I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Kim Nam Gil has been out of the army for many months now and has been relatively low key as he returns to his entertainment career. He has filmed a movie since returning but when he left for the army he was experiencing a newfounded success because of two back-to-back dramas Queen Seon Deok and Bad Guy so it’s not surprising that his fans are clamoring for him to return to the small screen. There was a rumor that he was offered the lead role in period drama Sword and Flower but that never panned out. Now comes the first report that he is being courted and is seriously considering the leading role in the upcoming revenge thriller Shark. Normally I would be annoyed that he’s following up the revenge thriller Bad Guy with what sounds like the same set up, but Shark is the third and final drama in the so-called Revenge Trilogy from the supremely talented PD-writing team that created two of my favorite K-dramas of all time. Resurrection (also known as Rebirth or Revenge) is permanently on my top-10 list while Mawang (The Devil) might even be a better drama than Resurrection though I didn’t like it quite as much. Both starred Uhm Tae Woong (he was paired with Han Ji Min in Resurrection and later with Shin Mina in Mawang) so I wouldn’t be surprised if the production courted him for the third and final drama. The dramas aren’t connected but are instead unique and fascinating stories that share the same “revenge” theme. The first two have been decidedly male-driven pieces where the ladies have played necessary accessories to advance the story, but Shark might find more use for its female lead since rumors have them courting Son Ye Jin. Kim Nam Gil and Son Ye Jin? Oh hell yeah. If this happens I can finally wipe away the abomination that is Personal Taste from my memory since that was Son Ye Jin’s last drama outing. Shark is scheduled to air on SBS Mon-Tues in June after God of the Workplace starring Kim Hye Soo and Oh Ji Ho, which is itself taking over for abysmally rated Advertising Genius Lee Tae Baek.
Part of me is a little bit sad Uhm Tae Woong couldn’t have made this a three-peat by starring in Shark. He’s long been confirmed as the lead for the upcoming sageuk based on the life of Admiral Yi Soon Shin. What I loved about Resurrection and Mawang was how complicated (but not convoluted) the characters all were. The revenge part was straight forward but everyone was written to be multfaceted as opposed to black and white. The directing was also exquisite and heightened the mood and tension considerably. Over the years many revenge dramas have tried but failed to deliver on both the writing and directing fronts (Kim Nam Gil’s own Bad Guy being a sterling example of “hot mess”) and I trust this team can deliver a third time. There is bit of hesitation stemming from their last drama, the non-revenge food-oriented cable drama Fermentation Family with Song Il Gook and Park Jin Hee, which was beyond boring to me. I figure the revenge thriller is their niche and I’m glad they are going back to it. As for Son Ye Jin? She can play angelic princesses or dark femme fatales with equal ease. I will be curious what type of character she will play if she accepts Shark.