Korean Drama Review: Protect the Boss

Image via koreandrama.org

Protect the Boss is available on VIKI.


Noh Eun Seol (Choi Kang Hee) was the tough leader of her high school girl gang. Even though, she spent more time on extracurricular activities than hitting the books she goes on an graduates from college. Although, since her university was low in stature and in rank, she has trouble finding permanent full time employment and is stuck with several part time jobs. At one of her part time jobs, she is forced to deal with a boss that harasses his female employees.

One night, her group at work goes out for drinks, while at a lounge her boss tries to hit on her and another secretary. Eun Seol, being a tough girl, decides that she will not put up with this treatment any longer. Eun Seol attacks her boss and then tries to escape, but his gang of minions runs after her. On her way out, she meets Cha Ji Heon (Ji Sung) in also in the hallway. The gang of minions mistakingly believe that Eun Seol and Ji Heon are together. Thus, when the lights go out Eun Seol uses that moment to beat up the minions and escape like a thief in the night. On the other hand, Ji Heon, in shock, remains in the lounge and is left at the mercy of minions.

Now that Eun Seol can no longer go back to her job, she goes to several interviews around town. One of the interviews takes place at Ji Heon’s family’s company. Cha Moo Won (Kim Jaejoong), Ji Heon’s cousin, is interviewing people to be Ji Heon’s secretary. Since, Ji Heon is unfocused, demanding, and childish, Moo Won has to ensure that the candidate will be able to take being rebuffed. When Eun Seol is verbally assaulted for her under pr education, Eun Seol rebukes the interviewer, exhibiting that she is qualified for the position. Moo Won, seeing her qualifications and against the advice of his staff, hires Eun Seol.

When Eun Seol sees Ji Heon, she immediately remembers him from the lounge. However, Ji Heon upon seeing Eun Seol only states that he hates her poopy head hairstyle (half up half down, with funky bun directly on top of head). Ji Heon says that it reminds him of the girl that got him into trouble at the nightclub. The incident has Ji Heon’s corporation in trouble. His father, the president of the corporation, heard about the incident and organized a group of thugs to go after Eun Seol’s former co-workers. When the scandal was leaked by Ji Heon’s former secretary, who was fired because Ji Heon was left unprotected, the media went into a frenzy and the accused the corporation of mafia connections.

In addition to being a public relations nightmare, the incident also made Ji Heon’s father push Ji Heon to straighten up and take a larger role in the corporation. Ji Heon father wants to prove to the the board that Ji Heon would be fit successor. If Ji Heon did not clean up his act, the role would go up to his cousin Moo Won irritating his father. Moo Won and his mother, the president’s sister in law, have been scheming for a while to get the perfect goal-orientated Moo Won to be named as the successor of the corporation.

Ji Heon has some major challenges, before he will seen as the future of the corporation; he doesn’t come to work on time, has a fear of making public speeches, has no passion for the work, may also have OCD, and falls asleep in meetings. While Ji Heon believes that Moo Won hired Eun Seol to make him look like a chump at first, soon he is delighted with Eun Seol’s resistance, street smarts, and fighting talent. As Ji Heon begins to admire her, he gives her more responsibility, including finding the lady with poopy hair that got him into the fight at the lounge.

When Eun Seol becomes overwhelmed with the task of finding herself and dealing with Ji Heon’s OCD (see USA’s series Monk), Moo Won comforts and protects her. Ji Heon discovers the special relationship and becomes jealous of Moo Won. Ji Heon wants Eun Seol all for himself and become more mature to attain her. Meanwhile, another woman wants Ji Heon, Seo Na Yoon. Na Yoon left Ji Heon, when he really needed her by his side, now he is unable to forgive her (see My Lovely Sam Soon). On top of the abandonment, Na Yoon also hooked up with Moo Won. Moo Won is in love with Na Yoon, but ultimately she rejects him, because she wants to be the heir of the corporation, not the cousin.

As Eun Seol helps Ji Heon overcome his fears and take control of his life, Eun Seol and Ji Heon begin to have feelings for each other. However, Eun Seol also has feelings for the man that gave her a chance in the first place, Moo Won. After Na Yoon’s consistent rejection of Moo Won, Moo Won moves on and attempts to win Eun Seol’s heart instead. When Na Yoon discovers that the men that she once had on a leash are no longer running after her,  she goes through her own period of self discovery.

Questions to be answered: Who will be the next leader of the corporation? Why does Ji Heon have so many hiccups? Will Ji Heon and Moo Won’s family accept Eun Seol as part of the family? Will Moo Won break free from his mother? Will Na Yoon stop acting so self-involved? How many times can I see Eun Seol dominating her opponents? Do you like white collar crime?


Don’t judge this drama by its first episodes. I felt like everyone was so immature including the the parents of Na Yoon, Moo Won, and Ji Heon’s. By the end of episode 3, I was is in full on drama watching mode. This drama was good, left me with memories, and made me connect emotionally. A few episodes prior to the finale were rough, but if I watch this drama again I could seriously see myself overlooking this and giving it a higher rating.

Top 5 Reasons to Watch:

Strong Female Lead: As you can tell, I like my female leads strong (it’s the reason why I have not finished Pasta, I am still trying). Choi Kang Hee does a great job at playing a strong tough girl that guys can easily fall in love with. The role of Eun Seol is well balanced, vulnerability eludes her, but somehow she still come across as soft. Kang Hee did a great job at making Kang Hee cute, hard, endearing, and fun fit in one character.

Good Girlfriends: I think this and The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry are the only dramas I have seen where the women all get along and form a tight bond. The scenes with Eun Seol, Na Yoon, and Lee Myung Ran were so cute. The concept of three girls living in a loft apartment, bonding over their love lives, and singing songs was adorable. It may have been a bit too cheesy for some, but I liked it. I also enjoyed how Myung Ran was Mama bear and took care of a downtrodden Eun Seol and a perplexed Na Yoon.

Eun Seol and Jin Heon Are a Cute Couple: Now I wouldn’t say that this romance was hot, it was like a slow growing fire. Let me explain, the kiss scenes were okay. I am still not sure, why you kiss on the step with a rail in between, seemed really awkward. Moving on, the more I watched them together the more I liked them. It was like the romance that I would have dreamed of in middle school. This was probably due to the fact that at first Ji Heon seemed like an annoying little kind at first, but became a man that Eun Seol could depend on. Needless to say by the end the drama, I definitely think they were one of the cutest couples I’ve seen. See Makino+Tsukasa in Hana Yori Dango and Crown Prince Lee Shin and Chae-kyeong in Goong/ Princess Hours. As irritating as Ji Heon’s character was, in the end he turned out to be a prince charming. Their love blossomed as each character became more mature.

Ji Heon and Moo Won: It was romance as well as a bromance. Two cousins that used to hang out all the time, now at odds with each other because of their parents. Even though Moo Won wanted to become the heir, he still wanted Ji Heon to do well. Also, Moo Won was inspired by Ji Heon’s attempts to guide the corporation away from illegal practices and other bad acts. Yes, I do remember that Moo Won was in love with Ji Heon’s girl, but it didn’t seem like Ji Heon and Na Yoon were together when Moo Won and Na Yoon hooked up. I may be mistaken? At the same time, Ji Heon helped Moo Won break free from his mother and become more independent in his thinking.

Moo Won and Na Yoon: The scenes where Na Yoon pretends that she is seducing Moo Won was one of my favorites of the drama. Add on to that, the fact that when she tried the act on in real life Moo Won wasn’t having it and deflected her advances. This ordeal provided a numerous amount of great comedic writing. Then, I was also cracking up when Na Yoon thought that Moo Won didn’t like her anymore, but if Moo Won is paying for your apartment, giving you money, and still taking you out to lunch, then it’s beyond like. Wang Ji Hye, who plays Na Yoon, was also the very bad roommate in Personal Taste. All I can say is that she is a good actress, cause I became a fan of this lovable mean girl, must have been the writing. I will stop talking about Personal Taste, because I wasn’t annoyed enough to not finish it.

Other Highlights:

  • The way Eun Seol spreads her toes to show that her foot will not fit into poop hair’s shoes is scary, although it must take skill
  • Love Eun Seol and Ji Heon at the amusement park, very endearing
  • Kim Jaejoong looks like a doll, not sure whether I find that attractive or not
  • Is it weird that Moo Won considers Eun Seol staring at him for 10 seconds affection?
  • One of the best boy to man portrayals by Ji Heon, by the end he was definitely an adult, a cute adult, but still grown up
  • The relationship between Ji Heon and his father is heartwarming, in that they both realize that they both have a long way to go before they become people that each other are proud of
  • So when you are a CEO in Korea and in the middle of a lawsuit, you get sympathy by arriving in a wheel chair? Is so, good thinking…
  • Even Ji Heon’s secretary gets a woman
  • Na Yoon’s nickname is Ice Cream
  • Since Na Yoon could not beat Eun Seol outright, she decided to resort to biting
  • BEST PROPOSAL with tea, fortune cookie, a seranade, and then a ring. Ji Heon was just too much. This was followed up with a cool looking wedding. The writers were boasting their skills in the princess romance fantasy department.
  • “dating assault”

Eh, Not So Much

  • Eun Seol needs to stop hitting herself when frustrated
  • Still not sure how Ji Heon got glossophonbia, I still cannot connect the dots
  • I mean does everyone work at a coffee house. I love coffee, but I need a change up
  • Ji Heon is cute, but not athletic compared to the doll-faced Moo Won
  • What was up with these illegal deals? If everyone does it, then how big of a deal is it really? Either way, this sub-plot got annoying by episode 12 and took up too much time.
  • Ji Heon drops Eun Seol off in the middle of the road more than once. Not cool.
  • Moo Won, I stopped liking you because of your mother. Moo Won was in her camp way after the milk was past due.
  • Main characters are so close to loving each other, but are so far due to all the misunderstandings and obstacles. The drama dealt with repercussions of the illegal dealings for 3 episodes: Eun Seol not telling Ji Heon the truth to protect him; Ji Heon believing it was his duty to take more responsibility over matter, before they can get together; the dad being a flip flopper on their relationship; and finally Ji Heon doesn’t call Eun Seol for 3 months and they are in the same city. All of this is on the top of the fact that Ji Heon never transfers her from her grueling distribution job, so Eun Seol has to quit makes it worse than Hyun Bin’s trip to the states in My Lovely Sam Soon. UGH jerks. But See Flower Boy Ramen Shop.
  • Moo Won also gets into jerk territory when he said he could not stop working to meet with Na Yoon.

That’s 4 stars for now. On the second run, if I decide to give more, then I am going to have to do more ratings adjustments.

Up Next: Realistically, I will not be finished watching Secret Garden for the second time, so Secret Garden, My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox, or Flower Boy Ramen Shop.



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