K-Drama Review: “Royal Secret Agent” Raves A Heroic Story With Engaging Comedy & Mystery

Royal Secret Agent

Royal Secret Agent provides an interesting story and peculiar plot about investigations on unscrupulous government officials in the Joseon era.

The series traverses the story of a king-appointed detective and his crew going undercover to probe abusive acts of Joseon Era corrupt government officials.

Main Cast: Kim Myungsoo, Kwon Nara, Lee Yi Kyung.
Streaming site: iQiyi
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Overall rating:
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K-Dramas of Similar Vibe: Mr. Queen | Love In The Moonlight | Sungkyunkwan Scandal | The Scholar Who Walks The Night |

K-Drama First Look: “Royal Secret Agent”

aith_clouds_of_gold_and_blue watch Royal Secret Agent on iQiyi

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Royal Secret Agent Quick Plot Recap

Royal Secret Agent follows the story of a silly official, Sung Yi-gyeom (Kim Myung Soo). He is an intelligent man, however, he has quite a few flaws.

After a tragic death of a royal secret agent, the king decides to appoint a new one, to not just find out what happened to the former secret agent but also to finish his last mission.

However, Corrupt minister Kim wanted the king to appoint someone he knows. But Minister Jang disagrees with this because he knows that Minister Kim is plotting something. So, he volunteers to find a nobleman to be the new secret agent.

Minister Jang finds out the Sung Yi-gyeom got the highest score on the test to became a royal official. Now, he wants to make him the new secret agent.

However because of his flaws he needs someone to assist him. Minister Jang has this policewoman named Hong Da-in (Kwon Nara). She meets Yi-gyeom once as a courtesan in disguise.

They start their first mission with his servant named Park Chun-sam (Lee Yi Kyung). The three of them are one of the most unlikely pairings. However, throughout the mission, they learn to trust each other and to be a true team.

Assistant Chief Choi, who is one of the guards of the king. Unexpectedly, became part of their group too. On their first mission, they have a very hard time since the enemies seem to have a strong connection inside the palace.

Since they were able to finish their first mission successfully, the puzzle pieces of who are the officials seem to reveal the truth about the past and the present.

Royal Secret Agent Peak Points

The Fast Pace Plot

Every time there is a mission for the Royal Secret Agent. The story becomes fast pace. It never misses a chance and doesn’t idle or give a long break. It assures every viewer that the problems will resolve as quickly as possible.

The secret to this is how characters have their own strategies that somehow correlate to the original plan. Like Da-in’s stubbornness and wit somehow helps both Yi-gyeom and Chun-sam whenever they will be in danger. They always got each other’s back and have these natural dynamics that make them the perfect group.

Yi-gyeom also is a quick thinker. He always finds ways to solve problems. He also survives even without enough help or even weapons to protect him. In the first episodes, he seems to be indecisive but later he learns to act with precision. This attribute also makes him a true secret agent.

royal secret agent iqiyi kdramadiary a

Interesting Episode Preludes

They have to travel from one province to another province to do their secret mission. Their main goal is to get rid of those corrupt officials ruling each province. However, while traveling, they always find a problem that has a connection to their main mission.

This scene serves as a foreshadowing of what will happen on that mission. It gives viewers an idea on what is the main problem that the characters are about to face.

It’s a great scene to show since it gives the viewers time to understand what’s this episode is going to be. For example, when Yi-gyeom, accidentally drinks opium poppies. They soon find out that it’s one of the main problems. It quickly allows us to know the whole story.

The Complicated Backstory

Yi-gyeom and Da-in both have a complicated backstory. This backstory often puts them in questionable intentions and puts their mission at risk.

First, we discover Yi-gyeom’s younger half-brother Sung Yi-beom (Lee Tae Hwan). They are half-brothers but they treat each other like true brothers. However, their relationship gets ruined when he leaves with Yi-gyeom’s first love, a girl named Sunae. Yi-gyeom thought they cheated on him but the truth is he saves her from their abusive sheriff.

Yi-beom became a leader of robbers that steals money from corrupt officials and give them to the people. His intentions are good but his ways are not. Because of this Yi-gyeom’s reputation is at risk since he is the brother of a notorious robber. But, he knows that he must protect his brother and clears his name to everyone.

Hong Da-in also has a complicated past. She is the daughter of Prince Hwiyeong, who is accused of being a traitor. Prince Hwiyeong got murdered but they said he committed suicide. Hong Da-in’s real name is Lee Yeong-sin. But since her father was a traitor, Minister Jang take care of her and change her name.

She became part of the Royal Secret Agent’s entourage so that she can find justice for her late father and clean his name for everyone. Soon, they find enough evidence to clear her father’s name and the king even acknowledges her as part of the royal family since her father is a prince.

Royal Secret Agent Series Musings

Royal Secret Agent is an engrossing historical series. It has a rare take on showing how the Joseon era eliminates their corrupt officials. Although evil conspiracies and disheartening abuse of the people of high post are common in period dramas, the story found a way to draw a different flavor. It can be said that the series is inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective novel Sherlock Holmes, set in Korea’s antiquated time.

The portrayals and the storyline are well delineated. It’s hard to notice the plot holes owing to the clever piling of character and mission details. Interestingly, it has a thrilling drive, but there are also languid moments to be prepared for.

Portrayal-wise, the cast chemistry keeps the energy thriving. Especially, the bromance between Chun-sam and Yi-gyeom. Despite not seeing a lot of romantic scenes between Da-in and Yi-gyeom, we know they love and truly treasure each other.

The series closed in an open ending which some viewers might find disappointing. But all of the main problems of this series have involved problem resolution before we reach the falling action of the story.

Moreover, the fading moments are nostalgic in the sense that the drama brought the trio back to how they started their mission. It kind of gives hope for a possible reunion or second season, which can be possible.

Royal Secret Agent is unique in its own way, the characters are lovely, intelligent, and funny. The action scenes are done with ample intensity and there is always a happy ending in each episode.

If you like light mystery-solving stories set in traditional times, this series is perfect for you.

Watch Royal Secret Agent on iQiyi

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Read Cast Interviews of Royal Secret Agent

Photos: iQiyi | KBS 2

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