2022,  Action,  K-Drama,  Thriller

Insider | K-Drama Review

A roller coaster ride between prison walls, card games and casinos, Insider is Kang Ha-Neul’s K-Drama comeback after his comedic yet romantic stint in When the Camelia Blooms. Not for everyone though, Insider is yet another K-Drama that shows us how the greedy rich plays their game.

Disclaimer: The post ahead may contain SPOILERS since this is a review of the whole season.

K-Drama Storyline

A judicial trainee disguised as a gambling player, Kim Yo Han (played by Kang Ha-Neul) was caught in a mess during a card game that turned out to be a ‘scam’. When he discovered that the players are cheating, it’s too late and the Police are ready to raid the place.

Corruption and politics, being caught as a gambling player, death of his grandmother and his senior colleague… it’s a stirring whirlwind life indeed. As he gets tangled in between of everything, he knew he has to make a move.

Texas HoldEm Card Rules

Kim Yo Han embraced his new life as an undercover and started with what he knows – gambling. As he learned the ins and outs of Texas Hold’Em, he made his way up to becoming the King of the prison.

Kim Yo Han as the new Prison Boss in K-Drama Insider

As he make his way up higher, he discovers dirt after dirt from prison wardens, ‘elder’ prisoners’ and even up to the Prosecution Body. Will he back down though? No.

Casino Manager Kim Yo Han

Personal Review of Insider

As a fan of card games in storylines (the American Heist Film 21 is still my #1), Insider instantly grabbed my attention. Imagine how ecstatic I was when they started playing Texas Hold’Em. Unfortunately, the card games started to decrease as the show goes on. Jang Sun Oh’s character suddenly vanished though upon his released from the prison. Bromance no more!

Injured Kim Yo Han in K-Drama Insider

While we get to see Jang Sun Oh back after few episodes he eventually disappeared again. There’s a hint at the finale that he might still be alive as we see a masked guy. But overall, Jang Sun Oh was what, just a pawn? What’s all that badass fuss at the beginning? Apart from the fact that he’s hot and sexy in his role, let’s admit he’s an amazing actor with an amazing role. They wasted his talent at the right opportunity.

Masked Jang Sun Oh

While the story’s focal point is emphasized, it became tiring to watch. There’s not enough elements to balance the heavy storyline anymore. The disappearance of the card games, Jang Sun Oh and his bromance with Kim Yo-Han, the show became less interesting to me.

As we focused on the main plot, there’s a lot of things happening at the same time and sometimes it gets confusing. I get that the tension is building up towards the end, but there’s no room to breathe at that point.

With the last scene proposing another Insider job for Kim Yo-Han, Season 2 might be hinting. But with Insider’s ratings and current momentum of the story, I’m not sure if Season 2 is a good idea. I’m not overly satisfied with how it ended but I’ve had enough of the plot. I want a fresh one instead.

Bonus Section: Kang Ha-Neul’s Portrayal of Kim Yo-Han in Insider

I can’t miss this portion out. We know how amazing and versatile Kang Ha-Neul is as an actor. Some scenes feels similar to his role in Midnight Runner albeit the lack of the comedy though. But, the scenes inside the prison were all remarkable to me. Plus who will complain of having this not-so-nude scene of Kang Ha-Neul? Ready for matured roles huh? 😉

Kim Yo Han's Shower Scene in K-Drama Insider

And aren’t we talking about the amount of violence his role received? No harm done on Kang Ha-Neul’s part, but who knows? Did he used a stuntman? Was it all done by him? There were no news at all about the production. Not even interviews about his character nor from anyone else.

Injured Kim Yo Han in K-Drama Insider

Kang Ha-Neul has proven once again that he can pull off anything at this point. I now wonder what role will he take next. Despite fans sleeping on this one, I’m sure his path has nowhere to go but up!

K-Drama Rating

Thriller K-Dramas are challenging storylines to pull off and Insider is not an exception in the K-Drama world. The thrill element of the story gets overwhelming at some point. Yet it’s not enough to keep the audience hooked up until the very end. Some characters were not given enough spotlight to shine as well despite their potential.

  • Personal Rating Score: 7 out of 10
  • Target Audience: Thriller Viewers who can endure violent scenes
  • Will I recommend this: Yes, but embrace the thrill and darkness that comes with it!

Still, overall, Insider is yet another ‘OK’ K-Drama. Not super amazing but I won’t consider it a flop either. It depicts how prevalent corruption is, no matter where we go and how many insider jobs we take. That in itself is sad and sick as f*ck. And it’s real. Admit it.


Aspiring writer and a professional mountaineer, she let her thoughts out in this blog to keep her sanity in check. If you want to know the other side of her, check her Hiking & Travel Blog.

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