Cross has been on my watch list since I officially started watching South Korean dramas in 2018. When I started the drama as is typical, I wasn't sure what to expect but loved that it's a medical drama, one of my favorite genres in Korean dramas. Hence, it was only natural that I was interested and intrigued by it, but more it's the concept.
A dark, suspense medical drama-thriller tells the story of a gifted young man, Kang In-Kyu (Go Kyung Pyo), who becomes a doctor out of a desire to avenge his father's murder -- a victim of an organ trafficking syndicate in South Korea fifteen years ago. Finding out Go Kyung Pyo, Jeon So Min, and Heo Sung Tae was part of the cast was the icing on the cake, so to speak. I had previously seen Go Kyung Pyo in Jealousy Incarnate, a delightful drama; Jeon So Min in Something About 1 Percent, a drama worthy of the watch; and Heo Sung Tae in various dramas none as impactful as WATCHER. At its, onset Cross seems like any other revenge drama, but as the story unfolds, one realizes it’s about more than just revenge. It's guilt, love, hate, blame, responsibility, illegal donor trafficking, and much, much more.
Right after Kang In-Kyu's father is murdered, a renowned surgeon Dr. Go Jung Hoon (Jo Jae Hyun), adopts him and his sister, who suffered from long-term heart disease. At a very young age, Dr. Jung Hoon's kindness and skill as a doctor inspires In-Kyun to become a doctor, but eventually, his sister succumbs to her illness; after her death, Kang In-Kyu discovers Dr. Jung Hoon donated her organs without his knowledge, which causes a strain in their relationship, rifting them completely apart. His sister's passing and the circumstances of his father's death start to sow the seed of revenge in Kang In-Kyu, and he grows determined to uncover the truth at all costs, even if it meant him becoming a doctor that takes lives rather than saves it.
The are many reasons why I loved this drama and why it worked so well, but the main one is its predictable characters in a most unpredictable plot. Most times than not, it's pretty easy to figure out who the hidden villain(s) are in a Korean drama. The transparent body language such as movement of the eyes and brows, side glances, hand clasps, sudden lean on the chair provided apparent hints of a person's real character. I commend the writer, director, editor, and actors for transforming the intensely suspenseful elements in the story to uncover the many hidden intentions.
Secondly, the suspense was more than worth it. The story's build-up from episodes 1 to 4 and the escalation thereafter made the drama an excellent watch. Thirdly, the outstanding cast: the actors and actresses in this drama performed brilliantly with the utmost care and talent. Fourthly I liked that Cross, despite alluding to a romance between Go Ji In (Jeon So Min), In-Kyu, Lee Joo Hyuk (Kim Ji Han), and Son Yeon Hee (Yang Jin Sung) it doesn't force it. I think it's probably what made it even more potent, the undercurrent in those relationships and the flow of the story.
Last but not least, Go Kyung Pyo. Cross was not the first time I had seen Go Kyung Pyo in action before, but his acting and the way he delivered his dialogues are what made me continue watching the drama. Still, episode four is when I realized, above anything else, that I made the right decision when added and decided to watch Cross. I would be remiss in not mentioning Heo Sung Tae for his brilliant depiction of Kim Hyung Beom as a man totally devoid of human empathy, morality, and understanding or even reasoning of right and wrong.
What makes Cross unique is that despite it being about a young boy who devotes himself to becoming a top medical officer and finding a way to slowly and painfully kill rather than save those who were responsible for his father's death, it quickly morphs into a dilemma that ranges from the ethical to the moral of treating all patients regardless of their status or background to the best of sworn medical officers’ ability, and to the preservation of life. The revenge part of the drama and the events that unfold because of it and its effect on the lives of all involved throughout the dark and, at times, the lonely journey is what makes this drama and those in it so special. It is a drama with an unequivocal message that it's not how the journey starts that matters but how it ends. As they say, sometimes it's the journey that teaches one a lot about their destination, the crossroad of choices, and the consequences thereafter.