Drama Casting & News
Doctor Stranger gets a perm
by | April 29, 2014 | 85 Comments

Okay, so there are probably other things going on in the posters and stills for Doctor Stranger, like hey — their faces make a Korean peninsula! — but can I help it if my main takeaway from the stills is that Lee Jong-seok got a perm? I can’t imagine how they’re going to motivate it since he plays a North Korean doctor (and possibly spy, maybe). I know, of all the things in this medical-spy-melo about twice-defecting geniuses, and this is the thing I can’t wrap my head around? So sue me.

Lee Jong-seok stars as a genius son of a genius surgeon (cameo by Kim Sang-joong, who played Bad Daddy in PD Jin Hyuk’s City Hunter), who are both forcibly sent to North Korea so that Dad can perform a super-secret operation. For whatever reason things go awry, and the young boy grows up as a North Korean. He meets the love of his life, played by Jin Se-yeon (Age of Feeling), and then loses her in a tragic series of events that inexplicably happen in Hungary.

He grows up to be a surgeon just like his father, and then ends up being able to come back to South Korea, where he’s now a foreigner in his own country. He works at a hospital along with Park Hae-jin (You From Another Star) and Kang Sora (Watch Out For Fools), and then just about loses his mind when he runs into a woman who looks exactly like his long-lost love.

She swears she’s not his dead ex-girlfriend, while he’s convinced she is and is hiding something; strangely, that actually does combine medicine, espionage, and melodrama. Whadduya know. The poster’s tagline reads: “Two hearts. One heartbeat… A love that even Fate cannot separate!” I hope that’s metaphorical, because if he can recognize her by her heartbeat, I might have to laugh out loud.

Doctor Stranger premieres next Monday, May 5.

Via MT.co.kr


85 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. JADE

    I swear the only thing i ever notice about Lee Jong Seok in any stills/posters/magazines/pictorials/etc. is that he is SO PRETTY! Of everything that’s said about him in any post, that’s all I see *sigh* Really he’s too pretty…

    • 1.1 KimNaNa


    • 1.2 Lotus_Blossom

      Sorry, all I see it that plug-on noze.

  2. windsun33

    I still cannot figure out how all these drama folks move so easily back and forth between the two Koreas, when every year hundreds or thousands die trying to get across the border.

    • 2.1 shepo

      Well.maybe they play a spy character who gets a special treatment from the north korea gov’t

  3. sher

    park hae jin looks so plastic in the face

    • 3.1 omona

      so does LJS with his nose job.

      • 3.1.1 Nicolette

        I agree LJS’s nose looks suspicious, but I’m pretty sure it’s natural. I’ve seen baby pictures and that just seems to be his natural nose shape.

        • Deb

          LOL his nose does not look natural. I saw some older pics of him and his nose looked similar but natural. (maybe he had got slight surgery by then, who knows).

          He did something to the bottom of his nostrils where it meets his face. PS is rampant in korean society so it’s not such a far stretch to assume he got work when his face just looks off. Alot of celebs all over the world do it to look “perfect”. I won’t even express my views on that.

          Both the male leads pretty much look like living plastic dolls and they are considered fairly attractive in their society. It’s an intense standard of beauty to set.

        • omona

          he did, his old pictures confirm it lol his old nose was proportional to his face.

        • whilethemusiclasts

          The thing about LJS and his nose is… while I do think he got work done, all that makeup actually makes it look a hundred more times plasticky than it does with less makeup. And yes, there was a time I was bored enough to go back and forth between videos that had him with full on makeup (i.e. I Hear Your Voice) and videos that didn’t (i.e. Running Man, Hot Blooded Youth).

        • pogo

          No, dear, the nose he has now is not the one he started out with. His old nose was perfectly cute and the nose job was unnecessary, but even if it is obvious that he had something done, he’s a talented enough actor that it doesn’t bother me.

          (same goes for other actors who had stuff done too – Hwang Jung-eum, SNSD’s Sooyoung, etc. As long as it doesn’t affect their ability to express emotions the way it did with Han Chae-young in Pretty Man, it’s ok)

      • 3.1.2 ChoiHyeRa

        I’m here for Sukie. Whether or not he got plastic surgery done on his nose, who cares? It doesn’t make him ay less of a brilliant actor and that’s what matters.

        • Newbie

          Sadly, I must confess, that his nose and upper lip distract me from his acting. So far he is not able to make me forget it with his acting, because it is so obvious and ‘screams’ at me. 🙁

          • ChoiHyeRa

            Well then its sad that someone’s appearance affects you more than their talent.

          • Newbie

            It’s not the appearance, it’s the fact, that plastic surgery is the method to create fashionable mainstream faces, that deliver to a certain taste. This taste will change in a few years, and what will all those people do if e.g. the V Line is out of fashion some day. Grow new jaws?

            To me a person doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I like the occasional twisted tooth, a crooked nose etc. That makes someone special, more sexy.

            I had to stop watching King’s Daughter Su Baek-hyang, because I just couldn’t overlook Seo Woo’s butchered face. She is now unable to fully move it, the aegyo fat is creepy, no acting in the world can make me stop wondering why on earth such a cute girl did this to herself voluntarily. :/

      • 3.1.3 ChoiHyeRa

        I’m here for Sukie. Whether or not he got plastic surgery done on his nose, who cares? It doesn’t make him any less of a brilliant actor and that’s what matters.

      • 3.1.4 AnOpinion

        Someone finally said it! I was kind of afraid of getting hate (even behind my comp screen) but I do agree his nose looks unnatural. I have this bias against guys with awkward noses and the first thing I notice about him was his nose. It’s like how I first watch BOF and all I thought about was that KHJ’s nose was weird. JGS as well, but apparently his is natural as verified by some obscure variety show.

        • liz

          actually just because he did that with his nose, doesn’t mean he didn’t have PS. I once told a new friend this “I heard people with nose jobs can’t do it” and she started to laugh and said ”no, they can” and I was like ”how do you know?” she told me ”because I did 2 nose works, look” and did that, so it is possible.

    • 3.2 plumseed

      I don’t think you understand the definition of plastic

      • 3.2.1 Quiet Thought

        No face I’ve seen here recently is as wearily plastic as these identical comments about actors looking plastic. Possibly someday someone will explain what looking “plastic” MEANS.

        • Deb

          It practically means that it’s very apparent the person has had plastic surgery and their features or the combination of their features looks more sculpted than natural.

          It’s not something only reserved for Koreans or anything, I’ve heard it used before I even started watching kdramas. Alot of people around the world get plastic surgery.

          PS are like artists and it is not a simple thing for someone to go under the knife and come out looking like they never had plastic surgery at all.

          At the end of the day though, if they like their faces and are fine with getting PS then that’s that.

        • Chandler

          Thank you. Seriously, I can’t go anywhere without seeing a “plastic” comment these days! I swear, I rarely ever even notice, but for everyone else it seems like it’s the first thing they see.

          Not that it’s really wrong for people to voice their opinions if they find the PS jarring and “fake-looking”, but it’s so hard for me to wrap my head around because I’m just not geared that way. I don’t look at Lee Jong Suk’s face and instantly wonder why his nose looks too perfect all of a sudden, I look at him and go “Aw it’s Lee Jong Suk!” and don’t even notice the rest. And even if I do notice, it doesn’t really bother me.

          I do understand, though, that people have the right to voice their opinion on the matter. I’m just simply voicing the fact that it bothers me to see it discussed so much recently. I literally ran into 10 or more comments today alone and I was only on the comp. for 1 hour!

          • Quiet Thought

            Really. I invariably look at this photos after a “plastic” comment and am baffled by them, trying to see the difference between before and after when all that appears to be happening is the photo was taken at a different angle or with different make-up or hair for the shoot.

          • Quiet Thought

            . . . And it is creepy to find that netizens are claiming plastic surgery based on careful inspection of grainy old middle school photos. That is just obsessive.

          • windsun33

            South Korea does more plastic surgery than any other country in the world. And because so many idols, actors, actresses etc. have had plastic surgery, that even those that have not had it are often accused of it.

            It has gotten to the point that anyone who does not look downright ugly is accused of having plastic surgery.

          • Gizmo

            Personally (and sadly) I have made it a rule to assume that every single South Korean actor I see on my screen have, at some point, for whatever reason, been under the knife. Minor or major, doesn’t matter.

            As a beanie who spends most of her spare time watching k-dramas, this makes life a lot easier for me. It has helped me to learn to appreciate the actors for who they are rather than how they look. I’m not bothered by PS anymore. I’ve also stopped looking up whether an actor I love has had PS. They might have. Or not. Who cares. Rather than wasting my time comparing before and after pictures, I will just go and watch another episode. That’s what I call time well spent. Yay!

            I’ve gotta admit though, there are a few actors out there that I can hardly watch due to PS gone terribly, terribly wrong. It still doesn’t keep me from watching good dramas like Heartless City though.

          • Yenlinh69

            Good plastic surgery doesn’t bother me, the ones that make people looks funny, or worst than before bother me.

          • Alexandria

            Totally agree with u. whether a person looks plastic or not, unless the procedure somehow result in unnatural facial expression of his/her in acting, it shouldnt bother anyone at all. It is their face after all rite??

  4. Katie

    I Hear Your Heartbeat. LOL.

    I am usually a rom-com girl but I like me some Lee Jung Seok and Park Hae Jin so I will tune in. I need new dramas…just finished Single Cunning Lady and before that You From Another Star, I’ve been on a drama drought lately.

    • 4.1 Chandler

      Lots of rom-com’s are coming this summer! I’ve also been missing them so I’m looking forward to the new season 🙂 Witch’s Romance though is currently satisfying my rom-com needs though 🙂

    • 4.2 kanz

      I LOL’ed at the heartbeat comment.
      But girlfriday, I heard in Angel Eyes the female lead can recognize the male lead by his heartbeat. But I don’t watch the drama though

    • 4.3 Gg

      “Listen to my heart, beat…”

      I thought of this song when I read the last line lol

  5. Carole McDonnell

    Oh darn, is this one of those dramas where she has his girlfriend’s old transplanted heart and thus he is inexplicably “drawn” to her? I remember a drama special with that plot once.

    Re: the perm. Didn’t the actor in Stranger also have a perm? Maybe it’s to show how old-fashioned North Koreans are in their hair-do.

    Thanks for the post

    • 5.1 shepo

      I think the transplant heart’s source of story is coming from the legendary seasonal drama : summer scent/summer breeze

      • 5.1.1 Quiet Thought

        It would be a lot more intriguing if she had his girlfriend’s old transplanted heart in the fridge in the basement. That would make the viewers’ hair curl faster than a good perm!

        • houstontwin

          It’s fascinating that someone called “Quiet Thought” could have such disquieting thoughts about old hearts in the fridge!

          • AdAl


    • 5.2 Chandler

      A world in which you just happen to receive the heart of your doppelganger, would be a bizarre world indeed.

  6. omona

    Don’t want to sound korean but… JSY face looks so small with new haircut!

    Or did she lost weight?

    • 6.1 Quiet Thought

      Given she’s been working constantly for the past year — and in Kdrama land, that means six to seven days a week in public view, with couple of hours of sleep each night — I’d go with the new hairdo and a different photographer.

    • 6.2 DayDreamer

      That kind of hairdo does make a face look smaller. Did you watch Miss Korea? It had one episode where heroine was given a lion’s mane hairdo that had a lot of volume in it which made her face look a lot smaller. The effect was startling and interesting.

      So yeah….just in case anyone was wondering, it’s not plastic surgery. 😉

  7. AnOpinion

    They should give him a Kim Jong Un hairstyle.

  8. VanillaSalt

    ughh LJS looks so hot in that simple white tshirt and blue jeans..mmmm

  9. Miichiyeo

    That first pic O.O

  10. 10 AngilBot

    Doctor Stranger and You’re All Surrounded premiering the same week… I REALLY hope that both are good 😀

  11. 11 sequestial

    o_o Other than the whole Korean-peninsula shape aspect, the posters for Doctor Stranger kind of remind me of the posters for 49 Days, especially Jin Se Yeon’s positioning and expression… (Then again, the posters for 49 Days weren’t exceptionally unique anyway)

    • 11.1 Newbie

      First thing this poster made me think of is this:


      Which is btw a truly awesome movie by Kiran Rao and not ‘Bollywood’, in case someone wants to check it out and is afraid of the song and dance routine in Indian movies. 😉

    • 11.2 mika-chan

      omg yes i thought the same thing! the positioning with the head coming out of nowhere and the effects looks soo similar to 49 days!

  12. 12 blegh!

    I think LJS got his perm after coming to south Korea.

    • 12.1 ck1Oz

      I thought every cent should be saved for his living expenses if he’s doing odd jobs. Not for a perm.

  13. 13 Miky

    And of course the darn fate meddeling yet again,isin’t she busy at home or somehting in place of meddelingin other people business…
    it sounds intresting and chessy in some points(dead girfriend pops out of the box)but maybe this will be good on screen…and Bad Daddy is back!!!!

  14. 14 Mandy

    I really like the new poster since it doesn’t scream medical drama. But I do wonder how they reach Hungary. Or if it’s really a necessary location or more like Heirs in California where semblance to the storyline is nonexistent but looks pretty anyway.

    Also… That tagline is soooo cheesy lol. I think (hope) they’re hinting at ‘twuuu lurvee’ but I’ll be joining the laughing party if it turns out to be literal.

  15. 15 mdc

    i think they already said he got perm in south.

    “Park Hoon’s character has a lot of changes. It is difficult to portray these changes. To more clearly show the different faces, every time the character changes, the hairstyle changes as well.”

    eventho unrealistic, it’s just to portray.. ^^

  16. 16 jam

    will watch for phj <3

  17. 17 Jyyjc

    Dramaland has so many of these hair discrepancies. I can’t count how many times I’ve questioned why a certain character, being the way he or she is, would have that kind of hair style. Ok I will come up with a couple..

    – Lee yo won in 49 days. For a person who lives like a zombie or years, she sure maintains such nice chestnut brown curly-wavy hair.

    – jung kyungho in cruel city. Always on the run and always facing baddies and yet, always have the time to gel and comb his hair into a perfect pompadour-like do.

    • 17.1 windsun33

      And it is not just hair. If you look close you will see little anomalies all over – things like the poverty stricken candy with a designer bag or shoes type of things.

      I don’t recall which drama, but it was about some boondock country girl who always managed to have perfect hair, even while picking onions 😛

    • 17.2 Quiet Thought

      The greatest hair discrepancy has to be Yoon Jin-yi’s Joseon Korea bandit daughter with a perfect auburn shag in Mandate of Heaven. That fright wig looked like it just flew in from a Dutch or German school yard.

  18. 18 Moca

    Jin Se Yeon’s character in South Korea looks a little bit sad from the posters. I wonder if she is the same girl in the North. Btw, I really love her from inspiring generation ^^ Hope this drama will be good. Good luck for Jong Suk, Se Yeon, Sora, Hae Jin, Bora, and all casts ^^

  19. 19 Quiet Thought

    I’ve got nothing personally against Jin Se Yeon or her acting. But she isn’t a vivid enough actress to overcome the clumsy-and sexist-way her characters have been treated in her last couple of series.

  20. 20 pogo

    That perm reminds me a lot of Sung Joon in Shut Up Flower Boy Band.

    And this:

    because if he can recognize her by her heartbeat

    Hey, his buddy Woobie did it in Vampire Idol, maybe it;s LJS’ turn now? lol.

  21. 21 kooriyuki

    Am totally torn between watching, or not, this drama.

    • 21.1 windsun33

      I am torn about watching a lot of the upcoming dramas. An awful lot of them seem to be formula driven makjang fests.

      It might be time to take a vacation and go someplace where I can’t watch them.

  22. 22 whilethemusiclasts

    Jin Se-yeon is the only factor holding me back from being excited about this drama. The 3 other leads, I absolutely love.

    • 22.1 coffeenlucia

      Same. I tried to like her acting but really couldn’t get into it. :/ On the other hand, I adored Kang Sora in Sunny, LJS in IHYV, and Park Hae Jin in MFTS, so I’ll have no trouble liking their acting.

  23. 23 duchess

    i will be antipicating it then. love lee jong suk in anytin he does, he just has this charm. Sbs be giving us lee jong suk&park hae jin,cha seung won/lee seung gi weekly…. geeeezzzz. who wont tune in?

  24. 24 divyrus

    Too many hospital stills !
    I don’t want it to become a medical drama !

  25. 25 Dam

    Omg why jin se yeon, i dunno why but i dislike her acting. Like for no reason.. i just dont like her. In dramas ofc lol. Which sucks, i hope she grows on me.

  26. 26 Fab

    Can we have an article about Lee Joon Seok without mentioning his nose, pretty please? It’s very off putting!

  27. 27 Silverteem

    Being a male drama watcher, I couldn’t care less about the male leads, coupled with the wacky premise and my aversion to medical drama; the only draw for me with this drama therefore is Jin Se Yeon. Fortunately, this drama will also help introduce me to Kang Sora whom I’ve never seen in anything before, (well I did see her in DH 2 briefly because I liked the first one, but that drama made me run in the opposite direction after a couple of episodes in, and that is saying, especially considering that I liked the thought of watching Jiyeon). Having said that, I do find PHJ as a charming actor, he was easy to root for in YWCFTS but then again that could just be a result of the script. Even LJS who I don’t really find engaging as an actor had his moments in School 2013, which I firmly believe was his best acting role by far. IHYV was just cringe worthy and made my skin crawl with the cheese. Not even LBY’s stellar performance or LDH’s (their rivalry, which I may point out, is the best part of the show) striking first impression to me, could have compelled me to stay for that drama. I tapped out halfway through. But lesson of the story is, watching these dramas helped introduce me to endearing actresses which now I do root for to succeed. Case in point, GHS in BOF who is now slaying it in Angel Eyes, LYH in EoE who has naturally displayed her gravitas in MK, and even the limited LMJ who has silently grown as an actress and niche towards rom-com over the years. It’s really part script, part directing, part acting which makes the stellar performance. So I do hope that this drama surprise me, in good ways. “Staying or leaving” for the acting is an overstatement, if not rather just a fad thing to say. All I ask is that this drama give the cast a good material to work with to complement their acting. And to me, a good story and script is a more decisive factor in making me watch one. Stellar acting is just the cherry on the top.

    • 27.1 mary

      Try watching the movie Sunny for Kang Sora! Also for Shim Eun Kyung’s awesomeness.

      I make fun of not-so-good actresses like (in my opinion) JSY is, but I’m also very happy when they prove me wrong.

      I think she shines in sassy roles. There were flashes of that in AoF when she was with Kim Jae Wook’s character. I hope the writers/casting directors stop pigeonholing her into tragic damsel-in-distress characters. 🙁

    • 27.2 liz

      I have to disagree on GHS, everyone was praising her and I then watched the last episode – the one she supposed to do emotional scene and break down and…. she still doesn’t make me feel anything. Her crying scene was good but felt nothing – even the lead actor made me feel something.

      GHS eyes is my problem. I somehow think they don’t show emotion at all, like dead eyes.

    • 27.3 pogo

      Being a male drama watcher, I couldn’t care less about the male leads

      How odd, being a female drama watcher never stopped me (or anyone else on this site, including JB and GF) from caring about the female leads of a show.

      • 27.3.1 Silverteem

        In other words, before I go into a drama, I don’t inspect who the male lead first, conversely I might go on check who the female lead is though. And honestly, I couldn’t care at all who the male lead is in a drama, for most parts, and just like any of my female drama addict bretherens, I tend to focus on the actor (actress in my case) first. Just as others would go on this drama despite its funky premise, because of “puppy”, the same effect is also true for us male viewers…

        Is all I’m saying.

      • 27.3.2 mira

        I am not sure if you should be talking on behalf of “every”one else on this site…
        Being a female drama watcher I do tend to care a bit more about the male casts than female casts…
        It happens, not everyone is similar… So no need for assumptions…

        • Fab

          Excuse me, but the amount of criticism or the praise female actresses here here is huge so trust when I tell you that the majority does care about the female casting.

          • Fab

            edit: get here…

  28. 28 kDkiddo

    Tjis sounds interesting !!

  29. 29 mira

    I am not sure if either of them are old enough to be a doctor in real life :S
    Specially JSY…
    Couldn’t they find anyone else ?
    Not that I don’t like LJS XD

  30. 30 ChoiHyeRa

    What if LJS’s character’s hair is natuarally that way. No? Okay.

  31. 31 siti

    That UGLY bandanna thingy has got to go! Doctors aren’t even supposed to wear those kind of things in operation theatre. Of course its only possible since this is dramaland…

  32. 32 RainbowFish

    Hmmmmmm, I love all things LJS, but I hate medical dramas, and the plot sounds silly and I don’t want to ruin my school-2013-esque image of lee jong seok.

    …but then there’s Lee Jong Seok.

    Ah, impasse. ;___;

  33. 33 canberra ho zi long

    isn’t park hae jin supposed to be lead? looks like he is second lead to Lee Jong Seok .
    ah, always the second fiddle, this park hae jin

  34. 34 goldeng

    Park Hae Jin stole evil Jae kyung’s hair for this drama! Im not sure if I would watch… I like Hae Jin and Jong Suk -as long as he’s not angry-screaming in a scene- but idk… the plot sounds weak -im still figuring out what So ra’s and Hae jin’s characters game besides from working in the same hospital as LJS- and neither of the female leads draw my attention.

  35. 35 randomactofkindness

    LOL at your last comment after that cliff hanger at the end of ep 6!

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