Dong Yi (TV series)

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Dong Yi
Dong Yi.jpg
Promotional poster for Dong Yi
Written byKim Yi-young
Directed by
Opening theme"Walking on a Dreamy Road" by Jang Na-ra
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of episodes60
Executive producers
  • Kim Ho-young
  • Ahn Seung-gak
ProducerLee Se-joong
Production companiesLydus Contents Company
Original networkMunhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Original release22 March (2010-03-22) –
12 October 2010 (2010-10-12)
External links
Korean name
Revised RomanizationDong-i

Dong Yi (Korean동이; Hanja同伊) is a 2010 South Korean historical television drama series, starring Han Hyo-joo in the title role.[1] The series centers on the love story between King Sukjong and Choi Suk-bin; it aired on MBC from 22 March to 12 October 2010 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 for 60 episodes.[2][3]

Dong Yi was a hit across Asia and recorded the highest ratings for Korean dramas on Japanese network NHK.[4] It also recorded solid viewership ratings in the mid-20% to 30% range in South Korea,[5] and Han won acting awards for her performance including "Daesang (Grand Prize)" at the MBC Drama Awards.



Set during the reign of King Sukjong in the Joseon dynasty, the series is based on real-life historical figure Choi Suk-bin.

Dong-yi's father and brother are members of the Sword Fraternity, which is wrongfully accused of murdering noblemen. She hides her identity and enters the palace as a servant for the Bureau of Music, determined to reveal her family's innocence and find the true orchestrators of the noblemen's deaths.

As a court lady inspector[edit]

Dong-yi rises from the humble position of a servant to a court lady inspector through her shrewd investigative skills and relentless drive for justice. The court is split between the Western scholars (backed by the Dowager Queen and Queen Inhyeon) and the Southern scholars (backed by the king's favored concubine, Jang Hui-bin). Unaware of his true identity, she befriends the king and becomes a trusted confidante.

Originally, Dong-yi admires Hui-bin on the basis that both are clever, ambitious women from the common classes. However, she is horrified to realize that Hui-bin and her brother, Hee-Jae, are poisoning the Dowager Queen for refusing to acknowledge Hui-bin as a royal concubine. Hui-bin frames the innocent Queen Inhyeon for the Dowager Queen's death with false proof.

Queen Inhyeon is stripped of her title of queen and exiled to the countryside. Hui-bin takes her place as the queen, and her son, Yun, is declared crown prince. The Southern scholars are more powerful than ever. Dong-yi vows to find the evidence that proves the deposed queen's innocence and bring her back into the palace.

While investigating the Royal Treasury, Dong-yi discovers proof that Hee-Jae bribed officials and apothecaries to frame Queen Inhyeon. Before she can bring this evidence to the king, Dong-yi is gravely injured by Hee-Jae's assassins.

Dong-yi hides in a distant province as she recuperates her health. There, she discovers that Hee-Jae is involved in a conspiracy with the Chinese Envoys: In exchange for the Chinese Emperor's approval of Crown Prince Yun, Hee-Jae will give them military records of the Korean border.

Dong-yi escapes Hee-Jae and returns to the capital with proof that Hee-Jae planned to expose matters of state interests to a foreign government. The king is overjoyed to see her again, and he realizes that he is in love with her.

As a royal consort[edit]

Despite her commoner status, Dong-yi is brought into the court as the king's concubine. Through her new position, she exposes Hui-bin, Hee-Jae, and the Southern Scholars had contrived to sell state secrets to the Chinese Envoys to strengthen the position of Crown Prince Yun. Hee-Jae and the majority of the Southern Scholars are stripped of their courtly titles and exiled. Hui-bin should be exiled; however, as the mother of the crown prince, she is merely demoted to the rank of concubine of the first class. Queen Inhyeon is declared innocent and returns to the inner court as queen.

Dong-yi is highly favored by Queen Inhyeon for proving her innocence and convincing the king to reinstate her to her former position. Queen Inhyeon declared Dong-yi a concubine of the fourth class and an official member of the royal family. Dong-yi gives birth to the king's son, Prince Yungsu.

The new Sword Guild and the past exposed[edit]

The Sword Fraternity is resurrected. Unlike their former iteration, they are violent and murder nobles who are involved in corruption and cause the commoners to suffer. Dong-yi fears that her identity as a traitor's daughter will be exposed, and she decides to investigate. She learns that the leader of the Sword fraternity is her old childhood friend, Gae Dwo-ra. She realizes that Lord Oh Tae-suk had murdered his fellow Southern Scholars in order to consolidate power and had blamed the Sword Fraternity, resulting in the death of her father and brother.

Jang Mu-yeol, a Southern police chief, realizes the unusual connection between Dong-yi and the Sword Fraternity. He realizes a chance to supplant Oh Tae-suk as the head of the Southern Scholars and remove Hui-bin's enemy, Dong-yi. He murders Oh Tae-suk and blames the Sword Fraternity for his death, and he traps Dong-yi trying to help the injured Gae Dwo-ra.

The king and the court realize Dong-yi's true past and identity. She is charged with being a traitor's daughter, hiding her identity, and helping a rebel group. The Southern Scholars petition to have her executed, but the king merely exiles her from the palace. Dong-yi's son, Prince Yungsu, died of smallpox, and she is banished from the court forever.

In exile[edit]

The King is heartbroken by his separation from Dong-yi. Despite being forbidden to do so, he goes to her residence and spends the night with her. She gives birth to her second child, Prince Geum (later King Yeongjo).

The six-year-old Prince Geum is bright and intelligent, but he longs to meet his father, the king. On an outing, the king recognizes Prince Geum as his son and befriends him, posing as an administrative officer.

Hui-bin learns about the king's secret meetings with Prince Geum and his lingering affection for Dong-yi. Her mother hires assassins to burn Dong-yi's residence in order to kill her and her son. The royal guards, who were instructed to watch over the residence, rescue both mother and son from the fire.

The king has been waiting to bring Dong-yi and her son to court. When Prince Geum turns seven, he is required to receive royal education. However, the king uses the failed assassination attempt on the pair's lives as a pretext to bring both into the palace early.

Return to the palace[edit]

Many members of the court seek to promote Prince Geum to be the crown prince, replacing Hui-bin's son. Queen Inhyeon, who has no children of her own, adores Prince Geum and supports his claim. However, Queen Inheyon suddenly dies of an illness.

Rumors spread throughout the palace that Crown Prince Yun is infertile due to an undisclosed condition. If so, Prince Geum would be the natural alternative to be the king's heir. Hui-bin's supporters begin to abandon her and Crown Prince Yun in favor of Dong-yi and Prince Geum.

Desperate to retain her son's position, Hui-bin attempts to assassinate Dong-yi and Prince Geum. Dong-yi is injured, but Prince Geum is unharmed.

The king executes Hui-bin for using black magic to kill Queen Inhyeon, hiding Crown Prince Yun's infertility, and attempting to kill Dong-yi and Prince Geum. Before her execution, Hui-bin acknowledges her wrongs and begs Dong-yi to protect the Crown Prince.

The king offers for Dong-yi to become queen and Prince Geum to become the crown prince. However, Dong-yi refuses. She cites all the chaos Hui-bin has caused in court, and she asks the king to create a law preventing concubines from becoming queen in hopes that similar power struggles between concubines do not occur. The king agrees and appoints Queen Inwon as queen.

The king knows that Crown Prince Yun will always regard his half-brother Prince Geum as a threat. For both to survive, both must become kings. Because Crown Prince Yun is infertile, he will rule first after the king; Prince Geum will follow him. Because Prince Geum has a commoner mother, the king knows that the courtiers will not respect his position. He decides to abdicate so that Prince Yun would become king and Prince Geum will be cemented as the Crown Prince. However, Queen Inwon adopts Prince Geum, giving him royal protection and ensuring that he will follow Prince Yun to the throne after his death.

Dong-yi decides to leave the palace so that she can help the poor commoners.

A new king[edit]

Dong-yi's son, under her tutelage, later becomes the 21st king of Joseon, Yeongjo, the father of Crown Prince Sado and grandfather of Yi San.





Dong Yi was written by Kim Yi-young and directed by Lee Byung-hoon. Lee previously directed the hit 2003 period drama Jewel in the Palace.[9]

It was filmed at MBC Dramia located at Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si in Gyeonggi Province, where other historical dramas such as Moon Embracing the Sun, Jumong and Queen Seondeok were also filmed.[10]


In the table below, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.

Date Episode TNmS Ratings[11] AGB Nielsen[12]
Nationwide Seoul Nationwide Seoul
2010-03-22 1 11.4 (15th) 12.9 (8th) 11.6 (16th) 12.8 (11th)
2010-03-23 2 11.5 (12th) 12.6 (10th) 11.6 (13th) 13.1 (10th)
2010-03-29 3 11.8 (14th) 12.9 (12th) 12.7 (13th) 13.7 (12th)
2010-03-30 4 12.3 (11th) 13.4 (10th) 13.6 (9th) 15.2 (8th)
2010-04-05 5 15.3 (6th) 16.4 (4th) 14.7 (7th) 15.6 (6th)
2010-04-06 6 14.2 (7th) 15.2 (6th) 15.7 (7th) 17.4 (5th)
2010-04-12 7 17.2 (5th) 18.9 (2nd) 17.9 (4th) 20.1 (4th)
2010-04-13 8 17.2 (5th) 18.5 (2nd) 18.8 (4th) 20.4 (4th)
2010-04-19 9 19.0 (4th) 20.4 (2nd) 19.2 (3rd) 20.9 (1st)
2010-04-20 10 19.7 (1st) 21.3 (1st) 18.2 (4th) 19.7 (4th)
2010-04-26 11 21.6 (2nd) 23.5 (2nd) 21.0 (3rd) 24.0 (1st)
2010-04-27 12 22.5 (2nd) 24.5 (2nd) 21.6 (2nd) 23.9 (2nd)
2010-05-03 13 22.9 (1st) 25.2 (1st) 20.0 (3rd) 22.0% (3rd)
2010-05-04 14 20.4 (2nd) 21.9 (1st) 19.9 (2nd) 22.6 (1st)
2010-05-10 15 25.8 (1st) 27.9 (1st) 25.1 (1st) 28.1 (1st)
2010-05-11 16 28.5 (1st) 30.8 (1st) 26.2 (1st) 30.2 (1st)
2010-05-17 17 25.0 (1st) 27.1 (1st) 25.0 (1st) 28.0 (1st)
2010-05-18 18 25.6 (1st) 27.3 (1st) 25.0 (1st) 25.9 (1st)
2010-05-24 19 24.1 (2nd) 26.2 (2nd) 24.6 (2nd) 28.1 (2nd)
2010-05-25 20 23.8 (1st) 26.0 (1st) 22.4 (2nd) 25.3 (1st)
2010-05-31 21 25.1 (1st) 27.7 (1st) 23.0 (2nd) 25.5 (1st)
2010-06-01 22 26.6 (1st) 29.3 (1st) 24.2 (1st) 26.9 (1st)
2010-06-07 23 28.1 (1st) 30.9 (1st) 23.9 (1st) 27.2 (1st)
2010-06-08 24 30.3 (1st) 33.2 (1st) 25.8 (1st) 29.7 (1st)
2010-06-14 25 31.0 (1st) 33.3 (1st) 27.4 (1st) 30.1 (1st)
2010-06-15 26 33.1% (1st) 35.6% (1st) 29.1% (1st) 32.3% (1st)
2010-06-21 27 29.1 (1st) 31.0 (1st) 26.9 (1st) 29.8 (1st)
2010-06-22 28 30.1 (1st) 32.6 (1st) 28.0 (1st) 30.6 (1st)
2010-06-28 29 31.1 (1st) 32.8 (1st) 28.0 (1st) 30.4 (1st)
2010-06-29 30 31.9 (1st) 33.8 (1st) 28.7 (1st) 31.5 (1st)
2010-07-05 31 30.8 (1st) 33.3 (1st) 26.1 (1st) 28.6 (1st)
2010-07-06 32 31.3 (1st) 33.8 (1st) 27.5 (1st) 30.4 (1st)
2010-07-12 33 29.1 (1st) 31.1 (1st) 26.3 (1st) 29.1 (1st)
2010-07-13 34 29.7 (1st) 31.7 (1st) 27.4 (1st) 30.6 (1st)
2010-07-19 35 27.6 (1st) 30.0 (1st) 24.3 (1st) 27.0 (1st)
2010-07-20 36 29.4 (1st) 32.0 (1st) 25.3 (1st) 27.9 (1st)
2010-07-26 37 28.8 (1st) 31.2 (1st) 24.4 (1st) 26.8 (1st)
2010-07-27 38 30.6 (1st) 33.3 (1st) 25.7 (1st) 28.3 (1st)
2010-08-02 39 23.9 (1st) 25.8 (1st) 21.5 (1st) 23.3 (1st)
2010-08-03 40 23.1 (1st) 25.0 (1st) 21.9 (1st) 25.1 (1st)
2010-08-09 41 23.7 (1st) 25.9 (1st) 22.7 (1st) 24.8 (1st)
2010-08-10 42 23.2 (1st) 25.2 (1st) 21.3 (3rd) 23.3 (2nd)
2010-08-16 43 23.3 (1st) 25.0 (1st) 22.7 (1st) 25.2 (1st)
2010-08-17 44 24.8 (1st) 26.6 (1st) 21.6 (2nd) 23.6 (2nd)
2010-08-23 45 24.7 (1st) 26.5 (1st) 24.3 (1st) 27.7 (1st)
2010-08-24 46 26.8 (1st) 29.3 (1st) 25.1 (1st) 28.1 (1st)
2010-08-30 47 30.7 (1st) 33.0 (1st) 27.3 (1st) 29.9 (1st)
2010-08-31 48 30.3 (1st) 32.5 (1st) 27.4 (1st) 30.0 (1st)
2010-09-06 49 29.5 (1st) 31.8 (1st) 27.7 (1st) 30.1 (1st)
2010-09-07 50 28.6 (1st) 30.7 (1st) 25.3 (1st) 27.3 (1st)
2010-09-13 51 26.4 (1st) 28.8 (1st) 24.5 (1st) 26.5 (1st)
2010-09-14 52 27.0 (1st) 29.8 (1st) 24.5 (1st) 26.4 (1st)
2010-09-20 53 23.0 (1st) 25.5 (1st) 22.7 (1st) 24.4 (1st)
2010-09-21 54 20.2 (1st) 21.1 (1st) 19.7 (1st) 21.9 (1st)
2010-09-27 55 25.7 (1st) 28.3 (1st) 24.4 (2nd) 26.7 (1st)
2010-09-28 56 23.6 (3rd) 25.7 (1st) 24.4 (2nd) 26.7 (2nd)
2010-10-04 57 20.9 (2nd) 23.2 (1st) 22.2 (2nd) 24.3 (1st)
2010-10-05 58 20.3 (2nd) 22.2 (1st) 22.6 (2nd) 24.7 (2nd)
2010-10-11 59 24.9 (2nd) 27.9 (1st) 24.4 (2nd) 27.4 (2nd)
2010-10-12 60 22.3 (3rd) 24.2 (1st) 24.3 (1st) 26.4 (1st)
Average 24.5% 26.6% 23.0% 25.4%


2010 3rd Korea Drama Awards
2010 MBC Drama Awards[13]
2011 1st Hong Kong Cable TV Awards
2011 47th Baeksang Arts Awards[14]

International Broadcast[edit]

In Sri Lanka, the drama aired in Rupavahini dubbed in Sinhala, from 11th February 2013 to 9th July 2013 at 6:30pm to 7:00pm on Weekdays. Under the title අභීත දියණිය - Abeetha Diyaniya


  1. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (7 May 2010). "Han Hyo-joo says she "hold fast" to her role in Dong Yi". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  2. ^ Han, Sang-hee (21 March 2010). "Will Dong-yi Become Next Jewel in the Palace?". The Korea Times. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  3. ^ Oh, Jean (22 March 2010). "Upbeat rom-com vs. court romance". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  4. ^ "'Always' Han Hyo Joo, 'Hallyu Queen'?". 9 June 2012.
  5. ^ Hong, Lucia (13 October 2010). "Giant places on top and Dong Yi finishes run". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Han Hyo-joo Changes Tack in Costume Drama". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  7. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (7 May 2010). "Ji Jin-hee says "happy to break stereotype" as a king". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  8. ^ Kim, Jessica (5 January 2010). "Bae Soo-bin joins cast of drama Dong Yi". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  9. ^ Kim, Jessica (9 June 2010). "INTERVIEW: Dong Yi director says Ji Jin-hee "mischievous"". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  10. ^ Lee, Cin Woo (16 March 2012). "Beyond Seoul: 19 reasons to explore Korea". CNN Go. Archived from the original on 21 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  11. ^ "TNMS Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". TNMS Ratings (in Korean). Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  12. ^ "AGB Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  13. ^ Hong, Lucia (31 December 2010). "Kim Nam-joo, Han Hyo-joo win grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  14. ^ Hong, Lucia (27 May 2011). "Hyun Bin, Lee Byung-hun win top prizes at Paeksang". 10Asia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.

External links[edit]