Best Love’s Lee Hee-jin joins Last Secretary
Lee Hee-jin is on a bit of a roll: Currently playing best friend Jenny on MBC’s Best Love, she’s lined up her follow-up drama, which will be Choi Kang-hee‘s office-romance drama Last Secretary.
That’ll be the third drama in one year for Lee Hee-jin — actually, just over half a year — since the former pop group singer (of late-’90s girl group Baby VOX) made her drama debut in November with the family-centric drama It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl. I think she’s one of the more successful examples of stars making the idol-to-actor transition, and she was so solid in Daddy’s Girl that I was surprised to realize she was a total rookie — her Ae-ryung character (Moon Chae-won’s big sis) was warm, sensitive, and caring, and she had a calming, mature aura in it.
Then, she went completely in the other direction with Jenny in Best Love, playing a bubbly, chattery, and sometimes immature character that’s just about as diametrically opposite to Ae-ryung as you could get. That’s why I’m pretty sure she’ll be fine making another transition in Last Secretary, where she plays a senior secretary in a large corporation, a chic and well-educated woman who speaks five languages and carries herself with confidence.
She’s also a friend to the boss, in addition to being his competent right-hand woman. (Think Park Ji-yoon in Lie To Me.) In fact, the friend-who’s-also-secretary-to-the-boss character is apparently becoming enough of a trend to spawn yet another slang shortened-word term, the sa-chin-seo, which stands for 사장님 친구 비서 (비서계의 엄친아란 뜻), or boss’s friend and secretary. Aka, the eom-chin-ah/ddal (엄마 친구 아들/딸), or likable boy/girl next door, of the secretary world. Lordy, Korea, not everything needs a nonsensical nickname — you could just use full words once in a while. Just sayin’.
Currently, Choi Kang-hee is the only other cast member attached, and will play a secretary who is newly hired to the company, who falls for the boss hero. His character is yet to be cast, although there have been some rumors of Ji Sung being courted.
To be honest, I find Best Love’s Jenny to be vastly overacted, but I quite liked her in Daddy’s Girl and was pleasantly surprised with her acting there, so I think Lee will probably continue to do well in her acting career. At the rate she’s going, she’ll be busy for a while.
Last Secretary will air midweek on SBS, following City Hunter in August.