Synopsis. Graceful Family is a 16-episode kdrama about a rich family who is managed by their strong arm security company whose duties include cleaning/covering up bad behavior, to keep the business running scandal free and profits growing. When the daughter returns after a 15 year exile to America, the family dynamics escalate. Why? She wants to find out who killed her mother, and her family could be prime suspects. She crosses path with a lawyer when the security company tries eject her, and he helps. Little do they know their lives are already intertwined. Will she find her mother’s killer? Will the security company oust her? Will she and the lawyer develop a friendship? Something more?
What I liked.
Well written and acted. Writer Kwon Mins Soo wrote an intricate drama that peeled the onion and provided must come back cliffhangers every episode. The family was not graceful in any way, instead each member had a personal agenda that took priority over being a father, mother, brother (aka decent human being). They were a train wreck you were compelled to watch. The security firm was ubiquitous, all knowing, all seeing, all powerful. The security firm was the tail that wagged the dog of this family.
Leading lady Mo Seok Hee (Im Soo Hyang). After being banished to America by her father and security firm director for 15 years she managed to return to Korea. Her goal was simple…see her dying grandfather (one of the few loving influences in her life) and solve her mother’s murder (the catalyst for her banishment). She goes head-to-head with the security firm’s director and her family, who want to cease and desist. Thank goodness she finds support and friendship in the leading man and others, so she does not fight alone. Soo Hyang was a cool customer with a strategic mind, which was crucial as she searched for answers and battled the chess master security firm director.
Leading man Heo Yoon Do (Lee Jang Woo). After his mother was wrongly imprisoned for murder, Yoon Do became a lawyer to gain a retrial. Unfortunately over the years, the security firm flexes their power to keep his mother in jail and has blocked a retrial. When Seok Hee enters the picture, he becomes her personal lawyer and is subsequently hired by the security firm. He learns just how powerful and ruthless the security firm is. Can he find the evidence he needs to be granted a retrial? Can he help Seok Hee find the real murderer? Yoon Do was warm and smart, shocked by what he found, but gamely refused to give up to best the chess master security firm director.
Leading lady Director Han Je Gook (Bae Jong Ok). Director Han was THE chess master of this series. She always had a strategy to win and was a formidable enemy. She didn’t care who got hurt in the process, as long as the family name was unsullied and the company unaffected. She was odious and cruel. There was little to like about her. And yet you had to respect her tactical skills, ability to maneuver and manipulate while seemingly unable to lose.
OST. This drama’s OST had five vocal songs. Check out my favorite song, Liar below. The video gives a snapshot of our leads building relationship and the feisty the leading lady. I dare you NOT to sing “I’m on fire” after watching this video. Use this link or watch below.
1. Black Diamond sung by Im Jung Hee (I belted Black Diamond every opening credit)
2. Liar sung by Jeon Geon Ho
3. Return by Cheon Dan Bi
4. Gravity by Honey-G
5. Again by Gi Daon
To listen to hhe OST in full use this link or listen below.
What I didn’t like.
Final episode pacing and story choices. Director Kim Sang Woo produced a snappy series fueled by the endless layers of Writer Kwon’s story. But the final episode had a different rhythm that wasn’t as smooth, lively or compelling as the previous 15 episodes. This wasn’t a dude finale by any means, but it felt different. It could have ended at multiple points along the way. I didn’t love every closing choice Writer Kwon made. I wanted cleaner and clearer.
The security firm ALWAYS had the advantage. Balance is crucial in a Team Good versus Team Evil storyline. There has to be ebb and flow. Evil has the edge, good struggles, then trips up evil, who falters, and tries to recover, etc. But the security firm and specifically Director Han always had an answer, strategy, and way to win. Director Han was coated with teflon and eluded justice again and again.
Would I recommend Graceful Family? Yes. I binge watched this show in several sittings. The story built steadily, raising the stakes and evolving character relationships. This series was a winner.