K-Drama Review: 3 Unusual Things That Thrill Viewers in ‘Agency’

agency kdrama review

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Hana Lee

agency kdrama review
Credit: JTBC

Agency is a drama that stars Mine’Lee Bo Young as a powerful woman with strong leadership skillsThe drama is about Go Ah In (played by Lee Bo Young), who becomes the first female executive of VC Corporate, fiercely fighting against her fears and enemies at work to reach the top of the corporate ladder. As the show’s simple title speaks for itself, it has some special aspects that set it apart from other dramas of the same theme. So without further ado, let’s take a look at three key points that make Agency special to watch.

An Office Drama That Shows the Power of Female Solidarity

What’s most notable in this drama is that it depicts the power of female solidarity. Go Ah In, the main character, was bought up in a poor working-class family and graduated from an unknown school. Worse yet, she is a female employee who often has a slim chance of getting promoted to an executive position. Despite all the disadvantages, she manages to shatter the “glass ceiling” and achieve her dream of becoming the firm’s managing director with her excellent work ethic and spirit. However, her being promoted turns out to be the firm’s scheme to create a better image of the company, and she gets edged out a year later. The real story begins there. Even in the worst situation, she does not give up her dreams and continues to fight her way through to reach a place higher than a contractual executive role.

The drama shows the protagonist rooting out the prejudices against her. Her endeavor is all the more meaningful as it reflects the struggle of other female workers and their teamwork to overcome their obstacles. Eun Jung (Jeon Hye Jin) – a working mom who tries to juggle work and family responsibilities at once – and Kang Han Na (Son Na Eun) – an ambitious woman from a super-rich family who can’t be the right heir to her family fortune – work together for a bigger goal to break the invisible wall. The show effectively tells its story by highlighting the achievements of female office workers, who have played minor roles in traditional male-centered office dramas.

agency kdrama review
Credit: JTBC
A Story About Executives Instead of Working-Level Officials

Another unique identity of Agency is that it centers around a director at a company. Most lead characters in office dramas have been working-level officials who strive to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. However, Agency is different from other dramas of the same theme as its main character shows her burning desire to take on a higher position right after achieving her initial goal of becoming an executive. Plus, the drama gets all the more thrilling as its main character shows that she knows how to use her power and status to achieve what she wants.

Go Ah In uses her power to single out people who are loyal to her to change the dynamics of office politics at her work. Such moves, usually done by evil characters in other dramas, offer cathartic moments to viewers who have long felt frustrated with naive and vulnerable protagonists. Watching them make such moves provides vicarious satisfaction to viewers who work every day in various office environments. On top of that, Lee Bo Young’s outstanding performance and strong on-screen presence add more to the charm of the drama series.

A Drama That Effectly Shows the Competitive Nature of the Industry

It is notable that the drama takes place at an advertising agency. The excitement doubles as it depicts the struggle of the company that has no choice but to curry favor with the advertisers while visually displaying the team member’s goals and achievements in a format of a video game. The drama realistically captures the competitive nature of the industry by putting in detailed scenes of people delivering their presentations, explaining the importance of catchphrases and emphasizing that they work at a very competitive advertising agency. However, it takes six episodes for the series to really capture such aspects as it spends a considerable amount of screen time depicting office politics which Go Ah In and Choi Chang Soo (Cho Seong Ha) are engaged in. Some even doubted that its title Agency was the best fit for the drama. 

Fortunately, the seventh episode takes a fresh turn as a large company gives an important commission to her team. Here, we can see why the drama was titled Agency. In addition, curiosity grows as the main characters struggle to vie for power by winning the presenting competition. How the drama unfolds its story will make or break its success. Perhaps the real competition to win viewers’ hearts has just begun. (7/10)


Editor Hwang Hong Sun: A Korean movie buff who wishes that the warm messages in good works will warm up this world at least by one degree Fahrenheit.


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