K-Drama Premiere: “My Dangerous Wife” Sets The Tone For An Intriguing Wild Chase For Truth About A Dysfunctional Marriage
Using the construct of marriage, My Dangerous Wife presents a stirring narrative about deception contrived by selfish interest.
Premier Episode Recap
A Seemingly Perfect Life
Kim Yoon-cheol (Choi Won-young) seems to have it all. His happy marriage has been the envy of many. He is a well-known chef who manages his own restaurant. He lives in a high-fenced luxurious house in an exclusive village. And most importantly, his devoted wife rounds up all the things that elevate his life to perfection.
Everything seems to fall in the right place. But what appears in the surface only deceives the beholder’s sight.
Kim Yoon-cheol and Shim Jae-kyung (Kim Jung-eun) have been married for six years. Jae-kyung comes from a wealthy family who used to own a huge food conglomerate. The death of her parents has left her a fortune of 500 Billion Won as inheritance.
But having no interest in business, she donated a big chunk of her wealth to a charity. Being a full-time housewife is enough to give her a sense of fulfillment.
A Desperate Ache For Freedom
Yoon-cheol, however, grows tired and dissatisfied with his marriage. He finds his wife dull and boring and he is just trying his best to keep his marriage intact. But no matter how much he abhors the company of his wife, he treats her satisfactorily nonetheless.
A bad dream further aggravates his longing to be freed from his marriage. In his dream, he sees himself watching the video of their wedding. While watching the video, Yoon-cheol is a picture of despair. The exhilarating feeling from their blissful union years ago has long extinguished.
Out of misery that burdens him, he plans to take his life by hanging himself. But just when he is about to do it, he wakes up from the horrible nightmare.
Starting the day after waking up from a bad dream is already too much. But having to spend time with a wife he no longer loves makes it even worse for him.
Oblivious of her husband’s real feelings towards her, Jae-kyung does her routine as usual. She prepares her husband’s clothes for his work. She cooks him breakfast and makes sure everything is ready when he wakes up.
A Deceptive Image
While having breakfast together, Jae-kyung enthusiastically asks her husband if the food approves his taste. Yoon-cheol quickly gives her a short affirming response. In all honesty, it doesn’t interest him anything about his wife, let alone the food she cooks.
Jae-kyung happily shows him her new polished fingernails with glittery silver shade. Her husband gives her a forced compliment which is enough to satisfy her self-esteem.
Before leaving for work, Yoon-cheol reminds his wife about a loan he was asking help for. However, he quickly takes it back. Instead, he tells her not to wait for him in the evening. He makes an excuse about some things he needs to attend to.
Jae-kyung goes outside to send her husband off. Before they bid goodbyes, their attentions are drawn towards the couple who live next door. The couple makes an unlikely pair due to the obvious age difference. Nonetheless, they are outwardly affectionate towards each other. The neighbors notice they are looking at them and they awkwardly greet one another instead.
Yoon-cheol sealed the morning with a goodbye kiss before heading towards the garage. As he gets inside his car, he quickly wipes his face and scratches his neck. It appears that he has a peculiar allergy with his wife’s touch.
At work, Yoon-cheol is a passionate worker. His employees look up to him with respect and admiration.
After work, however, he consummates his secret affair. His kept woman happens to be the manager in his restaurant, Jin Sun Mi (Choi Yu Hwa).
A Cunning Greed
Sun Mi apears at the backseat of his car, something she routinely does as her boss’ mistress. They head to her place and engage in a steamy sexual activity.
Yoon-cheol opens up about his marriage dilemma. He complains how being stuck with Jae-kyung equates to living a hellish life. If not for her wife’s fortune, he would have left her a long time ago. And having a business that is crippled with debt, he needs her now more than ever.
Sun Mi, wanting to take Yoon-cheol from his wife, incites him to kill Jae-kyung. But Yoon-cheol, no matter how much he loathes his wife, easily rules out the absurd idea. Sun Mi, however, further lures him with the thought of inheriting his wife’s wealth.
She hands him a toxic substance that would poison Jae-kyung instantly. Just a small intake of it would cause organ failure that would lead to the victim’s death.
She further points out that such small amount would go unnoticed should there be an autopsy examination of the corpse. Hence, Yoon-cheol will be cleared of any suspicion.
Swayed by his mistress’ prodding, he ploys to kill his wife by drinking a wine mixed with the fatal substance. Before heading home, he bought a bottle of wine, then injects a drop of the poisonous substance inside the bottle.
A Mysterious Crime Unfolding
It’s almost midnight and he is all set to execute his dark scheme. Before going inside the house, he calms himself first so as not to cause any suspicion from his wife.
Arriving at their gate, he notices a car speeding by their house. He gets to have a glimpse of the driver and realizes he is an unfamiliar face in their area.
Upon opening the door, he is shockingly greeted by a big blood stain on the floor. The horrifying scene leaves him stunned for a moment. After searching every corner of the house, Jae-kyung is nowhere to be found. Her phone is turned off as well.
He finds a strange note on the dining table. Someone with an alias of N31 wrote it and implies that his wife was kidnapped. A ransom money worth 5 Billion Won is needed in exchange for her freedom. It also specifically pointed out that he must not involve the police in this matter.
Unfazed by the warning, he immediately calls the police to report the incident. A group of policemen arrive at once and and thereby conducted an investigation.
Puzzling Pieces Of Evidences
Among the evidences they found are two recently used mugs. In addition, the blood stain on the floor shows a shoe mark on it.
Following the investigation protocol, he undergoes an interrogation process. The detectives ask him for his whereabouts between 9pm, his restaurant’s closing time, until 12 midnight, the time when he reported the incident. Careful with his response, he creates an alibi by telling them that he had some business stuff to work on his restaurant.
After the interrogation, the detectives leave the house and promise to get in touch with him if they find leads on the case.
While the ransom note is taken as an evidence, Detective Seo (Lee Joon Hyuk), the head of the investigation, develops a strong suspicion against Yoon-cheol. He somehow wants to prove himself right and is determined to thoroughly investigate on the crime.
Meanwhile, Yoon-cheol oddly feels comfortable and free without his wife.
The following day, the detectives return to resume the investigation. While doing so, the married couple next door ring the doorbell. The police instructed him to act as normally as possible.
Another Cryptic Note
Yoon-cheol greets the couple at the gate. They invite him and Jae-kyung to join them for a dinner. As if sensing some irregularities, they ask Yoon-cheol if something is wrong. Suppressing any possible hint of suspicions, he swiftly assures them that things are going smoothly as usual.
The woman surprisingly hands him a letter which, according to her, was delivered in their address mistakenly. Yoon-cheol takes it, which to his shock, was sent by alias N31. Although startled by what he saw, he manages to keep his calm until the neighbors have left.
He immediately tells the police about the letter and they instruct him to read what was written on it. The note is deliberately stained with blood perhaps to incite fear. With a threatening tone, it says his wife will be killed since he did not heed the warning about involving the police.
A scraped fingernail covered with blood is included in the small envelope. He is horrified by the morbid sight after realizing it belongs to his wife.
Before leaving the village, the detectives try to gather information from a neighbor about the marital situation between Yoon-cheol and his wife. Miss Ha, the woman who lives next door, gives out a cryptic response. She tells them that she better stick her nose away from the private lives of others or she might risk her life in danger.
At work, Yoon-cheol attends to his restaurant as usual. Nobody among his employees has any idea about the kidnapping incident involving his wife.
The two detectives handling the case spend time at his restaurant to deliberately observe him. Yoon-cheol goes to his office at the second floor. Sun Mi follows him almost forgetting to be discreet.
He informs her about his wife’s abduction. Hearing about it makes her unapologetically ecstatic. Yoon-cheol, however, restrains her celebration. He then emphasizes that an investigation is underway and they have to be careful not to draw any suspicions about their affair.
Sun Mi rather shrugs what she heard and starts to get physically intimate with him. Yoon-cheol attempts to control her at first, but eventually gives in to the temptation.
Meanwhile, the detectives find it odd that Yoon-cheol has been in his office for quite a long time. Out of curiousity, Detective Seo goes upstairs to check on him. They meet at the corridor but the detective notices something strange. Yoon-cheol smells with a woman’s fragrance.
His hunch grows stronger that it makes him even more determined to work on the case. Prosecuting Yoon-cheol is the end result he has in mind.
The Framed Accused
The kidnapping case becomes a sensational news. Media turns frenzied over getting first-hand knowledge from the investigating authorities. To obtain valuable information, they rally outside Yoon-cheol’s house.
The one who lives next door gets interviewed by a reporter and she explains how Jae-kyung is like a younger sister to her. She even points out that Jae-kyung exemplifies a perfect wife. She then expresses her opinion that there seems to be something wrong with the couple’s marital relationship.
With all the object and testimonial evidences pointing towards Yoon-cheol, he becomes the primary suspect on the case. Realizing that the evidences were all set properly to frame him, he secretly flees while the detectives are still conducting further investigation.
He goes to see his brother-in-law, Noh Chang-beom (Ahn Nae Sang) to ask for help. Suspicious of him, his brother-in-law clarifies if the kidnapping was his own plot. He denies the allegations and he solidly asserts his innocence.
While they are having a conversation, Chang-beom points at the suspicious- looking man who appears as a bystander at the sidewalk. Yoon-cheol looks through the window and instantly recognizes the man. He happens to be the same person whom he has seen outside their house on the night of the incident.
A Furtive Stalker
Yoon-cheol goes out to confront the mysterious man whom he believes is stalking him. Unprepared to get caught, the man runs to escape him. But Yoon-cheol corners him in a dead-end space. He demands the truth about his wife. The man instead smiles mockingly at him stating that his wife knew everything about his secret affairs.
It turned out that the man, whose name is Yu-min (Baek Soo Jang) is an acquaintance of his wife. He admits that he followed him on the night Jae-kyung was kidnapped. However, he strongly denies any involvement to the crime. He further asserts that he is also in the process of finding Jae-kyung.
Unconvinced with the man’s claim, he further prods about his wife’s whereabouts. However, he gets distracted after knowing that another person had stalked him that night. And the person being referred to is Sun Mi.
To his disbelief, Yoon-cheol goes straight to Sun Mi’s apartment to confirm what was alleged by the man. Sun Mi admits about following him but she reasons that she just wanted to ensure that he will stick to the plan.
Likewise, she asserts her innocence regarding the kidnapping case. Unbeknownst to him, Sun Mi is more interested in getting the money than he is.
Unlocking A Fortune
Unexpectedly, Yoon-cheol receives a call from his niece who asks him to come over and see her. He goes straight to his mother’s house where her sister and niece also live.
Upon learning that he is keeping a mistress, his mother gives him a heavy scolding. She tells her how Jae-kyung had been of big help to their family. For her, there is no one as genuinely kind-hearted as her daughter-in-law.
This brings Yoon-cheol to reflect about his wife’s worth in his life. His appreciation comes too late though. Filled with regrets, he vows to atone himself by finding her alive.
Upon the wish of her Aunt Jae-kyung, Chae-rim (Lee Hyo-bi) hands a memento to her Uncle. She shares that her Aunt had asked her to give it to him in case she dies. It turns out to be a key, but there is no clue as to what is it for.
Believing that something significant has to be unlocked, he goes home to find it out.
Luckily, he is able to locate the drawer that matches the key. Inside it is a box that contains a bank book for an account under his name. To his surprise, his wife had transferred all her fortunes to him.
In addition, a love letter from his wife was also left inside the box. Overwhelmed by this discovery, it gives him more reason to be remorseful of his infidelity and his ill-conceived thoughts of killing her.
The Criminal’s Ultimatum
Just when he is about to be formally arrested by the police, a letter arrives which was sent by the mysterious N31. Inside the envelope is a flash drive that contains a video clip of Jae-kyung being held hostage.
Looking miserably pitiful, Jae-kyung is tied in a chair with her face covered with blood. Beside her is a television screen that shows Yoon-cheol being interviewed by the media. Police officers conclude that the video was just shot on that day.
A message is shown at the end of the video insisting for the ransom money of 5 Billion Won. Instructions are specifically provided about the time and place where the money should be dropped. Failure to fulfill the kidnapper’s request means the death of Jae-kyung.
They eventually let go of Yoon-cheol as the prime suspect. But they have not ruled out the possibility of his involvement as an accomplice to the crime.
A Cat-And-Mouse Chase
The next day, Yoon-cheol, goes to the given place to drop the money. As planned, the police officers followed him in an entrapment operation to catch the perpetrator.
What is supposed to be an easy job of handing the ransom money turns into a puzzle where series of cryptic instructions are given to him.
At the final stage, he is instructed to put the bag of money inside a net that will be carried by a drone. He puts a tracking device inside the bag so the police can monitor the location where the drone will land.
What happens next reveals a failed entrapment operation. Instead of money, the bag contains rubbish.
The scene goes back to the time Yoon-cheol was following the series of instructions from the kidnapper. One of the notes instructed him to put the bag of money in trash bin, then take the bag of trashes as if still carrying the money to lure the police officers away from the culprit. He had no other choice but to comply in a hope of getting his wife back alive.
Yoon-cheol waited at home hoping that the kidnapper would keep his word about returning his wife safely. However, there is no sign of Jae-kyung going home.
The Start Of Something More Sinister
Meanwhile, upon the officers’ investigation, they found out through the CCTV cameras that the person who took the bag of money was Sun Mi. Whether she is directly involved in the kidnapping case or she made her move independently from the real perpetrator is not clear yet.
What is clear, however, is that Yoon-cheol would become more entangled in the crime as one of the prime suspects. This is because authorities have already established the link between him and Sun Mi engaging in extra-marital affairs.
Proving his innocence and being distressed about his wife’s kidnapping is already taking a heavy toll on him. He wants to end his life by hanging himself. Luckily, the police officers immediately come to his rescue.
Meanwhile, Jae-kyung is found lifeless in a vacant grassy area. How her body was discovered suggests that she is already dead.
There seems to be something ominous and creepy ahead as Jae-kyung, whether dead or not, seems to be up for a vengeance.
Kim Yoon-cheol (Choi Won Young)
For Yoon-cheol, people’s perspective about him can easily be manipulated.
He is a famous chef and restaurateur. In contrast with his wife’s well-off upbringing, he came from a humble background. He seems to be living a splendid life with every aspect of it thrives in perfection- his marriage, career and social life.
But his real self is masked by these superficial appearance. He despises his wife to the point being capable enough to kill her. Money has been the sole reason he endures his marriage. His business struggles to survive from bankruptcy and having a rich wife could bail him out of his financial dilemmas.
His extra-marital affair with an obsessive mistress incites insidious thoughts in him. But it just leaves him entangled with the law after being framed for a crime he did not commit.
Shim Jae-kyung (Kim Jung Eun)
A harmonious and quiet life is all she wants.
She is a picture of a devoted wife who is happy and contented with her married life. She is best characterized with an endearingly calm and friendly demeanor. The elegance and class she exudes made some of her neighbors look up to her.
While she was secretly aware about her husband’s adulterous affair, she was able to keep everything smooth and free-flowing between them.
Jin Sun Mi (Choi Yu Hwa)
Nothing is impossible for a woman who would dare cross the line of evilness just to get things her way.
She works as the manager of Yoon-chul’s restaurant. Her secret affair with her boss goes to the extreme as she prods him to kill his wife. However, she would wash her hands clean when her chances go down the drain.
Other Key Characters:
Detective Seo Ji Tae (Lee Joon Hyuk)
He heads the investigation team handling the kidnapping case of Shim Jae-kyung. Personally, his relationship with his wife has been irreparably damaged. Such personal experience has turned him cynical about marital relationships. He believes that the most dysfunctional marriages are the ones that appear to be perfect on the outside.
His gut feeling points Yoon-cheol as the primary perpetrator of the crime. And so immerses himself in the case to prove himself correct.
Ha Eun Hye (Shim Hye Jin)
She lives at the house next door. Friendly as she seems to be, there is something that makes her character suspicious as well.
She always gazes with probing and skeptic eyes at the balcony of her neighbor’s house as if trying to fish some rumors. But her look suggests she might know something dark.
Song Yu Min (Baek Soo Jang)
He works as a fine artist. His friendly relationship with Jae-kyung can be traced back to their college days as he is her junior.
However, his character was introduced in a disturbing fashion. He stealthily followed Yoon-cheol for reasons that are not clear yet. But his tone was suggestive that he likes Jae-kyung as a woman. Whether he took part on her kidnapping or not is too early to conclude.
Premier Week Afterthoughts
The premiere week introduced My Dangerous Wife as a plot-driven story in which its narrative is heavily textured with details you can’t afford to miss. It’s as if pieces of a broken puzzle is laid down for the audience to build. The story flows in a swift fluid progression that I don’t remember any dragging parts of the series so far.
The mystery aspect was well-established framing the questions how and why. And it leaves the rest of the episodes to answer those queries. It’s kidnapping trope, for instance, is intriguing enough to deliver both the thrills and chills.
On to the substantial aspect, My Dangerous Wife talks about the risk one has to embrace when stepping into the marriage world. The drama perfectly shows how Time has always been so tricky. There is always uncertainty with the flow of time- it could mean growth of the relationship or growing apart between married couples.
Desperation Breeds Evilness
It also portrayed the insidious side of people when they face the most desperate of situations. Yoon-cheol, for instance, was so desperate to break free from his seemingly perfect married life. Aggravating his situation is the insurmountable amount of debt he has to repay. Conniving with his mistress, he is pushed to commit the most horrible thing to do.
I am not sure who is the more contemptible evil between Yoon-cheol and Sun Mi. Together, they engage in the immoral act of adultery. Both are wickedly motivated by money. And both had the intention of killing Jae-kyung.
Yoon-cheol, however, has a moral obligation to be faithful to the matrimonial relationship he got into.
Though the second episode shows a remorseful Yoon-cheol after seemingly losing his wife in a kidnapping case, as a viewer, I don’t commiserate much with his despair. Indeed, he was saved from executing a murderous plot. But just because he no longer had the chance to carry out the pre-meditated act means he is absolved from his treacherous plan.
Whether his regrets are genuine or not, on some level, such emotions serve him right. I am curious about how his character would evolve as he is about to face an eye-for-an-eye revenge.
A Victim Or A Culprit?
They say it’s dangerous to push kind-hearted people to their limits. But Jae-kyung seems to take it all. As it was later revealed, she knew about her husband’s infidelity all along. Yet, her calm and gentle disposition has left no room for her husband to suspect her capability to conceive dark thoughts.
The final scenes of the second episode visualized her as a lifeless crime victim. Yet, she seems to give out a seemingly evil smirk which signals a more suspenseful events to come.
The drama begs the question, ‘Was she really kidnapped or did she orchestrate the crime to frame her husband for her vengeance?’
My Dangerous Wife is aired every Mondays and Tuesdays via MBN.
Images/Video sources: MBN Drama
Streaming site: iQIYI