This drama catapulted Lee Jong-suk into stardom. Let’s find out why.
At first glance, this drama seems to be a noona romance with a mind-reading fantasy theme on the side. But as the story went into full gear, it started to detach from that initial impression. The lives of the main leads Jang Hye-sung (Lee Bo-young) and Park Soo-ha (Lee Jong-suk) were intertwined by a tragedy caused by the series’ main antagonist Min Joong-kook (Jung Woong-in).
Even though the whole series was created to equally tell the two main leads’ stories, I think it leaned more towards Jang Hye-sung’s character arc. She started as this insensitive self-righteous public defender who didn’t trust anyone she met. I have to admit her attitude kind of turned me off at first but I quickly shook off that annoyance as her character started to grow and change. I liked the striking difference she had with her colleague Cha Kwan-woo (Yoon Sang-hyun) and his idealistic view on his profession. I liked it that she didn’t back down against her frenemy Seo Do-yeon (Lee Da-hee). And I liked it very much that Park Soo-ha triggered the change she badly needed.
That was probably the reason I sometimes felt that Park Soo-ha was just a mere plot device for Hye-sung’s story. The third arc of the series changed that for me. It was also the part when I realized why this series put the spotlight on Lee Jong-suk. There were subtle details in his acting style that became more apparent when his character Soo-ha got amnesia (my eyes rolled when this happened but I let it go since this was aired in 2013). The difference with the normal Soo-ha and the amnesiac Soo-ha surprised me. I thought Lee Jong-suk was just being his cute adorable self while he was portraying the high-schooler with a mind-reading ability. He proved though that he’s more than just a pretty face. One of the highlights of his portrayal was probably the telephone booth scene in the later episodes. It was the ‘aha’ moment for me because I was really looking for a reason why everyone loves Lee Jong-suk’s character here. He definitely showed us what he could do as an actor.
The series also had effective supporting characters and subplots that helped stretched out the series longer. Seo Do-yeon’s story was my favorite subplot for this series. She’s frustratingly good at her work that I couldn’t fully hate her as Jang Hye-sung’s rival. What I enjoy watching though was how her relations with Hye-sung developed. Their constant competitiveness against each other and their intense court battles were a very much welcome amusement for me.
I Can Hear Your Voice’s plot also heavily depended on its main villain throughout its run. They exhausted this conflict until the end. Jung Woong-in was, as usual, very much into character in this series. It was also his character’s story development that highlighted the lesson the series wanted to impart. He was the ultimate test for the two scarred main leads on whether they’ll stand firm with their morals or be eaten by their griefs. The antagonist made sure the whole series was constantly dramatic when needed.
I took me years before I finally picked this Park Hye-ryun-written drama. I loved her other series like Dream High, Pinocchio, While You Were Sleeping, and even her three-episode drama special Page Turner. So I couldn’t I actually recall why I skipped this one. Maybe because unlike those series I mentioned, I Can Hear Your Voice didn’t instantly capture my attention in its first few episodes. The good thing was it eventually won me over.
Even though I watched this because of Lee Jong-suk, Lee Bo-young’s character became my favorite. I would probably hate her to death if I watched this in 2013 because that was the time I still preferred bubbly idealist female lead. But now, I prefer those more grounded with sassiness on the side. She grew up and became more mature as the series went on, but that frankness and confidence I liked about her from the start remained intact. And of course, it was Lee Bo-young we’re talking about. She could make me cry in one moment then cheer for her in the next.
The series was expectedly good. It definitely deserved the praise and hype it got. I fully understood why even years after, people still remembered this drama and why it was in their good book.