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Secret Door preview hints at chilling father-son conflict

Ahhh, I’m going to have to enlist somebody to keep me calm about Secret Door, my expectations for which just keep climbing. The first teaser is out, and while it’s brief, it sets the suspenseful, intense tone perfectly with King Yeongjo (Han Seok-kyu) sternly facing his desperate-to-please but ultimately doomed son, Crown Prince Sado (Lee Je-hoon).

The captions in the teaser ask questions have been wondered over the past three centuries:

Why did the father kill the son?
The father who needed power
The son who wanted to be a subject
Will he die as a criminal
or will he leave behind hope?

These actors are just going to knock it out of the park, you know they are. If their track record isn’t proof enough, that short teaser sure hints at promising things in a multidimensional way: there’s the father-son dynamic, the king-subject, the authoritarian-supplicant…

We have history as a guide for the main characters—King Yeongjo, Prince Sado (known also by his birth name Lee Sun), Lady Hyegyong—but the website is up and provides additional descriptions for supporting characters as well. Kim Yoo-jung plays Seo Ji-dam, a young woman who is “a free spirit down to her bones.” A novelist and bookshop owner, she devours law texts and pops up at crime scenes, demonstrating a lawyer’s skill. One night, she happens to witness a murder scene and decides to get to the bottom of it, and in so doing makes the acquaintance of the prince, with whom she shares the dream of seeing a world that’s just and fair.

Drama veteran Kim Chang-wan plays the prime minister, Kim Taek, a Noron party politician who keeps his true feelings under close guard, concealing his crafty, wicked nature underneath. He gets what he wants, and the ends justify the means.

Lee Won-jong plays the prince’s teacher and Soron party figure, and the party lines are probably a good indicator of how the conflict will line up. He’s an easygoing and humorous figure whose philosophies transcend party politics, who thinks of the sake of the people, and who knows how to cooperate. (Uh-oh, he’s doomed isn’t he.)

Secret Door will premiere on September 22.

Via TV Report

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freaking excitedddd !!!!!!!!!!! XD The cast all around good and the premise too, hope this drama can makes me feel at the edge like tWDR XD.

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Oooh, I'm super excited too! It's good to be a history buff these days! Love, Love the Yeongjo-Sado seja conflict! It's just so fascinating!

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So excited! I like the idea of Kim Yoo Jung's character, and of course the best part of this drama for me is Han Suk Kyu. Hope it's good.

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Agree! I like KYJ's character already.

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Even with the brief teaser, things are already looking quite interesting!

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Excited for this! Such an interesting part of history as well.

Just please be good show!

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What I was worried about was if I was going to look at the actor and think, "it's the Tree With Deep Roots 'nice' king."

I didn't. Yea!

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The king HSK played in Tree With Deep Roots is the grandson of the character he's playing in this series. Meta!

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Nuts. I just had lunch, watched that commercial, and now I want a Korean smoothy.

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"One night, she happens to witness a murder scene and decides to get to the bottom of it, and in so doing makes the acquaintance of the prince, with whom she shares the dream of seeing a world that’s just and fair." I'd be more interested if it turned out Sado was the murderer & he's a danger to this young girl too -- which would be in line with Lady Hyegyong's memoirs. But it sounds like we're going to get the poor misunderstood patriot treatment of Sado again. They're really stuck in a rut about him, aren't they?

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Maybe. Though it's hard to ferret out details on this period of history, I can see a reasonable case that says:
1. The prince was a threat to the established order
2. The prince was also a threat to his puppet-king father, who owed his kingship to that order. Also, the stability of his throne required maintaining that order.
3. Her memoirs were written to re-cast history, establish her son's claim to the throne and reverse the downward trajectory of her family.

We want to assume that she loved her husband and wanted to objectively tell the truth. But hers was an arranged marriage that was likely brokered for political reasons. She would have been incensed if her family's future had been compromised despite 'sacrificing' her to the confines of (a potentially loveless) royal marriage.

We want to assume that the prince loved her. But maybe he loved his secondary wife and scorned her. That would ultimately threaten the security she could have through her son. (Not all firstborn sons ended up with the throne.) If the royal family had been politically disloyal to her family, she needed to use all means necessary to secure her son's claim to the throne. Establishing the prince as a man of crime and mental illness would put her in corroboration with the powerful faction that took her husband's life. Not that it spared her son from multiple assassination attempts (by yet another agenda-driven faction who used the royal family members as chess-pieces to be played and sacrificed).

I can see how there's a lot of "what if" scenarios. Which is a good thing for us drama lovers as it allows the story to be told from a variety of angles. I say the more the better.

I'm super-excited about this one.

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I think her memoir was really all about justifying her and her family's role in Sado's tragic death, but ultimately she was probably also a victim in a huge way. The story goes that when Sado was a young boy, apparently he lied a few times about studying although he had been playing, and when Yeongjo found that out he got furious and he punished the court ladies who essentially have been raising them so severely that they died. You can imagine the kind of trauma that Sado must have suffered, and from that point on Sado became terrified of his father, who then in turn become increasingly disappointed and angry with Sado as he failed to meet the high expectations the king had for his only prince, and this then caused the young prince more anguish (which I believe strongly contributed to the rumored murders and other mental issues Sado had).

In the end, Yeongjo's apparent disdain for Sado was such that when his grandson (Sado's son) was born, he made the baby a crown prince as well (i.e. to be the next successor to Sado), which was really highly unusual because it was king's prerogative to choose his immediate successor, so he was essentially taking away Sado's future right to choose his own successor. It also shows that Yeongjo had in his mind that Sado may not ascend to the throne, and surely once he had another possible heir (his ten year old grandson, plus three other grandsons from Sado's concubines, so more than enough spares as well), he had Sado killed.

So I strongly believe that the father-son relationship was irreparably damaged to begin with, and if you marry into that royal family, it wouldn't really be a stretch that you'd watch helplessly as your husband gets killed, as you may put you, your family and your children in danger if you defy the king.

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So many pretty hanboks! Also Kim Yoo Jung seems way too young to own a bookstore - but then again, times were different back in the day.

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I don't doubt that this will be a tour-de-force when it comes to acting, but I can't help but notice something seems off about Lee Je-hoon's face. Usually, I find other actors better looking after military service, but LJH looks gaunt.

Then again, I found Lee Dong-wook haggard-looking in "Scent of a Woman" too. Maybe they should try not to cast actors so soon after coming back from MS.

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September 22 where are you???? I can't wait!!!

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Hope the script is as good as the actors.

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Yep! But we can probably trust that the script IS that good, given the actors that have signed-on to it. :-)

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I keep forgetting Kim Yoo Jung is also in this, so now I'm even more excited than I was before. Hurry up, September 22!

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the crown princess's hanbok is so pretty~~~ but what is she wearing on her head? i've never seen that one before in any other sageuk drama...

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Lol, that's almost exactly word for word what I thought when I saw Park Eun-bin.

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I believe it's a Jokduri. It's a traditional coronet worn by women for special occasions. It was popular during Yeongjo/Jeongjo era.

(JB, please correct me if I'm wrong here).

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I have seen it in a couple of Joseon era dramas/movies especially during a wedding ceremony. I remember Lee Da Hae wearing one in Chuno and Moon Chae won in War of the Arrows.

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oh my goshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! anticipating! I'min sajeuk heaven right now. . .so will be putting some rom-coms aside.

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oppa picked a really good project after army. come faster, please!

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Dok Man!

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This looks SO good! I really need a sageuk for the year after a bunch of decent ones last year. I don't know the PD-writer combo and have never seen any of their works, but the actors alone are such a huge draw. I just hope the script lives up to the star power.

Also, I'm so glad to see Kim Yoo-jung back in sageuks!

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Feels like sageuk rain around this time.
Can't wait to see Han Seok Kyu-Lee Je Hoon duo as father-son.
Can't wait for Kim Yoo Jung... She's always so good and I think she's better in sageuk. Her face is just pure and lovely.
Can't wait to see Lee Won Jong aka Dokman in Empress Ki

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SO. EXCITED.

Han Seok Kyu and Lee Je Hoon. Let the acting begin.

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I'm so excited for this drama. Thanks for sharing the updates.

The actor I'd have chosen for Prince Sado would be Yeo Jin Gu but I'll take what ever I get.

Best of luck to this drama and once again thank you for mentioning and recommending The Memoirs.

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