If you were given a second chance at life, what would you do? I tried internalizing what was the main takeaway from Lee Joon-gi’s latest hit drama, Again My Life. But all I can think about is that if I were in his shoes, will I be able to succeed under the heavy pressure that came with his new life mission? Again My Life had a very strong premise – full of potential and possibilities. No one gets a free pass at life in the real world. When we die, it’s over. But not for Kim Hee-woo (Lee Joon-gi). He lived his second life in full – redoing everything. He corrected the mistakes of the past and prevented the misfortunes of the future. It’s amazing that Hee-woo got to remember every single important occasion in his original life, but that is where the fun lies in the drama. He knows what will happen and orchestrates the events naturally while working under the shadows of other people.
Again My Life is more legal than fantasy. The only superficial element was Hee-woo’s second life, which was sadly not explained that much. The drama focused all its energy entirely on the political aspect of the story, bringing down the power-hungry and the corrupt. Honestly, I had so many trust issues while watching the series. It felt as if everyone can betray Hee-woo at any moment, and the drama even teased us with Lee Min-soo (Jung Sang-hoon) and Park Sang-man (Ji Chan).
The first half was promising. We learned about Hee-woo as an upright prosecutor who fears no one when bringing justice. He is an orphan and a former delinquent who self-studied until he made it to law school. Because of his parent’s tragic hit-and-run case, Hee-woo changed his outlook on life. He needed the power to take down those who were responsible for the death of his parents – the broken justice system, the rampant bribery among officials, and the lax investigation of the police to cover up the mighty. Not long after joining the prosecution, Hee-woo made a name for himself as one tenacious legal professional who goes by the books. He does not hesitate to arrest anyone who breaks the law. Of course, we get occasional action scenes from Hee-woo. It’s not a Lee Joon-gi drama if he is not running, punching an enemy, or kicking someone else’s butt.
But life gets an ugly turn when he met Assemblyman Cho Tae-sub (Lee Geung-young), the country’s living symbol of peace, but hides a monstrous disguise behind the public eye. Cho Tae-sub controls the national assembly, the prosecution, the Supreme Court, the police – name it, and Assemblyman Cho has a minion planted in the key government agencies. To make matters worse, he is also working with corporations, giving him an upper hand in economic affairs. He is the typical bad man in fiction, a dangerous opponent that controls everyone. And because Hee-woo targeted Assemblyman Cho, this cost him his life. He died in the arms of one of Cho Tae-sub’s assassins, and right after he lost his life, he met a mysterious lady who introduced herself as the grim reaper. She offered Hee-woo another chance to live, but he had to promise to take down Cho Tae-sub in his next life. It’s an absurd idea, but Hee-woo accepted it. Who would not, right?
Hee-woo’s new life was everything he imagined it to be – a complete family, a stable stream of money, a good network of people, and a strong foundation against Cho Tae-sub. Some events differed from his original timeline because of his meddling, but most of the time, Hee-woo is still ahead of everyone. The friends he made early on in his resurrection paid off when he battled head-to-head against Cho Tae-sub. My only criticism of the story would have to be the lack of screen time for the female characters, Kim Hee-ah (Kim Ji-eun), Kim Kyu-ri (Hong Bi-ra), and Kim Han-mi (Kim Jae-kyung). They were relegated to being pawns on the chessboard Hee-woo made for himself. There were a lot of significant developments that happened offscreen, with the most remarkable one being Hee-woo and Hee-ah’s relationship in the end.
Aside from that observation, I enjoyed watching Hee-woo fight the bad guys in their own game. The major players in Hee-woo’s plan were all caught, except for Cho Tae-sub. His demise was open-ended, and the drama’s final episode even teased a new season. Hee-woo may have succeeded in stopping Cho Tae-sub, but because of some loopholes in the story, I can’t help but think about the possibility of a second season, where all our questions will be finally answered.