There are so many reasons why one would press the play button and watch ‘One Ordinary Day.’ For starters, it is top-billed by Kim Soo-hyun and Cha Seung-won. Aside from that, it was based on the BBC series Criminal Justice, a source material that garnered good reviews for its well-written script. My list could go on but here are some of the best things about “One Ordinary Day”
Kim Soo-hyun has proved again that he could give outstanding performances in any genre. With his role as Kim Hyun-soo, he was able to excellently show the character’s fear, struggle, and anger. He could elicit empathy from the audience with his cries and frustrate them as well with his questionable decisions. And the transformation of his character from an ordinary university student to an aggrieved man was perfectly shown in the way his eyes dimmed at the end of the series.
Meanwhile, Cha Seung-won’s unique acting skills added color to his character Shin Joong-han. This character could have been boring and ordinary if not for the little details put into him. His skin disease, his background as a third-rate lawyer, and his dedication to prove Hyun-soo’s innocence because he truly believed the young man was just a victim of circumstances. He never answered Hyun-soo’s question when he asked him whether he thinks Hyun-soo killed Hong Gook-hwa (Hwang Se-on). Instead, Joong-han answered Hyun-soo through his action. And that was very much what I liked about the dynamic of these two characters.
In my First Impression, I’ve pointed out how dominant the gray hues are in the series and it continued throughout,. The colors become even darker as the story progresses. The film-like cinematography in each episode amplified the tension and suspense the story wanted to convey. Every frame tells the feelings and inner struggle of the characters, especially Hyun-soo, even without dialogues.
The Court Trials
If I would have to pick scenes that I really like it would be Hyun-soo’s trials. The court arguments are well-written and I like that they use a jury approach so the arguments wouldn’t be too technical to hear. Prosecutor Ahn Tae-hee (Kim Shin-rok) and Hyun-soo’s lawyers Joong-han and Seo Soo-jin (Lee seol) appealed their case to the jury and I felt like I’m part of it. Even though I’m on Hyun-soo’s side, there were times that Prosecutor Ahn forced me to look at the case at hand differently. But Joong-han and Soo-jin’s rebuttals were strong as well. Soo-jin’s first time as the first chair was also memorable. Lee Seol was so good in that scene that I would love to see her in a full-length legal drama.
Hyun-soo’s Life in Prison
If Soo-jin and Joong-han are Hyun-soo’s people outside, inside the prison, Hyun-soo has Do Ji-tae (Kim Sung-kyu). Do Ji-tae isn’t exactly the type of person Hyun-soo should have been mingling with but he wouldn’t have survived his life in prison without Ji-tae’s help. Thug Park Du-sik (Yang Kyung-won) was making Hyun-soo’s life there miserable and the only way for him to keep living is to fight back. And that’s what exactly Do Ji-tae thought him to do – a way to survive. Kim Sung-kyu was also exceptional here in this project. He was mysterious and judging his character was very tricky. He wasn’t a good person nor exactly a bad one. The same goes with Park Du-sik. Although, I think the latter is a stock character, Yang Kyung-won’s portrayal of this character saved it from being a predictable villain. I actually think everyone in One Ordinary Day really portrayed their characters well.
I also want to add that this series didn’t hold back in violent scenes so if one likes that, then they would definitely get some bloody fights and cruel scenes there.
Some stories are just meant to be short and One Ordinary Day’s plot is one that only required a few episodes to tell. I like that they didn’t try to drag it into a longer format. Having an eight-episode to tell Hyun-soo’s story and how this experience change him made the story crisp and compact. The character-driven script is really well-written and I won’t mind getting another season with the same theme. (Yes, I’m lowkey hoping Kim You-jung’s special appearance could become this series’ second season).