Deep Rooted Tree

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Deep Rooted Tree
Deep Rooted Tree-poster.jpg
Promotional poster for Deep Rooted Tree
Also known asTree with Deep Roots
Based onDeep Rooted Tree
by Lee Jung-myung
Written byKim Young-hyun
Park Sang-yeon
Directed byJang Tae-yoo
StarringHan Suk-kyu
Jang Hyuk
Shin Se-kyung
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of episodes24
Production location(s)Korea
Running timeWednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST)
Production company(s)iHQ
Original networkSeoul Broadcasting System
Original release5 October (2011-10-05) –
22 December 2011 (2011-12-22)
Preceded byProtect the Boss
Followed byTake Care of Us, Captain
Related showsSix Flying Dragons
External links
Deep Rooted Tree
Revised RomanizationPpuri gipeun namu
McCune–ReischauerPpuri kip'ŭn namu

Deep Rooted Tree (Korean뿌리 깊은 나무; RRPpuri Gipeun Namu) is a 2011 South Korean television series starring Han Suk-kyu, Jang Hyuk and Shin Se-kyung. Based on the novel of the same name by Lee Jung-myung, it aired on SBS from October 5 to December 22, 2011 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 for 24 episodes.

Taking its name from the poem Yongbieocheonga that says that trees with deep roots do not sway, the series tells the story of a royal guard (played by Jang Hyuk) investigating a case involving the serial murders of Jiphyeonjeon scholars in Gyeongbok Palace while King Sejong (played by Han Suk-kyu, in his TV comeback after 16 years of solely film work) comes to create the Korean written language.[1][2]


Early in his reign, King Sejong accidentally causes the death of his in-laws and their slaves in an attempt to save them from his brutal father, King Taejong. Two young slaves, Ddol-bok and his friend Dam, survive but neither knows the other has. Ddol-bok blames the king and vows to kill him to avenge the deaths of everyone he loved. He spends several years becoming a great warrior. Dam, who has a photographic memory, becomes a court lady called So-yi (Shin Se-kyung), but she feels so guilty about her role in the other slaves' deaths that she is mute.

Ddol-bok returns to the palace under the name of Kang Chae-yoon (Jang Hyuk) in order to kill the king. However, he becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the deaths of several Hall of Worthies scholars. The deaths were caused by a secret society called "Hidden Root," which was created long ago by followers of Jeong Do-jeon, with the goal of giving more power to ministers and less to the king. King Taejong killed Jeong Do-jeon and all of his family except his nephew, Jeong Gi-joon, who is now the leader of Hidden Root and lives in disguise not far from King Sejong.

It soon becomes known that the king, with the help of So-yi and the Hall of Worthies scholars, has been working for years on a secret project, which turns out to be the creation of the Korean alphabet. While tracking Hidden Root, Kang Chae-yoon and So-yi each realize who the other is. So-yi begins to speak, and when she shows Chae-yoon the simple alphabet and describes how it will give more power to commoners, he is convinced to work with the king instead of killing him.

However, Jeong Gi-joon believes that the new alphabet is a threat to Confucian order, and decides to stop it at all costs. He murders the king's son, but this only makes Sejong more determined. Jeong is able to stop the king's dissemination efforts, and on the day the alphabet is to be publicly announced, both So-yi and Chae-yoon are fatally wounded by Hidden Root members. However, through their sacrifices, the event is successful, and commoners begin to use Hangul.


Han Suk-kyu as King Sejong

The creator of Hangul. During his early years as king, Yi Do had a strained relationship with his father and harbored guilt for seeing people's suffering and death (including his wife's family) under his father's tyrannical rule. After the death of his father and his wife Soheon, Yi Do (now called King Sejong) employs Kang Chae-yoon as an investigator (unaware he is the same boy whom he spared years before) and is helped by So-yi in the creation of Hangul. He later finds out that Chae-yoon is the same boy who tried to kill him.

Jang Hyuk as Kang Chae-yoon/Ddol-bok

A former slave who has become royal guard and detective of King Sejong. As a child, Ddol-bok protected his intellectually disabled father from the teasing of other servants of the Queen's family. Later, Ddol-bok 's father was arrested and beaten, finally dying in front of him and his childhood friend So-yi. Though he was actually saved by King Sejong, he doesn't know it, and because he blames Sejong for his father's death, has sworn to avenge him by killing the king. He becomes a soldier under a changed name, and also trains under a martial arts master named Lee Bang-Ji, who showed him the way of the leaping martial arts that shows incredible speed, agility, power and stamina. Chae-yoon later becomes a low-level guard along with his friends, because he wants to keep a low profile from the king. He doesn't know that So-yi is Dam, believing that she is dead.

Shin Se-kyung as So-yi/Dam

Chae-yoon's friend who was saved as a child by Sejong's wife and became a court lady. During her early years as court lady, Yi Do apologized to her for his role in her family's death. She feels so guilty about her role in her fellow slaves' deaths that she cannot speak, but she is useful in the creation of Hangul because of her photographic memory.
Sejong's bodyguard and friend who would sacrifice himself to protect his friend.
An assassin who was smitten by So-yi when he took her hostage.
Though his origins are vague, the drama refers him to be from China. He is a master assassin, and his skills exceed those of Kang Chae-yoon, Moo-hyul and Yoon Pyeong. The only one that is equally matched to him is Lee Bang-ji, whom he kills.


Episode # Original broadcast date Average audience share
TNmS Ratings[3] AGB Nielsen[4]
Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area Nationwide Seoul National Capital Area
1 5 October 2011 9.2% 11.0% 9.5% 11.1%
2 6 October 2011 8.2% 9.8% 9.8% 10.6%
3 12 October 2011 16.4% 18.7% 18.2% 20.7%
4 13 October 2011 18.8% 22.6% 19.1% 21.8%
5 19 October 2011 17.7% 20.6% 18.3% 20.5%
6 20 October 2011 18.3% 20.8% 18.6% 19.1%
7 26 October 2011 17.9% 21.0% 18.9% 20.1%
8 27 October 2011 18.3% 20.5% 19.2% 20.5%
9 2 November 2011 17.3% 19.2% 17.4% 18.9%
10 3 November 2011 18.5% 20.7% 20.2% 22.1%
11 9 November 2011 17.9% 20.3% 19.1% 20.4%
12 10 November 2011 18.9% 20.9% 19.9% 21.3%
13 16 November 2011 18.7% 21.4% 19.4% 20.9%
14 17 November 2011 19.0% 21.6% 20.5% 22.0%
15 23 November 2011 17.8% 20.6% 20.1% 21.1%
16 24 November 2011 19.9% 21.9% 21.1% 22.3%
17 30 November 2011 18.8% 20.7% 21.0% 22.0%
18 1 December 2011 18.6% 21.4% 20.8% 22.2%
19 7 December 2011 20.1% 23.1% 21.6% 23.0%
20 8 December 2011 20.2% 23.5% 21.7% 23.0%
21 14 December 2011 19.7% 22.3% 21.9% 23.3%
22 15 December 2011 19.3% 22.1% 22.7% 24.7%
23 21 December 2011 19.7% 22.5% 21.4% 23.2%
24 22 December 2011 23.6% 27.5% 25.4% 27.3%
Average 18.0% 20.6% 19.4% 20.9%

Source: AGB Nielsen Korea

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
SBS Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang) Han Suk-kyu Won
Best Drama Deep Rooted Tree Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Han Suk-kyu Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Shin Se-kyung Won
Special Award, Actor in a Drama Special Cho Jin-woong Nominated
Special Award, Actress in a Drama Special Song Ok-sook Won
Producer's Choice Award Song Joong-ki Won
Top 10 Stars Han Suk-kyu Won
Jang Hyuk Won
6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Male Drama Star Song Joong-ki Nominated
20's Female Drama Star Shin Se-kyung Nominated
7th Seoul International Drama Awards
Grand Prize Deep Rooted Tree Won
Best Screenwriter Kim Young-hyun, Park Sang-yeon Nominated
Outstanding Korean Drama Deep Rooted Tree Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actress Shin Se-kyung Nominated
48th Baeksang Arts Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang) for TV Deep Rooted Tree Won
Best TV Drama Deep Rooted Tree Nominated
Best Actor (TV) Han Suk-kyu Nominated
Best Director (TV) Jang Tae-yoo Nominated
Best Screenplay (TV) Kim Young-hyun, Park Sang-yeon Won
5th Korea Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang) Han Suk-kyu Nominated
Best Director Jang Tae-yoo Won
Excellence Award, Actor Yoon Je-moon Nominated
1st K-Drama Star Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actor Han Suk-kyu Nominated

International broadcast[edit]

It aired in Japan on KNTV from July 24 to September 17, 2012,[5] which was followed by reruns on terrestrial network TV Tokyo.[6]

It aired in Thailand on Channel 7 every Monday to Thursday at 2.10 a.m. starting January 14, 2016.[7]


Real-life father and son Baek Yoon-sik and Baek Seo-bin co-starred in the drama.


  1. ^ Hong, Lucia (29 September 2011). "Jang Hyuk said did not want to take role in Tree at first". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  2. ^ "Actor Jang Hyuk's Soundtrack Picks". 10Asia. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  3. ^ "TNMS Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". TNMS Ratings (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  4. ^ "AGB Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ ""ภ.เกาหลีชุด "จอมกษัตริย์ตำนานอักษร" (DEEP ROOTED TREE)"". Channel 7 (in Thai). Retrieved 12 January 2016.

External links[edit]