Follow TV Tropes


Series / Itaewon Class

Go To
Yiseo (left) and Saeroyi (right).

Itaewon Class (2020) is a Korean Drama based on the Korean webtoon of the same name. It aired on the TV channel JTBC (in Korea) and was streamed on Netflix (internationally) between January 31st and March 21st of 2020, with a total of 16 episodes.

Park Saeroyi (Park Seo-joon) defends a classmate from a bully — fully aware that said bully is the son of the president of the major food conglomerate Jangga, which employs his father. A series of events leads him to not only be expelled but also lose his father and end up in jail. He then builds a several-year-spanning plan to get Revenge on the people responsible: the president of Jangga Jang Daehee, and his son, Jang Geunwon. This revenge plan involves Saeroyi beating the president at his own game by creating his own bar-restaurant, DanBam.

As DanBam and his team grow — which includes fellow ex-convict Seungkwon, the stand-offish Hyunyi, and the cold and seemingly un-empathetic social media star Yiseo -, Saeyori faces a challenge: will Saeroyi succeed in the world of business by remaining loyal to the same principles that got him expelled in the first place?

In 2022, a Japanese adaptation known as Roppongi Class aired.

Itaewon Class provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Subverted. In episode 11 the old lady who is the neighborhood loan shark gets into an altercation with a local alcoholic father of who she disapproves of. He hits her back and knocks her down a hill, and he reacts as if she was dead. But she survives, though the resulting hospital scene reads like a Deathbed Confession.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Soo-ah's backstory and character are expanded upon from the original webtoon.
  • Adventures in Comaland: Saeroyi sees and talks to the spirit of his father while in a coma in episode 15, after he was struck by a car.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Geunsoo likes Yiseo, who likes Saeroyi, who likes Soo-ah, who is the Master of the Mixed Message and works for Saeroyi's opponent. Until much, much later, Saeroyi starts to like Yiseo back...
  • Almost Kiss: In episode 5, a drunk Soo-ah tries to kiss a willing Saeroyi, only to be interrupted by Yiseo, who grabs her by the face and pulls her away, claiming she is sexually assaulting Saeroyi. Pretty hypocritical considering Yiseo kissed an unconscious Saeroyi the previous episode.
  • Arc Words: "How does it taste?" "Sweet."/"Bitter."
  • Battle in the Rain: In the first episode, Saeroyi confronts Jang Geunwon outside the hospital in the pouring rain, and proceeds to beat the shit out of him. It's a rather one-sided fight, as Geunwon is injured, and also a coward. Then the police arrive and it becomes a standoff.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: In episode 10 Soo-ah recommends that Dae-hee abandon his son Geun-won, and that if he doesn't, Min-jung will probably be able to oust him and take over the company. Dae-hee says he'll never abandon his son. Dae-hee's secretary, who is spying for Min-jung, overhears this and reports back to Min-jung, and with this knowledge, Min-jung launches her coup attempt. However, Dae-hee does throw his son to the wolves at the press conference that follows, defeating Min-jung and securing his own position as CEO. He later reveals that he knew the secretary was a spy all along, knew she was listening, and deliberately misled her in order to trick Min-jung into making her move prematurely.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Jang Geunwon picks on people weaker than him and brags about his power and status, but can't hold his own in a fight against Saeroyi. As an adult, whenever he gains a piece of valuable business intel he gloats about it rather than using it to his best advantage.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Saeroyi is very direct and blunt, though always well-meaning — which corresponds to his strong convictions.
    • Yiseo is also known for this, but in a different way: while Saeroyi is very principled but doesn't see the need in beating around the bush, only hurting people (sometimes accidentally) if he thinks it's the right thing to say and do, Yiseo does this more out of a Lack of Empathy, simply not caring about what other people might feel.
  • Character Shilling: Yiseo is introduced with a voice-over by Geunsoo that gushes about how smart, athletic, popular, and savvy she is. This also works to establish Geunsoo's crush on her, which develops into obsession.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Seungkwon's past becomes a late-game plot point when his ex-boss is hired by Geunwon to kidnap Yiseo.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The guy assisting Saeroyi with corporate info is Hojin, the boy getting bullied by Jang Geunwon at the beginning of the series.
    • The old lady offering loans is actually Toni's grandmother. And later turns out to be a major investor responsible for Jang Daehee's success.
    • The gang leader Saeroyi met at prison (the same gang Seungkwon came from) is recruited in the third-to-last episode of the series by Jang Geunwon.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: In the finale, Soo-ah is immediately attracted to the chef applicant she's interviewing for her new restaurant, in a cameo by actor Park Bogum.
  • Contrived Coincidence: All the characters run into each other unexpectedly all the time and everywhere, even outside Itaewon. Soo-ah and Saeroyi's frequent encounters could be justified by the fact that they work near each other and that Soo-ah may be deliberately arranging these meetings, but the fact that Saeroyi constantly runs into Jang Geunwon throughout the very large metropolis of Seoul or ran into Yiseo several times in the same day before they even knew each other strains credibility.
  • Dead All Along: The fate of Kim Toni's father, who died in a car accident before Toni came to Korea.
  • Delinquent Hair: As a teenager, Jang Geunwon has bleached blond hair, showing he doesn't play by the rules, consistent with his bullying playboy lifestyle. After the time skip, he ditches the hair dye for a conservative haircut, signifying his new commitment to business. Amusingly, when he finally goes to jail for vehicular manslaughter, his hair is bleached blond again.
  • Disappeared Dad: Toni is searching for his dad, who went back to Korea and never came back. Along with the need to see his father again, he also needs to find him as he needs to prove he's related to a Korean person in order to get Korean nationality. He ends up accidentally meeting his grandmother instead, who reveals that his father was Dead All Along.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Geunsoo is a "Low-Key Yearning" variation towards Yiseo. He's one of the nicest members in Danbam (if not the nicest); he's also all too aware of Yiseo's love for Saeroyi, but determined to "win her love". During the second half of the series, this turns out to be a cynical take with elements of the "Spectacular Displays" variation: since Yiseo once said (as a joke, which she made very clear) that she'd like him if he grew some balls and took over Jangga Group, Geunsoo throws his morals away by joining Jangga and becoming The Unfettered (all for Yiseo), convinced that Yiseo will fall for him eventually. Following this logic, he also implicitly tries to be like Saeroyi (or more specifically, his skewed interpretation of him).
  • Drop-In Character: Soo-Ah is always hanging around Dan Bam almost to the point of being another crew member, even though she doesn't work there and is actually their rival. This is an endless source of irritation to Yiseo, and Soo-Ah's excuses to be there become less and less convincing, especially after Dan Bam moves locations.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: In episode 4, Saeroyi passes out drunk on the ground of a bar. Yiseo, infatuated with him, kisses him on the lips without his knowledge.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Several characters don't believe Toni (who's half-black) when he says he's Korean. This leads to Yiseo hiring Toni based purely on the assumption that he can speak English and thus attend tourists (he can't), and Toni being rejected from a disco because they supposedly "only attend Korean people".
  • Everyone Has Standards: Soo-ah and Yiseo both call out Geunsoo for outing Hyunyi as transgender to the media without her consent just to give Jangga an advantage against Danbam.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • After the time skip, Soo-ah goes from having short-cut hair to very long hair that makes her look less cute and more mature and ruthless.
    • Jang Geunwon goes from having yellow Delinquent Hair to a subdued, natural haircut, showing his newfound seriousness and focus on business.
    • After the 4-year time-skip once Danbam gets a major investor, the three original staff members get new, more mature hairstyles appropriate for their new high-ranking positions in IC. Yiseo's hair is much longer and loses the blond dye, Seungkwon has his hair slicked back, and Hyunyi's hair has grown to a more traditionally-feminine shoulder length.
    • Saeroyi keeps the same hair style throughout the series, symbolic of his determination and commitment to his principles despite all the challenges he's faced.
  • A Father to His Men: One of the main traits that set Saeroyi apart is that people and relationships are not a means or an obstacle to his goal, but his main motivation (and later, IC's motto) — his goal (aside from revenge) is being able to protect his people. This puts him at odds with Yiseo, who doesn't hesitate in having someone fired if it benefits Danbam. This includes not kicking Hyunyi out as recommended by Yiseo (on the grounds of Hyunyi not being a good cook, as well as possibly "making people uncomfortable" due to being trans), instead betting on her learning to cook, and vandalizing the entrance of a disco after finding out they didn't allow entrance to Toni because of his race.
  • Friendship Moment: In episode 5, after spending the whole episode criticizing Hyunyi's cooking and being low-key transphobic towards her, Yiseo pulls her aside and tells Hyunyi that she looks good with long hair, and calls her "big sis", repairing their relationship.
  • Foil: Saeroyi has several, reinforcing how unusual his vision and methods are compared to other people in the business:
    • Both Saeroyi and Jang Daehee built a business out of nothing (with Saeroyi even studying and memorizing the latter's autobiography to do so) after major family losses, with protecting their people as a motivation. The main difference is 1. that Jang Daehee (who's more conservative) believes in a strictly vertical hierarchy, thinking of people under his orders as "dogs", while Saeroyi (far more unconventional) treats his colleagues in a far more horizontal, friendly manner. 2. Daehee is The Unfettered: he's willing to backstab people (as we learn later, even his own family) if it means protecting the empire he built, believing that the strongest always prey on the weak; meanwhile, Saeroyi will go out of his way to keep his people with him even if it comes with costs for Danbam, with trust being one of his main values. They also have a major similarity that Geunsoo notes: they both are determined to achieve their goals even if it means hurting people's feelings — the difference being that Saeroyi still puts people's wellbeing in consideration, while Daehee is all too happy to throw people under the bus for the good of his empire.
    • Saeroyi and Soo-ah. Saeroyi is blunt but never malicious, while Soo-ah is a Master of the Mixed Message and can be quite hurtful with her words. Saeroyi doesn't care about reputation, but about doing what's right, staying firm to his principles and goals throughout the series, while Soo-ah suffers a major case of passiveness, following the orders of Jang Daehee as his right hand even if it hurts Saeroyi. This goes down to their appearances — while Soo-ah changes wardrobes and haircuts several times between time-skips, Saeroyi never does.
    • Saeroyi and Yiseo. Huge Guy, Tiny Girl aside, his straightforward Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! mentality contrasts with Yiseo's logical thinking and alleged Lack of Empathy. He's also out of touch with things like social and marketing trends while Yiseo is a social media celebrity. They both have similarities, though, in that they're both brutally honest and don't hold personal reputation in nearly as high regard as the people around them — except Yiseo is far more willing to hurt people if it means improving business, especially before Character Development kicks in.
    • Soo-ah and Yiseo. Both sympathize with Saeroyi while believing that sacrifices are often necessary to be successful but go about it on different ways. While she does have morals, Soo-ah is very unclear (and sometimes passive-aggressive) when it comes to stating what she wants, is very passive to the point of falling into Bystander Syndrome, and follows Daehee's orders even if she personally disagrees and/or those orders hurt Saeroyi. Yiseo, meanwhile, is brutally honest and has been diagnosed as 70% likely to have sociopathy, though she does come to care about (certain) people — she is also determined to follow her own path, and actively decides to join and help Saeroyi because she both likes him and sees potential in Danbam.
    • Saeroyi and Geunsoo, regarding their one-sided feelings for, respectively, Soo-ah and Yiseo. Saeroyi plainly tells Soo-ah that he likes her at the beginning of the series, but not only does he easily accept that she might never like him back: he tells her, several times, that whatever their relationship is is entirely up to her, and never demands anything of her or feels particularly upset by anything she says or does. Geunsoo, on the other hand, is a Dogged Nice Guy; he passively yearns after Yiseo (even when he sees her feelings for Saeroyi), and becomes determined to pursuing her by joining Jangga and adopting the philosophy of his father, abandoning his previous self, all because Yiseo once joked (which she made clear) that she'd fall in love with Geunsoo if he grew some balls and took over Jangga.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: One candidate for the new part-time worker is an incredibly beautiful woman who instantly renders all the guys in the room senseless. Seungkwon collapses into Gibberish of Love and has to go sit on the sidelines to compose himself, and Saeroyi is speechless and transfixed. The two are ready to hire her on the spot without hardly an interview, but Yiseo puts her foot down and stops them from hiring her.
  • How's Your British Accent?: A sub-plot involves the Danbam gang hiring Toni as a part-timer because, since he's a black man, they just assume he speaks English. It turns out that he doesn't, as he's from Guinea and actually speaks French and Korean. They tell him he'd better learn English lest Yi-seo fires him. The payoff gag in the finale reveals that Toni is now speaking fluent, unaccented English. Actor Chris Lyon is an American and a native English speaker.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Saeroyi towers over everyone, but this trope is especially noticeable between him and Yiseo.
  • Kick the Dog: Jang Daehee kicks the dog repeatedly. Starting from getting Saeroyi expelled and Saeroyi's father fired, to appearing to talk to Saeroyi while the latter is in prison to mock him, to forcing a regretful Geunwon to kill a hen with his own hands, to buying a bonsai with the message "Know your place"... The biggest ones are probably throwing his son Jang Geunwon under the bus and turning him into The Scapegoat to protect his position, and using Yiseo's kidnapping as blackmail to force Saeroyi to kneel.
    • Geunsoo starts getting this as he starts to become The Unfettered in the latter half of the series, starting with making Saeroyi say he doesn't like Yiseo in front of everyone (including Yiseo, revealing her feelings), and especially outing Hyunyi (his friend) as transgender to the media as a business tactic.
  • Kiss of Death: The symbolic version. In Episode 10 Dae-hee, who has always been horribly abusive towards his son Geun-won, gives his son a hug, and admits that he's never given Geun-won any token of affection before. He then goes directly to the press conference where he throws Geun-won under the bus, admitting that his son was guilty of the hit-and-run killing of Mr. Park, and turning over incriminating evidence to the police.
  • Lack of Empathy: According to her therapists, Yiseo is 70% likely to be a sociopath, prone to saying and doing hurtful things and cares little about what others might be feeling or living through. She grows out a little out of this after meeting Saeroyi and joining Danbam, starting to care about the others and actually sympathizing with Saeroyi's plight as she slowly starts to understand the way Saeroyi does things.
  • Literally Falling in Love: Geunsoo and Yiseo get in a motorcycle crash that catapults Yiseo into the sky. Saeroyi, always the Good Samaritan, rushes out to catch her and she falls on top of him. After this moment, Yiseo becomes obsessed with him.
  • Love Triangle: Yiseo likes Saeroyi, but he likes Soo-ah, who's the Master of the Mixed Message. In the last few episodes, it changes to Soo-ah liking Saeroyi, who has come to like Yiseo (who still loves him).
    • Geunsoo likes Yiseo, who likes Saeroyi. Much later on, Saeroyi starts to return Yiseo's feelings.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Episode 11 provides a reveal related to Toni's family. While in the hospital, the elderly neighborhood loan shark reveals that she is Toni's grandmother, as her estranged son had married an African woman in Guinea. The two of them share a heartwarming moment.
  • Ma'am Shock: Ms. Kang gets offended at being called Ajjuma ("auntie") and points out that she's not that old.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Soo-ah keeps vaguely rejecting-but-not-really Saeroyi's feelings, often saying he makes her hate him but also spending a lot of time with him and passively watching him realize his plans. This is in part because she works for Jangga, and because she's never dared to really go for anything she wants. By the end of the series, Saeroyi ends up falling for someone else.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "DanBam" means "sweet night", which refers to Saeroyi's desire for his nights not to be bitter anymore.
    • The similarities between Geunsoo and Geunwon's names hint at the fact that they're actually half-brothers; Korean siblings in a family typically share the first syllables of their given name.
  • Minor Living Alone: Geunsoo went to high school in Seoul even though he didn't grow up there, living in a boarding house by himself the whole time and working part-time jobs to support himself. He did it because he didn't feel loved or appreciated at home.
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: Played for Drama. In Episode 3, Yiseo, an underage high school student, goes out clubbing with an obviously fake ID that looks nothing like her (she tells everyone the picture was taken before she got plastic surgery). After getting kicked out of the Jangga restaurant by Soo-ah, she ends up at Danbam instead. Seungkwon realizes she has a fake, but lets her in anyway. The police come, and Danbam gets shut down for two months for serving alcohol to a minor — a major setback for Saeroyi.
  • Moment Killer: In episode 5, Soo-ah leans in to kiss Saeroyi, who is eager and receptive and is centimeters away from his face when Yiseo grabs her face with her hand to stop her before delivering a lecture about sexual assault.
  • Monochrome Casting: Averted — the Guinean-Korean Toni is part of the main ensemble, with his status as mixed being a point of conflict, as a lot of people does not recognize his Korean-ness due to his race. The show also makes a point of showing Itaewon as a place of tourism, with clearly non-Korean people frequenting the place.
  • Nerd Glasses: Hojin, a shy, bullied teen who grows up to be a math and finance whiz who attended Korea's top university, is the only major character with glasses. He starts off with thick, heavy frames, but graduates to a more stylish pair once he gains professional success.
  • Not So Stoic: Despite the tragedy, obstacles and misfortune thrown his way, Saeroyi manages to brush it off and always seeks a way to move forward due to his determination, but on rare occasions, the mask breaks. Near the end of the series, he's finally able to admit to his vision of his father that he's just tired of being driven by The Power of Hate, and wakes up openly weeping.
  • Oblivious to Love: Saeroyi is this towards Yiseo's feelings. It takes years after he rejects her for him to realize that he has feelings for her too.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: After not appearing for several episodes, the finale shows that Toni did do his homework and has become fluent in English, displaying perfect pronunciation.
  • Only Sane Man: Among Hyunyi and Seungkwon's constant bickering, Yiseo's Lack of Empathy and Geunsoo's Dogged Nice Guy tendencies, Toni stands out in the Danbam staff for being just a straightforward Nice Guy.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Saeroyi sees himself as this towards Jang Daehee, going as far as to ensure that the one who makes Daehee leave his position as president is Saeroyi and no one (and nothing) else.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Everyone assumes Toni is American because he's Black with long dreadlocks. Yiseo even hires him because she assumes he speaks English. He actually identifies as Korean and is half Korean, half Guinean, meaning he doesn't speak any English.
  • Pop-Up Texting:
    • A group text between the Dan Bam team shows up as text bubbles in the corner of the screen, complete with the characters' faces, superimposed of a shot of Saeroyi on his phone reading the messages.
    • The show features a similar effect to show Yiseo's live streams: the camera shows viewer comments flitting through the stream superimposed on the main picture, which shows whatever Yiseo is filming.
  • Power Hair: Ms. Kang, the second-in-command at Jangga foods, is one of the top candidates to take over after Jang Daehee takes over. She's a middle-aged woman with a very short haircut with dramatic, longer bangs, and a hairstyle that highlights her power and business acumen.
  • The Power of Hate: What drives Saeroyi throughout the series is his goal of getting back at Jang Daehee. In the second-to-last episode, when he faces his father in a coma-induced vision/hallucination, he explicitly names hate as what has been giving him purpose all this time, but then realizes he's tired of it.
  • Rescue Romance: Saeroyi rescues Yiseo several times, eventually causing her to fall for him. The first time, she's annoyed at him, but first after he breaks her fall after she gets in a motorcyle crash, and then when he helps her escape from a man who's harassing her, she becomes smitten with him and can't stop thinking about him. She often replays the memory of him catching her in her mind.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: Yiseo asks Geunsoo to take her on a ride on his bike and he refuses but she tells him she wants to go with him or she'll be pissed at him so he agrees in the end and tells her to hold tight as he drives off.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Yiseo is stunned once she realizes that she "stole" Saeroyi's first kiss by kissing him when he was unconscious, without his knowledge.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Jang Geunwon got away with bullying and humiliating Hojin for so long because he's the son of Jang Daehee, the president of Jangga Group, with Saeroyi getting expelled for punching him in Hojin's defense. When he accidentally hits Park Sungyeol with his car, causing his death, Jang Daehee covers up Geunwon's involvement. Later on, as Geunwon's incompetence proves repeatedly that he is not fit to be the Jang Daehee's heir, this trope stops applying and what he did ends up coming back to bite him, as Jang Daehee, to save his own skin (and Jangga Group, allegedly) publicly confirms Geunwon's involvement in Park Sungyeol's death while taking no blame on his own.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Also a modus operandi for Geunwon post Time Skip, though it doesn't work as well. At one point he literally throws money at bystanders to get them to stop intervening when it looks like he's beating Yiseo.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Sometimes mixed with Screw the Money, I Have Rules!. Saeroyi will put protecting his people and doing the right thing over money or his personal reputation — though what he perceives as doing the right thing and protecting his people do sometimes conflict, which causes him some trouble.
  • Senior Year Struggles: The show begins with the main characters in their last year of high school, which sets up the conflict for the rest of the show. In the first episode, Soo-ah and Saeroyi take their college entrance exams, but Saeroyi's police academy dreams are dashed after he is expelled from school for getting into a fight with the son of the powerful Jang Daehee. Meanwhile, Soo-ah gets into her college of choice and is offered a scholarship by Jang Daehee (who is now Saeroyi's Arch-Enemy), setting up her conflicting loyalties between the two for the rest of the show. The show focuses on Saeroyi's attempts to build a food business, both as a revenge plot against Jang Daehee as well as because his job options are limited because he didn't graduate from high school.
  • Sleep Cute: Yiseo falls asleep on Saeroyi's shoulder on the bus ride back from the country, hinting at her obvious attraction to him.
  • Smart People Play Go: Jang Daehee plays Go with his heirs and underlings, implied to be to test their strategic abilities.
  • Snow Means Love: Played with in episode 11. Snow begins to fall at the end of Yiseo and Saeroyi's conversation alone together about their relationship, but it's more of a breakup conversation, and Yiseo runs off alone at the end. It snows harder and harder as she cries by herself, cutting back and forth between the snow scene and happy memories of her and Saeroyi.
  • So Proud of You: Despite getting fired because of Saeroyi's refusal to kneel, Saeroyi's father tells him he's proud of him for remaining firm to his principles.
    • Near the end of the series, Saeroyi's father reappears in a vision, once again telling him this.
  • Spin the Bottle: In episode 11, the DanBam crew play a version of Truth or Dare that involves spinning a bottle and asking personal questions of whoever it lands on. Narratively, the result is very similar to traditional Spin the Bottle, as most of the questions that get asked are romantic in nature, and the resulting conversation brings the characters' romantic conflicts to a head.
  • Spit Take: Soo-ah spits her drink into Saeroyi's face twice in a row when he tells her about his plan to start a club and spend seven years as a deep-sea fisherman to earn the money.
  • Team Power Walk: Happens several times in episode 6 with Jang Daehee and his entourage of Soo-ah, Jang Geunwon, and his other underlings, emphasizing Jang Daehee's power and arrogance. The first time, there's a wide shot of the group striding confidently through the lobby of the office building which is suddenly interrupted by an underling rushing in to bring news. The second time, the group walks brazenly in slow-mo into Dan Bam to confront Saeroyi.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: When Yiseo and Saeroyi are trying to hire a new part-time worker, they cut through brief clips of several comically dorky and terrible candidates, including one guy who seems to be Yiseo's stalker.
  • Time Skip: Several, as Saeroyi has prepared a plan that spans more than a decade:
    • The first comes after Saeroyi is convicted, skipping to his release years later.
    • Then it skips to several years later, after Saeroyi has finally opened Danbam.
    • After Hyunyi wins the food competition, earning a major investor, Saeroyi shows his plans to go international. It then skips 4 years, after Danbam has become an established franchise.
  • Trans Tribulations: Hyunyi is a pre-transition trans woman. Some conflict arises after the other staff at Danbam find out, but it's revealed Saeroyi already knew she was trans and supported her since the time they worked together at a factory, and the staff becomes supportive as well as she transitions. This comes to a head when she becomes a popular contestant in a food competition show (where Jangga is also competing) and Geunsoo outs her to the public in hopes to give Jangga an advantage. Despite initially wanting to run away, she openly and defiantly declares she's trans on TV, and wins despite her popularity taking a hit. By the end of the series, she has one of the highest positions in IC, and is in a Maybe Ever After situation with Seungkwon.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: A variation occurs when Seungkwon, Geunsoo and Yiseo go to a disco. Seungkwon tries to (awkwardly) seduce a beautiful woman dancing, only for her to turn around and reveal she's his colleague, Hyunyi. This is how we learn she's not a guy as they previously thought, but a closeted trans woman.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: By the final episode, Saeroyi has accomplished everything he set out to do; thanks to Sooah's whistleblowing, combined with Geunwon's life sentence in prison, Daehee's cancer and Geunsoo disowning his blood family, Jangga Co. is brought down and even absorbed into the IC Group. Daehee even kneels in front of him in a last-ditch effort to retain it. Saeroyi actually somewhat lampshades the trope, noting he finally got the old chairman to kneel in front of him but it doesn't give him the satisfaction/cartharsis he thought it would.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Hyunyi and Seungkwon, big time. They bicker constantly, with Hyunyi often making jabs at the temperamental Seungkwon's appearance, but their relationship doesn't change much after she comes out as a transwoman, and later on while Seungkwon doesn't quite understand her being transgender, is supportive and has faith in her resilience after she's outed by Geunsoo to the press.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Jang Geunwon is shown to be this, trying and failing to make his father proud. Even after his father abandons him, Geunwon still understands it's for the good of the company, but becomes completely broken.