Capital Scandal is a 2007 drama set in the 1930’s during the Japanese occupation of Korea. It follows the story of a the town playboy who falls for a conservative freedom fighter and finds himself involved with the independence movement.
I was primarily drawn to Capital Scandal because of the setting. I love the 1930’s, and there just aren’t that many dramas set during this period. And this drama had all of the flavor I love about 1930’s with the stylish costumes, fun music, and a great atmosphere.
Kang Ji Hwan is the classic Casanova Seon Woo Wan. He is a carefree playboy who comes from a family that is pro-Japanese. It’s always oh so fun watching the playboy fall in love for the first time. His journey is a moving one as we watch him mature into a man with purpose.
Han Ji Min plays our freedom fighter Na Yeo Kyung. She’s stubborn and prickly with very traditional values. But she has a very kind heart, and seeing the suffering of her people pushes her to get involved with the independence movement.
Lee Soo Hyun (Ryu Jin) works for the security division of the Japanese government. He’s a childhood friend of Seon Woo’s, but the guys had a falling out after Soo Hyun caused the death of Seon Woo’s brother.
Cha Song Joo (Han Go Eun) is a powerful gisaeng. She’s a sophisticated woman who knows what she wants. And luckily, she gets along with our leading lady Yeo Kyung. They are different as can be, but their mutual goal of fighting for Korea draws them together.
I do think the drama felt a bit dated. You could just tell it was older. Many of the sets also feel more like a stage. A really nice stage, but a stage nonetheless. The acting is sometimes a bit cheesy and over dramatic too. It’s also not terribly realistic. I didn’t mind, but wanted to point it out.
Capital Scandal is also a slow burner. The drama slowly introduces us to its world and establishes the characters before jumping into the meat of the story. I think this was a good choice to really familiarize us with the world.
It’s a fascinating time period with Korea experiencing a mix of western influences on their culture along with still maintaining many of their traditional customs. It’s great seeing all of that style of the modern dress right alongside traditional hanboks. In many ways, Capital Scandal feels like a modern drama and a historical drama had a baby.
The first few episodes are a bit more comedic, but things become more serious as the drama progresses. And once the story gets going, it gets really interesting. There is a complex web of secrets connecting everyone which brings a certain intensity. It’s also interesting to watch a small group of freedom fighters go up against the Japanese forces.
The main romance between Seon Woo and Yeo Kyung was sweet. It’s the classic bickering relationship that progresses into love. I enjoyed the banter between the two, and they always maintained that spark between them.
The tension between Seon Woo and Soo Hyun also added an interesting dynamic to the plot. Seon Woo is filled with hate while Soo Hyun struggles with terrible guilt. And both guys are on completely different paths. I really felt for both of them.
The other relationships between our main four add another layer of complexity. Seon Woo and Song Joo are longtime close friends. And Song Joo even has very meaningful history with Soo Hyun. I really enjoyed how connected everyone was and how all of these relationships played out.
Capital Scandal was a fun period drama overall. It had exactly what I was looking for in a period piece. It delivered moments of humor, action, and romance within an intriguing story that really highlighted the struggles of the Joseon people during this time. I greatly enjoyed it.
My Rating: 7/10
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