When it comes to medical drama, viewers are familiar with the scenes of medical staff in doctor’s masks and gowns holding scalpels and performing surgery. But MBC’s new medical romance drama Risky Romance will have less blood and more “hormones” instead.

The Monday-Tuesday drama, starring Lee Si-young and Ji Hyun-woo, will tell the love story of an endocrinologist Joo In-ah, played by actress Lee, who believes that almost all our emotions and feelings of love are determined by our hormones. Joo, who deems herself as an “oxytocin” type, affected by the powerful hormone that plays a role in behaviour of empathy and generosity, develops a romantic relationship after she picks a testosterone-type neurosurgeon as the ideal subject for her hormone study.

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“Many previous medical dramas have show surgeons, but I’ve rarely seen dramas telling the stories of internists, and even less with the subject of hormones,” said Lee Chang-han, the drama’s producer, during a press conference at the broadcaster's headquarters in Seoul. “I thought that viewers might feel comfortable with the subject of hormones. I will tell a fun romance story between the hormone-obsessed woman and a man whose hormones are malfunctioning.”

A pounding heartbeat when looking at a lover stems from adrenaline which propels people to compete, and winning in the fierce competition is influenced by testosterone; cortisol controls people’s stress levels; and the pleasure we feel from having a beer after work and playing a game of pool with friends comes from “dopamine”, according to the drama.

The romance drama will premiere tonight. It is written by a popular webtoonist Kim Nam-hee, working under the pen name of Sun’kki, of original webtoon Cheese in the Trap, which was made into a drama series and a movie.

Director Kim, whose works include romantic comedy series Star in My Heart (1997), one of the earlier Korean dramas aired outside South Korea as part of hallyu, and I Need Romance (2011), says his latest drama is not all light drama. “Although it is a romantic comedy, I’ve put in various elements in order to give it more weight. They will make the right balance in storytelling between the playfulness and seriousness,” he said.

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Actress Lee returns to the small screen half a year after giving birth to a son in January. Actor Ji, who plays Lee’s love interest, says he had some difficulties in playing his competitive neurosurgeon character. “My character has very severe mood fluctuations. As one with impulse-control disorder, I had to go between mad-laughing and being furious in a day. Immersed in my character, I feel like those extreme highs and lows seem to have affected me to some degree personally.”

Tonight’s first episode airs at 10pm.

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This article was originally written by Park Jin-hai for The Korea Times.