AAA!!! The BEST show dealing with a very serious issue of financial corruption in large chaebol groups just came to an end. Chief Kim or김과장 (it just sounds so much better in Korean) aired at this very perfect timing as per Korean politics. With the impeachment and eventual arrest of President Park Geun Hye on charges of extorting money out of big companies, and the trial of Lee Jae Yong (Vice Chairman of the Samsung Group), the timing couldn’t have been better.
The show starts off in Gunsan, where Kim Sung Ryong (Nam Goong Min), a man great with numbers tends to the accounting books of small nightclub and casino owners. His aim is to earn enough money from managing these people to be able to leave South Korea for Denmark where he will be safe from the clutches of Korean law. While doing this, he is presented with the idea by his assistant Oh Kwang Sook (Im Hwa Yeong), that one very important chaebol enterprise called TQ Group is looking for a new Business Management chief and does not want a person with necessarily great qualifications. Sung Ryong’s aim in applying for this is the fact that it can help him make more money in less time to flee the country. The reason why the group hires him is that he is a small-town guy desperate for money who can easily be controlled by the company The highest people in the company were responsible for getting rid of their previous business communications chief who tried to be self-righteous and tell the world about the rampant corruption within the big enterprise. Seeing how cruelly the higher ups steal from their poor employees, Sung Ryong takes up the mantle of Mr. Righteous, proving to be the biggest and craziest thorn on the side of the CEO of TQ Group.
One of the people Sung Ryong meets in his office is Yoon Ha Kyung (Nam Sang Mi), who gradually becomes his confidante and his accomplice as the two go about finding clues to piece together the corruption scandal, and hunting for all the people involved in the inner machinery of the company. I have seen Nam Sang Mi in Bad Family, beside Kim Myung Min, and man, did they make a believable couple in that show!
Their main rival is the dashing and absolutely repulsive Seo Yul (Lee Jun Ho from 2PM). An ex-prosecutor, hired by the CEO of TQ Group as the Director of Finance, he is an ambitious man, who is very smart and holds deep grudges against his opponents. He is also appointed by the company as a person who will do anything to fulfill his drive for ambition, and this will keep him tame, much similar to Sung Ryong’s greed for money. From his clothing choices to his food choices, Seo Yul is impeccable and that’s what makes him so attractive despite being a repulsive character in the show. The sole difference he has from all the other cruel people in the higher echelons of the company is his desire to do things in a refined manner, without involving violence.
Lastly, we have the very hyper and energetic Hong Ga Eun (Jung Hye Sung) who is a lawyer by profession and the first case she gets from her Prosecutor in charge is to gather information on Sung Ryong by entering the company as a spy to find evidence of him embezzling money. She instead, gets entangled into the whole corruption mess and ends up becoming one of Sung Ryong’s most trusted informers.
Moving on from the characters, the show did not cease to amaze by its use of innovation… or was it Chief Kim who was innovative himself? That is something I surely will never understand. The humour Nam Goong Min brought onto the screen with his crazy antics made his character all the more endearing and lovable for the audience. I so wish I could also be rebellious and take a massage chair in places one wouldn’t be allowed to have them. The intensity with which all the different tones and emotions of Kim Sung Ryong were played out were amazing. His little father/son bonding with Director of Business Management, Choo Nam Ho (Kim Won Hae), in their apartment made for some very good emotional moments, adding a sensitivity to his character. Similarly, his brotherly relationship that developed with the CEO’s son, Park Myung Seok (Dong Ha) was one that helped greatly in the spoiled son’s improved behaviour as the show moved on.
Lastly, the golden relationship of the show had to be the one between Kim Sung Ryong and Seo Yul. I can never get over the irritating behaviour of the former and the increasingly annoyed expressions of the latter. It wasn’t until the last two episodes that all the rivalry payed off with the epic bromance that developed.
Although the show lacked a romantic plotline, I loved the hints we got of the first female lead and the second male lead working things out between them. Rather than a main romantic plotline, we got Sang Tae (Kim Sun Ho) and Gwang Sook to fill in for the missing romance. The few parodies we got with the Goblin and Descendants of the Sun soundtracks were hilarious, as was the scene with Sung Ryong and Seo Yul’s henchman! The scriptwriters were ingenious with introducing hilarity in the strangest of moments.
I seriously cannot wait for Season 2. The ending clearly implied that we will get to see our Kim Kwajang again, and I hope it’s true!!!