Last year, the Orion Cinema Network aired its breakthrough K-drama series known as 38 Task Force. Also known by numerous other titles, including 38 Revenue Collection Unit, Police Unit 38, and Squad 38, the revenge/crime thriller starring Ma Dong Seok (Bad Guys, Sense8), Seo In Guk (Reply 1997, Shopping King Louis), and Sooyoung of Girls’ Generation became the highest rated series in OCN history. To be frank, it is no surprise the series did so well because it was very entertaining, had an interesting plot of swindling the rich who don’t pay their taxes, and featured some of the most popular stars in Hallyu today.
Now, after 38 Task Force concluded, OCN made its 2017 comeback with the crime/suspense thriller Voice. Despite the hiatus between the two K-dramas being about four months, Voice debuted with high viewership ratings. Now six episodes in, it is clear to see that the new series has surpassed 38 Task Force as the most popular K-drama OCN has aired.
For those who are unfamiliar with Voice, it is a crime/suspense thriller starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na. Moo Jin Hyuk (Jang Hyuk) was one of the top police detectives around, but his life falls apart after his wife is brutally murdered. Three years later, he is assigned to the “Golden Time” team consisting of officers in the call center and field working together to solve cases within a span of 10 to 30 minutes. Through this team, Jin Hyuk is paired up with Kang Kwon Joo, the call center officer who last spoke with Jin Hyuk’s wife before she was murdered. They work together to find out who the real killer was three years ago as the person also murdered Kwon Joo’s father on duty.
Apparently, K-drama fans are loving Voice as it strays away from the cookie-cutter concepts often used in K-dramas airing on Korean public television. It is one of the most intense K-dramas available to watch right now as every episode keeps viewers on the edge of the seat often concluding with a cliffhanger for the next episode.
Warning: There are spoilers ahead!
For example, in the first and second episodes, Moo Jin Hyuk arrives on the scene, but the episode ends just before the killer is about to kill the victim. In the fourth episode, it ends right after Kang Kwon Joo is abducted. Finally, at the end of the recent episode (Episode 6), Jin Hyuk discovers a dead body in a closet.
To further enforce the popularity of Voice, the Korean viewership ratings provided by TNmS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea show it has surpassed 38 Task Force specifically for the nation just in the third episode alone. The second part of the second chapter, titled “Healing Mother’s Two Faces,” earned 4.9 percent from the former and 5.406 percent from the latter for the nation, which is higher than the highest viewership rating 38 Task Force has earned for the nation. While 38 Task Force is technically still higher in is the rating for the Seoul National Capital Area as it earned 6.7 percent, Voice has maxed out at 5.540 percent in the fifth episode, the second part of the third chapter titled “Ringing from the Darkness: The Secret of the Chocolate Box.”
Voice still has more than half of its episodes to air this season. As such, we might see the viewership reach record highs for OCN more so than what we expect. It is possible that OCN might become a viable competitor to the Total Variety Network (tvN), who dominated Korean television last year, especially with Reply 1988 and Goblin.
[Featured Image by the Orion Cinema Network (OCN)]