“The Red Sleeve” rating peaked at 17.4% in the last episode – We will finally see Junho dancing to “My House” in his royal robe

We will be able to see Lee Jun-ho wearing the royal robe while dancing to “My House”. MBC’s Friday-Saturday drama “The Red Sleeve” broke its own highest ratings.

According to the rating survey company Nielsen Korea on January 2nd, the 16th episode of “The Red Sleeve”, which was aired on Jan 1st, recorded a nationwide rating of 17%, Seoul metropolitan area rating – 16.4%, 2049 rating – 7.3%, and broadcast rating peak – 19.4%. Meanwhile, episode 17 (the finale) surpassed its previous record with 17.4% in nationwide rating, 16.8% in Seoul area, 8.1% in 2049 rating, and reached the maximum rating of 18.1% during the broadcast.

The Red Sleeve

At the beginning of episode 16, Yi San (Lee Jun-ho) made Sung Deok-im (Lee Se-young) his concubine and they lived the life of a king and a concubine together. While enjoying the sweet and happy moments of when she was with San, Deok-im also felt sad that she had left her free life behind.

San and Deok-im enjoyed their peak happiness when their first child came to life, and they had become one family. Shortly after then, Deok-im started to suffer from sad events continuously as her son, Prince Munhyo, died at a very young age, and also her friend Younghee was sentenced to death. The pain in Deok-im grew as she was left alone since Yi San could not share his feelings with her since he was the king of a country.

The Red Sleeve

Then one day, with her health got weakened, Deok-im finally closed her eyes in the arms of San. Before her death, Deok-im gave her last words to San while crying painfully, “If you really love me, please pretend you don’t know me even if you see me in the next life”.

After then, San spent 14 years alone. He opened a newly developed period for Joseon. Only after achieving all of his goals could San finally put down his tiring life and close his eyes. He reunited with Deok-im in the afterlife and enjoyed their eternal happiness.

The Red Sleeve

San now regretted his past and chose to stay with Deok-im as her man, not a king anymore. He shed tears and told Deok-im, “Please love me”. Instead of giving an answer, Deok-im gave him a warm kiss. The two finally completed their love as a normal husband and wife, not as a king and his concubine, and their moment lasted forever.

The Red Sleeve” ended its grand finale with a beautifully sad ending, becoming the best historical drama of the second half of 2021. Therefore, let’s look back on several highlights of “The Red Sleeve”, which has become a new standard for historical romance while portraying historical facts perfectly. 

Records that proved “The Red Sleeve” syndrome

It was not exaggerated to call this drama a “record maker”. Starting with a 5.7% rating in episode 1, “The Red Sleeve” surprised the public as its rating indicators kept changing and surged every week. It surpassed double-digit ratings within four weeks of broadcasting, starting to dominate drama rankings despite facing prominent competitors. As a result, it ended at 17.4% nationwide thanks to the enthusiastic favorable reviews from viewers, achieving a remarkable result that tripled its first episode’s rating.

The Red Sleeve

The drama also caused a sensation in various online topics and OTT rankings. Based on the TV topic index surveyed by Good Data, “The Red Sleeve” topped the drama category for 7 consecutive weeks. From the 4th week of November, when the “word of mouth” effect began to take effect in earnest, the drama began its dominance by ranking No.1 Wavve Drama, IPTV paid VOD, and SMR Clip views.

Furthermore, “The Red Sleeve” brought home several awards, including the Drama of the Year, Top Excellence Award – Male (Lee Jun-ho), Top Excellence Award 0 Female (Lee Se-young), Best Couple Award (Lee Jun-ho – Lee Se-young), Lifetime Achievement Award (Lee Deok-hwa), Best Screenwriter (Jung Hae-ri), Best Supporting Actress (Jang Hye-jin) and Best New Actor (Kang Hoon), at the 2021 MBC Drama Awards.

A dense story that created a new romance between King Jeongjo and Uibin

Through “The Red Sleeve”, an outstanding screenwriter named Jung Hae-ri was known to the world. This is actually the first drama that Jung Hae-ri, who stood out in historical genre dramas when co-writing “Ruler: Owner of the Mask” and “Gyebaek”, wrote on her own. “The Red Sleeve” is created based on the true historical story of King Jeongjo and Uibin, which was already well known to the Korean public. However, the romance was presented with a new perspective and dense storytelling.

The Red Sleeve

In addition, while taking advantage of the merits of the original novel, she utilized the original story and added the power struggles during King Yeongjo – Jeongjo regime to excite viewers with more interesting details.

It stood out as a drama that induces excessive immersion through character composition that maximizes each character’s narrative and charm. Through reverse clichés and modern sentiments that gave freshness to the story, it succeeded in capturing not only the middle-aged, the traditional consumer of the historical drama genre, but also the MZ generation.

Director Jung Ji-in’s directing skills

The Red Sleeve

Director Jung Ji-in‘s delicate directing played a solid role in the spotlight of “The Red Sleeve” as a well-made historical drama. “The Red Sleeve” was well received throughout its broadcast with outstanding visual, filling the frame with rich Korean colors, quiet palace scenery, outfits with classical beauty, and various historical objects. 

The drama’s music maximized viewers’ immersion by balancing tradition and modernity, and its rapid plot across romance-power-comic were also excellent. On the other hand, numerous famous scenes were created. As such, “The Red Sleeve” properly proved to viewers the potential of the historical drama genre.

Joon-ho, Se-young, Kang Hoon, and Deok-hwa, everyone shined.

Lee Joon-ho and Lee Se-young, who drew attention as the next generation of acting couples, stood tall as “King” Joon-ho and “God” Se-young through their appearances in “The Red Sleeve.” Lee Joon-ho, who chose “The Red Sleeve” as his return work after being discharged from the military, added subtle sexiness to the character King Jeongjo Lee San, along with his acting skills that doubled public expectations, creating irreplaceable Lee Joon-ho‘s Jeongjo. Moreover, Lee Joon-ho, who created the “My House Syndrome” through 2PM activities, has solidified his position as an all-round entertainer by starting the “Our Palace Syndrome.” 

The Red Sleeve

Lee Se-young easily carried the title of unbeaten historical drama actress. In particular, Lee Se-young mesmerized viewers with her strong acting skills and delicate emotional acting as Deok-im. In addition, she has become a new role model for a “Historical Drama Women” by attractively embodying an independent court lady character that has rarely been seen in existing historical dramas.

Not only Lee Joon-ho and Lee Se-young, but also Kang Hoon, Lee Deok-hwa, Park Ji-young, Jang Hee-jin, Jang Hye-jin, Cho Hee-bong, Seo Hyo-rim, Lee Min-ji and more have all contributed to the drama’s completion.


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