The Executioner (TV series)

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The Executioner
The Executioner official poster
Also known asSpare From the Blade
GenreHistorical period drama
Created byHong Kong Television Broadcasts Limited
Written bySin Chui-ching, Au Yuk-han, Tam Chui-san, Fung Yat-chun, Chan Siu-cheung, Ma Ching-man, Cheung Kai-wing
Directed byWong Wai-yan, Cheung Wing-fai, Ng Ciu-wing, Cheng Wing-kay, Lam Wai-ching, Au Yuk-han, Tam Chui-san, Fung Yat-chun, Chan Siu-cheung, Ma Ching-man, Cheung Kai-wing
StarringKenny Wong
Maggie Shiu
Mat Yeung
Katy Kung
Elaine Yiu
Joel Chan
Bowie Wu
Hugo Ng
Stanley Cheung
Theme music composerAlan Cheung
Opening themeA Better Tomorrow (相信明天) by Hubert Wu
Country of originHong Kong
Original language(s)Cantonese
No. of episodes26
Executive producer(s)Catherine Tsang
Producer(s)Law Chun-ngok
Production location(s)Hong Kong
Editor(s)Sin Chui-ching
Camera setupMulti camera
Running time45 minutes
Production company(s)TVB
Original networkJade
HD Jade
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original release7 December 2015 (2015-12-07) –
10 January 2016 (2016-01-10)
External links
The Executioner
Cantonese YaleDōuhah Làuyàn
Literal meaning"Spare From The Blade"

The Executioner (Chinese: 刀下留人; literally "Spare From The Blade") is a 2015 till 2016 Hong Kong historical fiction television drama produced by TVB. It is set during the Chenghua Emperor's reign in Ming Dynasty, China, and centers on a political conspiracy.

Filming took place from January to April 2015 on location entirely in Hong Kong.[1] It premiered on 7 December 2015, on Hong Kong's broadcast network TVB Jade and Malaysia's cable television channel, Astro On Demand. It ran for 26 episodes, with the last episode airing on 10 January 2016.[2] The Executioner received positive reviews during its broadcast.


The drama is a fictional telling of the events that occurred during Ming dynasty's Chenghua Emperor reign. In actuality, the Chenghua Emperor had taken his nanny who was a mother figure to him as a consort. Consort Wan as she became known was twice the age of the Emperor, he was eighteen and she was thirty-five at the time she became his consort, but she became his favorite consort and gave birth to a son who died soon after. However Consort Wan was also an unscrupulous person who along with high ranking eunuchs would sell government titles to anyone willing to pay a high price. In terms those who bought these titles illegally would abuse their titles by raising taxes to unreasonable amounts in their county's or deal in illegal activities without getting punishment. The Emperor who did not want to offend Consort Wan would turn a blind eye on these issues.[3] Unable to bear the Emperor a child, fearing others will be favored by the Emperor and also to continue her hold on the Emperor, Consort Wan would command her servants and eunuchs to force abortion on any consorts that became pregnant with the Emperor's child. If any consort did get the chance to carry the Emperor's child to birth both mother and child would soon be murdered. After finding out a concubine named Ji is pregnant, Empress Wu protects her and the unborn child by entrusting them in the care of the gate keeper, but Consort Wan's finds out and seeks to murder the gate keeper, Concubine Ji and her child. The child survives and is reunited with Emperor Chenghua at age five. The child later grows up to be the future Hongzhi Emperor.[4][5]


One takes away life; the other welcomes life. Midwife Fa Yui-hung and executioner Yip Sheung-luk come together when they must protect a new life who is wanted dead by the Imperial government.

During Ming dynasty's Chenghua Emperor reign, Fa Yui-hung is the most renowned midwife in the capital. Her services are highly sought after by the rich and poor. She is a compassionate person that won't do harm to others even if she is paid a high price. One night a mysterious man Yip Sheung-luk shows up at her door step claiming to be the savior of her father-in-law who is away on a journey. As her father-in-law's savior, Sheung-luk claims he was welcomed to stay at the Bak household. After finding items in her home missing Yui-hung trails Sheung-luk around town, only to find that he is hiding a heavily pregnant woman who he is tasked to protect. Yui-hung agrees to help the pregnant woman, but Sheung-luk refuses to tell her the identity or background of the pregnant woman.

After saving the life of the local warden from an escaped fugitive, Sheung-luk is offered the position as the towns executioner. As he sees it as a profession everyone in town sees him as a murderer including Yui-hung who mocks him whenever she gets a chance. No one wants to be associated with him and in order to receive company he goes to the local brothel just to pay for any courtesan willing to keep him company while he has dinner.

Walking through the woods one night Sheung-luk and Yui-hung finds a ditch with a pregnant woman left for dead. After the woman dies Yui-hung immediately instructs Sheung-luk to save the baby inside the dead woman. After the baby boy is born Yui-hung wants to bring the baby to the authorities but Sheung-luk knows the dead woman was not a regular person by looking at her accessories and clothing. In order to protect him and his savior's daughter-in-law, he advises Yui-hung not to go to the authorities yet. The new born baby boy soon gets them both in trouble when they become the most wanted criminals in the kingdom. The two go through many dangers to keep themselves alive and protect the baby boy with a mysterious connection to the Chenghua Emperor.[6]


Bak family/household[edit]

Imperial prison department[edit]

Yin Hung Garden brothel[edit]

Imperial Court[edit]

Extended cast[edit]


  • The costume fitting ceremony was held on January 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm Tseung Kwan O TVB City Studio One Common Room.[7]
  • The blessing ceremony was held on March 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm Tseung Kwan O TVB City Studio Thirteen.
  • Filming took place from January to April 2015 at TVB Ancient City backlot and on location around Hong Kong.

Viewership ratings[edit]

Timeslot (HKT) # Week Episode(s) Average points Peaking points
Mon – Fri
(8:30-9:30 pm)
07 – 11 Dec 2015
1 – 5
14 – 18 Dec 2015
6 – 10
21 – 25 Dec 2015
11 – 15
28 Dec 2015 – 01 Jan 2016
16 – 20
04 – 08 Jan 2016
21 – 25
Sun 10 Jan 2016
21 – 26
Total average

International broadcast[edit]

Network Country Airing Date Timeslot
Astro On Demand  Malaysia December 7, 2015 Monday – Friday 8:30 – 9:15 pm
NTV7 September 11, 2017 Monday – Wednesday 11:00 pm – 12:00 am
TVBJ  Australia December 8, 2015 Monday – Friday 7:15 – 8:15 pm
Starhub TV  Singapore March 31, 2016 Monday – Friday 8:00 – 9:00 pm

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2016 StarHub TVB Awards[8] My Favourite TVB Drama The Executioner Nominated
My Favourite TVB Actress Maggie Shiu Nominated
My Favourite TVB Actor Kenny Wong Nominated
My Favourite TVB Female TV Character Maggie Shiu Nominated
My Favourite TVB Male TV Character Kenny Wong Nominated
TVB Star Awards Malaysia My Favourite TVB Actress in a Supporting Role Akina Hong Nominated
TVB Anniversary Awards Best Series The Executioner Nominated
Best Actor Kenny Wong Nominated
Best Actress Maggie Shiu (Top 5) Nominated
Most Popular TV Female Character Akina Hong Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Law Lok-lam Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Akina Hong Nominated
Elaine Yiu Nominated
Most Popular Series Song A Better Tomorrow (相信明天) by Hubert Wu Nominated


  1. ^ "德斌Maggie演繹血淋淋的浪漫". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  2. ^ "刀下留人". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  3. ^ Irving A. Hultengren. "Ming tombs - Zhu Jianshen - Chenghua". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  4. ^ "Reign of Chenghua Emperor: The Eighth Emperor of the Ming Dynasty". World History Project.
  5. ^ "Wan, Consort of Emperor Xianzong of the Ming Dynasty". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  6. ^ "Synopsis of TVB's "The Executioner"".
  7. ^ "hyn5 @ 幸而城 Fortunate City: 《刀下留人》 "Spare from the Blade" Costume Fitting". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  8. ^ [1] StarHub TVB Awards 2016 Nominations. Retrieved September 10, 2016

External links[edit]