The Korea Herald


Medical drama ‘Cross’ to bring attention to organ transplantations

Channel tvN focues on with genre drama shows

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Jan. 28, 2018 - 14:52

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Setting itself apart from other medical dramas, tvN’s “Cross” deals with the subject of organ transplantation, hoping that viewers come to recognize the importance of the issue.

Medical dramas have become a popular fixture on Korean TV, many portraying the strenuous lives of surgeons. But there has not been a drama that speaks of organ transplantation, as the subject itself is still unfamiliar to the public.

A new Monday-Tuesday drama series “Cross” -- featuring actors Cho Jae-hyun and Go Kyung-pyo and actress Jeon So-min -- hopes to shed light onto the topic of organ donation. 

The cast of “Cross” poses for photos at a media briefing held in Yeongdeungpo-gu in Seoul, Thursday. From left are Go Kyung-pyo, Jeon So-min and Cho Jae-hyun. (tvN) The cast of “Cross” poses for photos at a media briefing held in Yeongdeungpo-gu in Seoul, Thursday. From left are Go Kyung-pyo, Jeon So-min and Cho Jae-hyun. (tvN)

“While organ donation is very much needed in society, people do not know of its importance. I hope that the public can be more aware of it through the drama,” director Shin Yong-hui said, at a media briefing that took place Thursday at Times Square mall in western Seoul.

Traditionally, Koreans viewed it immoral to damage the body of the deceased, and many are uncomfortable about agreeing to organ donations. Even cremation has not had a long history in Korea.

As of 2016, a total of 573 people had their organs donated after their deaths, allowing for 2,306 transplants, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers are gradually increasing, but are still insufficient, when compared with the patients waiting for organ transplants. Based on 2015 research by the state organization, a patient has to wait 1,185 days on average for an organ donation.

Actor Cho, who portrays a doctor who works at an organ transplantation center, hopes that more people recognize the importance of organ donation.

“I myself signed up for cornea donation five years ago. Those who cannot see can have their sight back, if they find the right cornea,” he said. “It would be nice if the drama could draw more attention to the subject.”

In the drama, Jeon, who has come to fame through SBS’ “Running Man,” plays the role of a transplant coordinator.

“The profession was unfamiliar to me. I looked up interviews with Korea’s first organ transplant coordinator, studying more about the job,” she said.

The story centers on a talented doctor, played by Go Kyung-pyo, who practices medicine as a way to get access to the jailed murderer of his father and sister, in order to exact revenge. He acquires sudden savant syndrome in an accident and is consequently able to see things in microscopic detail. But Go emphasizes that his role is not that of a psychic with superpowers.

“There aren’t any actual of cases of savant syndrome shown involving vision. It’s a fictional set-up,” he said. “But what we want is not supernatural powers. We are actually scaling down my character’s capability as we shoot as we are worried that it could be too much.”

“Cross” is the latest in tvN’s output of genre-dramas, succeeding its previous hit series “Stranger” and “Signal.” Producer Shin was well-received with his last genre-drama “Tunnel,” based on a time-travelling theme.

“Medical dramas require excessive studying and preparation as it is a professional field. Many experts advised us,” director Shin said. “I was concerned about how a genre-drama can be viewed more comfortably by the public,” he said. “But as always, it’s the viewer’s choice.”

The new drama show is to air its first episode Monday at 9:30 p.m.

By Im Eun-byel (