[Kdrama review] Royal Family 로열 패밀리

Genre: Politics, intrigue, mystery

Synopsis: Despite being the daughter-in-law of chaebol family JK Group, Kim Insook (Yeom Jung Ah) has led a sad life being tormented by her mother-in-law and JK family members for 18 years. After the death of her husband, she decides to fight back, with the help of prosecutor Han Ji Hoon (Ji Sung), an orphan and murder suspect whom she helped groom into the man he is today. Together, they embark on a revenge plan as they seek to take over JK Group.


I’ve recently developed a strong liking (or should I say infatuation) for Ji Sung, so he was the reason why I decided to watch this show despite it being not very popular among overseas fans. Overall, this was a solid drama with good writing, pacing and superb acting. But the ending left me feeling bitter, such that I question myself if I should have even watched this in the first place.

One should be able to tell based on the synopsis and trailers that this is a serious drama, and boy, was it intense. Cute, light-hearted moments were few and far between, and romance was definitely not the main focus of this show, not that I minded. I was immediately hooked at the first episode by the fast pace, mystery and dramatic music that sent my heart racing. Was Han Jihoon really a murderer? How is Kim Insook going to have her revenge? How is Jihoon going to help her? Is Jihoon in love with her? There were so many questions that kept me glued to this show, such that I finished this within 4 days.

A childish object like a teddy bear is made into a crucial plot device in this show

A childish object like a teddy bear is made into a crucial plot device in this show

I’ve read many criticisms that Yeom Jung Ah looked much older than Ji Sung, but I think it worked perfectly fine for this show since the relationship between Kim Insook and Han Jihoon is quite ambiguous. He obviously looks up to her as a mother, and worships her like his guardian angel, but there are also signs that he sees her as a woman whom he cannot have. I really enjoyed the later part of the show where he discovers that Insook is not the angel that he thought she was, and the despair and sense of betrayal when his world comes crashing upon him.

I haven’t seen many of Ji Sung’s works, but I think this is possibly his best acting yet. His acting really impressed me, and the same goes for the rest of the star-studded cast. Much of the show’s success has to be credited to its able cast of veteran actors. With great actors like Ahn Nae Sang, Jeon Mi Sun and Kim Young Ae, you can be assured of top-notch acting here.

With grand sets befitting of a royal family and lots of backstabbing, this was like a modern-day saguek. This is no surprise since it was written by the same writer who brought us epic sagueks like Jewel In the Palace, Queen Seonduk and Tree with Deep Roots. I must say that a lot of the scenes where the characters just sat around having a war of words with each other bored me at times, but there were enough action scenes here and there to break the monotony.

The ending was quite open-ended; you could either decide if the lead characters had a happy ending or tragic fate. It reminded me of 49 Days, where I felt bitter and somewhat cheated by the ending after having sat through so many hours seeing the leads struggle to fight for their happiness. But rationally speaking, I think the ending was justified somewhat. With all the characters having sinned so much, a happy ending was most unlikely.

A lot of scheming and backstabbing, which I admit, were not easy to follow at times. If you enjoy dramas with more intense storylines, or if you want to exercise some brain cells, and don’t care about love lines, then this might be the show for you.

Overall: 8/10

Enjoyment level: 7/10


2 thoughts on “[Kdrama review] Royal Family 로열 패밀리

  1. I totally love this drama. I was a little skeptical about the ending and wondered a lot about what really happened. Did they elope or did they crash and died as everyone else believed? In Sook should have stayed to enjoy the fruit of her hard labour…but “The Royal Family” remains one of the most respected and loved Korean drama on my list.

    1. It’s been awhile since I last saw this drama, but I still can recall the ending very clearly because it left me with so many mixed emotions. I guess they leave it up to viewers to pick which ending they prefer to believe in. For me, although I want the happier ending, my mind just keeps telling me that the two of them obviously died in the crash 😦

      It was a nice drama but I would hesitate to rewatch it a second time because it’s just so sad 😦

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