Prison Playbook

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Prison Playbook
Promotional poster
슬기로운 감빵생활
슬기로운 監房生活
Literal meaningWise Prison Life
Revised RomanizationSeulgiroun Gamppangsaenghwal
GenreBlack comedy[1]
Created byLee Woo-jung (for Egg Is Coming)[1]
Written byJung Bo-hoon
Directed byShin Won-ho
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of episodes16
Executive producerPark Sung-jae
ProducerPark Soo-woo
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time90 minutes
Production companytvN
Original release
ReleaseNovember 22, 2017 (2017-11-22) –
January 18, 2018 (2018-01-18)

Prison Playbook[2] (Korean슬기로운 감빵생활) is a 2017 South Korean television series directed by Shin Won-ho and starring Park Hae-soo and Jung Kyung-ho. The series marks Park Hae-soo's first-ever lead role. It aired on tvN from November 22, 2017 to January 18, 2018, every Wednesday and Thursday at 21:10 (KST) for 16 episodes.[3][4]

The series was a commercial hit and became one of the highest-rated series in Korean cable television history.[5]


A captivating series revolving around the lives of convicts behind bars, their families and duty officers working in the correctional facilities. It focuses on the story of a superstar baseball pitcher, Kim Je-hyuk, who is convicted of assault after he saves his sister from a sexual assault.



A superstar baseball player who turns into a convict overnight after protecting his sister from an assault. Due to ultimately fatal injuries that the perpetrator suffers, he is sentenced to a year of jailtime. Despite excelling in baseball, he is quite clumsy at everything else, which is a running gag throughout the show.
An elite prison guard and Je-hyuk's best friend. He used to play baseball with Je-hyuk in high school but had to quit because of injuries sustained in a car accident. Other prisoners and guards believe that he is just an avid fan of Kim Je-hyuk.


People around Je-hyuk[edit]

Je-hyuk's girlfriend who is a traditional Korean medicine student.
Je-hyuk's younger sister.
Joon-ho's younger brother who is a reporter and an avid fan of Je-hyuk.

Seobu Detention Center[edit]

A veteran chief prison guard who is quick and flexible when it comes to resolving incidents that take place inside the prison, but is known for being corrupt and easily swayed by money or other material goods that inmates can provide him.[6]
  • Jung Jae-sung as Professor Myung
  • Lee Ho-chul [ko] as Gal Dae-bong (a.k.a. "Seagull")

Seobu Penitentiary[edit]

A gang member and convicted murderer who was at first, sentenced to life imprisonment before his sentence was shortened to 25 years on appeal a decade after his trial. A model prisoner and father figure to younger inmates, especially to Lee Joo-hyung.
An engineer who was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment because of a gambling scam. He has a severe lisp, which other inmates (especially Han-yang) make fun of.
A repeat offender for drug usage. He constantly bickers with Kaist and Captain Yoo.
A commanding officer who allegedly assaulted his teammate, which led to the latter's death. He initially found it hard to live in prison but eventually began to fit in.
A manager of a large company who was imprisoned due to his company embezzling ten billion won and him taking the fall for it.
A repeat offender who is unable to refrain from stealing.
    • Kang Seung-yoon as Lee Jong-won, Min-chul’s fellow gang member who strongly resembles Joo-hyung. He, Min-chul and three others were found guilty of the murders of two rival gang members, but unlike Min-chul and two of their fellow co-accused, Jong-won (together with their gang leader) was sentenced to death and executed on 6 January 1996.
  • Kim Sung-cheol as Kim Young-cheol (a.k.a. "Jailbird")
A man who frequently goes in and out of prison and the first person in the prison Je-hyuk befriends. He considers Je-hyuk his brother because Je-hyuk secretly paid for his mother's life-saving surgery.
  • Ahn Chang-hwan as Dong-ho (a.k.a. "Croney")
A prisoner who stabs Je-hyuk in the shoulder, causing his left arm to be injured and unusable for baseball. Eventually, Je-hyuk is able to convince him to be on his side and be his catcher while he trains for baseball in prison.
A fierce prison guard who likes swearing at prisoners but is actually very supportive and concerned about their well-being and reform.


A friendly and bright prisoner who works in the prison's wood workshop with Je-hyuk and Park-sa. He was sentenced to prison after a fatal car accident.
A prisoner who works in the prison's wood workshop with Je-hyuk, Park-sa, and Min-sung. He becomes the chief of operations in the workshop, replacing Yeom.
  • Lee Hoon-jin as "Soji" (goods carrier)
  • Joo Seok-tae [ko] as operations chief Yeom Sang-jae
The wood workshop's operations chief. He always takes the other workers' overtime pay for himself. He is sexually attracted to Je-hyuk.
  • Ahn Sang-woo as Warden Kim Yong-chul
The prison’s warden who is obsessed with the prison having a good reputation to the public, especially during Je-hyuk's imprisonment.
The strict prison guard who sticks to the rules
  • Kim Han-jong as "Daehyungsoji" (heavy goods carrier)
Prisoner who is assigned as helper in section 2 of the prison. He loves the bright and lively atmosphere of Je-hyuk's cell.
A prison guard who is very talkative. He is drawn to Captain Yoo because he was once saved by him.
Boyfriend of Yoo Han-yang who wants Han-yang to stop using drugs
The real murderer in Captain Yoo's case

Special appearance[edit]


  • Prison Playbook is directed by Shin Won-ho, the award-winning director of Reply series, and written by one of the series' junior writers, Jung Bo-hoon.[7][8]
  • The first script reading of the cast was held on July 17, 2017, at CJ E&M Center in Sangam-dong, Seoul.[9]
  • The filming wrapped up on January 16, 2018.[10]

Original soundtrack[edit]

Prison Playbook
Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
LanguageKorean, English
ProducerKim Han-jo (executive)

Part 1[edit]

1."OK"BewhyGray, DAX, BewhyBewhy03:12
2."OK" (Inst.) Gray, DAX, Bewhy 03:12
Total length:06:24

Part 2[edit]

1."The Door (Prod. By Zico)" (문)Mino, ZicoZico, PoptimeKang Seung-yoon, Mino (Winner)03:21
2."The Door (Prod. By Zico)" (Inst.) Zico, Poptime 03:21
Total length:06:42

Part 3[edit]

1."Like A Dream" (꿈만 같아)DGGDGGPark Bo-ram03:02
2."Like A Dream" (Inst.) DGG 03:02
Total length:06:04

Part 4[edit]

1."Bravo, My Life!"Jong-jin KimJong-jin KimEric Nam04:05
2."Bravo, My Life!" (Inst.) Jong-jin Kim 04:05
Total length:08:10

Part 5[edit]

1."Would Be Better" (좋았을걸)HeizeHeize, DAVIIHeize03:40
2."Would Be Better" (Inst.) Heize, DAVII 03:40
Total length:07:20

Part 6[edit]

1."Nostalgia (Prod. by Woogie)" (향수)Woo Won-jaeWoogieWoo Won-jae03:21
2."Nostalgia (Prod. by Woogie)" (Inst.) Woogie 03:21
Total length:06:42

Part 7[edit]

1."No Problem" (괜찮아)Shim Jae-hee, PrimeboiPrimeboiCNU, Baro (B1A4)03:33
2."No Problem" (Inst.) Primeboi 03:33
Total length:07:06

Part 8[edit]

1."That's The Way It Goes (ft. Kim Min-jae (REAL.BE))" (다이런거지뭐)DAVIIDAVIIDAVII03:49
2."That's The Way It Goes" (Inst.) DAVII 03:49
Total length:07:38

Part 9[edit]

1."Those Days (Without You)" (하루일과)Zion.TZion.T, Slom, PeejayZion.T03:05
2."Those Days (Without You)" (Inst.) Zion.T, Slom, Peejay 03:05
Total length:06:10

Part 10[edit]

1."How Strange" (희한하네)Rhythm PowerTopic Of ChanganRhythm Power03:23
2."How Strange" (Inst.) Topic Of Changan 03:23
Total length:06:46

Commercial performance[edit]

Chart performance
Title Year Peak Sales Remarks
"The Door" () 2017 Part 2
"Would Be Better" (좋았을걸) 22 Part 5
"Nostalgia" (향수) 93 Part 6
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.


Prison Playbook : South Korea viewers per episode (millions)
SeasonEpisode number
Source: Audience measurement performed nationwide by Nielsen Korea.[15][note 1]
Average TV viewership ratings
Ep. Original broadcast date Average audience share
Nielsen Korea[16] TNmS
Nationwide Seoul Nationwide
1 November 22, 2017 4.638% 4.816% 5.1%
2 November 23, 2017 5.381% 5.900% 5.1%
3 November 29, 2017 4.698% 5.336% 4.9%
4 November 30, 2017 5.468% 6.644% 5.3%
5 December 6, 2017 5.612% 6.518% 5.7%
6 December 7, 2017 5.847% 6.260% 6.2%
7 December 13, 2017 6.388% 6.942% 7.1%
8 December 14, 2017 6.774% 7.409% 7.0%
9 December 20, 2017 7.313% 8.376% 7.4%
10 December 21, 2017 7.910% 8.809% 7.7%
11 January 3, 2018 9.095% 10.139% 8.7%
12 January 4, 2018 9.393% 10.511% 9.6%
13 January 10, 2018 10.142% 11.077% 10.2%
14 January 11, 2018 10.615% 11.531% 11.3%
15 January 17, 2018 10.477% 11.620% 10.9%
16 January 18, 2018 11.195% 12.299% 10.9%
Average 7.559% 8.387% 7.7%
Special December 27, 2017 5.110% 5.658% 5.3%
  • In the table above, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
  • This series aired on a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2018 22nd Asian Television Awards Best Drama Series Prison Playbook Nominated
12th Korean Cable TV Awards Best Drama Won [17]
54th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Director Shin Won-ho Nominated [18][19]
Best Supporting Actor Park Ho-san Won
Best New Actor Park Hae-soo Nominated
Best Screenplay Jung Bo-hoon Nominated
Most Popular Actor Jung Hae-in Won
6th APAN Star Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Park Hae-soo Nominated [20]
Best Supporting Actor Park Ho-san Won
2nd The Seoul Awards Nominated [21]
Best New Actor Park Hae-soo Won


  1. ^ The number of viewers was released on Nielsen Korea starting January 2018.


  1. ^ a b Kim, Yoon-ji. "신원호PD "'감옥', 이우정 작가 참여+블랙코미디 될것" (인터뷰)". Naver (in Korean). E Daily. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  2. ^ Prison Playbook '응답하라' 슬기로운 감빵생활! 171122 EP.0. YouTube (in Korean). tvN Drama. Archived from the original on February 28, 2022. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Kim, Jin-seok. "[단독]정경호·박해수, tvN '슬기로운 감빵생활' 주인공". Naver (in Korean). Ilgan Sports. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Baek, Sol-mi. "tvN '슬기로운 감빵생활', 슬기롭지 않은 대본 보안". Naver (in Korean). Sports Dong-a. Archived from the original on July 6, 2022. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  5. ^ "[M+TV시청률] 종영 '슬기로운 감빵생활', 11% 최고 시청률…유종의 미". Naver (in Korean). MBN. Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  6. ^ Choi, Hye Won (November 8, 2017). <슬기로운 감빵생활> 압도적인 24人 캐릭터포스터 공개! (in Korean). iMBC. Archived from the original on May 11, 2021. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Moon, Wan-sik. "신원호PD "'감옥' 드라마 가을 첫선..'응답' 내년 이후"(일문일답)". Naver (in Korean). Star News. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  8. ^ Jo, Hyeon-joo. "신원호 PD "감옥 소재 신작, 페이소스 있는 블랙코미디" (인터뷰)". Tenasia (in Korean). Korea Entertainment Media. Archived from the original on February 1, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Kim, Ji-ho. 크리스탈, '감빵생활' 합류…17일 대본리딩 완료. Naver (in Korean). Dispatch. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Kim, Yoon-ji. "어떻게 헤어져"…'슬기로운 감빵생활', 촬영 종료. Naver (in Korean). E Daily. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  11. ^ Gaon Digital Chart:
  12. ^ Cumulative sales for "The Door":
  13. ^ Cumulative sales for "Would Be Better":
  14. ^ Cumulative sales for "Nostalgia":
  15. ^ "Nielsen Korea". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Archived from the original on February 5, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  16. ^ "Nielsen Korea". AGB Nielsen Media Research. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "Winners Of The 2018 Korea Cable TV Awards". Soompi. 16 April 2018. Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  18. ^ "[2018 백상예술대상 종합] tvN '비밀의 숲'·영화 '1987' 대상 영예+3·4관왕". Osen (in Korean). May 4, 2018. Archived from the original on May 28, 2022. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "제54회 백상예술대상, TV·영화 각 부문별 수상 후보자 공개". JTBC (in Korean). April 6, 2018. Archived from the original on April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  20. ^ "이병헌·손예진·아이유 APAN스타어워즈 노미네이트". Star News (in Korean). September 27, 2018. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  21. ^ ‘제2회 더 서울어워즈’ 10월27일 개최, 드라마-영화 각 부문별 후보공개. iMBC (in Korean). September 28, 2018. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2018.

External links[edit]