First Impression: One Ordinary Day

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Title: One Ordinary Day
Main Cast: Kim Soo-hyun, Cha Seung-won
Writer: Kwon Sun-gyu (The Royal Gambler)
PD: Lee Myung-woo (Backstreet Rookie)
OTT: Coupang Play, Viu
Episodes: 8
Genre: Crime-Thriller, Legal

Plot Synopsis: 

Based on the BBC series Criminal Justice, One Ordinary Day tells the story of Kim Hyun-soo, an ordinary university student who had been accused of murder. Shin Joong-han, a lawyer who barely passed the bar exam, reaches out to Hyun-soo to help him. 

Maknae’s First Impression:

One Ordinary Day is off to a good start with its first two episodes showcasing its gripping narrative, solid directing, and top-notch portrayals.

The premiere episode focused on introducing “the suspect” and the story’s main character, Kim Hyun-soo (Kim Soo-hyun). In the first half of the episode, we saw how he interact with his family, friends, and even towards the strange woman he randomly met. They’ve shown how “ordinary” his day was before the night that changed everything in his life. The pre-murder scenes with Hyun-soo and the eventual victim, Hong Gook-hwa (Hwang Se-on) felt very movie-like. Gook-hwa seems like a troubled soul looking for a temporary escape by using drugs and alcohol. Hyun-soo, meanwhile, looked like he just wanted a reprieve from his exhausting student life. The whole sequence with these two didn’t have any hint that their escapade would end up bloody. That’s why even though I knew all along that this was the set-up of the series, I still felt the shock and panic when Hyun-soo saw Gook-hwa dead on her own bed. All of these scenes were really a good build-up to Hyun-soo’s breakdown and eventual arrest. It gave those emotionally high scenes a more sympathetic punch since the pre-murder scene painted Hyun-soo as a somewhat good person. I think Kim Soo-hyun’s portrayal of Hyun-soo played a big role on that too. He held my attention when his character suddenly realized the magnitude of his situation. His emotional breakdown when he was cornered was definitely the highlight of the pilot episode.

The second episode, meanwhile, dealt with the subsequent process the police had to undertake after discovering a murder. That part was borderline procedural but the process was explained with Hyun-soo’s perspective in mind. The whole explanatory dialogue was told by Shin Joong-han (Cha Seung-won), who seemed to be the only hope of Hyun-soo to get back his freedom. Joong-han isn’t a morally upright character but neither is he an evil one. So I wonder what made him decide to become Hyun-soo’s lawyer. One thing’s sure though, he and Hyun-soo would face a tough battle against the Chief Police Park Sang-beom (Kim Hong-fa) and Prosecutor Ahn Tae-hee (Kim Shin-rok). Joong-han actually described these characters perfectly: “There are no good or bad people here. They live by the justice that they seem is fitting.” This whole mood was also captured by the gray hues they used in the series’ mise-en-scene. The seemingly tainted lighting created a suitable environment for a story that questions whether the existing system could really be trusted and explored its gray area through the “criminal’s” eyes.

To be honest, I just started this series out of curiosity but now I’m quite excited to watch the rest of it. Given that it only has eight episodes – half the number of episodes a regular mini-series has – I’m betting they won’t waste time with unnecessary filler scenes. Judging by how they utilize every minute of their premiere episodes, I guess the subsequent episodes of One Ordinary Day would give us a compact story filled with mystery and probably a huge dose of thrill.  

>>The Best of “One Ordinary Day”

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