The upcoming jTBC cable drama Secret Love Affair with Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In is about as low key and non-buzzy as it gets. It’s scheduled to air in March after Can We Love with Uhm Tae Woong and Eugene wraps up. Speaking of which, heard Can We Love has gone bonkers and I’m so glad I was banking that for a rainy day. I love me some Uhm Tae Woong but I can do without extra crazy right now. I know the 19-year age difference between Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In got eyebrows raising when it was first announced last month that they would do pairing up for a drama together. But that age difference is precisely the central passion and conflict of a drama where a much older successful married woman falls into a torrid love affair with a genius pianist 20 years her junior. I have to admit that the age difference doesn’t bother me, whether it be this gender pairing or switched with a much older man-younger woman combo, and ultimately it falls to the story about why they would be attracted to each other. Prime Minister and I did it marvelously with explaining the attraction in both personality chemistry and romantic stirring between the two lead characters played Lee Bum Soo and Yoona (with a 21-year age difference).
There isn’t much synopsis to go by for Secret Love Affair beyond what I just wrote, but this drama comes from truly exemplary production credentials. The PD helmed two of the best reviewed dramas in recent years in The End of the World and A Wife’s Credentials (all underrated jTBC gems) while the writer wrote A Wife’s Credentials as well as older dramas like My Love and Lawyers. While neither the PD nor screenwriter has massive hits or lots of name recognition, their works are regarded as quality fare that eschews anything makjang or nonsensical. It might not be the stuff that appeals to the masses looking for a fun watch but it’s highly likely Secret Love Affair will show this very odd love affair in a contemplative and thoughtful light. The first stills are out of the two leads shooting the poster for the drama and I quite love the old world visual effect. It’s clear that Kim Hee Ae looks lovely at her age but undeniably still like Yoo Ah In’s elegant aunt. But to the casting director’s credit, not every younger man can pull off an old soul pathos and Yoo Ah In is one of those guys that always seems like an old man stuck in a young dude’s body, plus he excels at playing rebels so this really may work. Rounding out the cast is Park Hyuk Kwon as Kim Hee Ae’s husband and Kim Chang Wan who is currently lots of fun playing the lawyer buddy of the resident alien in You from Another Star. I don’t think this drama ever had a chance to be a big ratings hit nor does it feel like it was aiming for that in the first place. It might just be a meaty delicious sexy treat and that’s why I’m keeping my eye out for it.