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Iljimae is a South Korean historical action series about a Robin Hood-style character, the titular Iljimae, who strikes the rich in a black, concealing outfit. In addition to the material wealth of corrupt government workers, Iljimae will also recover the wrongly accused and criminals evading punishment. In order to have his image grow, Iljimae leaves a small painting of a red plum blossom branch (apparently a reference to his name, which breaks down as "il" meaning one, "ji" meaning branch, and "mae" meaning plum tree. Obviously, the citizens of the land support Iljimae while the government tries to capture him and learn who this man is.

Lee Gyeom is the son of the noble Lee Won-ho, a loyal supporter and brother of the king, as well as the central member of Cheonwoohoe, an organization containing various influential nobles, with the king at the top of its hierarchy. Gyeom lives peacefully with his wife and children, in a house surrounded by plum trees. Elsewhere, the king speaks with an oracle who states that Won-ho is a shining individual that will be loved by the people. The king's jealously leads to him slaying Won-ho, with Gyeom as a witness to the treachery. Gyeom soon contracts amnesia from the shock, not only from his father's murder but also from having to throw a stone at his mom's head to prove he wasn't related, and wanders the city for a while, eventually being taken in by the retired thief, Swe Dol. Thirteen years pass, as Gyeom, going by the name Yong, recovers his memories and starts hunting for his sister, Yeon. It turns out Yeon is sentenced and hanged.

Yeon's murder drives Gyeom/Yong to avenge his family, hunting down the sword of his father's killer with only his recollection of the sword's emblem as a clue. This is where he takes up the cowl of Iljimae, hunting down every corrupt noble house. It is through his retribution against the agents of the scheming king that he becomes the darling of his countrymen.

Iljimae is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (20 episodes). The series first aired on October 29, 2009.

Iljimae is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Iljimae on demand at, Viki online.

SBS
1 Season, 20 Episodes
October 29, 2009
International
8.1/10
Cast: Lee Joon-gi, Han Hyo-joo, Lee Young-ah, Park Shi-hoo
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Iljimae Full Episode Guide

  • Yong gets a close encounter with the king, but manages to escape. The whole plan is complete, and he only has his personal mission left, finding the sword and the man who killed his father. His partners in crime leave him alone in the palace. After going through many traps, he finally finds out that it is none other than the king who killed his father. Shi Hoo finds the message in blood that was to be given to Yong, and he finally remembers Geom and his own father, Lee Won Ho. He helps Iljimae fighting the guards back so that he can go find the king in his hide-out. Yong brings the king to his old house, and makes him kneel in front of the tree his father died, but lets him live. Cheon finds him and they fight, Iljimae lets Cheon live too, but while he is turning his back, Cheon strikes him with his sword.

  • In order to save Yong, Bong Soon disguises herself as Iljimae and faces Cheon and the guards. Yong Jae however knows that it's his daughter and can't kill her. Instead, he jumps over the cliff with her. Yong witnesses this and sinks into despair. Heung Hyun also finds out that Yong is Iljimae and decides to help him rob the palace. He brings Hee Bong and Eun Bok in the plot as well, and infiltrates the palace disguised as an imperial messenger. On his way into the palace however, he sees his real mother with the ornament he kept from his childhood, and recognizes her. Once inside the palace, his treachery is made, and he is busy looking for the sword that killed his father, with the help of the others.

  • Iljimae sets Lord Byun and Eun Chae free, after he finds out that everyone involved in the murder of his father are now dead. Of course, he doesn't know that Lord Byun lied to him and the king is also implicated in the murder. He finds Bong Soon underneath the cherry blossom tree and remembers her from his past. Bong Soon digs up the box Yong had buried, with his Iljimae disguise, and knows Yong is Iljimae. After many men have been forcefully dragged to enroll as volunteers to the army to be sent to Chung, Iljimae warns the palace that he will rob them. Meanwhile, Cheon finds out that Eun Chae had something to do with Iljimae and takes her as a hostage to find him and kill him. With a little help from Shi Hoo, they both escape and run away to Iljimae's safehouse.

  • Swe-dol, who went to Seo Young Soo's household disguised as Iljimae, so that Yong wouldn't get caught, dies, after being tortured to death about what he might have heard while he was there. Shi Hoo is devastated, as is Yong, and Dani. Yong promises himself to get the person who murdered his real father, and then Swe Dol as well. However, the two noblemen who might know what happened to his father, Seo Young Soo and Yi Jeong Soeb, are both killed too, under the king's orders, and Iljimae, who happened to be there, is accused of both murders. While on pursuit of the real killer, he faces Shi Hoo, and Shi Hoo injures him, almost deadly. He then finds out that Iljimae is Yong and wants to kill him, but Dani tells him the truth that they're actually brothers. Yong finds out that it is Lord Byun Shik who ordered all the murders and goes out looking for him at his house.

  • Yong helps Shi-wan solve how Iljimae pulled the last robbery so that he doesn't get caught. Kim Ik-hee tells the huntsman that Yong should come to see him so that he can tell about his father, but he meets a strange death, and Yong is once again unable to know who killed his father. Iljimae and Eun-chae get closer to each other, getting some romantic time on the cherry blossom tree, but Iljimae/Yong is still afraid to reveal his true identity to her. The envoy from Chung is desperate to catch Iljimae himself and brings in all the young men to the palace, having his son shoot at them randomly. In order to protect Eun-bok, Yong nearly risks his life and get shot with an arrow.

  • Shi Hoo finds out that Iljimae has been targeting the members of the Cheonwoo club and he got the list from his sister, Eun Chae. He warns her against his real motives, but she doesn't believe him. The whole guard troop is on stake out to catch Iljimae at the house of each member of the Cheonwoo club, and Shi Hoo once again comes into close encounter with Iljimae and manages to wound his leg. Hong He knows Yong is in danger and might be Iljimae and tries to help him. Yong sees Hong He knows how to fight and pleads him to teach him. After much pleading, Hong He decides to teach him on a remote island, but first, he makes him go through multiple hard chores. Shi Hoo, on his side, also asks the chief guard to teach him how to fight, so that he can catch Iljimae and become a nobleman. Meanwhile, Byungpan is plotting something again with the king to throw off the other noblemen

  • Iljimae keeps stealing from the noblemen's houses and giving back their riches to the poor. He also helps out the shanty town where the poor people without houses and lands live so that they can start a new life. But as Yong, he is just as annoying to Eun Chae, who although admires Iljimae, fails to recognize Iljimae in Yong and despises him for his acts. Meanwhile, Yong helps Shi Wan figure out some of the tricks Iljimae used so that Shi Hoo doesn't find out in advance and get recognition. Seeing how Eun Chae wants to help the people in the Pyunando village hit by an epidemic fever, Yong helps them out too as Iljimae and now he knows as a righteous man by the people. Furious, the king announces anyone who catches him will be rewarded and will have his social status elevated. Shi Hoo sees it as an opportunity to be a true nobleman and will do anything to catch him. He gets into a close encounter with Iljimae, and the two are hurt in the fight, Iljimae more than Shi Hoo, and he is found, nearly dying, by Bong Soon, who finds him and brings him to her father. Seeing the tattoo engraved on his chest, Hong He recognizes the son of Lee Won Ho, whom he killed many years ago.

  • Yong realizes he has lost the ornament that belonged to his mother during the raid at the palace. Bong Soon sees him looking for it and realizes that he is the young boy who saved her when she was little. The noblemen hold a meeting for the Cheonwoo club and Yong decides to infiltrate, disguised as one of the men to look for the sword. He nearly gets caught but manages to escape. After seeing the list of the Cheonwoo club members at Lord Byun's place, he deduces that the one who killed this father was also a member of the club. Yong's parents go to the Castor Oil gang leader and plead him that he let Yong go, to discourage him of the life as a member of the gang. Yong is forced to attack a child during a staged raid of the beggar's town, but he hurts himself instead of doing so. Eun Chae, however, mistakes the purpose of the fake raid and judges Yong. She, however, admires very much the action of Iljimae and doesn't know that they are the same one person.

  • Geom decides to use his position at the Castor Oil gang to go around the noblemen's house to find the sword with the special pattern. To do that, he needs to learn how thieves operate so that he can go at night. He convinces Swe Dol to teach him, telling him that he will need to pass his examination to become a guard. He steals a drawing from the Hopan household, which he discards as unimportant. Dae shik finds it and is convinced that it's a drawing of his father who was taken as a hostage during the war. However, the drawing turns out to be very precious and expensive, and Dae shik is taken in prison. Despite Geom's attempt to plead in front of the king, Dae shik is sentenced to death. Geom feels guilty and once again robs Hopan, this time taking all his fortune and adding a red blossom to the precious drawing.

  • Geom's sister is caught and thrown into prison and tortured so that she can tell the authorities where her brother is. However, she resists all torture. Yong is thrown into the same cell but fails to recognize her. Upon hearing his name, his sister recognizes that Yong is Geom, but stays quiet. After Yong finds out too, he tries to save his sister from hanging, but his plan go amiss and she is executed. He plots revenge for the life of his father and his sister and decides to join the Castor Oil gang so that he can go around looking for a special sword around the noblemen's houses. Meanwhile, Shi Hoo knows that he will never join a high position in the government because of his status and applies for the position of a simple foot soldier, while Shi Wan is made the new minister of the town. Yong decides to apply for a guard's position.

  • Shi Hoo is hurt while stopping Sa Cheon's man from killing the man who had the message from Kwon Doo Hyun, which makes him difficult to train for the civil service exam. Bong Soon and her father get scammed by a woman and her son and lose all their money. But Yong finds them and decides to gather their wages from the inn to compensate for his loss. He also asks Slick to find his sister. Slick finds her, but she is accused of running away after hitting a guard and the reunion doesn't happen. Yong, who had even given up his civil service exam to look for his sister, is left alone again. Shi Hoo, meanwhile, trains hard for his civil exam, but a scheme from Shi Wan fails him.

  • Bong Soon and her father continue their scheme, but Yong finds them and takes back the money he was scammed for. While he asks Slick to find back his mother and sister, Bong Soon overhears him and decides to scam him again for that. On the other hand, Hunter Jang is on to something and is sure that Yong is the son of a traitor. He wants to catch him, denounce him, and get the compensation money to pay off his debt to Slick. Bong Soon tries to get some documents that might help him find his mother and sister, but these documents are sealed in a secret vault. While Yong tries to break in himself, there's a fire in the archives, set by Byun Sik to forbid his conspiracy against Shim Gi Won get known. He even sends someone to kill Kwon Doo Hyun, who had promised to reveal everything at court. But Kwon Doo Hyun had written a message to Yong/Geom before dying.

  • In an arena, Yong is knocked down on the floor and bleeding. Shi Hoo begs him to surrender before he kills Yong, but Yong refuses and tells Shi Hoo that if he loses the fight, his father will lose his hand. On the way back, Yong is attacked by the gangs and get caught, but he struggles out and runs. Unfortunately, Yong bumps his head on the stone while fighting and starts to remember his childhood. Meanwhile, Swe Dol saves his hand but instead loses his teeth.

  • Il Ji Mae is a Chosun Dynasty outlaw who steals from corrupt officials and gives back to the poor. But the masked outlaw didn't start out trying to be the hero of the common folk. The young man wants to track down a sword that was used to kill his father and bring the sword's owner to justice.

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