Medical Brothers is a Korean television drama (K-drama) about two brothers who work in a hospital and a mysterious past that slowly uncovers a truth no one wanted revealed. The K-drama is unlike the traditional K-drama, as it is not centered on juicy, soap opera quality melodramatic content. The traditional K-drama focuses on love triangles, scheming, the occasional memory loss, and more. As mentioned, Medical Brothers looks at different aspect of the drama genre by focusing on the professional and the personal lives of two brothers. The show's approach similar to Inside the White Tower (lack of romantic drama.) For the most part, it does not provide the same gripping effect as shows with the romantic undertone. Despite, it has its moments and is entertaining enough to watch for K-drama fans.
The story is about two brothers who work at the Gangneung hospital. They are Soo-Hyung (Dae Jang-Geum) and Joon-Gi (Son Chang-Min). The brothers have different personalities and views on life. Joon-Gi is hard working and dedicated to healing. He is a quiet and kind person. Soo-Hyung, on the other hand, is egotistical and cares only about himself. His professional success only feeds his ego. He has a reputation as a ladies man and does not treat women well.
In the early portions of the series, the focus is on getting to know the brothers. In the case of Soo-Hyung, his crud personality is revealed. He has had an on and off again relationship with fellow doctor Cha Min-Joo (Lee Young-Ae). Min-Joo cares deeply for Soo-Hyung, but he only mistreats her. She decides to give up on Soo-Hyung, which causes him no pain. As for Joon-Gi, he is a doctor moving up the ranks. His father, the hospital director, has him in line for his successor and is slowly putting the pieces in place to make the transition a reality. During these initial episodes, the drama is very tame. There is little to grab and hold your attention. At times, it feels like it is just dragging on.
The series takes a turn for the better when a terrible mishap occurs. While working on a rather routine surgery, Joon-Gi accidentally kills a patient -- who was the wife of a close friend. The loss devastates him and hurts the hospital's public image. While Joon-Gi deals with his guilt, he meets Regina and starts a somber relationship with her. Regina runs an orphanage with minimal resources. Despite being a juicy dramatic bit, the excitement fades. Meanwhile, the hospital administration sets up a very tricky surgery to minimize damage to their public image from Joon-Gi's bad surgery. Cocky Soo-Hyung lines up a tricky heart transplant. Unfortunately, the transplant fails and things go downhill for Soo-Hyung.
As the brother and the hospital deal with the mishaps, new developments occur. Joon-Gi returns to the hospital and focuses on his professional endeavor, which is to become the new director. Soo-Hyung starts to feel the wrong end of the stick and learns a secret about his past -- why and how he was adopted by Joon-Gi's family. When this Soo-Hyung gets the first clue about his family history, he investigates and slowly unravels the truth. This aspect of the story is one of the more interesting and juicy tidbits. Another part of this development is a change in Soo-Hyung's personality. He starts to develop as a character and becomes that much more interesting.
While the general focus is on the professional drama, romance is not completely out of the picture. It is still an aspect, but not a big part of the show. As mentioned, Joon-Gi has a relationship with Regina, Soo-Hyung and Min-Joo have an awkward love/hate romance, and Soo-Hyung is courted by his step-sister Young-Gi -- she wants to date him, but the family fears for the worse. Nevertheless, the romance is not a big part of the show.
In general, Medical Brothers did not make it onto my list of favorites. In fact, I had a rather hard time watching the drama. It started out slow and did not pick up much pace with new developments. There were some juicy dramatic aspects, like Soo-Hyung's history and his character growth, but the overall drama did not move me the same way as some of the romantic-focused K-dramas. Similar to my impression of Inside the White Tower, Medical Brothers takes an approach that does not provide the same level of melodramatic entertainment. Still, the series should not be ignored, as it does show a different side to the K-drama genre. (Many K-dramas have almost identical underlying plotlines focused on memory loss and love triangles.) If anything, Medical Brothers is worth watching for the serious K-drama fan.