[K-DRAMA] Queen of Ambition (2013)

warning: may contain spoilers

Queen of ambition (yawang) poster

An ambitious woman who seeks for fame and power while a man she betrays plans to make a revenge..


Joo Da Hae had nothing left as she mourned for her mother who died from a disease. Ha Ryu coincidentally met her inside her house when he was trying to help his friend collect debts. He remembers her as they both grew up at the same orphanage. Ha Ryu promised her that he would help Da Hae even if he only works at a horse riding stable. Da Hae passed her college exams while Ha Ryu paid for her tuition. One day, while Ha Ryu went out of his work place to do some errands, Da Hae was left alone there. Da Hae’s stepfather made a visit to her, but Da Hae was so afraid of her stepfather because he sexually abused her. Da Hae tried to escape and was trapped inside the horse stables. Meanwhile, Ha Ryu sensed that something was wrong so he immediately went back home. When he arrived, he saw the man lying on the ground and Da Hae standing carrying a knife. Da Hae was so scared to death and Ha Ryu said that he will turn himself in. Both of them decided to just bury the corpse on an old mountain and just forget everything. Fast forward to 6 years later, Ha Ryu and Da Hae had a child together named Eun Byul. Though not legally married, they lived together. Da Hae had also finished her studies and she applied for an intern at the top business group, Baek Hak Group. She got accepted and there she met the inheritor of Baek Hak and also the son of the CEO, Baek Do Hoon. Do Hoon was literally head over heels over Da Hae. Do Hoon was being sent to America by his sister and his father so he asked Da Hae if she could go with him. Da Hae asked Ha Ryu if he could send her to America for 2 years because “she wants to study more” of which Ha Ryu unwillingly allowed. All these years, Ha Ryu was working his ass off to pay for her tuition and this time he needs hefty amount of money to send her to America. He secretly hid from her that he’s working at a host bar. Without knowing Da Hae’s real intentions, he sent her to America. 2 years have passed and a brand new Da Hae has come back to Korea along with her fiancé, Do Hoon.



I call this a chunk or piece of Secret. Secret is another Korean drama that aired in 2013. Although Queen of Ambition was aired first, but Secret was the one that I watched first. While watching this drama, it somehow reminded me of Secret. Secret could be the “male version” of Queen of Ambition. This is because a guy accidentally killed a girl during a car accident. His girlfriend told him that she will go to jail for him. After going out of jail, she met a whole different guy who hungered for money and power instead of the down-to-earth guy that she once knew. One big difference though was that the girl didn’t wish to get revenge and just wanted to start a brand new life. I used to hate on the guy as well, but after watching this drama, I realised that nothing beats Joo Da Hae’s evilness. The guy’s evilness is just 1/4 or even lesser than that of Da Hae’s. Queen of Ambition really went over the top when it comes to aiming for a goal. I heard that there’s also another drama called Innocent Man or Nice Guy that has the same plot as this. I haven’t watched it yet, but will check it out soon.


One thing to note was that during the first episode, it started with a scene with Joo Da Hae as the First Lady and Ha Ryu going inside the Blue House to investigate the alleged crimes. It was a perfect start because I was left intrigued. Who died? Will she die? Or will he die? It made me go on and watch this drama and seeing her how she got to that position. It was a perfect teaser on what’s going to happen on the latter part. I find it really unique and enticing to the audience.


There were some things that I couldn’t understand while watching this drama. One was the fact that Do Kyung was Do Hoon’s mother. I don’t understand why would Do Kyung hide this truth from him. Mothers should be embraced and it’s not something to be ashamed of. One reason that I could think of was that his father was from the mental hospital. If Do Hoon finds out about his mother, then he would also ask about his father. That’s the only valid reason that I could think of. The characters also may be naive at times when it comes to challenging Da Hae. There were so many characters that want to get rid of her but it took 24 episodes for it to finally happen. Most of the characters were easily tricked or deceived by Da Hae. They also took her threats so seriously. I guess the writers really wanted to show how difficult it was to defeat the cunning Da Hae. One thing that I really liked about this drama was the writing. I didn’t really get bored with how the story developed but was actually looking forward for every episode. I felt that it wasn’t draggy even if Da Hae’s actions were repetitively evil. It just adds up to my hate meter on her. There may be lacking aspects in this drama, but one thing’s important, and that is I got hooked with this drama.


I guess there are also little Joo Da Hae’s in real life. Ambition is not a bad word but it’s a scary word. There’s nothing wrong with desiring to achieve a goal, but when it entails hurting others just to reach your goal, it becomes unhealthy and bad. Betrayal and Revenge– these are strong words but there’s also a point in time when we felt betrayed by one of our friends and a feeling that we want to get revenge. I guess one needs to watch I Hear Your Voice to fully understand the good concept of revenge.



Kwon Sang Woo as Ha Ryu and Cha Jae Woong — I knew him from Stairway to Heaven and his looks didn’t change much since then. He was still as handsome as before. This time he took the role of twins. It seemed like there’s not much distinction between these two roles from the way that he portrayed them. Or simply because Cha Jae Woong wasn’t given enough time to shine or just because he’s simply timid? All I know is that Kwon Sang Woo did a job well done in portraying Ha Ryu. I can sense his anger and his revenge. If only he was more cunning than Joo Da Hae… he finally learned the tactics during the latter end of the drama.


Soo Ae as Joo Da Hae — Simply astonished as to how this kind of person exists. Joo Da Hae is an epitome of ambition. She doesn’t care about anyone or anything except herself. She’s willing to give up everything, to kill anyone who’s blocking her way in reaching her dreams. I really wonder about her conscience and if she’s having enough nightmares. Soo Ae’s portrayal of Joo Da Hae was really terrific. Her facial expressions were very precise, as you can easily see if she’s scared, mad and happy. Although it’s only my first time to see Soo Ae, but her acting skills really amazed me. She can really annoy and piss off the audience easily. I guess I was easily swayed and attached to the drama that up to this point of writing, I’m still mad at her. It goes to show how Soo Ae was able to bring Joo Da Hae’s character to life so naturally. Soo Ae is now one of the actresses that I’m looking forward to in the future.


TVXQ U-Know Jung Yun Ho as Baek Do Hoon — So it actually took 15 episodes for Do Hoon to finally come to his senses. Yet, this led him to an unfortunate tragedy. First time seeing Yun Ho as an actor, as I was not familiar with his past dramas, I must say that idols come in handy in dramas. I was quite looking forward for his scenes during this drama just because he was a cute sight to see. Although he’s not the best idol-turned-actor around, I guess his acting skills pass it up for his character. Baek Do Hoon was so innocent and naive. He was really blinded by love, even if people around him keep advising him to stop seeing Da Hae, he would still insist in being with her. His character was a pitiful one because of his naiveness.


Kim Sung Ryung as Baek Do Kyung — I loved her in The Heirs. This time she’s acting as a sister/mother to Do Hoon. The “mother” secret was simply a giveaway because they don’t look like siblings at all. And with how Do Kyung shows her affection to Do Hoon is simply like a mother. Family aside, we can also see how fragile and careful Do Kyung was when it comes to love. She was afraid to love again because of her past experience. A little voice in me says that I kind of shipped Do Kyung with Lawyer Cha. Don’t you think as well? ^^ Kim Sung Ryung was simply great and she showed her acting skills better in here than in The Heirs.


Go Jun Hee as Seok Soo Jung — I’m not familiar with Jun Hee as an actress, but I knew her from We Got Married. Her portrayal of Seok Soo Jung was quite similar to her real self as she was full with aegyo or cuteness. I also loved her unique fashion sense. The one-of-a-kind clothing that she wore, she was able to pull it off well. If I were to wear those kinds of clothes, I already know it wouldn’t fit my style. She was a cute addition to the cast, but I wished her character was utilised more because I felt that she could help Ha Ryu more instead of sending herself abroad.


Ending: (spoilers)

This was one ending that I find unsatisfying and lacking. I wished that we were able to see how Da Hae died. Instead, we were shown flashbacks that were all happy memories of the once happy family. It goes to show that Ha Ryu loved Da Hae until the end despite of everything that she did to him. It’s true that nothing mattered even if Ha Ryu killed Da Hae. It wouldn’t bring the dead back. I guess I trusted and believed Ha Ryu’s words too much that she will bring Da Hae down slowly. She was simply kicked out of the Blue House with the media and people hovering her. It wasn’t enough and it was unjustifiable for all the evilness that she did. I wished that she would just rot in jail or just thrown into a fire. All the other characters, especially Ha Ryu and Do Hoon were too kind to her. How I wished that the characters didn’t stop themselves from killing her. Why were people’s lives sacrificed just for her? But then, killing her would be killing and end the drama as well..

Final Thoughts:

Queen of Ambition is a drama that revolves around ambition, betrayal and revenge so don’t expect any happy or funny moments. All throughout the drama, I was at rage with Da Hae, for every little thing that she did and was waiting for the day of her death. I guess like everyone else, the ending wasn’t something that I expected to be.  Nonetheless, it was a great drama that kept me entertained for a week. Every ending of each episode really kept me on the edge of my seat. I felt like I was one with the characters– fuming mad, bursting with tears and  simply wanting to kill Da Hae. The drama title simply speaks for itself. Joo Da Hae is really a Queen of Ambition. I really love dark and heavy melodramas. Best melodrama of 2013 for me.

Rating: 9/10



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Recommended Korean Dramas (2013) | My Asian movie & drama
  2. Alicia
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 21:03:16

    I watched this drama for two reasons, the theme and Yunho. Dissappointed on Yunho but loving the theme.

    I always hate weaklings in Kdrama. Girls that can never stand up for themselves, relying in men for almost everything etc which Kdramas almost always have. Having a goal-driven, independent woman character in Kdrama thrills me so I watched it.

    If I were to rate this drama, I’d give it 7 at most. Took points off from 1) Yunho’s below mediocre acting, 2) the unrealistic part of Ha Ryu becoming a great lawyer despite not having experience in being one all his life and 3) the weird time setting where I think it was pretty impossible for Da Hae to climb up the rank that fast even if she used the fastest way possible.

    Anyway that’s just me. I love this drama but I couldn’t look over some of the details since the storyline was quite similar to Midas and a lil bit of Nice Guy so I started comparing. Of all three, I like Midas the best.

    As for Soo Ae, I think her acting in this drama was the best I’ve watched so far. She was good in Athena, but this drama brought her acting up to a new level. She portrayed Da Hae very well. I could feel Da Hae’s hunger of power which was driven by unfairness she experienced, coming from a poor background and all. As much as I hate Da Hae, I actually pitied her too. Being permanently marked as ‘poor girl’ despite trying very hard too succeed is definitely stressful. And being blocked from improving yourself simply because of your background is actually a strong enough reason to turn her into an evil, power hunger woman. I applaud the scriptwriter for having such a strong base to turn Da Hae into such an evil woman.

    P/s: Great review. I agreed with a lot things you mentioned here. Keep on reviewing! ^_^

    Pp/s: Can’t wait to read your review on IRIS


    • rockkstarr21
      Mar 05, 2014 @ 17:53:51

      Well in my opinion, Yunho is not that bad, I mean there are other idol actors who are worse. Thank you for mentioning those 2 points. I forgot to include the unrealistic parts in my post. I haven’t watched Nice Guy, and I’ve never heard of Midas. I love these kind of plot. Would check it out soon! Thanks for your recommendation ^^

      P.s. : IRIS is one of my first few K-drama favourites. I loved it! Thanks for reminding, I still have a lot of dramas to review -_- I hope I can finish my review soon 🙂


  3. erika
    Mar 19, 2015 @ 05:09:30

    Hello i want to know the reason why ha ryu ended up in a orphanage i think i might have missed it


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