KBS2 has just aired its first and only sageuk (historical drama) this year with Royal Secret Agent (also known as Secret Royal Inspector).
The series is the last one out of the only four historical dramas this 2020, following the second season of Kingdom (Netflix) that aired last March, Kingmaker: The Change of Destiny (TV Chosun) in May, and Mr. Queen (tvN) in early December. The total is exceedingly lower compared to the 11 historical dramas that aired in 2019.
Royal Secret Agent follows a civil officer who topped the civil exam but has a gambling addiction. As a punishment after getting caught, he becomes one of the king’s secret royal inspectors. The investigators’ job is to become the King’s eyes and ears, so they roam around the country listening to people’s stories of injustice and punishing the officials who have succumbed to greed and corruption—all while keeping their identities hidden. It stars Kim Myung-soo (Welcome) as the central character Sung Yi-gyum; Kwon Na-ra (Itaewon Class) as Hong Da-in, a female inspector disguised as a courtesan; and Lee Yi-kyung (Welcome to Waikiki 2) as Park Chun-sam, Yi-gyum’s affectionate and loyal servant.
Notably, the main cast is mostly comprised of actors who began in the industry as K-pop idols before venturing into acting. Kim Myung-soo, who plays the main character, is a member of the boy band Infinite and is more known by his stage name “L.” Kwon Na-ra, on the other hand, is one of the original members of the girl group HELLOVENUS before she left last April of 2019. Meanwhile, Lee Tae-hwan (Graceful Friends), who plays Yi-gyum’s stepbrother, is a part of the group 5urprise, dubbed as the “first-ever South Korean actor group” whose members, unlike most idols, have ventured into acting first before becoming K-pop idols. The group disbanded last March.
The series was initially scheduled to be broadcast on November 2, but due to the threat of COVID-19 and for the safety of their cast and crew, KBS2 decided to delay the production. Royal Secret Agent aired its first episode on December 21 at 9:30 p.m. KST on KBS2, taking over the time slot previously occupied by Zombie Detective.