A Girl Who Sees Smells is a 2015 South Korean television series adapted from the KTOON webtoon of the same title by Seo Soo-kyung a/k/a Man Chwi Starring Park Yoo-chun, Shin Se-kyung, Namgoong Min and Yoon Jin-seo, it aired on SBS on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 16 episodes from April 1 to May 21, 2015.

Its early working title was Sensory Couple, before reverting to the name of the original webtoon.  The drama managed to top the Contents Power Index (CPI) rankings for the most influential dramas.


Choi Eun-seol (Shin Se-kyung) arrives home to find her parents murdered. When the murderer is distracted, she escapes but is hit by a car. Eun-seol’s parents are later found with a barcode carved into their skin, the work of the “Barcode” serial killer. The lead detective on the case, Oh Jae-pyo (Jung In-gi) realizes that the now-comatose daughter Eun-seol is the sole surviving witness.

On that same night, Choi Moo-gak (Park Yoo-chun) is at the hospital visiting his younger sister (Kim So-hyun), also named Choi Eun-seol, who’s being treated for mild injuries after a bus accident. But when he returns to her bed, he finds her dead with her throat slit.

Six months later, Eun-seol comes out of her coma. But she has no memories at all of her life before waking up at the hospital, and her left eye has turned green with no scientific explanation. She has also gained the unique ability to “see” smells as visible colors and shapes, and can even trace where people have been because their lingering scents are like a trail. To protect her, Jae-pyo adopts her and invents a new life for her, telling her that he’s her real father and that her name is Oh Cho-rim. Three years and six months pass, and Cho-rim is a cheerful girl who’s adjusted to her ability. She dreams of a becoming a comedian, and works as a gofer for a small, struggling theater company called Frog Troupe.

On the other hand, Moo-gak had been so traumatized by his sister’s death that after two months of no sleep and constant pain, he’d fainted and was clinically dead for ten days. When he woke up, he’d lost the sense of smell and taste, and is unable to feel pain. And unlike his previous warm personality, Moo-gak is now stoic, emotionless, and speaks in a monotone. He leaves his job at the aquarium to become a police officer, vowing to reopen the case and catch the killer. But to do so, he must first get promoted to detective, and has to prove himself to the head of the homicide unit Detective Kang Hyuk (Lee Won-jong) in ten days or to never ask for a promotion again. Cho-rim also needs a skit partner for her upcoming audition in ten days, and when she offers to help him with his cases in exchange, they decide to team up. After a model (Park Han-byul) turns up dead, seemingly another victim of the Barcode serial killer, Moo-gak joins the investigation headed by Lieutenant Yeom Mi (Yoon Jin-seo), and he zeroes in on two possible suspects: the model’s boyfriend, chef Kwon Jae-hee (Namgoong Min) and her doctor (Song Jong-ho).

Reveiw : by AnthaMi (link)

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I wanted to start writing review for a long time, and since I think it’s easier to write a negative review and that I wanted to rant, here I am with my first review of “The girls who sees scents”.

I’ll try to use the spoiler tag for the major plot points, but there will inevitably be some untagged spoilers.

A short synopsis of the drama is that a girl lost her parents to a serial killer, while she escapes she gets into an accident, in which she completely forgot everything but became able to see smells. That’s what attracted me to the drama; there is tons of cool and intelligent stuff that was possible with that premise, and I don’t have too much problem with amnesia if it’s from the beginning and not a surprise.

But my first criticism is that in reality, the premise is completely underused for the main plot. In the main plot, the ability to see smells was mainly used twice:

  • when they find Ju Ma Ri item, and the smell allows them to deduce that it was in water and brought by the dog. This was the best utilization, it’s useful because it speeds up the search a lot.
  • when they put some smells on his shoes and use the smell to find the secret entrance. Well, it was useful, but since they also had a GPS tracker on his car, and that the car couldn’t be far from the entrance (remember that he often goes from the place he parks the car to the entrance while carrying a sleeping victim, so it can’t be far too far, neither in location that are too frequented), it could have been done just by searching the area. BTW, the sudden rain just to raise tension, and the completely illogical solution were just annoying.
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Meanwhile, it was used a lot in what I call sidequests (I’ll come back later on them): finding the wallet of the customer, finding the hairdresser robbery suspect, finding the pervert, finding the cannabis guy, the false barcode victim, finding the suspect that escape from the police station and hide in the car, knowing who killed the man in the last ep and probably a lot more that I forgot.

My second criticism is that the drama has not enough material for its length: this leads to a lot of fillers, like a lot of scenes in Cho Rim theater which bring almost nothing (maybe they are funny to a korean audience though, not my genre of humor), and all of the sidequests. Most of the sidequest are basically solved in a few minutes by seeing the smells and finding/following , the only one where there was a little more depth were the false barcode victims, the cannabis guy, the murder in the last ep (but this one was completely unnecessary, they just had the drama finished but had 30 minutes left to fill). A 10 episode drama would have solved a lot of the pacing problem.

My third criticism is that for a supposed fight of wits between a genius serial killer and elite police officers, the number of completely astounding mistakes was too high, to the point that I wondered if one of the police officers wasn’t working with the serial killer. Like for instance when Cho Rim goes too get the camera back, no one is monitoring the killer and making sure he doesn’t go to his house, she had left her phone in the restaurant, didn’t wear the earpiece because why not, only 1 police officer was close to the house and he still had to run for what seems like 5 full minutes to reach the house. Is your goal getting Cho Rim killed? Seriously, this scene still anger me, and I thougth about writing this review because of that scene. Even the serial killer was doing those: wtf with trying to get Cho Rim before killing and disposing of Yeom Mi ?

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It’s disappointing because a few elements of the drama were really promising and it had potential to be a great drama: the premise, the first time she uses her power in the main plot, how the serial killer move the cars (both the one with the doctor and the one with Ju Ma Ri ) past the cameras, his alibi while killing the doctor. But even then, major plot points remain unexplained:

  • how did he killed Ju Ma Ri while supposedly being in the US? Very convenient cut when Yeom Mi asked the question, I guess the writer had no idea for a credible explanation.
  • was he responsible for his prison bus to crash in the river? If yes, how ? Even if not, how did he escape and survive while being handcuffed when all officers dies?

Overall, I gave the drama a 4/10.

5/5 - (2 votes)

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