By Han Sang-hee
A legendary scholar from the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) is reborn as a charismatic detective through cable channel OCN's "Jeong Yak-yong
The eight-episode television mini-series is aimed at attracting crime film and drama fans with colorful characters and a traditional backdrop.
"There are so many frightening things happening these days, and I wanted to portray them with traditional characters in a traditional backdrop", Kim Hong-sun, the director, said at a press conference Monday in central Seoul.
Jeong (1762-1836) was a successful scholar and an avid believer of practical learning. He also worked as a royal commissioner and wrote numerous reports of cases he worked on during his term.
The 45-minute-long episodes will show various cases, including theft, adultery and even murder, with handsome Park Jae-jung
playing the role of the smart and dynamic Jeong, the "Sherlock Holmes of the Joseon Kingdom".
"I felt pressure when I realized I had to bring the brilliant scholar back to life. Instead of studying too much about him, I tried to step out of myself and try to embrace the character", Park said.
Along with Park, actor Hong Seok-cheon
will, for the first time, star in a period drama.
Actress Jung Yang
will also appear as the sexy, silly and single Hong-chun.
The director decided he wanted to create a show focusing on Jeong after studying the historical period.
"I wanted to be critical but humorous at the same time. I thought the best way to bring both atmospheres was going back to the Joseon Kingdom. In the case of the character, I started researching for ideas in ancient books from the era and discovered that Jeong worked as a commissioner and also had a special relationship with the King", he told The Korea Times during a separate interview.
According to his research, Jeong was not only a gifted scholar, but he had a keen eye for investigation. By creating eight plots based on real cases and adding a bit of tradition, the director said he was ready to offer something different.
"Of course, it's very hard these days to surprise viewers because they are already exposed to so many films, television series and more. In the case of crime series, they have seen more than enough. Like any other genre, crime works have a certain formula, and I'm following the basic formula but with unique characters and plots", he said.
Mentioning the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" series, Kim added that it is not about mimicking a successful program, but making a good one.
"I think it's every producer's dream. The program may be long or short, but the same effort is put into the progress. Referring to this one, I don't want people to think it was made for a cable channel. I want the viewers to watch `Jeong Yak-yong
' as an investigation series, not just a quickly made, short and mediocre show", he said.
The show starts Nov. 27 and will air every Friday at midnight on OCN.