Rating:
Average user rating 3.7
66

Scorecard: How did IRIS’s stars measure up?


Lee Byung-heon

IRIS‘s scorecard

December 17 saw the finale of KBS’s IRIS, which offered a tragic close for its two male leads.

It averaged a 27% viewership rating. As though mocking the troubles afflicting Wednesday-Thursdays dramas since last year, it met its end with high ratings in the 20s, producing a variety of hot topics with each episode. As it entered its latter half, it was marred with scandals and gossip, but there’s no need to undermine the drama’s ratings record with those issues.

One more thing. One of IRIS‘s noteworthy points is that it offered its actors a chance to make a comeback as well as to reach higher. Here’s a list of the actors’ personal scorecards at the drama’s end.

 


Kim So-yeon, Kim Seung-woo

EXCELLENT

Lee Byung-heon, Kim So-yeon, Kim Seung-woo: Class is eternal

A keyword of the year 2009 is decidedly the return of the top star. Mysterious stars Go Hyun-jung and Kim Nam-joo returned to television successfully through Queen Seon-deok and Queen of Housewives, respectively, proving the adage that “class is eternal.” And standing right with these two “queens” is Lee Byung-heon.

Although he was embroiled in an unhappy scandal when ugly rumors arose, in IRIS Lee Byung-heon was magnificent. With his intense charisma and gravitas, Lee Byung-heon showed why he was able to move past other prominent star actors to stand tall as one of South Korea’s representative actors.

As one of IRIS‘s greatest beneficiaries, of course Kim So-yeon cannot be left out. She was much-loved for playing a villain in 2000’s All About Eve, and she once again caused trouble. As North Korean spy Sun-hwa, she monopolized viewers’ love with her lethal appeal.

On December 9 when the much-talked-about Gwanghwamun gunfight aired, it wasn’t the gunfight but Sun-hwa’s tearful farewell scene that viewers picked as a favorite scene. There was no longer any need to tack on qualifiers to Kim, who gave an impassioned performance in every episode.

Lastly, Kim Seung-woo shed his “comic actor” image and made a successful acting transformation. Since his debut 19 years ago he has appeared in many different projects, but his successful roles left him with a strong comedic image. In this blockbuster, he radiated his own light and proved his worth. Emitting an explosive energy from within the drama’s center, he succeeded in widening his acting range.


Kim Tae-hee

GOOD

Kim Tae-hee and TOP had weak starts but they shined at the end

For Kim Tae-hee, it seems that IRIS leaves her more meaning than any of her other projects. This drama gave her a stepping stone to leaving behind the stigma of being a CF star and reaching for the title of actor.

In contrast to her previous roles where she played passive roles, she was abuzz with life. Her love scenes with Lee Byung-heon were well-portrayed and she was the lead figure in the melodrama storyline. She also earned positive reviews for her action scenes with Kim So-yeon.

However, Kim Tae-hee was unable to completely cast aside the prejudices against her. Every time an episode aired, she was assailed with acting criticism and unable to shake off the tag of “CF star.” Inasmuch as has been called CF star rather than actor all this while, she was measured against a strict standard. IRIS essentially handed her a challenge for the future.

The same goes for one of the drama’s central characters, Big Bang member TOP. Following 2007’s I Am Sam, this is his second time taking on a conventional drama, and he wasn’t able to shake off the image of idol star. His role as a killer within terrorist organization IRIS fit his image, and the clothes seemed to suit him perfectly, but he was only effective when he kept his mouth shut.

He revealed his weakness in delivering dialogue, and in order to reach for the next step as a real actor, he still has to make sure to get down the fundamentals thoroughly.


Jung Jun-ho

NOT GOOD

Jung Jun-ho, where was the charisma from Public Enemy?

IRIS was a golden opportunity for Jung Jun-ho to cast aside his image as a comic actor. Jung has taken on many various characters and effectively took on the role of a frightening villain acting with Sol Kyung-gu in Public Enemy 2. However, because of the The Mafia – The Salesmen series, his image as a comedic actor was strong.

Of course, he did shed his image. But he failed to draw audience praise. It wasn’t so much a problem with acting ability, but because his character lacked persuasiveness.

As Jin Sa-woo, Jung’s character was set up to be an appealing No. 2, but that appeal didn’t fully come out in the drama. His sudden betrayal wasn’t believable, and left Jung Jun-ho with a negative influence.

IRIS produced lots of hot issues and buzz. One wonders what twists these six will show in their next projects.


TOP

Via TV Report

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I had fun reading this article so thank you for posting it.

However - a suggestion. I love spoilers myself so I don't care about it, but this is a spoilerphobe's nightmare - the very first sentence gives away the ending. Since this only aired in Korea yesterday, I'd think most people who rely on English subs haven't had a chance to watch it and so this would be quite a spoiler.

Is there any way to put a warning to that effect?

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I really enjoyed Lee Byung-heon, Kim So-yeon & Kim Seung-woo acting. They did a great job!!!

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i love LBH...

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they did a good job, the rating should be higher.

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Yikes! i think only 4 or 5 whole episodes have aired in los angeles (i think 1 episode is being shown every 2 nights) and now i know the ending. i haven't been that drawn in and now that I know the ending, this may kill it for me.

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Thank you for the translation. I enjoy IRIS over the past 10 weeks and also think the ending is really cool. The last scene/memory of LBH's smile and tears will be a classic in many years to come.

LBH, KSY and KSW were magnificent. Clap! Clap! Clap!!

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The "spoiler" doesn't really give away the ending, as far as I can tell... rest assured?

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LOL i like how the writer described TOP. perfect until he opened his mouth.

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I thought the spoiler didn't give away the ending entirely, but I found it a bit obvious in implication and my guesses were correct when I went to Soompi, which I probably shouldn't have done anyway, seeing as I'm on episode 10 still. Thanks for the article though! I haven't seen IRIS in a while so it was good to see something related to it. :)

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i dun follow iris but got a glimpse of its "epic" ending just to see how the end measures up to its high ratings. guess what? i laughed.

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Lee Byung-heon and Kim So-yeon were definitely the best. I wished they had ended up together. I disliked the ending. Oh and I loved this article.

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kim tae hee was definitely lacking in the beginning, but also in the end, i thought. somehow her scenes with hyunjoon were.... eh, boring. i thought she shone when she wasn't with hyunjoon. except for the scene where she tells HJ to throw away his gun, when he and his team broke into NSS.

totally agree about jung junho's character. his betrayal just wasn't believable, but still i thought his acting was great. it wasn't his fault that there were holes in the writing (IMO). he did the best he could.

TOP was just completely random. haha he was given top billing just to draw in the idol fans. i thought he would have a bigger purpose to the plot, and it just didn't seem believable that he was defeated by hyunjoon- seemingly so easily. his storyline fell dreadfully flat for me. disappointing.

kim soyeon- i wanted so much for her to do a little better. i think she was trying to get there, but her voice was a bit on the weak side, and when she confessed to hyunjoon why she didn't tell him that she knew seunghee was alive, the emotions definitely seemed forced to me.

and i loved kim seung woo. no complaints there.

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Haven't seen this but isn't the Not Good category a little bit harsh...maybe they could say, Needs Improvement or maybe they should have gone with the star ratings..JJH gets one star!

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I agree that Lee Byung Hyon, Kim Soo Yeon and Kim Seong Woo acted very well in this drama, but I do think that Jung Jun Ho is not bad. I am much impressed by his struggle between friendship, love, selfishness and loyalty in the latter half part, and I think he's doing a quite good job. (Perhaps I seldom watched his past projects, so would not be affected by his comdey image.)

I think Kim Tae Hee need some more hard work before she could be named as a leading actress. Fairly to say that her performance is much better than her early projects, but still needs some improvement. The charisma of Kim Soo Yeong has put her in shadow.

Lastly, I consider the tragedy ending is unnecessary. I don't mind sad ending, but it should be meaningful and coherent with the story development. Even the last scene is deleted, I don't think the completeness of the story would be compromised. It seems to me that the director just want to make audience to remember a sad ending, but it is not persuasive, at least to me.

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I love the poster of LBH with the gun. He is the only actor I know who makes a gun look sexy. Chow Yun Fat made guns look cool but in LBH's hands it's pure sex.

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lbh! <3
i dont think it was jung jun ho's fault completely.. i think the script is partly to blame. how can a "blood brother" betray you that easily and join the "bad guys"?
i HATED the ending. and refuse to watch iris 2 if there is one.

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Lee Byung Hun .never fails me in his excellent acting again since Beautiful Day n All In..really feel the emptiness now after IRIS ended..

Sun-Hwa's tearful farewell....amazing acting from both actor n actress..there is indeed strong chemistry between them better than byung-hun n kim tae hee.

Don't like the ending at all but again lee byung hun last scene of dying.....those tears and acting.... just take my breath away and bring me to tears!!(keep repenting the last part many times..just too classic!)
hope he will continue his good job !!!!!...bravo Lee Byung Hun!

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i love the kimsoyeon's acting in this drama..kim sun hwa=cool!!

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* Everbody are amazing except Kim Tae-hee , Jung Jun-ho, they made Iris is abit boring and their acting skills are different class compare to others co-star in this drama.
I watched Iris because my T.O.P, then I enjoyed many actors acting skill : Lee Byung Hyon, Kim Soo Yeon and Kim Seong Woo.Plus actor who play the captain north korea torrorist and all teams, beak sang,chielf park , people from bluehouse too.
I enjoyed star acting skill more than plot, i don't like ep. 15 -20. and isn't enjoy enough to claim up rating past 40 %.

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I liked IRIS. I'm not sure if I'll watch IRIS 2 if it's made. Loved LBH, KSY and KSW.
Top notch acting.

JJH was a puzzle for me. I think he did a decent job especially at the very end, however, I'm still not sure why he changed so completely. It seemed awkward. He did look pretty badass firing those machine guns. Damn!

At times the continuity of the story line seemed to disappear. I wasn't sure how we got from point A to point B. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but I knew something tragic was going to happen at the very end.
I didn't care for the end of the story. I'm not sure why. It seemed like the director wanted it over quickly. Felt rushed.

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LBH, WHY ARE YOU SO BRILLIANT??!!!

Aghghg!! The ending broke my heart!! I'm still crying!! In the end, IRIS was bigger than all, even the heroic Hyun-joon. TTT_TTT

LBH...there are no words.

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LBH is definitely a "star". Great on big and small screen. I loved Kim So jeon in Iris. A very different role from Gourmet. I think she did a great job being cool and emotionally contained. I was hoping she'd end up with LBH. I really thought Kim Tae Hee's character would be killed at the end.

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I don't know if you have watched the ending but yeah...

...

... I find it ridiculous. I got so mad I'm sure I won't watch the sequel -.-

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What a great series! I was very engaged with the characters throughout the whole show. Superb acting by everyone. Although I wasn't too impressed with TOP.

I thought one of the many memorable parts was the North Korean spy revealing her feelings to the South Korean spy!! Hot!!

Be sure to check out the second IRIS OST!

http://koreanmusicblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/iris-ost-special-2cd-soundtrack-kbs-tv.html

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Just finished watching IRIS and I agree with the opinions expressed in the posting but it's a bit harsh on JJH.
I guess if you've not finished watching IRIS yet it's too late to warn you not to read this post and its comments!

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I hate the ending!

I hate how the unanswered questions are going to be answered in Iris Season 2. This kind of means that they're going to pick up at where they left off at Season 1. I was really hoping that they would start with a fresh new plot for all the characters since Lee Byung Hun is no longer going to be in Season 2. It would be so weird not having the lead (LBH) in Season 2 and then just expect the story to just flow like that.

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Only decided to watch this drama because of Lee Byung Heon, Kim Seung Woo and TOP. The plot is nothing new, but the star studded cast did something for me. Good acting, but wasn't as addicting as YB for me. I appreciated the money and time they spent for this drama, it shows. Not too impressed with TOP's acting, but he's got potential and certainly the looks.

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why? why? why? why did they have to kill LBH' s character ??? HIKS ....

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This article was interesting. Thanks JB. I am glad that LBH, KSY, KSW all got praised for their brillant acting. Jung Jun Ho did disappoint me with his role, but I guess it wasn't his fault, since the writers really messed up his character.

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oops ... I shouldn't have said that!! My apologies to those who have yet to see the ending. I was just too shocked and heart broken ...

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Thanks for the spoiler at the beginning :(

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You can see a drastic difference between the ability of showing anguish, fear and worry in KYS's face as compare to KTH when LBH went in to negotiate with the terrorists.

KTH has many chances to act better, but she did not seem to be able to show it. At one stage (especially in Episode 19 and 20), I can see that the PD even cut her off in a few scenes where obviously she is lacking. Nevertheless, it just means that she still have so much potential, isn't it?

As for JJH, I think perhaps, he needs to loose some weight. He looks overweight and clumpsy for an agent.

TOP, em...up to now, I still have no idea what's his motives of killing? Is it for money or for power or simply for the fun of it? At one stage, I thought TOP is the son of Pak San and KTH is the daughter of the Big Brother. But, never know, the truth will come out in Season 2....

Season 1: Nuclear threat, dirty bomb, civilian hostage taking.
Season 2: Weapon of mass destruction (biological and chemical), long range nuclear missiles, suicide bomber, kidnap the president(s)....Wow!!

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Kim Soo Yeon's acting was absolutely top notch. Like *32 said, what a difference in the expressions of her and KTH s' face when LBH went inside to negotiate with the terrorists.

I don't agree with * 12. Of course Sun Hwa being so deeply in love with HJ would have to force herself to tell him that Seung Hee is still alive. And I dont find her voice weak at all.

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def one of the best drama of 2009!

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If I were KSY I'd never change that haircut. She looked fabulous and was fab
throughout the whole drama. My fav character as I really cared about her. LBH
was perfect in the part too.
Ending seemed stuck on as if they were trying to keep there options open. (a lot of dramas do because of the last minute style of filming.)

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Forget about the spoiler, there are so many people who do not speak a word of korean who have watched the last 2 episodes in RAW form; I am one of them. I love Iris. I thought this drama was full of action, suspense and the right amount of romance. Every episode left me hanging, and I could not wait for the subbed version to watch it, so I watched it twice, unsubbed and then subbed.

LBH's acting was suburb, and has left me wanting to see him portray more characters. The star studded cast did a wonderful job bring this story to life. I was rather bummed by the end though, it brought me to tears. I don't know if I will be able to watch the subbed version when it is done, because I am so heart broken.

I did not expect the end. I had read blogs that LBH may do a cameo in IRIS 2, so I was totally blown away, and was in fact quite shocked that although the last image he saw was of his love, my last image was of the life draining out of him, the tears streaming down his face because of a life that he dreamt of was not to be, the light fading from his eyes, and his expired breath... I could not help but cry uncontrollably.

Thanks for the article.... totally agree!

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Lee Byung Hun and Kim So Yeon is magnificent!
about the acting of Jung Jun Ho he did his best to portray the role of Sa Woo!
so please don't be so harsh.its the Character who is stubborn! not him!
KSS and TOP's acting was great too.
how about KTH's acting? uhmm no comment.

I just hate the ending!
Hyun Joon died just like that? ughhh..
while KTH is waiting on the light house wearing a nice dress.
listening to the music. not knowing that our beloved Hyun Joon was been
shot by anonymous thing! duh? thinking Sun Hwa always Sacrificing Herself
for Hyun Joon. where's the sense of always saving him for danger? that one anonymous creature that kill Hyun Joon is unbelievable!

Kim So Yeon this is her Shinning Moment! <33
Superrrrb! i love you :) Sun Hwa rocks!

Hyun Joon ♥ Sun hwa BEST COUPLE! <33

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i agree about top. He can only pose and act cool but once he open his mouth to say his lines, he can't act. He can't deliver his lines.

kim tae hee can't act, there's a problem with her eyes i think.

Lee Byung-heon is a great actor though

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Hmmm I only watched the 1st ep when it aired and the end... not to bad but don't feel like watch the whole thing now. Maybe next year when I have nothing to watch.

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I have to admit I was on Ep.17 when I read the synopsis...and decided not to watch the rest since now I know the ending. I even checked the end of Ep.20 to see if it was I thought it would be and yes...so the drama has ended for me. :0(

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@ 40 Grace: Like your name Grace, the Amazing Grace essentially means life is very uncertain, the only certainty in this world is death!! Hence, you need to cherish each breath and be mindful of every moment when one is still alive.

The ending is what every living organism on this earth will have to go through at least once in its being. If there is birth, there will be death. There is no escape, it is called the law of nature!! So, enjoy every breath and the process of the ending in grace....^__________^

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Acting was tremendous, which helped carry the loopholes in the script. And of course production values (money - lols) was impressive as well.

I can totally understand where the audience is coming from with Jung Jun-ho's scorecard. However, I think there needs to be separation between not-so-good character development scripting/scene editing, and not-so-good acting of that script. To be honest, I found JJH's character to be completely understandable in his decisions to go over to the dark side. Perhaps b/c I had more faith in the character and knew he was emotionally pained to do so but may not show it. However, the lack of explanation and "remorseful/pensive" scenes with his character really doesn't allow many of the audience to connect with the character and his change. But that is a character scripting/editing problem, not an acting problem. JJH connected with his character and was emo-ing when needed, cold when needed - we just couldn't see much of the detailed transitioning given to LBH's character - which is really needed to have the audience connect with his extreme change.

lols, just finished watching it tonight so have so much to say.

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How can people say they TOP's acting was great? I thought his scenes were so awkward especially the ones with the girl who is good at computers (mijin i think?) But he has a lot of potential. LBH what can I say, perfect role for him. I didnt think KTH was that bad, she was pretty good in the middle but yeah her relationship with LBH kind of got boring near the end. KSY she was awesome. I thought JJH was also very good at portraying his role, his character just didnt make sense, it wasn't really his fault. Although Baek San was one of the antagonists, i didnt really feel like killing him, I was just pissed at the bit*h secretary of the president although it doesn't make sense that they never found out she was part of IRIS since one of the guys saw her and Baek San talking secretly together and she always reported her findings where anyone could have easily heard her. Do they not have cameras at the President's office? This might be my favorite drama ever, I hope LBH is in IRIS 2 it wouldn't be the same without him.

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I haven’t even watch episode 20 and Im already commenting on the ending. Lol
I have to say that Im impressed and GLAD with the comments here, because I so totally agree with most of it.
From the moment I saw LBH and KTH together i was just so disappointed I couldn’t even watch past episode 4, but somehow I got myself to do it and only because of LBH. At which point I changed because then I saw LBH and KSY together and I was blown away with their on-screen chemistry. WOW, I kept thinking that the director should have cast KSY for the leading lady and KTH for the antagonist, perhaps not even for that. Just leave KTH out of this right? I mean KSY is amazing, I haven’t seen her on other things, but she pulled it off extraordinarily. It just made me root for their love more than anything… and it’s a first time I root for the love of the male lead with the female counterpart.
As for the other actors, I thought everybody was pretty good expect for… again, -sorry, but this is how I feel- Kim Tae-hee.
Kim Seo-woo is a good actor; the guy that played his boss, I think he is a good actor’ the guy that played LBH’s boss (whom btw is LBH’s boss in A Bittersweet Life, hehe) he is one hell of an actor. And T.O.P. was not so disappointing considering he is not an actor but a singer. So… I though he was actually pretty cool.
I have not seen the ending, so I wont say if its good or bad. But since I read the comments, I know that LBH’s character dies and I have to say…. YESSSSS!! That is so much what I wanted since I knew he would never love Sun Hwa and I did not want him to stay with KTH’s character. Yep, I prefer if he is dead.

Lee Byung-hun & Kim So-yeon 4ever!!!! I love them as a couple.

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the first sentence was definitely a spoiler. 

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OK, I'm going to preface my comment with these statements: 1. I don't think the article gives away the ending. I'm only through ep 17 and am looking forward to seeing how this plays out. 2. I didn't read most of the comments because I'm afraid there might be spoilers. and 3. I didn't start out watching this show for T.O.P, but became a fan of his & Big Bang through this show (much like YB made me a Lee Hong Ki, and then an FT Island fan.) I had planned to watch it since I like shows with "car chases & blowin' shit up" as my dad would put it, when a friend of mine said to me, "T.O.P is in it. He wears eyeliner. You'll like him." She then showed me some pictures, and yep, thought he was pretty hot. And then I saw him as a bad ass assassin and I was hooked. That look he would get in his eyes right before he killed someone...chilling. The man has incredible eyes. I thought he was excellent in this, but since I don't speak Korean, I'm sure the dialogue issues were probably not as noticeable to me (either that, or I was just so distracted by his hotness that I didn't notice! *lol*) Anyway, I really am enjoying this drama, and think the whole cast is excellent. I particularly like Kim So Yeon and am now watching "All About Eve" just for her. The only one I don't care for is Kim Tae Hee. She just annoys me, the same way Katie Holmes annoys me: for absolutely no good reason. *shrugs* Guess you can't win 'em all.

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Talk about spoiler, the fortune teller who appeared in Episode 4, has warned about the second card of fatality tower. So it indicated that the main protagonist was going to die upon seeing that white tower.
Sounded ironically, but LBH should have view the second card, and beware of any tower nearby.

So many doubts and mysteries not answered in the final episode :(

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I think except for T.OP and KTH, all others acted really excellent. I think JJH did very good job, it is his character that was not interesting and was not well developed but totally not his fault. I'm pretty sure if JJH acted the role of Kim Seung Woo had, many people would have loved his acting by now.

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Very dissapointed with KTH's acting here. She is just not suitable for the action drama. But what makes it worse is that she fails even in the romance part of the drama - her chemistry with LBH is really horrible. Even with all the romantic/sensual scenes between KTH & LBH, it is clear that the LBH-KSY pair has better chemistry.

KSY is a surprising gem. She is so feminine & sexy in real life, but she still manage to portray the image of a very strong spy who could hold her own among the guys. This lady looks so natural with a rifle, whereas KTH looks completely weird out even with just a revolver.

Both LBH & KSW are excellent as well. LBH shines as an assasin who really looks like he's gone through hell, whereas KSW has the charisma to be the leader of the North Korean spy team.

Don't like TOP at all. He just can't act. As for JJH - supremely dissapointed considering that he is after all, a professional actor who's been acting for years.

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how come i cried more when sa woo died than lbh's character??? T.T

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