Doctor John (also titled Doctor Room) is a Korean drama revolving around doctors specializing in pain management. It also explores the controversial subject of euthanasia. Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. The act itself is legal in some countries while illegal in others. The drama is based on the Japanese novel “On Hand of God” by Yo Kusakabe.

As someone who has watched plenty of Korean medical dramas, I was particularly interested to see how this drama would fare. It starred Actors Ji Sung (Doctor Cha Yo-Han) and Lee Se-young (Resident Si Young) as anesthesiologists working in the same hospital. They work together to help lessen the pains from their various patient’s medical conditions while having personal issues of their own to deal with too.

Sadly, despite the hype of the drama, I found it really disappointing. The plot was messy, and it felt like the writers became disinterested in writing as the story progressed. They even added a prosecutor, and a nurse who work together, attempting to take down Doctor Cha Yo-Han after he was previously convicted of euthanizing a patient who murdered the nurse’s children. The nurse is fixated on revenge against Doctor Yo-Han for lessening the pain of the murderer by euthanizing him. Towards the end of the series she forgives him, but it was never clearly explained why, ruining the flow of the drama. We also have Kang I-moon – the Director of Sehan Hospital (where the story is based at) – who was hoping to be promoted to the position of ‘Chief of the hospital’. However, when the Chief of the Anesthesiology Department (Min Tae-kyeong) was offered the position instead of him, we didn’t get to witness his rage, and disappointment at being rejected. It was frustrating especially since they spent quite a few scenes focusing on him wanting the position.

I personally feel that Ji Sung portrayed his role well, and deserves high praise for understanding the character he was portraying. Unfortunately, it was a different story for Lee Se-Young who didn’t act to her full potential. I was especially disappointed since she acted really well in “The Crowned Clown“, her last drama before embarking on Doctor John. However I do feel that it is not her fault. Although she was the lead actress, her character was weak, and instead of showing us how a resident of the Anesthesiology department will actually behave, we got a lovesick resident who is constantly pining for the male lead.

It has to be said that despite my venting, the drama did have some good points. As a viewer, I was able to understand the various pains of the patients and the social stigma they faced. The drama also shows us the two sides of euthanasia. For example, the family of Si Young decided to end the life of her father who was in a coma for a few years and medically had no chances of recovering at all. They donated his organs to patients in need of them while ending his suffering, thus showing how euthanasia can be a blessing in disguise. On the other hand, there was a medical company trying to push the ‘Euthanasia law’ through which will allow them to legally murder patients under the guise of ending their pains for profits. It also boasts some nice OSTs such as “Pain or Death” by Samuel Seow.

If you are the type who enjoys deep topics or the medical drama genre in particular, I will recommend you to give it a try. It’s a drama that definitely had me thinking about life too.

Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Cinematography: 7/10
Cast: 7/10