Chief Kim tells the story of a quirky accountant (Nam Goong Min) for gangsters who becomes a manager in an office with plans to steal from them, but finds himself a reluctant hero of sorts as he stands up for the mistreated people at the company and finds he actually wants to help them.
I’m terribly sad to say that I ended up being completely disappointed in Chief Kim. It’s especially disappointing considering how much I was looking forward to this drama. I also appear to be in the minority as fans raved about the show week after week.
So why didn’t I care for it when so many others loved it? Simply put, I was bored out of my mind. But why was I bored when others weren’t? Well, for me, there were several things that just did not work.
Now on the surface, this looks like a drama I would love. A shady but goodhearted gangster accountant gets a job at a company with plans to steal from them, accidentally becomes a hero, and finds he wants to help the people. Add in an office filled with characters to add humor and some heartwarming stories along with scheming bad guys to cause some trouble, and it should be just my kind of drama! But that’s just not how things worked out.
First, I do want to point out that the drama did have one spectacular shining spot in the midst of everything I didn’t like though. Nam Goong Min. He plays our gangster accountant Kim Sung Ryong. And I have literally nothing negative to say about him. He put forth a stellar performance that was heartwarming and extremely humorous.
He has some very poignant moments throughout the drama where the emotion just oozes out of him in such a moving way. The intensity he conveys goes very deep, and he delivered a fantastic performance.
Of course, the main thing in this drama is that he is absolutely hilarious! Nam Goong Min is so charismatic and puts so much into his characters. The faces he makes are priceless, and he did give me some truly laugh out loud moments.
So that brings me to my first issue. The funny and talented Nam Goong Min just wasn’t enough for me. It felt like I would spend 15 minutes utterly bored and then have a minute or two of hilarity and then the cycle would repeat episode after episode. So I was only really enjoying 5-10 minutes of each episode. That just doesn’t cut it.
The main reason I was bored was due to an issue that I’m sure many can relate to: the business politics. There were multiple bad guys at the company and plenty of secretive scheming. I usually can’t stand that stuff. But if other things are working, it’s something that I can overlook. But the entire drama completely centered around constant business maneuvering, and I just could not get into it.
I also couldn’t figure out how to feel about Sung Ryong’s main nemesis Seo Yool (Lee Jun Ho). He was a competent villain-type character, but he just felt so one dimensional. Jun Ho definitely had plenty of charisma in his delivery, but for me, the drama just didn’t make him redeemable enough. He is super scummy for the bulk of the drama.
He just wasn’t ever a character I felt any empathy for. I counted only a handful of times where the narrative attempted to show a softer side of him in the first 3/4 of the drama. But I didn’t feel that even these moments really gave us much of a window into him.
Of course, he had an intense rivalry with Sung Ryong, but it’s important for me to really connect with the villain on some level. I want that even if he’s a really bad villain just so he feels more real, but I especially want that when it’s clear that he’s supposed to be a redeemable nemesis. Of course, the last few episodes see that important growth, but it was way too little too late. The drama just didn’t execute his character well for me.
Nam Sang Mi was very pleasant as Yoon Ha Kyung. She’s a strong and spirited woman who becomes an ally for Sung Ryong. I enjoyed her more towards the beginning of the drama and found she became more bland as the drama progressed though.
I was hoping the office would be filled with some fun supporting characters to really tug at my heartstrings, but they just didn’t do that. I outright didn’t like half of the office workers and the ones I did like such as Ha Kyung and Nam Ho (Kim Won Hae) were just average.
So overall, Chief Kim was thoroughly disappointing. While it seemed to have so many of the elements I love in a drama, the boredom was just too strong. The slow moving plot, constant business politics, characters I didn’t bond with, and not enough humor to make up for the shortfalls just made for a disappointing drama. I only ended up completing it because of how captivating and hilarious Nam Goong Min was, but even then I debated dropping it multiple times.
Now this is a drama that a lot of people really loved, so it is one that I would encourage you to check out for yourself to see if it is your style. It’s not like it did anything horribly wrong, it just wasn’t interesting for me. But who knows, you might love it!
My Rating: 4/10
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