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History of the Salaryman (2012) Drama Review

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Title: History of the Salaryman (샐러리맨 초한지/Saelleorimaen Chohanji)
Also known as: Salaryman
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Year: 2012
Episode: 22
Network: SBS
Website: http://tv.sbs.co.kr/chohanji/
Airing: January 02 to March 13, 2012 (Monday and Tuesday at 21:55)

From: DramaFever

One night Yoo Bang enters a dark, mysterious villa with nothing but a flashlight, only to find an executive of the Chunha Medical Group, Ho Hae slouched in a chair, dead and Jin Ho Hae's niece, Yeo Chi hiding behind a curtain. At Ho Hae's funeral, Yoo Bang and Yeo Chi are suddenly taken into custody for his murder. We're taken three months into the past to reveal what led to this murder and exactly who was responsible. During this flashback we meet Choi Hang Woo, a director from Ho Hae's rival pharmaceutical company, who is undercover to steal the formula for their new drug and the Chief Researcher from Chunha Group, Cha Woo-Hee. The lives of these individuals will all be intertwined within these three months to reveal exactly just who murdered Ho Hae, and why?

Jang Yeong Cheol
Jeong Kyeong Soon I

Yoo In Sik


Lee Beom Soo as Oh Yoo Bang, Jeong Ryeo Won as Baek Yeo Chi, Jeong Kyeo Woon as Choi Hang Woo, Hong Soo Hyeon as Cha Woo Hee, Lee Deok Hwa as Jin Si Hwang, Kim Il Woo as Jang Ryang, Lee Ki Young as Park Beom Jeung, Kim Seo Hyeong as Mo Ga Bi, Yoo Hyeong Kwan as So Ha, Yoon Yong Hyeo as Beon Kwae, Kim Eung Soo as Oh Ji Rak, Park Sang Myeon as Ho Hae and Jang Hyeon Seong as Choi Hang Ryang


Rating: 9/10

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Salaryman is the second season of the 2010 KDrama Giant. Well, not really, it is more like of a reunion for Giant's director, scriptwriters and lead actor.

I heard many things about Giant but didn't get into it as the story was not very relatable to me. The same cannot be said with Salaryman as its premise is very much relatable to me. As a salaried person myself I know the dynamics of a corporate setup. I have always wondered what the corporate scenario in Korea is like. Viewing KDrama for years I have glimpses and shallow understanding of the Korean plutocrats and conglomerate. To have a drama series solely focus on the hierarchy of operations within Korean companies is something different and I very much welcome it.

When I mentioned following this drama series. I have been told to forgo for there's not much see in it--meaning, no eye candies. This did not stop me for I am a believer that a great story makes a good drama series.

I am happy that this drama gave me so much and exceeds beyond my expectations; job well done for both scriptwriters, Jang Yeong Cheol and Jeong Kyeong Soon I.

Salaryman is perfectly written. The story and elements are well balanced. In each episode there's something to laugh and think about, together with emotional struggles to overcome and something to look forward to as well.

The characters were established in a unique manner. Unlike many drama series, characters were not set early on. As each episode progress, the characters also evolve--this I find very favorable; very human.

For the first time, I find it very difficult to select a favorite character. There's way too much amazing talent within the cast. Each character has a distinct trait that makes them memorable.

One thing I can cite about Salaryman's cast of characters is that they clearly show how vulnerable they are in unexpected situations and how much strength they have when determined, kind-of-similar to the quote "a woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until placed in hot water".

The characters also imparts many values to the viewers--they emphasize that life has so many things to offer and to succeed one must put into heart the learnt lessons in life and not jealousy or greed.

Now, I think I am done with my sentiments. Moving forward, let's talk about the execution. Salaryman has a rough charm and cut-edge elegance to it.

It has a rough charm in the sense that it gave me the contrast of worlds--vivid comparison of the rich and poor, management and entry levels, just and unjust, proud and humble and so much more.

There are several instances in the series wherein I caught myself saying, I would have done the same thing if placed in such circumstance. Many thanks to the great acting of main and supporting cast, the realistic acting draw me into each character enabling me to experience their point of views. Also, through such I was able to better understand the story and its pace which kept my interest. I have to commend both "lead male" and "lead female". There were tough and heavy acts that both pulled off quiet nicely. I did enjoy seeing both leads perform out of their comfort zone and this calls for wit and pure talent.

Cut-edge elegance is what I describe to each episode direct approach to the plot and audience. There are no huge tricks on cinematography or effects that were employed. Maybe I just felt that that none of the angles, cue, words and symbolism was wasted. All were relevant and meaningful to either the story/character.

Everything about Salaryman just fell in the right places. This is the kind of KDrama that I enjoy especially if you have a knack on cheering for the/an underdog, watch this. This drama series leaves upon a smile with the best ending sequence (ever)! When you come to solve the "so called mystery" at the end let me know.
  • ultrajej likes this


this would be one of my fave Kdramas, and I still watch it occasionally when none of the new dramas captured my interest.

highly recommended 


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