Stranger (Secret Forest) – Initial Impressions

Of course, no spoilers ahead!

I watch a lot of mysteries, from the “cozies” to the police procedurals (and btw, see the latest season of Bosch if you can, on Amazon), and I like all of these different genres, but I also have a lot of expectations from any mystery series if it’s going to get me tuning in episode after episode. Fortunately, Stranger is ticking all the right boxes for me, and boy I’m happy about that!

I’ve watched the first 3 episodes (it’s currently only on Dramafever, but will also be on Netflix towards the end of its run, just like Man X Man) and I’m hooked. Cho Seung-woo is so intriguing — his character plays someone who’s had a medical procedure as a child to correct a damaged nerve that made him hyper-sensitive to noise, like tinnitus times ten (would that make it tennitus?) and as a result he’s unable to feel normal emotions. Normally I’d pffff at this, but his calm, almost childlike (but not childish) pure gaze as he evaluates any stimulus or fact in front of him makes him more interesting somehow. He’s not doing a Rainman kind of thing; it’s not showy, just super effective for me.

Bae Doona is a very good counterpart for him because she’s equally intelligent, but compassionate and aware of social niceties where he has no clue, nor sees any need for things like that (like interviewing a bereaved older woman in a very direct manner because, hey, the crime needs solving now.) I like how she has her own personality trait and it’s a fresh one and suits her and her character – she sketches things she’s seen that resonate with her at crime scenes (not very well). It’s her memory aide, and makes perfect sense to me.

The production work on this is high quality too. As I’m coming to expect with more and more of tVN’s productions, it looks more like a film in most scenes. The story is also sufficiently twisty — I always appreciate it when I have to puzzle things out like our heroes and don’t see them telegraphing clues so blatantly. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.

#bae-doona, #cho-seung-woo, #forest-of-secrets, #stranger, #stranger-secret-forest