The Negotiator is currently one of the hottest series in China and is ranked in the top 10 of DramaFever’s list of the most popular C-dramas. This is a serious drama series, that tells the story of Tong Mei (Yang Mi), a top negotiator for a large company. Her role involves handling all mergers and acquisitions, and contracts, where she comes to meet the heir of a 600 year of Chinese and now Chinese American business, Xie Xiafei.
Their meeting starts off with the standard wariness of suspicion and even animosity, but this slowly abated as time when by. However, where would we be without a twist in the tale? Tong Mei finds out that Xiafei’s company had a hand in the death of her parents.
The series concentrates on what happens later in the years when the two meet as negotiators in their rival companies.
Genre: Business, Romance
CDrama: 41 Episodes
Date Released: 2018
Yang Mi as Tong Mei
Huang Zitao as Xie Xiaofei
Dylan Kuo as Qin Tianyu
Mao Linlin as Xia Shanshan
Lai Yi as Xie Xiaotian
The Negotiator became successful due to the theme behind the series; it is about the corruption of wealth and the redemption that can come from a fall. Within this theme is a love story around the successful, hard-working negotiator and the brash aloof heir.
Let’s take a look at the storyline and how the love story transpires.
Tong Wei is a genius negotiator and is the strongest start of the US-China Business Council. She is the one that brokers national wealth-bearing deals that benefits both countries, something that is at constant loggerheads in the real world. Tong Wei is obviously a strong-willed, confident, intelligent, and exceptionally beautiful talented and skilled woman with amazing negotiating skills. Something that every woman is jealous of wants to be, and what every man with a decent brain dreams of marrying.
Opposite her stars Xiao Fei Xie, the sole heir to an ancient family line and successful business. He is arrogant and aloof, being brought up as a scion of a house that has survived through 600 years of Chinese history that is a quagmire of turmoil and war (If you are Chinese you know the history of China and realize that once the Portuguese and English started to use China as their playground, everything went out of control. Not that it mattered so much since China is a country at war till Mao united it.)
With this background, and the fact that for a few decades Chinese were only allowed one child, creating a society of single children. Add to this the modern billionaire society that recent changes have brought into the Chinese social setting; you might begin to understand the reason why such a series and concept would inspire so many to watch.
Now back to the series, in it these two meet, battle it out in the boardroom, grow to feel enamored with each other, and then suddenly separate for a few years after Tong Wei discovers that Xiao Fei’s company is a hand behind her family’s tragedy. During the separation, Xiao Fe undergoes a crisis and becomes a serious and more cultured and balanced individual, and Tong Wei has evolved into a force majeure of negotiating skills.
Yang Mi, who plays Tong Wei, takes on a stone-faced (poker face) approach to her character, not letting a wrinkle appear on her face at any time. This is an emotionless view of life.
Against this stony backdrop comes Huang Zitao that shows a different state of affairs, a shambled bloodshot man seeking to redeem a past love. With him is his younger brother Xiao Tian, portrayed by Lai Yi, and honestly, it sorts of doesn’t work out? After all, Lai Yi is so much more mature and sophisticated in every aspect; you might think the casting crew made a mistake.
Do we have an evil Uncle, who doesn’t have one? I don’t, but it seems on TV shows the uncles are always evil and greedy. Of course, Xiao managed to wrestle the company back with Tian Lan’s political clout, and this is what made him change from being so arrogant to be so “normal.”
Since this is a Chinese drama, the fact that the US-based company, yes, located in the US was filled with fluent Chinese speakers is fine by me, after all, in all Spy thrillers the Russians speak English between themselves, so I guess Americans in a Chinese company speak Chinese all day long.
The story unfolds slowly but gradually, which is great, and you do understand what is happening all the time. The crunch is when Chen Xi decides to break off her engagement, so she can help Xiao Fei, much to her father’s chagrin.
There were some time issues in the show, for instance, how long did Xiao Fei and Tong Wei live together in Shanghai? And then how long were they back in the US? Perhaps it’s not important. Then we have Shan Shan, the successful, extremely intelligent negotiator that is reduced to a broken home woman cow-towing to a man that is just leading her along. Again, this is something to do with Chinese culture and how men and women interact in a cultural, social manner. It was extremely annoying, but understandable, and added some humanity to the fact that even the most intelligent and strong-willed people can become fools when falling in love with the wrong person.
The bottom line is this; this is a great romance, a good storyline, and very nice acting. However, there were some issues that just didn’t add up, so if you are into just enjoying without analyzing, then this is a winner, if you analyze, then this is average.