Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama Review

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In, Go Kyung Pyo, and Im Soo Jung

Chicago Typewriter follows the modern day story of a bestselling writer (Yoo Ah In) who falls into a slump, a ghostwriter (Go Kyung Pyo) who helps him, and a fan (Im Soo Jung) of the writer. A mysterious typewriter connects them to their past lives in the 1930’s where they were independence fighters during the Japanese occupation.

Chicago Typewriter was a bit of a mixed bag for me. It had a really unique story set during two time periods including one of my favorites being the 1930’s. While portions of the story were wonderful, I never fully clicked with the drama as a whole and it ended up quite average.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In

Yoo Ah In plays our bestselling writer Han Se Ju. He has a cold personality and has a hard time trusting people. When a difficult circumstance causes him to fall into a slump, his world becomes very complicated.

I greatly preferred Yoo Ah In in the 1930’s portion of the drama. It just seemed to suit him better. I just had a difficult time connecting with him during the modern portion.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Go Kyung Pyo Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Go Kyung Pyo

Go Kyung Pyo is our ghostwriter Yoo Jin Oh. He’s mysterious and charming and seems to be full of secrets. When Se Ju falls into his slump, Jin Oh is the one who is ready to step in and help in.

For me, Go Kyung Pyo was the scene stealer of the drama. The drama just always got better when he was on screen. I enjoyed his character’s story, and he took me on a very moving journey.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama- Im Soo Jung Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama- Im Soo Jung

Im Soo Jung is Han Se Ju’s number one fan, Jeon Seol. She has admired him for years, and when she gets the opportunity to meet him, she jumps at the chance. But they get off on the wrong foot, and she struggles to win him over because of his distrusting nature.

I can’t quite put my finger on why I had a hard time connecting with Im Soo Jung. I didn’t really connect with her in either time period, but her character was much more interesting in the 30’s portion.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Kwak Shi Yang

Kwak Shi Yang is our villain Baek Tae Min. He has a history with Se Ju and is filled with greed and jealousy. I didn’t find him to be particularly well fleshed out, but he does his villain thing well and causes some problems for our trio.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In, Go Kyung Pyo, and Im Soo Jung

First, the positives to Chicago Typewriter. The premise is quite unique with the narrative featuring two story lines, one in the past and one in the present, that are connected through a mysterious typewriter. The drama is filmed very beautifully with a lot of attention to detail in creating some very impressive shots.

The 1930’s story line by far had the most appeal for me. It gets much less screen time than the present one, but I was much more intrigued by it. Because of the setting, the stakes are very high and it adds a layer of suspense.

And I was very interested in the story of these three freedom fighters, how they ended up where they were, and what eventually became of them. Of course, I also loved the costumes and sets. As far as I was concerned, I wish the whole drama would have just been set in the 1930’s.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama- Im Soo Jung Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In

Sadly, there were quite a few negatives for me. The modern story was just not that engaging. The actual plot was weak, and it felt like the story just crept along with very little actually happening. And the modern reincarnations of Yoo Ah In and Im Soo Jung just felt hollow. I just had a hard time warming up to them.

Now there are definitely moments where some of that emotional connect came through, but most of these moments happened in the second half of the drama. Once some of the walls finally start coming down with our characters, things did improve.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Go Kyung Pyo

And Go Kyung Pyo always stole the show whenever he was on screen. This role was great for showcasing his charm as well as his comedic talents. We also got see his dramatic side for a change, and I was thoroughly impressed. His character moved me in the past, and he is the only one that really moved me in the modern time. He was the highlight of the drama.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama- Im Soo Jung

For me personally, I think the drama was too stingy with the 1930’s story for too long. Since the plot in the modern time was thin, it would have helped to have seen more of the time period with the thicker plot.

Also, it was easy to connect with the characters in the 1930’s while the modern ones felt cold. If the drama would have revealed more of their story in the 30’s, I would have felt much more for the modern characters by having more knowledge of what they had went through in their previous life.

Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama - Yoo Ah In, Go Kyung Pyo, and Im Soo Jung

The drama does a major info dump at the end by spending a good chuck of the last few episodes in the 1930’s. These were by far the most engaging episodes, and by getting the full story, I felt myself immediately warming up to the modern characters. I just kept thinking why did this have to wait until the very end of the drama? If they had spread out some of this story better, I could have felt for the modern characters so much more.

So overall, I give a lot of credit to Chicago Typewriter for its unique story. Better pacing and a thicker modern plot could have made this drama fantastic. The 1930’s portion was wonderful, and it did have its moments in the modern portion. The drama does well at highlighting the strong friendship between our trio, and at least it went out on a very moving note.

My Rating: 6/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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23 Responses to Chicago Typewriter Korean Drama Review

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Wow…6/10…that is quite disappointing to say the least. Finally a drama I am able to see here, and it turns out to be average (lol 😂)
    All kidding aside, really sad to read this. I had really hoped this would turn out to be quite a good series, especially for the 1930’s setting which I happen to like a lot as well. I will probably see it sometime, but I have definitely moved it down a few spots on my list. As always this was a great and solid review. Thanks for this one 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Well, I would definitely say you should check it out. It had enough good stuff that I’m glad I watched it, especially everything about the 1930’s timeline. And all of the other opinions I’ve read on the drama have been extremely positive with most people not feeling the disconnect that I felt during the modern portion. The core story is excellent, so I can really see why so many people loved it. And that might be you! So yeah, definitely keep it on the list 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Although I agree with a lot of what you wrote, I think 6/10 is a little harsh.
    The drama is beautiful. More importantly (to me) the OST is unique and powerful and music was used very well. I often kind kdrama OSTs are too poppy and too intrusive. I loved the music in this. It added wonderfully to the lush atmospherics and to the innovative use of imagery.

    I agree with you that they didn’t spend enough time in the 1930s early on when there was little plot in the present. I also felt that the Baek family made little sense. Tae Min, his mother and father were all a little two-dimensional.

    But then I felt the final episode was too bogged down in showing us stuff from the 1930s that we already knew. I wanted to see how Han Se Ju’s life had changed for the better due to resolving these conflicts. There was a lot of conflict in the present day that was glossed over for looonnnggg flashbacks to the past that I felt were unnecessary.

    But overall, despite a flabby final episode, I would put this drama in my Top Ten. It was original, beautiful, haunting and emotional. It wasn’t perfect but came closer to it than a lot of other dramas I’ve watched this year.
    I would personally rate it 8/10


    • Kay says:

      Yeah, a 6 for me is about straight average. It had several things I really liked and several things I didn’t. I understand how if you enjoyed the whole drama why the last episode would be disappointing. Since the 30’s portion is what I liked the most, it made the last episodes much better for me. But as mentioned, I really think it would have been better to spread out the 30’s story rather than dump it all at the end.

      I just never really got on board with the present time line. It was okay, but just didn’t move me. By the end I was starting to connect some, but then it was over, lol. More people were with you on this one though and really loved the drama. While it didn’t really click for me, I can understand why 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. I have exactly the same opinion like you about this drama. But I would rather rate it to 7. The 1930’s scenes is just brilliant. I’m just very absorbed in the 1930’s setting. It’s crazy how with the right characters, relationship, props, and story it could turn into a solid world. I was still angry how the 1930’s got petty screen time, because it has this distinct quality to it. All the scenes of it are powerful and felt real. It’s like watching my own countrymen fighting for their country’s freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It does sound like we had a similar opinion on this drama. Because yes, the 1930’s scenes and story was just wonderful. I wanted to go so much deeper into that fantastic world they created. There was so much to work with. And I think if that portion was more in depth would have helped me connect more with the modern portions. I agree, those scenes were just so powerful!


  6. Eva says:

    I finally finished the drama. And as promised, here I am for my take on it.
    I do agree with you on some points and I also have to disagree with you on other points.

    I do agree that the 1930’s scenes were more engaging and it was the main reason why there was so much suspense in the drama. To be honest with you, the very main reason why I stuck to the end was because I was very curious to see who killed Shin Rul.

    I also agree that the modern scenes were not as promising and it was highly predictable. I felt the rush on the last few episodes, like why did they have to cramp up all the 1930s scenes when they could have spread it out even better. It could have built the modern story even more.

    And yes Yoo Jin Oh was the star for me. He held the Han Se Ju and Seol together. I felt like the story was built around friendship and patriotism rather than fulfilling an unfinished love story.

    The only part where I have to disagree with you is the rating. I’d say I’d give it a 8/10. The cinematography was great. The soundtrack made the scenes shine even brighter. And the cast delivered their roles well. Individually yes, but the love chemistry, that I’m not entirely sure of.

    Despite the pros and cons, I’d still put Chicago typewriter in my top fav dramas for its uniqueness. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Well it does sound like we actually had a lot of similar thoughts on this one despite differing ratings 🙂

      It’s definitely a drama that has a lot of strengths, and I appreciated it’s fresh concept and story. I loved the 1930’s scenes sooo much! Honestly, if that was just incorporated more heavily throughout the drama, that would have helped me immensely since it would have had the added bonus of connecting me more easily to the main story. That one change would have made a lot of difference for me.

      But luckily, you and many others loved it as is, so it’s nice that you found a new drama to add to your favorites list 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eva says:

        I think this is the beauty among us KDrama enthusiast. Despite the varying preferences, we all know how to enjoy dramas quite well.

        We all have our own take in it and that what makes the drama watching experience even more fun. We can talk about it and have a little debate every now and then. I think life would be too boring if we all had the same taste and opinions.

        Glad to have met you as a comrade. 😊 Sorry for sounding so melodramatic. A little side effect from the show. Haha

        Back to Chicago typewriter. If it would have been polished a little more and if it wasn’t as rushed a think it would have been a bigger hit for a bigger fan base. More 1930s scenes since that was what made them stand out more.

        Wow don’t we sound like drama critics for a moment? Haha.😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Right you are! That’s why I love chatting with other drama fans too. I just love seeing people enjoy dramas whether they be the ones I enjoy or not. It’s just such a fantastic medium. And it seems like drama fans are meant to be drama critics since we all love discussing our shows so much 🙂

          Haha, I can see how you would come out of Chicago Typewriter feeling a bit dramatic. But I’m glad to have you as a comrade too 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Eva says:

            Yes you are right! The only way to show our passion is to talk about. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to work as a screenwriter/director In real life. Don’t you think that would be awesome? 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              I wonder that too. I think it would be so interesting but also lots of hard work and needing amazing creativity. For instance, bad directing can kill a marvelous script while good directing can sometimes make a bad script enjoyable. I’m amazed at people’s ability to bring a story to life 🙂


  7. Fred says:

    That 6 is a bit harsh, Kay. HAHAHA.

    This drama is a gem. An unrefined one that is. It switches from being an amazing gem to an average one. It’s always very near that special, amazing level but just never reaches it. Just a teeny little bit more. Jogeumman HAHA. But sadly, NO. This is another one of those could-have-been-a-ten drama. But I liked it overall.

    I just pick random dramas to watch nowadays. The last two I watched were Winter Sonata and Autumn’s Concerto. So I may have gotten used to the slower pacing. And I think this is the reason why we might have had a slightly different take on this one. In fact, I decided to watch this because I found the female lead to be cute in the mini trailer HAHA.

    I’d give it an 8 to 8.5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Fred!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      I know, I know, everyone else loved it to pieces and something went wrong inside my brain and I didn’t, lol. I agree with your assessment though as it was pretty much my experience. It had portions that were truly great and definitely could have been something amazing, but it just didn’t quite get there. I loved the historical story line though, and the last episodes were really good 🙂

      I can see how watching it after slower dramas might help. Anytime I watch a cdrama (which I usually find slow), the next kdrama I watch immediately feels like it has so much better pacing. I need to start using that more strategically before I watch kdramas that look like they might be slow, hehe

      As a side note, are you watching Vagabond yet? 🙂


      • Fred says:

        You should use that strategy. Even just the old kdramas. You can watch them every now and then so the newer kdramas will feel so much better. HAHAHA.

        As for Vagabond, I’m waiting for your review before I watch it. I’m not going to make the same mistake as Hotel Del Luna. I will read your review first before watching dramas I have high expectations for. HAHAHA.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Well, as a short teaser, I’m 12 eps in and am loving it 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fred says:

            HAHAHAHAHA. I guess I’ll start watching then.

            I said I’ll stop watching Kdramas. But then I found it weird when people started speaking in this very foreign language they call ‘English’ or something like that. AND NO SUBTITLES!!! How weird is that?! So I just went back and watched something familiar. There’s no going back I guess. HAHAHAHAHA.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              Hahaha! It’s a strange phenomenon indeed 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I’m watching a kdrama and then switch over to something in English and have a moment of confusion as to where my subtitles are. Then it finally dawns on me that I can understand what they’re saying! lol

              And no, there really is no going back. You just have to accept your fate. Don’t ever stop watching kdramas Fred! 😉

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Caroline says:

    I read several very positive reviews about Chicago Typewriter before I started watching it and was really hoping to see more of the historical fiction side of it, but am now 5 episodes in and am barely seeing it. I feel like the story is taking so long to unravel that I’m losing interest. I really like historical fiction series, and having just watched Mr. Sunshine, which I felt was great, Chicago Typewriter is becoming disappointing. Am wondering whether to continue or move on. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I had a similar experience to you with this drama. Most people loved it, but it was a mixed bag for me. The historical portions get much less screen time for the bulk of the drama which was very disappointing since it it more engaging. The modern story is a bit slow and thin on plot. The last third of the drama gets quite a bit better, and the last few eps have a lot of the historical story in it. It’s a bit of a chore to get to it though. So it just depends if you want to wait out the middle stretch of the drama to get to the better last bit.


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