With a powerhouse cast reuniting the leads of 2008′s Robbers, Jang Hyuk and Lee Da Hae, and including Oh Ji Ho, breakout star of 2009′s hit Queen of Housewives, Chuno garnered instant buzz when it started shooting, and became perhaps the most anticipated drama of 2010 thus far. Jang Hyuk, critically and popularly beloved for his onscreen intensity and versatility in dramas such as Thank You, takes the lead role of a hard-bitten slave hunter, while his Robbers co-star (and megastar in her own right) Lee Da Hae is a slave-turned-noblewoman.
Hitting the ground running with a highly unusual premiere rating of 22.9, Chuno only climbed in ratings, crossing the 30% mark with its fourth episode and maintaining over 30% ratings for all episodes since. High-budget and cinematically splendid, it takes the sageuk to new levels with its gritty-yet-romantic plot, explosive action sequences, and crafted production in everything from music choice to the stunning cinematography. Intense, compelling, and well-acted, its ratings have surpassed even those of former ratings giants Iris and Shining Inheritance, and it may well shape up to be the drama of the year.
Set during the Joseon (Chosun) dynasty, Chuno (“Slave Hunter”) takes place in the world of slave hunters and slaves, and focuses on Lee Dae Gil (played by Jang Hyuk), a nobleman whose transformation from a kind lord to a ruthless slave-hunter unfolds with unflinching clarity. Dae Gil is a man of high birth and expected to uphold the family line, but when he falls in love with his kind, beautiful slave, Un Nyun (Lee Da Hae), tragedy strikes. Un Nyun loves him in return, but when Dae Gil’s father finds out, he plans to sell her off. Desperate to help her, Un Nyun’s brother Ki Yoon burns down the house, killing Dae Gil’s parents in the process, and escapes, taking his sister with him.
Ten years later, Dae Gil has become an embittered, fearsome slave hunter, renowned for his skill and ruthlessness and bent on taking revenge for his parents’ death. The one bright spot in his life, however, is Un Nyun, whom he is still in love with and has spent the past ten years searching for. Song Tae Ha (Oh Ji Ho), on the other hand, is a high-up official in the army until he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit and forced to become a slave. Running away, his path intersects with that of Un Nyun, whom he tries to protect as they flee together. Dae Gil, assigned to capture Tae Ha, is on their track, and soon he is chasing them all across Joseon…