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Chicago Typewriter - TV - Review

Chicago Typewriter poster

Chicago Typewriter

Native and/or alternative titles: 시카고 타자기
Year: 2017
Countries: South Korea
Languages: Korean
Genre: Comedy, Friendship, Mystery, Political, Romance, Supernatural
Director: Kim Cheol Kyu
Writer: Jin Soo Wan
Cast: Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung, Go Kyung Pyo, Kwak Shi Yang,Yang Jin Sung, Jo Woo Jin, Chun Ho Jin, Jun Soo Kyung, Ji Dae Han, Jo Kyung Sook, Kang Hong Suk, Oh Na Ra, Jun Mi Sun, Woo Do Im, Yoo Nyung Jae, Jo Min Ah, Kim Ki Soo

Synopsis: Han Se Joo was a writer in his past life during the 1930s Japanese occupation of Korea. He has been reincarnated and is a bestselling author in the modern day. But Se Joo is depressed and has writer’s block that keeps him from completing his next bestseller. Yoo Jin Oh is a talented ghostwriter who can bail Se Joo out of his predicament, but the mysterious man has a condition for his services that Se Joo may not be able to meet. Jeon Seol is a veterinarian and book lover who runs her own delivery service. She becomes an anti-fan of the overrated Se Joo.

Review: If I had to describe this drama in one word I would say ‘phenomenal’. This is an absolutely beautiful drama which has amazing cinematography, brilliant acting, touching and smooth screen-writing and incredible directing. All the elements which make a drama worthy have perfectly come together here.

Im Soo Jung - Chicago Typewriter

I didn’t really start this drama with great expectations. In fact, one day I was quite bored and came upon this drama. I read about it and the story seemed nice enough; different who I decided to give it a go. From the very first moment of this drama, I got hooked. I fell head-over-heels for it. I loved the characters and the story and the way the entire drama unfolded in a surprisingly great pace. I never felt at any point that the story was rushed or experienced a dull moment.

The story takes place in two periods that is the present-day Seoul and the 1930’s Kyeongseong (Present day Seoul) which was then being ruled by the State of Japan. The core element of the story revolves around the belief of ‘rebirth’ and ‘karma’. Our main leads in present day Seoul used to know each other in their previous birth as well and were friends, comrades and freedom fighters.

Unfortunately, one of the comrades (Yoo Jin Oh) died and got trapped in a typewriter and reveals himself to Han Se Joo in present day Seoul who is an acclaimed novelist. He makes Han Se Joo realize that Yoo Jin Oh and Han Se Ju used to be friends in their previous birth. Then also, Han Se Ju was a writer by the name of Seo Hwi Young. They both had another comrade, a female sniper by the name of Ryu Soo Hyun who in the present day is known as Jeon Seol. Jeon Seol (present day) is the number one fan of the writer Han Se Ju and fatefully ends up meeting him and getting to know him one day. Eventually, all three find out about each other and start recalling memories from their past life. None of their memories is complete. They all are missing the part about how they died. Also, Yoo Jin Oh is tasked with completing a book which Seo Hwi Young (Present day Han Se Ju) had started but couldn’t finish because of his untimely death. The killer is believed to be Ryu Soo Hyun (Present day Jeon Seol). As they combine their memories to finish the book which is their story form the 1930s they uncover more and more of their memories.

Go Kyung Pyo, Im Soo Jung - Chicago Typewriter

This is the basic story of the drama. But besides all this, there is romance and a lot of comedy and suspense also in the mix. The supporting characters have really done an outstanding job as well. Never for a minute did I feel anything was out of place or awkward.

In fact, I have seen the works of all the main leads before but I couldn’t recognize them for the longest time in this drama. You know how every person as a feel about them and same goes for actors. This feel or aura usually shows in the various roles that they play but in this drama, this wasn’t the case. I felt that the leads – Yoo Ah In (Han Se Ju/ Seo Hwi Young), Im Soo Jung (Ryu Soo Hyun/ Jeon Seol) and Go Kyung Pyo (Yoo Jin Oh) - were like completely different people. They had submerged themselves into their characters and it felt like they had become their characters. That was how powerful their acting seemed to be.

Go Kyung Pyo - Chicago Typewriter

I loved the each and every one of the supporting cast as well. From Jeon Seol’s best friend Ma Bang Jin to Han Se Ju’s Secretary. Everyone played their role to perfection and felt like an important part of the drama despite their short appearances. Even the villains Baek Tae Min (Played by Kwak Shi Yang), Jo Sang Min (Played by Woo Do Im) and Jo Sang Cheol (Played by Kim Ki Soo) did a brilliant job. Especially Baek Tae Min’s acting was really believable and made me completely forget that this is just, in fact, a drama and not real life. Even his mother (Hong So Hee played by Jo Kyung Seok) nailed the part of the evil mother. Speaking of mothers, Ma Bang jin’s mother Wang Bang Wool (Played by Jun Soo Kyung) was part well-done. She was a shaman who had the ability to tell fortunes and at one point could see and speak to ghosts as well. Her eccentric but sweet and caring nature really was a perfect not-your-average mom.

Yoo Ah In - Chicago Typewriter

I really admire the script writers of this drama. Their skills made the simplest interactions burst with emotions. There was always an abundance of comedy as well, even in the serious moments. Some of the best parts were the speeches that were delivered in 1930’s Kyeongseong by our leads. They were really inspirational and I could feel the words going directly to my heart. Many of the dialogues were also beautiful and quote-worthy as well. Also, the writers used many beautiful and thought provoking quotes by famous authors as well. Let me quote some of them for you right here:

A pen is mightier than the sword, a typewriter is mightier than a gun.
- Ryu Soo Hyun

From now on, don’t dwell on the past. Don’t sacrifice the present for the future. Be present in every minute, and every second.”
 - Jeon Seol’s father 

“Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”
- Louis L'Amour 

“My homeland may be lost, but my words will not be taken away from me. If I cannot write, I am no different than a ghost. In a liberated Joseon, I will madly write whatever I wish.”
- Seo Hwi Young

“Fear comes from a lack of trust in ourselves and anxiety of the unknown. If you don’t want fear or anxiety to consume you, you have no choice but to trust yourself.”
– Han Se Ju

And there are plenty more such quotes in the drama. In fact, I also loved that the writers made Jeon Seol such a great fan of Han Se Ju but not in an obsessed stalker type of way. This definitely shows that a fan doesn’t need to go to extremes in order to be the number one fan. There are limits and boundaries which need to be maintained from a perspective of humane and moral grounds.

The cinematography was really nice here especially when they were showing the past lives, flashbacks, memories and time travel. Plus the background music and OSTs were like a cherry on top which made this drama and the scenes complete. It was like these songs were tailor made for this drama. Every OST fits its respective scene like a glove. Here are the links to the OSTs:

I think the best part of this drama was the pacing. Every mystery, every answer, every move, every memory and even the climax was so well-paced. Also, the climaxed was not over-hyped and transitioned smoothly along with the story. I think this is one of the reasons that when I finished the drama I was so shocked to realize that this drama is over. There was no hype, no rush, no over-the-top melodrama. Just like that another part of the story; another phase of the lives of the characters was over. It felt so natural and life-like that I could connect with it so deeply. Even though the drama is over every now and then I still feel the urge to check for the next episode updates before I realize that there won’t be any because it is over. Somehow to me, it doesn’t feel like a drama is over. It actually simply feels like those people; those characters simply moved away to a different place so we simply lost touch. It feels like their story is still continuing somewhere, wherever they are. This drama did not feel like a drama to me. It felt real. Like it was a part of my life for a brief moment of time.

  • Brilliant plot and acting
  • Ma Bang Jin and Yoo Jin Oh's incomplete love story
  • Story: 9
  • Acting/Cast: 10
  • Music/Sound: 9
  • Overall: 9
Have you seen this show? If yes, what do you think about this show? Comment below! If not, does it sound interesting to you?

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