Earlier this month, the Total Variety Network released the K-drama adaption of American television series, Designated Survivor. It was re-titled Designated Survivor: 60 Days and the plot was adjusted to reflect the Korean government.
Despite being for a Korean audience, Netflix is currently streaming the K-drama to bring it to international viewers. In a surprise twist, Designated Survivor: 60 Days is popular both internationally and domestically.
After listening to viewers and reading forums, it seems the primary reason why the K-drama is so popular is that Ji Jin-Hee is playing a president that is both rational and honest while also making it work.
An honest and rational president
So far, six episodes of Designated Survivor: 60 Days have aired and throughout those episodes, we learn that President Park Moo-Jin (Ji Jin-Hee) is an honest and rational man. In the show, everyone sums him up as a “good man.”
The following scenes help prove President Park is a “good man.” Please take note that the list may potentially spoil the series too.
- Rationalizing the Situation: It is always a good thing to ask for the reason behind a problem or situation and to back it with facts. In the first episode, a nuclear submarine is found in South Korean waters just after the Korean Assembly building is bombed.
The Korean military wanted to go to war with North Korea, calling the submarine “proof” the country is behind the bombing. However, there is no proof whatsoever the two are related.
President Park uses his expertise in environmental studies and figures out the submarine took damage and can’t move when he views analysis forms showing a spike in nuclear waste in the ocean near it. Eventually, North Korea calls and administration and admits what President Park figured out.
- Caring for All People: In the second episode, Kang Sang-Koo (Ahn Nae-Sang), the mayor of Seoul district, uses fearmongering to further is candidacy for president. He does this by evoking the emotions of natural-born South Koreans against North Korean refugees trying to make a living in the country.
At first, President Park tries to reason to Kang Sang-Koo. Being the power-hungry man he is, Sang-Koo does not listen to reason and just wants to win the election. Ultimately, President Park has to utilize an executive order to protect North Korean refugees.
- Researching and Learning: Going back to the executive order, President Park was previously told he did not have the authority to pass executive orders because he was not voted into the presidency. He was tasked as president because the nation’s entire leadership was killed in the Korean Assembly Building bombing.
Instead of just taking everyone’s word on the matter, President Park actually researches the books to find out if he does have the authority to issue executive orders. He even asks for help from his staff as he admits social studies is not his forte.
- Honest to the People: In the fourth episode, President Park is being interviewed by Woo Sin-Young (Oh Hye-Won) a reporter who works for a television network. When she asks President Park if he was dismissed from his duties as Minister of Environment before becoming president, he admitted to it.
President Park chose to be honest with the people even when it meant career suicide. Even his entire staff was begging him to lie or “not admit to the truth” (which is still a lie) on the teleprompter.
- Unfit to be President: Probably the biggest sign that shows President Park is a good man is when he tries to resign from the presidency in the first episode. He realizes he is not fit for the job. Instead, the cabinet says he is the only one and it is his civic duty to the people to act as president.
This is also the reason why former president, Yang Jin-Man (Kim Kap-Soo), dismissed Park Moo-Jin. Jin-Man didn’t want to “get too greedy” because he knew Moo-Jin was a good man. To him, good men are not fit for politics at least politics today.
As mentioned earlier, only six episodes of Designated Survivor: 60 Days have aired. President Park is a good man and has kept to his morals and standards, but can he keep it up?
We already see signs of him getting used to using power now that he has it and they do say power corrupts. Will power corrupt President Park?
Designated Survivor: 60 Days airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. KST on tvN. For international audiences, it is exclusive to Netflix. Please take note viewers will need a subscription to the streaming service to view it.