SECRETS & LIES
Raised in Canada by her grandmother, Han So Yoon (Moon Geun Young) returns to Korea as an adult to teach English in a small village. Soon after she arrives, she uncovers a buried skeleton. She discovers that lurking underneath the seemingly peaceful village of Achiara are the secrets and lies covering up a dark history.
I’ll admit that when I first sat down to watch this drama I was expecting horror mixed with a bit of supernatural elements. There is a bit of the supernatural element but the drama handles it in a way so that it’s part of people’s subconscious. The genre of this drama is more of a thriller mixed with small-town drama.
So Yoon becomes drawn to the small village after the death of her grandmother. She believed that she was the only survivor of the car crash that took the lives of her family but learns that her older sister may have survived and Achiara is the key to discovering more about her sister, Kim Hye Jin (Jang Hee Jin).
The first night she arrives in the village, she encounters a number of situations that make her the perfect bait for the serial killer that’s on the loose. And on her first day as the new English teacher in the high school, she discovers a skeleton in the woods while she’s out with her students. Although the townspeople are shocked by the discovery, they don’t appear to want to help in trying to solve the case. It’s this apathy that spurs on So Yoon’s curiosity to uncover the village’s deepest secrets.
It’s hard to tell who is the antagonist is or who the victim is in the drama. Most of the characters are both in some way. However, I was fascinated by how the drama is able to uncover secret after secret. The drama has a number of reveals that take you all the way through the end of the drama as there are a lot of characters and all their stories seem to be intertwined.
Similar to So Yoon, Baek Woo Jae (Yook Sung Jae) and his superior Officer Han (Kim Min Jae) seem to be the only people out for the truth. As for Woo Jae, he wasn’t born in Achiara but arrived at the village and he doesn’t appear to have any other family. In that way, he becomes drawn to So Yoon and helping her out as much as he wants to solve a big case as a cop.
Seo Ki Hyun (Ohn Joo Wan) may have initially misled So Yoon in order to keep his family’s name out of the newspapers but his feelings change once he learns more of his family’s secrets. In some ways, Ki Hyun also feels orphaned as the word family doesn’t seem have any meaning in his household so he understands what it feels to be the outsider.
Yoon Ji Sook (Shin Eun Kyung) is the wife to Seo Chang Kwon (Jung Sung Mo) a businessman/politician and she’s also an accomplished artist herself but it’s clear that she holds a lot of secrets. There are secrets that her half-sister, Kang Joo Hee (Jang So Yun), knows and secrets that she’s not privy to. However, there’s a very delicate balance in their relationships that’s offset with bribes and jealousy. Ji Sook is trying to keep afloat by maintaining a certain image within the village, whether it’s her own past or her husband’s sordid affairs.
I didn’t quite understand what I was getting into when I started this drama. However, the drama seemed to deliver on the twist and it was hard not to get into knowing what they’ve been hiding for all this time and why they kept up the lies. I suppose the real villain of the drama are the secrets themselves and the fear that causes the villagers to keep them.