Quick synopsis: Surgeons follows (shockingly) surgeons as they dealt with struggles in their personal lives and within the hospital.
A story of growth:
Lu Chen Xi, arguably the main character despite the plot description, grew from being solely concerned with successfully and efficiently treating patients to having a more human side that allowed her to discuss and collaborate with others. Chen Shao Cong, Chen Xi’s friend and colleague, changed from an unsuccessful ladies man to a hardworking doctor and devoted husband. Others didn’t change. The male lead, Zhuang Shu, found friendship and happiness in the hospital, yet remained stuck on the reason he arrived – to clear his mother’s name for a fatal action she did not commit – and could never rise above it. In the end, it was Lu Chen Xi that announced the truth to a congregation of fellow doctors and practically forced those responsible to reveal the truth.
Not the usual medical drama:
Unlike most medical dramas, the focus was more on the doctors themselves and the challenges they faced – emotionally, physically, legally. There were cases they worked on that we, as viewers, followed, but other than being used as motivations for the development of the characters, they weren’t memorable or too interesting. A mudslide resulting in many injuries and disease allowed the drama to demonstrate that it wasn’t afraid of dealing with more realistic, large-scale issues rather than more natural, isolated cardiothoracic cases. The corruption storylines (pushing blame onto others; ‘suggesting’ the use of a certain pharmaceutical company’s products) within the hospital seemed relevant and very believable (which was probably why it didn’t frustrate me as much as most corruption storylines). Although I generally enjoy watching medical cases unfold, I think the focus on the surgeons themselves was a valuable contribution to medical dramas in general – no one focuses too much on the hard parts of being a doctor without glamourising it with positive elements.
Summary of my thoughts:
Overall, it was an enjoyable drama, but not one I would rewatch soon. An issue I keep finding with Chinese dramas is that they’re playful and light for 20 episodes before becoming very dark for the last 20 or so, and Surgeons was no exception. The drama dealt with it very well and didn’t overdo it, but there was very little humour or lightheartedness by the end, despite happier characters.
For a medical drama: 4.5/5 stars.
Overall: 4/5 stars.