Hindsight Review: The President – From Political Thriller to Familial Soap Opera

It ended just how it began, right in the thick of both political and familial intrigue.

KBS’ The President very much lived up to the promise of its first episodes, full of simply addicting intrigue that didn’t let up until the end.

For the most part, the series managed to balance the politics and the family melodrama well until politics took a backseat to the family soap in the last couple of episodes. But as expected, it picked itself back up again in time for the dropping of bombs in the final two hours.

President was originally slated for 24 episodes, but was cut short due to its low ratings. But it might been just as well with as a couple of penultimate episodes seemed to be dragging the series’ feet a little bit.

The series wasn’t without its faults though. For one, Jang Iljun’s youngest daughter seemed to disappear into thin air after the first episode. And the series exposed the limitations of having an idol superstar as part of your cast. No doubt Super Junior’s various appearances, concerts, and promotional activities around Asia prevented Sungmin from being visible more on the series. But not having either him or the daughter in the finale… on election night? Not even a mention really. That’s pretty sloppy considering the series as a whole kept it simple.

As for the finale itself, it did have one last shocker, but as for election night itself, it was no surprise. What it made it very interesting though was the steady stream of his staff who have become like family to him say goodbye. The campaign having exhausted them and even more so, turned them off to politics probably forever.

The final scene of now President Jang Iljun in the Blue House, alone. Reflective. Maybe thinking, Was this all worth it? Or maybe thinking, I’m here. I’m not going to take everyone’s sacrifices in vain.

It was a very poignant moment and I think a wonderful way to close the series.

The President was an intriguing and fascinating look into politics, Korean politics especially when there have been many American political series and films over the years. A satisfying experience highlighted by the excellent performances by Choi Soo Jung and Ha Hee Ra.

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