Graceful Family Korean Drama Review

Graceful Family is about a powerful legal team called TOP that manages company and family issues that would reflect poorly on the wealthy MC Group.  A new lawyer (Lee Jang Woo) is brought on to the team and gets involved with the daughter (Im Soo Hyang) of the MC Group family who is searching for who murdered her mother.

Im Soo Hyang plays our wealthy heiress Mo Seok Hee. After her mother’s murder, she is shipped off to the US. She finally returns to Korea 15 years later determined to find the culprit as she battles her greedy family and the all powerful TOP management team.

Lee Jang Woo is Heo Yoon Do. He is a small time lawyer with a kind heart who is trying to catch a break. So when he gets a call to join the large TOP legal team, he takes the opportunity. But TOP’s management practices go far beyond what Yoon Do is comfortable with, and there’s a whole lot more going on than he would have guessed.

Then we have Bae Jong Ok as Director Han Je Kook. She is the head of the TOP team and is a force to be reckoned with. Her only concern is MC Group, and she mercilessly wields the power that TOP has given her to protect it.

I’ve been in the mood for some serious melodrama for a while now, so Graceful Family seemed like a potentially good fit. It garnered a lot of attention for breaking ratings records on the cable network MBN which piqued my interest even more.

The first episode was great and really set up the story well. After that, I was still enjoying it, but it took a few more episodes to fully get everything in place. Then the story really takes off as we dive into a murder mystery and a power battle.

I really liked both of our leads and always enjoyed all of the scenes with them together. Seok Hee and Yoon Do each have such interesting stories. Seok Hee comes off as brash and arrogant, but she actually has a big heart. She struggles with her mother’s death and wants justice. She also has a lot of determination and won’t let anything keep her down.

Yoon Do has an intriguing back story that connects him to everything and makes him getting involved with TOP as well as Seok Hee that much more interesting. As a kind and just man, his morals really conflict with what TOP does. But in order to win against them, he has to make compromises.

These two become a powerful duo as they work to solve the murder, stop Seok Hee’s greedy family, and put the TOP group in check. These two keep busy! Also, a heads up on the romance front. Any romance really takes a back seat to what else is going on. Seok Hee and Yoon Do do slowly build a low-key relationship, and we do finally get a dash of romance late in the drama, but it’s just a very small amount.

There were a few negatives to the drama for me. I did find the all powerful TOP legal team to be very interesting as a whole, but they had too many scenes involving them for my liking.

It’s that little problem I have where most of the characters outside of the main leads aren’t particularly likable. I don’t always have to like the characters, but I usually prefer my antagonists to be highly entertaining, but they didn’t quite reach that level here.

A few more likable characters do show up as the drama progresses, but I never got too attached to them other than Yoon Do’s doting father. And since the more unlikable characters are integral to the plot, they do get quite a bit of screen time which did cause me to lose some interest at times.

The drama gives us a deeper look into several of these characters later in the drama that is meant to portray them more sympathetically, but it was a bit too late for me considering how awful they were for most of the drama.

I also didn’t feel like Seok Hee and Yoon Do really got enough screen time for most of the drama. The TOP group is the central focus of the drama with everyone else caught in their web. Director Han really takes the lead and is by far the largest presence in the drama.

But she is cold as ice with zero empathy. We only get the briefest look deeper into her character which was not enough to connect with her in a meaningful way. She is simply the powerful villain that needs to be brought down. Bae Jong Ok was really fantastic at portraying her though.

Also, for being a melodrama, there is a distinct lack of angst. You know I love angst, and when I show up for a melo, I kind of expect there to be a lot of it. But Graceful Family took a different approach. I found it to be more of a slick investigative melo with Seok Hee and Yoon Do solving a mystery.

While our leads have many obstacles to overcome, they face them all head on with conviction. We do see their struggles, but overall, they handle things pretty well. Hence a lack of angst. This combination of factors left me not connecting to the drama on an emotional level. I still enjoyed the story that was told, it just lacked the feels and any big emotional pay off.

Most of the juicy family stuff and secrets are saved for the last few episodes of the drama. That’s where we get to more of what I like in melodramas. We have some bombshell secrets revealed and big mysteries solved which I quite enjoyed. The ending wraps things up well enough, but I did find it a bit lackluster and wasn’t completely satisfied with it.

Graceful Family was an interesting watch overall. While I would have enjoyed our main duo getting a bit more screen time, less TOP, and a bit more angst, the script, production, and acting were all excellent to make for a well done investigative/revenge melo.

My Rating: 7/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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19 Responses to Graceful Family Korean Drama Review

  1. Timescout says:

    I did consider watching this but decided against it as I simply don’t have the time. Just as well, as it seems like there is too much emphasis put on the baddies and that’s almost an instant pass for me. Antagonists are fine as long as they are not “hogging” the storylines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yeah, the baddies definitely hog the story line in this one. It’s still well done, they just take up a bit too much time for my personal liking. With so many dramas these days, we do have to really think about which ones deserve our time 🙂

      Like

  2. Kate says:

    Felt the same as you, too much of the TOP agency and not enough with the family. There was a rich vein of family drama they could have mined but they went with the manipulating bad guys instead. Don’t consider it a waste of my time because I like Im Soo Hyang and thought she did a wonderful job here but would have liked to see more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yep, they set up so much to work with involving the family that could have been very juicy early on, but instead they saved most of it for the end. It was speckled throughout, but the TOP team definitely took the spotlight in this story. Despite my own issues with it, I still thought the drama was well done, and I enjoyed many things about it 🙂

      Like

  3. shamrockmom3 says:

    7 episodes in, and l love this show. But then again, l like edgy and slightly weird stuff like the K2, Yong Pal, and W, so the story is right up my alley. I hope I still like it by the final episode

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yay! Glad you’re enjoying it 🙂 It definitely has that edgy feel to it. I quite liked Yong Pal and W too. I think this one stays pretty good until the end. The last few eps have a bit more melo elements with the family and all, which was something I liked. Hope you enjoy it all the way through 🙂

      Like

  4. D says:

    Hi Kay – I really enjoyed and loved this show. Your review is spot on though but none of those things bothered me and in fact made it more enjoyable for me. 🙂 The only thing I didn’t like was how they tried to make villainous characters likeable at the end. I like villain characters written to be real villains but with the right pay off at the end. I felt that the show didn’t do justice to the main evil woman at the end. O well, other than that I did enjoy this show quite a lot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I’m always glad to hear you found a show you loved 🙂 And it’s great that it checked the right boxes for you. I’ve had that happen many times where a drama was perceived as very “flawed”, but I ended up loving the so called flaws themselves! hehe It’s funny how that works.

      Oh yes, I was actually quite perplexed by how they approached the ending with the villains, specifically the TOP team. They were all playing it up like I was supposed to feel bad for these villains and their down fall, and then they had this triumph regrouping at the end. It’s like I know that TOP was the central focus of the drama, but they were still villains! lol Mostly, I just found it funny since it seemed strange. It was a fun drama for sure though 🙂

      Like

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  7. lili says:

    Idk I just love how her character in graceful family is such a polar opposite from her previous drama gangnam beauty, because I wanted her to be this badass in her previous one lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Oh yes! It was so much fun to see how different her character was here. It was like she grew in My ID is Gangnam Beauty to eventually become the awesome woman that she was in Graceful Family 🙂

      Like

  8. Charlotte Hunter says:

    Not my kind of drama. It was “TOP” heavy. As you said..there really wasn’t any empathy for our family until the latter part of the series and by then I didn’t care enough about each of their ‘sob stories’ or their contrite moments in prison. My favourite character was the sobbing Dad who loved his son and broke the drama mold by being the first man I’ve ever seen “water-slap” a woman. Finally, we are gender-equal in that regard. 😂 Our lead couple admitted feelings for each other early enough which I liked, but eventhough I thought they had some ‘sweet’ chemistry they never really built up any deeper layers of connection in their relationship for me, other than their close teamwork as they planned to take down ‘Han”. I also struggled with Seok-i who spent much of the show impulsively causing havoc and jumping to conclusions, which made for some great confrontations but also made her character a bit too selfishly edgy for me. The actress was barely allowed to smile in this role…veering from mocking her family or acting smug with the VIP’s she met, then veering into angry diatribes whenever she saw injustice, no matter where she was. We actually didn’t get much vulnerability from her in the drama…only the parts where the director focused on her hands clutching her skirt to show she was unnerved in a few scenes. However, that aside, the plot twists were quite melodramatic and fresh…and the acting was intensely over the top, although makjang requires it I think, although I did feel like I was watching an opera here and there. I didn’t hate it…but it isn’t on my recommened list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yep, I was definitely disappointed with how much of the focus was on TOP. It really detracted from all of the characters from the leads all the way down to the supporting ones. I would have liked to have seen our main couple have more time to develop their relationship too. Like you, I loved the Dad though, and he made me smile a lot 🙂

      I certainly enjoyed its melodramatic aspects, and the plot was well done with some thrills. It was a good watch, but it could have been better.

      Like

  9. MyKDramaticLife says:

    I’m just done watching this one and I love it! 😍
    I’ve seen another side of Im Soo Hyang in this drama, making her into my top list of favorite actresses. While I fell in love at first sight with Lee Jang Woo. He’s so cute and handsome. Here’s me planning to watch his dramas more.

    As for the drama, yes you have points there in your review, but I have to disagree this time. HAHAHA. I like how the drama focused on TOP and manipulations. And I like how every episode has characters they highlighted and told each one’s story.
    I just hoped they grew more love between the leads because I felt some real spark between Suk Hee and Yoon Do. 😍

    It may not be the perfect drama, but it exceeded my expectation and it felt unique and fresh at the same.

    Rating: 9/10

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      This really was a great role for Im Soo Hyang, and I too loved her in this. And I always enjoy Lee Jang Woo, including here 🙂 You should watch him in I Do, I Do and Pretty Man. He’s very fun in both.

      Oooh, it does work out well for you that you enjoyed all of the TOP stuff 🙂 I liked the concept of TOP and their role in the story, I just wish it left a little more room for our main leads as well as some of the stories of the supporting characters. It was still a very unique and interesting drama all around though 🙂

      Like

      • MyKDramaticLife says:

        Yeah. How I wish I could watch his other dramas too. Impressed to know that he and Im Soo Hyang were there in I Do, I Do. But still there are lot on my plate, awwp, I mean on my list. So maybe a little later reserved for Lee Jang Woo’s.

        And by the way, Kay.
        Have you already watched The Light in Your Eyes (7.5/10) or is it in your long list? How are you feeling about it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Yep, it’s hard to get in all of those dramas we want to watch. I think I’ll forever have a massive backlog of old dramas I want to watch that just keeps growing from not being able to get to all of the newer dramas. It’s a struggle!

          I haven’t watched The Light in your Eyes yet (so no spoilers please, hehe), but I do have it on my list. I know it’s pretty heavy with some sad subject matter (despite also being positive), so I will need to be very mentally ready for a drama like that. I’m mostly watching lighter fare these days 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • MyKDramaticLife says:

            Okay here’s hoping for your review in The Light in Your Eyes once you get through it. 😊
            And yeah every kdrama viewer (in all levels) has his/her own struggles with their watchlists. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

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