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Namgoong Min deals in dark bargains in KBS’s Doctor Prisoner

There’s just something oddly appealing about an antihero, isn’t there? We’ve got our first look at Namgoong Min (Handsome Guy and Jung-eum) as a former surgeon in KBS’s prison thriller Doctor Prisoner, and there’s definitely a dark edge to our doctor hero according to the show’s recently released teaser.

The clip starts with Namgoong Min hard at work as a surgeon with his star on the rise, followed by a somewhat superfluous dictionary meaning of ‘doctor:’ a person whose job it is to cure illnesses. Things take a downturn when a patient can’t be revived despite the efforts of nurses with defibrillators, and the next thing we see, Namgoong Min stabs an unknown man with a scalpel to his neck. Well, that escalated pretty quickly.

I wonder whether that short scene has something to do with the doctor’s career change, since there’s a definite sense of demotion, going from a hotshot surgeon at a large hospital to a member of a prison medical unit. Namgoong Min strolls through his new workplace, as the captions read, “When a doctor goes to prison…” He stops in front of a cell, which holds Kang Shin-il (Room No. 9), and offers a spine-chilling deal: “I’ll release you. If you can withstand pain that will make you wish you were dead.” Yikes.

I’m a little sad we haven’t gotten a look at some of the other members of this enviable cast, especially SKY Castle alums Choi Won-young and Kim Byung-chul, but I’ll guess we’ll just have to sit tight until we get some more teasers. KBS’s Doctor Prisoner will premiere on March 20.

Via 10 Asia

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He has the serial killer look from Girl Who Sees Smells. That’s not a bad thing at all. I’m just terrified all over again. 😱

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Awwww, am I ready for him to be all chilling again? eeeeek!

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@bbstl, @wishfultoki,

I'm not sure I can stand to watch another dark drama. I had to drop ITEM and TRAP because they were too violent and depressing. Much as I love NGM, I may have to skip this one. It might be time to rewatch CHIEF KIM (which had its own dark passages), but at least I could squee over the bromance with Gluttonous Psychopath. ;-)

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I’ve dropped item because the plot is messy and I wasn’t impressed by anyone acting, even though KKW is a good actor his acting evil seems forced and I don’t take him seriously he was much better in Goodbye Mr Black. Trap is on another level of ridiculousness but i am still watching while doing some other stuff, also the acting there is not impressive maybe the writing is the reason, too much dialogues less action i was disappointed.

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Hi @pakalanapikake. What's going on. TRAP dropped? Like you I dropped ITEM but I stayed with TRAP (c'mon, only 7 episodes.). One episode to go and it has been an unusual ride to say the least. Twists and turns every week. The whole thing is still a mystery to me (at least).
Btw. Part of my 2019 kdrama viewing plan is to work is well regarded dramas that I have missed. GO BACK SPOUSES is finished and thoroughly enjoyed. Next up is MISAENG. I am going to put CHIEF KIM on my list after ROMANTIC DOCTOR KIM.

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@pakalanapikake I rewatched CHIEF KIM a few months ago and it was still quirky and fun. It’s a good antidote to all those dark dramas.... you could also try REACH OF SINCERITY to balance it with some pink fluff @marcusnyc20 I hope you enjoy MISAENG 😊 I’m also working through dramas I’ve missed. I’m currently in the middle of an OJAKGYO BROTHERS marathon (can you see my panda eyes?) Next up: SIX FLYING DRAGONS.
I’ve read good things about ROMANTIC DOCTOR CK but I don’t like medical dramas :(

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@wishfultoki,

REACH OF SINCERITY had been on my to-watch list, but only for Shin Dong-wook, so I was relieved to be able to skip it. I've OD'd on fluff in 2018 with THE BEAUTY INSIDE, MAMA FAIRY AND THE WOOD CUTTER, and WHAT'S WRONG WITH SECRETARY KIM. There may have been a couple more. Oh, right, the ones that carried over into 2019: DAE JANG-GEUM IS WATCHING, TOP STAR YOO BAEK, and CLEAN WITH PASSION FOR NOW.

Holy moly! OJAKGYO BROTHERS to SIX FLYING DRAGONS. Whiplash to the max! Talk about family dramas, which is sort of what 6FD is, if you think about it. -- Gil Tae-mi is one of my favorite psycho nutcases. You're in for a treat with the music. Will you be following up with TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS? (Uri Kim Sabu played King Sejong.)

I don't usually watch medical dramas myself. BEAUTIFUL MIND, RDTK, and CLOUD STAIRCASE with Shin Dong-wook are about the only ones I can think of off-hand. The thing about RDTK is that it may be set in Doldam Hospital out in the boonies, with all the ridiculous chaebol politics impinging from the main hospital, but it's really more of a character study of young physicians tussling with their own growing pains under the watchful eye of their taskmaster mentor, whose career path had been destroyed by his own hubris. There's a strong element of justice that runs through the drama, too. The "romantic" in the title is actually closer to "idealistic," BTW. The show is very philosophical, and the spirited discussions in the recaps were interesting and great fun.

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@pakalanapikake Hehe out of all those 2018-19 rom coms I only tried one and didn’t even finish (TOP STAR). So I was ready for an old-fashioned good ol’ rom-com. So far REACH OF SINCERITY is cute but not mindless fluff. Fingers crossed.

I do have ROMANTIC DOCTOR on my list. I’ve dozed sat through DOCTORS actually, so I should be able to watch something that beanies tell me is miles better. :)

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,
It's one thing for me to try to figure out twisty plots a la Sherlock Holmes, but quite another thing to sit through needless psychological horror. With TRAP, I couldn't take the sadistic violence, especially when a child was involved. I found myself becoming depressed.

As for ITEM, I love Ju Ji-hoon to bits, but felt as if I were watching a retread of VOICE when the shrink-wrapped corpse and Biblical passages popped up. Mo Tae-goo should sue for plagiary of modus operandi. (I know, I know. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." But this was too blatant.) Violence against yet another child got to me in this show, too. The kiss of death was the female lead. I decided to take off my Kdrama hairshirt of finishing every show I start, and now feel much better. Sorry, JJH.

I took my own advice and listened to grandma: "It's supposed to be a treat, not a treatment."

I'm still watching and enjoying CROWNED CLOWN, but don't know what to expect of the finale. I've been watching HAECHI raw, and will play catch-up next week. It was just too confusing to deal with 2 Joseon sageuks simultaneously. (Not to mention my ROOM NO. 9 cross-talk issues, below.)

I had already started reading the translation of the Chinese web novel Nirvana in Fire. I realized it was time to drop both Kdramas when it dawned on me that I actually feel joyful while reading this story in preparation for watching the Cdrama. It's been on my list for nearly 3 years, but I was afraid to deal with another cast of thousands. Now that it's being translated, I'm trying something different and reading the source novel.

The nearest thing I can compare it to is the exhilarating experience of reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings at the rate of a book a week back when I was in college. The beauty of the language, the characters, the quests -- all remind me of my sojourn with Tolkien. Back then, I got sucked into an alternate universe populated with heroic characters I loved (and feared and hated) to bits. Getting to the end of the final book left me bereft of cherished companions. I have a feeling that's how it will be with NIF. Here's where I'm reading it. The thread is where a couple of us are discussing NIF, GUARDIAN, and a few other Cdramas. I mention them here because the roots of so many Kdramas lay in the Sinosphere. I'm just taking a little detour back to the Chinese source. It is making me immensely happy. ;-)

http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/02/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-144/#comment-3414520

Re: your watch list. Excellent choices all of them. MISAENG, ROMANTIC DOCTOR TEACHER KIM, and CHIEF KIM are all among my faves. Namgoong Min is a particular fave, and such a chameleon. He and Lee Junho as the Gluttonous Psychopath have the wackiest bromance. I never dreamed I could fall for a forensic accountant. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake I haven’t read the novel, but the Cdrama NIRVANA IN FIRE is magnificent. It tops all kdramas I’ve seen. Watching it was comparable indeed to reading LORD OF THE RINGS, one of my favourite books. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

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@wishfultoki February 28, 2019 at 2:02 PM

I watched JUMONG and KINGDOM OF THE WINDS at the beginning of the year, and enjoyed their epic plots based on proto-Three Kingdoms Korean history. It was just the dose of epic drama I needed. I'm looking forward to watching NIF when I catch up with the translation. Only 56 chapters to go.

Maybe after I'm done with NIF I'll be in the mood to see what DOCTOR PRISONER is up to. One never knows. ;-)

Thanks for corroborating my sense that I'm reading a fantasy wuxia along the heroic lines of Tolkien. ;-)

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I'm with you @pakalanapikake. I'll wait for the return of quirky comedian NGM. I've been skipping most of the darker dramas this year.

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@ndlessjoie mugyuljoie,
I may cave in and give DOCTOR PRISONER a look anyway because UNDATEABLES was a letdown. I don't think I've seen NGM in any really villainous roles so far: WILD CHIVES AND SOYBEAN SOUP: 12 YEARS PROMISE; CAN YOU HEAR MY HEART? with Kim Jae-won, and a dynamite performance by Jung Bo-suk; ONE FINE DAY with Gong Yoo (NGM plays an aquarium director who's a romantic rival, but he's not evil); GU AM HEO JOON (his only sageuk, methinks). He's in BUNGEE JUMPING OF THEIR OWN, but I really don't recall his character.

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I'll wait and see what the people watching think. I dislike medical dramas to begin with, so it will be a hard sell to me anyway.

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Have you seen Beautiful Gong Shim @ndlessjoie? The second half was a bit of a mess but I absolutely loved the first half and NGM’s lovable weird character.

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No but it's on my list.

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Thanks for the update on DOCTOR PRISONER, @tipsymocha.

He stops in front of a cell, which holds Kang Shin-il (Room No. 9), and offers a spine-chilling deal: “I’ll release you. If you can withstand pain that will make you wish you were dead.”

For a second there I was completely confused by the ROOM NO. 9 reference. There's another soul-swapping defibrillator in this prison, too?! LOL! I'm having a difficult enough time as it is watching Lee Kyoung-young, the Big Bad Ki San in ROOM NO. 9, playing the scheming Minister Min Jin-hun in HAECHI. And now disgraced former prosecutor-turned-public-defender Eulji Sung is in the slammer himself. Help!

Hmmm. From the looks of it, Namgoong Min's character was a neurosurgeon before his fall from grace. Now he's an official yong-pal in the slammer? Perhaps he was framed to bust someone out.

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Namgoong Min going dark???? YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS
And then you give me Choi Won Young as a co-star?????

SIGN. ME. UP

Just 20 more days... Just 20 more days.....

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I will definitely check out DOCTOR PRISONER. I watched and finished CROSS. I have only seen Namgoong Min in FALSIFY which I enjoyed. One of the things I find striking about NM is how deep his voice is!
Fwiw. Here is a short piece on his unusual family name:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namgung

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Watch him in Chief Kim and My beautiful Gong Shim (Now Available in Netflix) he was really good even in Comedy. He is an effective Villain too like in Remember and The Girl who sees smells. :D

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,
I was totally floored to realize that I'd seen Namgoong Min play the title character's adversary in GU AM HEO JOON early in my sageuk watching career.

I really like his voice. Plus, he's raised deadpan to a high art. I don't know how he was able to keep a straight face in CHIEF KIM.

You might enjoy CAN YOU HEAR MY HEART? with NGM, Kim Jae-won, and Jung Bo-suk.

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@pakalanapikake, I checked out GAHJ on AsianWiki. 135 episodes (M-F for 6 months)! You watched the entire series. All I can say is wow!

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,

Like THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG which was originally slated for 120 episodes, GU AM HEO JOON was a daily drama, so the episodes were about half an hour long. I didn't watch it as it aired, but after it was finished, so I was able to marathon it. I would have gone nuts otherwise. ;-)

Truth to tell, I was shocked to note the number of episodes. I didn't recall that many. But that was before I had started keeping my Kdrama log. I found it interesting, so it seemed to fly by. I probably watched it on Hulu.

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Now that I've seen him in Chief Kim, I want to see more fun quirky NM. I think you'd really like Chief Kim.

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I like NGM in darker roles, he shines the most in those roles although he was great in CK, i hope this is good and erase his last disaster drama Handsome guy and..... forgot the rest.

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he was good in my beautiful Gongshim too.

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@grapes,
I persisted in watching HANDSOME GUY, silly me. But at least it didn't give me nightmares. Just a headache from the screeching.

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The Girl Who Sees Smells was my first Namgoong MIn drama. Even when he plays lighter, quirkier roles, I will forever feel that silky, dangerous weirdness pulsing below the surface.

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The Undateables was unbearable except for the cute Jindo pups in my profile pic. That said, Namgoong Min deserves another meaty role and with such a great supporting cast in Choi Won-young and Kim Byung-chul, hopefully this drama will shine. I'm not too familiar with the actresses on board but what little I have seen of Lee Da-In in, she was hilarious in Hwarang and one of the bright spots in that drama.
How many episodes is this going to run?

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Thanks @sashasoo, KSJung for pointing out the other cast members. Choi Won-young was in one of my all time favorites HELLO MONSTER/I REMEMBER YOU. I am also a HWARANG veteran and I agree with you comments about Lee Da-in’s performance. She and Do Ji-han made a nice couple.

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I'm all in for this chilling Namgong Min!!!Script better be good!

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Something tells me Namgoong Min's character isn't necessarily in that jail to make everyone feel well. We'll watch anyway.

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I guess I'm the odd ball here. Because I live for this stuff. Don't get me wrong, I like rom coms as much as the next person, but Trap and Item has been a breathe of fresh air for me.

Guess my threshold for the gore is pretty high, mwahahaha. Bring it, Doctor Prisoner!

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Are we getting scary NGM again ! Hallelujah !!!

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I find it amusing that Namgoong Min's character later workplace is at the jail. Those who have seen the drama "Remember war of the son " (2015) where he is the villain will probably know what I mean.

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Oooo this looks so good. As much as I like Namgoong Min's comedic/odd ball roles, his role that was the most iconic to me was his villain.

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