Probably the best thing about KBS’ drama series President (프레지던트) is that it stands out from the rest of Korean primetime.
It isn’t a blockbuster national drama or a cute romantic comedy that the kids will tweet about. But President offers up something different from the typical romance and/or melodrama you’ll regularly see.
While it may not be as polished (or a ratings winner) like MBC’s own presidential drama Daemul, President offers soapy intrigues both in the political arena and in the familial home are very interesting and refreshing.
The series follows Jang Il Joon (played by Choi Soo Jong, Comrades/Legend of the Patriots) in his quest to be Korea’s next president. The series opens in the heat of the campaign and a new scandal that could threaten his run until a shocking event brings us back a few months earlier to when he first announces his candidacy.
We meet his family; the eldest, adopted daughter In Young (Wang Ji Hye, Personal Taste), his eldest son Sung Min (Lee Sungmin of Super Junior). youngest Se Bin (Park Mi Jin). and his ambitious wife So Hee (played by Choi’s real wife Ha Hee Ra). Each member of the family has their own opinions on whether their father should run, and each appears to have their own agenda when he does decide to do so.
Surrounding Il Joon at campaign headquarters, a staff of savvy political strategists that will do anything and everything to get their candidate the victory.
We also meet Yoo Min Ki (Jay Kim of TRAX and S.M. The Ballad), a newly-award winning documentary film director who at this moment is capturing illegal waste dumping. He runs, avoids getting caught, sends the tape off to his boss and visits his mother who lives on an island in the countryside where she runs a seaside restaurant.
After tragedy strikes, Min Ki, who never knew his father, is summoned back to Seoul and to the new presidential candidate where he gets a bomb dropped on him.
So begins the addicting soapy goodness that includes secrets, lies, political maneuvering and backstabbing, and some trusty family drama.
A strong cast led by the sizzling real-life couple, vets Choi Soo Jong and Ha Hee Ra and a very strong performance by singer-actor Jay Kim, President feels like you’re right behind Korea’s political back doors.
It might not be the next national drama, but President has the makings of a not-so-guilty pleasure. A show you can’t help but just sit down and watch and enjoy the twists and turns of political and familial intrigue.