k-dramas reviews

K-Drama: ‘Switch – Change the World’ Review

While on the hunt for a new k-drama to watch, I stumbled across Switch on Viki, which stars Jang Geun Suk. As I heard that this was going to be his last drama before he entered the military for his mandatory enlistment, I decided to give it a try. What transpired was an entertaining legal drama that required a fair bit of suspension of disbelief.

In Switch, Jang Geun Suk performs double duty as the charismatic, ingenuous, con artist Sa Do Chan who has a wealth of knowledge regarding criminal law, specifically how to be a prosecutor. He was literally just passing the bar away from being a prosecutor, so it’s one guise he can fully embody.

The other character is real prosecutor, Baek Joon Seo, who is a frank and curt justice-seeking prosecutor. Baek Joon Seo will do whatever it takes for justice to prevail–even if it puts his own life on the line.

After an accident orchestrated by criminal mastermind, Geum Tae Woong, Baek Joon Seo is hospitalized and in a coma. In order to protect his life, his hoobae, Prosecutor Oh Ha Ra, knows they need someone in Joon Seo’s place to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. It’s around this same time that Oh Ha Ra’s path crosses with Sa Do Chan, who looks nearly identical to Joon Seo. The problem is that Sa Do Chan is a con artist, but nonetheless, Ha Ra makes a deal with him to impersonate Joon Seo.

It’s an all-around bad idea, but the team manage to pull off the guise without too many bumps in the road. When Joon Seo wakes up, he’s nonplussed to learn that a con artist is pretending to be him. He’s adamantly against it as it goes against every moral, legal bone in his body, but he eventually warms up to Do Chan and agrees to continue these ‘switches.’

Sa Do Chan isn’t your regular, run-of-the-mill con artist. He only “cons” criminals and those that deserve it as he actually has a moral compass. He’s also not a bad guy, not really. Do Chan has an infectious smile and laugh, and he’s so dang adorable half the time that Oh Ha Ra can’t even resist him.

This drama is full of our typical baddies who want to be on top of the world with an infinite amount of money at their disposal. No real shocker or surprises there. In the end, the villains pay their dues and reap what they sowed. Prison will give them a very long time to think about what they’ve done as they’ve lost everything.

I’m looking at you, Geum Tae Woong. Not only was Tae Woong a wretched and cunning villain, but he even abandoned his own wife and son to further his own agenda. Then, he married another woman because of who her father was, and as their relationship started to fracture, he ended up killing her and made Do Chan’s father take the fall for it.

This was a smart villain who turned on anyone, so none of his underlings were safe. The fact that he didn’t trust a single soul (at least not until the very end), made him an unpredictable villain as he had nothing to lose.

The story arch wasn’t anything we haven’t seen in dramaland before, so there’s nothing special to report there. I did appreciate the fact that the criminals weren’t always ending up on top with their schemes. It was a more balanced setup that went back and forth from the baddies to the good guys, which kept a sense of suspense.

In the end, Sa Do Chan got to be a real prosecutor for a while, so I was genuinely happy about that. Now that Joon Seo had surgery and has appeared to have healed, he’s back by Oh Ha Ra’s side.

It’s even shown at the end that Sa Do Chan and his team “conned” a criminal and provided evidence for our prosecutors. Do Chan left behind his trusty star fidget spinner as a clue.

~*~

Here are a few things that left me wanting and needing more:

What are the chances that you have two characters who look virtually identical but aren’t related? I know that it’s been said that we all have our own doppelgangers out there, but what’s the chance that they live in the same exact place?

Also, what are the odds that they both wanted to become prosecutors? Coincidences are fine and I’m happy to suspend disbelief for a good story like this, but when the coincidences keep happening, it becomes harder and harder to just go with the flow.

What is Sa Do Chan’s future? Was his stint as a real prosecutor enough for him? Will he stay a con artist forever? As much as I love Do Chan and his team, conning people is still a very morally grey area — even if they are criminal and deserve justice to be served to him. I’d love to see his talents be put to better use.

Is Baek Joon Seo fully recovered and healed after his surgery? We know things were dire and that there was a high probability of him dying, but that part is never really wrapped up. Sure, we see him by Oh Ha Ra’s side as a prosecutor at the end, so we can assume that he’s healthy enough to work, but it still doesn’t decidedly give us an answer. This was a bit too open-ended.

Also, Sa Do Chan and Oh Ha Ra had a fair bit of chemistry and flirting. At the end she quotes what Do Chan’s father told him as he was dying, “The greatest con in life is having someone fall in love with you completely.” Obviously, this drama was not billed at a romance, but I would have liked to see if anything really came out of Do Chan and Ha Ra’s flirting/interest in one another. Maybe it all ended that day when they parted and went their separate ways after Tae Woong’s trial, but I wish that area was a bit more clear.

But nonetheless, I went into this drama full steam ahead and tried my best to enjoy it for the entertainment it provided. JGS is so fun and charismatic that it’s hard not to enjoy any time he’s on the screen.

As he plans to enter his military enlistment, at least we get a send off with a fun drama.

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