Professional baseball player Kim Je Hyuk (Park Hae Soo) is sentenced to 1 year in prison for excessive self-defense. The drama follows how he survives in prison and the lives around him.
“This too [prison] is a place where people live.”
Kim Je Hyuk has a quiet and calm personality. He’s not a fan of talking and mostly stays on his own. He often comes of as a fool but he reins in his smartness and temper well. This makes him able to survive anywhere: he observes and then blends in.
“In his daily life Kim Jae Hyuk is as slow as a tortoise and looks easy. Once he explodes it’s no joke. It’s very scary.”
In prison he unfortunately has everything worse because everyone knows him and this makes some people (mainly the guards) go easy on him. The other prisoners don’t like seeing this and he makes enemies.
“Don’t trust anyone, because they’re all just criminals.”
In the detention center he meets long time friend and fan Lee Joon Ho (Jung Kyung Ho) who works there as a guard. He looks after Kim Je Hyuk the best he can and becomes the only one he can really trust in prison.
Wise Prison Life or Prison Playbook also focuses on the lives of the other prisoners and some aspects of society it addresses very well.
“Someone who conned almost 7 million won from people can be easily freed but a person who literally saved his sister from a rapist can’t. I really can’t understand society.”
The drama chose its main actors and themes well. The actual criticism it delivers about society is effective and genuine. Kim Je Hyuk is not a man who is meant to be in prison yet he is there in the midst of murderers and thieves. The friendship between Je Hyuk and Joon Ho is not only heartwarming but also atypical with its setting: a prison guard and a prisoner. This drama just ticks all the right boxes: it’s great.
Wise Prison Life is peaceful yet manages to be interesting and funny at the same time. It’s so well-balanced the hour and a half long episodes just fly by and still you’re left wanting more.