Drama Review: History of the Salaryman


Carefully plotted, cleverly written, amazing twists, that’s how I would describe this drama. Ironically, despite its uniqueness, it was also the drama which took me one of the longest time to complete it and even so to write a review for it.

Firstly, I chose this drama simply because of its high ratings per episode when it was aired. Looking at how popular it was, I decided to give it a shot. The opening scene was definitely something I did not expect considering the nature of the drama in which it focuses on the business world and the insides of a conglomerate. Despite its twists at unexpected times, I only found myself hooked on to the drama starting from episode 13 onwards.


Honestly I feel that the script is truly well written, especially even so for all the cursings by Yeo-Chi, the female lead. Words were well said and emotions were well expressed. The first few episodes left me laughing at how silly and bizarre some things were, such as this 112 years old chicken.


The light hearted mood and the unconventional heros really did set the mood right…until a rectangle love relationship surfaced. From then on, the confusion overwhelmed my enjoyment instead and it felt as if romance was the centerstage. It made several episodes directionless and I had to say it was frustrating enough for me to stop watching the drama for a few days.

This drama isn’t the dilly-dally type in which it exemplified its nature right from the start. Stealing the technology of a longevity pill, betrayal and bribery between insiders and tricks played between companies  are merely some snippets of the plot. The wow factor is the performances of the actors and actresses in which how they utilize their characters to solve each crisis and in the process achieve much growth as the drama proceeds. It is amazing how each events are linked seamlessly which contribute greatly to the smooth flow of the drama as well as its coherence. Unsurprisingly, this is probably the first drama which I found myself rooting and craving for scenes of both the villains and the heroes; wherein some cases the roles were switched around between the main casts.

character development:


The last drama I watched featuring Lee Beum-Soo was IRIS 2 which he displayed his seriousness and charisma as a refugee from North Korea. However, he managed to pull off this a naive yet smart character in History of a Salaryman. Or rather I would say that the character Yoo-Bang is simply made for him. Yoo-Bang is a character who stand firmly by his principles, sometimes throwing away his pride and getting down to his knees, sometimes going head-on and splashing alcohol to despicable rivals, but most of the time he is the unconventional hero who is truly a smart strategist. The writers chose a different wrote in establishing Yoo-Bang’s personality in which they manifested Yoo-Bang’s personality right from the start, such that there was no drastic uncoverings in his personality throughout the drama.


Fresh-faced Jeong Ryeo Won pulled off her part amusingly and amazingly enough. Do not get fooled by Yeo-Chi’s  innocent looks and pretty gestures for her words were pretty much censored half the time. Her cursings are truly professional and this certainly throws me off. Yeo-Chi started out as an immature young adult, whose grandfather is the Chairman of Chun Han’s Group. While she was blaming her grandfather for the death of her parents in the first half of the drama, her attitude slowly changes when she found out the condition of her grandfather. Together with her grandfather, they tricked the insiders of the company that the Chairman is blind and bit by bit reveal the true faces of the employees who were planning the betrayal. With the help of Hang-Woo and Yoo-Bang, she entered the business world and ultimately played a decisive role in upholding justice.


My first drama which starred Hong Soo-Hyun was the Princess Man whom she played an elegant yet heartbroken princess in the royal family. From a traditional hanbok to office wear, I found myself struggling to adjust for the change. Nevertheless, Cha Woo-Hee is a lady with pride, overflowing with sexiness at the right scenes but eventually she became a woman in love. The uncoverings of her character matches the level of Yeo-Chi’s and I found the writers utilising her character as a researcher from the start till the end, wrapping her character up nicely. Definitely a character to watch out for!


Jung Gyu-Woon really reminds me of Rain, probably because of the build. He is displayed as a cold-hearted man of capability who is recognized in the business world. His bribery acts showed that he does things relentlessly, focusing only on the results he desired. The typical villain isn’t it? I had the same thought initially but after he got involved with Woo Hee, his softer and warmer side started surfacing. His drunkard state was unexpectedly amusing while his cold heartedness melts away towards the back episodes. That’s when I thought ” Ah.. So he’s a human being after all.”


The real villain who has countless of faces, Mo Gabi was played by Kim Seo-Hyung. As her acting was already recognised in Temptation of Wife, I wasn’t surprised with her role in History of the Salaryman. While her acting was undoubtedly good, I felt that the writers kinda had her character left hanging there at the ending. Nonetheless, given her mysterious nature from the beginning, I found myself often doubting her intentions and was at times surprised at her influence amidst her elegance.

final say:

With a strong cast and a well written plot with few loopholes, I would say that this drama is certainly worth watching. To the insiders of large corporations, this drama may just be a reflection of what they experience daily but to a viewer like me, it definitely is a good drama in which I like, but I have second thoughts about loving it.


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