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Chief Kim aka Good Manager Director: Lee Jae Hoon, Choi Yoon Suk Writer: Park Jae Bum Cast: Namgoong Min as Kim Sung Ryong, a former mobster accountant who becomes head of the tQ Accounting Department Nam Sang Mi as Yoon Ha Kyung, the assistant manager of the TQ Accounting Department Lee Jun Ho as Seo Yool, a former prosecutor who becomes TQ Group’s Director of Finance Jung Hye Sung as Hong Ga Eun, an undercover prosecution investigator Park Young Gyu as Park Hyun Do, the Chairman of TQ Group Lee Il Hwa as Jang Yoo Sun, the President of TQ Group, the daughter of the TQ Group family, and the wife to Park Hyun Do Dong Ha as Park Myung Sik, the son of Park Hyun Do and Lee Il Hwa Background: The writer Park Jae Bum would go on to write The Fiery Priest and Vincenzo where he would bring his fast, witty dialogue to good use there as well, utilizing quirky, unconventional characters to shake up the status quo, and a plot that is full of twists. The director Lee Jae Hoon would go on to direct The Ghost Detective and Run On, where he would demonstrate the same ability to tell intimate, off beat stories with quirky characters without making it feel over the top or frantic. Plot and Main Character Summary: Kim Sung Ryong is an accountant for the local head mobster in Gunsan. He is constantly investigated for fraud and tax evasion, but his accounting is vindicated every time. However, he’s also on the take in a minor way from the mobster, saving up to immigrate to Denmark where he hopes to find a new life. A jealous underling reports KSR’s take and also notes KSR’s popularity to the local mobster who decides to punish KSR. This ultimately causes KSR to apply for a job as head accountant with TQ Group, a chaebol that owns multiple business lines. TQ is going through some problems of its own, however, they need a fall guy in Accounting so that they can cook the books as they need to, so they hire the most unlikely candidate who is KSR, thus KSR becomes Chief Kim, head of the department. KSR starts to work at TQ with the objective of possibly trying to get the money he feels he needs to live in Denmark by hook or by crook, but inadvertently starts becoming both a hero of the people and a defender of employee rights. The majority of the drama deals with KSR’s acceptance into the beleaguered Accounting Department to work with him, and how he comes to decide that TQ is a thief on a much bigger scale than he’s ever encountered before and true to his contrary nature. Yoon Ha Kyung is the assistant manager of the TQ Accounting Department, a woman of ethics and hard work. Initially suspicious of KSR, she ultimately ends up working with him. Seo Yool was a prosecutor with the best track record for winning cases. However, he is also ambitious for both money and power. Coming from a poor background, he is shown as a glutton for both food and money, as he wants to consume it before it can be taken away from him. SY is hired by the Chairman of TQ Group to be the Director of Finance for TQ Group to keep TQ Group out of legal trouble with the Prosecution Service. Initially a villain of this drama, SY is ultimately shown to be an outsider as well, with limits to his willingness to do evil. Hong Ga Eun plays a Prosecution Service investigator who is placed undercover by her superior in TQ Group to find evidence of wrong doing by KSR who is known to be a mob accountant. However, she is ultimately persuaded that KSR is on the side of the angels, and starts working with KSR and the others in the Accounting Department instead. Park Hyun Do is the Chairman of TQ Group, having married into the family. He is an ambitious man whose goal is to have TQ Group making as much money as possible and then to funnel as much money as he can into his personal slush fund, which he is able to do with the help of the Finance Department. To this end, he bleeds some of the business lines completely, defaulting on various creditors, especially the ones who can’t fight back, such as the part-time workers who are owed their wages. Jang Yoo Sun is the President of TQ Group and is opposed to the mess that her husband is making of TQ Group, especially since the employees are so unhappy with TQ. She supports opposition to her husband as best as she can, especially by acquiring the services of the Law Firm of Koo and Koh, one of the top law firms in the country to represent various defendants in cases, usually as identified by either Yoon Ha Kyung who is close to her, or later KSR. Park Myung Sik is the son of Chairman Park and President Jang. As the only son, he lives a spoiled, indulged life, though afraid of his father. Initially an arrogant jerk being schooled by KSR, MS ultimately goes to work underneath KSR and starts becoming a member of the Accounting Department. Review: This is the drama that I rewatch when I don’t want to watch anything. The plot is interesting though perhaps not entirely original, about the underdogs who go up against the so-called elite who hold most of the power and work in collusion with each other. In this case, the underdogs are aided by the unconventional, reluctant hero KSR and a team that is slowly and also somewhat reluctantly assembled in their quest to have TQ become a properly functioning corporation which takes care of their employees, the investors, and the shareholders as well as the executives. The dialogue in this drama is also a lot of fun, frequently spoken at speed and inclusive of word play both witty and cringeworthy. It reminds me at times of a Korean version of the American writer and producer Aaron Sorkin’s work, though with a deeper appreciation of the absurdities of life and the culture that it deals with. It notes them sincerely, wryly, and with a wink and a nod at times. The team itself is formed by people who are initially suspicious, reluctant to get involved, or even directly opposed to KSR and the actions that he brings about, but ultimately they find the courage to take their part in the brewing revolution, especially sweet since really they just want to do their job, support their families, and live their lives as best they can. So, they are ordinary people being challenged in extraordinary ways but not in a grandiose alien-invasion kind of way, but just in trying to set one company right. For instance, the Accounting Department is used to being ignored then blamed for things, especially by the Finance Department, no matter what they do. However, the members of the Accounting Department come on board to do their share to try to change their company to be better. Similar turn arounds characterize a number of the other characters. This drama is one that is driven more by the characters than the plot itself. The fun is watching the characters evolve into better versions of themselves, even if that is done despite themselves. The drama helps in the endeavor by giving each supporting character some back story and/or side story as well as the supporting role in the main story. There are heavy doses of bro-mance if relatively little romance. (There is a sweet romance between a couple of the supporting characters.) However, the scenes of bromance (amongst both male and female characters) are fun and heartwarming. Namgoong Min plays against type as he is not the smooth leading man or villain in this drama. He’s good in his role here because he takes the role seriously, but understanding of the absurdity, not just of his character, but also of the environments that his character operates in. However, it’s his sincere whole-hearted undertaking of his roles that make Namgoong Min such a consummate actor in his roles, and brings that same sincerity to his role here. Lee Jun Ho impresses as the nemesis turned reluctant co-conspirator. His role here alone makes me appreciate him as an actor (versus being an idol actor shoe-horned into a role to take advantage of his popularity). Nam Sang Mi as the female lead anchors all of the quirky, crazy characters, and provides the overall moral compass for this drama as well as the team of avengers. She represents not just traditional responsibility, but also the basic goodness that most people have, and provides a reassuring word and a steady hand as needed. Once she is convinced that KSR intends to do good rather than being a scam artist out for himself, she throws herself into the cause, providing confidence as well as being the liaison to President Jang for when they actually need some power or legal aid. One of my favorite scenes is about getting together for a secret meeting at the Team Leader’s house of the Team Leader, KSR, SY, and YHK. YHK stops off at the market to pick up a few things before heading to the meeting and call in to ask if the guys would like her to pick up anything. All of the guys jump on for HK to buy drinks and snacks for them, at which point HK barks at them that she’s not a shopping service and she’ll only buy what she remembers. The guys mutter amongst themselves about how scary YHK can actually be, only for YHK to yell at them over the phone that she can still hear them since they haven’t hung up. I could honestly go on and on about this drama, but I’ll stop here. I do recommend watching this drama, but realize that it’s a quirky drama which may not be to everyone’s taste. Still, definitely worth giving a watch. Ratings: Plot/Story: 9/10 Cast/Acting: 10/10 Production Value: 8/10 Re-watch Value: 10/10 Ending Spoiler
Seo Bok 서복 Written and Directed by: Lee Yong Ju Release Date: December 2, 2020 Cast: Park Bo Gum as Seo Bok Seobok, the first-ever cloned human created through stem cell cloning and genetic manipulation, has a growth rate twice that of an average human. The boy’s unique genetic construct makes him an undying being. Cursed with immortality, Seobok has to be confined in the lab he was created in until he meets Ki-hun and is forced to face the real world for the first time in his life. Gong Yoo as Gi Heon An ex-secret intelligence agent, Ki-hun lives a secluded life as a result of a traumatic memory. With his living days numbered, he lives day to day in desperation and fear, but when his former boss contacts him with the offer of a special mission involving humanity’s first cloned human, Seobok, Ki-hun has no choice but to embark on a journey full of unexpected events. Synopsis: Seo Bok is the world's first human clone created through stem cell cloning and genetic engineering, and possibly possesses the secret to immortality. He is 10 years old, though his clone body ages faster than normal humans. Gi Heon is a terminally ill ex-Intelligence Officer who is given one final mission of transporting Seo Bok to a safe location. However, the mission goes awry when they are ambushed by unknown attackers. Gi Heon and Seo Bok escape, but the struggle with each other as Seo Bok who has spent his life in a lab is fascinated by everything while Gi Heon just wants to get the mission over with as soon as possible. This drama is as much a road movie about 2 very different beings who grow to build a relationship as they face various life-threatening situations as it is a science fiction-fantasy film, as they run from various factions who want Seo Bok for their own purposes. Ultimately, as the enemy closes in on them, they are forced to make a choice. It was PBG's final movie prior to his enlistment in August 2020.