“The Veil” (Korean Drama) First Impression
Ever since Namgoong Min started documenting his physical transformation on his Instagram, I’ve been curious to know the reason. Long familiar with his top-notch acting skills as both main lead and villain, knowing what prompted this transformation intrigued me. In the end, all my expectations were more than met when taking a look at “The Veil” (Korean Title: 검은 태양 Geomeun Taeyang; transl. ‘Black Sun’).
However, you did not come here for my ramblings but for a review on the drama, so let’s get into that. Today’s first look will be on the shorter side since I do not want to give away too many spoilers.
Trigger Warning: “The Veil” depicts themes like human trafficking, organ trafficking, and other violent/gruesome actions. Please stay away from this drama if this triggers you. Always make sure to take care of yourself.
Han Ji-Hyuk (Namgoong Min) was a top agent with Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). Whether it was his peers or his superiors, everyone acknowledged his skills and intelligence. No matter the situation or person, Ji-Hyuk always remained cool headed and focused on the purpose of the missions assigned to him.
Being an agent out in the field was Ji-Hyuk’s entire life, and he liked it that way. Even though his teammates would poke good-natured fun at him for this, it was this very trait that made him as good an agent as he was. And they were aware of this fact.
However, everything changes when a mission fails, ending in the death of his two teammates and Ji-Hyuk’s disappearance. The NIS, stunned by the sudden turn of events, desperately seeks answers. With only a gruesome crime scene left behind and no sign of Ji-Hyuk, they mark him as a potential traitor.
That was a year ago, and no one has seen or heard from the missing agent since. Until he, to the agency’s utter disbelief, reappears in front of them again during a raid on a ship.
Due to Ji-Hyuk’s changed appearance, they failed to recognize him. Only after he gives his agent ID are they able to identify him. But his disheveled look and scarred body are not the only thing different about him.
Treated at first like the suspected traitor they made him out to be, the NIS hopes to finally gain answers to the incident from one year ago. It soon becomes clear however, that Ji-Hyuk suffers from memory loss about that event and most of what happened since.
Unable to prove his culpability in the matter, the agency eventually clears him to work for them again. Not in the field though. Ji-Hyuk gets assigned a desk job in a department known to be insignificant and menial. In addition, his new partner is a agent who is an expert analyst but a rookie in the field.
Hesitant to trust anyone, regardless of their demeanor towards him, Jin-Hyuk embarks on the task of regaining his memories. Only by keeping a clear head does he stand a chance to find the clues and put together the puzzle that has become his life.
“The Veil” starts out strong with scenes that remind me of American crime shows like ‘Criminal Minds’ or ‘C.S.I.’. Used to the usual censoring of weapons in Korean dramas, I was surprised at the open display of guns, knife’s and other weapons.
This is one action-packed drama, to say the least. Including car chases, jailbreaks, face-to-face combat, just to name a few. Additionally, the obvious fact that every side character could potentially be a traitor, will keep you at the edge of your seat.
The story also does not lack in quirky characters and tropes we have long since associated with being a essence of Korean dramas.
Although I’m only on episode 3, the plot and execution of “The Veil” have already captured me. Paired with the superb acting by Namgoong Min (no surprise there) and the rest of the cast, this one hits the spot just right.
Until we drama again,