Few dramas will keep you guessing, keep you on the edge of your seat and make you laugh as much as the 2020-2021 KBS drama Cheat on Me If You Can (바람피면 죽는다/If You Cheat, You Die. A darkly comic murder mystery with twists and turns galore, the series deftly balances its diverse tones and intricate story.
Cho Yeo Jeong is absolutely enthralling as best-selling author Kang Yeo Joo. Known for her murder mysteries, specifically those featuring unfaithful husbands, Yeo Joo immerses herself in what-if? scenarios to make her stories as realistic as possible. Yeo Joo is married to hotshot divorce lawyer Han Woo Sung (Go Jun) who signed a memo before they were married stating “If you cheat, you die.”
That memo, however, doesn’t seem to stop Woo Sung who carefully engages in several extramarital affairs. And he must be extra careful as Yeo Joo is very observant and perceptive, honed through both her writing and life experience.
Things get more complicated when a murder victim draws interesting connections to the married couple. National Intelligence Service agent Cha Soo Ho (Kim Young Dae) is tasked with surveilling Yeo Joo, though for reasons unknown to him. Meanwhile, college student Go Mi Rae (Yeonwoo) develops feelings for the charismatic lawyer. And the web of secrets and lies gets even more tangled.
The series develops as the audience is taken along for a consistently surprising guessing game. The story unfolds at a brisk pace, constantly adding layers to the mystery while always making sure to give ample care and equal effort to developing each of the characters.
As much as the murder mystery is the central thread running through the series, the various relationships take center stage and are the most engaging stories. Whether it is the fascinating dynamic between Yeo Joo and Woo Sung. Or the surveillant-surveilled dynamic between Yeo Joo and Soo Ho. And Woo Sung having to figure out how to respond to Mi Rae’s apparent feelings for him. And that’s just amongst the main characters. The series also features a strong supporting cast as well that play integral roles in the overarching story.
Han Woo Sung is a man who makes questionable decisions. Yet Go Jun is able to allow the character to remain nuanced and multi-faceted. Yeonwoo does a similar good job of balancing Mi Rae’s complicated character as well.
Kim Young Dae, who has risen in popularity thanks to Penthouse, plays a different, more mature character here. As Soo Ho, Kim Young Dae is the handsome, kick-ass secret agent. But quite surprisingly, he shares an amazing chemistry with Cho Yeo Jeong.
And it is Cho Yeo Jeong who makes the series. Yeo Joo can be an emotionless, cold character. Seemingly uninterested in her surroundings and others at first, she is actually very perceptive and has an attention to detail that comes in very handy. But as strong as she can come across, she is also vulnerable and as the series moves along, we get to see how that is so in very exciting and emotional fashion. Cho Yeo Jeong absolutely owns these scenes. And she is able to use her diverse experience in heavy dramas and romantic comedies to bring about a performance that is both subtle and expressive.
Overall, Cheat on Me If You Can is absolute fun. A darkly comic murder mystery that can make you laugh as much as it makes you keep guessing. Legitimately interesting. And surprising twists and turns keep you engaged while the terrific cast and dynamic characters help you enjoy the ride.