Han Tae Sang – abandoned by his mother when he was 17, his bright future was shattered and was taken in by a gangster group. He was later in constraint with the leader of the mafia group he was in and survived the leader’s attempt to kill him. He founded a company and has made himself rich after 7 years and then fell in love with a woman younger than him who shared a memory from his dark past.
Seo Mi Do – barely hanging from her family’s financial hardship, she bravely stood up for her father after the latter was being forced by the loan sharks to give what he owed. He offered her body to the leader (daddy-long-legs-Tae-sang) but he refused her offer. She was later helped by daddy-long-legs for her tuition to finish her studies, and they met again and she was offered to marry him, but just as she was beginning to like him, the man of her dreams came in her life, and her confused self was torn on who she has to be with.
Baek Sung Joo – pilates girl who loved Tae-sang to infinity and beyond. Her one-sided-love is already written in Guinness world records. Her selfish love caused problems and also solutions for the main lead and when not pushing herself to be in Tae-sang’s arms, you would see her exercising.
Lee Jae Hee – When his brother was imprisoned after defending Tae-sang who was badly wounded by the thug leader, Tae-sang took the role as his bestfriend’s brother’s benefactor. He sent him to study abroad and he later worked in the company. Upon knowing that he cannot love the girl he likes, he tried hard to avoid it but he sunk deeper and later betrayed his brother-benefactor.
Lee Chang Hee – the man torn between his brother and bestfriend. He could be given the bromance cookie for his unfailing sacrifice, loyalty and love towards his brothers.
Gu Yong Gap – sporty dirty old man who harboured one-sided love with Sung-joo and was always the witness to all the killings in the drama. He has been the source of evil in the story but not that hateful to curse on.
We have at some point in falling in love, have thought and wished we have loved differently or love a different person. “When a Man Loves” sweetly and painfully depicted all kinds of love known to the universe. They have a 3-way obsessive love, one-sided love, love that took time, secret love, brotherly love, filial love, love that got away, gangster love, confused love, and selfish love. It was like the evolution of love in documentary but yes with characters and plot.
Successfully incorporating Daddy-long-legs, Helen of Troy and The Godfather in a romantic blend with angsty spice, I raised my hand in the auction and shouted SOLD!
Han Tae-sang was taken in by a gangster brotherhood after his mother left for another man with his brother when he was 17 years old. His father committed suicide because of the unfortunate event. His anguished past has made him a cold person through the years. They visited a bookstore owner for the debt he owed and gave an ultimatum to pay it or else he and his family will be in trouble. The bookstore owner’s daughter Seo Do Mi rose up to the occasion and pleaded for another chance to set up the payment. She was late on the suggested meeting and didn’t bring any money either, instead she offered himself to Tae-sang. Tae-sang seeing his past self on Mi-do decided to give allowance to her family’s debt.
In the gangster’s lair the head gangster was picking on Tae-sang because of jealousy and his smart brain, he ordered a plot to kill him, but Tae-sang defeated the assassins and marched to seek his boss’ attendance. Mi-do was dragged to where the mafia brothers reunion was and the ceo gangster chased the uninvited guests. He stabbed Tae-sangs back as he covered his body on Mi-do’s and pushed his might to set the girl free from that dungeon. Tae-sang’s bff Chang-hee arrived at the location and accidentally killed their leader. Gu Yong Gap who met with the leader to borrow money calmingly watched the bloody entanglement like it was a movie.
Tae-sang survived the fatal attack and requested Chang-hee to give the bank book to Mi-do. Chang-hee knowing he would soon be caught by the police asked Tae-sang to take care of his brother, and soon enough he was imprisoned.
After 7 years, Tae-sang successfully established his company and was making waves in the Korean economy. He also sent Chang-hee’s brother Jae-hee to study abroad. Meanwhile Mi-do was struggling to get a regular job and has been working part-time. Tae-sang and Mi-do’s paths crossed again when Mi-do after humiliating a rich girl from a party was visited by her and her minions in the restaurant she was working. Tae-sang who has been sending her money every month for her studies rescued her again and dragged her outside.
After learning her father was hospitalized he paid the medical expenses, took care of the book store, offered Mi-do a job and also his heart. The nice things Tae-sang has done for her made her start to like him, but then the man of her dreams came to confuse her young heart. Faced with Jack Dawson and Daddy-long-legs, Mi-do took the road less travelled and succumbed to her emotions with Jae-hee who at first tried to hide his feelings for Mi-do to honor the man who helped him and his brother. But blinded by love and the false hints given by desperate Sung-joo who doesn’t know anything but love Tae-sang selfishly, Jae-hee disregarded his connection with Tae-sang to claim Mi-do’s heart.
Mi-do and her incomprehensible love definitions along with her inability to see the goodness of the man who has been there helping her, broke his heart and when she realized too late what she lost it was already the last 5 minutes of the last episode.
There were no plot craziness but plenty of love bewilderment in this series, and that’s why maybe I liked it. It was not complicated to understand and the characters were fun, annoying and interestingly good to watch.
Han Tae-sang with his cold exterior and warm heart won me over that when he was being fooled by Mi-do and Jae-hee, I was really wanting to enter the tv screen so that I will be the one to love him. I mean can we give a healthy and bright eyed girl for Song Seung-hun oppa next time for his drama? Those moments with the mother who abandoned him and yet who has made him realize the current love problem he has was heartbreaking and said a lot about human emotions.
Seo Mi-do who was given a chance to pick between Jack Dawson and Daddy-long-legs earned the ire of the viewers of the drama, but his inexperience of the complications of love was well portrayed. When you’re young and in love you tend to overlook what will be in store for you in the future because you are focused to the emotions you have at the moment. We love differently as we age and as we grew from all those broken relationships.
I sympathize with Jae-he and his right love at the wrong time moment with Mi-do but no matter how his love was meant to be with Mi-do, it has a hint of selfishness on his part that’s why I was never rooting for them.
Sung-joo and his pilates moments were amusing to watch along with her obsessive love that spun all the conflicts in the story. Her very late redemption I say didn’t make up for the half-baked character she portrayed in the story. The only thing I looked forward in her character was her endless bickering with that dirty old man and yes her stretching routines that were so frequent in the dying episodes of the series.
Chang-hee’s character was the most loving person in the drama, when his brother and bestfriend fought for the same girl, he tried to kill the girl. I was like, cool! That was the best move I’ve seen so far in kdramaland in settling dispute on love triangle… kill the girl so we all live happily ever after.
There were a lot of quirky moments in this drama, with all those uglies, I still love how it threaded to reach the culmination, hell I even liked the craziness. I was drawn in the series because the characters and their love problems were immersing, retrospecting and engaging.
Among the spring dramas with romance in their theme, When A Man Loves will be the most stimulating for me because it got my heart and my mind both involved in analyzing the main characters trapped in the web of love impossibilities, pain and bliss.
Sad and Sweet, Tae-sang and Mi-do will remind you of what you did because of love and what you did because you cannot love someone back.