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Dramatic beginnings for our political thriller “Hong Sabat Lai,” Nay (Janie Tienphosuwan) witnessed the murder of her parents at a very young age and was carted off to Paris by her father’s best friend, a fellow businessman who raised her and instructed her that she must put away the trauma and pain behind her- while her younger brother, Wee or Don (Alex Rendell) was taken under their driver’s wing as his son, living a humble and meager life in Thailand. Fast-forward 10 years; Nay has grown up to be a regal, serious and beautiful woman. She became quietly engaged to Siwat (Art Pasut), her father’s best friend’s son, yet they could not marry until their ultimate goal and plan become realized.

Her father’s best friend, whom Nay regarded as “Uncle,” has devised an elaborate plan to go after the greedy and corrupt man who had murdered her parents. The death of her parents not only represented her tragic past, but it implicated the country’s welfare too. So Uncle contrived for Siwat to run for congress and eventually unveil the bad man’s true colors. However in order to return to Thailand and remain safe from the bad guys, Uncle hired a bodyguard, Rabin (Por Nattawut) to protect Nay. Rabin is not your average bodyguard mind you, he used to be a cop (and very capable one at that) back in Thailand but has lost hope in life as a cop after losing his loved one. He covered up his angst by appearing the complete opposite on the outside, goofy and cheerful, but on the inside, he is tortured and missed his beloved one so.

The first episode sets up the impression of a mature and heavy storyline amidst action, political plot as well as a love triangle. Nay and Siwat are complete lovebirds, while Rabin watched on with wistfulness, because he once had someone he cared deeply about. Their encounter was friendly and natural. It makes me genuinely want to see how the relationship and situations will change and stray, especially when Nay has to remain under watchful eyes of her protector, Rabin, while her beloved, Siwat, embark on the challenges and distractions of an election, including a new love interest (Tee) who will complicate matters even more.

I didn’t have many expectations going into this drama, but when I saw Alex’s face in the commercial, this drama has completely up the ante for me! Good or bad, I shall persevere for Alex. He plays as Wee or Don who was raised by their driver but remained as a good kid, even if he felt that he lacked in true familial love, after all, he was torn away from his family. Who would better represent an internally tortured character than Alex Rendell? He is so convincing on screen, just his first introduction; I felt the tears already threatening to fall. He may not be the hottest pr’ek out there, but he certainly is one of the most compelling. His acting as Wee/Don is spot on. We also get to watch his love story with Or; his adopted father’s biological daughter. I am looking forward to more of Alex’s screen time as well as how this brother-sister reunion will fare. They were separated by 10 years time! Take out a box of tissues!

I like the contrast in personality of Nay and Rabin (Janie and Por), he’s goofy, she’s serious. It appears as if he will be the one to cheer her up. Yet deep down, he’s still so broken from his lost love that I’m thinking Nay will be the one to patch him up. Janie has great chemistry with Siwat (since they are engaged on screen) and I’m looking forward to her chumming up with Rabin too, because I can see the onset of a natural, simmering chemistry in the making.

There is a clear theme in this lakorn, good versus evil, but amidst that, we have a compelling story about a love that will be tested and tried. So far, so good.

What think you? Is it your cup of tea? I’m going to stay tune for a myriad of reasons: most importantly to cry with Alex.