The Innocent Man 착한남자 K-drama: much love a little too late


I love love love the drama ‘The Innocent Man’, also known as ‘Nice Guy’.  Love has clouded my judgement as I cannot find major flaws with the whole production.  Too bad that I have only started watching this series last week, almost half a year too late.  I missed out on the great K-drama community raving and discussing the plot while the drama was still in its run.  Now I sit here admiring this great drama and writing a post about it that may not even get read.


For Chaeki shippers! Feeding your addiction

Drama Synopsis

“Ma Ru(Song Joong Ki) would have done anything for Jae Hee (Park Si Yeon), the love of his life. But she uses his love to let him take the blame for a murder she committed, then marries an older, rich man to escape her life of poverty. Devastated by her betrayal, Ma Ru is a changed man. Once a promising medical student, he now works as a bartender and gigolo, using women to get what he wants. When he meets the daughter of Jae Hee’s new husband, Eun Gi (Moon Chae Won), he realizes he can use her to bring down the first love who betrayed him.”  Source:



Song Joong Ki as Kang Ma Ru

This drama stars Song Joong Ki, the baby face actor that never seem to age. Joong Ki is a nice sweet boy (uh… I mean oppa).  I’m glad he chose this role that is quite opposite to his personality in real life.  Who misses him on Runningman?  I do!  Sorry Chaeki shippers!  I promise, only one Song Siblings video.


His character, Ma Ru, turns more and more bitter in the drama but finds true happiness when he falls in love with Eun Gi (Moon Chae Won).  His character is written in a way that it is hard to figure out what he is thinking giving him an air of mystery.  The sincerity of his feelings is not very evident and I never know if he is still has hearts for Jae Hee or Eun Gi.  It’s the slightest gesture or thoughts that really reveal this character’s inner heart.  When he starts displaying his love he has already fallen deeply in love.


Moon Chae Won as Seo Eun Gi

Moon Chae Won is the actress that comes alive in dramas.  Chae Won in real life has a personality that may exasperate interviewers because she does come off a little distant.  I like how her character, Eun Gi, was a strong one to begin with.  Have we not seen enough soft hearted and gutless female leads in Asian dramas?  She is cold, arrogant and bold.  She does a good job managing her department in Taesan Group.  On the other hand, she is very pitiful because she gets cheated by those closest to her.  Even the man that she falls in love with had an ulterior motive when he first approached her.  Chae Won was great portraying the confident, arrogant and cold Eun Gi in the beginning of the drama then switches to a softer and sweeter character after the car accident.  I prefer her screaming at people than acting as the naïve, brain damaged girl.  Watch her in the behind the scenes clip below screaming at loaches.


Lee Kwang Soo as Maru’s best friend, Jae Gil

Joong Ki reunites on screen with his former Runningman colleague, Lee Kwang Soo, who is still currently awkwardly awesome on that variety show.  These two are the cutest together because they are good friends in real life.  They work in the same industry but are never competition for each other.  The cold harsh world dictates that flower boy (꽃미남) Joong Ki shall get major roles in films and dramas but Kwang Soo shall always be the dorky best friend.  Honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way because they execute their roles perfectly.  I think Kwang Soo deserves a post from me sometime soon 🙂 his awkward, pitiful character on Runningman needs some exploring!  His performance in this drama is great.  Watch this behind the scene clip of him acting drunk and singing.


Park Si Yeon as Han Jae Hee

Park Si Yeon plays the antagonist in this drama and she is very good at it.  I really want to see her character rot in prison.  No, don’t kill her.  Her character is most afraid of losing social status so the best punishment is for her is to be incarcerated with a 24 hour live feed on national television.  I hated her to her bones when she played the antagonist on My Girl (2005) and on this show too, which led me to realize that she is indeed a very good actress.  Jae Hee gives up the love of her life to pursue wealth.  Once she is seated comfortably on her pedestal, she realizes that life is not fun without the person she loves.  She goes home to her son everyday but eats alone at the dinner table every night.  Money does not buy happiness, but it sure did get her out of the dump that she was living in.


Lee Sang Yeob as Eun Gi’s attorney, Park Joon Ha

This cute guy plays Eun Gi’s attorney who seem to also double as babysitter / chauffeur / investigator.  He deserves better hair and more air time!  I can’t seem to always remember his name on the drama so I just call him handsome lawyer.  He is adorable in the behind the scenes clips doing the silliest things while the cameras are rolling.


I really liked how the characters are set up.  It seems that no matter what sort of crimes they commit I was able to empathize with each of the characters.  Yes, even the character that I hope rots in prison.  There seem to be a justification to everything they have done.  I also liked that fact that I never know where the story is going.  I am disabled of most of my analytical skills and am just an audience.

The pace of the drama was great in the first half of the drama (i.e. before all the hairstyle changes) but I felt that it dragged out a little with Eun Gi’s amnesia.  I would have preferred if the amnesia dragged on for two episodes then hurry up and get into the nitty gritty of coming to grips with the deception.

It was hard to watch the episode when Eun Gi recovered her memories.  She acts like she still has amnesia but Ma Ru has full knowledge about her recovery.  When she embraced him and utters the sweetest words, in Ma Ru’s mind it was all lies.  The same applies when Ma Ru said that they should live happily ever after; Eun Gi thinks that he is lying.  These two people love each other so much but all their sincerity has been overshadowed by the lies and deception that they are spewing.

What I thought Jae Hee could have done was to wait a few years for Ma Ru to graduate from medical school then marry him and live a happy life.  There will be more than enough money from Ma Ru working as a doctor to be comfortable and she could have just enjoyed a great life with a devoted husband.  This was exactly what Ma Ru meant during his tearful exchange with Jae Hee in the second last episode.

It was also interesting to see that Ma Ru still cared greatly for Jae Hee despite all the ugly situations she had put him into.  Never once did he bring up the murder which he has taken the fall for as a threat.

The series spun to a situation where there is no possible recovery or solution.  There are layers and layers of blackmail between different parties.  Most ties are severed and trust broken.  In the end it was conscience that sets everything right again.  It took a life threatening medical condition to make Jae Hee come back to her senses and Eun Gi to finally find out the truth about how Ma Ru cares about her.  The crooks finally got what they deserve.

I have just finished watching the drama yesterday with the expectation that it will not end well.  That’s from watching the clip at the KBS drama awards above.  (That’s why we all hate spoilers!)  I was quite happy to find out that it was otherwise.  The writers ended the series on a good note.

I don’t think Ma Ru losing his memory after his brain surgery was a medical condition; rather it is a state that he chooses to live in.  I kinda pity Lee Yu Bi, the actress that plays Ma Ru’s younger sister, to have to kiss Lee Kwang Soo for this drama.  LOL!  Hope she finds someone more handsome to kiss in her upcoming drama, Gu Family Book.


‘Snowflakes’ by Xiah Junsu

The soundtrack is spot on for this drama.  ‘Snowflakes’ by Xiah Junsu (former DBSK, now JYJ) is heartbreaking and tear inducing.  I think it is the best soundtrack of the series.  Too bad I’m not much of a crier when I watch TV.  The instrumental tracks are perfect for setting the mood of the drama.


I should have written a post before I finished watching the show because I would have been more passionate about the drama. If I have started writing a little earlier in the series I would have more to rave about.  I have no doubt that this drama is one of the best in 2012 which makes me wonder why I seem to have picked and watched all the crappy dramas last year.  Probably because I could not have emotionally handled melodramas last year…  All I cared for was comedy.

How did you like this drama?  Has it been too long for you to remember?  Or was it so good that the plot is burned into your brain?


4 thoughts on “The Innocent Man 착한남자 K-drama: much love a little too late

    • No I’ve never seen it… Honestly it’s the first time I’ve seen Song Joong Ki’s work. Didnt watch SKK either! Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll probably will check out A Werewolf Boy when I have the time 🙂

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