Stranger (TV series)
|Also known as||
|Original title||비밀의 숲|
|Created by||Studio Dragon|
|Written by||Lee Soo-Yeon|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Running time||63-86 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||June 10– July 30, 2017|
Stranger (Hangul: 비밀의 숲; RR: Bimileui Sup; lit. Secret Forest) is a South Korean television series starring Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doo-na. It aired on tvN every Saturday and Sunday at 21:00 (KST) from June 10, 2017 to July 30, 2017. It aired simultaneously on Netflix, which purchased the series for $200,000 per episode.
The series was a hit with both domestic and international viewers, and gained favorable reviews for its tight plot, gripping sequences and strong performances. It was featured on New York Times list of Best TV Shows of 2017, and won several awards including the Grand Prize for television at the Baeksang Arts Awards.
The story revolves around a coolheaded and physically emotionless prosecutor, who ends up teaming with a passionate and warm-hearted female detective to uncover rampant corruption and the truth behind a serial murder case.
- Cho Seung-woo as Hwang Shi-mok
- Gil Jung-woo as 10 y.o Hwang Shi-mok
- Song Eui-joon as 15 y.o Hwang Shi-mok
- Bae Doona as Han Yeo-jin
- Lee Joon-hyuk as Seo Dong-jae
- Yoo Jae-myung as Lee Chang-joon
- Shin Hye-sun as Young Eun-soo
Western District Public Prosecutors Office
- Lee Kyu-hyung as Yoon Se-won
- Park Sung-geun as Kang Won-chul
- Lee Tae-hyung as Kim Ho-sub
- Kim So-ra as Choi Young
Yongsan Police Station
- Choi Byung-mo as Kim Woo-gyoon
- Park Jin-woo as Kim Soo-chan
- Choi Jae-woong as Jang Geon
- Jeon Bae-soo as Detective Team Leader
- Song Ji-ho as Park Soon-chang
- Lee Kyoung-young as Lee Yoon-beom
- Yoon Se-ah as Lee Yeon-jae
- Lee Ho-jae as Young Il-jae
- Seo Dong-won as Kim Jung-bon
- Kim Jin-seong as 15 y.o Kim Jung-bon
- Nam Gi-ae as Young Eun-soo's mother
- Ye Soo-jung as Park Moo-sung's mother
- Jeon Yeo-jin as Kang Jin-sub's wife
- Han Chang-hyun as Prosecution Division Chief
- Kim Ji-hoon as Lee Moon-woo
- Jeon Soo-yeon as Jo Hye-seon
- Jang Sung-bum as Park Kyung-wan
- Park Yoo-na as Kwon Min-ah/Kim Ga-young
- Bae Hyo-won as Secretary Yang
- Yoon Jong-in as Detective
- Seo Kwang-jae as Judge
- Kim Kyung-ryong as Hwang Si-mok's step father
- Kwak In-joon as Current Issue MC
- Song Soo-hyun as Han Yi-ji (High school student)
- Cheon Min-hee as Bar owner
- Son Dong-hwa as Doctor
- Park Seong-gyun as Prosecution Division Chief
- Jung Hyun-seok as Journalist
- Byun Joo-hyun as Matsuyama
- Jung Dong-gyu as Minister of National Defense
- Jung Dong-keun as Woo Byung-joon
- Lee Yoon-sang as Chairman Cho
- Lee Dong-yong as taxi driver
- Lee Eun-ho as Nurse
- Park Ki-ryung as Bae Sang-wook
- Kang Min-tae as drunk taxi passenger
- Lee Han-na as High school student
- Yoon Ji-on as Cafe part-timer
- Son Seong-chan
- Park Soon-chun as Hwang Shi-mok's mother
- Um Hyo-sup as Park Moo-sung
- Yoon Kyung-ho as Kang Jin-sub
- Lee Jae-yong as Kim Nam-jin
- Sunwoo Jae-duk as Ahn Seung-ho
- Lee Jae-won as Kim Tae-kyoon
- Tae In-ho as Kim Byung-hyun
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Episode 1"||June 10, 2017|
|Despite being exceptional at his profession, South Korean prosecutor Hwang Si-mok (Cho Seung-woo) is frequently plagued by the side effects of having an abnormally developed brain—including the loss of empathy, lack of social skills and sensitivity to certain frequencies of sound. While investigating on a case, he discovers that his person of interest has been murdered. His lack of communication with the corresponding police unit forces him to be stopped by police lieutenant Han Yeo-jin (Bae Doona), who later assists him in arresting the lone evading suspect, who makes a not guilty plea. Despite suspect being convicted with evidence, Si-mok is left uncertain about it and passes his verdict to the deputy chief Lee Chang-joon (Yoo Jae-myung) as a robbery involving a third party instead of murder. Meanwhile, Yeo-jin tries to comfort the victim's family.|
|2||"Episode 2"||June 11, 2017|
|Despite Si-mok's initial verdict of robbery, his colleague Young Eun-soo (Shin Hye-sun) formally convicts the suspect of murder, which leads to her being ostracized by the public after the convict commits suicide despite a strong evidence proving his innocence. Yeo-jin obtains a DNA sample of the real suspect and submits it to Si-mok, who is beginning to suspect that the convict was framed. He tries to find documents inside the office of his colleague Seo Dong-jae (Lee Joon-hyuk), who indignantly prevents him from prowling around.|
|3||"Episode 3"||June 17, 2017|
|Si-mok makes a bold promise of catching the real suspect on national television, infuriating his fellow colleagues. His past aggression from his personality traits becomes an object of scrutiny. Yeo-jin later accompanies him in interviewing the victim's mother. Feeling guilty about Si-mok's apathetically insulting queries to the mother, Yeo-jin invites her to her loft for company. Chang-joon asks his father-in-law Lee Yoon-beom (Lee Kyoung-young) for advice in dealing with Si-mok snooping around the wrong places. Si-mook then tries to find who the victim had last to talk to before being killed.|
|4||"Episode 4"||June 18, 2017|
|Word about Si-mok's past violent behavior quickly spreads out on social media. Unconcerned about it, Si-mok persists on investigating focuses his attention on his suspicions on Eun-soo. He surmises with Yeo-jin that the deaths of both victim and convict may have been part of larger scheme. Si-mok becomes suspicious of Dong-jae's proclivities, and follows him around the city. He later discovers that Dong-jae has been pursuing an underage female escort who is later found left-for-dead inside the house where the primary victim was murdered.|
|5||"Episode 5"||June 24, 2017|
|Perplexed about the current turn-out on the case, Si-mok is joined by Yeo-jin in visiting the escort's home for clues about her connection to the case. Dong-jae visits the police station to give an input about the case. While Yeo-jin is searching for the escort's real identity, Si-mok is anonymously accused as the escort's abductor. As the police attempt to take him away for questioning, they are interdicted by a defensive Chang-joon. Though attesting of Si-mok's innocence, Yeo-jin is also midly suspicious about him herself.|
|6||"Episode 6"||June 25, 2017|
|Eun-soo reveals to Si-mok who the last person the primary victim talked to. Few people are beginning to question Si-mok's innocence to the escort's case, including Yeo-jin herself. As they discover new evidence, the list of possible suspects grows, including Dong-jae and the chief of police Kim Woo-gyoon (Choi Byung-mo). The primary victim's son returns from military service and reveals to Yeo-jin his connection to the escort. Dong-jae notices his office has been searched.|
|7||"Episode 7"||July 1, 2017|
|Chang-joon is appointed as Chief Prosecutor. At the hospital, someone attempts to kill the unconscious underage escort, with a woman seen leaving the premises. The primary victim's son is arrested based on his relationship to both victims. Thinking that Dong-jae is secretly trying to destroy evidence of his connection to the escort's case, Si-mok and Yeo-jin team up to pursue and arrest him.|
|8||"Episode 8"||July 2, 2017|
Dong-jae is arrested and reprimanded by Chang-joon, who suspends his indictment. The primary victim's son gets beaten up at the station and is sent to the correctional facility, only to be released immediately. Both the police and the prosecutors are publicly shunned for it. Eun-soo reveals herself to Dong-jae as the escort's abductor and coerces him to frame it to Chang-joon, whom she blames as the culprit behind her father's bribery indictment. Si-mok surmises the identity of the real culprit.
|9||"Episode 9"||July 8, 2017|
|Sensing a larger corruption scheme surrounding the case, Si-mok assembles a special investigations task force consisting of his prosecutor colleagues, key legal counselors and police detectives, including Yeo-jin. Together, they probe Dong-jae as their starting point. The escort finally wakes up at the hospital.|
|10||"Episode 10"||July 9, 2017|
|Fearing for the escort's security, Yeo-jin devices a plan to safely transfer her to a different hospital and discovers something strange had happened involving Chang-joon's wife. Eun-soo tracks a fleeing person of interest and asks for Si-mok's help. Si-mok gives an update on the investigations, which includes an indictment on Yeo-jin's police chief Kim Woo-gyoon (Choi Byung-mo)—which leads to a conflict when Yeo-jin has interview him herself. Chang-joon is appointed as Chief Secretary at the Blue House and receives a mysterious gift from someone anonymous.|
|11||"Episode 11"||July 15, 2017|
|Yeo-jin pays a visit to Chang-joon's wife to inquire about her involvement with the escort. Woo-gyoon secretly asks Chang-joon for help in being vindicated from the case. Chang-joon invites Dong-jae to work for him at the Blue House, and is immediately confronted by Eun-soo. Si-mok and Yeo-jin device a plan to reveal the truth behind the attempt on the escort's life and catch the suspect in the act—forcing the police to choose between their chief or the task force team. The escort later gives Si-mok and Yeo-jin an information about her abduction|
In the table below, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
|Episode #||Original broadcast date||Average audience share|
|1||June 10, 2017||3.041%||3.627%||3.2%|
|2||June 11, 2017||4.148%||5.498%||4.0%|
|3||June 17, 2017||4.088%||4.420%||3.6%|
|4||June 18, 2017||4.170%||4.923%||4.5%|
|5||June 24, 2017||4.064%||5.203%||3.7%|
|6||June 25, 2017||4.082%||5.174%||3.9%|
|7||July 1, 2017||4.389%||4.888%||4.0%|
|8||July 2, 2017||4.154%||5.237%||4.6%|
|9||July 8, 2017||4.319%||5.506%||4.3%|
|10||July 9, 2017||4.834%||6.434%||4.6%|
|11||July 15, 2017||4.733%||5.709%||5.0%|
|12||July 16, 2017||5.511%||6.875%||5.0%|
|13||July 22, 2017||4.451%||5.582%||4.4%|
|14||July 23, 2017||5.447%||7.125%||6.0%|
|15||July 29, 2017||4.993%||6.240%||5.1%|
|16||July 30, 2017||6.568%||7.622%||7.1%|
- This drama airs on a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC & EBS).
- The last episode recorded noticeably a strong rating performances as it took the lead rating for the first time against hit variety show Hyori's Homestay that aired in same time slot and became the highest rated program of the day among non-terrestrial channel programs.
Awards and nominations
|2017||1st The Seoul Awards||Grand Prize (Drama)||Stranger||Won|||
|Best Actor||Cho Seung-woo||Nominated|
|Best New Actress||Shin Hye-sun||Nominated|
|2018||54th Baeksang Arts Awards||Grand Prize (Television)||Stranger||Won|||
|Best Director||Ahn Gil-ho||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Lee Soo-yeon||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Yoo Jae-myung||Nominated|
|Best New Actor||Lee Kyu-hyung||Nominated|
- The drama was broadcast on tvN Asia with subtitles in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka where it premiered on June 16, 2018.
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- "'Stranger' ends amid much fanfare". The Korea Herald. 31 July 2017.
- "The Best TV Shows of 2017". New York Times. 4 December 2017.
- "Baeksang Arts Awards recognize 'Stranger,' '1987'". The Korea Herald. May 4, 2018.
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- "The Seoul Awards Announces Nominees For First Year Of Ceremony". Soompi. September 27, 2017.
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- 54회 백상 심사 채점 결과 공개, 어떻게 뽑았나(May 8, 2018)
- "[54회 백상] 조승우·김남주의 '독한 변신', 男女최우수 값진 결과물 얻다". The Daily Sports (in Korean). May 4, 2018.
- "[2018 백상예술대상 종합] tvN '비밀의 숲'·영화 '1987' 대상 영예+3·4관왕". Osen (in Korean). May 4, 2018.
- "제54회 백상예술대상, TV·영화 각 부문별 수상 후보자 공개". JTBC (in Korean). April 6, 2018.
- "TOMORROW, WITH YOU". tvN Asia.
|tvN: Saturday-Sunday dramas|
(June 10 – July 30, 2017)
|Live Up to Your Name, Dr. Heo|
(August 12 – October 1, 2017)