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The spotlight is on Tree with Deep Roots (뿌리깊은 나무), a novel by Lee Jeong-myeong that has been turned into a popular historical drama.

Tree with Deep Roots highlights serial killings during the reign of King Sejong (Han Seok-gyu), who was then working toward his greatest invention—Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Kang Chae-yun (Jang Hyeok), who takes charge of investigating the murder cases during the seven days before the announcement of Hangul, finds himself getting closer to the truth as he uncovers a shocking political conspiracy.

Tree with Deep Roots is based on a novel of the same name written by Lee Jeong-myeong, a popular writer of historical mysteries. Lee is particularly known for his bestselling novel Painter of the Wind, which was also turned into an acclaimed Korean sageuk (사극, historical drama) in 2008. Fans of Lee Jeong-myeong’s novel are already fiercely debating how the overall story and characters in the drama differ from the original. Despite clear discrepancies and additions made for dramatic effect, critics have applauded the show for its choreography and talented cast. Such acknowledgement is currently being shown numerically as the show has scored the top rating among Wednesday/Thursday dramas.

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Tree with Deep Roots had been receiving a lot of attention even before the first teaser was released because of its incredible casting. Han Seok-gyu plays King Sejong the Great, who is immersed in the creation of Hangul. While the drama remains focused around the central theme of language, mystery-thriller elements are added as suspicious murder cases occur and Kang Chae-yun, played by Jang Hyeok, searches for the culprits. Kang, who is first a slave and later a soldier, eventually becomes King Sejong’s bodyguard. The King and Chae-yun began to mistrust each other for reasons including their love for the same woman, So-i, played by one of today’s most-talked-about actresses Shin Se-kyeong. Court lady So-i helps King Sejong with his creation of Hangul, which allows her to slowly overcome the childhood trauma that had left her mute.

Tree with Deep Roots is already a big hit, and viewers are looking forward to more excitement and thrills as the series proceeds. See Tree with Deep Roots on Wednesday and Thursday at 9:55 pm on SBS.

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