When I heard that Lee Jong Suk was going to star in a new drama, I was totally psyched. For months, I have waited for his While You Were Sleeping, opposite Suzy Bae to finish airing so I could binge watch to my heart’s delight. As usual, Jong Suk delivered.
Synopsis: Ever since she was little, Nam Hong Joo (Suzy Bae) has been able to dream about bad things that will happen in the future. She has also dreamt of her own demise, leading her to take a break from work until she figures out how she could change her fate. Jung Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk) is a prosecutor who lives next door to Hong Joo who also dreams of her death, and tries to stop it. As a result, he is able to save her and another supposed victim, policeman Han Woo Tak (Jung Hae In) who subsequently begins to dream about Jae Chan’s future too. As their fates intertwine, they face the constant threats posed by unscrupulous prosecutor turned big time lawyer Lee Yoo Beom (Lee Sang Yeob) in and out of the courtroom.
I loved the premise of While You Were Sleeping. The first two episodes served as a hook that started building like a giant puzzle that grew clearer with each episode. I loved the consistency of the story and the dynamics of both the young cast and their later versions. If young Jae Chan seems familiar, its because its the second time that teen actor Nam Da Reum played the young version of Lee Jong Suk’s character. He previously played the young Dal Po in Pinocchio. In terms of the story, I was truly impressed by the way the story flowed flawlessly from the events 13 years ago to the present time. Because of this, the series was able to establish a connection between the audience and the characters from both timelines.
The series had a great cast going for it and although it was my first time to watch Suzy Bae and Jung Hae In in a drama, I was very impressed by their natural charisma.
As a fan of Lee Jong Suk’s phenomenal acting chops in Pinocchio, Doctor Stranger and W: Two Worlds, I was equally impressed by his aegyo in this series. I loved his character’s interactions with Hong Joo and Woo Tak, but most importantly, his relationship with Mr. Choi. He was able to deliver on the charm with Hong Joo, the adversarial stance with Yoo Beom (my crush from The Innocent Man), the protectiveness for his brother Seung Won (Shin Jae Ha) and his jealousy against Woo Tak. However, my favorite scenes were actually those with Mr. Choi. This is a credit to both Jong Suk and Kim Won Hae, the actor who played the role of Choi Dam Dong.
Kim Won Hae’s subtle moves to become Jae Chan’s mentor and protector were so sweet and his reciprocal feeling of loyalty was astounding to see. And this was consistent from their young to older versions. Episode 31 was hands down my favorite episode. I was a sniveling ball of snot by the pivotal scene’s ending. It broke my heart to a thousand tiny pieces. No exaggerations. And let me just say this, Lee Jong Suk may well be the best actor of his generation.
Credit to the team behind While You Were Sleeping as well for the consistency the advancement of the main plot along with the subplots. They were able to come up with cases that really tugged at the viewers’ heartstrings and at the same time helped establish different facets in the characters’ personalities. Even the supporting characters were given emphasis as each case became increasingly more complicated.
All in all, While You Were Sleeping was a thoroughly entertaining and engaging Korean drama series that felt whole and felt right. I won’t lie. I would have loved to add more romance into the plot but the way it was laid out was already very good. I especially loved the ending that was full of hope despite all the darkness that happened in this series. From nightmare to living the fantasy, While You Were Sleeping came full circle. It was a great binge watch that I would definitely re-watch one of these days like many of my favorites.