Over the last couple of years, K-dramas have pushed the limit of what can be shown on Korean television. The Orion Cinema Network (OCN) quickly comes to mind as the first season of their most popular K-drama Voice showed violence, suspense, and criminal situations in a way that was considered extreme.
By doing such, Voice became very popular among late-night viewers. It even had to change its rating to fit adults 17 and older from the typical parental guidance 13-year-old rating that most K-dramas follow.
Now it looks like the Maeil Broadcasting Network and Dramax are next to push the envelope for K-dramas in Graceful Family. They are not doing it with violence but by supporting the LGBTQ+ identity by making Kim Jin-Woo’s character, Mo Wan-Joon, transgender.
Foreshadows to a secret sexual identity
Before Mo Wan-Joon (Kim Jin-Woo) being outed as a transgender person, there was foreshadowing pointing to the possibility he might at least be gay. Throughout the series, we learn that Wan-Joon’s marriage to Baek Soo-Jin (Kong Hyun-Joo) is an unhappy one.
For starters, Mo Wan-Joon and Baek Soo-Jin barely touch each other as Wan-Joon seems not to want to be touched. Soo-Jin appears to be in the marriage only as a “smokescreen,” one she agreed to possibly for money or a good life.
We eventually learn that Baek Soo-Jin might not even know about Mo Wan-Joon’s “second life” as she is trying to seduce Wan-Joon but failing. Finally, she does seek to leave Wan-Joon for not holding up to his husbandly duties as she proves she is still a virgin even after years of marriage.
Overall, the aforementioned foreshadows are nothing more than clues that may or may not lead up to what everyone is thinking. It was at the end of episode 10 we learn the truth.
After Baek Soo-Jin leaves the Mo Family, “Kingmaker” Han Je-Gook (Bae Jong-Ok) looks into the matter more. During a sit-down with Mo Wan-Joon, she states she needs to know everything about the upcoming leader of the Mo Family and its businesses.
Eventually, Han Je-Gook asks if Mo Wan-Joon likes men. He brushes the question aside by saying he has a woman. Afterward, Je-Gook produces a smoking gun, a trio of pictures that prove otherwise.
This revelation is a big deal per traditional Korean culture and how Chaebol families work. Mo Wan-Joon is the next in line to lead the family and business. However, if word got out he is transgender, especially in Korea’s heavily conservative culture, it would be considered scandalous.
Ultimately, Mo Wan-Joon will not lead the family and company. What’s worse, he might even be disowned and sent away never to be seen again. We will have to see how this plays out. From the looks of it, Han Je-Gook is building more firepower to control the Mo Family. As viewers know, she’s the real mastermind antagonist of the K-drama.
Graceful Family continues to grow in popularity as it has now surpassed seven percent in viewership ratings, according to AGB Nielsen Korea. It is also the fourth most popular K-drama on Rakuten Viki, with an overall rating of 9.6 out of 10 stars averaged over 1500 ratings.
For K-drama fans interested in watching Graceful Family, subsequent episodes will air on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11 p.m. KST on MBN/Dramax. For international fans specifically in the Americas, Graceful Family is available to watch for free, with ads, on Rakuten Viki.