What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is a classic romcom K-drama. Released back in 2018, this office drama absolutely holds its own to this day, with excellent acting, an interesting premise and some solid hearty laughs. While the later episodes do tend to drag on a bit and the central mystery is painfully obvious to figure out, the mad chemistry between our two leads is more than enough to overshadow that.
This is one of those rare K-dramas where an enthralling story doesn’t need to be the central part of a drama to knock it out the park. Sometimes the chemistry between actors and the comradeship is enough to propel a show forward – and Secretary Kim is a great example of that.
The story revolves around the narcissistic Lee Young Joon, an arrogant Vice President who loves himself. With flamboyant “aura” displays and a distinct lack of acknowledgement for the wellbeing of his workers, Young-Joon doesn’t have a care in the world. The rock by his side happens to be secretary Kim Mi-So, who decides to quit after an extended length of servitude. Young Joon is shocked, and tries to do everything he can to stop her. But for Mi-Jo, she’s determined to focus on herself rather than Young Joon.
As Young Joon works tirelessly to win back his disinterested secretary, their feelings start to grow whilst they simultaneously grapple with trauma from their past. The ensuing result is a hilarious romcom that features some memorable stand-out moments and an excellent finale to top it all off.
The ride to reach the ending though is held together by a mystery plot that you’ll likely figure out by the end of episode 5. It’s not that it’s bad per-se, but around this point we’re introduced to Young Joon’s charisma-vacuum of a brother, Sung Yeon.
The entire plot involving him bogs down this show, trying half-heartedly to move into love triangle territory but never fully committing. The result is an awkward subplot that eventually peters out, and as such when the resolution does arrive, the series takes a while to get back into its earlier natural rhythm.
Young Joon and Mi-So aside, the drama includes a memorable series of supporting characters too, who unashamedly fall into the usual office tropes. These one-note characters would ordinarily be rife for critique but honestly, it actually works quite well here. There are subplots for each of these characters, with a nice resolution at the end for everyone, in this show’s best episode – the finale.
I won’t spoil anything here but the entire 70 minute chapter is fantastic. Given a few of the episodes prior to this drags out the story unnecessarily, the finale wraps up every single storyline and does so with a great deal of comedy, romance and swoon-worthy scenes to boot.
One of the more underrated parts of this drama comes from the aesthetic. There are numerous hilarious sound effects and little graphics that dart across the screen but they’re used sparingly to always make an impact with the comedy. From a lustful devil bouncing around the shoulders of prudish Mi-So or the bright lights spotlighting Young Joon’s “aura” pose, there’s an abundance of great moments here.
One of the best comes from Mr Yang, Young Joon’s quiet driver. When he takes a fancy to office worker Se-Ra, he becomes her hero through numerous heroic acts, complete with epic orchestral music montages. It’s these little touches that combine to make this such a great watch.
Ultimately though, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is everything you’d want in an office romcom. The mystery element is a little too orchestrated but the chemistry between Mi-So and Young Joon is more than enough to look past that.
This is a beautifully written romance and the acting is outstanding across the board. Sometimes a show doesn’t need a mind-blowing story to see it elevate to become one of the best K-dramas – and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is the best example of that. An absolute must-watch.
Verdict - 8.5/10