Chief of Staff (TV-2019) - South Korea
Season 1 - 10 episodes (1 hour each)
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
This is one of the best political drama to come out of Korea in recent years and like “House of Cards”, we see the rise of a well-meaning nobody to the climbing of a political ladder that often means disregarding all principles and means to achieve an end. The moral dilemma is what makes the series interesting and the dog eat dog politics means it fascinating viewing. On top of that we see collusion between high ranks of government and large corporations as routine as cliches. This is a thoroughly entertaining and engaging Season 1, where the 2nd season will definitely be darker and tighter.
Veteran actor Lee Jung-jae headlines this political drama as the nobody and former police man turned Chief of Staff. As the series progresses we see how Lee changes from his idealistic vision at the start of his career to a more corrupt view of how change can be made in a world filled with dirt and collusion. Able supported by love interest and fellow Assemblywoman Shin Min-a, we get a good balance in the political weight and insight from the female perspective. The duo makes an excellent matching couple as well as political alliance in a ruthless word of politics. Particularly impressive is Kim Kap-soo as Assemblyman Song whose outright cunningness and totally corrupted soul highlights how Korean politician are and require to be in order to be successful. Lee Elijah plays the hardworking staff and unrequited love interest in Lee’s crew and young Kim Dong-jun plays the idealistic Intern yet to be corrupted in this complicated world.
All in all, “Chief of Staff” is a highly engaging and tense filled political drama that lets the actors play it out with word play, political games and plenty of corporations colluding with highest levels of government for commercial, personal and political gains. It’s the game of power and in line with most political dramas, the citizens are the real losers in this struggle for power and glory. Stay tune for Season 2 in November 2019.
I rated it 8/10
Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Shin Min-a, Lee Elijah, Kim Dong-jun, Jung Jin-young, Kim Kap-soo, Jung Woong-in and Im Won-hee.