“Trolley” Builds Anticipation In Political-Familial Mystery: A Review

“For a better world, would you turn a blind eye to the lover’s slip?” SBS’ Trolley (2022-2023) opens every episode with this thought-provoking question, referring to the thought experiment in ethics and psychology called “Trolley Dilemma”, in which one is to decide whether to sacrifice one person to save five people.

The political melodrama mainly follows a married couple who shares a unique healthy bond of mutual trust and respect despite career differences and boundaries. However, unfortunate events keep shaking their individual lives and testing their relationship. The more misfortunes occur, the more the story raises the unknowns, building anticipation as it leads viewers through a labyrinth of intriguing mysteries that every character holds, awaiting to unfold.

Kim Hyun-joo as Kim Hye-joo. 📷 SBS

The private wife. Kim Hyun-joo plays Kim Hye-joo, a politician’s wife who chooses to stay out of the public eye, content to live an ordinary life while supporting her husband’s career in the background. She manages her own business of conserving books and extends generosity to people in need through charities, protecting children, women, and the elderly. But one day, her quiet life gets shaken when she had to face the nightmare of the past that threatens to expose her personal secret, which the politician husband is not aware of. She begins to fear for her life and family, but most importantly, for the impact it brings to her husband’s political career as the world watches, realizing, “I learned that one day is all it takes for my entire life to be turned upside down.”

Park Hee-son as Nam Joong Do. 📷 SBS

The politician husband. Park Hee-son plays Nam Joong Do, a lawyer-turned-assemblyman who aims for the national candidacy. He is an emphatic politician who seeks the goodwill of others, offers compassion to the needy, hears out the cries of people, and popular for his strong voice on justice. One day, his political career gets shaken when his son was found dead by the Han river with a gram of meth in his pocket, and other cases that link to him. Nevertheless, he manages to overcome obstacles and continues to gain support from people for his great public speaking skills that tug at the heartstrings. As a viewer, you can’t help but speculate his political motives—Are they driven by sincerity or greed? Did he cause or use big scandals and personal tragedy for political gain? Is he wearing the righteous mask of a trusted politician to cover up a dangerous, hidden life? “I can’t say that I’m not greedy at all. Why else would I be here?”, he tells the chairwoman.

Jung Soo-bin as Kim Soo-bin. 📷 SBS

The pregnant lady. Jung Soo-bin plays Kim Soo-bin, a young lady who suddenly arrives knocking at the couple’s house, claiming to be pregnant with their son who has just died. To avoid another public scandal and protect the politician, they decide as a family to allow the young lady to stay at home with them. However, she carries with her a sense of mystery as she lied about losing her mobile phone and she wears a hidden tattoo on her belly with the initials J.D. that might belong to the politician’s name, Joong Do.

Kim Mu-yeol as Jang Woo-jae. 📷 SBS

The politician’s assistant. Kim Mu-yeol plays Jang Woo-jae, a former reporter who decides to join the assemblyman to become his senior assistant. He is the most trusted person of Nam Joong Do who works professionally, helps the politician solve problems, and speaks frankly that often challenges your motive or the way you think, like how he asks his boss some tough questions, “If you had to choose between the world you dream of and your wife, which one would you choose?” and “A protective measure for her? Or for yourself?”. He also carries with him a sense of mystery, particularly, with the way he deals with the pregnant lady, removing evidence of their tense conversation.

Overall. With eight episodes out so far, “Trolley” is a good watch if you are into thrilling familial mysteries that is not too fast-paced nor too slow. It’s a thought-provoking drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering how each episode goes, what mystery each character holds, awaiting for a big bang to unfold. The actors are all good at presenting their characters especially Kim Hyun-joo. The musical score sends a thrilling vibe, enhancing the mystery of the story. It premiered on December 19, 2022 and releases new episodes every week via SBS channel in South Korea and on Netflix for international viewers.

Copyright Myra Bansale for KORB Blog