Haechi Episodes 1-4
Prince Yeoninggun is a prince that no one acknowledges because his mother was a palace maid the King had an affair with. He’s smart but knows he has no chance at the throne so he lacks direction is thought of as a wastrel.
One day Prince Yeoninggun takes the civil exam street for another man. Park Moon Soo (Kwon Yool) is also taking the exam (he’s taken the exam and failed 10 consecutive times). When everyone stands in line to turn in their exams, Moon Soo realizes that Prince Yeoninggun is a substitute for another and cries foul. Prince Yeoninggun hides his exam among the papers and runs.
Inspector Yeo and the other inspectors are investigating murders that point to Prince Milpoonggun Lee Tan (Jung Moon Sung). Accusing the prince is not trivial so they must find hardcore evidence. There are rumors that the prince keeps a death diary where he records all the victims he’s killed.
Prince Yeoninggun isn’t afraid of his brother (not by blood but rather an heir of Prince So Hyeon (King’s brother?}) nor does he respect him, which drives Prince Milpoonggun mad. He’s used to everyone being deferential and afraid of him. He’s cruel and when he loses his temper, possession shatter, men are beaten, and he might just kill someone. Minister Min Jin Hun (Lee Kyung Young) holds his reigns and schools him reign in his temper until he has the crown.
Inspector Yeo is determined to find Prince Milpoonggun’s death diary. During a hunting party, dressed as a man, she slips into Prince Milpoonggun’s tent and searches it. She finds a locked box within a box. Just as she’s about to take the evidence and run, Prince Yeoninggun appears. He warns her she’s playing with fire. She runs out of the tent. The Prince Milpoonggun and his men see her exit and give chase. When they have her cornered, Prince Milpoonggun saunters up ready to administer pain. Prince Yeoninggun interrupts and states their quarry is a woman. Then Prince Yeoninggun shoots a wild boar which storms into camp allowing Inspector Yeo and Prince Yeoninggun to escape.
When Inspector Yeo exams the locked box there are only dried flowers, not a death diary. She tells Prince Yeoninggun. Neither of them knows what to make of it.
The inspectors decide they must find the last man killed by Prince Milpoonggun. But Prince Milpoonggun’s men decide they have to unearth that murdered man.
Inspector Yeo realizes the dried flowers are tokens from each spot Prince Milpoonggun has murdered.
She goes to the location of the freshest dried flower and stumbles on Prince Milpoonggun’s men. She doesn’t know that Prince Yeoninggun and Moon Soo are there watching. A fight breaks out when all parties discover each other. An expert archer, Prince Yeoninggun turns the tide and Prince Milpoonggun’s men flee. Inspector Yeo, Prince Yeoninggun, and Moon Soo unearth the body. They have the hard-core evidence needed.
The King surveys his options as to who will replace him after he’s dead. One the hand he as the kind crown prince who has little savvy or power. Odds are he’ll be eliminated if he takes the throne. On the other hand, he has the evil Prince Milpoonggun backed by the powerful political party. Finally, he has the prince that no one acknowledges due to his mother being a maid, Prince Yeoninggun, but he is blood related to the King. Knowing he’s dying he clears the way for the evil prince to become king by legitimizing his grandmother. But the King also meets Prince Yeoninggun in secret and shares he’s dying. The King admits that he’s been hurt watching his son live a meaningless life. Prince Yeoninggun counters if he’d tried to make something of himself, his social status wouldn’t allow it. The King admits that Prince Yeoninggun is smart, capable and qualified to become a king. Prince Yeoninggun can’t believe what he’s hearing. The King urges his son to make something of himself. Shaken, Prince Yeoninggun can’t get his father’s words out of his head.
At the murder inquiry Prince Milpoonggun is accused of murder. The judges are hesitant to indict the prince. They claim they will IF a witness comes forward. The inspectors won’t name their source and therefore don’t have a witness. Prince Yeoninggun surprises everyone when he appears and declares he is the source and witness.
Slow first episode (eps 1-2) but the second (eps 3-4) picked up the pace. Historical (aka Sageuk) dramas are famous for large casts. With minimal background on this story (I don’t read much about a drama or watch trailers before a drama airs), I struggled to sort out who was who the first episode. Thankfully the second episode came into focus. Writer Kim Yi Young seems to specialize in the historical drama genre though I’ve never sampled a series by her. This drama has the split episode format. Prince Milpoonggun is evil indeed. Minister Min is ready to be the puppet master and arrange his ascent to the throne. Can anyone stop them?
Why am I watching this series? Jung Il Woo is the lead. He’s in my cadre of cuties (link) whose dramas I watch.
Prince Yeoninggun Lee Geum (Jung Il Woo) might have found a purpose. His mother was a maid so Prince Yeoninggun isn’t royal enough to vie for the throne. He’s smart, an excellent archer, and unafraid of putting himself out there. Why? Because he doesn’t care and know no one cares about him either. When his father, who had basically ignored him, secretly shared his impending death, praised his smarts and potential then urged his son to make something of himself, Prince Yeoninggun was shaken. Has he decided to stop his evil brother’s path to throne or vie for the throne?
Inspector Yeo Ji (Go Ara) realized the flowers were tokens from the murder sites. She dressed like a man to infiltrate the hunting party and search Prince Milpoonggun’s tent. Prince Yeoninggun saw through the disguise. Thank goodness. It drives me nuts when men don’t recognize women characters dressed as a man. I like that Inspector Yeo is smart, determined, and a woman in a man’s field. She’s got to be tough minded to function professionally in man’s world. I loved it when she realized the dried flowers were Prince Milpoonggun’s tokens from each murder. Let’s not talk about how she searched in the dark for the latest murder victim’s death site. But when she engaged with Prince Milpoonggun’s men, Prince Yeoninggun once again saved her. Has team good (Prince Yeoninggun, Inspector Yeo, and Moon Soo) formed?
I rank these (on a scale from 1-10) episodes 1-2 as good and episodes 3-4 very good. My rating chart is below.