The Last Empress (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Last Empress
The Last Empress (TV series).jpg
Promotional poster
Also known asAn Empress' Dignity
황후의 품격
皇后의 品格
Literal meaningEmpress's Dignity
Revised RomanizationHwanghuui Pumgyeok
Created byPark Young-soo (SBS Drama Operations Team)
Written byKim Soon-ok
Directed byJoo Dong-min
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of episodes52[a][b]
Executive producerKim Young-min [ko]
ProducerLee Hee-soo
Production locationSouth Korea
Running time35 minutes[b]
Production companySM Life Design Group[c]
Original networkSBS TV
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseNovember 21, 2018 (2018-11-21) –
February 21, 2019 (2019-02-21)

The Last Empress (Korean황후의 품격; RRHwanghuui Pumgyeok) is a 2018-2019 South Korean television series starring Jang Na-ra, Choi Jin-hyuk, Shin Sung-rok, Lee Elijah, and Shin Eun-kyung. It aired on SBS Wednesdays and Thursdays at the 22:00 KST time slot from November 21, 2018, to February 21, 2019, for 52 episodes.[3][4]

Originally slated for 48 episodes, The Last Empress was extended to 52 episodes due to its popularity. It received high viewership ratings and positive reviews for its fast-paced and unpredictable plot. On its 24th episode on December 27, 2018, The Last Empress garnered nationwide ratings of 17.9%, making it the highest rating weekday mini-series for Korean terrestrial television in 2018. It surpassed the record previously held by the drama Return.[5]


The Last Empress is set in an alternate universe, in which Korea is a constitutional monarchy in 2018, Oh Sunny is a bright and vivacious musical actress who marries the Emperor of the Korean Empire. She becomes involved in the palace power struggle and a mysterious murder that sets off events that threaten the monarchy itself, while searching for true love and happiness. She teams up with Na Wang Shik who works as a bodyguard for the imperial family in order to uncover the crimes of the Imperial family. Na Wang Shik started working in the palace to take revenge on the person responsible for his mother's death.[6]



  • Jang Na-ra as Oh Sunny[7] – an aspiring musical actress with a bright and cheerful personality. She became an overnight Cinderella after marrying the Emperor. In the palace, she fights to uncover the truth behind the death of the Grand Empress Dowager and topple the corrupt imperial family.
  • Choi Jin-hyuk as Na Wang-sik / Chun Woo-bin[8] – seeks vengeance on the imperial family after his mother's death. To infiltrate the imperial household, he changed his identity to Chun Woo-bin, becoming the Emperor's most trusted imperial bodyguard with unrivaled fighting skills.
  • Shin Sung-rok as Emperor Lee Hyuk[9] – Emperor of the Korean Empire. A powerful ruler who is well-respected by the people. He is talented and eloquent, but beneath his pleasant appearance lies an ugly personality.
  • Lee Elijah as Min Yoo-ra[10] – Imperial head secretary. She is quick-witted, decisive and greedy. She is trusted by the Emperor and becomes his secret lover and mistress.
  • Shin Eun-kyung as Empress Dowager Kang[11] – Lee Hyuk's mother. A fearless and powerful woman who holds absolute authority in the palace and is fiercely protective of her status.


Imperial Household[edit]

Younger brother of Lee Hyuk.
Ah-ri's nanny, and birth mother.
Illegitimate daughter of Lee Hyuk.
First wife of Lee Hyuk.

Sunny's Family[edit]

Sunny's father and owner of a chicken restaurant.
Sunny's sister.
Sunny's late mother


  • Kim Myung-soo as Byun Baek-ho
Father of Empress So-hyeon. Former Chief Imperial Guard.
  • Yoon Joo-man as Ma Pil-joo [18]
Right-hand man of the Emperor.
Mother of Na Wang-sik. Adoptive mother of Min Yoo-ra and Na Dong-sik.
  • Ha Do-kwon as Chief Imperial guard Joo
  • Lee Soo-ryun as Choi Yoon-mi
Chief Assistant of Empress Dowager Kang
  • Kim Min-ok as Hong So-mae
Chief Assistant of Grand Empress Dowager Jo.
Court lady of Grand Empress Dowager Jo.
Sunny's junior colleague and a fellow musical actress who is jealous of Sunny

Special Appearances[edit]

  • Park Chan-min as news anchor (Ep 1)
  • Yoon Jong-hoon as terrorist who tried to kill the Emperor
Kang Joo-seung's brother (Ep 1)
  • Park Gyu-ri as suicidal woman (Ep 13)[20]
  • Song Jae-hee as father of Lee Hyuk and Lee Yoon (Ep 14 & 19)
  • Jo Dong-hyuk as the detective in Grand Empress Dowager's murder (Ep 17–20)
  • Park Doo-shik as Team Lead Hong's son
  • Son Chang-min as Goo Pil-mo, chief neurosurgeon at Daehan Imperial University Hospital (Ep 23–24)
  • Kim Da-som as court lady Yang Dal-hee (Ep 28)
  • Dong Hyun-bae as the detective (Ep 41–42)
  • Ahn Nae-sang as Chief Detective in Lee Yoon's assault (Ep 41–42)
  • Jeon Soo-kyung as Empress Eun (Ep 46–48)
  • Kim Soo-mi as Sa Goon Ja/former Chief Kim (Ep 47)


The first script reading for the drama was held on September 6, 2018, at the SBS Ilsan Production Center with the attendance of cast and crew.[21][22]

Kim Jung-tae was originally cast for the role of Ma Pil-joo. He decided to resign after being diagnosed with liver cancer and was replaced by Yoon Joo-man.[23][24]

On November 19, 2018, Choi Jin-hyuk suffered an injury while filming an action scene that required 30 stitches on his forehead.[25][26]

While filming on December 18, 2018, Shin Sung-rok fractured his toe and underwent surgery the following day. He resumed filming activities the day after his surgery.[27]

Due to scheduling conflict, Choi Jin-hyuk was not able to participate filming the 4-episode extension. He completed filming until episode 48 as originally planned.[28]

On February 25, 2019, the production released an epilogue featuring Jang Na-ra and Shin Sung-rok on Naver TV and SBS NOW YouTube channel.[29]

Working condition controversy[edit]

On October 25, 2018, SBS signed individual contracts with the staff of The Last Empress to ensure better working conditions. However, according to the Hope Alliance Labor Union (HALU), the network and the production company SM Life Design Group (SMLDG) violated the contracts when they continued to extend work schedules without consent from workers.

The HALU also alleged that, "From November 21 to 30, the staff [of The Last Empress] had to undergo ten consecutive days of intense filming schedules that lasted for many hours without a single day of rest."[30][31]

On December 17, 2018, HALU filed a bill of indictment with the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) against SBS and SMLDG.

Original soundtrack[edit]

The Last Empress
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
Released2018 (2018)
LabelVlending, SBS Contents Hub

Part 1[edit]

Released on November 28, 2018 (2018-11-28)
1."What Would It Be" (어땠을까)Kim Ho-kyung1601Jang Deok Cheol3:56
2."What Would It Be" (Inst.) 1601 3:56
Total length:7:52

Part 2[edit]

Released on December 6, 2018 (2018-12-06)
1."Not Over" (끝이 아니길)Park Sung-ilPark Sung-ilGaho3:30
2."Not Over" (Inst.) Park Sung-il 3:30
Total length:7:00

Part 3[edit]

Released on December 27, 2018 (2018-12-27)
1."If I Convey My Heart" (마음을 전하면)D'DAYKZ, Jung Su-minKei (Lovelyz)4:11
2."If I Convey My Heart" (Inst.) KZ, Jung Su-min 4:11
Total length:8:22

Part 4[edit]

Released on January 16, 2019 (2019-01-16)
1."Deep Voice" (낮은 목소리)Sebastian Anton Atas, Victor Carl Sjostrom, Red Haired Anne, SINGSebastian Anton Atas, Victor Carl Sjostrom, Red Haired Anne, SINGPark Ji-min3:23
2."Deep Voice" (Inst.) Sebastian Anton Atas, Victor Carl Sjostrom, Red Haired Anne, SING 3:23
Total length:6:46

Part 5[edit]

Released on January 30, 2019 (2019-01-30)
1."For Only One Day" (단 하루만)Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sungSeo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sungSeo Ji-an3:45
2."For Only One Day" (Inst.) Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sung 3:45
Total length:7:30

Part 6[edit]

Released on February 13, 2019 (2019-02-13)
1."Open Ending"Jang Yeon-jungOneTopGiryeon3:45
2."Open Ending" (Inst.) OneTop 3:25
Total length:6:50
Disc 2:
1."Anger and hatred"Various Artists3:46
2."Awkward romance"Various Artists2:06
3."Confused heart"Various Artists1:50
4."Definite flaw"Various Artists2:22
5."Empress of slander"Various Artists1:59
6."Fabricated imperial family"Various Artists2:30
7."Fallen emperor"Various Artists2:31
8."Growing distrust"Various Artists2:11
9."It's all happening"Various Artists2:23
10."Imperial shadow"Various Artists2:15
11."Imperial identity"Various Artists1:51
12."Imminent crisis"Various Artists2:28
13."I am alone"Various Artists1:52
14."Min Yoo Ra"Various Artists1:50
15."My only one"Various Artists3:33
16."Man who thought he was dead"Various Artists1:50
17."Oh! Sunny day"Various Artists1:38
18."Overview of events"Various Artists1:47
19."Prelude to the truth"Various Artists2:44
20."Protect dignity! Besides !"Various Artists1:20
21."Princess Ari's Day"Various Artists2:10
22."Puzzled puzzles"Various Artists2:16
23."The Emperor is innocent"Various Artists2:05
24."The case to be revealed"Various Artists2:47
25."The past I want to die"Various Artists1:59
26."Good morning empress"Various Artists2:15
27."Throbbing Heart"Various Artists2:00
28."Thanks Oh Sunny"Various Artists3:11
29."Trigger of revenge"Various Artists2:46
30."Tearing bite fight"Various Artists2:46
31."Tears"Various Artists2:54
32."Stagnation"Various Artists2:43
33."The shadow of power"Various Artists2:16
34."The Empress dignity"Various Artists2:24
35."The ugly truth"Various Artists3:28
36."Unexpected breathing"Various Artists2:20
37."Woman with ambition, Seo Kang Hee"Various Artists2:39
38."Perfect trap"Various Artists1:53
39."Twisted self"Various Artists2:15


The Last Empress : South Korea viewers per episode (millions)
EpisodesEpisode number
Source: Audience measurement performed nationwide by Nielsen Media Research.[32]
Ep. Original broadcast date Episode Title Average audience share
TNmS[33] AGB Nielsen[34]
Nationwide Nationwide Seoul
1 November 21, 2018 Thank You, Your Majesty
(감사합니다 폐하)
7.4% 7.2% (14th) 7.7% (12th)
2 8.1% 7.6% (11th) 8.6% (8th)
3 November 22, 2018 Always the Main Character
(항상 주인공입니다)
8.0% 7.6% (13th) 8.6% (9th)
4 8.5% 8.5% (9th) 9.3% (8th)
5 November 28, 2018 Can You Accept Me?
(나 좀 받아줄래요?)
5.9% 5.7% (20th) 5.8% (17th)
6 7.0% 7.9% (10th) 8.4% (9th)
7 November 29, 2018 The Korean Empire's Empress
(대한 제국 황후)
7.2% 7.6% (13th) 8.0% (11th)
8 8.2% 9.3% (7th) 9.9% (5th)
9 December 5, 2018 I'll Kill You All
(내가 다 죽여버릴 거야)
6.8% 6.1% (18th) 6.8% (13th)
10 9.2% 9.3% (7th) 10.1% (5th)
11 December 6, 2018 Don't Trust Anyone in the Palace
(궁에선 아무도 믿지 마)
8.3% 7.9% (12th) 8.3% (9th)
12 10.1% 10.5% (6th) 11.5% (3rd)
13 December 12, 2018 Cheer Up, Your Majesty
(힘내십시오, 마마)
6.8% 8.2% (10th) 8.6% (10th)
14 9.1% 11.5% (4th) 12.3% (3rd)
15 December 13, 2018 A Life that has Already Died Once
(이미 한번 죽은 목숨)
9.6% 11.0% (8th) 12.4% (4th)
16 12.3% 14.0% (3rd) 15.4% (2nd)
17 December 19, 2018 I Will Destroy the Imperial House
(황실을 박살 낼 겁니다)
8.5% 10.0% (8th) 10.8% (6th)
18 11.9% 13.3% (3rd) 14.5% (2nd)
19 December 20, 2018 I Love You, Your Majesty
(사랑해요 폐하)
10.9% 11.4% (6th) 12.0% (5th)
20 13.3% 14.6% (2nd) 15.5% (2nd)
21 December 26, 2018 Appointing the Chief Imperial Guard
(경호대장에 임명한다)
11.0% 12.6% (6th) 13.7% (4th)
22 13.1% 16.1% (2nd) 17.3% (1st)
23 December 27, 2018 Die
13.7% 15.1% (4th) 16.2% (3rd)
24 15.8% 17.9% (2nd) 18.9% (1st)
25 January 2, 2019 Tell Me the Truth
(진실을 말해주세요)
11.0% 12.5% (3rd) 12.4% (3rd)
26 14.5% 15.8% (2nd) 16.3% (2nd)
27 January 3, 2019 Let's Play, Sunny
(써니야 놀자)
13.7% 14.0% (3rd) 14.7% (3rd)
28 15.1% 16.0% (2nd) 16.9% (2nd)
29 January 9, 2019 I'll Protect It
10.7% 11.8% (6th) 12.7% (5th)
30 13.9% 14.9% (2nd) 15.9% (2nd)
31 January 10, 2019 I Like It
(제가 좋아합니다)
11.7% 12.5% (5th) 13.5% (3rd)
32 13.7% 15.3% (2nd) 16.7% (2nd)
33 January 17, 2019 You Look Pretty
11.1% 12.2% (5th) 12.9% (3rd)
34 13.5% 15.2% (2nd) 16.1% (2nd)
35 January 23, 2019 You Have To Be Strong
(강해지셔야 돼요)
10.5% 11.0% (7th) 11.6% (4th)
36 12.3% 14.0% (2nd) 15.2% (2nd)
37 January 24, 2019 Please Catch The True Criminal
(진범을 잡아주세요)
9.7% 10.9% (6th) 11.0% (5th)
38 12.0% 13.9% (2nd) 14.3% (2nd)
39 January 30, 2019 I Like Her Majesty
(황후 마마를 좋아합니다)
12.3% 12.9% (5th) 13.5% (3rd)
40 14.7% 15.0% (2nd) 15.3% (2nd)
41 January 31, 2019 Do Not Run Away
13.0% 14.9% (3rd) 15.5% (3rd)
42 14.8% 16.7% (2nd) 17.1% (2nd)
43 February 7, 2019[d] You Murderer, Die
(살인자 새끼, 죽어)
11.1% 12.2% (6th) 12.7% (4th)
44 13.1% 14.5% (2nd) 15.2% (2nd)
45 February 13, 2019 Live As My Woman Until You Die
(죽을 때까지 내 여자로 살아)
11.1% 11.0% (7th) 11.1% (5th)
46 13.5% 13.9% (2nd) 14.1% (2nd)
47 February 14, 2019 Please Take Care of the Empire of Korea
(대한 제국을 부탁합니다)
11.9% 12.4% (7th) 12.4% (5th)
48 14.0% 14.6% (3rd) 14.7% (3rd)
49 February 20, 2019 The Last Day of the Imperial Family
(황실의 마지막 날)
11.0% 11.7% (6th) 11.7% (4th)
50 13.1% 13.8% (3rd) 14.2% (2nd)
51 February 21, 2019 The Last Imperial Family of the Korean Empire
(대한제국 마지막 황실)
13.2% 14.1% (5th) 13.9% (4th)
52 15.7% 16.5% (2nd) 16.8% (2nd)
Average 11.3% 12.2% 12.9%
Special January 16, 2019[e] Special Episode
(몰아보기 스페셜)
5.5% 5.8% (NR) 6.3% (16th)
4.5% 4.9% (NR)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2018 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Wednesday-Thursday Drama Choi Jin-hyuk Won [37]
Shin Sung-rok Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Wednesday-Thursday Drama Jang Na-ra Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Wednesday-Thursday Drama Lee Elijah Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Oh Ah-rin Nominated
2019 Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Actress Jang Na-ra Won [38]


  1. ^ Originally scheduled to air for 48 episodes, the series was extended by four episodes due to its popularity.[1]
  2. ^ a b In order to circumvent Korean laws that prevent commercial breaks in the middle of an episode, what would previously have been aired as single 70 minute episodes are now being repackaged as two 35 minute episodes, with two episodes being shown each night with a commercial break between the two.[2]
  3. ^ Formerly KD Media and FNC Add Culture.
  4. ^ No episodes were aired on February 6 due to the Korean New Year, the film On Your Wedding Day was aired instead.[35]
  5. ^ No new episodes were aired on January 16. A recap of the earlier episodes was aired instead.[36]


  1. ^ Rapir, Jessica (February 12, 2019). "'The Last Empress' Extends Run With Four More Episodes; SBS TV Series Leads Buzzworthy K-Drama List". Korea Portal. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  2. ^ Park, Jin-hai (May 16, 2017). "Drama viewers angry over commercial breaks". The Korea Times. PressReader. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  3. ^ [단독]장나라·신성록·최진혁 '황후의 품격' 확정 "6일 리딩"(종합). Ilgan Sports (in Korean). September 3, 2018.
  4. ^ ""Empress's Dignity" confirmed the main cast". JTBC. September 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Moon Ji-yeon (December 28, 2018). "올해 지상파 미니中 최고"..'황후의 품격' 브레이크가 고장 난 막장열차. SportsChosun (in Korean).
  6. ^ ""The Last Empress" Jang Nara and Shin Sung-rok Ready to Tackle Modern Day Monarchy". Hancinema. November 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Hwang Soo-yeon (October 30, 2018). '황후의품격' 산타요정 장나라, 황후의 옛 직업은 뮤지컬 배우. Newsen (in Korean).
  8. ^ Lee Ye-eun (November 13, 2018). "SBS '황후의 품격' 최진혁이 황실경호원으로서 열정적으로 훈련에 임하고 있는, '하드트레이닝' 현장이 포착됐다". iMBC (in Korean).
  9. ^ [단독] 신성록, 김순옥 신작 '황후의 품격' 주인공 출연 확정. My Daily (in Korean). August 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "[공식] 이엘리야, SBS '황후의 품격' 출연···매력적인 악녀 변신". Seoul Economic Daily (in Korean). October 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Kim Mi-jung (October 16, 2018). '황후의 품격' 장나라-최진혁-신성록, 대본리딩 현장 공개! 품격 다른 드라마 탄생 예고. iMBC (in Korean).
  12. ^ 오승윤 '황후의 품격' 출연…"극중 중요한 열쇠 된다". Sports Donga (in Korean). October 18, 2018.
  13. ^ a b '황후의 품격' 장나라-최진혁-신성록-신은경-이엘리야, 열정 충만 첫 대본리딩. Herald Pop (in Korean). October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ '황후의 품격' 오아린, 앙증 이목구비+ 미소로 '엄마 미소 유발'. Sports Chosun (in Korean). November 21, 2018.
  15. ^ '황후의 품격' 신은경-박원숙-이희진-오아린, '황실의 여인들'. My Daily (in Korean). October 25, 2018.
  16. ^ Cho Eun-sool (November 10, 2018). 21일 첫 방송 '황후의 품격' 이희진, 파격 '하이패션' 공주로 변신!. iMBC (in Korean).
  17. ^ 윤다훈, '황후의 품격' 합류…장나라 아버지 役. Kyeonggi (in Korean). November 14, 2018.
  18. ^ '황후의 품격' 윤주만, 잔인무도한 '극강 악역' 마필주로 돌아온다... '존재감 甲'. iMBC (in Korean). November 11, 2018.
  19. ^ "NS윤지, 활동명 '김윤지'로 변경 후 SBS '황후의 품격'으로 배우 활동 시작". SE Daily (in Korean). October 4, 2018.
  20. ^ '황후의 품격' 박규리, 짧지만 강렬 임팩트…절절한 눈물연기 '시선집중'. Korea Times (in Korean). December 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Kim Mi-jung (October 16, 2018). '황후의 품격' 장나라-최진혁-신성록, 대본리딩 현장 공개! 품격 다른 드라마 탄생 예고. iMBC E-news (in Korean).
  22. ^ '황후의 품격' 장나라-최진혁-신은경, 대본리딩만으로 높인 기대감. Newsen (in Korean). October 16, 2018.
  23. ^ Lee Min-ji (October 19, 2018). 김정태 측 "간암 치료 전념, '황후의 품격' 하차한다"(공식입장). Newsen (in Korean).
  24. ^ 윤주만, 김정태 후임으로 '황후의 품격' 합류. YTN (in Korean). October 21, 2018.
  25. ^ [공식입장] 최진혁 측 "눈 주위 부상으로 30바늘 꿰매…제발회 참석 추후 논의". Xport News (in Korean). November 19, 2018.
  26. ^ Hwang So-young (November 19, 2018). [단독] 최진혁, '황후의 품격' 촬영중 부상…긴급 치료行. IS Plus (in Korean).
  27. ^ "다시 '황후의 품격'으로"…'발가락 골절' 신성록, 오늘(20일) 퇴원 [전문]. MyDaily (in Korean). December 20, 2018.
  28. ^ "Choi Jin Hyuk Unable To Appear In Final Episodes Of "The Last Empress" Due To Schedule". Soompi. February 15, 2019.
  29. ^ "Watch: Shin Sung Rok And Jang Nara Meet Again Under Different Circumstances In "The Last Empress" Epilogue". Soompi. February 25, 2019.
  30. ^ ‘황후의 품격’ 측 “29시간30분 연속촬영? 이동+휴게시간 포함된 것”(전문)
  31. ^ [공식] 노조"'황후의품격' 근로시간위반+추가수당無, 내일 증거공개"
  32. ^ "Nielsen Korea". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  33. ^ "TNMS Daily Ratings at Naver". TNMS Ratings (in Korean). Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  34. ^ "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 March 17, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  35. ^ ‘황후의 품격’ 오늘(6일) 결방, 영화 ‘너의 결혼식’ 편성. Newsen (in Korean). February 6, 2019.
  36. ^ 황후의 품격’ 오늘(16일) 본방송 대신 하이라이트 편성, 1-32회 몰아본다. Newsen (in Korean). January 16, 2019.
  37. ^ Jeong, Hee-yeon (January 1, 2019). [제56회 대종상]'기생충' 작품상 포함 5관왕 달성…이병헌·정유미 주연상(종합) [[Comprehensive]'SBS Drama Awards' Gam Woo-sung-Kim Sun-ah, Best Couple Award followed by'Joint Grand Prix']. Sports Donga (in Korean). Retrieved June 11, 2020 – via Naver.
  38. ^ "Seoul International Drama Awards 2019 Winners". August 29, 2019. Archived from the original on August 29, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2020.

External links[edit]