Woman of 9.9 Billion does to monetary greed what VIP did to infidelity – it shows how the ugliness of it all destroys everything it touches.
“Don’t underestimate others greed. Greed makes you fight and steal even when there’s nothing to take.” – Yoon Hee-Joo
Ever since high school, Jeong Seo-Yeon and Yoon Hee-Joo have been friendly acquaintances. But while Hee-Joo has lived a life of luxury, Seo-Yeon has struggled just to survive each day. Her marriage has been filled with trials, heartache, and abuse, so when Hee-Jo’s husband, Lee Jae-Hoon, shows interest in her, Seo-Yeon falls for his kindness which then leads to an affair. One weekend, Seo-Yeon and her husband, Hong In-Pyo, are invited to Hee-Joo’s vacation house on a lake. After she is abused once again, and her husband is peacefully sleeping, she decides to finally end it all by drowning herself in the lake. Jae-Hoon hears her leave the house and, in wanting to be alone with his secret mistress, goes after her. Just as he reaches her in time to stop her suicide attempt, the two lovers hear a crash, investigate, and find a smashed van, its driver dead from being thrown from the vehicle. Jae-Hoon is ready to report the accident but Seo-Yeon stops him when she discovers money, lots of it, in styrofoam boxes. She reasons that, since the driver is dead, and no one knows they were there, it would be so easy to just keep the cash – and with all that money she could leave her abusive husband and change her miserable life. Although Jae-Hoon tries to talk her out of it, she ends up convincing him to help her take the money which begins a chain of evil events the likes of which neither of them could have even imagined.
Seo-Yeon was born into poverty and pain. She had an abusive step-father and although her older step-brother was able to leave home, she wasn’t. Barely able to endure it all, she was grateful to finally escape the situation as a young adult. She got a job as a trainee and married Hong In-Pyo, an assistant manger at the company where she worked. Things turned a corner when she had a miscarriage and In-Pyo became controlling and abusive. She now spends her days cleaning the homes of people with a lot of money. Although she feels a bit guilty for having an affair with her friend’s husband, he is the one positive thing in her life and she can’t let go of that.
Kang Tae-Woo was known as the crazy bull of Gangdong Police Station but a few years ago he was fired after being set up for excessive investigation and bribery. He is now the owner of an Internet café. When he discovers his beloved, younger brother was killed while transporting ten million dollars for an illegal online gambling ring he decides to catch the people involved in his little brother’s death. Unfortunately, when his search leads him to Seo-Yeon and her ill-gotten gains he realizes that “In order to catch bad guys, I have no choice [but] to turn bad as well.”
Hong In-Pyo , Seo-Yeon’s husband, is a scary man. He runs a little company called Food Bukhara Trading and is under stress because it’s not doing as well as he would like. He has a short temper and thinks of his wife as one of his possessions. He is both emotionally and physically abusive to Seo-Yeon, punishing her when she falls short of perfection.
Yoon Hee-Joo’s father earned money from selling land and set up a private school foundation of which Hee-Joo is the CEO. Her foundation sponsors art prodigies and promotes Korean cultural content and food. She has an overly high opinion of herself and doesn’t like failure, claiming, “My kingdom must be absolutely perfect.” She knows of her husband’s weakness for the ladies but isn’t ready to throw him away just yet.
Un Am Foundation’s Director is Lee Jae-Hoon, Hee-Jo’s immature husband. He is well aware of the fact that his father-in-law doesn’t like him and realizes that, although he holds the title of Director, his CEO wife is unwilling to give him assignments of significant importance. It seems that his fling with Seo-Yeon is more for the risk and defiance than for love.
I invite you to go to my Circle: Two Worlds Connected review to read about Kim Kang-Woo, the actor who plays ex-detective Kang Tae-Woo.
Cho Yeo-Jeong, the actress who plays Jeong Seo-Yeon, began her entertainment career at the age of 16 as a CeCi magazine cover girl. Two years later she began acting in music videos, commercials, and some Kdramas. Unfortunately, she wasn’t getting the recognition she wanted, so when several actresses turned down the main female role in the motion picture The Servant, because it had too many sex scenes, Yeo-Jeong jumped at the part and people began to see her in a new light. It seems that served to typecast her a bit because since then she has starred in a few more risqué movies – The Concubine, Obsessed, and Casa Amor: Exclusive for Ladies. However, her most notable film to date has to be last year’s Parasite – the only foreign film ever to win Best Picture at the Oscars! Congratulations, Cho Yeo-Jeong.
Woman of 9.9 Billion is the second Kdrama Kim Kang-Woo and Cho Yeo-Jeong have starred in together. 2012s Haeundae Lovers (aka Lovers of Haeundae) was their first pairing and a show I very much enjoyed. It’s much lighter than this drama and its characters are very personable. I’d recommend Haeundae Lovers over Woman of 9.9 Billion any day of the week!
Woman of 9.9 Billion reminded me of Watcher in that everyone is bad. Okay, Kang Tae-Woo isn’t, but he’s the only good one in the bunch. Aside from Tae-Woo, I wanted every single character to meet a horrible end – yes, even Seo-Yeon. In my opinion, she was actually the worst because her lack of moral character began the whole, rotten, mess. I hope you’ll indulge me while I go on a rant about her because I really need to complain. She was legally bound to a evil man who would often torture her and so, in the beginning, she had my sympathy. But, when I began to see her major character flaws my sympathy quickly turned to disdain. I just can’t feel sorry for someone who refuses to fix things that are causing them pain. However, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and concluded that maybe she stayed in her abusive marriage because she was trapped. But wait – she had a rich friend, Hee-Joo, whom she could have confided in and asked for help in leaving her horrible situation but, instead, she has an affair with the woman’s husband. Then, down the road we find out she has a very rich and powerful brother. Why didn’t she tell him she was being abused and ask him to help her get out of the marriage? Nope, she stays and allows herself to be hurt. And her insatiable greed for wealth and power, to actually step on people like herself (because she had been crushed) turned her into a monster, someone willing to watch another person die because their death would be financially profitable for her. Tae-Woo tells her a real human being couldn’t do that, and he was right. This messed up woman was given several chances to give up on her plans but refused to back away from her greed. You might disagree with me but I concluded the heroine of the show was truly the bad guy. She was simultaneously the protagonist and the antagonist of the story.
That 9.9 billion won changes hands and places so many times! At first it is in styrofoam boxes. Then when Seo-Yeon and Jae-Hoon take it they put it in little trash bags. Then, by herself, Seo-Yeon transfers it over to two, big, blue duffel bag type suitcases. It is later put into three, red suitcases and from there it ends up in silver suitcases. Several people also take possession of it. That 9.9 billion won really makes the rounds.
The biggest “oops” I found was very noticeable. I have no idea how this one could have just been simply overlooked. The director and actor had to have known what they were doing. Watch for a part where Tae-Woo has been kidnapped and is being taken to his death. He is in the back seat of a SUV with a man on both sides of him, his hands bound at the wrists with one of those zip-tie things. The car gets in an accident and when the smashed thing comes to a stop a back door is kicked open and out pops Tae-Woo with his hands unbound! I have a big, big problem with that. He couldn’t have just opened the car door without having to maneuver over a person who had been sitting by it, and those zip-ties have to be cut off! Big mistakes!
I wasn’t a fan of Woman of 9.9 Billion’s music. It had a Spanish flair which seemed out of place for a Kdrama (lots and lots of acoustic guitar) and then I finally got it – the head evil guy had ties with Spain. Lady Blue, sung by Oisin Lowry, is played quite a bit. Ejae sing Take it Slow in English. It’s a very simple song, yet very pretty. Dande Voy was recorded twice by Im TaeKyung, once in Spanish and again in Korean. My Diamond, performed by Yuna, has an edgy sound to it and probably ties with Lady Blue for the song most often played.
I think the most memorable background in this drama is the well where Seo-Yeon and Jae-Hoon stash the money the night they find it. Money at the bottom of a well – it’s perfect. I mean, think about how many people would wish to be rich if they came across a wishing well. Kind of clever, isn’t it? Seo-Yeon and In-Pyo’s apartment is tiny and looks even smaller once In-Pyo brings in the best and latest gadgets available to spy on the people involved with the money. It was bothering me that a guy who was worried about his business going under had enough money to buy all that stuff, so I was relieved when, later down the road, we get the answer and it made sense.
What’s the take-away from Woman of 9.9 Billion? Well, I’m pretty sure the writer was trying to show us how destructive greed is and admonish us to not covet things others have. The message is excellent even though the drama, itself, isn’t. It’s not really a bad show, it’s just chocked full of bad people.
“One’s greed can only stop when it has been fulfilled.” – Woman of 9.9 Billion
Lots of twists and turns
Lesson about the evils of greed
Only one decent character in the bunch