The King 2 Hearts
- Title: 더킹 투하츠 / The King 2 Hearts
- Previously known as: 킹 (King) / 더킹 (The King) / 킹 투허츠 (King 2 Hearts)
- Genre: Romance
- Episodes: 20
- Broadcast network: MBC
- Broadcast period: 2012-Mar-21 to 2012-May-24
- Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 21:55
- Original Soundtrack: The King 2 Hearts OST
The King 2 Hearts is set in an alternate universe where modern-day South Korea is governed by a constitutional monarchy descended from the Joseon Dynasty. Lee Jae-ha is a handsome yet materialistic crown prince who doesn’t care about politics and feels total reluctance to being the second in line to the throne. Lee Jae-kang, the current king, tricked him into joining a joint military collaboration with North Korea as a means to help “make him grow up”.
Meanwhile, Kim Hang-ah is a North Korean Special Forces Officer who is also the daughter of a North Korean military high command official. Both Jae-ha and Hang-ah meet at the joint military training, a crucial part in establishing friendly relations between the two separate countries. Although the two met each other with a fiery disposition, Jae-ha unwittingly sparks a friendship with Hang-ah and he subsequently falls in love with her. Soon, an arranged marriage is set up between the two and they eventually become engaged. While they attempt to set their differences aside and build a growing relationship, things suddenly take a turn for the worse when King Jae-kang and his wife were assassinated in cold blood by the devious Club M, who are led by John Meyer/Kim Bong-gu, a mysterious magician who wishes to remove the Royal Family and rule in their stead. Now crowned the new King of South Korea, Jae-ha must learn to be responsible and protect the country before it is too late.
Ha Ji-won as Captain Kim Hang-ah
The main heroine – A North Korean Special Forces officer and instructor known in the military to be an “Iron Lady” with absolutely no femininity within her. She is the only daughter of the Deputy Minister of the North Korean Ministry of Unification. Although tough and fearsome on the surface, at heart she is a shy maiden who struggles to find her companion for life. After a few incidents involving her and the South Korean prince (“the archenemy of the socialist state and the people”), Jae-ha falls in love with her during the training mission. After Prince Jae-ha confesses his feelings for her on TV, Hang-ah is assigned to spy on the royal family and goes to South Korea. Hang-ah gets engaged to the Prince and moves into the palace, but she struggles to learn about the South Korean lifestyle and tries her best to impress the Queen Mother with her newly learned, but poorly pronounced South Korean dialect and manners. Then King Jae-kang is assassinated and Princess Jae-shin becomes permanently crippled. Inspired by her faithful love to Prince Jae-ha, the first man in the entire universe who actually considers and treats her as a woman, Hang-ah decides to stay behind and hold up the royal roof along with the newly crowned King Jae-ha before it is too late…
Lee Seung-gi as Prince Lee Jae-ha (later King Jae-ha)
Kang Han-byul as young Jae-ha
The main protagonist – The Crown Prince of South Korea with an assumed IQ of 187. An arrogant and irresponsible individual who surprisingly displays a lot of charisma. Unknown to many, Jae-ha chose to be an arrogant man due to his reluctance to take the throne. When his brother, King Jae-kang, ascended to the throne, he assumed that he can live an indulgent “playboy” lifestyle for the rest of his life. As his two years of conscripted service comes to a close, he was unknowingly tricked by his brother into participating in a joint military exercise between North and South Korea, organized by the King and the North Korean Military Command. King Jae-kang also used this an a opportunity to teach his brother a lesson and “help him grow up”. However, his personality did not sit well with his teammates, who eventually saw him as a royal pain.
As a means to whip him into shape, North Korean Representative and Captain Kim Hang-ah “threatened” him into submission right after their first encounter. After a bumpy ride through each undertaken mission and a love/hate relationship with Hang-ah, Jae-ha eventually realized he had an attraction to the hard yet innocent female, a fact he constantly denied. Long after the completion of their training, a rumor “King Jae-kang once considered North Korean Captain Kim as a potential candidate for Prince Jae-ha’s consort” was spread against the palace’s wishes. As a means to stem the rumors and assuage the public, Jae-ha decided to publicly state that he is “indeed in love with the North Korean” to ease the political fire targeted towards his elder brother. He was subsequently engaged to Captain Kim Hang-ah and now must somehow transform their “marriage of convenience” into a real romantic relationship. However, before any of that could take place, Jae-ha only found himself in a bigger mess after the assassination of the royal couple. Now crowned the King of South Korea, he must act fast and be mature and responsible like his so called “old-headed” brother, before everything he cherishes in his heart falls apart. Faced with the possibility of his future wife being responsible or remotely related to the assassination, Jae-ha must now choose to trust his heart or his adviser. Heart triumphed over logic and the two found themselves growing deeper affections for one another throughout the ordeal. Even though so, public sentiment could not rest and continual accusations unto Jae-ha’s bride comes in waves. Succumbing to deceitful persuasion from the King’s oldest and most trusted adviser, Hang-ah was forced to undergo public persecution.
Jae-ha, once known never to care for another being in his life, didn’t sense how much the persecution was straining Hang-ah and their relationship. His lack of display of concern was wrongly translated as being uncaring which deeply hurt Hang-ah. Harsh words were spoken against him and Jae-ha being the immature and egocentric self he is ordered for her exile back to the North. All seemed to be lost in this relationship, Jae-ha seemingly complacent and proud of his decision, until time wrought by the separation made him come to terms with his own true feelings. Regret and remorse stemmed his very soul during these times but with Hang-ah far-away in the North, out of reach and sight, there was little hope for reconciliation.
The timing could not have been worse when a public news report came from the North reporting that Hang-ah had suffered a miscarriage. Jae-ha is now faced with negative press not only for being an irresponsible king but also a selfish, sex-crazed monster. In spite of the horrible accusations, Jae-ha can only think about how hurt and pained Hang-ah must be and immediately devised a plan against his adviser’s wishes.
All great men have their sidekicks and this came to be no other than Eun Shi-kyung whose loyalty would surpass familial relations. With courage behind their back, King Jae-ha heads North and crosses the border with his life at stake. All this won him a chance meeting with Hang-ah but did nothing to impress her or soothe her wrath and pain towards the loss of her child. His “clever and heroic” ways were scoffed at by Hang-ah who believes with all her heart that he only knows how to look good. But that won’t do for her, as her heart will never change for him again.
Though grossly misunderstood, Jae-ha insistently stayed in the North, knowing many enemies are after his head, in the hope that Hang-ah will believe in him again.
Jo Jung Suk as Eun Shi-kyung
The son of chief adviser Eun Kyu Tae, he is a South Korean military man who participates in the joint collaboration. Later promoted to the Royal Guard, he is absolutely loyal and strict by nature, initially detested by Prince Jae-ha due to his “old-headed”-ness resembling King Jae-kang. He is romantically interested in Princess Jae-shin.
Yoon Je-moon as Kim Bong-gu (a.k.a. John Meyer)
The main villain, a magician by day and an arms dealer by night. He decides to assassinate the South Korean king after peace talks are established between both sides of 38th Parallel which threatens the interest of his weapons business. He also has an even darker side waiting to be revealed.
Lee Yoon Ji as Lee Jae-shin (Princess Jae-shin)
The Princess of South Korea, Prince Jae-ha and King Jae-kang’s younger sister, a royal by day and an underground rock band singer by night. She has a somewhat naughty sense of humor, which once got her arrested by Eun Shi-kyung (not knowing her true identity) when she dressed down and made fun of her royal self. However, she is paralyzed after her brother Jae-kang’s death and her kidnapping.