상어 Shark – Don’t Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus (Korean Drama)

Shark is my favorite drama of 2013. So far.

To understand why this drama is called Shark, read the dialogue below which can be found in episode 1.

Hae Woo: What do you like most in the world?
Yi Soo: Sharks.
Hae Woo: ??
Yi Soo: Sharks don’t have swim bladders.
Hae Woo: Then how do they live?
Yi Soo: To live, they must keep moving, since if they stop, they die. Even when they are asleep, they have to keep moving to stay alive.
Hae Woo: They sure live a tiresome life.
Yi Soo: Still, in the ocean, shark is the strongest.
Hae Woo: So is that why you like shark the most? Because they’re strong?
Yi Soo: No, I pity them. Because it doesn’t seem as if anyone would like shark.

I’m sure you notice Shark is also known as Don’t Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus. Here’s a short story of the Greek myth:

According to the ancient Greek religion/myth, When Orpheus’ wife, Eurydice, was killed by the bite of a serpent, he went down to the underworld to bring her back. His songs were so beautiful that Hades finally agreed to allow Eurydice to return to the world of the living. However, Orpheus had to meet one condition: he must not look back as he was conducting her to the surface. Just before the pair reached the upper world, Orpheus looked back, and Eurydice slipped back into the netherworld once again. ~Source Encyclopedia Mythica

You’ll understand the metaphor of shark and the legend of Orpheus as you watch the drama.

Who’s the shark here?

Korean title: 상어
Korean romanization title: Sangeo
Literal title: Shark
English title: Don’t Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus
Running period in Korea: 27th May 2012 to 31st July 2013
Running period in KBS World: 17th June 2013 to 20th August 2013
Total episodes: 20
Genre: Thriller, melodrama, romance, mystery

Synopsis (source from KBS):
Han Yi Soo who wants to gain omnipotent power to take revenge for his family and he finally points his dagger to the lady he loves. Jo Hae Woo learns the ugly truth about Yi Soo’s family but she cannot stop loving him. This story tells the tale of agonizing love and the tragic life of a man and a woman.

Shark is the third revenge trilogy after Resurrection and The Devil (Mawang) by Park Chan Hong (director) and Kim Ji Woo (screenwriter). All the 3 dramas are not related but Uhm Tae Woong was the main lead for the first two (Resurrection and Mawang). I’m thankful he didn’t take on the third for I wouldn’t have met Kim Nam Gil. Remind myself to watch The Great Queen Seondeok which I read he made himself a star through his character Bidam. Ironically The Great Queen Seondeok also starred Uhm Tae Woong.

Kim Nam Gil as Han Yi Soo.

This is my first Kim Nam Gil drama and I can see why he’s got so many fans. I’m definitely a new fan of his. He didn’t really do much in the first half of the drama unfortunately. I wouldn’t say this thriller melodrama is as intense as Equator Man but all the characters here are definitely smarter.

Son Yee Jin as Jo Hae Woo.

Shark’s main actress is Son Ye Jin and personally she doesn’t sit well in my memory as I’ve a horrid experience watching her in Personal Taste, a drama which I stopped very early on because I couldn’t stand her and Lee Min Ho. LOL Through Shark, she changed my perspective on her and now I’m a true fan. However, I will still say no to Personal Taste. 😛

Both Kim Nam Gil and Son Ye Jin and the rest of the casts did really well in the acting department. I’m actually blown away by Lee Jeong Gil’s acting. This 할아버지 (harabeoji/grandpa) rocks!

Lee Jeong Gil as Jo Sang Kook (Hae Woo’s grandpa). In my opinion, he’s the best actor in this drama thanks to his character evilness.

I’m really satisfied with the writer’s work on Shark so far. The characters are excellently written, they emote well, they’re fast to process what’s happening, they make mistake and acknowledge them and they’re smart… definitely not a typical Korean drama. I like Byeon Bang Jin (Yi Hyun’s dad) and Mrs Park (housekeeper) too. The Assassin aka Mr Pen Assassin or Mr Clickey is definitely scary and gave some of us viewers nightmare with the pen clicking sound. Haha The only thing that’s lacking is Han Yi Soo’s revenge plot. It’s not intense enough.

Worth mentioning is Kim Kyu Cheol as Jo Ui Sun (Hae Woo’s dad). He’s so good at playing a bastard.

Young Han Yi Soo (acted by Yeon Jun Suk) and young Jo Hae Woo (acted by Kyung Soo Jin). Love their performance here. I’ve been a fan of Kyung Soo Jin since Equator Man. She’s very pretty. Do you know that Kyung Soo Jin is 8 years older than Yeon Jun Suk? She looks young right?

Han Yi Soo (acted by Kim Nam Gil) and Jo Hae Woo (acted by Son Ye Jin). They have great chemistry. And I love the kiss scenes. See the s in the scenes word? Yup there are more than one kiss scene. Hehe

Kim Nam Gil as Han Yi Soo/ Joon Yoshimura
Son Ye Jin as Jo Hae Woo
Ha Seok Jin as Oh Joon Young (Hae Woo’s husband)
Lee Ha Nui as Jang Young Hee (Yi Soo’s assistant)

I love this scene!

Yeon Jun Suk as young Han Yi Soo
Kyung Soo Jin as young Jo Hae Woo
No Young Hak as young Oh Joon Young
Ahn Seo Hyun as young Han Yi Hyun
Oh Hee-Joon as young Kim Dong Soo

Nam Bo Ra as Han Yi Hyun (Yi Soo’s younger sister). She’s very cute.

Yi Soo’s family:
Nam Bo Ra as Han Yi Hyun (Yi Soo’s sis)
Jung In Gi as Han Young Man (Yi Soo’s dad)


Sister and brother… Han Yi Hyun (Nam Bo Ra) and Han Yi Soo (Kim Nam Gil)

Hae Woo’s family:
Lee Jeong Gil as Jo Sang Kook (Hae Woo’s granddad)
Kim Kyu Cheol as Jo Ui Sun (Hae Woo’s dad)
Oh Hyun Kyung as Yoo Sun Young (Hae Woo’s mom)
Jung Kyung Soon as Mrs Park (house keeper)

Ha Seok Jin as Oh Joon Young… the pitiful hubby.

Park Won Sang as Byeon Bang Jin (Yi Hyun’s adopted dad aka detective)
So Hee Jung as Kim Young Joo (Yi Hyun’s adopted mom)
Lee Jae Gu as Junichiro Yoshimura
Jung Won Joong as Oh Hyun Sik (Joon Young’s dad)
Lee Soo Hyuk as Kim Soo Hyun (Hae Woo’s colleague)
Lee Si Yeon as Kim Dong Soo
Ki Guk Seo as assassin (called Clicky by dramabeans.com)

I’m waiting for episode 17 and I’ve heard some rumors about its ending so I’m not gonna put my hopes high. Of course it depends how you perceive the ending. I will be very sad if Yi Soo dies though.

A drama worth watching. 🙂

My personal favorite song is Between Heaven and Hell (천국과 지옥 사이) by Boa.

Photos from KBS.

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