Secret Love Affair Review: And No One Knows It’s Love But Us

“And no one knows it is love but us”



Novelist and SBS PD Lee Je Ik started his weekly column on July 3rd where he evaluates the recent movies and dramas which attract the attention of many, recalls the storyline, their distinctive dialogues, and the scriptwriters’ insight. The first drama being evaluated, which just ended on May, is Secret Love Affair.


“How you could tell I’ve really gone crazy is everyone acted like they had their eyes closed. However, once I’ve come to my senses, I realized the whole world is watching us. There are eyes everywhere” – Oh Hye Won (Secret Love Affair)


Secret Love Affair is a successful drama. Not only in the viewer ratings wise, it also earns a good reviews from the so-called pop-culture critics. I was certainly thrilling with the success of Secret Love Affair. I heard many people saying this story of a woman 20 years older than a man and their infidelity was “worrisome”. However, it was a very dramatic turnaround, given the malicious and disapproval comments posted on the news articles when the plot of Secret Love Affair first introduced. It felt like watching a movie that seemed to be impossible to get this success, making us wonder where did it get the strength?


It’s a tone down feel drama by utilizing the classical music, and it flows with a calm atmosphere. But actually the essence of the love story in Secret Love Affair is Eros. The important theme of the story is about a forty-year-old woman feeling worn out in her marriage life and career, where her semblance is peeled off over and over again in front of a bold and passionate young man. His blunt and direct lines just describe his character. Rather than using the flamboyant rhetoric and symbolism, Secret Love Affair‘s sincerity lies on its full-packed of toxic impeccable phrases.


The phrase which is most prevalent recently is “top compliment”. The writer might not predicted this before, but the phrases uttered by Lee Seon Jae (Yoo Ah In) and Oh Hye Won (Kim Hee Ae) have firmly become an epidemic. A lot of good and touching lines that Oh Hye Won has in this drama. Perhaps because Writer Jung Seon Joo is a middle-aged woman, a woman of Hye Won’s generation.


One of the best lines was taken from Hye Won’s conversation with her best friend in episode 11 when she realized her relationship with Lee Seon Jae was in danger. She met her friend with a painful heart and poured her heart out. She said, “How you could tell I’ve really gone crazy is everyone acted like they had their eyes closed. However, once I’ve come to my senses, I realized the whole world is all eyes on us. There are eyes everywhere.”


Yeah. This is what love is. Falling in love makes the lovers blind and only see themselves, thinking only they know the meaning of their expressions of love towards each other. But at the same time, the other parties see without the two realizing it. This happens in real life too. We’ve seen many times a school or an office love affair where lovers think they are able to hide their relationship, and yet everyone around them finds out sooner than they think because of the particular actions of lovers. Who can blame them?


Similar case happened to SNSD Taeyon and EXO Baekhyun too. As soon as the news broke and fans found out the relationship, the grieving fans just started collecting suspicious circumstances of the two lovers that were scattered everywhere. However, Secret Love Affair is one step further by showing another property of love. Oh Hye Won continued by saying, “I miss him despite all that.”


Whew. That is love; despite the whole world keeping their eyes on the lovers (Hye Won and Seon Jae), despite the humiliation and losing much, and despite the troubles, she still wants to see her loved one. Even if it goes against the human instinct of self-protection from the fears.



Secret Love Affair doubled the fun by amplifying the writing. Other allegedly affair dramas (I hate to use such expression) proceed according to the conventional one; after the two heroes do one or two moves, the next story is they are being hunt and trying to escape. But Secret Love Affair was different. They continued to commit the audacity of adultery openly with blatant disgrace in front of our screen! In spite of all, it brought tears to the audience, it made audience support their love and happiness. It is the horror of Secret Love Affair.


Please note, secret lovers. All eyes are on you. But it’s alright, because it’s the loved ones you still want to see.


Lee Je Ik – SBS program director and novelist

Translated by Admin007 Yoo Ah In International Fans Community Facebook

© Yoo Ah In International Fans Community

Source: Hani

15 Responses to “Secret Love Affair Review: And No One Knows It’s Love But Us”
  1. RENATA says:

    To me it was a big victory. People mocked this drama and refused to watch even before the drama aired. I remember there were fights in the name of “morale” on DB *scoffs* How narrow minded they were. They missed a masterpiece. This is the best drama of this year. Critically and commercially success. No doubt about it.

    • Ann says:

      Completely agree. I never got DB’s holier than thou attitude because gasp it deals with an extramarital affair. All the while they glowingly cover a lame same old drama. Their loss. This was so refreshing in its insistence of going its own way.

      • Laura says:

        IMO it’s ironic reading some peep said grudgingly that Korean dramas these days are all the same, same topic, same storyline, same characters, easy guessed, stupid endings. But when they see SLA it’s like they’re facing a plague and running in horror and said “oooh no no no…i don’t like this extramarital affair theme lemme back to my old boring KD style” all because of the “affair” title..

        • Ann says:

          lol agree, secretly they like the safe and predictable all the while complaining about it. I don’t even think its a predictable noona romance in spite of everyone dubbing it so.

          SLA is for the discerning. For me it was to use a cliche, a beautifully composed piece of music. A pleasure to watch with great performances from the leads and the supporting cast.

  2. jomo143 says:

    Thanks for posting. Awesome translation work for us fans!!!

    SLA makes the point of “Judge not lest ye be judged.” and “There but for the grace of god go I.”

    It is easy to be righteous about this type of situation until you are in it. Hye Won learned that the hard way and took us along her journey of realization. I am glad she was willing to eat her own words and accept that sometimes you have to do “unacceptable” things to survive. Who the hell is anyone else to judge if you do?

    I think this concept has been in the dramas I enjoy the most.
    Here is a quote that covers a similar idea.
    “Think from a different perspective. Just move a millimetre and you’ll see differently.
    Blurry things present themselves clearly. Important things become unimportant.
    And you won’t mind what others think.”

    Park Chul-su to Go Byung-hee in What’s Up Fox? Screenplay by Kim Do Woo

    • Furbabe says:

      That’s a very nice quote. I think most people judged this drama merely from the title. If HW were a 40 years old spinster, they wouldn’t have mind the storyline. Basically as long as it were not an affair. But as PD Ahn said in his interviews, the essence of this drama is not about having an affair. It’s about reevaluating HW’s life. And SJ is her motivator. I’m glad that Korean viewers loved this drama as much as we did 🙂

  3. dualnon says:

    I’m catching up this weekend and realized I never commented on or asked permission to reblog this wonderful translation. May we post it on with credit and links back to you?

  4. gweyun says:

    Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…
    Thanks for the great review of Secret Love Affair! I enjoyed it a lot.
    I added it to my collection of reviews for the show. The show has now an average score of 80%.
    Here is a link to the page if you would like to give it a look:
    Thanks again for the review.

  5. Ginger says:

    Intense complex depth in telling the human story of great Sacrifice & Beauty, raw, yet with so much delicate thoughtful sensitivity. And ultimately, where we are shown what true love between two people actually looks like, dispite all cultural tabus. So I am watching it again as this creation has so many rich layers, beginning with the script, how the music is played and what especially the 2 main actors did with it is Brilliant. And loved what each actor did and as it was a collective force they each gave their all to so lovingly.

    The story essentially . . . old soul older women (whom has compromised her heart & soul) path crosses with old soul much younger man (whom NEVER compromises his heart & soul). And to me, they are obviously old Soul Mates because nothing can stop them from reuniting, the mutual knowing why how the music needs to be played is all that matters and ultimately, what she is willing to sacrifice to reclaim her heart & soul back.

    The story also shows how the global criminal cabal mobster corruption has left nothing on this planet untouched, not even the arts. And at one point in this story, the main female character would have been secretly murdered (as was Judge Scalia). Make no mistake, these people will kill to maintain their power, which adds to the intensity of this story.

    So I highly recommend this immense highly faceted gorgeous jewel for so many reasons, not many series or movies ever accomplish. THANK YOU for this one!

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