very talented and he is doing an excellent job as we expected. He is playing a prosecutor who has a difficult professional and ethical decision in front of him. To say more about his character, I will need more episodes. I will come back with news about this drama!

So far, we know that he has similarities with Dr. Lee Yeong Oh (Jang Hyuk’s character) from A Beautiful Mind. Both have a low mental ability to feel empathy for others and low response to emotion. This makes them very smart but ambiguous characters. [I’m guessing he is an amazing prosecutor! Hehehehe]

‘비밀의 숲’ 2회 만에 시청률 4.1%… 상승세 시작

Bae Doo Na is playing a righteous detective: Han Yeo Jin. I already love her character. She will fight to uncover the truth about the crime and the corruption behind it. I’m cheering her. Well, she is as talented as her co-star and she herself deserves many good words as well! She is natural, she is funny and, sometimes, she is cute too. I’m looking forward to seeing her for more time on screen.

비밀의 숲 2회 줄거리 대사

Han Yeo Jin and Hwang Shi Mok won’t be a more adult version of the “wifi” couple, like Park So Dam and Jang Hyuk. (At least, I hope so). I expect that their relationship will be like the one between him and Yoon Ha Kyung in Chief Kim or the partners in God’s Gift.

To know more about the other characters, we will have to wait a little longer. However, differently from Duel, I didn’t notice any big problem with the actors and actresses who play secondary roles.

I’m relieved that Yoon Gyung Ho had just a small participation here, because – as we could see on Duel – his performance is not satisfactory.

조승우 배두나 주연의 비밀의 숲 1회줄거리, 인물관계도

Shin Hye Sun (the second female lead of Legend of the Blue Sea) is playing a prosecutor in the beginning of her career. I think she’s doing the expected. I think her character can be very well developed because she can become a complex character between her wish to overcome her family’s negative reputation and her desire to be successful and recognized.

Lee Joon Hyuk is trying his best too as an ambitious prosecutor, who is willing to do anything to be promoted. – Nothing new about his character.

My personal comments about the plot:

I’m very excited with this drama. I think it has all the elements to be a very intriguing story. I watched the two episodes without noticing the two hour and twenty minutes I was in front of the screen.

Some complicated details of the plot were being revealed in order to give us a good idea about the storyline. Of course, there are many questions to be answered. The main characters were properly presented to us, but again we don’t feel this is the single face of them.

In short, the author gave us just enough elements to start making our understanding of the drama.

The investigation was good, when the detective started to recreate the murdered scene, it was nice! [It reminds me of the psychologist of Hannibal – US Series. Have you watched it?].

조승우 배두나 주연의 비밀의 숲 1회줄거리, 인물관계도

The trial scene was short and enough to establish the possibility to blame some of the prosecutors involved on the trial. This is very good, because, in general, the dramas fail in depict trial scenes and they are meaningless for the development of the drama. Here, the situation is the opposite. The scene was necessary and objective.

The scene in which the mother of the victim tried to attack the suspect was interesting. The drama shows both sides. The “murderer” also has a family, he has people who love him and he cares about his own family. It was a simple scene, but I understood it as a signal that the author will try to avoid the cliché or the Manichean interpretation of justice. (I support this attitude).

'비밀의 숲' 1회-조승우, 검사 스폰서 시신 발견...용의자 무죄 주장

I’m intrigued: how will he be able to escape from being fired without being corrupted? Will the detective support him if he accepts to be corrupted to reveal the truth? If he doesn’t accept the deal, will he be safe? I have many questions!!! Bunch of questions!

I’m counting the time for the next episode!!!

Let me just say a last word: I don’t think this is a drama for everyone or to watch at the end of a working day. It’s a drama with many (complicated) dialogues, the complots and logic of the events are not easy to follow if you are not paying attention to the scene, the vocabulary is more elaborated. The rhythm of the events is very dynamic and there is no explanation to guide you, beside your own interpretation. So, if you will give this drama a try, PLEASE, make sure you are rested, concentrated and 100% engaged with the storyline and the characters.

My grade 10/10. – It’s an amazing drama.

‘비밀의 숲’, 제목에 어떤 비밀이...안길호 감독과 이수연 작가가 답했다


5 thoughts on “Secret Forest (Stranger) – New TvN drama

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