I Can Hear Your Voice

Reviewed by: sukting

November 09, 2014

Rating: three

How long
17 episodes

Hui Cheng is poor but she overcomes all odds to be a lawyer. Xiu Xia has the ability to  read other people's thoughts by looking into their eyes. Guan Yu is a cop-turned-lawyer who is Hui Cheng's colleague. How do they manage to nail criminals in court?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Lee Bo-young as Lawyer Zhang Hui Cheng
She is smart and hardworking. Hui Cheng is raised by a poor but loving mother who works as Xu family housekeeper. After being falsely accused of causing an incident involving fireworks to blind Du Yan, she gets expelled from high school and has to restart all over again.

She bravely testifies on the witness stand, causing the murderer of Xiu Xia's father to be convicted and imprisoned. Jun Guo vows to get his revenge once he is released and this haunts her. Both experiences change her, and ten years later, Hui Cheng is an apathetic public defender who doesn't care about her clients and only does her job for the salary. She becomes a sassy and materialistic lawyer but her vulnerable and adorable side also surfaces too.

She changes her attitude upon meeting Du Yan again. Both become opponents in court and Xiu Xia is often around to assist her so she finds herself again. Excellent performance from Bo-Young on the ups and downs that Hui Cheng goes through. You will often laugh when she keeps sliding around the spinning door for ideas. The rest get giddy after 3 rounds and wonder why she likes it so much. The biggest impact that she makes on me is how Hui Cheng cries at her mother's wake.

2. Lee Jong-suk as Piao Xiu Xia
He is 6 years younger than Hui Cheng. After witnessing his father killed (and almost getting killed himself), the young Xiu Xia gains the supernatural ability to read people's minds by looking at their eyes. When Hui Cheng testifies in court to affirm his testimony regarding the killer, he swears that he will always protect and guard her. He has a crush on her for a decade, but when he meets her again, he is dismayed to find her completely sloppy.

He gets disillusioned at first but is determined to rekindle her confidence again. He knows that with his ability is insufficient to be proved as evidence so he gives hints to Hui Cheng in court to help her win. Jun Xia frames him for murdering him by chopping off his arm. He also causes him to lose his memory and special ability for a while. Hui Cheng works hard to clear his name.

He is hesitant for a while to let Du Yan accept that fact that he is Da Zhong's daughter – not because he pities her but because his father is connected to Jun Guo's family's death. Xiu Xia confides his affections for her. Both become a couple together and he finally becomes a cop. Despite his young age, Jong-suk is able to show the inner struggles of Xiu Xia well as he realizes why Jun Guo turns out to be like this.

3. Yoon Sang-hyun as Lawyer Che Guan Yu
Guan Yu uses to be a cop. He brings his idealism, empathy and attention to detail to his new job as a public defender. He enjoys calling Hui Cheng champion. Though outwardly geeky and meek, he is intelligent who sees new angles in his cases. He tries looking professional without glasses. Being Jun Guo's lawyer to assist him out of prison to get acquitted is his biggest regret in life when he feels that he lets Hui Cheng down as Jun Guo kills her mother.

Even though he likes Hui Cheng, he knows that he lets her down over the case so he gives the chance to Xiu Xia. He still protects her from harm in secret. He can't rest properly to worry for her even though his right arm is fractured by Jun Guo in an attack. Sang-hyun has done it again – although as a supporting role as in ‘Secret Garden' he is still formidable in acting. But Sang Hyun has no significant role here and this makes me sigh...

4. Lee Da-hee as Prosecutor Xu Du Yan
She's a prosecutor who comes from a rich, well-connected family, with her father a judge and her mother a doctor. Du Yan has always pushed herself to become the perfect daughter to please her parents. She is pretty and also smart. Hui Cheng, the daughter of their housekeeper, is her rival in high school. She cheats in order to be the first in school. When a fireworks accident nearly causes her to lose her sight, she blames Hui Cheng for it, despite her innocence.

Du Yan is also a witness to the murder of Xiu Xia's father. But at the last minute, she loses her courage and doesn't testify. Hui Cheng deems her a coward and is unfit to wear the prosecutor robes. She feels guilty all along to want to redeem for her mistake. Hui Cheng pushes her to face herself when she learns that she is actually an ex-convict's daughter.  The two women influence one another to view cases differently to begin to accept each other too.

She chooses to forsake her career to be demoted due to Da Zhong. She wants to spend his remaining days together. Da-hee is fine in court scenes but still needs to work a lot on crying scenes. I feel that she is struggling with them.

5. Jung Woong-in as Min Jun Guo
His wife needs a heart transplant but Xiu Xia's father uses it for Xiu Xia's mother. They are rich and the hospital prioritize them more because they have money. In the end, both women die. Jun Guo's mother and son are starved to death after he kills Xiu Xia's father. So what he has in mind after that is only revenge. When he is out of prison 10 years later, he doesn't change, he kills Hui Cheng's mother.  (Strange, though as I thought she should know who he is as Hui Cheng testifies in the trial.)

He has wanted to stop after Xiu Xia loses his memory but he can't stop anymore. So he kidnaps Hui Cheng to observe if Xiu Xia will react the same way as he does. Xiu Xia doesn't want to kill him this time as like in the car park but even tries to save him. He exposes how Hui Cheng rushes to get stabbed by Xiu Xia accidentally at the car park to want him to be jailed.

Too bad, Xiu Xia is released while he is sentenced to life imprisonment.  Brilliant performance from this actor! Somehow, I feel sorry for him as he keeps getting unlikeable roles. This is so unfair to him.

6. Yoon Joo-sang as Lawyer Shen Sang De
He has 40 years experience and needs a hearing aid. He doesn't like Hui Cheng and ignores her completely when she works at his law firm. However, as her senior and teacher, he still gives her a helping hand. After knowing what happens to her in the past, he genuinely offers her help. He feels sorry for making Da Zhong go to jail for 25 years and tries to make up to him when he is released.

7. Choi Sung-joon as Cui You Chang
He is the clerk of the public defenders' office. Pity him as it's like all his colleagues treat him like dirt. Lawyer Shen gives him very little money but he is always running around for evidence.

8. Kim Kwang-kyu as Judge Jin Gong Su
He is a judge and is one of the one who screens through candidates to become lawyers and prosecutors. He is touched by Hui Cheng's past to pass her. He sometimes passes judgment too fast to take a break but he slowly changes. He stresses a lot on appearance so Hui Cheng deliberately gets students to be in the courtroom at times so that he will consider making decisions more carefully.

9. Kim Ga-eun as Gao Cheng Bin
She is Xiu Xia's problematic classmate who likes him. She nearly kills herself when she is framed for pushing a classmate from the balcony whom she bullies before. Xiu Xia manages to read her thoughts to prevent her from being hit by a train. In fact, the girl trips while trying to hide her cigarettes.

She is grateful to Hui Cheng for helping her to persuade the victim to change her statement. Even though Du Yan tries to warn the person of the consequence, Hui Cheng finds out from Lawyer Shen that she can't be charged as she is under-aged to be accepted 2 years in advance into high school.

10.   Park Doo-shik as Kim Zhong Qi
He is Xiu Xia's classmate who likes Cheng Bin. He is like an enemy and also a friend. The police want to laugh upon seeing him crossing out the words enemy to friend in the column of the visitor form when he visits him in prison as Xiu Xia loses his memory to want to find more about his past.

11. Kim Hae-sook as Yu Chun Xin
She is Hui Cheng's mother who is once Xu's housekeeper. She chooses to trust her own daughter and is thus fired. Before leaving, she burns Da Shuo's works outside his home as a form of protest. She later opens a fried chicken shop. She is strict with Hui Cheng to hit her repeatedly but she is happy over her success to spread the news upon knowing that Hui Cheng becomes a lawyer.

Jun Guo chooses to work in her shop and kills her. Before her death, she makes a last call to Hui Cheng to tell her that it is wrong to hate someone a whole lifetime. She sees that in Jun Guo and doesn't want her to be the same.

12. Kim Byung-ok as Huang Da Zhong
He is Jun Guo's cellmate and is convicted for 25 years for killing his wife. He mentions to Jun Guo on how his wife's body is never found but only her hand is retrieved. Jun Guo then uses this same way to frame Xiu Xia. When he is out of prison as he is diagnosed having a malignant brain tumour, he goes to the hospital for treatment. There he is meeting his wife again as a cleaner without an arm.

She confesses that she is burdened by his debts and doesn't even want to see their daughter. So she gives her up for adoption. In a rage, Da Zhong stabs her to death with a broken glass and is charged again. He recognizes Du Yan when she comes to see him in prison to know her age but silently keeps this secret. He is already grateful to her for providing the DNA to clear his name.

He is later released and is relieved that she has not taken up art as he wishes to become a lawyer. Lawyer Shen and Hui Cheng are overjoyed to get their selfies. Lawyer Shen even places this as the screen picture on his phone.

13. Jung Dong-hwan as Judge Xu Da Shuo
He is Du Yan's father who is now in charge of the criminal division. He is a previous judge and is biased in making judgments. He is stubborn and refuses to admit his mistakes. Especially in Da Zhong's case. He is shocked when Da Zhong's wife goes to him with Du Yan.

In order to hide the fact that he makes a wrong verdict, he adopts Du Yan reluctantly. He even wants to take Du Yan off Da Zhong's case but all attempts fail. Even his doctor wife is disappointed in him and moves back to her maiden home.

14. Jang Hee-soo as Du Yan's mother
She is a doctor and has high hopes on Du Yan. She has no idea where Du Yan comes from but treats her like her own. That is why she is upset when Du Yan's eye is injured to vent her anger on Hui Cheng and her mother. However, she is an understanding person who is horrified over what Da Shuo has done.

15. Jang Hee-woong as Prosecutor Zhao
He is nicknamed "Mr. Grass-like Hair" and is Du Yan's senior. He will make sure that all criminals can't be let off easily and finds Du Yan too soft at times to take over some cases  from her.

Most favourite character
Guan Yu, he does not stop to help his clients, that implies getting help from his ex-cop friends. But poor chap, he is doomed to lose out to Xiu Xia right after the trial – I can't believe that Hui Cheng cites that she is glad that he takes up the case and no one else! Poor man to lose his chance just like that. He deserves a woman to love him and how he helps Xiu Xia to protect Hui Cheng from harm is unbelievable.

A close second is Hui Cheng, she tries her best in everything and fights for her clients. She uses Guan Yu's ideology that all are innocent and she has to prove that.

Most hated character
Jun Guo, he never learns from his mistakes and keeps killing – even the innocent. But why attack Jun Guo till he fractures his arm by disregarding the fact that he escapes jail term for once – I still have no answer. Even the fruiterer is not spared. It's like he kills and kills and now he is left with no one else to touch anymore.  He can't be killing the other lawyers without a valid reason.

Interesting facts
At first, it was too bloody and had less than 10%. Later, viewers became interested. The highest rating was 29%. Below are the awards won as from Wikipedia:

Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Drama Star - Male Lee Jong-suk Nominated
20's Drama Star - Female Lee Bo-young Nominated

Korea Drama Awards
Best Couple Award Lee Jong-suk and Lee Bo-young Won
Excellence Award, Actor Lee Jong-suk Won
Excellence Award, Actress Lee Da-hee Nominated
Top Excellence Award,
Actor Jung Woong-in Won
Best Writer Park Hye-ryun Nominated
Best Production Director Jo Soo-won Won
Best Drama I Can Hear Your Voice Nominated
Grand Prize (Daesang) Lee Bo-young Won

2nd APAN Star Awards
Best Couple Award Lee Jong-suk and Lee Bo-young Won
Acting Award, Actor Jung Woong-in Won
Excellence Award, Actor Lee Jong-suk Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress Lee Bo-young Won

Mnet Asian Music Awards
Best OST "Why Did You Just Come Now?" - Jung Yeop Nominated

Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actor in Drama Lee Jong-suk Won
Hallyu Grand Award Lee Jong-suk Won

SBS Drama Awards
New Star Award Lee Da-hee Won
Top 10 Stars Lee Bo-young Won
Lee Jong-suk Won
Actor/Actress of the Year (selected by directors) Lee Bo-young Won
Special Award, Actor in a Miniseries Jung Woong-in Won
Kim Kwang-kyu Nominated
Special Award, Actress in a Miniseries Kim Hae-sook Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Lee Jong-suk Won
Yoon Sang-hyun Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Lee Da-hee Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Lee Bo-young Nominated
Grand Prize (Daesang) Lee Bo-young Won

Baeksang Arts Awards
Most Popular Actor (TV) Lee Jong-suk Nominated
Yoon Sang-hyun Nominated
Most Popular Actress (TV) Lee Bo-young Nominated
Best Actor (TV) Lee Jong-suk Nominated
Best Actress (TV) Lee Bo-young Won
Best Director (TV) Jo Soo-won Nominated
Best Drama I Can Hear Your Voice Nominated

Seoul International Drama Awards
Outstanding Korean Drama OST "Echo" - Every Single Day Nominated
"Why Did You Just Come Now?" - Jung Yeop Nominated
Outstanding Korean Drama I Can Hear Your Voice Nominated

Despite winning many awards, Bo-young was modest and was amused when they won the best couple award. Initially, she was concerned if their age gap was too wide. She was glad to have Jong-suk as her working partner. He was terrific Jong-suk was also pressurized to work under 2 seniors but was relieved when Bo-young and Sang-hyun gave him pointers along the way.

I must confess that I feel uneasy over the debut episodes. The killing part is too violent and creepy. The setting is really too dark – to suffocate the audience with it's solemn pace. It is different from the typical idol/ comedy romance dramas that we watch all along. The scary part is how Xiu Xia can read everyone's thoughts. Firstly his uncle when visiting his father's niche with him, claiming to take care of him but in fact, he finds him a burden. He is shocked to know this fact. This special ability leaves him an unhappy childhood and he is actually glad to put it to good use later.

It has a lot of suspense and court room scenes but somehow, I find that Hui Cheng relies too much on others for help. I find Guan Yu a better attorney as he also makes attempts to learn sign language in order to help his client. Maybe I am pampered by Files of Justice so the way they present is just not solid enough.  Moreover, how can the poor be starving to death like this? Is the system lacking of social service or volunteers even though the case runs in a high profile way?

I am glad when she asks Xiu Xia not to go into the room for the first time to strike on her own.  Lee Bo-Young and Lee Jong-Suk are awesome at their roles. I personally feel the whole age gap between the two main leads don't really work out well and make the story not that believable. They behave more like siblings. It might be better if Xiu Xia is a university student. Romance between a high school student and a lawyer is just too wild an idea for me.

Some of the twists in the plot of Jun Guo's revenge, Du Yan's biological truth, the twins' murdering of a twin's girlfriend's boss and also Da Zhong's trial are the main attraction of the drama. Still, too many flashback scenes weaken the development.  Plus, Xiu Xia's losing his memory makes little difference. The subending of Jun Guo jumping down a building is just to create drama. I find it quite unnecessary.

His punishment is not harsh enough too. Excuse me, he kills Hui Cheng's mother and he is set free. He hurts Hui Cheng badly and adding up all to it….the life sentence. After he kills Xiu Xia's father is only 10 years – how can many accept this?  Did they take account of his other crimes?

Unlike others, I am not very impressed by the drama. It does not live up to high expectations that I have. Minus out Bo-young and Woong-in, this drama will not survive. A different drama but not good enough to be one of the tops.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story :  *** (Scale of 5) 

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