Summary: Set during the Joseon era, Prince Lee Geum wants to gain power by claiming the throne in order to reform the Saheonbu, which is the office responsible for monitoring government administration and officials. Together with a few who have a high sense for justice, he uncovers crimes and corruption by royals and high officials and makes history to be the first king close to the people.
Genre: Period, Action
Episodes: 48 (35 minutes/episode)
Stars: Jung Il Woo as Lee Geum
Kwon Yul as Park Moon Soo
Go Ah Ra as Yeo Ji
Park Hoon as Dal Moon
Likes: This drama was definitely made to make Jung Il Woo looked good all the time! It’s not that I don’t like it, in the opposite, I immensely enjoyed how he looked majestic all the time. All those dazzling costumes fitting for a crown prince and later, the king; were mesmerizing! Paired with Jung Il Woo’s flawless face and conceited smirk, there was no way I would miss this drama every week :-).
Jung Il Woo as Lee Geum – although I would say, his perfect face wasn’t so perfect for the role, he did try his best to be that great king. Most of his scenes were dramatic, always trying to squeeze a tear or two but in the end it was always mansae for him. In everything he did, he was perfect… perfect poise, smile, side view, back view, sitting, standing, walking, riding a horse, shooting bows… it was soo Jung Il Woo and I love him for that!
Kwon Yul as Park Moon Soo – as the above’s opposite, Kwon Yul delivers Park Moon Soo’s character very well. I wasn’t surprised at all as I’ve watched Whisper and he was brilliant there. As Park Moon Soo, he was completely a different person. Always perfect for any role, this guy.
Park Hoon as Dal Moon – oh my, when I saw him I thought he really looked familiar then I realized he was the ghost ex-friend of Hyun Bin in Memories of the Alhambra! Good to see him well and alive in this drama :-). He has a handsome face and his role here suits him very well.
Lee Kyung Young as Min Jin Hun – I think my favourite character in this drama. He was the leader of the political party Noron who was at first against Prince Lee Geum’s enthronement. Highly intelligent and respected and followed by his subordinates and expected to be the force behind the new king’s downfall. Then the character twist I wasn’t expecting at all, he supported the King’s decision without abandoning his principles.
The Bromance. The strongest bond was between the king and Park Moon Soo but the bond between the king and Dal Moon wasn’t also falling behind. Bromance was everywhere in the Saheonbu, it was fun to watch! Even the bond between the two leaders of Noron and Soron political parties was so admirable.
The Costumes. I’m pretty sure these took a big share of the budget. Very impressive and detailed! The King alone, how many costumes did he had to show off?! Starting when he was installed as the crown prince, wow so much details on the outfit! Then he had his hunting costume, his war costume, archery, nobleman and not to mention the red king costume!
The Villains. We’ve got Wi Byung Joo (former Saheonbu’s top officer), Yi In-jwa (leader of the rebellion) and Lee Tan (aka Mil Poong Gun). These are the three worth mentioning. I love the justifications how they’ve become greedy for power and ultimately become the threats for the throne.
The Love Triangle. It’s got to be the tragic end to the wanna-be royal pair Youn Young and Mil Poong Gun, while Dal Moon, no matter what Youn Young did, would love her till the end!
The Ending. I must admit it became cheesy but I think it suited Jung Il Woo pretty well :-).
Dislikes: I didn’t like how the character of Yeo Ji changed. From Saheonbu officer to what, a court lady?! She was awesome in that officer role. That made her the lady that his Majesty was attracted to. Changing from the fierce Saheonbu uniform to that plain court lady outfit, come on! Her character was so lost. I wanted to see the brave warrior Yeo Ji! And yeah, she wanted to be in the palace to protect him? What does she think of the king’s elite guards, useless? I’m utterly disappointed.
This drama made it my Top 15 Kdrama 2019!