Heartless City: Episodes 1-4

Heartless City 2Before Heartless City aired, there were several synopsis floating around giving hints as to where this drama was heading. Besides being excited for Jung Kyung Ho’s acting comeback, I was a little confused on what exactly Heartless City would be about. The teasers also did exactly what they are made to do. Tease. Now after 4 episodes, I am so hooked on this drama that I have no idea what to do with myself. If it continues to be this awesome, it will find itself in a shiny new spot on my favorite drama list.

Good Guys (Most important ones)Good Guys copy

Bad Guys
Bad Guys copy

Bad Guys in a Good Man’s world
Bad Guys Good World

Good Guys in a Bad Man’s world
Good Guys in Bad World copy

Unknowns copy

Important Plot Developments

– Safari deals with underlinings in an effort to make Doctor’s Son a scapegoat. It’s of great importance that the very person the police is thirsty to catch is actually on their side. They [whoever put Shi Hyun to this] are probably thinking the police would take care of the worker bee’s until they get to Doctor’s Son. Doctor’s Son then reveals he is on their side and together {Shi Hyun + Police] attack the queen bee..but that’s obviously not gonna work.

– Lee Kyung Mi dies. This serves as the trigger for Hyung Min and Soo Min’s revenge. 

– Both Ji Hyung Min and Yoon Soo Min decide to exert revenge. If you’re watching Ten 2, you should know how sticky revenge can be. And even if you haven’t watched that drama, the desire to seek revenge comes with a price. A price that Hyung Min is probably ready to pay..but I feel Soo Min hasn’t thought it through yet. If she thinks she’s coming out of this alive…I have news for her.

– Doctor’s Son is actually an undercover agent named Jung Shi Hyun and as of right now we only know Min Hong Ki is aware of that. If it is revealed to the detectives who he really is, then someone is going to leak it out to the bad guys and all the hard work he’s built up will come crashing down. The whole system is a mess. Policemen have a past with criminals. Criminals are friendly with policemen and vice versus. The team for this drama made us viewers paint this whole world black and white as in there is a good side, and there is a bad side, but now after this fact is revealed, the whole system becomes mixed up because of the mere fact that they are human. Loyalty, greed, love, revenge are very nebulous characteristics of human nature that can quickly turn what was black and white into patches of gray everywhere.


I plan on paying close attention to the cinematography in a drama like this. The shots chosen by the director especially in a drama which is dealing with very compelling subjects such as greed, pride, revenge, love etc can be essential to understanding characters. What I love about it most is that a shot can be used for foreshadowing which I like to keep an eye on. Here’s a couple of things I’ve noticed with the editing:

-Contrast shots: Light vs Dark
The recurring motif in Heartless City will be good versus evil, and strategically using light in different scenes is a great way to convey that motif. In this drama good and evil are coexisting, where one abides so does the other. The question is, which one will prevail in the end?
Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 2.25.19 AM
Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 11.06.25 PM
-Viewer becomes an outsider looking in
It is interesting that this outside looking in shot was used for Hyun Soo. I put him under the category of Unknown because his loyalty is questionable. In That Winter, That Wind Blows, Jin Sung was professing loyalty even if it meant death. But that was all until he was faced with choosing between his family+ woman, or just Oh Soo. As the audience views from the outside into these characters, one feels as there is some mystery behind them that is still waiting to be told.
Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 11.01.35 PM
Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 2.19.44 AM
-Close-up shots (SO MANY OF THEM..reminds me of TWTWB)
There are many close up shots of Doctor’s Son which is significant because he’s the principal character in this drama. We are made to focus on his face, mostly his eyes because as they say…the eyes are the window to the soul. Similarly, Soo Min is beginning to have close up shots which means she is in some way connected to Doctor’s Son which we know.
Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 2.47.32 AM
Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 3.09.16 AM
-Side to side panning: When the camera pans, the subject is momentarily obstructed by some object
-Back turned on camera shots
It seems the Heartless City team looooves the Seoul skyline, and quite frankly I don’t blame them because it’s beautiful. It’s imperative that they continue to show the skyline because the drama is appropriately named Heartless City. I feel in this shot shown below, it’s like man vs. the world. I had to boost up the exposure on this shot, but originally Soo and Doctor’s Son were both shown in almost complete darkness. There goes that dark vs light motif again. It seems the skyline shots are saved for characters with close relationships. Doctor’s Son+Soo, and Hyung Min+ Kyung Mi.
Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 11.03.38 PM
Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 10.49.45 PM
Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 10.50.58 PM
-Bird’s eye view shot
A bird’s eye view shot is meant to give the audience power and also implies fate. Because of dramatic irony, the audience knows almost the entire in’s and out’s of this corrupt system. We know who’s on top, who really needs to be killed, and who is involved in what. I was wondering why Shi Hyun wants to bust his aunt out of jail when she might be a sell out, but maybe it was fated that she end up there in the first place. Would this force another face to face meeting between Hyung Min and Doctor’s Son without them knowing each other’s identities? Maybe. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 3.07.00 AM


The script can be top-notch but it means nothing if its executed wrongly. I’m biased since I love Jung Kyung Ho so much, and so I believe he does well in everything. But seriously, you can’t tell me his acting chops are not great. He is hitting all the right notes with his character’s conflicted feelings on whether he should continue this mission or give it up.
Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 3.14.07 AM
Nam Gyu Ri plays Yoon Soo Min and only in episode 4 is where we are beginning to see more of her face. I did watch 49 Days (KANG-AH) and Haeundae Lovers and wasn’t displeased with her performances. But then again, she doesn’t really please me either. Her pretty face makes me want to protect anything from damaging it. She has large eyes which may appear like she’s acting all wide eyed and all, but I think that’s how her eyes are “naturally”. Since this cast is already doing great, I’m raising the bar for my expectations from her, so I hope she just does her best. Not like she needs any praises from me..but Gyu Ri unni, fighting! Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 3.02.47 AM

Other Musings (OST, My Love for Jung Kyung Ho^1000000000)

-To make it known, Smile, You was my favorite drama until Ojakgyo Brothers snuck up on me, but it still remains as one of my favorites till this day despite going wacky during the last 10 episodes. After seeing Jung Kyung Ho all cute and giddy (and muscle-less if I must add) in Smile, You, watching him in the movie Gangster High (which I never finished for some reason) introduced me to another side of his acting. So seeing him act all bad and all isn’t a surprise to me. I was well aware he could do this…but gosh has he stepped it up.

-Some of the instrumental parts of the music reminds me of the drama Hero whose cinematography is also alike to Heartless City. However, Hero reminded me of Batman because of its focus on a corrupted Gotham-like city.

– Gifs: These parts made me laugh.
Heartless-City-ep-1 Heartless-City-gif-3 Heartless-City-gif-4

I say we make an army of Jung Kyung Ho’s that way there will be enough for everyone. Heartless City airs every Monday and Tuesday. I hope you’re watching it 😉

Official Heartless City Website: http://drama.jtbc.co.kr/moojeong/
Official JTBC Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/jtbcdrama?feature=watch


4 thoughts on “Heartless City: Episodes 1-4”

  1. awesome review. This is the first time I’ve really noticed Jung Kyung Ho, I think he was in Time of Dog and Wolf (?) but I didn’t end up going past episode one on that one. OMG, he has to be the most UNDERATED actor in Korea. Do you know the name of the songs for the show? Especially the one the played during his fight scene in the narrow hall?

    1. Thanks! 🙂 Yeah he is a little underrated, but it’s a good thing he picked this drama as his post army project. If Heartless City continues strong, I hope he wins an award at the end of the year. I don’t know the names yet, but someone did ask the same question you did on dramaholic. Here’s the link: http://www.dramaholics.com/heartless-city/#videos
      If you scroll down to the comments, you can find a link to get the song. Download at your own risk though.

Leave a Reply :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: