“One Ordinary Day” Spoiler-Free Review: Riveting, Suspenseful And Heartbreaking

Published Categorized as Reviews and Recaps

“One Ordinary Day” is Coupang Play’s first original drama and it will go down in history as one of the best kdramas of 2021, lets talk about it.

Although its very late at this point, “One Ordinary Day” is still worthy of discussion and a review. I’ve been very busy the past two months but I am now catching up on some reviews I must write and “One Ordinary Day” is one of them.

Lets talk about why “One Ordinary Day” is one of the best kdramas of 2021 but still not the type of drama I’d recommend for everyone.

The script

“One Ordinary Day” is a remake of the UK television series “Criminal Justice” that aired on BBC in 2008, so its been some time but the stories and lessons it tries to tackle remain fresh to this day and resonate even more than you’d expect, thats how bleak our society has become.

Screenwriter Kwon Soon Gyu is responsible for writing this masterpiece. The 8-episode drama is nothing short of perfection, it commands your attention from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the very end.

The screenwriter has done a good job with the remake, according to many fans who have seen both dramas. I didn’t see the original but if I were to judge it as a standalone project, I am so impressed.

It has one of the tightest kdrama scripts I’ve seen in a while. There is absolutely no moment wasted in this drama and I really think the 8 episode format was of great help.

“One Ordinary Day” discusses a lot of sensitive topics, some of which might be a bit difficult for some to swallow. I found myself a bit uncomfortable with certain scenes because of the violence exhibited, it doesn’t feel enacted for the sake of it but done purposefully, which adds to the uncomfortable feeling you get watching it. There were many scenes in the drama that were difficult to get through. This is spoiler-free so I won’t get into details but know that its 18+ for a reason.

I can’t sing enough praise about the writing, its perfect. Its so suspenseful and fast-paced, a lot happens and your heart feels heavy watching it, you can’t help but be invested in the situation.

Above all us, the plot of “One Ordinary Day” isn’t far-fetched and I bet many men and women around the world suffered something similar to whats exhibited in this drama which makes the entire watching experience even more impactful. You feel rage, sadness, and disappointment all at the same time, an average person will have a difficult time defending themselves even when everything points to their innocence if the system and the people involved with it all want praise for resolving the case. God knows how many people suffered injustices because of similar situations.

What I also liked about “One Ordinary Day” was how it opens up the possibility for us to discuss the prison system present in many countries around the world and how it is designed to fail people and society as a whole. I’ve seen so many of my friends discuss the justice system and each one had an interesting thought to share. It was fun to converse with them about such a thing.

The only complaint I have about the drama is how it didn’t delve into what Kim Soo Hyun’s character’s family had to deal with because of the situation he’s been placed in, I wanted to see how the situation affected them beyond just some clips here and there.

The characters

“One Ordinary Day” characters are so unique and in their own way, at times, lovable. They aren’t 2D and even for those who feel like it is done on a purpose, there is an aura of mystery surrounding some characters and you can tell its done on purpose by the screenwriter.

Cha Seung Won’s character is intriguing, he’s so complex and interesting. He’s a lot of things and the character feels human if that makes sense, it doesn’t feel like a standard character you’d find in such types of dramas which was refreshing to see.

Kim Soo Hyun’s character [Hyun Soo] is also done so well, the writing for that one… chef kiss … I can’t even…. It was amazing.

The rest of the characters are also done so well. You might not agree with the way they went about solving the case involving him, but from their perspective, and not armed with the information us the audience know, its an entirely different situation.

The circumstances that led to the situation with Hyun Soo becoming so dire is a mix of a lot of things that can be analyzed from many perspectives. Call it skepticism or cynicism, the entire system is designed in a way that makes you disconnect to a certain extent. You no longer view potential suspects as people but as something less than that, its a combination of how previous actual criminals tricked you, and the system is so bad it makes any investment towards the betterment of it seem futile.

The performances

The combination of Cha Seung Won and Kim Soo Hyun is.. whoever thought of this deserves a raise for that alone. O.M.G. they work so well together. They have amazing chemistry and you can’t help but feel drawn to them.

Kim Soo Hyun gives an amazing performance here. There were rumors that he was paid nearly $500,000 per episode and when you watch his performance you can’t help but say, ‘that was money well spent.’

I liked Kim Sung Kyu and Yang Kyung Won’s performances as well, both amazing. Lee Seol also gives an interesting performance. The casting was done so darn well. There is no weak link at all.

Coupang Play and the race of the OTT market

Coupang Play officially joined the race to become the top in the OTT market in 2021 which is already kinda late but its better to be late than never.

Netflix has been dominating the race and honestly, they’ve put out some amazing kdramas, some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. With the massive success of squid game, it was only a matter of time before more companies tried to dip their feet in the market.

The issue, at least for Korean streaming platforms, is the licensing. By a wide margin, Netflix has the upper hand because of their global reach. Coupang Play didn’t make “One Ordinary Day” widely accessible to fans around the world which makes casting Soo Hyun too expensive for the project.

I get why they cast him, they need all the attention that they can get but licensing and opening up subscriptions to the west will not only increase their visibility but also give them a good head start. South Korea as a market alone isn’t enough, you want to cover all of Asia at least to see your drama get the attention it deserves.

This is definitely something they need to work on. Its not enough to just produce good content but you need to distribute that well in order to reap the benefits. “One Ordinary Day” could have been so much bigger if more people were able to access it legally.

Conclusion

“One Ordinary Day” is one of those dramas that if you watch, you won’t easily forget. Its well-written, well-acted and so engaging. Despite that, this isn’t the drama I would recommend to everyone because of the subjects it discusses, some of which might be difficult for some people to view or could trigger certain responses.

However, if you end up watching it, I can almost guarantee you’ll love it. You don’t even have to know or like any of the actors involved, its an amazing drama.

So if you guys watched “One Ordinary Day,” let me know how you felt about it, and if you watched it based on my suggestion, let me know what you thought of it.

By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. the founder of Jazminemedia, in this site, I share my thoughts on the stories me and my team cover. I also review and recap kdramas, all the reviews and recaps in this blog are written by me. I've been a fan of kdramas since 2012 and counting~ Join me as I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas, and if you have any requests for a kdrama review, please let me know in the comment section of any article.

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