Stream It Or Skip It: 'Red Swan' On Hulu, a show about revenge, marriages of convenience, and a woman falling for her bodyguard (2024)

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Red Swan

  • Stream It Or Skip It: 'Red Swan' On Hulu, a show about revenge, marriages of convenience, and a woman falling for her bodyguard (1)

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Korean dramas often have romance or thrills, but not both. In a new K-drama on Hulu (Disney+ outside the U.S.), a married woman falls for her bodyguard and vice versa, but you know that things are a whole lot more complicated than that.

RED SWAN: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: A montage of shots from the first season of Red Swan, showing the burgeoning relationship between Oh Wan-soo (Kim Ha-neul) and her bodyguard, Seo Do-yoon (Rain).

The Gist: Oh Wan-soo is Korea’s goodwill ambassador to UNICEF, and we see here there to make a presentation about a woman who has survived being assaulted and trafficked by ISIS. She receives a threat from the terrorist organization, but vows to continue on to Manila for another conference and a fundraising auction and party she’s organizing.

She’s a former professional golfer that married Kim Yong-guk (Jung Gyu-woon), heir to the Hwain Group corporation, currently run by his powerful and idiosyncratic mother, Park Mi-ran (Seo Yi-sook).

In Manila, Seo Do-yoon finds out that there will be an assassination attempt that day in Manila’s shopping district, and is surprised when he sees someone he knows holding a bag of money to arrange the hit. He knows the man from his police days, and when that person mentions the “flower shop,” it takes Seo back to what the person who killed his best friend, Shin Jhu-yuk, a few months earlier. The man who killed Shin also mentioned a “flower shop”.

As he suspected, a sniper starts shooting at Oh Wan-soo when she’s in the shopping district on an errand. He dives in and saves her, finds the tracker in her SUV, and takes her to safe location. The attraction is palpable between the two.

When she returns to Manila and Kim Yong-guk, she refuses to take her mother-in-law’s money to pay off Chinese officials and wants to go through with the fundraiser, prompting Park to order her killed. Wan-soo then goes public with the threat, against the wishes of her in-laws. But she will get some protection soon in the form of a new bodyguard: Seo Do-yoon.

Stream It Or Skip It: 'Red Swan' On Hulu, a show about revenge, marriages of convenience, and a woman falling for her bodyguard (2)

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Red Swan is reminiscent of the British thriller series Bodyguard.

Our Take: Red Swan, directed by Choi Yoon-jung, is a soapy drama that introduces what it’s about via that opening montage: Oh Wan-soo, in a troubled marriage, falls for Seo Do-yoon and vice versa. But within that simple premise are a whole lot of twists, turns and backstory. We just wonder if Choi will be able to juggle those stories or just end up concentrating on the central love story.

Oh’s backstory involves her upbringing and the reason why she married into the Hwain Group family. Seo’s story involves his relationship to the guy who hired him to be Oh’s bodyguard and just what in the heck the Hwain group has gotten involved with. It seems to be a company that has no problems taking out people who get in their way, and that comes straight from the unhinged behavior of Chairwoman Park.

Most of the twists and turns are going to involve Seo’s undercover operation in the Oh’s security detail. At what point will Oh find out his real reasons for being her bodyguard? And will her safety override any related concerns? Or will it just be romance and Korean-TV-approved relations?

Sex and Skin: None in the first episode.

Parting Shot: Oh is introduced to her new bodyguard, Seo. Of course, she recognizes him, even without the beard he had when they met.

Sleeper Star: Seo Yi-sook is effectively unhinged as Park Mi-ran. Her unhinged nature is played lightly in her first scene but soon turns serious.

Most Pilot-y Line: Oh falls for Seo as he wipes blood off her face. Talk about a meet-cute!

Our Call: STREAM IT. Red Swan is a pulpy, soapy romantic thriller with lots of actions and the potential for lots of twists.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

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  • Hulu
  • Korean Dramas
  • Red Swan
  • Stream It Or Skip It
  • The Bodyguard
Stream It Or Skip It: 'Red Swan' On Hulu, a show about revenge, marriages of convenience, and a woman falling for her bodyguard (2024)

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