Park Dong Un: Access, Power, Mobility

by @the_sweetroad from Soompi

The more I re-watch My Mister, the more Managing Director Park Dong Un’s role becomes increasingly noticeable and fascinating.

@justamom said:   

I thought Gwang Il represented the general audience, initially skeptical and mocking their relationship…but he came out of it transformed, just like us.   

If Gwang Il is the one who has an intimate look into Park Dong Hoon and Lee Ji An’s relationship because he has access to all the wiretap recordings, Park Dong Un is the character who discovers the truth of all the shenanigans that have been going on and synthesizes that truth for everyone in the story. His access, power, and even mobility are at a level that no one else has, except perhaps the Chairman. He becomes a major playmaker in My Mister. Not only that, Park Dong Un actually saves both Dong Hoon and Ji An at different times: Dong Hoon in the beginning of our story, and Ji An at the end.   

Let me break it down:   

Park Dong Un’s Access…to Everything 

Our first glimpse of Park Dong Un is in Episode 1. Through Saman’s CCTV, he sees that Director Yoon is trying to woo Director Jung. Park Dong Un isn’t even using CCTV to check on a security breach or an event, he’s just hanging out in the Security room to check up on his fellow directors. What’s even funnier is that the Security team lets him! 

Because he can see Director Yoon texting Director Jung, though, he becomes concerned for Director Jung and sends him to the United States for a month to keep him out of trouble. Dang. 

In Episode 2, Park Dong Un is again in the Security room trying to unravel the mystery of the bribe that was accidentally sent to Dong Hoon. Thankfully, when the bribe is found in the trash and brought to the Security team, Park Dong Un is there. He orders the head of the Audit team to keep the discovery a secret and the Audit team obeys. Later, Park Dong Un reveals to a very-relieved Dong Hoon that the money was found.  

Park Dong Un also gets to read the email tip-off and learns that the bribe was meant for the Managing Director (himself) and not the General Manager (Dong Hoon). He’s amazingly clever and articulate in the Directors’ meeting when he reveals that he knows what was in the email tip. 

His quick mind pieces everything together and he figures out that even though he was the target, Director Yoon and CEO Do Joon Young also want to fire Dong Hoon. 

Soon after, in Episodes 3 and 4, Park Dong Un is demoted and has to move to Busan. But he checks out the CCTV in the Shine bar and sees something fishy going on: 

In Episode 5, Park Dong Un becomes a major player when he hands Do Joon Young’s phone records to Dong Hoon. The show never explains where he got them from, but it doesn’t matter. He has them and he urges Dong Hoon to dig up some dirt about Do Joon Young. This leads to a complete breaking open of Dong Hoon’s façade of a happy marriage. 

Much later, in Episode 13, we see him with the detective at the police station. The detective shows him CCTV from the streets around Shine bar on the night of the incident.

And in Episode 14, he’s in the investigator’s room at the police station when they’ve caught Ki Bum. 

As this sequence unfolds, Park Dong Un learns that Ji An has been wiretapping Dong Hoon’s phone, which shatters the façade that there’s a perfectly innocent, non-spying relationship between Ji An and Dong Hoon. Poor Dong Hoon! 

Throughout the show, we see that Park Dong Un is the only one in My Mister with access to CCTV and behind-the-scenes happenings whenever and wherever he needs it, and his access to all of this information helps him find out the truth. His access to Do Joon Young’s phone records also acts as a catalyst for Dong Hoon to find out the truth about his marriage. 

Park Dong Un’s Power 

Obviously, Park Dong Un’s position and power (and desire) are what enable him to gain access to the Saman CCTV room all the time. But he also has the power to move people around — like sending Director Jung to the US for a month — and influence the decision to put forward Dong Hoon as a candidate for Managing Director. 

Park Dong Un also saves Dong Hoon in the beginning of the show by revealing the truth about the bribe scheme and enabling Dong Hoon to keep his job. If it weren’t for Park Dong Un’s integrity, as well as his standing with the Chairman and with the rest of the Directors, lowly Dong Hoon may have been done for. 

Toward the end of the show, Park Dong Un has the chance to save Ji An from jail by not pressing charges — and he graciously takes it. As powerful and as disgraced as he was, Park Dong Un could easily exact extensive revenge on JA and Ki Bum and make them pay for a long time. But he kindly yields his power and allows the two young ones to keep going with their lives. I believe that because the Chairman asks him to extend forgiveness, and because Park Dong Un can see the truth that Dong Hoon and Ji An have a special friendship, he submits his desire for personal revenge to the greater good. Park Dong Un knows when to give up his power — and when to use it. 

Also, Park Dong Un is the only one besides Chairman Jang who almost never wears a tie. The rest of the Saman directors always wear ties, but Park Dong Un is consistently shown in an open collar and suit coat. This costuming must have been deliberate by PD-nim to reinforce Park Dong Un’s powerful standing over and above the other directors throughout the show. 

Interestingly, the only time we do see him wear a tie is in the directors’ meeting where he’s revealing the truth about the bribe (above). Perhaps when all the directors are together they all have to wear ties!

(As an aside, Dong Hoon only wears ties once he becomes a Saman director. By the end of Episode 16, though, he’s his own CEO and he moves to the open-collar look himself.) 

Just had to squeeze in a shot of Dong Hoon smiling. 

Park Dong Un’s Mobility 

You would think that if you were demoted and sent to Busan that you wouldn’t see your colleagues very often. Nevertheless, after Park Dong Un has gone to Busan we still see him meeting with the Chairman, going to job sites, and meeting with Dong Hoon. 

I only noticed his mobility during a re-watch (and not during the first watch), because I was thinking about Dong Hoon and Ji An and how it seemed like her moving to Busan was like moving to the end of the world. Why did Busan seem so far away and their parting feel so final? 

Yet Park Dong Un makes the distance seem like nothing since he’s always in touch with his people and creates opportunities to see them. His mobility is a stark contrast to Dong Hoon and Ji An’s mobility.   

My Mister is endlessly rich and fascinating because there’s so much to delve into with even supporting characters. When I first watched the show, I just thought Park Dong Un was Dong Hoon’s somber supervisor and ally. Only after seeing him, repeatedly, in some of the same situations (intently staring at CCTV screens!) and seeing how authoritative he was, did I realize what a key role he played in the entire story. He’s kind of the bomb. 

18 thoughts on “Park Dong Un: Access, Power, Mobility”

  1. Only Chairman Jang can demand the mighty Park Dong Un not to go after LJA.

    To further elaborate why Chairman Jang a Santa Claus (on top of his obvious supports to PDH/LJA like yelling at DJY and the directors ):
    1. When chairman tells PDH to have LJA call him, he further urges one should see the full light/the full bright world (instead of seeing half light). Initially I think he’s only referring to LJA. Later on I realize he’s also referring to PDH.
    2. PDH’s start up: pls note that senior mgt contracts have restrictive terms like non-complete and garden leave etc. The facts that his entire team joins his start up and he still keeps in touch with Chairman Jang indicate that PDH leaves Saman on very good terms. (I had an employment contract like that so this setting/situation jumps out at me and looks very obvious.) Also, some big bosses, like J Robertson, love to seed the start-ups of their star managers.
    3. LJA’s new job in Busan:
    (3.1) LJA does not tell PDH anything about her conversation with the Chairman, and only mentions her new job in Busan (pls note that the HQ of that company actually in Seoul). Why Busan?… LJA/PDH, given their very difficult/unconventional situation, need a separation and the time jump/apart to rethink and rebuild their respective life/career (um… my #one and I fought through a time jump of *4* years. Painful… but, in retrospect, it was a must… so real. Kowtow to the scriptwriter);
    (3.2) A junior clerk with no special/ professional skills transferring to the HQ? And within only a year? … You must be kidding. Don’t even think about that except for those with connections.

    No way all these are just coincidence…. After all, it’s also Chairman Jang who demands Park Dong Un not to go after LJA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes special thx to PDU (not only for saving LJA from jail by not pressing charges at the end, but also) for his efforts pushing PDH back to LJA, through investigation going after KiBum and LJA. Without knowing the wiretapping, PDH would not know LJA has done so much to protect him (and finally understands her love actually so deep and selfless). The story would be completely different.
    Previously, PDH assumes (pretends) it’s only a crush, and believes he does the right thing (keeping distance and boundaries). Also, LJA’s excuse of leaving Saman (everyone knows she’s a murderer) blocks him from getting her back (ie goodbye)… Putting the family photo (PDH/KYH/son) in his new office, PDH pretends everything is fine and life back to normal. That is, back to square one: life imprisonment,… no longer only himself, but also dragging along KYH* and LJA**. (How ugly!… Thx to PDU’s investigation the story doesn’t end that way.)

    * In that case, KYH will still leave, eventually. She is not a person taking this crap. Especially, at this point the Park brothers all know about her affair.
    ** When LJA on the run, she’s back to minimum wage jobs with no future. Also, if the story ends there, her fate could be similar to JH’s (a doomed life unable to let go of a past love).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again – great points! I love that in the show, no one is really allowed to get away with anything. DJY and YH’s affair is exposed, DJY’s scheming and paying off JA is exposed, and JA’s wiretapping is exposed. Yet there’s redemption for her, because PDU and PDH learn the truth and PDH makes her come out of hiding. And to think of JA becoming like Jung Hee…so sad, isn’t it? Glad it didn’t end that way.

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      1. Scriptwriter Park creates JH and her storyline for a reason. Through JH, the writer shows us what could happen to LJA. When one has experienced a love which is so deep and intense, his/her heart becomes completely full with no room left for other relationships.

        Once I asked my wife how we survived our 4 year time jump when everything was in a mess. She laughed, “Nothing rational. Maybe it’s a fate. You have become so special that no one else comes even close.”

        That’s right. PDH *has become* unique in the heart of LJA. (And her heart is full, like JH’s.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Four years is a long time! 🙂

        And yes, I agree – I don’t think anyone else can compare to Dong Hoon, in Ji An’s heart. @actionscript has mentioned that both Jung Hee and Yu Ra serve as mirrors for Ji An, and the kind of long-lasting love that she would harbor for DH.

        Good insights!

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      3. Park mom concludes that the most important thing in a relationship is loyalty.*. (A quality demonstrated by JH and LJA. and KYH a counter example.)

        * after PSH’s wife saying something like “taking your spouse as your number one”.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. PDH, a decent but still rather ordinary man, has become “the only one” in LJA’s heart. Nobody can be a match of him in the rest of her life, because the LJA who needs rescue no longer exists (and she will only remember how much PDH has done and how out of character (read passionate) he has been).

        And vice versa he should feel the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes 4 years was long, and my #1 once wrote in a letter, “we are spending our prime years separating”… I am sure LJA and PDH feel the same.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thx. you also mentioned the open collar look (of PDU and PDH etc). Yes the details of way they dress has meanings and implications.

    Correct me if I am wrong, throughout the entire show PDH always closes/fastens the top button of his shirt, even when not wearing a tie. Otherwise he’s in high turtle-neck. Looks pretty restrained/repressed. (Oh no, not including the time that he wears T-shirts and sportswears when he plays football or at home.)

    Pls note two exceptions, with open collar looks ie PDH finally undoing the top buttons:
    (1) In PSH’s fantasy trip (the Park brothers dressing like gangsters, and PDH in a black shirt)
    (2) after the time jump when PDH has a new life

    Another subtle way to show his change? Finally free and unconstricted at the end, like in PSH’s fantasy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great insight, tying the open-collar CEO look to Sang Hoon’s fantasy! He is smiling, laughing, carefree in PSH’s fantasy. I agree, it’s another way to show his change. I also read on this site that he is wearing a blue suit at the end, which is also non-conventional for a corporate CEO – they’re usually wearing black. That could be another sign that he’s willing to go against societal norms.

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      1. Yes I noticed the blue suit, as many others did, but no point to repeat that.

        You always post something new and different, right? Same here.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “You always post something new and different, right?”

        Haha, not sure about that. These days I’ve been saying the same things over and over again on different sites. LOL.

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    2. That got my attention because I used to close all my shirt buttons (including the top button, even when not wearing a tie) , when I was young. Yeah pretty odd.

      Now, not only open collar but at least 3-4 buttons open. Hahaha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice! You’re very relaxed then, as an adult :). I’d rather be restrained as a youth and more relaxed as an older adult, than the other way around.

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  4. LJA’s socks a parallel. Her only long sock scene actually not in the drama. Instead, it’s in the poster shots. See BTS#3 “Making the Posters” here, and you will see two poster shots: one representing her previous life, vs the other one together with the PDH and his brothers (ie her new life).

    Remember PDH keeps saying not wearing long socks would hurt in the winter?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great parallel. In the posters and GIFs she is so relaxed and comfortable, and the warm socks are definitely a contrast to what she is wearing in the show. And yes, happy future life: every time the banner GIF comes up on this site where PDH puts his elbow on JA’s chair, I have to watch it for a while before moving on. 🙂

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      1. That’s right PDH’s elbow. Similarly, the poster shot (on the green sofa) that PDH/LJA sit rather closely in the middle, with the brothers on the two sides.

        Liked by 1 person

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