Royal Secret Agent opens with a mystery man entering the mayor’s home and office. He is from the mountain and is carrying a lot of gold with him. The mayor is a corrupt politician and tells the man to have the servants and slaves work themselves to the bone for even more gold.
That is when the mystery man reveals himself as a Royal Secret Agent. Suddenly dozens of men show up, they are all guards that are with the Secret Agent. The mayor is busted and arrested for all his corrupt deeds.
However, suddenly several assassins show up, kill many of the palace guards, and also kill the secret agent.
We fast forward one month later where Royal historian Sung Yu-gyum is gambling with two other royal employees and an eunuch. He is basically a good for nothing royal servant who does not have enough things to do. They start to talk about how the palace is looking for another Royal Secret Agent, but no one wants to job because all the secret agents are all dying.
What Yi-gyum does want to do is go to the giseng house and meet the pretty new giseng Hong Yun. That night they go to the giseng house to meet her, but end up getting on her wrong side (it is their meet cute). He saves a man from stabbing himself because Yi-gyum is too beautiful and doesn’t want him. Yi-gyum basically doesn’t care what Yi-gyum does and said that man lacked the courage to kill himself anyway. So, they get off on the wrong foot.
Hong Yun has a few secrets though. Her real name is Hong Da-in and she is a spy for the Royal politician Jang Tae-seong. She is also looking for a person who knows what happened to her parents. She commissions a portrait artist to find this man. However word gets out and she gets arrested. She contacts Jang Tae-seong when she is in jail, and he frees her. However, he tells her that she is stupid for trying to find out about that person.
He does have something else she can do though. She can help the next Royal Secret Agent. However, he hasn’t found that person yet.
Meanwhile, Historian Sung Yi-gyum continues his gambling ways with his colleagues and the eunuch. Jang Tae-seong overhears the other men tell Yi-gyum that he has a great poker face and should be the next Royal Secret Agent. Yi-gyum does not want that job. Sung Yi-gyum finally wins his money back at gambling, but Minister Jang Tae-song busts them for illegal gambling and throws them in jail.
However, he had another reason for doing that. He tells Sung Yi-gyum that he wants him as the next Royal Secret Agent. The King even comes to the jail and asks him to be the next Royal Secret Agent.
So, since the King came and all, Yi-gyum accepts. He takes his servant Chun-sam with him (Chun-sam, by the way, is so happy to have something to do besides being a slave) and they set off to the gates to meet their last partner.
The last partner is Hong Da-in. Her and Yi-gyum already have some bad blood between them. But that is besides the point because, in order to meet Yi-gyum and Cin-sam, Hong Da-in had to sneak out of the giseng house, disguised as a man. She fooled no one so she had to poke Kim man-hee in the eyes and jump over the fence.
She runs all the way to the gate. But Kim man-hee spots her and yells, CATCH THEM!
This episode had a couple funny moments. One was when Chin-sam and Yi-gyum were kidnapped and thrown in a warehouse by the good guys. They were thrown in the warehouse because Yi-gyum was getting drunk and telling everyone that he was the Royal Secret Agent.
They were blindfolded in this wharehouse so in order to break out they had to bump all around the room and try and feel their way out which was pretty funny.
Another funny moment was when Hong Da-in poked Kim man-hee in the eyes to get away. That was so unexpected so I just burst out laughing.
Some things I didn’t like about this drama was that it felt very low budget. It almost looks like they don’t have enough lighting people to set the scenes and they are using the lowest quality camera. The camera angles also feel off, more like this is a stage play and not something made for television.
The drama feels empty as well. But I can’t really put my finger on it. It might be that the sets just feel empty with the amount of people around or maybe the costume design isn’t fully formed or maybe the camera angles themselves just make everything feel kind of empty. I am not sure about that.
In addition to all that, and this is the most concerning, is that the website only had the three main characters on the site until the day before (or maybe the day of in Korea). Suddenly they added nine more people, though the photos they picked were dark and difficult to see. We had to brighten them for our character chart!
All of this together makes us think that this show is rushing to get everything out in time and may have had to cut corner. Hopefully the second episode continues to bring it all together though because the ending of the first episode did come together nicely.