(A SHORT REVIEW)
This drama is based on the real life story of Yi Geum, Prince Yeoning, during his early years of reign. He becomes king Yeongjo, 21st king of Joseon (present Korea) in 1724 and reigns for 52 years. This character is played by Jung Ilwoo.
In the background of this drama stands the statue of HAECHI, in front in of Saheonbu building. Haechi is a legendary animal, looking like a lion with scales, representing a righteous judge of justice and truth. Saheonbu, a Joseon’s Judicial Office with authority to investigate and to judge, was meant to be like Haechi, honorable and righteous.
At the beginning of the drama, Minister Min Jinwon (played by Lee Kyung Young) explains that justice and truth are unattainable, like that legendary animal. “In real life, it is impossible to judge right from evil.” For him, politics is not about justice, but about power. And when you lose it, you die.
On the other side of the spectrum, there exists a group of people working in Saheonbu who actually believes in true justice. Led by Head Inspector Han Jeongseok, they start digging into a murder case that entangles them with the royal court. This puts them in danger. Should they stop investigating? For Inspector Han though, it is easier to follow his passion and live for the truth than to compromise for political gain.
Enters Yi Geum, a good for nothing prince who accidentally gets himself involved in this crime solving mystery. Though a prince, his mother was a lowly maid, and many nobles disdains him as a low born. So although he is extremely smart, he squanders his living, womanizing and drinking.
But while unraveling the crime, he loses those he love most, and he learns that without power, he cannot do anything. So he starts dreaming of changing the world by becoming the king. Thus begins the game of thrones.
At first, it seems like an impossible task. He has zero political alliance. But a group of passionate friends join him. Then, a couple of political advisers. When THE PEOPLE starts rallying for him, the true political game begins.
This show may seem predictable because we know he will become king. But the journey is filled with so many struggles we are kept at the edge of our seats. It is such a joy to witness how our Prince escapes death, and each time he does, he grows stronger. And the way he does, the choices he makes, they are so unexpected that people become speechless, dumbfounded by his insights and courage. Slowly but surely, he becomes like a strong force, attracting everyone around him.
You can tell a person by looking at his/her friends. Yi Geum was surrounded by passionate dreamers. Inspector Park Moonsoo (played by Kwon Yul), Assistant Inspector Yeoji (Go Ara) and ring leader of beggars Dalmoon (Park Hoon), among others. They believed in fighting for justice and helping those who are weak.
Growing up as a lowly prince, Yi Gum dared not to dream. Meeting these friends gave purpose and meaning to his life. And he started dreaming Big Dreams. With him on board, the small group of friends upgraded their own goals. They too started dreaming Big Dreams: to make their little Prince the King.
Eventually, some of these friends will help the Prince seat on the throne through their own sacrifice. During that time, Yi Gum’s greatest enemy, Minister Min will be shocked. He will wonder: what kind of a person is this Yi Geum that he can command so much love from his followers. Old as he is, he never knew such devotion for his master.
At the end of the show, he himself is won over by the king. He tells the king though, that he is too idealistic and that fair policies are doom to fail. But he still encourages the king to continue fighting the good fight. “Your Majesty, I pray you continue dreaming for a very, very long time. I feel like you can do it, since you are surrounded by many dreamers like yourself.”
This is the same Minister who opens the drama by cynically speaking against the search for justice and truth. By the end the drama, he shifts his attitude. He still believes true justice is unattainable but he feels a little more hopeful. He remembers when he was young and naïve. He too used to be a dreamer.
And he bows down before His Majesty in a true act of respect and devotion.
END OF REVIEW
Since there are plenty of other reviews, I wanted to just focus on one theme: HAECHI, GUARDIAN OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE.
PLEASE, CHECK THE FOLLOWING:
LEE EVIE PODCAST on Haechi:
K DRAMA DREAMING, Haechi Review https://wp.me/p8xXga-Yg
THE CAT THAT WATCHES TV, Haechi Review: https://nekosdrama.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/drama-review-haechi-sbs-2019/
AMUSINGS, Haechi hReview: https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/haechi-review/