The darkest of incantations are in order when Song Ji-hyo prepares a dish at the start of the Korean drama ‘The Witch’s Diner.’ Her dish at once looks enticingly sweet and at the same time disturbingly bloody. This is foie gras, her character Zo Hee-ra says, as she serves it. It is made from the ambitions of men. Eat it and your wish will come true.
She serves the dish to a diner who suffered a bad turn of events and only wants to win the lottery. He’s sure that money will solve all his problems. His wish can come true, the witch tells him, but he doesn’t realize what it will cost him.
The witch’s diner is a place people come when they have nowhere else to turn. Their life is such hell they are prepared to make a deal with the devil—or in this case a witch. These desperate souls do not realize that Hee-ra will collect her price and it will be more than they are willing to pay.
Desperation also drives Jung-jin, played by Nam Ji-hyun to meet the witch. Like many k-drama heroines, Jung-jin is down on her luck at the start of the drama. She’s been unjustly fired from her difficult job and dumped by her callous boyfriend and, if that was not bad enough, her family gets swindled. Although she is kindhearted and hardworking, she too runs out of options.
When she meets Hee-ra who offers to grant her a wish, she only half takes her claim to be a witch seriously. “You’re a witch like in The Little Mermaid or Frozen,” she asks. If she could have a wish what would it be? Revenge against the woman who swindled her family seems like an attractive option, she says, but whether or not you get a witch involved, exacting revenge always comes at a high price.
Jung-jin’s fate gets tangled with that of Lee Gil-yong, a student played by Chae Jong-hyeop. He’s a competitive student athlete in a new school and his kindheartedness gets him in trouble. Don’t be nice, she tells him, it’s a cruel world, but at the same time she knows being kind might be the most important thing anyone does. In an unjust world, the characters must question whether it’s right to go over the dark side to get ahead. The witch is only too happy to help them.
Song, who viewers might know as the single mom producer she played in Was It Love or from her enthusiastic efforts as a cast member on the variety show Running Man makes a surprisingly poisonous and scary witch. Nam previously appeared in the TV dramas 365: Repeat the Year and 100 Days A Prince, as well as the films Tunnel and Hwayi: A Monster Boy. Chae currently appears in the drama Nevertheless and can be seen in the dramas Sisyphus: The Myth, Hot Stove League and Come and Hug Me.