A World of Married Couple definitely took the K-drama world by storm this 2020. Here’s what we think about it.
The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers
Successful doctor Ji Sun Woo and her husband Lee Tae Oh’s marriage seems to be picture-perfect. They have a teenage son, Joon Young, and they live in a beautiful town called Gosan. Sun Woo is an associate director in a hospital, while Tae Oh owns a small entertainment firm. Things take a dark turn, however, after Sun Woo suspects that her husband is being unfaithful. Unfortunately, her suspicions were confirmed during an important event.
Sun Woo seeks help from an acquaintance to get more details about Tae Oh’s affair. She pretends she doesn’t know about the affair in front of Tae Oh. One day, however, Tae Oh’s mistress visits Sun Woo’s clinic for a check-up. She tells Sun Woo that she’s in a relationship, but her boyfriend is married. She claims her boyfriend’s wife seems to be clueless about their affair, too. Truth is, however, Sun Woo does know.
And yes, you learn about these in just the first two episodes, so we’ll leave it at that.
The Short, Honest Plot
Married man chooses a younger woman over his wife and son, wife seeks revenge to protect her and her son, and everything falls apart in a little picturesque town called Gosan.
The Cast And Where You Last Saw Them
Kim Hee Ae as Ji Sun Woo
Her last drama was in 2016, Second To Last Love.
Park Hae Joon as Lee Tae Oh
You probably last saw him in Arthdal Chronicles and Doctor Stranger among his other recent shows!
Jeon Jin Seo as Lee Joon Young
This child actor's most recent drama was The Tale of Nokdu.
Han So Hee as Yeo Da Kyung
You might remember her for her role in Abyss.
Park Sun Young as Go Ye Rim
Her last show before this was Marry Me Now?
Kim Young Min as Son Je Hyuk
Yes, that's right! That's Man Bok from Crash Landing On You.
Chae Gook Hee as Sul Myung Sook
Her last drama was Fantastic in 2016.
Did You Know?
- This drama was based on the massively successful BBC show, Doctor Foster. The storylines are similar, but A World of Married Couple was tweaked. If you watch the trailers for both shows, they’re almost identical!
- A World of Married Couple dominated drama ratings during its run, especially the last two episodes of the show. This drama overtook the 2018 hit Sky Castle in ratings, and went on to break its own numbers. Amazing!
- The title cards of each episode actually dropped hints about what’s going to happen. For example, in episode one, the title card shows a clock at 7:30, the time when Tae Oh usually arrives at home, because he “leaves the office at 7:00 p.m.”. In the same episode, however, Sun Woo finds out that Tae Oh actually leaves his office much earlier than that. You can read all about those hints here.
- In early May, two of the young stars on the show, Jeon Jin Seo and Jung Joon Won, received criticism online. Old controversial social media posts of Jeon Jin Seo resurfaced, while photos of Jung Joon Won smoking and drinking circulated (he's underage). Both of their agencies responded and apologized for the issues.
- Kim Hee Ae revealed that she prefers to keep her distance from Han So Hee when filming, because she “doesn’t want to lose her character’s emotions.” According to Hee Ae, So Hee is “polite and pretty” and that she really likes her—the opposite of So Hee’s character, Da Kyung. She also shared she keeps her distance from Park Hae Joon, who plays her unfaithful husband, Lee Tae Oh, on the show.
What I Think
WARNING: This part contains minor spoilers.
It’s easy to be emotionally invested in A World of Married Couple because everything feels so real. It’s definitely not the cutesy-kilig K-drama that a lot of us are used to. In fact, it’s the exact opposite—this series leaves you angry, annoyed, and exhausted. Your blood boils every time you see the mistress, you utter expletives when you’re left with another cliffhanger, you may even silently wish Gosan just burns down because wow, everyone seems to be a little crazy there.
Episode one and two felt like one whole season with the amount of twists and turns that we were presented with. I couldn’t think of how else the story could progress, I couldn’t easily predict the plotline like other dramas. I could make guesses, but nothing seemed like the perfect fit.
Early on, it was easy to root for Sun Woo in her mission to seek revenge for what Tae Oh has done to her and their son. It was easy to think everything she was doing was the right thing—until she started making questionable choices. She contributed to the mess, for sure. But that, too, felt real—being in a situation like that will make you do the crazy and questionable. Her picture-perfect life was slowly falling apart; how can she pick herself up? How can she deal with the embarrassment in a town as small as Gosan where titas have an “association” that hosts brunches, mainly to gossip about everyone?
But we learn something by the end of episode six: Sun Woo is a smart woman. Her choices were deliberate. She had things planned. She was capable of controlling things—perhaps that’s what made her an effective associate hospital director?
When episode six wrapped up, I thought for a second that it was the season finale—that’s it, it’s over. Everything seems to be okay again, the inevitable split has happened. But boy, was I wrong.
The next 10 episodes showed how much of a monster Lee Tae Oh really is. He comes back to Gosan two years later with his hot new wife, a toddler, and moves in to the most expensive home in town that sits on top of a hill—perhaps alluding that he has risen from his past, that he is now above everyone else. A hotshot director, with one big hit, you’d think he’d move to a different place, but no, he chooses to come back to his old hometown, ready to show everyone—especially his ex-wife—his brand new life. Red. Flags. Everywhere.
The biggest villain of this show is Lee Tae Oh. Here’s a man who was insecure about his wife’s success. He couldn’t produce a single hit when he was married to Sun Woo, and he couldn’t deal with the fact that her career was far better than his. We also realize later on that his problematic behavior has a pattern: He relies on his partners to provide for him. That’s how it was with Sun Woo, and it was the same—albeit more complicated—with his second wife. What bothered me most about Tae Oh was how he never really apologized for the mess he created, when he literally caused all of it. The one time we hear a “sincere” apology was in episode 16—and it was a shitty and problematic one, too.
I sympathized with Joon Young. While a lot of viewers hated him and his choices, I can’t blame him for his behavior. His parents, who are supposed to help him get through life, were so messed up. It must have been frustrating for him to understand everything that was going on—he probably also felt like he was being used by his parents as leverage against each other. Imagine being in a position like that at such a young age. I remember a particular line in the show that said something like a couple can split and not be married, but they can’t stop being parents to their child—that thought alone shows how complicated Joon Young’s situation was. He was a victim here, too.
Yeo Da Kyung, how do I even begin to talk about this woman? While most of my feelings for her are negative, in the end, I realized I pitied her. I pitied that she wasted her youth with a man who was really not good enough for her, that she let herself be blinded by love and lust, enough to ruin a family. I pitied her that she never led a peaceful life with Tae Oh, even though she got what she thought she wanted: marriage.
At the second half of the show, I found myself cheering for Ye Rim more. While her character wasn’t the easiest to love at first, she ended up becoming my favorite after everything. Here’s a woman who was able to realize her worth and rebuild her life and do things for herself and not anyone else. We stan!
I named Dr. Sul the worst character on the show after eight episodes, and I still think she was horrible up until that. In the next episodes, however, I enjoyed her evolution. True, she’s still a two-faced inggitera friend that we all probably have, but she’s also that same friend who eventually learns from her mistakes and becomes one of the people you can’t live without. People change, and that’s something we saw a lot of in this show.
I read that unlike Doctor Foster, A World of Married Couple chose to show more about the people around the main character (Sun Woo). They didn’t want the focus to be on just one person, but wanted to elaborate on marriage and the couple, hence the new title. I kept thinking about this title and if it had any other meaning. Maybe it’s because the show reminds us that the world of a married couple doesn’t only involve the two people in the marriage—it’s much more complex than that.
Overall, I think this is one of the best dramas I’ve ever seen. I was hooked from the first episode until the last. The storytelling was fantastic, though I do have some mixed feelings about the ending like a lot of you. But overall, a wonderful show.
It’s not hard to understand the records it set and broke—people were hooked. And I’m pretty sure it’s because of how real and relatable everything was. We're reminded that we all have secrets, we all have demons that we battle with, and it's how you choose to deal with these that will impact you and the people around you. And indeed, “life is continuous anxiety.”
I’d Recommend It To
Anyone looking for a new drama to watch and needs a break from all the cutesy/kilig shows.
Follow Retty on Instagram.