A boss with facial blindness falls in love with a rich socialite who is really his own secretary in the romance comedy with a mysterious twist, The Secret Life of My Secretary.
After an accident that almost claims his life leaves Director Do Min-Ik with prosopagnosia (facial blindness), he realizes he’ll have to hide his illness if he wants any chance at replacing his uncle as the Chairman of T&T Mobile Media. However, the only one capable of helping him achieve that career goal is his loyal secretary, Jung Gal-Hee and he just fired her. With Min-Ik desperate for help and Gal-Hee desperate for an income, he re-hires her and the two team up for the time being. Unfortunately, a new situation arises and, with sincere good intentions, Gal-Hee ends up posing as her old boss – a wealthy, and conceited socialite named Veronica Park – in front of her current boss, Director Do. Of course, without being able to see faces clearly Min-Ik has no idea the Veronica Park he was introduced to, and has fallen in love with, is his own secretary, Jung Gal-Hee. And to complicate things further, Gal-Hee has fallen for Min-Ik and wants to stop her Veronica Park charade, however, the real Veronica Park needs Gal-Hee to keep it up the act so she can be with the man she has a crush on.
Do Min-Ik was born out of wedlock, not living in his father’s house until he was seven years old. Min-Ik has the uncanny ability to remember a person just by seeing their face once. He’s also able to read internal thoughts when he sees someone’s expression, which earned him the nickname Director Mind-Reader. Thirty-four year old Min-Ik is the Director of Media Team One at his family’s company, T&T Mobile. Because of the betrayal of a secretary years earlier he has a policy in which he only keeps a secretary for a short time, employing a new one each year. As a child he was very ill and, in an effort to treat his congenital giant aneurysm, a clip ligation was performed. Now the head trauma from his recent accident has complicated things and Min-Ik finds himself quite vulnerable, having to lean heavily on his secretary, Jung Gal-Hee, in order to deal with his prosopagnosia without anyone at work discovering his weakness.
When Jung Gal-Hee was just 12 years old her father passed away followed by her mother when she was 19. Ever since then Gal-Hee has felt a heavy responsibility to take care of her older brother who went blind as a child, and younger sister who just graduated from high school and is hoping to be accepted to a college in the States. Gal-Hee has always tried to live by her family’s motto – “Three moments of patience can ward off great disaster.” She wears flats so she can run when her boss calls and is never without a diaper bag full of socks, an umbrella, a razor, slippers and anything else her boss might need. Gal-Hee performs all kinds of personal and business tasks for her boss. Rumor has it she even went to his civil defense training for him and did a urine test in his stead. Gal-Hee is cute but nowhere near the adjectives classy and beautiful. In fact, people say to look at her she seems “dry and boring.”
Gorgeous, wealthy, powerful Veronica Park is the CEO of CinePark, a big film production company. Her business life is extremely successful but her personal life – not so much. Because males have used her for her money, she thinks of the men in her life as nothing more than toys to be played with and discarded at her convenience. She has a physically abusive and emotionally overbearing mother who is determined to marry her off to Director Do Min-Ik. Veronica comes off as being a conceited brat but, in all actuality, has an understanding and generous heart. Her nickname is “Goddess of the box office hit.”
Ki Dae-Joo never knew his father and was raised by his single mother who died when he was a senior in high school. His mother was Do Wan-Bae’s (Min-Ik’s grandfather) secretary and he has been Min-Ik’s best friend since they were seven years old. They have always been there for each other, with an unspoken bond of loyalty and trust between the two men. Dae-Joo attended college through the sponsorship of Min-Ik’s grandfather and, as a result, landed a job at T&T Mobile. He is currently a Director there and, although his job is secure, he is seriously considering walking away from it all. Because he wasn’t raised with wealth he is careful and thoughtful with money – he has no debt, doesn’t own a car, and has had the same bike and backpack for many years. Dae-Joo is kind, considerate, even-tempered, and soft-spoken.
For information about Kim Young-Kwang, the guy who plays Director Do Min-Ik, you can go to my Go Ho’s Starry Night review. Here’s some information that particular review doesn’t have – He is part of what fans have dubbed the “Model Avengers,” along side other models turned actors Lee Soo-Hyuk, Kim Woo-Bin, Hong Jong-Hyun, and Sung Joon. Also, because his father is a Vietnam War veteran he only had to serve six months as a public service soldier for his mandatory military assignment. And lastly, this is the second thing I’ve seen Kim Young-Kwang in so far this year. In January I watched him take on the role of a doctor in the sci fi drama Room No. 9.
My review of Come and Hug Me includes information about Jin Ki-Joo, the actress who plays Secretary Jung Gal-Hee.
There is some information about Kim Jae-Kyung, the woman who plays Veronica Park, in my Noble, My Love review. Her acting as the real Veronica Park is nothing short of spectacular. She was able to make that conceded personality darling and quite lovable.
Ki Dae-Joo is played by Ko Ja-Sung. He is 26 years old and a model as well as an actor. He was in the movie Milky Way Liberation Front in 2007 and then didn’t surface again until 2017 when he was in The Blue Sea. 2018 saw him in the drama Misty.
This drama isn’t just a simple comedy. The writer stirs things up by weaving a small mystery into the plot. Why is “that certain someone” willing to kill for a flash drive? We see right at the beginning of the show who “the bad guy” is but we don’t get to see that person’s boss (the driving force) until very nearly the end. That gives us a good long time to think about things like who “the bad guy” really is and wonder what’s on that flash drive. Although the mystery is only the drama’s sub-plot, it is decent and adds some important reveals to the romance part of the storyline.
The writer also does something heart warming by having Gal-Hee’s deceased mother comfort her when times get rough. Gal-Hee can see her, speak to her, and even receive advice from her. Of course all this happens inside Gal-Hee’s mind/heart but it got me wondering how many deceased loved ones I might be able to converse with if I just had a better imagination.
I had a difficult time accepting the fact that Do Min-Ik wasn’t able to differentiate between Veronica Park’s voice and that of his secretary. He does say, at one point, that the two women sound alike but that wasn’t good enough for me. With Gal-Hee being such a major figure in his life it just didn’t make sense that he couldn’t tell the women’s voices were the exact same.
What exactly is T&T Mobile? Well, it started out by producing content for children but has moved on to producing its own original content so they can overcome the limits of IPTV. And that’s what brings Veronica Park (Goddess of the box office hit) into the picture. Director Ki Dae-Joo approaches her with a business proposal and, as a result, their personal relationship takes off.
One shocking thing I learned from this drama is the fact that in Korea people work 52 hours a week compared to the U.S.’s 40 hour work week. I thought 52 was way too much until I read that until just last year (2018) 68 hours was the norm. I did the math and that meant a bit more than 13 and a half hours a day was spent at your job if you were working five days a week – 11 hours a day if you went to work Saturday. Yikes! Now, with the 52 hour work week it equates to about ten and a half hours a day, Monday through Friday. Still yikes! No wonder they get one personal day off each month.
There’s a scene close to the beginning of The Secret Life of My Secretary that is just like a scene at the very end of Lookout, both involving actor Kim Young-Kwang. See if you can find it.
There’s only one “oops” I’m aware of. Watch carefully when Do Min-Ik is on an MRI table at the hospital. He’s laying flat on his back with his hands on his chest but a wider shot shows them down by his sides, then when we go back to the tighter shot his hands are resting on his chest once again. It’s noticeable.
There are some really pretty ballads that grace this drama’s soundtrack. 1415 perform my favorite one entitled Really Weird, number two is Maddening by Im Han-Byul, and third place goes to Sandeul from B1A4 for Fly High. Dance With Me is a soft jazz type song that sounds just like it could be in an old black and white American movie, maybe something starring Marilyn Monroe. Now, for my top three upbeat songs – first is Walk performed by Go Young-Bae, Fromm, and Louie, next is Sunny Day sung by Stella Jang, and third place goes to Start Now, a duet sung by Park Ji-Won and Lee Na-Gyung.
Gal-Hee’s home is an old fashioned architectural design. It sports an outdoor courtyard with gravel and stepping stones located smack-dab in the middle of the house. Very charming to look at but I wouldn’t care for that feature in my own home. Min-Ik still lives at home with his mother (his deceased father’s wife) and uncle (her brother) in a huge house perfectly befitting a wealthy family. There is a nice beach scene and a couple visits to Min-Ik’s yacht which he was gifted on his seventh birthday and, to this day, uses as a secret hide-out for Dae-Joo and himself. The T&T Mobile offices are pretty cool, complete with a movie house style popcorn popper and a wall of stairs decked out in pillows.
This is a story I happily recommend to anyone who likes Kdrama romances. Thanks to The Secret Life of My [his] Secretary Do Min-Ik’s heart is conflicted as he wonders which woman he really is in love with, his secretary or a rich socialite – who happens to be the same person!
Kim Jae-Kyung’s acting (as the real Veronica Park)
Hard to believe Min-Ik can’t tell the voice of his secretary and that of Veronica Park are one and the same