I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 13 to end
This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched these episodes, you may wish to delay reading this.
In this set of episodes of I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) for better or worse, everything is out in the open. Min Joon-Kook (Jung Woong-In) is officially alive, Park Soo-Ha (Lee Jong-Suk) has his memory and his mind-reading abilities back, Jang Hye-Sung (Lee Bo-Young) has decided to stay with Park and just be friends with Cha Kwan-Woo (Yoon Sang-Hyun). Cha has given up the idea of private practice and, after a hiccup, gets his job back as a private defender. So this leaves us with three core areas to work out. Min Joon-Kook was acting out of revenge when he killed Park’s father. It seems the father somehow was responsible for the death of Min Joon-Kook’s wife. Then we have the exact status of Seo Do-Yeon (Lee Da-Hee) whom, it now appears, was the daughter in the original Left Hand Case. And we wait for Min Joon-Kook himself to break cover and attack Park and one/both of the original witnesses.
The theme for our age-mismatched couple is one of honesty. In the early days of their relationship. Park relentlessly criticised Jang for her lack of honesty yet, out of fear, he’s being less than honest with her. First, he conceals the fact he’s recovered his memory and abilities. Then he refuses to tell her about Min Joon-Kook’s motive for the original murder. This is somewhat ironic because Jang is busy debating whether to tell Seo Do-Yoon, she was adopted by the judge and his wife. Essentially, it comes down to a simple choice. Some think there are some truths it’s better to keep hidden. Others think it’s always better to tell the truth. In one sense, of course, this is academic to Park who can hear the thoughts of those around him and always knows the truth as the thoughts form in others’ minds. But that doesn’t mean he’s without fear. Obviously, until he provokes thought, he can’t know how the others will react. As a young and somewhat inexperienced man, this leaves him unexpectedly becalmed as his fears get the better of him. Jang feel socially awkward and slightly afraid of Park. Being seen holding his hand or being kissed by him in public is not something she’s wholly comfortable with, but despite the age problem and her lack of privacy, she does “like” him.
At this point, it’s appropriate to say how well the series began. Min Joon-Kook as played by Jung Woong-In is a wonderful character and the blend of smiling innocence and pure malevolence lights up the screen. Unfortunately, having been through all the initial excitement, he perforce disappears because he’s supposed to be dead. Even when the authorities realise their error and begin searching for him, he’s rarely on the screen. The plot must therefore find a new focus to maintain interest. It does its best with some of the backstory of both Shin Sang-Duk (Yun Ju-Sang) and Cha, but it fails dismally with the entire subplot surrounding the Left Hand Case. Those who read these reviews will know I hate coincidences. Well, this series goes above and beyond the call of duty in offending my sensibilities. The original father accused of killing his wife was represented by Shin in a trial before Judge Seo Dae-Seok (Jeong Dong-Hwan). After his conviction, his “dead” wife goes to Judge Seo and negotiates for him to adopt their baby. In due course, this daughter grows up to become the woman who will prosecute her natural father for the attempted murder of his dead wife. In the meantime, the wrongly convicted father finds himself sharing a prison cell with Min and tells him the story of the left hand. In due course, Min copies this case to frame Park.
Now I don’t know why the screen writers decided to conflate these two individually interesting stories in one series. Considering whether Judge Seo was wrong in failing to call in the police to arrest the dead wife would have been interesting as his “daughter” becomes involved in the case to prosecute her natural father for attempted murder. Although it’s thematically not unlike Prosecutor Princess, there’s a lot of mileage in mixed family situations like this. It’s also an opportunity to comment on the general reluctance in Korea ever to admit any kind of mistake. But to go through a shotgun marriage with a red hot story about Min Joon-Kook’s drive for revenge unbalances the sad emotions of adoptive vs. natural parents. The softer emotions also kill the tension as the deranged killer goes into hiding for whole episodes. So only when the Red Hand Case is more or less over do we come back for the big climax as Min Joon-Kook bursts back on to the screen with quite an elegant plot that’s entirely consistent with this character. We then have the final epilogue episode which spends the entire hour tying up all the loose ends.
This last set of episodes drags because the series was originally scheduled for a run of sixteen episodes but, when it proved such a success up to episode 10, the television channel insisted on two more. This slows everything down with far too many flashbacks. The trial sequences are padded out and there’s extra character dialogue that fails to add anything substantive to the plot. This shows up particularly in the last episode which works quite well on the stabbing, but is otherwise fairly redundant. So summing up, Jung Woong-In as Min Joon-Kook has been a revelation. This is a terrific performance from start to finish. Even the abandonment of the claimed justification for the murder spree and acceptance of responsibility is handled without sentimentality. He’s taken the first steps to reform.
In part this is due to Cha’s dogged determination to do the right thing. I’m not at all convinced this character is consistently plausible. As an ex-police officer he’s far too idealistic and gullible when he starts off as a defender. Yoon Sang-Hyun’s performance becomes more believable later in the series. As Seo Do-Yeon, Lee Da-Hee has the most difficult character arc which requires her to go from defensive arrogance to a more open approach to the notion of justice and an honest emotional engagement with her natural father. She does what’s written well, but it’s a major personality change. Yun Ju-Sang as Shin is the most interesting of the more minor characters. As a life-long public defender, he’s seen it all, but retained enough humanity to help the young defenders to find their own way. Similarly, Kim Hae-Sook as Eo Choon-Sim, Jang’s mother, is wonderfully salt-of-the-earth, consistent in her love for Jang and completely righteous in her view of the world. As to Jang Hye-Sung played by Lee Bo-Young, she was plagued by injustice in her early years, but blessed with enough self-belief to become a good lawyer when it matters. Her slow transformation into an adult prepared to relate more openly with those around her is done well. Her war with herself about whether she should “love” the young man is wholly convincing. This leaves us with Lee Jong-Suk as Park Soo-Ha. As a telepath, he’s wonderfully self-effacing, never overplaying his ability and smoothing his path through life. In some ways, he’s an arch manipulator who could have been villainous but, with his easy smile and insecurities, he comes over as more vulnerable. His slow loss of innocence makes the series work. So despite the loss of pace in later episodes and the uncomfortable matching of plot elements, I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 is a success.
For the reviews of the other episodes, see:
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 1 to 4
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 5 to 8
I Can Hear Your Voice or Neoui Moksoriga Deulleo or 너의 목소리가 들려 (2013) episodes 9 to 12.