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Goodbye Mr. Black

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Goodbye Mr. Black is a 2016 Korean drama that aired from March to April on MBS. Based on a manhwa of the same name by Hwang Mi-Na was first published in 1983 by Songchun Cultural Publishers. The comic is motivated by Alexandre Dumas’s novel “The Count of Monte Cristo.”  Lee Jin-Wook stars as the lead Cha Ji-Won, while Moon Chae-Won portrays Swan, the lead actress and Cha Ji-Won’s love interest.

The story has a similar theme as “The Count of Monte Cristo” whereby the main character, Cha Ji-Won is betrayed by his best friend and comes back from the grave to exact revenge on him and everyone else who conspired with his friend to eliminate his family. They did this so that they may take control of Cha Ji-Won’s father’s company.

However, the plot differs a bit from the source material because unlike Edmund Dantes, who woos back his beloved from his best friend, Cha Ji-Won moves on and finds another love interest in the form of Kim Su-Wan. In addition, Cha Ji-Won has a sister who plays a very important part in bringing down the people who were responsible for throwing Cha family’s life in disarray.

Cha Ji-Won is a naval officer with the Navy Special Operations Force. He is witty, fun and possesses a charming charisma but is framed for murder by his best friend and has to abandon his former life and name and live as a fugitive. He enters into a fake marriage with Swan, who was a pickpocket and scammer, in order to hide his true identity. Ji-Won encounters many life or death situations but in most instances, Swan would be his saviour. He then realises that he is endangering Swan and decides that he would not do that to her any longer.

In order to put Swan out of harm’s way, he decides to leave her in the hands of his good friend and go into hiding on his own. He returns five years later to learn that his best friend is now running his father’s company and his sister is nowhere to be found. In addition, he learns that the woman, who was betrothed to him, married his traitorous best friend.

One of his main objectives was to win her back but as time went by, he realised that she would no longer be capable of being by his side. When this happens, the relationship between him and Swan blossoms. Of course, there must be a love triangle. In this case, it’s more of a love quadrangle as Swan is the also the object of her boss’ affection, who happens to be the son of one of top executives in Cha Ji-Won’s company.

In this brilliant re-imagining of Alexandre Dumas’ tale, it does not fail to enthrall, captivate and hold you hostage to each and every episode. Each episode ends on a cliff-hanger, making you want to binge watch all day long.

Although the love between Cha Ji-Won and Swan does not seem as intense as his love was for Yoon Ma-Ri, their journey to be together was filled with many obstacles and their budding love stood the test. Kim Kang-woo’s performance of Ji-Won’s traitorous best friend Seon Jae, was excellent as he effectively evoked emotions of anger and at times made you want to just scramble him and choke the living daylights out of him. He also played a significant role in the death of Cha Ji-Won’s father and consequently the disappearance of Ji-Won’s sister Ji-Soo.

The series was well-paced, with a few surprises in between. The soundtrack was beautiful; lots of violins gave it a classical vibe that tugged on your emotions and heightened very critical scenes

This series had the perfect balance; action, drama, suspense; it was perfect. It was an excellent Korean drama with really fine acting by all of the actors involved. MBC certainly had another hit with this one.