If I had to pick a favorite Korean Drama so far this year, it would undoubtably be Vincenzo. If you’re a fan of K-drama, you might’ve already heard of Vincenzo as it has taken the community by storm. And for a good reason! But if you haven’t, the drama follows a Korean-Italian lawyer and Mafia consigliere, who flees to Seoul in the midst of a Mafia war, and ends up waging war against a corrupt conglomerate where he delivers his own brand of justice. He doesn’t do it alone, and this is where one of my favorite underrated tropes comes in: found family! He forms his own little Mafia with an eccentric, endearing group of misfits.
Admittedly, the beginning caught me off guard with how quickly the tone shifted from serious to humorous to tragic and back. But once I got a better feeling of the show, it was no longer jarring and instead blended together seamlessly. Vincenzo holds an underlying comedic tone throughout the entire series, interspersed with suspenseful scenes, action-packed sequences, tender moments, and gut-wrenching parts. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly lighthearted tone of this K-drama. It deals with darker, heavy topics and doesn’t shy away from tragedy. It even gets gruesome! What Vincenzo excels at is the element of surprise—you’re never quite sure what to expect. I went from laughing until my sides hurt to gasping in horror, quite a few times. There’s a bit of everything, from tongue in cheek, borderline absurd comedy to a slow-burn heartfelt romance.
I’ve never seen a K-drama use its large cast of side characters so well. I was invested in every single resident and was delighted to see that there was far more to them than meets the eye. My initial impression of Vincenzo was that he was a ruthless, self-serving, pragmatic man who always seemed to be a step ahead of his enemies. While he refers to himself as a villain, I think he falls more into the anti-hero category. Sure, his moral compass is somewhat skewed (he worked for the Mafia after all), but his actions are propelled by a sense of justice. He becomes more of a compassionate character as the drama progresses, and makes plenty of friends along the way. A far cry from the lonesome lawyer who got robbed upon entering South Korea.
One of the most impressive parts of the K-drama was how terrifying yet compelling the antagonists were. They’re so evil, so chilling, so crazy that I just couldn’t look away whenever they were on the screen. The entire cast was incredible, but my highest praises go to Ok Taecyeon and Kim Yeo-jin because their performances blew me away. I watched the whole drama with my friend and he couldn’t stop talking about how scary Kim Yeo-jin’s character was because she played the role so well.
Overall verdict: Vincenzo starts with a bang (or should I say roaring blaze) and ends on an equally exciting and satisfying note. I’ll never look at lighters the same way again!
Rating: 9/10 – Highly recommend.
Bonus rating from my friend who doesn’t watch K-drama but was willing to watch this with me: 8/10
Blurb: At the age of eight, Park Joo Hyeong went to Italy after being adopted. Now an adult, he is known as Vincenzo Cassano to the Mafia, who employ him as a consigliere. Because mafia factions are at war with each other, he flees to South Korea, where he gets involved with Lawyer Hong Cha Young. She is the type of attorney who will do anything to win a case.
Song Joong-Ki as Vincenzo Cassano
Jeon Yeo-bin as Hong Cha Young
Ok Taecyeon as Jang Jun Woo
Kwak Dong-Yeon as Jang Han Seo
Kim Yeo-jin as Choi Myung Hee