5 Reasons to Watch “Stranger” 비밀의 숲 (Secret Forest) Review

Netflix:Watch here

Plot: With the help of a gutsy female detective, a prosecutor who has lost the ability to feel empathy tackles a murder case amid political corruption.


  • Cho Seung-Woo [조승우] as Hwang Shi-Mok
  • Bae Doo-Na [배두나] as Han Yeo-Jin

1. Writing

Lee Soo-Yeon is the screenwriter for this beautiful well-thought drama. This drama was planned from start to end with little wiggle room to indulge into having small tidbits that have little worth to the overall plot of the story. There were so many memorable quotes that reflects such political turmoil and the restrains humans constantly feel when battling an uphill fight. Or rather should I state, always battling uphill knowing that you will never reach the top, but rather reach the tops of many small hilltops. Lee does great work in writing such depth in each character seen in the drama, and with 16 episode you might think it would be too short or long in terms of length, but it fulfills and solves enough mysteries that placates you forever or until (a maybe) season two.

2. Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin Relationship

Without spoiling much, I believe these two characters really carry the story together and are their own individuals when separated from each other. It was great to see how much Yeo-Jin learns from Shi-Mok and vice versa. Each scene between them was short and sparse, but it lighten the somber moments full of dark secrets, corruption and deaths. I loved that the moments Yeo-Jin had with Shi-Mok were when she asked and kept asked questions while often never receiving a verbal response, but an action from Shi-Mok as a form of an answer to all her questions. The moments of silence you watch on the show in how these two interacted with themselves, alone, and with others from their department was such a joy to watch. Since it is rare for a drama to provide such silent moments without overpowering the scene with music in order to set a tone for sad or happy environments.

3. The Story

The mysteries continued from episode 1 until the end of episode 16. Some twists were so unexpected while others were a bit predictable, but these twists also mislead the viewer until a new twist appeared. Shocking, dramatic and full of suspense – this is what this drama is about. All the stories given to each character whether abbreviated beforehand with the main or side characters and plots were logical and candid to each action portrayed by each character all in the meanwhile the main arc heading towards its own end. Besides the amazing writing and dialogue, you see between everyone especially Shi-Mok’s, the story and the pacing of the story was so concise and timed with planned precision. Nothing felt filler to me while watching this show.

4. Grey Everywhere

The show was well written, and the relationships were solid. Each development and turn in the general story line in turn made the perfect atmosphere for all shades of grey to be found in almost all our characters. I forgot how infuriating this shades of grey are in a character’s morals and ethnic might be as a viewer, but it also colored the scenes full of depth and detail you wouldn’t get otherwise with flat characters. I had to watch the episodes in sets of two or three and then I needed a break. There was so many details I had to follow. Since each scene culminating from the one before it and so on. Each scene and action captures per frame the depths these characters go through in each episode as they deal with murder, mystery and betrayal from all angles. Each person’s action reveals a bias thought or ill-intended acts that are backed mainly from an emotional stance or jaded ideology.

5.Acting/US Tv Shows Comparisons

The acting by Cho Seung-Woo and Bae Doo-Na is superb. Seung-woo plays an adult who had brain surgery that has side-effects. These side-effects being that he appears emotionless since he cannot naturally display empathy and compassion, but does this mean he cannot internally have these emotions? Having Doo-na being a counterpart for Seung-woo’s character was perfect flow and chemistry on film and between their dialogues. The small, one-two second facial changes Seung-woo does when his character realizes or is moved by something is amazing to watch. He smiles rarely, and when the right situation appears for these smiles to appear you cannot help, but also be drawn into that moment.


Stranger reminds me of American tv shows that come from HBO and Netflix, which are short in terms of episode length and the writing style that is a aftereffect of such limited episode seasons. I cannot express enough the amount of acting showed by all characters, and the amount of directing each scene has with a well developed plot. You need to witness this yourself as to why there is so much hype and love towards this Korean drama.