SINGAPORE - South Korean thriller drama series Voice returns in its fourth season with a more formidable villain.
An emergency call centre team, led by criminal profiler Kang Kwon-joo (Lee Ha-na), has to race against time to save victims of crime who dial in for help.
The Golden Time team, so dubbed for the vital period in which they need to solve the case, is pitted this time against a murderer who possesses the same ultra-sensitive hearing as Kwon-joo.
They have to join forces with Derek Jo (Song Seung-heon), leader of a Los Angeles Police Department squad, to catch their common enemy.
Here are five things to know about the drama and the cast.
1. Unmatched villain
Asked what viewers can look forward to most in Voice 4, Lee, who has starred in the show since it began in 2017, says it is her new nemesis.
The latest villain is not only the strongest adversary in the entire Voice series, but also shares the exact same powers as Lee's character.
"Maybe that's why I felt a sense of rivalry when I was playing my role," quips the 38-year-old.
Actress Son Eun-seo (Hey Ghost, Let's Fight, 2016), who reprises her role as a justice-driven call centre agent, believes the villain adds to the thrill of the drama.
"The villain provokes and lures in the Golden Time team from the beginning, increasing the speed at which the plot develops and also allowing the audience to better immerse themselves in the story," she says.
2. Reflecting social issues
Song (Autumn In My Heart, 2000) became more interested in the social issues tackled in Voice 4 after he read the script.
"(The drama) reflects not only the deviant outcomes of children who grow up in an individualistic environment, but also the realities of modern times, such as domestic violence and child abuse," he says.
3. New level of action
Song has done countless action scenes in past South Korean TV productions such as East Of Eden (2008) and Player (2018).
But even the seasoned actor was daunted by the action sequences for Voice 4.
"Filming this drama was almost like simultaneously filming two dramas at one go and was physically demanding," he says.
He even had to fight with dogs in one scene. "When I first read the script, I was at a loss as it is not easy filming with animals," he says.
Despite the challenges he faced, he is eager for viewers to catch the drama's many dynamic action scenes.
4. Sense of attachment
Playing Kwon-joo for four seasons of Voice has caused Lee to develop a sense of attachment to her character.
"Kwon-joo is such a precious character in my life, in the sense that I wouldn't be able to discuss my life without discussing Kwon-joo," she says.
She adds that she has learnt a lot from her character, who is the linchpin of the series.
"I always feel like I should follow Kwon-joo's example, such as being altruistic towards others and possessing calmness that does not waver under any circumstances."
5. Old welcomes new
Joining Voice 4 as a new cast member reminded Song of what it feels like to transfer schools.
"I was worried about whether or not I was going to be able to fit in well with the existing cast members," he says.
But when they all got down to filming, the welcoming nature of the old cast members made Song feel more at ease and their chemistry turned out great, he adds.
Another newcomer is South Korean boy band Winner member Kang Seung-yoon, who is playing a police officer for the first time.
The singer-songwriter, 27, says he feels especially grateful towards the senior actors who helped him adapt and made him feel comfortable on set.
"I've been learning during the filming with the help of outstanding senior actors and the atmosphere on set has been great. Hence, I do feel like we have all become a team."
Voice 4 is available on Viu.