The Prime Minister And I
총리와 나 (2013-2014) KBS 17 Episodes
Romance, Comedy, Melodrama,
Grade: A

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

I had been watching a steady stream of straight melodramas for weeks when I decided I had had enough and wanted some lighter fare. I picked The Prime Minister And I which started airing before Christmas 2013 and concluded in early 2014. I didn't know what to expect, but in the first few episodes I laughed so hard I sounded like a hyena. I had no idea actress Yoona (from Love Rain) was so incredibly funny. It was just the right medicine for me after the melodramas, which can really leave you depressed if you're not careful. To be sure, The Prime Minister and I did have some serious undercurrents in its story line, and even in serious scenes Yoona played her character so perfectly that you grew to love her even more as the show progressed and became more philosophical and thought-provoking.

The lead actor Lee Bum Soo (On Air) was excellent but took a bit of adjustment for me because of his non-standard older man looks, but I eventually found myself actually finding him pretty darn good-looking, with an attractive personality as time passed and his character grew as a human being. Once again this proves that a person's character can make you fall in love with them harder than you would if all you saw was a young pretty boy who is shallow and self-centered. After watching scores of Korean dramas with Noona Romance (older woman, younger man) story lines, it was actually refreshing to watch a May - September romance instead. Basically I just loved this, laughed, shed tears, and was glad to see a happy ending to an interesting story of politics, love, revenge, sacrifice, sweetness, innocence, repentance, and good character growth among all the lead cast members' story lines. No one here was left a villain, although in the beginning many could have ended up being villains!

Actress Yoona is an absolute joy to watch in The Prime Minister And I;
She has a Holly Golightly air about her personality that's infectious.

THE STORY: Yoona starts off her role playing a reporter named Da Jung Nam who works for a scandal rag who keeps trying to get an interview with the candidate for Prime Minister, named Kwon Yool (Lee Bum Soo). Through a random set of tempestuous meetings and a misunderstanding they end up having the light of the press shining on them as a couple, even when they have no affection for each other at all, and to diffuse the rumors in the press about them both, which could ruin their careers and reputations, they agree to pretend like she is his fiance until after he is confirmed as Prime Minister, at which point they agree to break up. In other words a contract marriage that is not registered with the State. However once again the press is onto the game being played and if they don't want to be exposed as liars in front of the public they will need to actually show that they are married.

They have a beautiful wedding, with Da Jung Nam's father Yoo-sik (played so nicely by veteran actor
Lee Han-wi from Spring Waltz), who is afflicted with Alzheimer's, walking her down the aisle. However, after the wedding, the fireworks continue unabated between our main couple.


But you guessed it, real feelings start to develop between them, little by little, and after many funny little personal tests by the Prime Minister's three children, a la The Sound Of Music, Da Jung Nam starts to make them feel close to her too. Their mother had died in a car crash, or so they all think, but the Prime Minister knows that she died after having an affair on him and trying to run off with her lover to America. He keeps this knowledge to himself, and keeps things that were important to her locked away. The housekeeper warns Da Jung Nam never to enter the room.


However, the children's mother is not dead, only hiding in the shadows, while her lover remains comatose in the hospital and her three kids grieve for her for years. If she resurfaces how will that affect the dynamics of everyone's current lives?

The Prime Minister's family: all is not as peaceful
as it looks on the family vacation photograph

The "dead" wife's brother Park Joon Ki (Ryu Jin, Summer Scent) also grieves for her loss, not knowing that his sister had committed adultery before her "death", and he secretly plans to sabotage Kwon Yool's career as Prime Minister, blaming him for making his sister lonely. Also planning his revenge secretly is Kwon Yool's task manager named In Ho Kang (Yoon Si Yoon from Flower Boys Next Door) who just so happens to be the younger brother of the man who was having an affair with the Prime Minister's first wife. In Ho privately blames the Prime Minister too for his brother's comatose condition, lingering in a hospital with no way to speak or communicate. He makes plays for Da Jung Nam, which start to make the Prime Minister jealous.

On her part, Da Jung Nam suffers a wee bit of jealousy when it comes to the Prime Minister's female assistant - former college friend Hye Joo Seo (Jung Ahn Chae from When A Man Loves) who is not so secretly in love with him and has been for years. It's interesting, however, how the two female rivals for his affections actually become fond of each other, and much of that is due to Da Jung Nam's efforts to make peace with her and to understand where she is coming from. This is SO much nicer than seeing the usual bitchy second female lead who will try to pull anything off to sabotage the personal relationship of the two main lovebirds.

The relationship of the Prime Minister and his contract wife takes a serious turn when they both confess
their love for each other; but what chance do they have if the first wife shows up after being assumed dead?

As is most often the case with these Korean dramas one of the main delights of any story is watching a couple fall in love with one another when the relationship first began with friction and discord and disharmony. Each begins to see the other person in more positive ways and then eventually the light bulbs go off and they realize they actually love each other deeply. That process always interests me; how the writers will make each one of these relationships a little different from the others.

What impressed me most of all is how they wrote Yoona's part: the Prime Minister would say things in the beginning that would have made me leave immediately without looking back, yet she stays and even smiles! I kept shaking my head: "She has more wisdom than I do!" I thought often while watching this drama. She saw through his reserve and his initial haughtiness to the privately grieving man inside, and stuck around and worked hard to make the relationship better, doing all the homey things a real wife does to make her busy husband's life a little easier. Not many girls or women would have had the patience, and because she does that makes The Prime Minister and I unique and special in the K-drama world. Calling Yoona's wise and patient character a "peacemaker" would nail her perfectly.

I can highly, highly recommend this gem to anyone; it's suitable for all age levels and it is a show a family could all watch together and never forget. On February 2015, Fan-made pages were created on Facebook and Twitter campaigning for a sequel of the TV Series due to the popularity of the drama's international broadcast. I would love to see a sequel to this, but don't think it's very likely: if Boys Over Flowers couldn't get a sequel in many years then what chance do other dramas have?
Don't miss it, it's wonderful!