de DBSK, Setembro 21, 2015

Currently Watching: Assembly

“The 24 pillars set up in the main building represent 24 solar terms (4 seasons, each season has 6 solar periods). The 365 lights in the ceiling represent 365 days. It means to work hard for the people 365 days per year without fooling around.” 

Choi In Kyung


This is my first article, and I’m very excited to be able to have it published on mdl. It is spoiler free. Thank you for reading!

The hype around Assembly was not immense, but because of the names attached – Jung Jae Young and Song Yoon Ah – at least I was on-board. This would be Jung’s first drama project and Yoon Ah’s comeback after the immense success of Mama (MBC, 2014). Assembly reached a 6,0 % in ratings this week. I will be talking more about the ratings after introducing the plot and characters, so stay tuned!

The Plot

Assembly is an intriguing political drama set during 2015, and follows our main lead Jin Sang Pil, as he goes from being a shipyard welder to trying his hands at what most people would call «dirty politics». Sang Pil is set on working only for the people, more so the weakest individuals in the society, as he has been laid off from his work for three years and therefore is striking in the first episode. Being an inexperienced person within politics, Sang Pil gets the help of the talented Choi In Kyung, who serves as his senior aide.

Characters Welcome


(From left to right: Jung Jae Young, Song Yoon Ah & Jang Hyun Seung)

Jung Jae Young as Jin Sang Pil

As Sang Pil is striking as the leader of the labor union for reinstatement, he finds before him a proposal to become a part of the national assembly of South Korea. The dilemma lies in whether he should leave the strike, or join the assembly to search for a quicker solution.

Song Yoon Ah as Choi In Kyung

Stepping forward to rescue Sang Pil from embarrassment and calamities is Choi In Kyung, a former employee of the Blue House, and current head of declining consulting company ‘In Kyung’. She is a graduate of Seoul National University, and is a close affiliate of Baek Do Hyun.

Jang Hyun Sung as Baek Do Hyun

Baek Do Hyun is the person who offers Sang Pil a chair at the national assembly as he is looking for a candidate for the (fictional) town Kyung Jae. He is a part of the pro BH (Blue House) faction and therefore tightly linked to the Blue House. He is also In Kyung's senior.


(From left to right: Ok Taec Yeon, Kim Seo Hyung & Park Young Gyu)

Ok Taec Yeon as Kim Gyu Hwan

Kim Gyu Hwan, son of Bae Dal Soo, is a student during the day and a chauffeur at night. He is studying to become a police officer. Gyu Hwan lives with his mother due to his mother having an affair and remarrying and Bae Dal Soo giving up the parental rights because of a leg disability. As an unfortunate event takes place, a drastic change takes place in Gyu Hwan’s life that not only changes his life, but also the lives of people around him.

Kim Seo Hyung as Hong Chan Mi

Hong Chan Mi is a part of the pro BH faction, an assembly member whom highly respects and follows Baek Do Hyun. Choi In Kyung and her no longer get along, but were once acquaintances.

Park Young Gyu as Park Choon Sub

Park Choon Sub is the leader of the anti BH (Blue House) faction, and has immense influence and force. He is constantly clashing with Baek Do Hyun and it is impossible to tell whether they want to work together or not.

I wish I could introduce some of the supporting characters in greater detail, but I'm afraid this article would get too long for that. Instead I will list up a few of the characters: Seo Hyun Chul as Sang Pil's second aide Seo Dong Jae and Yoon Bok In as his secretary Oh Ae Ri. We also have Im Ji Kyu starring as Hong Chan Mi's secretary and Kim Bo Mi as In Kyung's assistant Song So Min.

Why watch Assembly?

The cast

This is a star studded veteran cast, and they have never failed to impress me. For those who need a short introduction to our two leads, here it is;

This is Jung Jae Young’s first drama, so if you haven’t watched any dramas of his before – don’t worry. You won’t find them either. Some of his known movies are The Fatal Encounter (2014), Confession of Murder (2012) and Castaway on the Moon (2009).  Interestingly, his character’s name is the film Silmido from 2003 is also Sang Pil.

Song Yoon Ah on the other side debuted on the small screen and has various well-known dramas; a few being Mama (2014), On Air (2008) and Hotelier (2001). On the big screen she has done movies such as Jail Breakers (2001), Lost in Love (2006) and Wedding Dress (2010). She has yet to make her big screen comeback after Wedding Dress. Yoon Ah is married to Sol Kyung Gu. Now that makes for one powerful couple!  

Their portrayal as In Kyung and Sang Pil is realistic, it is rustic and it is my number one reason for watching Assembly.

The writing

Jung Hyun Min, who won Best Screenplay for Jeong Do Jeon at the 2014 KBS Drama Awards, pens Assembly. The thing I especially love about his writing style is the focus the story had kept throughout its run. We get exactly what we’re promised by the premise. There is absolutely no sign of romance (though Sang Pil and In Kyung would make one interesting pairing.) Sang Pil is married and has a child, while In Kyung’s relationship status remains unknown. The humour is such a subtle element placed so very carefully, and it’s a pleasure listening to Sang Pil as he makes some of the snarkiest comments I’ve ever heard.

I think what highlights Jin Sang Pil's sincerity towards only working for the people is how his character is written, but also through how amazing of an actor Jung Jae Young is to deliver every single emotion in such great detail. He is such a gem.

As far as I can tell, there are next to no plot holes and it goes to show how talented the writer is. Not even one week has been boring, and the suspense has only increased each week. The first two episodes were rather heavy because we had to deal with all these new names and factions, and I remember writing this comment here as well, but after that, the story was rather easy to follow. Because the characters are so different from each other, it is easy to identity them; if not by names, definitely by characteristics! Sticking with 20 episodes was a good idea, and I can’t wait to see what the finale has in store for us. Now is the perfect time to marathon Assembly, as it’s ending next week!

The friendship

THIS. As much as Assembly can be heavy for some politically, I’d say stay for the love, the warmth and the growth. Sang Pil and In Kyung are comrades -  together through thick and thin. They rely on each other because they know they have found something in each other that can never be replaced by anyone else. It is a beautiful relationship. I wish more of you guys would watch Assembly because this is such an important and relevant part of the drama. It’s not all politics. These two people are not friends from the very start. It is gradual change, it is trust. It is disagreements and making up. And more than anything: it is smiles.

Discussing Assembly


As I mentioned earlier, the ratings for Assembly have been on the declining side and have ranged somewhere between 5-6 %. It premiered at 5,2 %. In terms of competition there was Scholar Who Walks the Night on MBC and currently still is Yong Pal on SBS. Yong Pal’s been getting two digit ratings, but netizens are still loving Assembly. I think it is more enjoyed in South Korea than overseas as the drama is dealing with corruption and injustice within the national assembly that to some degree is similar to the situation in country.

I chose a few comments from K-netizens after this week’s episodes (17 & 18) from kkuljaem:

“[+1,287, -41] I don't understand why a masterpiece like this one is getting pushed aside because of 'Yong Pal'”

 “[+623, -6] This drama shows the reality of our country”

“[+229, -7] Why are the ratings so low?”

“[+61, -1] You really can't judge this drama by its ratings alone”

“[+51, -4] Find strength and maintain this quality. Don't mind the ratings~~1 week left.”

Read more here.


I read this concern on tumblr: How objective can Assembly be while airing on KBS, the national broadcaster of South Korea? 

This question has constantly been on my mind. First of all, the town Sang Pil is nominated in, is fictional. That also means that all scenarios and corruption, is fictional. I am not familiar with South Korean politics, but I am very sure that similar situations have occurred as netizens are commenting on it.

The main focus is also on the good guy, Jin Sang Pil, and even though the corruption is important, I think Assembly is getting away with this because a good guy is in the picture and we all know it is in fact a drama. Such an assembly member has yet to exist, one that takes no sass from others and focuses only one goal. Maybe they are sitting at home. Maybe they have yet to speak up. Because the entertainment industry is so important in South Korea, I believe everyone can learn something from Assembly. But it takes guts to stand up and more importantly to be steadfast.

And of course, Assembly would've never gotten a time slot if the drama would be that controversial.

Why not a female assembly member?

Why not? Why is In Kyung an aide? 

I think Assembly could’ve have fallen flat for me if they had not handled this problem properly. The thing is that In Kyung is in fact interested in politics and being nominated. It’s just that she doesn’t get the chance. Every single person in the Korean national assembly KNOWS that In Kyung is more than capable to become an assembly member. And more importantly – she knows too. When she becomes an aide, Sang Pil knows that this is person that knows more than him. He isn’t cocky. He talks formally to In Kyung. He gives her the respect she deserves. I am big on feminism and love looking for details in dramas and one thing I have noticed for sure is that Sang Pil has never looked upon her as a smart woman but a smart person; an individual that deserves his respect for leading him through his new job. Whenever someone tries to insult In Kyung, he will be first one to counterattack.

This might still be cliché, but I think Assembly handled it the right way nonetheless. The foundation in all relationships is respect, and this is a prime example of how it can and should be handled in dramas.

Behind The Scenes





You have reached the end of the article, and if you have read it from the beginning till the end: thank you so much! I know this was long, but I only write this long about something if I'm really enjoying it.  If you want to start with something lighter than Assembly I recommend watching Punch (Jo Jae Hyun cameos in the first episode of Assembly!). And if you like the sound of Assembly, I also recommend Dae Mul (though I have yet to finish it.) And if you gave up on Assembly after the first few episodes, I really would pick it up again. Episode 12 in particular left a huge impression on me.

“Yes. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is for the people. But I believe that this is what the people desperately want. Yes. That’s what I think.” 

— Jin Sang Pil

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