Dong Yi

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In 17th century Korea, Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) begins life as a simple commoner. Her family is poor but loving, and she marks the days of a happy childhood by running around her village and having adventures, much to the consternation of family friend Chun Soo (Bae Soo Bin).

Her carefree days come to an end with the execution of her family.

Torn from her home, caught in a whirlwind of politics she's too young to understand, she accepts the shelter of Chun Soo's allies and becomes an anonymous maid in royal palace. She later grows into a keen, intelligent young woman who never forgets her past... or who brought the tragedy upon her in the first place.

Too bad King Sukjong (Ji Jin Hee) is a hunk.

Chun Soo isn't as dead as she was led to believe, either, and with Dong Yi's help, he has a score he'd like to settle.

Originally aired in South Korea in 2010, Dong Yi tells the story of not just its heroine, but the rise and fall of an empire through its lesser players. Koreans call them sageuks: Historical mini-series that mingle romance and drama with political intrigue.

Like its cultural predecessors, Dong Yi mixes fact with historical fiction to examine the politics of the time period and the plotting that made it possible. Dong Yi herself was a real woman who went down in textbooks as one of the king's most famous consorts. Though she was only one of a dozen, she captured the imagination of historians and screenwriters alike, both for her unique origins and her storybook rise from servant to maid to concubine.

She began life as a commoner. She would go on to become the consort of a king and the mother of a prince. This is the story of Dong Yi.

MBC America
1 Season, 60 Episodes
March 22, 2010
International
8.1/10
Cast: Hyo-Joo Han, Julia Lim
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Dong Yi
Episodes

Dong Yi Full Episode Guide

  • The Crown Prince Yun thanks Bo Gyeong Dang for helping him regain the throne, and Sukjong & Choi Dong Yi walk the streets of Doseong. There, the couple reflects their time spent together and talks about their concerns of the public’s safety. Later, Dong Yi realizes that she is just a commoner after seeing Suk Bin Mama released from prison and reunited with her daughter.

  • Jang Mu Yeol & Officer Min show up to arrest Suk Bin Mama, but the officer’s soldiers stand down. The event sends Oh Ho Yan into a raging tantrum. Meanwhile, Dong Yi learns that Cheon Na wants to give up his right to the throne, and the king’s lover finally admits her true feelings to Sukjong.

  • Jang Mu Yeol takes military control of the palace, and Cha Cheon Soo reluctantly complies with the commander’s orders to vacate the temple. Hwang Jung Gu then informs his subjects of the change in the monarchy, ordered by the Minister of Military. Meanwhile, Queen Inwon has a conspiring talk with Jang Mu Yeol, and Choi Dong Yi contemplates suicide.

  • Sukjong and Choi Dong Yi discuss Prince Yeoning’s right to the throne, just before Chief Eunuch Han enters the room to have a discussion on a possible military seizure of the palace. Meanwhile, Prince Yeoning and Princess Consort Dalseong visit Queen Inwon, a visit that irritates Bong Sang Gung after the royalty steps out of protocol.

  • Dong Yi and Queen Inwon struggle with Prince Yeoning’s pending wedding celebration. While Yi, Inwon and Head Eunuch Han argue about the need for the royal court to review the basis of this unexpected marriage, other parties vie for authority over the throne. Dramatic power struggles come to a vengeful climax in this highly theatric installment.

  • Cheon-soo saves Dong Yi after she is stabbed. Guards take Jang Hee-jae away. Ok-jung confesses after a brutal interrogation. King Sook-jong demands Ok-jung kill herself. She is presented with poison to take.

  • Prince Yun suffers impotence and wants Prince Yeoning to become king. The royals and staff want to keep the illness of the crown prince a secret.

  • The staff debates whether Prince Yun or Prince Yeoning will be king. Missing books show up with Prince Yeoning’s texts. The staff believe an intruder entered the palace.

  • Queen Inhyeon faces death and asks Sukjong to protect the royalty and staff. After her death, the palace goes into mourning and prepares the funeral. Choi Dong suspects Mudang performed a Bang Ja on the Queen.

  • Queen Inhyeon suffers a coma from heart problems. Kim Gu Seon pushes Prince Yeoning to eat potentially toxic acorns. Prince Yeoning looks for an herb to help the Queen.

  • Queen Inhyeon tells a surprised Choi Dong Yi how Prince Yeoning should take the throne instead of Choi Dong Yi’s son. Jang Hee Jae searches for Prince Yun’s doctor.

  • The Namin Faction asks Sukjong to reconsider the decision to let Choi Dong Yi back into the palace. Queen Inhyeon is glad about the decision but Jang Hee Bin is unhappy.

  • Yi Geum’s teacher recommends Yun Han Kim Gu Seon as a tutor. Choi Dong Yi asks the teacher to keep Yi Geum’s great intelligence a secret.

  • Dong Yi finds a great opportunity to teach everyone around her, about the philosophy of the ancient wise men and how they can help all people prepare for the future. All characters reflect the seasons of the harvest and the Great Learning texts are reintroduced.

  • The King follows Dong Yi to Han Sung Bu. Cheon-soo is banished from the court. Dong Yi becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy. The King names the prince Geum.

  • Dong Yi confesses to King Sook-jong that she is the daughter of Choi Hyo-won. The King orders Mu Yeol to drop the investigation of Dong Yi. But he interrogates her court ladies anyway. Dong Yi travels to Han Sung Bu.

  • Oh Tae Seok looks forward to regaining power while Shim Yun Taek still blames him for the assassinations. Choi Dong Yi remembers a hand gesture which leads to an assassination connection to Jang Hee Bin.

  • Flashbacks occur during episode 41 when Jang Ik Heon and others are assassinated. Oh Tae Seok blames the incident on the Geumgae Group. Gae Do Ra is the new Geumgae leader.

  • Choi Dong Yi follows Queen Inhyeon’s orders and leaves the palace, under mysterious circumstances. Choi Dong Yi is about to be attacked in her new home.

  • Choi Dong Yi becomes a member of the Royal Household. Sukjong reviews government documents and watches military training. Jang Mu Yeol accuses Oh Tae Seok of murder.

  • Ok-jung loses her position as queen and is once again only a royal concubine. The King feels guilty for allowing Ok-jung's antics and for doubting Queen In-hyun. Queen In-hyun returns to the palace and her former position. She is Dong Yi's firm ally against Ok-jung.

  • King Sook-jong learns of the forged documents. He arrests Oh-yoon, Jang Hee-jae and all of the Namin. The King decides changes are in order to prevent the power plays that have disrupted the court from happening again.

  • Having forged the crown prince documents, Jang Hee-jae is pressured by the Qing delegation. Dong Yi is invited to a banquet for the delegation. No one is allowed to leave the banquet hall on orders of Ok-jung. Guards from the Ministry of Justice and the King's personal guards are sent to the hall.

  • Seo Yong-ki learns Dong Yi's real identity. Dong Yi begs to be allowed to explain her origins to the king. Ok-jung discovers Seo Yong-ki looking for information about secret swordsmen societies in the archives.

  • Tensions are high after Jang Hee Jae gives Quing China the phony military log. Jang Hee and Queen Jang are relieved when the Quing Chinese Emissary issues the Imperial Endorsement for the Crown Prince Investiture.

  • Shortly after Dong Yi visits Queen Jang to ask her for more time to unearth the cause of the mysterious illness, Ae Jung becomes infected. Pressed for time, Don Yi’s feverish quest for the source of the illness leads her to the Court ladies of Suragan.

  • Oh Tae-seok searches for Dong Yi as he tries to sabotage her. An apprehensive Ok-jung and Jang Hee-jae wait for Qing to recognize her son as the crown prince. See Yong-ki and Cheon-soo work to uncover evidence of Ok-jung's guilt. The young prince falls sick and rumors blame Dong Yi.

  • King Sook-jung gives Dong Yi the rank of Seung. Overwhelmed by her new status, Dong Yi flees the palace. Ok-jung tries to bargain with the King for her brother's release.

  • The King admits his feeling for Dong Yi. Jang Hee-jae is arrested and tortured. Oh Tae-seok fears what will happen when the King discovers the Queen's innocence. The King gives Ok-jung the opportunity to come clean but she refuses. Ok-jung devises her next plot.

  • Dong Yi and the King are reunited. Ok-jung becomes suspicious when the King's attitude towards her changes. Dong Yi testifies about the government corruption. Ok-jung's servants are investigated by the King's personal guards.

  • Two court ladies are arrested for the attempted murder of Ok-jung. Evidence of a plot is found at the banished queen's residence. Dong Yi makes her way into the palace. Seo Yong-ki and Cheon-soo search for her.

  • Dong Yi's progress to the capital is hindered by wanted posters of herself. Seo Yong-ki is given royal authority to investigate anything related to Dong Yi. After giving secret orders, Ok-jung becomes extremely sick after sipping tea during a public ceremony.

  • After learning about Jang Hee-jae's Province dealings, Dong Yi is captured. Spurned on by the novel, the public is outraged on the banished queen's behalf. Ok-jung and Namin are forced to plot against the Queen again.

  • Dong Yi, in Pyeongan Province, tells her story to Shim Woon-taek. They work together to find out what Jang Hee-jae has been up to. Oh-yoon is heartbroken to learn the King has feelings for Dong Yi and is looking for her.

  • Dong Yi, armed with evidence of the Queen's innocence, tries to escape assassins. Hit by a dart, she collapses. The King decides to hunt deer for fur to make Dong Yi slippers. Instead, he is told Dong Yi has run away after setting fire to the Interior Ministry building.

  • Dong Yi finally has the support of the other court ladies. She begins an investigation into the interior ministry. Jang Hee-jae used some of its funds to pay for the false testimony against the queen. The King orders the investigation stopped. Ok-jung decides to kill Dong Yi.

  • Jang Hee-jae and Oh Tae-seok move quickly to have the Queen stripped of her rank and banished. Dong Yi would be vulnerable if that happened. The King is very troubled by the evidence against the Queen. Dong Yi offers Jang Hee-jae a deal after she nearly uncovers evidence of the Queen's innocence.

  • A doctor claims the poisoner is Queen In-hyun, shocking the King. Queen In-hyun confronts Ok-jung over her lies. Dong Yi tries and fails to find evidence proving the Queen's innocence.

  • Ok-jung's attendant is suspected by Dong Yi of the poisoning. Young-sun is shocked to learn she is a suspect. Ok-jung discovers her brother has tampered with the medicinal herbs. She enlists Dong Yi's help in covering it up but is refused.

  • Ok-jung announces her pregnancy after she receives the royal concubine rank. She later gives birth to a boy. Her brother, Jang Hee-jae, receives a promotion to royal police chief. The Queen Mother interferes with plans to make Ok-jung's son a crown prince. The court ladies are called in to investigate the suspected poisoning of the Queen Mother.

  • Ok-jung suspects the King has feelings for Dong Yi after he nearly provokes a war with the Qing Empire over her. Dong Yi surprises the head of the Qing delegation.

  • Cheon-soo and Dong Yi are reunited. Kim Yoon-dal is investigated for illegal currency control. The investigation is dropped after Kim Yoon-dal spots the court ladies. Dong Yi continues anyway and sneaks into the Jangak Pavilion while everyone is meeting with the Qing Empire's royal delegation.

  • Dong Yi is nearly fired after missing the Bureau's annual ceremony. The Queen Mother and the Seoin party are unhappy that Ok-jung is chosen to be the King's royal concubine. Dong Yi discovers Cheon-soo is a member of her father's secret society.

  • Dong Yi finds her job as a court lady at the Special Investigations Bureau difficult. The other women look down on her because of her low born status. They plot to get rid of her. Seo Yong-ki and Jang Hee-jae have high positions at the royal police station.

  • Dong Yi is saved by the king. Ok-jung, grateful to Dong Yi for proving her innocence, asks the King to give her a special job. Jang Hee-jae arrives in the capital.

  • Ok-jung is interrogated by a special investigator for the murder of the queen. King Sook-jong tasks Seo Yong-ki with finding the real killer. Oh Tae-seok tries to frame Dong Yi for it.

  • Namin party members replace the Seoins in ministry positions. Police Chief Seo Yong-ki suspects Dong Yi of being the daughter of Choi Hyo-wan. The Namin fears being blamed after someone poisons the King's tea.

  • Dong Yi and King Sook-jong are threatened by masked men. The Queen Mother is involved in a conspiracy with the Seoin political faction. Dong Yi discovers the reason for the different sounding musical instrument. Ok-jung blackmails the Queen Mother.

  • Dong Yi wakes up in a shed next to a murdered man. The police can find no body when they investigate. Lady Jang is blamed for the unpopular sound change of a musical instrument. Dong Yi meets a man who is actually the king in disguise.

  • Now an adult, Dong Yi is obsessed with Jang Ok-jung's ornamental key. She is convinced the butterfly shaped key could clear the names of her father and brother. She is kidnapped just as she is about to take the key.

  • Choi Hyo-won and his men are arrested and escorted to prison. On the way, the men are attacked and killed. Cheon-soo was tasked with protecting Dong Yi. She flees from the police officers.

  • The Society is accused of murdering more political leaders. Choi Hyo-won discovers Oh Tae-seok is behind the crimes. He takes Dong Yi to a safe house but she runs away. Choi Hyo-won is framed for the murder of the police chief's father.

  • Oh Tae-seok, the Namin political leader, frames the murder of Minister Jang Ik-hun on a secret swordsmen society. The society is led by Choi Hyo-won, a commoner. His daughter, Dong Yi works with other poor childen unloading boats. She was one of the last people to see the Minister alive.

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