One extraordinary woman’s quest for love and honour…
Starring: Ha Ji Won, Kim Min Joon, Lee Seo Jin
Check out my review of the box set on YesAsia, voted best by readers!
Okay, so you’re probably going to laugh at how I heard of Damo, especially since it’s pretty old. SHINee did a reenactment of it, and I had to check it out. Minho made it look epic. Little did I know, this series had more epic than I could handle. Even its soundtrack owns me. If you were to open the dictionary and look up ‘epic’, you should find several pages in alphabetical order, and you would find Damo close to the top. ♥ It also says a lot when I put this series on my Christmas list without even having finished it. That’s how much faith I have in this script. And boy, is it a good one!
The story is set in the Chosun Dynasty, and focuses on Chae-Ok (Ha Ji Won), an undercover detective for the police (also called a damo). She was once the daughter of a noble family, but her father was accused of treason and killed. She and her older brother attempted to escape, but were separated. She was seven at the time. 15 years later, she serves the Left Police Bureau and acts as Police Commander Hwangbo Yoon (Lee Seo Jin)’s sword. The child of a nobleman and a commoner mistress, he took the young girl in and they have never been apart since. However, due to her lowly status as a servant, Chae-Ok is forbidden to love him. Neither is she allowed to give her heart to rebel leader Jang Sung Baek (Kim Min Joon), as he is the enemy she must destroy.
One of the best things about this drama is that it has a heroine instead of a hero. And she is real. There are times when she excels at swordplay, and times when she misjudges. There are times when she seems invincible, and times when she is vulnerable. Ha Ji Won is extraordinary at portraying the intense sorrow and pain of Chae-Ok as she deals with the conflicting emotions of loyalty versus love.
For the first time, I fell in love with both men. Jang Sung Baek is the charismatic rebel leader, the only one who can capture the hearts of the Korean people. He has undying loyalty for his men, and the vision he has to create a new country for the people. Hwangbo Yoon upholds the government and the king. All struggle between love and duty, for they cannot have both.
The ending is sad, but we already knew that it would be from watching our tragic heroine. This series has officially replaced Golden Bride as my favorite drama to date. I think I’ll have to watch more historical dramas after this!
Rating: 5/5 (And is nominated for “Most Likely to be Life-Altering”)