This drama got off to a fiery start and then it took an emotional turn making it even better. It does justice to all of its genres of medical, romance and drama. I would highly recommend watching this one and I am glad I watched it while it aired.
Doctor John follows the life of the youngest Professor in anaesthesiology, Cha Yo Han, who specialises in pain medicine. He is a genius who excels in diagnosing his patients but his talent is overshadowed by a malpractice case when he euthanized a terminally ill patient who was under his care. It resulted in Yo Han being imprisoned for 3 years. What looks like just a euthanasia case, actually has something else brewing on the side, which is more sinister.
The series starts at the end of Cha Yo Han’s prison term and him going back to his job. Despite him finishing his sentence, Prosecutor Son Seok Ki (who handled his case) still on Yo Han’s tracks. Nurse Cha Eun Jeong who is obsessed with taking her revenge on Yo Han joins hands with Son in this. How Cha Yo Han manages to treat patients while handling his personal life forms the rest of the plot.
The series touches upon the controversial subject of euthanasia. It showcases the different viewpoints on euthanasia from the angle of both the patients and their guardians. Throughout the series we see the various characters talk about it, argue and discuss the subject under different circumstances. This was well scripted and depicted, as one can understand every person’s point of view.
The show focuses on pain management. It portrays the various degrees and types of pain that patients go through. It also depicts the suffering that they go through realistically.
Few episodes into the show and one comes across the rare disease called CIPA where a patient doesn’t feel pain or temperature and doesn’t have the ability to sweat. CIPA patients do not live past the age of 5. Later, it is revealed that Cha Yo Han is a CIPA patient who has managed to survive all along by using methods that he has devised. The scenes showing how Yo Han goes about his day to day life and the in-depth portrayal of life as a CIPA patient is commendable.
Pain is always considered bad, but the latter part of the show focuses on how important it is to feel pain and how it helps to keep one alive. It shows pain as a means of communication the body uses to let one know that something is wrong so that it can be treated.
It also portrays how the lives of the doctors are affected while they treat various patients. The scenes with the patients are so well made that the viewer can connect with the patients and their life. As the series progresses, one shares the same feelings of that of the doctors treating them.
One of the significant parts of the drama was where the show highlights how difficult it is for the guardians of the patients and what they go through while supporting their loved ones.
The medical content in the drama is of great quality and educational. Each case covers the symptoms, diagnoses and treatment in a detailed manner. Since each disease is a rare one, one also learns how difficult it is for the doctors to diagnose it as the symptoms often overlap with other diseases.
The relationship between the leads is that of understanding and care. Their relationship grows stronger with every episode and is based on supportiveness. Every scene where the leads shared screen space was a great watch. The romance plot is in par with the medical content of the drama which is exceptional. It was interesting to see how the medical content intertwines with the romance plot.
This was yet another remarkable performance by Ji Sung who portrays Cha Yo Han, a doctor who stops at nothing to treat his patients. He fits the role of the melancholic, secretive, composed but assertive Cha Yo Han very well. Cha Yo Han is selfless and lives just to save his patients. It is awe-inspiring to see how Yo Han goes up against the management/laws/rules/regulations to treat his patients whom he has just met. Despite the characters mentioning that Yo Han is anti-social, he comes across as a great mentor and empathetic to his patients.
Lee Se Young has given a noteworthy performance as Doctor Kang Si Young. Kang Si Young’s character is heavily emotive and Lee Se Young has done a marvellous job with her role. Her performance in the crying scenes is laudable as it evokes sadness and sympathy for the character making the drama even better. Kang Si Young is an empathetic and competent second-year resident who is emotionally strong. This character is one of the best female leads by far, as she is matured, caring, strong-willed, loving and talented.
Lee Yoo Joon portrayed by Hwang Hee is my pick out of the supporting roles in this drama. He is a pleasant and supportive character, which is much needed for the plot.
The dialogues in the show are exceptional and it is accompanied by great acting and screenplay.
Despite it being a medical drama, the romance, legal and mystery aspects of the drama are catchy as well. The OST’s are definite additions to one’s playlist.
Doctor John is one of the most informative dramas out there. It is a layman’s encyclopaedia of rare diseases. Despite it being heavy on the subject of diagnosis and treatment, it is easy to follow. The drama, on the whole, was deep-seated and emotive. With its optimistic and happy ending, Doctor John definitely tops my list of favourite medical dramas making it a must-watch.