Drama Casting & News
Joo-won confirmed to headline Green Scalpel
by | May 28, 2013 | 109 Comments

KBS’s new “human medical drama” Green Scalpel has confirmed that Joo-won has signed on to take the leading role. He’ll be reuniting with Ojakkyo Brothers PD Ki Min-soo, and starring as an autistic surgeon who’s genius-level gifted, but has the personality of a ten-year old. With Green Scalpel headed to Mondays and Tuesdays and Uhm Tae-woong’s Sword and Flower set to air on Wednesdays and Thursdays, it’s going to be one happy (and busy) summer for the hyung/dongseng pair.

The new medical drama from writer Park Jae-bum of forensic procedural God’s Quiz stars Joo-won as a miner’s son, who witnessed domestic violence from his father beginning at a very young age. He has a developmental disorder that’s a type of autism, and gets a specialized education at a care center, where they find that he’s a savant. He has genius tendencies, an exceptional memory, and has a keen perception of space within the human body. Well hello there, convenient savant trait. Should come in handy on the operating table.

With the help of a guardian, he eventually becomes a pediatric surgery resident, which is where the bulk of the story will take place. I have no idea how likely all this is in real life, but it sure does make for a good dramatic arc. He’ll also have the personality and social skills of a fourth-grader, so that ought to provide some nice comedy mixed in with all the heartwarming human drama.

The production is full-steam ahead with casting now that Joo-won is confirmed for the lead — Joo Sang-wook is still being courted as a rival doctor, and the search is on for the female lead.

Green Scalpel premieres in August on KBS.

Via Osen


109 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. nuxludia

    Whoaaa!! I’m in!

    • 1.1 Ivoire

      And I am in too! Thanks GF for the update. Just when I was thinking of watching less dramas, until Heirs begins, *sigh* I am still debating whether I will fully watch MGY and KB’s drama or just check some episodes. So many good dramas (at least the synopsis), so little time.

      I find the plot very interesting, and I am intrigued. I am looking forward to this.

    • 1.2 superficial

      stick figures again? yep, missed them

    • 1.3 ilikemangos

      Im also in. Very interested because it’s an arc we don’t commonly see in dramaland.

    • 1.4 Cam

      WHOOOOO!!! I am DEFINITELY looooking forwaaard to watch this drama because of him, keke!! 8(^0^)8

    • 1.5 Minea

      Me, too! Gonna be optimistic that there’s some awesome comedic gold based on the premise of his character. A petty Dr. Joo Won? Heehee. Can’t wait.

    • 1.6 pinkkering

      I’m just glad he isn’t playing a cop here.

      • 1.6.1 Ennayra

        Haha. That was my first thought too.

    • 1.7 ajj

      I’m sold..I am in too.

  2. eny

    excited about the story n the cast seems not popularity center : joo won, joo sang wook n jung rye won

  3. Katie

    YAYYYY Joo Won’s back. I was so into the first couple episodes of Level 7…but my excitement waned halfway through. I really hope he gets an actress closer to his age (don’t get me wrong I love Choi Kang Hee, I just couldn’t see a romantic connection at all).

  4. rainerust

    I have some hopes if its the writer of Gods Quiz – I enjoyed all three seasons although the ending of each season often feels jarring. Hoping he/she works that out.

    Also, yay Joowon! Have been staying away from the hot mess that purports itself to be the current season of 2D1N (seriously??) so glad to see him and TW in fresh stuff that I can hopefully watch without cringing (although I would so much rather watch 2D1N if they can BRING BACK the magic. C’mon! How hard could it be!)

  5. Dramafed1782

    Thank you GF on the latest updates of the drama and the character(s). Hoping for Joo Sang Wook and the “female lead” to confirm soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Annas

    Bring it on!

    Yes to this news. Awesome summer for me. Uhm Tae Woong and Joo Won back on small screen.

    Love love love Joo Won and Joo Sang Wook in one drama.

    I heard Jung Ryeo Won’s name mentioned, Jung Ryeo Won is OK, one good choice, she’s a noona to Joo Won. Too many noona for him lately, Kim Ah Joong is also like 5 or 6 years, Ivy his partner in musical in November is like 10 or 11 years…

    Come on KBS casting PD, give us some good pairing for this boy!

    • 6.1 nedenuleyn

      I don’t know why but I think that Jung Ryeo Won is the best with Uhm Tae Woong among all her co-stars and vice versa. I would be very happy if UTW’s lover in Knife and Flower was JRW.

      • 6.1.1 eny

        i though it’s not his pairing in this drama, this drama will not center about love betwen woman n man, lead actress doesn’t mean always pair with lead actor esp. in this kind of drama

        • Betsy

          I agree. I don’t think they’ll be too much romance with a man that has the personality of a 10 year old. I can guess that it’ll be a nice mutual friendship between the leads.

    • 6.2 Joy

      I think that Shin Min Ah or Moon Chae Won would be good ๐Ÿ˜€

      • 6.2.1 luvhee107

        u got it. it is Moon Chaewon. haa~ ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. far

    this looks very promising. ^^ and the casts and potential casts are widely known too, added up with great director and writer, i think it’s bound to be a good drama.

    i’m glad joowon is taking up this challenge. this is totally something out of ordinary than what he was accustomed to, so this is like a breath of fresh air for him. and i hope to be along for the ride, watching him grow up to be an amazing actor.


    • 7.1 houstontwin

      Thank you for saying so Far. If we are really fans, then we want the actors and actresses that we love and admire to be healthy and happy, not starving!

      • 7.1.1 far

        i prefer those whom i love to be slightly chubby~ i like huggable boys.. ^^

    • 7.2 else

      yes, also very very happy to hear this news, but also wonder how can he handle so much big projects ?

      i will on the same boat as you ‘far’. let’s kidnap him, feed him with proper meal and make sure he has enough time to sleep.

    • 7.3 Sam

      I agree!

  8. KDaddict

    The good news never stops! TQ!
    I can hear your voice. Sword and Flower. Empire of Gold. Heirs. Now this!

    Lee JS n Yoonie in Voice. The other Lee Min Ho in Sword n Flower. Go Soo in Empire of Gold. Kim Won Bin n the Other Lee Min Ho in Heirs. And Joowonie in Green Scalpel. Who needs to go on summer vacation? I’m not traveling this summer. So much pretty it’ll fry my brain. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • 8.1 KDaddict

      Typo: I mean Kim Won Bin n the “Older” Lee Min Ho in Heirs.

  9. snow_white

    Yay for Joo Won’s next drama…..

    I have so many choices for the female lead….let’s see who is going to star with him…..

    • 9.1 Lea

      I know! All I’m thinking is “Please be a good one, Please be a good one”

  10. 10 Cass.e


    Yes to Joo Sang-wook.

    I read that Joo Won is already in a position to ‘pick’ his female co-star :-). He did that twice, in Bridal Mask and Level 7 Grader.

    Please don’t pick the same nuna dear puppy, you said you would like to act with her again. Not now, maybe later… later!

    • 10.1 Ivoire

      Interesting! Where did you read that JW could “pick” his female co-stars now?

      • 10.1.1 Cass.e

        You can check the news translated about this in soompi or few blogs.

        For Bridal Mask, they having a hard time searching for Oh Mok Dan and one day the Director show few picture of Jin Se Yeon to Joo Won and he agreed and says that she is suitable for the pure Oh Mok Dan.

        and for Level 7 grader, few names suggested for the leading lady, but once he heard Choi Gang Hee’s name, he said yes to Choi Gang Hee. Hehehe. Choi Gang Hee even thanks Joo Won for the opportunity.

        • Dramafed1782

          The surprising aspect is CKH had done her last drama in 2005 at MBC and she gets chosen as JW’s female lead in 7LCS in 2013 at the same network. But the best part —– the second lead of that drama in 2005 was Kim Ah Joong who is currently JW’s female lead in the movie Only You ๐Ÿ˜€

      • 10.1.2 nedenuleyn

        His “picking” his costars can cause rumors. I remember that back in 2006, Uhm Tae Woong picked Han Ji Min as his costar in Wolf (they had acted together in Resurrection in 2005) and that caused love rumors between the two.
        However, I don’t want him to pick Choi Kang Hee. It’s not because I don’t like her; it’s because I think that he would do better with a younger person like Park Shin Hye etc.

    • 10.2 SS

      Sometimes, things get lost in translation. Interviews and entertainment news are best taken with a pinch of salt.

      I do not think that Joo Won makes the final decision or anything close to it. It could just mean that they show him some photos or suggested a few names and ask for his opinion or preference. And it so happened the casting people chose that actress in the end.

  11. 11 Belle3005

    Joo Won in a medical drama,eh? Colour me excited! ๐Ÿ˜€ On a side note though, DOES HE EVEN GET ANY REST AT ALL? Poor maknae working his ass off from one project to another. Well, it’d be great to see him redeem himself in this project after the-drama-that-shall-not-be-named.

    • 11.1 SS

      I would not exactly say that Joo Won has to redeem himself after 7th Level Civil Servant. That drama was a disappointment, not because of Joo Won nor any of the cast. The weak and senseless storyline, poor editing and directing did it in. Most characters were poorly written and so was Gilro’s. In a rom-com, when you do not have witty lines and well written comic scenes, the actor may have to compensate through more exaggerated facial expressions. To his credit, Joo Won managed to make Gilro an adorable character. It’s not his best showing but a very credible one and a good first outing in a comic role

  12. 12 Rie

    YESSSSS !!!
    *so happy*
    Thanks GF !!

  13. 13 lol

    whoohoo can this drama get anymore awesome?!!?!

  14. 14 coby

    Good news! Oh this reminds me that I need to finish L7CS… just for the love…

  15. 15 Cindy

    Drama gods, please please please let the heroine be good and well-matched this time!

    • 15.1 verte


      • 15.1.1 anonymous

        is lame

  16. 16 Annie

    I’m curious as to how they’re going to handle the issue of physical intimacy given that the male lead has the mindset of a 10 year old…

    • 16.1 Dramafed1782

      Maybe the female lead can be a mentor too. Or she could be the female lead for the other male lead – in this case Joo Sang Wook ๐Ÿ™‚

      • 16.1.1 Annie

        She may be a mentor figure (all I know is that she will be an older physician that the resident will have a crush on) but the idea of a full fledged romance gives me the creeps.

        • themugen

          Same here. Also, if I ever learned that my surgeon was autistic and had the personality/ mindset of a 4th grader, I’d either find a different doctor or sue the hospital. No offense meant, but this plot sound super far-fetched and hard for me to accept.

          Would be better if it were about a normal guy who is immature and often compared to a child (maturity wise). Just my opinion.

          • Annie

            I personally abhor petulant and immature male leads (the developmentally normal ones of course who have no excuse for their behavior) so I wish the writer had found some other medical issues to explore… and maybe with a male lead who acts his age?

            Or a female med student/resident who is neither bubbly nor incurably stupid.

          • Gala

            That’s when suspension of belief comes in.

            I don’t mind the plot, but I’d prefer for this drama not to have any romantic plots at all.

  17. 17 Sintia

    โ€œWith Green Scalpel headed to Mondays and Tuesdays and Uhm Tae-woongโ€™s Sword and Flower set to air on Wednesdays and Thursdays, itโ€™s going to be one happy (and busy) summer for the hyung/dongseng pairโ€.

    I love it! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy with news.

  18. 18 Sarah

    Sounds interesting
    I’ve actually met a person who was very similar to this plot.

  19. 19 KDrama Fan

    Wait a minute GF. You say they are going to give a genius with the personality of a 10 year old a scalpel!? That’s like having DWAWG’s Junsu cutting extremely precisely someone’s body open then reveling in the guts inside. Funny in some ways TERRIFYING in others! And JW as that little JW. creeptastic!

    • 19.1 Dramafed1782

      A modern day Jekyll and Hyde!!!!

  20. 20 Sajen

    while there are plenty of Autistic savants in real life, I’ve never heard of one who’s a surgeon or one who has those skills.

    • 20.1 Annie

      Yes, their skills tend to be rather circumscribed.

  21. 21 Mia

    another medical drama -_-

    i’m so sick !

    • 21.1 Annie

      Better call the doctor then ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Sorry, couldn’t resist

      • 21.1.1 Mia

        lol you better call Lee Kang-Hoon !

        sorry, i’m out …

  22. 22 QQ

    Joo Won should get acting lessons from his hyung, Park Ki Woong. He was amazing as the Mazinger Hunter!

  23. 23 mini

    Autism is a vague word to use.I assume that Joo Won’s character is a savant with Asperger syndrome.It is a form of high functioning Autism.People with Asperger syndrome are normal,but have difficulties in communication and social interactions.Their behaviors are repetitive and sometimes clumsy.They may not know the how the other feel.Nieve and lack common sense.This explains why he will be behaving like a child.I don’t know how the story will go but it should be okay for a person with Asperger syndrome to be a doctor.Anything can happen in drama land.After all ,he is genius(minus interviews to get into medical school)

  24. 24 mj

    woohoo joo won back on my tv! I love that he jumps from drama to drama pretty fast I hope he keeps it up for years to come !!!

  25. 25 Dav

    Ugh. I am so ready to move on from “genius ___ with no social skills blunders through the lives of others, and is a hero by dint of geniusness”. I don’t object to aneuroty
    pical characters – in fact, it might really help (remember Buy Guy?). But I’m sick to DEATH of this archetype, and dressing it in scrubs (again!) is not making me happier.

  26. 26 crazedlu

    Excited. Hope it’s good. And erases all memory of Level 7 for me. Ha.

  27. 27 Gihoe


    This drama could erase the wounds that Level 7 left on me…

    Even I love Joo Won i couldn’t watch after the second episode, hope this time they choose a better and younger female lead for him.

    Waiting for this drama!

  28. 28 Abbie

    This is kind of a perfect role for Joo-won. He has the boyish charm that will really come in handy here. Plus he’s a really gifted actor, so he’ll be excellent in anything he does.

  29. 29 Mia

    sounds very interesting <3
    though it sounds similar to "Ataru", a japanese drama.
    But I love it, so anticipating this drama too.

  30. 30 myungsoohyungsik

    Was Level 7 .. that bad?
    It seems like it was quite popular (not as Joowon’s previous dramas) but not terrible/completely bombed.
    I just became a fan of Joowon and he looks adorable in the trailers unlike his usual serious/cold characters

    • 30.1 nuxludia

      From my subjective view, yeah, it was that bad, fairly unwatchable for a viewer with around 4 years of kdramaland experience under its belt, like me. I did a lot of skimming, fast forwarding after episode 4… I wish it was so bad that’s good, but naaah…reminded me, in terms of nonsensical plot, of Marry me Mary.

      The drama seems to be popular online because Joo-won was its main lead, and maybe because of Chasung too, but mainly it’s known around these parts as an awfully awful drama. Not even the main pair could save it partially, like it happens sometimes with badly written shows, example, My Princess or Mary. I could add their chemistry was quite non-existent, so it got problemtic for a rom-com. the comedy was missing too for the most part, but not the dumb factor. Oh, dear!

      So yeah, it was baaad, unmentionably bad. Just hope Green Scalpel deletes from my memory Joo-won acting and character from Level who? and replaces it with something awesome.

      • 30.1.1 eny

        i don’t think that drama really bad, i watchmany korean drama too n h i hardly to finish rom-com but i finish level 7. It’s not the best drama n compare to another joo won drama it’s not as good as his other drama. For me the early episode around 6 episode is really good n then drop but i still enjoy the comedic side of this drama n the last episode is the best ending for rom com, the other drama last episode is the most predictable n uninteresting

  31. 31 Elysium

    Finally a drama where he’s not a cop~ yay!

  32. 32 Katherine

    Well usually male leads in K-drama’s don’t take their age so at least with Joo Won’s role here he actually has a legit reason as to why his the way he is.
    I remember one of my favorite characters from Boston Legal was Jerry who suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome/Tourette’s Syndrome and he was an attorney so I’m going to make the assumption that his character will have a high functioning form of autism along the same line as this character.
    The show sounds promising though and it’s a great way for Joo Won to once again try something new and expands his repertoire as an actor.

    • 32.1 Katherine

      Well usually male leads in K-dramaโ€™s donโ€™t *ACT* their age so at least with Joo Wonโ€™s role here he actually has a legit reason as to why his the way he is.

  33. 33 yamapisukii


  34. 34 Lea

    I can honestly say that this is likely to be my first medical drama, I tend to avoid that genre only because I can’t handle if they show a graphic scene. But I’m willing to watch through my hands if Joo Won is in it. ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. 35 hpn88

    pfft, the plot is as realistic as the hearing voices drama with lee jong seok.

    pet peeve cause i work with autistic children, but people have no idea what it actually means and this makes me mad. i can’t make myself watch anything advertised this way cause i see families struggling with real issues of behavior, development and emotional delay. but american and international TV and movies just don’t deal with it in an appropriate manner. ugh, i can’t with stuff like this anymore.

    joowon and writer and director – until next time ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 35.1 JoJo

      Yes, and this will probably start a wave of autistic savant dramas…count me out also…I’ve seen the reality.

  36. 36 KDR

    No. Just no. I can’t stand inaccurate medical dramas and the plot already sounds pretty farfetched! I’d rather suspend my beliefs and watch a fantasy or supernatural show!

  37. 37 exquisitemelody

    I haven’t finished any Joo-won dramas, but I think I’ll still give this one a go ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully my brain can shut off and not critique it too much because it seems highly unrealistic, butttt I’m up for it!

  38. 38 Tartani

    Totally excited about this drama, the premise sounds interesting, I trust Joo won’s acting skills. I’m a bit worried about how packed his schedule is; his movie, musical, 1n2d..etc. I hope he can manage!

  39. 39 Betsy

    I’ll tune in for this drama because the plot/story and character seems like something actors love that can elevate a career to new heights. I’m glad Joo Won is heading back to TV soon, but this boy needs a vacation pronto or he is going to burn out.

    I usually love Joo Won, since he can make you feel a lot of emotions even in short scenes. I liked L7CS, but had to shut my brain off and enjoy it for the romantic silly fluff it was. The romance between Choi Kang Hee and Joo Won just was not there either and that didn’t help the drama, so I hope he gets a more age appropriate lead actress with some chemistry this time around.

    I’m going to love seeing the serious and playful sides of Joo Won for this new role. I also think that the lead actress will probably be friend zoned (or be in some one sided love) since Joo Won’s main character is an autistic man w/ the personality of a 10 year old. Here’s hoping this drama does better than L7CS.

  40. 40 Gene

    Another Joo Won drama… RUN AWAY! I really don’t get the Joo Won appeal. Never liked him since Baker King.

    • 40.1 troll^

      Another Joo Won post… And yet (s)he DID NOT run away and even commented. Pfft!


    • 40.2 tamagoxyaki

      Never got the hype either and I don’t even think he’s a good actor..

  41. 41 TS

    I’m at a drama limit. I’m not adding this in. But, later, when I’m short on things to watch, maybe I’ll marathon it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. 42 Newborn Fanatic

    counting down till august! I can’t what for another Joo Won drama and I can totally imagine him acting like a kid! it’s going to be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. 43 Quiet Thought

    I don’t6 believe in telepathy, but I’ll believe in mind-reading cops long before I’d believe that any sane person would let a grown man with an apparent mental illness into an operating room, let alone operate on his or her body. And who on earth let this peculiar person into medical school? How did someone with the personality of a ten-year old managed to get top grades through a dozen years of the most grueling kind of bookish education?

    • 43.1 far

      he may not take the exam in a school like everyone else, and are possibly home schooled or something. and he does have a very good long-term memory. he possibly memorizes all those medical books and scores perfectly for his theoretical examination. it’s the practical examination that i’m curious about.

      the synopsis leaves out certain things so fans got curious and will check out the drama. well, i’m curious already. ^^ praying that the writing will be good.


    Nope I am not feeling this drama at all.

    I like Joo Won but not when he is playing a ten year old (sort of)….

  45. 45 h311ybean

    I find I’m skeptical about the whole premise of the drama, but I guess I can give it a shot. (Not that I have much choice because we only get KBS World and are too cheap to spring for the other channels :p )

    There should totally be a crossover at some point, even if it’s only a dream sequence – Uhm Tae-woong, in all his sageuk glory, facing off against Joo-won’s modern-day doctor with the mentality of a 10-year-old.

    • 45.1 h311ybean

      ^ Correction: PERSONALITY of a 10-year-old.

      Now I’m entertaining myself with mental images of Joo-won capering around Tae-woong, who just stands there in his sageuk garb, looking perplexed and/or irritated.

  46. 46 MiNI

    “keen perception of space within the human body” hmm, that’s nice

  47. 47 picklemonster

    I really, REALLY hope that just because he plays a character who has the personality of a 10-year old, that he won’t actually play it as a 10-year old trapped in a grown man’s body. As much as the above characters sound the same, they are NOT the same. Having the personality of a 10-year old means his character is innocent, curious, honest, and child-like. Whereas the other one portrays a man who talks in a high-pitched voice and doesn’t know where babies come from. PLEASE DON’T LET HIM PLAY THE LATTER CHARACTER!!! >.<

    • 47.1 SS

      You got a point. This drama will need awesome writing, directing and acting to succeed. I have not watched God’s Quiz but after reading the comments from fans of the show, my hopes are lifted although I still cannot see how Joo Won’s character can be a surgeon.

      As for the character, it will have to depend on how it’s written, the actor’s interpretation and delivery and directing. It will awful if the character talks in a high-pitched voice like you said but your description of the latter doesn’t quite match an autistic person either. I think an autistic person has impaired social interaction or cognition skills. So he may be an adult but his development in this area is that of a 10 year old. In this sense, he will be a 10 year old trapped in an adult’s body. But that doesn’t mean he will speak in a baby voice or not know where babies come from.

      I went to watch snippets of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, for which he won an Academy Award, he definitely spoke in a child-like voice. But if Joo Won is going to act out his role like that, he will be called out for overacting.

      I love Cho Seung Woo’s portrayal in Marathon. But that character will not be capable of such a job like this one. So, I am waiting to see how this writer is going to present a believable story and characters. If done right, it will be awesome.

  48. 48 ck1Oz

    Er does he need to pay off some debts or something? How come he doesn’t stop?

  49. 49 Mia

    anybody else think that “Green Scalpel” sounds like a superhero name? Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Green Scalpel… The Green Scalpel will save your life on the operating table!

  50. 50 ajj

    I’ve always been interested about savants so the premise alone sold me in. Joo Won would do well playing that since he’s like a child in 1N2D, he even kinda talks like a little kid.
    I hope JOo Sang Wook would pick this one and wish he’s not in a hardcore villain territory because I want some hyung-dongsaeng bromance.

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