Jewel In The Palace / 대장금***** (2003)
MBC Drama / 54 episodes
Genre: Historical Drama
Director: Yi Byeong Hun (이병훈)
Screenwriter: Kim Yeong Hyeon (김영현)
Cast: Yi Yeong Ae (이영애), Hong Ri Na (홍리나), Ji Jin Hee (지진희), Kyeon Mi Ri (견미리), Yang Mi Kyeong (양미경), Im Ho (임호), Pak Chan Hwan (박찬환), Kim Hye Seon (김혜선), Geum Bo Ra (금보라), Im Hyeon Shik (임현식), Pak Eun Hye (박은혜), Han Ji Min (한지민)
Queen Yun is poisoned by a group of imperial guards upon King’s order. One of the guards, Seo Cheon Su, who witnessed the whole thing is victim of an accident. He is rescued by a mysterious hermit who warns him. His life will be determined by 3 women: one he doesn’t want to kill her but still dies because of him, one he will save but still dies because of him and one who kills him but saves many lives. He knows the first woman is the Queen. Upon this series of events, he decides to resign and leave the capital. Around the same time, in the palace, a young palace cook, Park Myeong Yi, is the witness of apprentice Choi’s conspiracy to poison the Queen Mother. She innocently reports to the Kitchen’s head, not knowing that she is also part of the conspiracy. Myeong Yi is then turned into the culprit and sentenced to death. Myeong Yi’s best friend, cook Han Baek Yeong, who is powerless, does the only think she can. At the last minute, she mixes the antidote with the poison, praying that it will still save Myeong Yi. Her prayers are heard as several hours later, as she is left for dead, Myeong Yi regains counciousness. She discovers the message her friend left for her and despite her weakness, flees from the area. On her way, she is saved by Cheon Su and soon they decide to join ways. Park Myeong Yi is the second woman. They have daughter, Jang Geum. Jang Geum is smart and lively. She learns the plants with her mother and learns to read by sneaking around the school. As they live in hiding, her parents don’t want her to stand out but one day, Jang Geum inadvertently discloses her parents’ real identities. Jang Geum is the third woman. Cheon Su is arrested and deported to be executed while Jang Geum and her mother escape, tailed by the royal guards. Myeong Yi is shot by poisonous arrows and soon dies but before, she gives a mission to Jang Geum: return to the palace, find her best friend Baek Yeong and her secret recipe book to become the best cook and take over the kitchen.
This is the fictionalized story of a character that actually existed. The first female royal physician of Joseon Dynasty, under King Seong Jong’s reign, 9th ruler of JoSeon. This is a very good drama, among my favorites. Again, the cast is very good and the production grants us with a very good villain. There is one thing that bugs me: the cook that has been cast as hand model for Yi Yeong Ae has HUGE hands!!! That is really disturbing when you look at it. This said, the food looks delicious. The story is very strong, no loose ends just like I love them. Sumptuous sets and costumes as always. Great production. Strongly recommended.