The Keyman

Reviewed by: sukting

October 01, 2008

Rating: four

How long : 30 episodes


We always see Man Tse Leung acting with Cheng Yuk Ling. This is the first time he works with an entire new cast. Are you interested in watching it?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Lok Yin – Man Tse Leung

Yin values kinship and friendship so he is very positive towards life. He is very knowledgeable in doing business so he is able to make a comeback soon despite facing lots of failures. It is a pity that he is trapped in his love life, not knowing who he should choose. All will envy his good fortune for having two female confidantes but he feels that he owes them too much.

He goes through many ups and downs in life. His father despises him for being jailed in the U.S. and looks down on him when he is back to help out in the family shopping business, Lok Wah. He wants to introduce new manufacturing methods but Chai Mun opposes to it. He has to work very hard to gain his approval.

Although he is depressed that his sweetheart, Chan marries Fung, he still wishes them well although they have an unhappy marriage. He is hurt in a car accident and loses his sight. John is the eye specialist who operates on him. Both become good friends after that when John invests with his funds so that both can set up M & L company. (It stands for Mak and Lok – joining their surnames together.)

He is a very unromantic man. He is often busy with work and hasn’t found time to date Chi Cheng. Chi Cheng can’t help him in his work but only makes matters worse. If not for Chan, he will not know what to do. Fund urges him to hire Chan as his secretary. This creates chances for them to be together but nothing happens between them. He finds out that Fung has a motive all along and there ends their friendship.

Yin sees that Chan gets impatient with her son because of Fung. He helps her to fight the custody case. He is startled to know that Chi Cheng is going to marry Fung when she returns with Fung after a tour. He tries hard to dissuade her to no avail. Leaving him no choice, he has to get Chan to help him. After that, he has a soft spot for Chi Cheng. He fights hard to get Guai Dong to accept him.

He becomes a top property investor in Wall Street o get into the gold market to earn profits. He is able to win deals with his foresight in buying the right shares. Forbes chooses him as the cover page person and chooses him as the successful Chinese entrepreneur. He discovers that he has liver cancer at this moment.

Even after knowing that Shou Cheng will be jailed for 5 years, Yin decides to transfer most of his shares to him. The cancer cells in him spread fast and he only has 20% of survival. He decides to buy back Lok Wah and M & L fast. Why doesn’t he buy over the Lam enterprise? He has very little time left and keeps it from Chi Ching and Chan.

But Chan knows him to well to learn about his illness first. She forces him to rest and agrees to manage his business with Chi Ching. He is relieved and finally goes for the operation.

This must be Tse Leung’s best drama besides ‘Blood of good and evil’. We can see his acting powers as a businessman and be won over by his remarkable performance. No wonder he is also successful as a businessman in real life.

2. Mak Shou Cheng – Cheung Wai Kin

He is unemployed and isn’t serious in looking for a job but doesn’t wish to acknowledge his irresponsible father, John. But he regards Yin as his older brother to listen to him. Although he doesn’t like Yin to force him to learn the ropes from him, he obeys him. Yin even teaches him how to learn from auctions. Although he quotes a very high price, Yin doesn’t blame him. Yin accompanies him to have fun. Seeing that he is able to manage the business well, he starts to learn diligently from him.

But he ends up knowing the wrong company – Fung. He believes Fung’s words and doesn’t trust Yin. Yin is forced to expand his business overseas when their merger breaks. Too eager to bring down Guai Dong’s downfall as he is behind his kidnap which indirectly causes John’s death, he bribes Fung to steal company secrets. But he kills Ying Yeung by mistake to get threatened by Fung. He becomes a bankrupt out of folly.

He later realizes his mistake and surrenders to the police. He is relieved when the burden is removed from his shoulders as he has trouble dealing with the case all along. Wai Kin also puts in his best here. From an ignorant chap, he becomes mature and sensible.

3. Lok Chai Mun – Bao Fong
The business of Lok Wah dips but the shops worth a lot of money. Thus Guai Dong wants to buy over the shares. He is hesitant because Chi Yan is his daughter-in-law. He gets the OBE but Guai Dong is sore about it. Chai Mun has transferred all his shares to Mun. His health worsens after Mun’s death so he leaves his business to Yin. But the court announcement of arranging the Hongs to get the fortune kills him with the fatal heart attack.

4. Lok Mun– Hui Siu Hung

7 years ago, Guai Dong forced him to marry Chi Yan when he asked him for a loan. He had to tell his girlfriend about it. Mun kills a man who harasses his girlfriend while visiting Yin in the U.S. Yin knows that he has great responsibility so he takes the rap. That makes him very guilty-stricken till now as he sees how he is ignored by Chai Mun. According to British law, the Hongs will get the fortune if Mun dies first. Fung decides to alter the facts to ruin Lok Wah.

5. Hong Guai Dong – Lau Siu Ming
His aim in life is to bring down the Loks and get hold of Lok Wah. Although he is a scheming man, he is a doting father to his four children. He forces Mun to marry Chi Yan as he wants her to have a family. But this proves to be a fatal mistake which causes her death. Being upset, he refuses to hold the funeral with the Loks and to bury him in the Hong cemetery instead of Lok’s family cemetery.

He disapproves of Chi Ching to be with Yin. It is only after Yin saves him from drowning from a heart attack that he accepts him. He is shocked to know about the cause of Ying Yeung’s death. But he recalls he does illegal trade in the past so he leaves the case to law. He discloses to Chi Ching that he has bribed Fung to woo her upon knowing that she is on a relationship with Yin. Now it is his retribution to get these nightmares daily.

6. Ling Fung – Lam Chung Hin
He grows up with Yin. He is a smart but scheming lawyer to want to get into the upper class. He helps Guai Dong in the case of seizing Lok Wah. He lets Chan work for Yin but complains to Chi Cheng that both have an affair. This drifts the two apart as part of his scheme. He divorces Chan and tries to seize the custody of his son.

Later, he uses the boy to earn sympathy from Chi Ching. He complains that Chan rejects him from meeting his son. That makes Chi Cheng a witness to win his son. He nearly tricks her into marrying him. Luckily she discovers the truth to reject him later. Guai Dong gets so mad to dismiss him. He hates Yin for this and comes to work for M & L.

He sees Shou Cheng killing Ying Yeung and threatens him to dismiss Yin. He later extorts him for 10 years. Shou Cheng is lazy to manage the business and doesn’t know that he starts to seize all his asserts. He is now the managing director of M & L and sets up Ling enterprise. E

Even though Fung is caught, he uses his legal knowledge to get off the hook. He wants to seek Guai Dong’s help to deal with Yin but Guai Dong knows he is wrong. Helpless and becoming a bankrupt, he tries to harm Yin but is finally jailed. Chun Hin falls from grace because he can’t act as a villain well. His portrayal is too superficial. No wonder he is overtaken by many younger actors later.

7. Cheng Chan – Chan Yuk Lin
Chan is Yin’s ex-girlfriend who is gentle and weak. She gives up her job to be a housewife. Fung keeps the matter of Yin being jailed to Chan. He is the only one to receive Yin on his release. Chan suspects his motive of marrying her and both fall out as he keeps insisting that she has an affair with Yin after working for him. She is hurt by his remarks and hopes to save her marriage. But soon she finds out his real schemes and signs the divorce papers. However, she will not give their son to him.

She knows that Fung is up to no good and sneaks into his office, wanting to gather evidence. But he discovers her and threatens her to resign or he will call the police. Knowing that he is unscrupulous to want to marry Chi Cheng, she sends all his scandal report to the press. Guai Dong has to buy over everything to keep the matter under a low profile. She vows to ‘congratulate’ him on his big day. He tries to talk her out of it but their conversation is heard by Chi Cheng. So his marriage dream is doomed.

Fung deals with her a hard blow as he wins their son’s custody. He even cut off their links by sending him to a boarding school in England. Soon, she learns that her son dies of a disease. Filled with hatred, she tries to stab Fung with a knife in vain and is jailed. She continues to help Yin after her release. After knowing that he suffers from cancer, she still stands by his side as his pillar of support. I have never seen Yuk Lin as a strong-willed person and she proves herself to be a versatile actress here.

8. Hong Chi Ching– Chat Fat Yung
She is well taken care of since young and never experience hardship in life. Her father dotes on her the most. She is an impulsive gambler but manages to mend her ways with Yin’s help. She decides to work in Guai Dong’s company. She asks Yin for references but she is lazy to turn up for work the first morning. Yin scolds her.

Chi Cheng tells of her past of how her ex-boyfriend parts with her as she loves gambling too much. She digs out Yin’s past from him on how he falls for Chan in the past and his previous experience to get jailed. He spills the beans when he gets drunk.

Chi Cheng is angry that Chi Yan is tricked into marrying Mun and still staying with him although he doesn’t love her. Mun is also stupid to marry a woman he doesn’t love because of money. But Yin will be the most stupid person to be in jail at such a young age for a crime that he has not done. Yin doesn’t know how to laugh at her attitude. Chi Cheng is unhappy that Yin doesn’t ask her to help him.

She has tried studying management and typing at night. He says that he really needs someone capable. He even reprimands her for interfering into Fung’s marriage to cause it to break up. She falls for Yin after he stops her from marrying the wrong man, Fung. But seeing him so close with Chan, she doesn’t dare to let him know. After letting him know, she is pleasantly surprised when he accepts her.
She later concentrates on helping Guai Dong after Ying Yeung’s death with her younger brother, Yiu Yeung.

What a change! Fat Yung has proven herself to act well this time. Seeing how she rants when she loses at horse races and speaking lines at a machine gun speed shows that she has put in a lot of hard work.

9. Hong Chi Yan – Ma Ching Yee
She is wheelchair bound so she has very low self-esteem. She has thought that she marries the right man. Just when she learns that she is pregnant, she discovers his reason for marrying her. Although he proves that he later loves her, she is still not convinced. Feeling heartbroken, she decides to return home. Mun offers to send her back but both die in a car accident. This spells another dispute between the two families over their assets.

10. Lee Sau Wai – Lee See Kei
She becomes mentally unstable after having Shou Cheng out of wedlock. John doesn’t know that she is pregnant until much later. She stays in the mental institute all along. Yin goes to the U.S. to have his liver cancer treatment. She tricks him to her home and shoots him in the leg. Thinking that Yin is after their money and is the cause of Shou Cheng’s business failure, she sneaks out and holds him hostage. If not for Chan who comes on time, he could have died.

The usual kind glance in her eyes has vanished completely. It is replaced by a stony glare. This is the first time I see her as a mentally unsound patient and she really convinces me.

11. Mak John – Kwan Hoi San
John knows that Guai Dong is petty and want Yin to be wary of him. Because he loves to wear very colourful clothes to dress like Elvis Prestley, Chi Cheng has no confidence in him for treating Yin as she dobts his medical skills.

He is a playboy when younger and feels remorseful for causing so much harm to Sau Wai. Thus he spoils Shou Cheng rotten after acknowledging him. He dies of a heart attack upon knowing that he is kidnapped by Fung. Yin promises to help him to look after Shou Cheng before he dies.

12. Hong Ying Yeung – Ng Kai Ming
He is Guai Dong’s successor. He dislikes the Lok brothers all along and opposes to helping them out. He gets into a fight with both men when knowing Shou Cheng bribes Fung. Shou Cheng kills him accidentally.

Interesting facts

Yuk Lin suffered from bristles and even sprained her ankle as she seldom wore high heel shoes in real life. She worked well with Tse Leung. She found him very sociable. This time, they needed the U.S. police’s assistance in many scenes. Tse Leung treated them to meals. They kept asking for photos. In the end, all finished their food but he was the only one suffering in hunger.

There was no snow the first day they reached U.S. Tse Leung ‘s face was totally black. Luckily, it snowed the next day and he seemed alive again. He forbid everyone to talk about the incident. It seemed that he believed a lot in luck.

Kwan Hoi San also got the script earlier than the rest. Since this project would take a few months, he wanted full concentration. He made a lot of notes to remember the important scenes and also his thoughts for improvement in the blank pages. He was never late so all others learned from him.

This was the first time Chun Hin played an evil role in a TVB drama. He didn’t mind it as he did not want his image to be fixed. Many pitied him as he struggled for a few years in showbuzz but never became very popular.

Fat Yung was a vase in many people’s eyes till she took up this role. She was a gambler in the drama but she knew nothing on horse racing in real life. She could only go to the racing stations to listen to how people used their techniques. Tse Leung also taught her some phrases and told her to listen to horse racing news. She wasn’t interested in horse racing even after so much ‘tuition’.

Fat Yung later worked in ‘the edge of righteous’. She still insisted on working although her face was swollen after being bitten by mosquitoes and was ill for some days. She was very grateful to TVB for giving her the chance for making her popular after this drama.

Interesting scenes

Yin enduring Chai Mun’s glares when working under him. Mun feels the pain and finally speaks up for him. Splendid chemistry between the three actors.

Yin working with Chan. Seeing how engrossed they work, I also get the wrong idea that they are a couple as they are so matching in looks.

Yin facing Guai Dong without fear despite his disapproval. He calmly makes him change his mind about him.

Sau Wai holding Yin hostage. The others are worried sick when they lose contact with him. Yin keeps his cool and tries to escape. Chan learns of the news and comes to the U.S. She meets Chi Ching and both have mixed feelings.

Unable to wait for the police to help, Chan goes alone in the snow for the search. She finds Yin where Sau Wai nearly wants to cause a gas explosion to die with him. She manages to drag him out and Sau Wai dies in the fire. Both are trapped in the snow and they hug close to each other. Yin feels apologetic and recalls the past. Love rekindles between them again. He is hesitant to choose between the women as he knows that he is fighting for his life.

Yin turning up for the company’s anniversary. He has trouble fitting into his shoes that the women had bought for him a few days ago. They are upset as this shows that his condition has worsen. Chi Cheng quickly gets him a new pair and both women help him to wear on both sides.

Fung trying to assault Yin at the hospital. The women try hard to shield him from the attack and get the police on time. That is really a close shave. Before entering the ER, they hold his hands tightly from both sides of the bed. Sorry but this drama doesn’t provide the ending as he is pushed into the room and never provides the answer who he finally chooses to be with!


Ever since Tse Leung listens to ‘The Moments Together’ by Tak Wah, he requests TVB to get him to sing all his drama theme songs. Tak Wah agreed readily as he also loved watching his dramas. They worked together for 3 times – ‘The Keyman’, ‘The Edge of Righteousness’ and ‘Down Memory Lane’. Don’t you think Tak Wah sings well for all three dramas? I always feel that he sings TVB theme songs best but too bad he seldom does this lately.

This is definitely another treasure that all should keep. The theme song is ‘You Make My Heart Flutter’. The sub theme is a slow moving ‘Actually I’ve Guessed Your Heart Correctly’. I prefer the former as Tak Wah sings out Yin’s roller coaster life well. It even includes the drama title in the lyrics. Thumbs up for the lyric writer.


Yin simply works too hard and is tied down by too many issues. He not only worries for his family business. He has to train Shou Cheng and Chi Cheng. He also has to cope with too many tragedies happened to his family members. How can he not fall sick?

But his determination and endurance level is high indeed. Despite of the remaining energy that he has, he is still able to come up with solutions to solve different crisis. He also shows concern to others and put others above himself. It is hard not to like this man.

Many have complained that Tse Leung is very exaggerating in his acting. But they will still continue to watch his dramas despite grumbling. He is simply able to attract all of us with his charm.

He has mellowed down a lot in his acting in here to make the role realistic. He makes Yin such a wonderful catch to wins the hearts of two women. However, his later works disappoint me and I nearly stop writing TVB drama reviews for some time.

The women also show well how they yearn for his love. They shower him so much concern that no one can resist. Especially Chan who risks her life to save him.

With a starlit cast that promises great acting with a compelling story, you will not regret your choice to watch this excellent drama.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)
On story : **** (Scale of 5)
On song : ***** (Scale of 5)

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