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New star-studded TV series to expose capitalist logic weighing on medical industry

All Headlines 17:50 July 23, 2018

SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) -- A new TV series starring two heartthrobs will kick off its eight-week run on Monday to expose the reality of the medical service sector coming being driven by the capitalist logic of profit making.

The investigative drama "Life" starts with the arrival of Koo Seung-hyo, played by Cho Seung-woo, as the new head of a top-level university hospital.

As a loyal employee and young executive at the business conglomerate Hwajeong, which took over the loss-making hospital, Seung-hyo seeks to reform the institution and clashes with the director of the hospital's emergency medical center, Ye Jin-woo, played by Lee Dong-wook.

Jin-woo, a faithful doctor who puts the value of human life above anything else, fights Seung-hyo's business-minded management style quietly but consistently.

"Jin-woo is a common doctor who strives to achieve the ultimate goal of saving people's lives. A series of episodes he sees happening around him bring in a change in Jin-woo's mind and make him decide to act to save the hospital," Lee said in a press conference promoting the TV series from cable channel JTBC.

Actor Lee Dong-wook, who plays the role of Ye Jin-woo in the new TV series "Life," poses for photos during a press conference in southern Seoul on July 23, 2018. (Yonhap)

Cho said that his character started off as a villain who kowtows to the powerful and tramples on the weak. "But he comes away with something he learns from the hospital, learns his lesson and sees a change taking place inside him."

He continued, "He's not a entirely evil person. (At the end) he does everything he can do in his power to save the hospital and his business group at the same time."

Moon So-ri, who plays the hot-tempered director of the hospital's neurosurgery center, Oh Se-hwa, said that the message from the series may be applicable to not only the medical service sector but the education field or other areas where capitalist logic clashes with traditional values.

"It is a work that raises the question of how we can raise our immunity (to capitalist logic) and what values we have to hold onto," Moon said.

The scenario was written by Lee Soo-yeon, whose 2017 TV series with tvN, "Stranger," drew solid critical acclaim and won her the best TV scenario award for the 2018 Baeksang Arts Awards.

It's Cho's second collaboration with the star scenario writer, having starred in "Stranger." Two more actors, including Yoo Jae-myung, appear in the new TV series, having previously worked on the 2017 series.

"At first, I felt burdened by working once more with writer Lee Soo-yeon. Her work is something that gives me a headache to interpret and act on. I was anxious, asking myself if I could make it," Cho said, adding that he made the right choice in the end.

Cho Seung-woo, who plays the role of Koo Seung-hyo in the new TV series "Life," poses for photos during a press conference in southern Seoul on July 23, 2018. (Yonhap)

For Lee, it was out of his wish to shatter the image of a sad lover that he established in the sensationally successful tvN fantasy series "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God," which ran from late 2016 to early 2017.

"I chose this work as I was looking for a role that was opposite to (what I did then) and that could change my image entirely," Lee said.

"Having played a messenger from the underworld in the fantasy, I was attracted to this very realistic story," he said.

Producer Hong Jong-chan hinted at a turning of the tide in the story and the opposing characters of the two main male actors: "Seung-hyo harbors innocence behind his hard-headed image, while Jin-woo seems to be sharpening a sword (for revenge) deep inside him that his more terrifying than that of Seung-hyo."

Starting Monday, the 16 episode-series with will be broadcast every Monday and Tuesday. Currently, the actors and actresses are filming the 13th and 14th episodes, according to the channel.

The cast of the new JTBC TV series "Life" pose for photos during a press conference in southern Seoul on July 23, 2018. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
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