I love quirky shows. Chief Kim is exactly what I love about quirky shows – LOL moments, comedic heroes, but never losing its direction with what the story wants to tell. Well at least I hope it stays this way, because with all these live shooting madness, Korean dramas often find themselves in a fix trying to stay consistent. But I digress.
Namgoong Min stars as the titular Chief Kim, an accountant at a small seaside company run by gangsters. We spend the first two episodes or so in the seaside town, learning about Chief Kim’s motivation to uproot himself to Seoul, and what shaped him to be the seemingly jovial but extremely crafty (to the anti-corruption prosecutors out to catch him) accountant. Full named Kim Sung-ryeong, people mistakes the aspirations his parents had for him to become famous like Jackie Chan (they share the same hanja name), but Chief Kim explains that he was named after patriotic official Ryu Sung-ryeong of 16th century Joseon.
Although he has no qualms doctoring account records, Chief Kim just wants to lead a simple life in the country with lower corruption – Denmark. Thus, he squirrels away money for his immigration fund, something which his gangster boss closes one eye to. After some dramatics and equally dramatic resolution, Chief Kim finds himself in Seoul, hired as the Finance Department Chief of TQ Group. The guy holding the same position previously is literally fighting for his life, because he is threatened by his employer for releasing evidence of falsified account records to prosecutors.
So here we have, the central conflict of Chief Kim fighting against the big bads, although he did not enter it willingly in the first place. Time and again Chief Kim saves the weak and oppressed from Goliath, and the tiny seed of being a hero is planted in Chief Kim. He begins to enjoy the admiration from others, which I’m sure will backfire on him one day. That said, he’s not inherently a bad person, but rather it’s hinted at that his childhood was rough and he probably grew up with the impression that being genuinely kind and good doesn’t take one far in life.
While taking his time to grow into the new skin of a hero, his female counterpart Yoon Ha Kyung (Nam Sang Mi) is righteous and not afraid of speaking her mind. Her personality is what entangles her in the bigger fight between the Chairman of TQ Group and his wife. While the Chairman is the one-dimensional corrupted big bad, we’re still not told if the wife, who’s the previous Chairperson, is really the polar opposite, or does she has vested interest in wrestling back her power over the group.
The biggest mystery of them all has to be ex-prosecutor Seo Yool (Junho of 2PM), because although he seems to be downright corrupt, joining TQ Group as the new Director and being part of the “axis of corruption”, his behavior seems to be hinting otherwise. He’s frustratingly interesting because on one hand he’s so innocent in his crush on Ha Kyung, on the other hand he’s so shrewd and cold and antagonizing to Chief Kim.
With thrillers such as Voice and The Defendant shown other times of the week, Chief Kim is a welcomed change to this viewer. The LOL moments are really in your face funny, and Namgoong Min is a real gem in comedies. Definitely my mid-week crack, Chief Kim is.