I know, it’s barely two weeks since my last K-drama review and this show is 16 hours long. No wonder I haven’t read much. My excuses are twofold: I was a bit brain foggy and I found this series addictive. From the first episode of Descendants of the Sun (KBS 2016), I knew I was in trouble.
After the low stakes of Coffee Prince, this drama was much more serious, but still sweet. It opens with an impressive set piece in the DMZ between North and South Korea. After soldiers from both sides of the border fight with knives in a stand-off that the public can never be told about, the triumphant leader of the South Korean commandos removes the scarf covering his face to reveal our hero: Captain Yoo Si-jin (Song Joong-ki).
Our heroine has a slightly less violent introduction but is still instantly impressive. Dr Kang Mo-yeong (Song Hye-kyo) is a surgeon at a big hospital in Seoul. She’s great at her job but keeps getting overlooked for promotions because she doesn’t have connections. She doesn’t take any shit from patients but does get on well with her colleagues and is willing to suck up to her superiors so long as it doesn’t break her moral code.
Si-jin and his best bud Sergeant Seo Dae-young (Jin Goo) are on leave and enjoying a funfair when they foil a robbery. The thief, Kim Gi-bum (Kim Min-seok, who I know from Doctors and Hello, My Twenties) is taken to hospital, with Si-jin and Dae-young in pursuit when they realise he still has one of their phones. Dr Kang initially thinks they are hoodlums harassing her patient and refuses to let them near Gi-bum (who, for reasons that I could never figure out, has as his next-of-kin Dae-young’s on-off girlfriend Lt Yoon Myung-ju – a military doctor who trained with Dr Kang). But when Gi-bum tries to run away from the hospital, he runs into a real gang and ends up being saved by Si-jin and Dae-young in the pilot’s second excellent set piece.