It takes a special kind of cast and crew to pull off a successful movie about a heist or a con, and it takes guts to be able to pull off an entire series based solely on the premise of different cons. In recent years, there has been USA’s “White Collar”, with an infamous white collar con man partnering up with an FBI agent to solve white collar crimes; and now, in a sea full of prosecutor Korean dramas, there’s “Switch-Change the World”.
“Switch-Change the World” aired on SBS from March 28, 2018 to May 17, 2018. The show starred Jang Geun Suk who bravely took on the challenge of portraying two roles at the same time. This project also marked his return to tv after a two year hiatus from the small screen, with his last lead role being in “The Royal Gambler” in 2016; and it also might be his send-off drama as well, as it has been reported that this might be his last drama before he starts he enlists for his mandatory military service.
The drama centers around an infamous con man named Sa Do Chan (Jang Geun Suk), who ends up getting recruited by Prosecutor Oh Ha Ra (Han Ye Ri) to impersonate her senior colleague, Prosecutor Baek Joon Soo (Jang Geun Suk), who ended up in a coma after a major accident in relation to a case as they look alike. The rest of the series follows the trio and Do Chan’s team of con artists, as they work together to uncover a shadowy organization that controls the elite of Korea and its powerful leader by using legal means and by executing a series of simple and elaborate “switches” or cons.
With this, Jang Geun Suk was able to challenge himself as an actor, as he was able to showcase his emotional range and as he was able to pull of portraying two very different people in Do Chan and Joon Soo. However, he set the bar even higher when Do Chan started to slip into the role of Joon Soo more easily as the series went by. The two characters also went through interesting story arcs, and by the end of the series, one of them was more changed than the other.
Han Ye Ri was great as Prosecutor Oh Ha Ra as she wonderfully portrayed a prosecutor who is steadfast in her belief in the law, but who is willing to push the limits if need be to get the bad guys she’s after. She also went through a nice story arc; her acting was great; and she had a very easy chemistry with both Joon Soo and Do Chan.
The villains of the series were brought into the limelight very early on, something that I was grateful for, as doing this also allowed us to eagerly anticipate what they would do to outsmart our heroes. It was refreshing for me to see Jung Woong In as a villain, as the first drama I had ever seen him in was in “Prison Playbook”, where he portrayed a seemingly harsh jail guard with a heart of gold. Lee Jung Gil was no slouch as well as Choi Jung Pil, who represented an older villain who is way passed his prime.
The story itself was well written, and never lagged a single beat. It managed to remain fun and light-hearted, and executed the “earth shattering twists” in the drama in a believable way for this drama’s universe.
The “switches” or cons itself are one of the things that you should look out for in this drama, especially as they manage to execute one or two of them at the same time. What is amazing is the fact that no matter how many cons they pulled in this series, it never got old and it kept you guessing all the way until the end.
“Switch-Change the World” is definitely a drama to watch as it is a welcome change when it comes to prosecutor related dramas, because it showcases Jang Geun Suk’s talents, and as it is a welcome variation on the age old story of the good trying to catch the evil in traps of their own making. In the end, it is also a story about greed and power, and how the mighty do fall when their misdeeds catch up to them.
Now, you know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers!
The story and plot of the series was pretty straightforward with the good guys trying their very best to do everything they can to put the bad guys, who, in this case, are extremely powerful, behind bars, where they belong. However, how they get there and the truths that they unearth along the way are what made the show interesting, alongside the development of the main characters, and in particular, with Do Chan and Ye Ri.
The plot twists were predictable but still fun, and the “switches” and the cons that they pulled every episode were a joy to watch. Sa Do Chan is really a master con artist as he was able to fool our big bad most of the time, and only got fooled by him twice. The way that he set up each and every con, utilizing each member of his team at his disposal and playing up to their strengths, was just genius. I also like how the art of the con also rubbed off on Ha Ra and Joon Soo, but I just loved how Joon Soo and Do Chan working together made an even more formidable team that Do Chan and Ye Ri together. I also enjoyed seeing the cons being pulled off, and showing us how they pulled it off, whether it be simple or elaborate, while still allowing the audience to try to think and guess for themselves as to how exactly they pulled it off. It was also interesting to note that every single con was different from each other, and it never got tiring.
Aside from the cons, it was fun to see how our villains, and in particular, Jung Pil and Tae Woong, tried to outwit our heroes at every turn. In the end though, it was their own misdeeds that allowed their own graves to be dug, especially in the case of Tae Woong, who treated his subordinates even worse than Jung Pil did.
As mentioned earlier, Jang Geun Suk was able to be challenged as an actor with this series, as he had to play two distinct people at the same time, and had to show the differences between them. It does help that Joon Soo and Do Chan are polar opposites of each other, but it still doesn’t take away the fact that he was able to pull it off well. However, the acting feat for me was when Do Chan was really able to become Joon Soo, and in that very short moment in which Joon Soo managed to make people doubt and think he was Do Chan even though it did turn out that he was Joon Soo all along. Geun Suk was able to get all the nuances of these two characters down pat, and I loved seeing his emotional range here. I had only previously seen Jang Geun Suk in “You’re Beautiful”, so seeing him here impressed me.
Do Chan’s arc was more significant and prominent than Joon Soo’s. Do Chan went from just being a con man to a con man with a conscience in the end. In the process of helping Ye Ri, Do Chan was somehow able to fulfill his dream of becoming a prosecutor, was able to reunite with his father whom he thought had died twenty years ago and who ended up tragically dying, managed to get revenge on Tae Woong while helping see to it that Tae Woong gets the justice that he deserves.
Do Chan himself is naturally cheeky and playful, with a heart of gold. However, this experience allowed him to see another side to being a con artist, and in the end, he and his team decided to continue doing just that and started conning bad guys instead.
Joon Soo is a more stubborn and stuffy character, whose genius is probably almost on par with Do Chan. His character arc was less prominent than Do Chan’s, but I do believe that he was able to let his guard down more, learn to be warmer to those around him, and it also taught him that you sometimes have to have some tricks up your own sleeve to catch particularly slippery villains.
Ha Ra’s character stands in the middle ground between Do Chan and Joon Soo, as she follows the law, but is willing to push the boundaries if need be. I like how she was the steadfast rock or glue that held Do Chan and Joon Soo together, and I like that she was able to feel more comfortable and let her guard down more with Do Chan. I think that she now looks upon Joon Soo with fondness and respect, but I like the fact that they did open the door for a possible relationship between Ha Ra and Do Chan.
Han Ye Ri portrayed Ha Ra well, and I love the easy chemistry see has with Jang Geun Suk.
Jung Woong In was fantastic as our big bad of the series, Geum Tae Woong. He was conniving, smart, and was always one step ahead, in plotting and scheming on how to get a hold of more power and money. He’s the type of villain who definitely only cares about himself, to the point that he will even go as far as to use and abuse his only son, whom he had abandoned as a child, to chase after a woman with political connections and money. So, in a sense, his downfall, which turned out to be that very child he abandoned, was of his own making.
Choi Jung Pil is a different story, as he is the epitome of an older kind of villain whose had it all made, and who is way passed his prime. Because of this, he was desperate enough to do anything to gain power back, and when he loses everything, that’s the only time he gained perspective and saw what was more important to him- getting revenge on the one who truly murdered his daughter.
I really liked how they wrapped everything up, especially as they went with both predictable and unpredictable endings. I’m glad that Joon Soo didn’t die, and that instead of Do Chan having to pretend to be Joon Soo forever, Do Chan is allowed to roam free and execute cons to gift wrap bad guys for Ha Ra and Joon Soo to indite. I also like that the romance was pretty low key, and that Do Chan’s team, in the end, reunited in order to be “good” con artists instead.
All in all, “Switch-Change the World” was a light, fun and thrilling ride that never had a single down beat, that kept me guessing until the end, and that allowed me to witness the acting talent and charm that Jang Geun Suk has. Definitely a must watch!
Have you seen “Switch-Change the World”? Did you like or not like it? What did you like or not like about it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!