I'd had a blast watching two Korean dramas lately. Though they aren't new, it always thrill me to discover new-to-me artistes and getting sucked into the melodramas. I picked up Protect the Boss (released 2011) because it features a workplace romantic comedy and from it I discovered Ji Sung, an actor who played an immature young director of a company and how his secretary changed him to be a better person.
What makes this drama so interesting is not the boss himself but the feisty and tough secretary, Noh Eun-seol (starring Choi Kang-hee) who not only helps him in his work but also helps him in dealing his phobia of facing the crowds (think about giving a speech in front of a sea of strangers). Eun-seol may not have a fantastic certified qualifications (in fact she had a juvenile delinquent record during her school days), but what makes her stand out is her persistence and her ever positive attitude which has not only won her boss' heart in the end but also respect and admiration from the others. That said, Ji Sung's role is more comedic as he tries to act tough but shows his vulnerable, sentimental side instead.
Secret (aka Secret Love) (released 2013), on the other hand, portrays Ji Sung's role in a totally different perspective. Here, he is bitter and revengeful after having lost his girlfriend to a hit-and-run accident and would try every means to track and punish the driver himself, if the law enforcement hasn't got to him or her first. Although the driver did eventually turn herself in, she isn't the culprit and her confession is to protect her boyfriend, who has just started his career as a prosecutor. There are a lot of interactions between Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum (who played the wrongly accused driver) and I have to say both of their acting skills are excellent. While it was intense to see them entangled in a game of revenge, what most satisfying is seeing them falling in love with each other towards the end. Sigh.
Unlike Protect the Boss, this drama has brought Ji Sung's acting skill to another level as it allows the viewer(s) to see his transformation from a spoilt, rich, ruthless businessman to a righteous man who found peace and love towards the end. Cliché or not, it was moving nonetheless and I loved seeing his transformation. The ironic (and sad) thing about this story is while we see a "bad guy" slowly making his path towards righteousness, the other end we see a "righteous man" betrays, lies and corrupts for the sake of moving up the career ladder. The story may be overly dramatic but it does offer some food for thought. Because I was impressed with Ji Sung's acting, I am going to look out for his latest drama, Kill Me, Heal Me (released 2015). I am hoping this drama will surprise me with Ji Sung's versatile acting skill.