Drama Casting & News
Doctor Stranger: Lee Jong-seok in, Park Min-young out
by | February 5, 2014 | 73 Comments

Casting confirmations are in for SBS’s spring Monday-Tuesday drama Doctor Stranger, with a yes from Lee Jong-seok (I Hear Your Voice) to play the hero, and a no from Park Min-young (Dr. Jin), leaving him without a leading lady for now. Is it wrong that I care more about whether or not he’ll still have that blonde hair for the drama? It’s breaking my heart, that hair. He couldn’t possibly keep it to play a North Korean defector surgeon, right? Just nod and tell me it’ll all be okay.

Doctor Stranger is described as a medical spy melodrama, which is, strangely enough, not even the strangest genre mashup drama Lee Jong-seok has ever done. Buuuuut… it comes pretty close. I mean, what on earth is a medical spy melo–guns, scalpels, and birth secrets? Or is that just the constellation of genres that covers a story about a North Korean doctor who works in a hospital and falls in love? I know we were joking about this being Covertly Grandly Doogie Howser, M.D. but why does that not seem so far off the mark anymore?

Lee Jong-seok has signed on to play the hero with a mysterious past, though we’re told that he was kidnapped with his doctor father at a young age and taken to North Korea. (If he’s actually from the South then doesn’t that throw the whole stranger motif into question? Maybe that’s the point.) He’s raised to be a doctor just like his father, and then after defecting to the South, he works at a top hospital where he’s treated as a foreigner. The only thing that matters to him is finding a way to bring his sweetheart to South Korea, and he’ll stop at nothing to reunite with her. The complication will be a new love interest who looks exactly like her.

Park Hae-jin (You From Another Star) was the first to sign on as the second lead, and he’ll play yet another geeenius doctor at the hospital. Also joining the show is Kang So-ra (Watch Out For Fools), who will play a cardiothoracic surgeon and the chief’s daughter. Directing is PD Jin Hyuk of Master’s Sun and City Hunter, and writing is Park Jin-woo of Conspiracy in the Court.

Doctor Stranger will follow Lee Bo-young’s new drama God’s Gift–14 Days, which puts the premiere in April.

Via Star News, Sports Seoul


73 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Di Lin

    he has a darker hair rn, don’t worry 🙂 I guess he dye it when he accepted the role

    • 1.1 Laden

      And to think I thought I was the only one bothered about the god awful blond hair

    • 1.2 nabi

      Yes . LJS is back with black hair… though I kinda liked him in blond but hey we love him in dark right? and here proof shot


    • 1.3 Ennayra

      I’m so relieved that his hair isn’t blond anymore. Some people can pull it off, but I don’t think he’s one of them.

    • 1.4 v


  2. StaRix

    Don’t worry. He already got a new hairstyle. Back to brown… kekeke

  3. Julia the Berkshire Beanie

    “Is it wrong that I care more about whether or not he’ll still have that blonde hair for the drama? It’s breaking my heart, that hair.”

    You are not wrong. My first thought on seeing that photo was “Oh no, he still has that gawd awful blonde hair!”

    One thing I’ve learned from dramas is bad hair can completely ruin an actor’s performance for me.

    • 3.1 atz

      I honestly thought he looks better with blond hair. He actually managed to pull it off better than all Asian -dyed- blond- guys I have ever come across.

      • 3.1.1 Fab

        I actually liked it on Park Ki Woong as well…

      • 3.1.2 redfox

        I love it too, say what you will. he looks so cute with it and I am not like a crazy fan, I was a fan of his characters, more like. but it is by no means awful, that hair

    • 3.2 Peeps

      Actually I think the dude knows that he kind of tanks in that hair. Last award season, if I didn’t remember wrongly, he said that he dyed his hair as declaration to his agency/company that he was going to go on a nice long-ish break. I guess the hair is his insurance against them making him work when the dude don’t wanna. Heh.

      • 3.2.1 JoAnne

        somehow, I love that.

      • 3.2.2 redfox

        that is awesome. he is a rebel like me. I never let myself be pushed to do something when I don´t want to.

        good for him! never surrender! we must fight! against responsibilities! anarchy! yay!

    • 3.3 Beng

      But I love it!

      If he is treated as foreigner, he should have a blonde hair just be rebellious about it.

  4. mono

    In kdrama land, if you’re going to be a doctor/surgeon, you should be from the top rated hospital and have genius discussion with your fellow genius colleagues. Never be average-doing-ok!

  5. Xxvxx

    Sigh. Kang Sora.
    I’m hoping Park Haejin has some ample rest before delving into another drama!

    • 5.1 fan

      I love, loved Kang Sora in ‘Ugly Alert'(yep, with Im JuHwan) and ‘Sunny’. But didn’t like ‘Dream high2’. So for me, it depends on what role she plays (or who her partner is?).

      • 5.1.1 Bri

        Yeah Kang Sora was great in Sunny and Ugly Alert — she was just written poorly in Dream High 2.

    • 5.2 glowry

      omg i’m falling in love with Kang Sora in Ugly Alert… she’s with Im JuHwan in that drama is da bomb..!!

  6. caspwr

    so is park min young is considering sbs wed thurs cop drama your all sorrounded with lee seung gi?? is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    • 6.1 ellem

      It could be a good thing if Seung Gi will confirm? Did he? hmmmm….

  7. snow

    I think he changed his hair color recently….yay for that! 🙂

    I hope the leading lady will be good….looking forward to it…

  8. Mari

    I hope he will never go blonde again, he looks so awful with it, it does not suit him at all. I prefer him with the normal brown or black hair.
    Can’t wait to watch his next drama. 😀

  9. JT

    Yah, not many korean males can pull off the blonde hair look because they are so fair they tend to look sickly.

    Glad Park Min Young pulled out. Her acting leaves much to be desired. Let’s hope for a stronger partner for LJS!

    • 9.1 Blossom

      If you are saying this, you must be jealous because Park Min Young won several Excellence Awards for her acting and her dorama “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” where she was a female lead won Bronze World Medal for Best Miniseries in 55th New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in 2012. Her doramas are high ranked and best selled in many Asian countries that is why there is a huge demand for her comeback. She refused to be a lead here because she was a female lead in similar dorama “Dr. Jin” with Song Seung Heon and Kim Jae Jong. Now she is planning to work in “You’re All Surrounded” that will be a Wednesday-Thursday drama on SBS with Lee Seung Gi. Cheers

      • 9.1.1 MySelf

        Agree with you Blossom..Pmy is a Great actress.,and we Love her so much!
        She’s so good,.thats why she’s being offered LEAD ROLE in both doc stranger and you’re surrounded right? Happy 😛

  10. 10 Pearl~ai88

    I hate it when people look “exactly like each other” for no good reason! There goes my suspension of disbelief. I hope that plot point isn’t indicative of the whole writing style- but it kinda looks likely. Very melo indeed.

    • 10.1 pogo

      weirdly, it’s been known to happen in real life, people who are in no way related looking identical.

      I once pooh-poohed the concept myself but after reading The Likeness (which is a great murder mystery, btw, and a sequel to Tana French’s In The Woods), I was completely sold, hook line and sinker.

      • 10.1.1 harukogirl

        Actually, when I lived in WA, I had people (multiple occasions) come up to me calling me another name. Sometimes it took my extreme confusion for them to realize they had the wrong person, even after being face-to-face with me.

        Apparently, they were all mistaking me for the same girl, someone they said looked EXTREMELY like me and lived in the same town. I moved before I ever saw her, but as one of the strangers told me “they say everyone has a look-a-like – she must be yours”


      • 10.1.2 JoAnne

        ohhh, I really liked In the Woods. Off to hunt for the sequel!

    • 10.2 Patch

      If they never explain it I’m always left thinking that they were too cheap to hire another actress.

      • 10.2.1 Abbie

        That’s what I think! Too cheap by far, so they get one actress to play to parts, all the while calling it an “amazing coincidence” in the plot. So annoying.

    • 10.3 ocean

      But! What if they look “exactly alike” because in reality they’re the same person and she’s actually the spy in this show! The melo part is that she’s sent to South Korea undercover to catch the defector who turns out to be her lover, who ironically enough is trying in turn to bring her out of North Korea while being romantically confused by her “look-alike”. Ensue angst, flying scalpels and a lot of medical jargon. 🙂

      • 10.3.1 mary

        Wow. THAT is good! That is totally possible and explains why they had to put an NK reference in the drama.

        I almost wish I didn’t read your comment in case you’re right. Hehe. Now I won’t be surprised if it’s true. 🙁

      • 10.3.2 Mandy

        HA! I would watch that. I would SO watch that! Thats original… a lot more than the initial premise we have here. I feel like a Fanfic on that now 😛

  11. 11 mimi

    Oh thank god about park min young. I’ve never been impressed with her in the past, so I hope the lead role goes to an actress who is actually able to portray the nuances of a dual role. Something tells me though that the leading lady is going to skew younger this time. We already have Kang Sora (who was a hoot in sunny!), so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for one of the many talented young actresses who have been shafted in the past coz of their age.

    Also, the prospect of having jongsuk back on my screen is making me positively giddy! 😀

  12. 12 mimi

    And for what it’s worth, I think he looked pretty banging with the blonde hair. It took some getting used to, but I don’t think that boy is capable of looking bad.

  13. 13 maknaee

    So.. it is fixed Lee Jong Suk and Park Hae Jin? HOT! kkk

  14. 14 Museofmanymasks

    I was about to pass this up as a disaster in the making, but the P.D. and writer have good creds. I mean, City Hunter, Master’s Sun and Conspiracy in the Court were good. And didn’t City Hunter have marketing issues before it aired so no one was sure what to expect? Maybe this show has the same problem and will surprise us?

    • 14.1 Nadine

      I do recall C.H.’s promo being all over the place and not really indicative of what it was.

  15. 15 pogo

    It looked horrific at the SBS awards but I have to say, puppy actually has a little bit of the sweet blonde angel idol boy thing going on here. Maybe that plan to force his agency to let him have a break because of horrible hair won’t be so successful, lol.

  16. 16 damai

    In recent talk show that I forget the name his hair was back to normal. Hahaha, so I think it’s a relief for you girlfriday ^^

  17. 17 crazedlu

    Well, I will be watching now. Ha. I like the spy aspect.

  18. 18 adal

    I actually love his blonde hair. I think he pulls it off with style and it’s nice to see him look different for a change.

    I’m not sure I’m sold on the medical drama concept. Medical dramas tend to bore me to death even when I love the leads such as Choi Jin hyuk in ‘Emergency Couple’ or Joo Won in “Good Doctor”. But I’m holding out hope because it’s LJS. Drama please don’t disappoint me! Maybe if the plot doesn’t focus solely on hospital life, it might have the potential to be truly interesting. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  19. 19 VanillaSalt

    I miss that red brown color he had on secret garden

  20. 20 redfox

    m-m-m-mmedical…m-m-m-mmm-melo, m-m-mmedical spy? m-m-mmelo? ma ma ma mamma mia. seems unedible now, but who knows, maybe it will become Soth Koreas´ national dish.

  21. 21 Emma

    Yay, Kang Sora!!! Nice to see her back on primetime tv.

    I don’t have much hope for this one but the writer is very good. Maybe this will be a genre mashup that actually works?? idk.

  22. 22 KimNaNa

    Hah, I read “Lee Jong Suk, Park Min Young out”, and thought they BOTH had turned it down and spent a whole minutes screaming “NOOOoO” but then I saw “Lee Jong Suk IN” so I’m ok now. Although Park Min Young dropping out is disappointing since I loved her in City Hunter 🙁

    Another one of the people who actually really likes his blonde hair… And his brown hair, and his black hair, and his red hair… He just looks good no matter what 😀

    • 22.1 dtdt

      I’m glad PMY dropped out. The main male lead is young compare to her. The second male lead looks more match though.
      Now, it is odd that new female lead look olders than the guy, why don’t they cast the girl in school 2013, or Suzy or the girl in KARA….

  23. 23 Char

    “The only thing that matters to him is finding a way to bring his sweetheart to South Korea, and he’ll stop at nothing to reunite with her. The complication will be a new love interest who looks exactly like her.” So he’ll just get it on with the lookalike and ditch his long-suffering sweetheart in the hands of Kim Jong-Un?!

  24. 24 Mandy

    I think blonde is just plain ugly on mostly all Asians (obviously me included). The only people who sorta maybe pulled it well was G-dragon and Lee Hong-ki is YB. LJS looks so bad I can’t even. But I’m sure the production wouldn’t let him look like that for the drama… Hopefully.

    I thought him and PMY would’ve looked good together although I don’t think she’s great in general so it’s good if someone better is cast. No preferences here but KJW would look kinda nice with him me thinks.

    • 24.1 mimi

      Jongsuk and Jiwon have mad chemistry and I’d seriously give anything to have them be proper leads in a good drama.

  25. 25 JoAnne

    Secretly Grandly Doogie Howser, MD….

    I spit out precious hot chocolate on that one!

    Since NPH is practically the only American actor who is ever referred to by his initials – and people still know who he is, because he’s awesome like that – perhaps it’s fated that he will appear in a K-Drama? Even one …like this one?

    • 25.1 mariam

      The AWESOMENESS that is NPH!!

  26. 26 magnus

    I was actually less interested in watching this because I didn’t think Park Min Young could play two roles with enough nuance for me to enjoy it. She’s a serviceable actress, never outright horrible but not very good either and that was 2 years ago when she was consistently in the acting game. She needs to stick to easier roles where the character is one we’d like right off the bat and it’s only ONE character for her return right now.
    Here’s hoping she takes on a project where she can improve as an actress!

    • 26.1 Blossom

      The same PD of City Hunter offered her a role again, don’t you think why???Park Min Young won several Excellence Awards for her acting and her dorama “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” where she was a female lead won Bronze World Medal for Best Miniseries in 55th New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in 2012. Her doramas are high ranked and best selled in many Asian countries that is why there is a huge demand for her comeback. She refused to be a lead here because she was a female lead in similar dorama “Dr. Jin” with Song Seung Heon and Kim Jae Jong. Now she is planning to work in “You’re All Surrounded” that will be a Wednesday-Thursday drama on SBS with Lee Seung Gi. Cheers.

    • 26.2 mariam

      MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY!! I am just not a fan of her and i was wonderfing how i was gonna swallow to watch her with LJS and thank GOD she is out. So yay and i am now adding this to my watch list!

  27. 27 tiny

    these guys are my age and their already specialists while I’m still on my 3rd year? psha… can’t they at least make it believable?

  28. 28 Abbie

    Overall, the concept of the show is interesting, with one minor flaw. I don’t like that there will be one actress playing two completely different characters. Maybe, if they were twins, it would be okay (and maybe that will be the birth secret) but it really does seem like a cop-out on behalf of the production team or the PD or the writer, or whoever decided this was a good idea. Frankly, I’m tired of the idea of doppelgangers, and if anyone here watches The Vampire Diaries, they’ll know what I mean.

    That being said, I’m glad Lee Jong-seok is confirmed for a new drama, and yeah, I hope he changes his hair, too, because blonde does not become him. I’m sad that Park Min-young is out, because I like her.

  29. 29 maowra

    I think it’s black again!!


  30. 30 coffeenlucia

    Lee Jong Suk AND Park Hae Jin?? Fangirl overload!!!!!!

  31. 31 Brian

    I loved Kang Sora in Ugly Alert and Sunny. She wasn’t good in Dream High 2 because the writing let her down and well her leading man as well, LOL.

  32. 32 jemellee

    I think kang sora should be the lead !!!

    • 32.1 amber

      Me too agree.

  33. 33 Pakykul Gunk

    I also hope he dye his hair back to BLACK !

  34. 34 Cee

    “A new love interest who looks exactly like her”


    I’m starting to get bored at this guy-with-(any profession)-but-actually-are-a-spy/alien/ghost whisperer finding a girl who looks exactly like whomever they love in the past

    But still, the PD and writer are promising, and I love the cast! I’ll hold my judgement for now

    P.S. Jongsuk is no longer blonde, don’t worry 😉

  35. 35 Beng

    Somehow, i’m happy with the news about the PMY not accepting the role.

    And i’m surprise the Beanies are not suggesting names of leading ladies they want for LJS, which usually happens when there’s no leading lady yet. Maybe because LJS and PHJ already complete the drama =)

  36. 36 dimple

    Yayyyy!!! Kang sora!!!
    I hope she was the female lead!!!…. Really love her in sunny&ugly alert.
    In wgm with leeteuk, they succesfull makes me giddy, blushing&tears… #sigh(miss them).
    Her collaboration with LJS&PHJ will be a great WOW!!! ^^

  37. 37 korfan

    This project is beginning to sound strangely interesting.

    Now I’m curious.

  38. 38 ocean

    Why do they always have to be geeeeniuses! I’m so sick of this dramaland fixation. Can’t we have some lead characters with normal level of skills?! But good looking though. Pretty. I like them being pretty. Don’t want tooo much reality in a drama now do we 🙂

  39. 39 Viki

    I will watch anything with Lee Jong Suk in it! He did say he was keeping the blonde hair to indicate his taking a break…hehe…I’m sure he will go back to being brown/dark brown/black hair.

  40. 40 Jo

    I liked Kang Sora in Sunny…and that’s about it. As for this thing, I can totally imagine it being not wierd. Like, you are a North Korean defector doctor and you have to save the life of someone who ruined your life, or whatever. You know. Politics.

  41. 41 spazzing

    Don’t worry. His dark hair is back. And lemme tell you, it is finnnnnnneeee.

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