“Ghost” (aka “Phantom”) (유령)

Ghost-Poster-3

By Jae-Ha Kim
jaehakim.com
January 18, 2016

2.5 stars

Kim Woo Hyun / Park Ki Young (played by So Ji-Sub)
Yoo Kang Mi (played by Lee Yeon-Hee)
Kwon Hyuk Joo (played by Kwak Do-Won)

Note: Korean names denote the surname followed by the given name.

“My motto is, ‘Don’t believe anything with a mouth.'”

That’s sound advice, coming from Kwon Hyuk Joo (aka Crazy Cow), the head of the cyber unit. And that’s also good advice when trying to figure out who’s telling the truth in this 2012 police procedural.

The series starts with the apparent suicide of a starlet, online hacking and police corruption. And at the end of its 20-episode run, it ends with another suicide. Most of the mysteries have been resolved and there appears to be a happily ever after finale for the main characters.

Ghost 2

—————–Former classmates Ki Young (Daniel Choi) and Woo Hyun (So Ji Sub) face off.

At the police academy, Woo Hyun and Ki Young were best friends and at the top of their class. A computer whiz, Ki Young stumbled upon coded files that revealed corruption within the police force, including Woo Hyun’s father. Kicked out of the academy, Ki Young disappears.

When they meet again, they are both in their early 30s and neither is who he appears to be. They are both painted as good, then bad and then … fate intervenes.

Daniel Choi as

——————————————–0Daniel Choi as Park Ki Young.

Spoiler alert: Although I hate to do a spoiler alert this early in the review, it’s necessary since it’s an essential plot throughout the series. Also, the showrunners reveal this pretty early on in the series, so I don’t feel too badly about it.

Anyhow, both become victims of the starlet’s murderer in a fiery “accident” that leaves Woo Hyun dead and Ki Young severely injured. Thanks to a mixup in the nametags, the rescuers believe that Ki Young is actually Woo Hyun. Doctors perform cosmetic surgery to restore him to his (Woo Hyun’s) original looks. And Ki Young vows to avenge Woo Hyun’s death.

Would this happen in real life? No. Daniel Choi (the actor playing Ki Young) is handsome, as is So Ji-Sub (who plays Woo Hyun, and then Ki Young pretending to be Woo Hyun). But not even the most talented plastic surgeon could make a disfigured man look exactly like So Ji Sub — er, I mean — Woo Hyun.

So Ji Sub_bwSpeaking of So’s looks, his features weren’t always considered handsome. According to a 2008 article in the Chosun Ilbo, So’s manager tried to get him (early in his career) to undergo plastic surgery to enlarge his eyes. He didn’t. And he’s a huge international star (not necessarily in the U.S., but there are countries besides ours, so…).

I remember my father used to show me portraits of people who were considered beautiful during his childhood. Back then, having smaller, less round eyes was the standard of beauty.

I’m not against cosmetic surgery if that’s something people really want to do. But there’s also value in seeing beauty in what’s already there.

And, frankly, look at him. His eyes are just fine. They also set him apart from some of his younger colleagues, who tend to have the same, cutesy look onscreen.

Back to the series. Faster than you can say Ctrl Alt Del, Ki Young and his cyber team are on it to try to get the powerful killer behind bars.

There were some really great moments in this series. I particularly enjoyed the backstory of Ki Young and Woo Hyun’s friendship and wish that both could have survived. I think of how the duo could’ve teamed up to bring down the bad guys. They also did a great job of hiding which members of the police were truly trustworthy.

But as with many police shows, whether it’s “CSI” or “Law & Order,” the director dragged out the main story at the expense of the more interesting subplots. The one that stands out in particular involves a string of apparent suicides at a cut-throat high school. The twists and turns in that episode were far more interesting than the big reveal that ended “Ghost.”

So-Ji-Sub-Ghost

——————————-So Ji Sub as Ki Young (pretending to be Woo Hyun).

Spoiler alert Part 2: 

The killer commits suicide at the end. He had killed his starlet girlfriend, thinking that she was going to turn him into the police for killing — well — a whole ton of other people. Ki Young shows him evidence that she was pregnant with his baby. That sends him over the edge (literally).

I didn’t buy it. This man is a sociopath who was incapable of loving anyone (other than his deceased father). Perhaps he mourned the loss of the baby that could have been. But, he’s also the type of man who would’ve replaced that child with another by any means necessary. He valued his own survival too much to throw it away.

Um Ki-Joon played this character at his smarmy best. (He played a much more sympathetic role in 2011’s “Dream High.”)

The guest stars:

There were a slew of recognizable actors and actresses in this series.

G.O (Jung Byung-Hee) of the K-Pop band MBLAQ is part of the police cyber squad.

Choi Jung-Woo, who played Joong-Won’s right hand man in “The Master’s Sun“, portrays a corrupt cop here.

Choi Jin-Ho, who played Young Ho’s right hand man in “Oh My Venus,” played an evil cyber guy here.

Ji Kyeong, who played Young Ho’s meek stepmom in “Oh My Venus,” plays the ruthless head teacher at Korea’s top high school.

Jae-Yoon Peter Lee, who you may recognize from the swimming and judo portions of “Cool Kiz on the Block,” plays an heir framed for murder.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (29)

  1. Mallory says:

    LOVE this review. That’s how I feel about it. The killer, he looked more like a doofus than a scary guy. But maybe that was the point?

  2. Amy says:

    I love your reviews Jae! I’m going to watch this next. And whoever said So Ji Sub needs plastic surgery is nuts! He’s perfect!

  3. Sandy Larson says:

    I saw this when it first came out but I think it’s time for a marathon session. Thanks!

  4. Stefan says:

    I had never heard of this one before. I’m going to start later tonight when I get home from work. Happy new year Jae!

  5. Pat Lewis says:

    ‘Don’t believe anything with a mouth.’” LOL!! I love that quote. This is on my list of shows to watch. Thanks for reviewing.

  6. Kathy Hewett Tsudama says:

    🙂 off topic but there’s a ton of BB cream going on in this photo!

  7. Lauralee says:

    I agree completely with this review. But I still watched it all the way through. I can’t not finish something that I’ve started. Haha!!

  8. Devon says:

    That’s crazy that he was advised to get plastic surgery. I would imagine that more men would WANT to get surgery so that they could look like him. I’m glad he resisted and am so happy for his suceess! He’s a wonderful actor who just happens to be easy on the eyes. 🙂

  9. Laurie Cain says:

    Good for him. He is stunning.

  10. Melanie Falconer-Brown says:

    he’s hot! definitely no need for any changes there….except perhaps his slippers under my bed wink emoticon

  11. Anita Baba says:

    We love as it is, we love it as it is, we support it as is. He’s a wonderful man.

  12. Bea Adams says:

    Hmmm I think I need to see if I can find anything wrong with his face, this will after all require me to stare at his picture all day!

    • Danni Ball says:

      Haha same here bea have him as my wallpaper on my phone and could look at that face all day I have always had a thing for Asian men but he is the icing on the cake such a stunning man and his personality shines through those gorgeous eyes of his so to me he is just perfect

  13. Jessica Walker Daniel says:

    I think I’ve made my feelings about So Ji Sub known… The man is beautiful and can act…. I’m so glad he left his eyes alone…

  14. Judy Lee says:

    I love this actor..he is so hot! I think it’s his eyes that draw you in. They are so expressive. Rain had the same thing said to him about his eyes. The thing I find gross in K Dramas is all the plastic surgery. Lots of the women look unnatural. I used to also love Hyun Bin but he had his jawline shaved down and his face is too skinny now. He was gorgeous before.

  15. Siobhan Murphy-Elias says:

    I am not familiar with him, but I think he’s quite beautiful!

  16. Mee Kim-Chavez says:

    He looks pretty dang hot to me as is.

  17. Macy Baroro says:

    That sex appeal. Ugh.

  18. Kay Coats says:

    His whole face expresses his feelings so well. Wouldn’t change a thing. I have seen too many cases of people trying to turn into something they aren’t and meet someone else’s standards. You end up looking at ‘clones. To me it is frustrating to have to look to see who you are watching, be it actors or singers because they all look and sound alike. We were all made as individuals and need to embrace the gifts we are given. Thankfully SJS has taken advantage of what God gave him and has been very successful in doing so. Very handsome and so talented.

  19. Lean Velasquez says:

    EYES IS GOOD.

  20. Makoto Almonte says:

    his eyes ……i can see his soul on his eys…… i like original beauty

  21. Mable Woo says:

    The only thing I would change about him is… he needs a tan!!

  22. Gina B Welton says:

    My Oppa is too perfect!

  23. Anna Marie De Angelis says:

    Not famous in America? Well, I live in the United States and I love So Ji Sub! Sexiness just oozes out of him! He is so sexy! Plus his voice is so sexy and he can act…Gorgeous man!

  24. murph says:

    All of these comments are fake.. you lifted these names from real facebook profiles so they would look real.. they’re not.. you’re all a bunch of phonies.. BTW, he looks like a douche to me

    thisismurphsemail@thisismurphswebsite1.com

  25. 진영 says:

    Did anyone else think that the villian was just silly? His smile was suppposed to be scary, but it was just smarmy. I recommend this to procedural fans.

  26. Danni Ball says:

    He is the most gorgeous guy ever and his eyes is what attracts me the most so he was right not to have surgery he could be my oppa any day ♥

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