Born Again is a suspenseful melodrama that explores whether it’s possible to escape one’s fate. If a bad person is reborn, can they be good? If someone is meant to die, can they live?
Dramas have asked these questions before, but what makes Born Again interesting is that it delves into sociopathy. And adds a touch of fantasy.
The drama doesn’t have the highest ratings (for a few valid reasons), but ultimately I’m glad I gave it a chance.
The first two episodes take place in the 80s where a serial killer is targeting women. His signature is writing their names and the date he killed them on yellow umbrellas. Lee Soo-hyuk plays Cha Hyung-bin, the detective on the case. Jin Se-yeon plays his girlfriend Jung Ha-eun. She owns a bookstore named “Old Future” and suffers from a heart condition that requires a transplant. Jang Ki-yong plays Gong Ji-chul, a troubled misfit in the middle of it all.
The rest of the drama takes place in the present day after all three are reborn. Cha Hyung-bin is now a hot shot lawyer named Kim Soo-hyuk (Yup, same as his first name in real life). Jung Ha-eun is now a forensic anthropologist and college professor by the name of Jung Sa-bin, and Gong Ji-chul is Cheon Jong-bum, one of her students.
The three meet, and history threatens to repeat itself.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit Born Again is a strange drama. There’s a lot to follow. It has elements of a mystery, romance, and fantasy, but commits to none (V – 😂). The storytelling can be all over the place too.
I don’t think I would’ve made it through the first two episodes if I wasn’t so curious about why the characters in the 80s would need to be reborn. But once you get past them, it’s an interesting drama. The pacing picks up, and even though the characters continue to be infuriating, they’re compelling. You can also tell the screenwriter did a lot of research on sociopaths and serial killers.
The acting is solid; particularly Jang Ki-yong’s. He’s cornering the market on tortured, morally ambiguous characters the way Choi Jin-hyuk’s cornering the market on playing men out for revenge.
Another thing I like about Born Again is the second male lead. He’s no angel. Lee Soo-hyuk’s character has got his own set of questionable morals.
If none of that sounds like your cup of tea, then skip Born Again. But if you enjoy dark crime dramas that explore the topic of morality, check it out. I’m glad I did.
So far there are twenty-four episodes (thirty minutes each). I hope the last eight do it justice.