Why Secretary Kim (2018) — An Overview

Why Secretary Kim (2018, episode 11)



Why Secretary Kim /
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
[김비서가 왜 그럴까] (tvN, 2018)

Written by Jung Eun-Young (until episode 5),
Baek Sun-Woo and Choi Bo Rim (from episode 5 onwards)
Directed by Park Joon-Hwa
Based on novel by Jung Kyung-Yoon

Production company Studio Dragon [스튜디오드래곤 주식회사]
June 6 2018 ~ July 26 2018 [Wed & Thur]
16 episodes

After working under the self-centered and narcissistic Yumyung Group vice-chairman Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon) for 9 years, star secretary Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young) tells him that she wishes to quit her job. Perplexed at why she would want to quit working for such a ‘perfect’ employer as himself, Young-joon sets out to discover what exactly is wrong with Secretary Kim, and does all he can to keep her by his side. — by Mich KDL



Why Secretary Kim was co-directed by Yoo Jong-Sun (유종선) and Park Joon-Hwa (박준화).

Yoo Jong Sun’s most well-known work as a director would certainly be Descendants of the Sun (2016). Before that, he directed Angel’s Revenge (2014), Marry Him If You Dare (2013) and Heaven’s Will: The Fugitive of Joseon (2013). He also directed the drama specials The Red Teacher (2016), Hair Day (2015), The Girl Who Became a Photo (2014) and the Drama Stage: Not Played (2018).

Park Joon-Hwa, who works exclusively for tvN, started out by directing the first eleven seasons of Ugly Young-A (2007-2013), before working on stand-alone dramas like Let’s Eat 1 and 2 (2013-2014 and 2015), Bring It On, Ghost (2016) and Because This Is My First Life (2017).


Note that this is not the full cast credits for this show — only those mentioned on KDL!


Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon)
Yumyung Group vice-chairman
— — — — — — —
Lee Sung-yeon (Lee Tae-hwan)
Young-joon’s older brother

Kim Pil-nam (Baek Eun-hye)
Mi-so’s oldest sister

Go Gwi-nam (Hwang Chan-sung)
Yumyung Group employee

Bong Se-ra (Hwang Bo-ra)
Yumyung Group employee

Park Byung-eun (Park Byung-eun)
Mi-so’s blind date [E3]

young Lee Young-joon (Moon Woo-jin)
Young-joon at 9 years old
Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young)
Young-joon’s secretary
— — — — — — —

Park Yoo-sik (Kang Ki-young)
Young-joon’s best friend

Kim Mal-hee (Heo Soon-mi)
Mi-so’s second sister

Kim Ji-ah (Pyo Ye-jin)
Yumyung Group secretary

Yang Cheol (Kang Hong-suk)
Yumyung Group secretary

Jung Yu-mi (Jung Yu-mi)
Young-joon’s childhood friend [E14]

young Kim Mi-so (Kim Ji-yu)
Mi-so at 5 years old


Why Secretary Kim (2018, episode 11)


From restaurants in Seoul to cafes in Goyang, and even tourist attractions in Daegu — Why Secretary Kim is quite possibly one of the most location-diverse 2018 dramas that we at KDL have had the pleasure of following. Every episode is indeed akin to a journey through different parts of Korea: following the team’s daily grind at Yumyung HQ, work trips to see the new arts center (and its impressive library), down to the solitary (and occasionally shared) home-bound moments of Mi-so and Young-joon (and not forgetting that of Sung-yeon and the Lee brothers’ parents, and accidental neighbours Gwi-nam and Ji-ah).
Lots of fascinating locations to discover!
This overview will be updated when new locations are added.
Search Why Secretary Kim on KDL for a visual look of all locations.
Last update: 25/08/2019

SEOUL [서울]

Samseong-dong [삼성동]
Matsugaze Japanese Restaurant [마쯔가제] [E16]
Sinsa-dong [신사동]
Cooking Lab By Young [쿠킹랩바이영] [E9]
Liberty Night and Day [E2]
Yeoksam-dong [역삼동]
The Raum [더라움] [E1+16]
Sulwhasoo Flagship Store [설화수 플래그십스토어]

Dangju-dong [당주동]
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul [E4+8]
Samcheong-dong [삼청동]
Radio M [라디오엠] [E9]
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul [E4+9]

JUNG-GU [중구]
Myeong-dong [명동]
State Tower Namsan [E1]
Sindang-dong [신당동]
Gallery OOOJH [의외의조합]

Sinnae-dong [신내동]
Seoul Medical Center [E13]

MAPO-GU [마포구]
Hajung-dong [하중동]
Seogang Bridge [서강대교] [E3]
Hapjeong-dong [합정동]
Kao Kao Pub [카우카우펍] [E7]
Sangam-dong [상암동]
Apartment Building Sangam-dong
Daruma [다루마/だるま] [E6+15]
Gaon Culture Park [가온문화공원] [E6]
Hansabal Mapo Bindaetteok [E11]
DMC Cultural Park [DMC문화공원] [E11]
Sangsu-dong [상수동]
Seogang 8-kyoung [서강8경] [E11]
Seogyo-dong [서교동]
Eoulmadang Street [어울마당로] [E3]
Himeshiya — Seogyo Branch [E3]
Yeonnam-dong [연남동]
The Gastro PERMIL [퍼밀] [E14]

Oksu-dong [옥수동]
Dongho Bridge [동호대교] [E1]

Yeouido-dong [여의도동]
ELand Cruise [이랜드크루즈] [E3+9]
Woonsan Korean Restaurant [E5]

Hannam-dong [한남동]
Grand Hyatt Seoul [E1+2+16]

* * *

ASAN [아산시]

Dogo-myeon [도고면]
Jung Da Woon Grilled Pork [E6+9]

DAEGU [대구시]

JUNG-GU [중구]
Daesin-dong [대신동]
Seomun Market [서문시장] [E14]
Dongsan-dong [동산동]
3.1 Movement Stairs [3.1운동계단] [E14]

NAM-GU ]남구]
Daemyeong-9(gu)-dong [대명9동]
Apsan Observatory [앞산전망대] [E14]


Gapyeong-eup [가평읍]
Cheongsu Bridge [청수교] [E7]
Seasoning Days Pension Gapyeong [E7]
Seorak-myeon [설악면]
The Ananti Club Seoul [E5]
Gapyeong Rest Area [가평휴게소] [E7]

GOYANG [고양시]

Samsong-dong [삼송동]
Herscent Botanic Cafe [허센트보타닉카페] [E1]
Wonsin-dong [원신동]
Alex the Coffee — Goyang Branch [E13]

Janghang-dong [장항동]
Bronx — Ilsan Branch [E10]
Madu-dong [마두동]
Asosan [아소산 본점] [E16]


Songgyo-ri [송교리]
Jebudo Waterwalk [제부도 워터워크] [E10]


JUNG-GU [중구]
Unseo-dong [운서동]
Paradise City Hotel & Resort [E11]
Incheon International Airport [E13]

SEO-GU [서구]
Simgok-dong [심곡동]
CKU [국제성모병원] [E11]

Songdo IBD [송도]
Oakwood Premier Hotel Incheon [E2]

PAJU [파주시]

Munbal-dong [문발동]
Forest of Wisdom [지혜의숲] [E4]
Art Gallery Café [아트갤러리카페] [E3]

Tanhyeon Township [Tanhyeon-myeon/탄현면]
— Café Zino [지노 파주] [TEASER]
Gyeonggi English Village—Paju [TEASER]
Homeo – Heyri Store [호메오 – 헤이리점] [E4]
Artinus Farmer’s Table [파머스테이블] [E5]
Gallery White Block [화이트블럭] [E7]
Gallery Cafe Adamas253 [아다마스253] [E12]


Yeongbuk-myeon [영북면]
Hantangang Sky Bridge [E7/8]


AK Plaza — Pyeongtaek Store [E12+16]


Jeongja-dong [정자동]
Helsinki [헬싱키] [E1]
Sampyeong-dong [삼평동]
Bus Stop AhnLab [안랩] [E6]

SUWON [수원시]

Uman-dong [우만동]
CJ Blossom Park R&D Center [CJ블로썸파크]


Sowon-myeon [소원면]
Pine and Sea Pension [해송과바다] [E10]


Uijeongbu-dong [의정부동]
Pyeonghwa-ro 440beongil [E3+E11/12]
Pyeonghwa-ro 450beon-gil [E11/12]

YEOJU [여주시]

Neungseo-myeon [능서면]
Maiim VisionVillage [마임비전빌리지]
Hongmun-dong [홍문동]
Ggotge Maeul [꽃게마을] [E10]

YONGIN [용인시]

Bojeong-dong [보정동]
STUDIO 63 [스튜디오63] [E3+16]
Bojeong-dong Café Street [E3]
Pogog-eup [포곡읍]
Everland [에버랜드] [E2+11]


Jeonsu-ri [전수리]
The Hill House [힐하우스]



The essay book Every Moment Was You.Recalling Our Twinkled Nights Dreams Loves [모든 순간이 너였다] by Ha Tae-wan [하태완] (published by South Korean Wisdomhouse Publishing Co. Ltd) is Mi-so’s favorite book, containing all her dating romance, as she says. Later on, the book that Young-joon finds “childish” at first, becomes the most appropriate way to express how he feels toward Mi-so.At Forest of Wisdom [지혜의숲] in episode 4, Mi-so reads one of her favorite parts of the book entitled ‘You’ve got to date someone like this’ to Young-joon: “I want to be in the kind of relationship,” she reads, “Where I feel like the tiredness of my day gets washed off just by hugging you once, even if you don’t make my heart flutter every second.“

In the evening, still in episode 4, Young-joon sits at home, and reads another part of the book: “In this heavy and confusing life,” he recites to himself, “While you deal with your business, you wonder what they are doing all of a sudden, and think of the person first instead of yourself. That’s enough of a reason to call it love.”

In episode 11, Young-joon again, reads in the book at his home library and this time the following part — which is probably the best summary of his love to Mi-so and of this drama in general:

My every moment was you.
When I loved,
and also when I was in pain.
Even at our moment of farewell,
you were the whole world to me,
and every moment was you.
Without you,
I don’t think I can explain the story of my life so far.


“Ramen … means that much?”

“Would you like to have ramen?” In Korea, there is a deeper meaning to that seemingly innocent offer of instant ramen/ramyun (라면) to a guy or girl. In episode 5, Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young) invites Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon) to stay on at her place for ramyun — which, in Young-joon’s words, is ‘instant food full of chemical additives’. Both think it is totally normal, till they understand the ‘real’ meaning behind it.

Park Yoo-sik (Kang Ki-Young) explains it to Young-joon like this:
“When a woman says: ‘Oppa, would you like to have some ramen?,’ that means: ‘When you have this ramen, we are dating.’ It’s the same thing as saying: ‘I like you.'”

He continues explaining:
“Ramen is just an excuse. When a man and a woman are in a closed environment, you want to hold hands, and you want to hold each other.”


Because This Is My First Life

Why Secretary Kim (2018, episode 10)

Jung So-min and Lee Min-ki, the main couple of Because This Is My First Life (directed by Park Joon-hwa), appear as Mi-so’s parents in an episode 10 flashback.

Another Miss Oh 

Why Secretary Kim (2018, episode 10)

When Young-joon decides to stay over at Mi-so’s place in episode 12, she suggests watching TV to relax. Upon turning on the TV, however, the first thing they see is the hot kiss in Another Miss Oh, and a flustered Mi-so immediately changes the channel.

Another Miss Oh and Why Secretary Kim share the same production company, Studio Dragon.


Park Seo-jun won the ‘Rising Star Award’ for his lead role in Why Secretary Kim at the 13th Asian Film Awards (AFA13) on March 17, 2019.


Locations: Marion KDL, Mich KDL, Toni, Yeong-hoon
Photos: Thom Musni & Mich KDL


* * *


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