K-Drama Review: “Black Dog” Threads On The Various Aspects Of A Teacher’s Life

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Heartwarming and inspiring, Black Dog grips with its tale on pragmatic life situations

Black Dog consistently engages as the drama explores the school life from the perspective of teachers. It also creates a realistic storyline that appreciates the beauty of life. It highlights the importance of a teacher’s role and the innumerable struggles they face while carrying out their duties.

Title: Black Dog
Network: tvN
Theme: Slice of Life, Drama, School Life, Comedy
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 16 December 2019- 4 February 2020
Main Leads: Seo Hyun Jin, Ra Mi Ran, Ha Joon
Highlights: Riveting narrative, Focus on perspective of different characters, Excellent character portrayal by cast
Overall Rating:
Rewatch Value:
Related Dramas: School 2013, Misaeng

The drama offers a main lead who is optimistic, smart, kind and not afraid to take bold decisions making viewers root for her until the end. Additionally, it boasts of a strong supporting lineup, who are all prominent names in the areas of acting; and have had delivered memorable performances in many successful dramas.

Headlining the drama is Seo Hyun Jin, who takes on the role of Ko Ha Neul – the protagonist of the story. Joining her is Ra Mi Ran, a talented actress known for her effective performance. She plays Park Sung Soon, the College Advisory Head at Daechi High School and Ko Ha Neul’s mentor.

Ha Joon portrays Do Yeon Woo, a competent teacher who is also a part of the College Advisory Team.

Quick Plot Roundup

After an incident where her school teacher saved her life, Ko Ha Neul aspires to become one too. One day, she gets the opportunity to become a temporary teacher at a private school called Daechi High School.

As she starts working as a teacher, she faces struggles. But through her strong will-power and help from some of her fellow teachers, she tries to overcome them all.


Riveting narrative

Black Dog flows seamlessly as it move from one arc to another. Each of the stories throws light about the daily problems faced by teachers and school administration providing meaningful life lessons. The stories focus on various issues such as flaws in school system, pressure for scoring admission to top colleges, conflict among teachers, and work politics.

Ko Ha Neul’s journey as a temporary teacher itself is so enthralling. Throughout the drama, she faces various challenges from being attacked with the rumors of her benefiting from nepotism.

She takes on the hurdle establishing herself as a valuable resource to the school. As the story progresses, the viewers get to see how she learns from her fellow colleagues and grows as a person.

In the beginning, Ha Neul feels hurt at the unfairness temporary teacher experiences and also does not feel motivated to her work. But together with Park Sung Soon and the members of College Advisory Group, she realizes the joy brought from teaching the students.

Focus on perspective of different characters

Though the story is narrated from Ha Neul’s point of view, the perspective of the other characters get light too. There is no character who is extremely evil, but the character depictions presented people with positive and flawed aspects in them.

Because it all starts with what Ko Ha Neul thinks, the viewers may initially believe that a certain character does not have the best interests. But immediately, the narrative shifts towards the thought process of that character and the viewers realize the reason behind their actions is actually justified.

Each of the characters have got their own story to tell about their struggles: be it Song Ji Sun  (Kwon So Hyun) who understands the plight of Ko Ha Neul, Ji Hae Won (Yoo Min Kyu) – who has endured patiently for six years to achieve his goal, Jin Yoo Ra (Lee Eun Saem) – who has high aspirations for her future or Hwang Bo Tong (Jung Taek Hyun) – who needed someone to understand him. The viewers can empathize with most of the characters.

Excellent character portrayal by cast

What makes this drama quite an exciting watch is its impressive cast who showcase the charms of the respective characters that they are portraying.

Seo Hyun Jin beautifully expresses the emotions that Ko Ha Neul goes through. As she plays the teacher with a soft heart and kind words, it only makes the viewers wish that all the teachers are like her.

Ra Mi Ran always impresses regardless of what role she takes. As Park Sung Soon, she is a dynamic teacher who has a tough exterior but is actually soft on the inside.

Also, both the female leads have a great chemistry as mentor-mentee. While both have contrasting personalities, their interests for the school and the students remain the same.

The remaining members of the College Advisory Group, Do Yeon Woo and Bae Myung Soo (Lee Chang Hoon) completes the team making it perfect.

The supporting cast too are memorable as they deliver great acting performances. There was no dull moment throughout the drama because of the excellent cast along with a well-written plot.


There are numerous school dramas that focus on the life of the students. Black Dog is one of the rare ones that shows the behind-the-scene process of a school administration which involves multiple activities other than teaching.

A few things to rave about this series include deflecting from the usual high school story narrative. It does not have bullying and there is an absence of purely evil character be it a student or teacher.

Unlike the usual plot, the teachers in the series do empathize with the students. This is a perfect drama for anyone who wishes to see a normal school story. It does not over-emphasize on the bad sides of a school-life.

Black Dog is a heartening drama that teaches several lessons about life. It shows that sometimes life throws difficult challenges with very little hope. But it is about being patient and consistently trying your best until the end.

Image Credit: tvN

Video Credit: Stone Entertainment

Edited By: abbyinhallyuland