The World of the Married

The World of the Married (Korean부부의 세계; Hanja夫婦의 世界; RRBubuui Segye; lit. Couple's World) is a 2020 South Korean television series starring Kim Hee-ae, Park Hae-joon, and Han So-hee.[4] Based on BBC One's drama series Doctor Foster written by Mike Bartlett, it tells a story of a married couple whose betrayal of one another leads to a whirlwind of revenge, grief, forgiveness and healing. It aired on JTBC on Fridays and Saturdays from March 27 to May 16, 2020.[5][6][7]

The World of the Married
The World of the Married.jpg
Promotional poster
Also known asA World of Married Couple[1]
The World of a Married Couple
Hangul부부의 세계
Hanja夫婦의 世界
Created byPlot Line[a] & Kang Eun-kyung
Based onDoctor Foster
by Mike Bartlett
Developed byJTBC
Written byJoo Hyun
Directed by
  • Mo Wan-il
  • Kim Sung-jin[b]
Creative directorKang Eun-kyung
Music byGaemi
Opening theme"Finale" by Park Mi-sun
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of episodes16 + 2 specials[3]
Executive producersPark Joon-seo[2]
Kim Ji-yeon
Kim Se-ah
ProducersKim Ye-ji
Park Woo-ram
CinematographyJang Jong-kyung
Kwon Byung-soo
EditorsHan Ji-woo
Jeon Yoon-young
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time75–92 minutes
Production companyJTBC Studios
Original networkJTBC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseMarch 27 (2020-03-27) –
May 16, 2020 (2020-05-16)
External links

The series is the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history, overtaking Sky Castle with its final episode reaching a nationwide rating of 28.371%. It also recorded the highest average rating for a drama on cable television, with an average rating of 18.829%.[8] Although the series was criticized for its portrayal of sex and violence,[9][10][11] it received critical acclaim for its screenplay, direction and acting performances, with Mo Wan-il winning Best Director and Kim Hee-ae winning Best Actress at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards.[12]


Ji Sun-woo, a revered family medicine doctor and associate director at Family Love Hospital in Gosan, South Korea, is married to aspiring director Lee Tae-oh, with whom she has a teenage son, Lee Joon-young. Sun-woo learns that Tae-oh is having an extramarital affair with businessman daughter Da-kyung. She gives Tae-oh several chances to come clean but he continues and gets Da-kyung pregnant. Sun-woo befriends patient Hyun-seo and hires her to spy on Tae-oh. Helpless, she vents to Tae-oh's mother, who dies. Sun-woo reveals to Da-kyung's parents Da-kyung's relationship with Tae-oh. As Sun-woo plans divorce, Tae-oh plans on taking Joon-young. Joon-young, who initially suggested that Sun-woo forgive Tae-oh, sees Tae-oh's malice and decides to stay with his mother, who divorces from Tae-oh and lives a happy life with Joon-young.

Two years later, Sun-woo is flummoxed with Tae-oh living a grandeur life with Da-kyung, with the help of Da-kyung's parents, who now support them. Following are a chain of vendettas conducted by Tae-oh and Hyun-seo's abusive ex boyfriend In-kyu, weakening Sun-woo's mentality. Tae-oh has been secretly visiting Sun-woo's house as he is still in love with her. Marriage has not made Da-kyung happy; she constantly worries if Tae-oh is still with Sun-woo. Joon-young, affected by his family's drama, seeks treatment from psychologist Dr. Kim, who is friends with Sun-woo. Ye-rim suggests that Sun-woo leave Gosan. She, alongside Hyun-seo, does so; much to the chagrin of In-kyu, who attempts to reunite with Hyun-seo, only to fall off the roof and die.

Da-kyung asks Tae-oh to make peace with Sun-woo, but he ignores it. The ailing Joon-young meets Da-kyung, who says that Sun-woo is hurt and wants to move, but can't because of Joon-young; thus, asking Joon-young to join her family. After a violently sexual argument regretting their divorce, Sun-woo and Tae-oh embrace. However this does nothing, and Sun-woo goes to the sea to drown herself. She is rescued by Dr. Kim and cries in his arms as an envious Tae-oh watches from afar. Thanks to her survival, Joon-young is rescued from abusive Da-kyung.

Da-kyung loses trust in Tae-oh as Sun-woo reveals that Tae-oh has been gifting Da-kyung the same items he gifted Sun-woo. Da-kyung's parents kick Tae-oh out and impoverish him. Tae-oh asks Sun-woo to remarry him. Sun-woo rejects. Overwhelmed, Tae-oh attempts suicide; Sun-woo saves him, and traumatized Joon-young runs to the Runaway Children Counselling Center, a government facility aiding children suffering domestic violence, for a year. At her house, Sun-woo is greeted with Joon-young returning.

Cast and charactersEdit


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Episode 1"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun27 March 2020 (2020-03-27)
Ji Sun-woo works as a doctor at Family Love Hospital and is happily married to aspiring film director Lee Tae-oh. Together they have a teenage son, Lee Joon-young. One day, she finds a reddish strand of hair on Tae-oh's scarf and suspects him of infidelity. Paranoid about the findings, Sun-woo tries investigating Tae-oh, who behaves abnormally and lies about his work hours. On Tae-oh's birthday, Sun-woo tries searching his car to find more evidence. In the trunk, she finds a phone with a background picture of a young woman, Da-kyung, who has the same hair colour as the strand found on Tae-oh's scarf. In the phone gallery, she finds photos of a joint vacation of Tae-oh, Da-kyung, and Sun-woo's friends Ye-rim and Je-hyuk. Feeling betrayed, she grabs a pair of scissors and heads towards Tae-oh.
2"Episode 2"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun28 March 2020 (2020-03-28)
Sun-woo imagines Tae-oh cheating on her with Da-kyung. She wants to stab Tae-oh with a scissor and in her mind she already has done so, but she backs out of the idea last minute. Instead, she decides to leave Tae-oh's birthday party and goes home. In a spur of anger, she throws all of Tae-oh's belongings in a suit case and is ready to kick him out, only for Tae-oh to arrive home in a drunk state. Joon-young's close relationship with his father stresses Sun-woo even more. The next day, Da-kyung visits Family Love Hospital and is treated by Sun-woo against her will. When asked about her sex life, Da-kyung reveals that she knows her boyfriend (Tae-oh) is married, and that he is unhappy with his marriage. Da-kyung is declared pregnant by Sun-woo; tripped with guilt, she seeks abortion to Dr. Seol Myung-suk and begs her not to tell Tae-oh, as Myung-suk has known about the whole story the entire time. In a interpersonal meeting, Sun-woo opposes the idea as it is against the policy, but Myung-suk asks her to feel sympathetic to both Da-kyung and herself. Frustrated, she went to a bar where fellow patient Min Hyun-seo works at, but she has been off-duty for some time, as she has been in an abusive relationship with Park In-kyu. Sun-woo succeeds in rescuing Hyun-seo from In-kyu. Sun-woo urges Hyun-seo to leave In-kyu, but Hyun-seo reassures her that she is not a bad guy; he is simply venting out his anger on his early life. The next day, Sun-woo texts Myung-suk to tell Tae-oh on Da-kyung's pregnancy.
3"Episode 3"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun3 April 2020 (2020-04-03)
Tae-oh discovers Da-kyung's pregnancy. He lets her decide the fetus' fate. Da-kyung wants Tae-oh to stop concealing their relationship; she will call him whenever she wants to. Tae-oh expresses frustration on who should he keep. Sun-woo's lawyer requests material evidence on Tae-oh's infidelity, but warned that tailing is illegal. Sun-woo sees Da-kyung buying an encyclopedia on parenting: she is keeping the fetus. She tells Sun-woo that her boyfriend will tell her wife about the infidelity in 2 months; he will file a divorce afterwards. Sun-woo checks Tae-oh's financial record: turns out Tae-oh has been borrowing mortgage loans, and that he got a premium loan from Joon-young's variable life insurance. At her house, Sun-woo finds lots of hidden bills of thousands of won. She takes all the account. Sun-woo's plan to destroy his life gives Tae-oh's mother a cardiac arrest and dies. Amidst the funeral, Sun-woo sees Tae-oh making out with Da-kyung at her car whilst playing a cover of "My One and Only Love", which Tae-oh also played when proposing to Sun-woo. Hyun-seo, hired by Sun-woo as a spy, disguises as Da-kyung's neighbor and finds out more about the infidelity.
4"Episode 4"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun4 April 2020 (2020-04-04)
Sun-woo requests to her lawyer that all of Tae-oh's bank money be handed to her. During thunderstorm, while searching back Tae-oh's phone at his car, Sun-woo is umbrellaed by his client Je-hyuk. Da-kyung's mother and father, Uhm Hyo-jung and Yeo Byung-gyu, finds out that Da-kyung has been dating a man. Hyun-seo spots Tae-oh and Da-kyung arguing. Sun-woo finds out that Myung-suk is a double spy on behalf of Tae-oh. Tae-oh suspiciously leaves "for work" at night; Myung-suk is assigned to tail him, however In-kyu tracks Myung-suk and stages a scene; the one opening Da-kyung's door is Tae-oh. The next day, In-kyu reveals to Sun-woo that he stole the camera Hyun-seo used to spy on Tae-oh. He requests 30 million won if Sun-woo wants the SD card; she accepts. Je-hyuk starts acting romantic towards Sun-woo, despite having a wife, Go Ye-rim. Met coincidentally, Sun-woo takes advantage of dining together with Da-kyung's family, raising questions about her boyfriend, descending Da-kyung into madness, causing her to abort the fetus. Hyun-seo does a spy again; Da-kyung claims that Tae-oh is not attracted to Sun-woo anymore, and belittles her. Sickened, Sun-woo goes to a hotel and has sex with Je-hyuk. She request that he take Tae-oh's company's corporate funds and his personal account. Da-kyung breaks up with Tae-oh. A patient of Sun-woo hands her a card with footage of Tae-oh telling Da-kyung, "I'll go to Mr. Yeo right now and tell him about us", firming her on divorce plans.
5"Episode 5"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun10 April 2020 (2020-04-10)
Tae-oh suspects infidelity upon Sun-woo. Ye-rim also suspects infidelity upon Je-hyuk. Sun-woo learns that Family Love has a new psychiatrist, Kim Yoon-ki. She also learns that Tae-oh's company, TO Entertainment, is nearing bankruptcy due to his management inability. Hyo-jung invites Sun-woo for dinner in her house with Byung-gyu and Da-kyung in exchange for the dinner previously. Regarding on her ready to file divorce, Je-hyuk blackmails Sun-woo with 220 million won. Rethinks on her decision to divorce causes her to contemplate suicide the same way her mother died after finding out her husband cheats on her: a car crash. She survives an attempt. The next day, she brings Tae-oh to Byung-gyu's estate for the dinner, where she reveals Tae-oh's affair and Da-kyung's pregnancy, then linking it to Byung-gyu's investment towards TO Entertainment, eventually causing a scene. Sun-woo reveals plans to take Joon-young with her after the divorce. Tae-oh says to Sun-woo, "It's not a crime to fall in love!" but feels betrayed when knowing her relationship with Je-hyuk. Je-hyuk is caught by Ye-rim.
6"Episode 6"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun11 April 2020 (2020-04-11)
Tae-oh denies claims of dating for money, and Da-kyung reveals that she kept the fetus. Ye-rim expresses disgust towards Sun-woo; Sun-woo says that she is more disgusted with her for going on a vacation with Da-kyung. Tae-oh decides to live with Da-kyung, and Sun-woo sends his luggage to her house, also sending an uncontested divorce application. Unable to keep her promise, In-kyu reveals that Sun-woo has been using Hyun-seo to tail on Tae-oh and Da-kyung. Tae-oh reports this to Family Love. Triggered in trauma by Tae-oh, Sun-woo attempts suicide by bringing Joon-young to the seashore. A heated argument causes Joon-young to slip off the edge. At her house, Sun-woo implies to Tae-oh that Joon-young is dead; in the climax of a violent fight, Tae-oh strangles Sun-woo and slams her to the TV's sharp edges, bleeding her. He later fractures her skeleton, clinging her on suspended animation. Turns out Joon-young is still alive; seeing the uxoricide prompts him to disown his father. Ye-rim calls 911. Upon recovery, the divorce is declared official. Tae-oh is sent a writ of garnishment. Da Kyung becomes a gossip topic in Gosan. Rumors circulate that Tae-oh is leaving Gosan. 2 years later, Sun-woo discovers that Tae-oh is moving to a premium housing estate, still in Gosan; for their moving party, he invites Joon-young. Tae-oh and Da-kyung are now married.
7"Episode 7"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun17 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
Two years after his divorce with Sun-woo, Tae-oh and Da-kyung return to Go-san with their daughter and host a combined housewarming and wedding reception. They invite everyone they know in Go-san to the party. Tae-oh appears in front of Joon-young and Sun-woo in a relaxed manner, and Sun-woo grows more suspicious and anxious of what Tae-oh is scheming due to his seemingly strange actions.
8"Episode 8"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun18 April 2020 (2020-04-18)
After the night when her house was attacked by an unknown person, Sun-woo becomes nervous about little trivial things, but Joon-young seems to enjoy having his dad around while Da-kyung tries her best to be nice to him. Ye-rim is suspicious of what has happened to Sun-woo after Tae-oh's return to Go-san. The conflicted interests around the women in Go-san Women's Association creates a tense atmosphere. Joon-young starts to avoid Sun-woo, who is facing threats in her daily life.
9"Episode 9"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun24 April 2020 (2020-04-24)
Da-kyung is suspicious of Sun-woo's motives when Sun-woo wants to join the Go-san Women's Association. Yoon-ki and Da-kyung notices the tensions between Sun-woo and Tae-oh, who both seem to have not gotten over each other. Sun-woo makes secret plans to secure her associate director position at Family Love Hospital, but things unexpectedly go in a different direction. Contrary to Tae-oh's expectations, In-kyu becomes a greater threat.
10"Episode 10"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun25 April 2020 (2020-04-25)
Tae-oh barges in Sun-woo's house late at night feeling mixed with anger and contempt. For the associate director position, Sun-woo visits Byung-gyu but it ends up with an unpleasant conversation. She also notices strange behaviour from Yoon-ki. Ye-rim and Je-hyuk goes to the hospital for fertility testing as Je-hyuk is eager to build a family with Ye-rim. However, Ye-rim disappears after receiving a message from an unknown source about Je-hyuk's affair. Meanwhile, Sun-woo tries to help Hyun-seo escape In-kyu.
11"Episode 11"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun1 May 2020 (2020-05-01)
The accident at Go-san Station causes a big uproar in Go-san, particularly Sun-woo, Tae-oh and those around them. Da-kyung, who waited for her husband until late at night, is overwhelmed with uncertainty due to Tae-oh's unpredictable actions. Ye-rim tries to get over Je-hyuk. The mystery surrounding the accident continues with the CCTV footage of the incident missing. Meanwhile, Yoon-ki reveals to Sun-woo what he witnessed regarding the accident.
12"Episode 12"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun2 May 2020 (2020-05-02)
Tae-oh is helped by Sun-woo during a police investigation. Joon-young faces problems in school as his classmates spread gossips about his mother over the Go-san Station accident. Da-kyung tries to improve her relationship with Joon-young, and attempts to convince him to live with her and Tae-oh. Meanwhile, Tae-oh arrives late at night to meet Sun-woo, whose mind has been filled with complicated thoughts after a series of unexpected situations that happened in her life.
13"Episode 13"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun8 May 2020 (2020-05-08)
Joon-young, knowing that things can never go back to the way they were, begins to distance himself from his mom, while Da-kyung notices something strange about Joon-young's behaviour. Joon-young is later caught up in a fight at school. To protect her territory, Da-kyung helps Joon-young from being expelled and make sure everyone knows that she is Joon-young's guardian and not Sun-woo. Although Sun-woo tries to reach out to Joon-young, he refuses to contact or meet her. Despite being hurt, Sun-woo starts planning to leave Go-san for her son.
14"Episode 14"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun9 May 2020 (2020-05-09)
Sun-woo decides that it's best for her son if she leaves Go-san and suddenly quits her job at the hospital. Tae-oh tries to respect Da-kyung's way of disciplining Joon-young, but the situation moves in an uncontrollable direction. Can they become a real family? Can Da-kyung and Joon-young get along? Meanwhile, Ye-rim reconciles with Je-hyuk. Unable to cope with her son's hate for her, Sun-woo goes missing.
15"Episode 15"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun15 May 2020 (2020-05-15)
Sun-woo and Joon-young prepares to leave Go-san for good. Tae-oh's actions cause everyone to feel uneasy around him, while Sun-woo promises Joon-young that she will protect him and schemes a plan with Mr. Yeo. When Da-kyung visits Sun-woo's empty house, she tells herself to think carefully as it could be her last chance to leave behind all the mess she has been facing in her life.
16"Episode 16"Mo Wan-il & Kim Sung-jinJoo Hyun16 May 2020 (2020-05-16)
Cutting off your spouse with whom you shared half of your life with is like cutting away a part of your soul. A meal full of laughter, a family who are always there for you. Will those in despair return to the way things were? Will the word "forgiveness" be ever said between them?


Development and filmingEdit

Scenes at Gosan Station were filmed at Gangneung Station in Gangneung, Gangwon Province

In 2018, JTBC Studios, Drama House, acquired the rights to remake the scripted format of Drama Republic's drama series Doctor Foster from BBC Studios for The World of the Married.[15] Kang Eun-kyung, who wrote popular TV series such as King of Baking, Kim Takgu (2010) and Dr. Romantic (2016–2020), served as the creator. Gaemi (Kang Dong-yoon), who previously worked on the soundtracks of popular series such as Descendants of the Sun (2016) and When the Camellia Blooms (2019), took charge of the music production.[16]

The series was directed by Mo Wan-il PD of the 2018 romance-thriller series Misty. In response to questions about the difference between the series and the British original, Mo said, "While the original is focused more on the main character, in adapting the story for the Korean series, we wanted to portray a whirlwind of emotions to rage around the main character and the people around her". Mo then emphasized that unlike the original series, The World of the Married does not just focus on one person but also focuses on the relationships in which the main female character, Ji Sun-woo, is involved with.[17]

The first script-reading was held on September 30, 2019.[18] The primary filming location was in Gangwon Province at Chuncheon City,[19] which is the fictional city of Go-san in the series, and Gangneung City. The Gosan Station featured in the series was shot at Gangneung Station.[20] Much of the filming also took place at an American village called Humphreys Landing, which is Gosan Premium Townhouse Complex in the series, in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.[21] The crew wrapped up the last shoot on May 12, 2020.[22]


Kim Hee-ae and Park Hae-joon were confirmed to star in the drama series on September 30, 2019.[4] Park Hae-joon initially said no to the series saying that, "I wanted to do it, but I was worried about whether I could do it well".[23] Speaking to GQ Korea, he revealed that he was hesitant due to the strong extreme traits of the male lead character who cheats on his wife. He also stated that he did not feel confident to give justice to the role of a cheating husband with the needed intensity as he did not have much time to prepare. However, he eventually accepted the offer after talking to a friend.[24][25]

Subsequently, Han So-hee and Lee Moo-saeng were confirmed to join the cast on October 7 and on December 4, 2019, respectively.[26][27]

Content ratingEdit

The first to the sixth episodes were fixed at late-night hours so that only those aged 19 or older can watch them under the Juvenile Protection Act. The series's portrayal of married life was deemed as too realistic to be shown to those who are under 19. For the seventh and eighth episodes, they were lowered to allow those aged 15 or older to watch them.[28] However, after facing criticisms from a portion of viewers for including some aggressive scenes in Episode 7 and Episode 8, the rating was altered back to 19 or older starting from the ninth episode in order for the production team to be able to capture the complex emotions that the characters will face in future episodes.[29]

Original soundtrackEdit

The World of the Married OST Special
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedMay 25, 2020

The series's soundtrack is compiled in a two-part special album released on May 25, 2020.[30] The album contains 6 original soundtracks and 28 musical scores. The following lists are the track listings for the online streaming of the album.[31][32]

OST Special Album
CD 1
1."Lonely Sailing" (고독한 항해)GaemiGaemiKim Yoon-ah (Jaurim)4:41
2."Nothing On You"Josh DanielGaemiJosh Daniel3:07
  • Jeong Sung-min (POPKID)
  • Shin Ji-hoo (Postmen)
Son Seung-yeon3:36
4."Just Leave Me" (그냥 나를 버려요)
  • Ra.L
  • Naomi
  • Gaemi
  • Ra.L
Ha Dong-kyun4:20
5."Farewell In Tears" (눈물로 너를 떠나보낸다)
  • Gaemi
  • Ra.L
  • Naomi
GaemiHuh Gak4:16
6."The Days We Loved" (사랑했던 날들)
  • Gaemi
  • Midnight
  • Gaemi
  • Midnight
Baek Ji-young4:01
7."Endless Story" 
  • Gaemi
  • Lee Gun-young
8."Finale" Park Mi-sun 2:34
9."The World Where Everything Is Perfect" Park Jung-hwan 2:45
10."Be Realized" Lee Sung-gu 2:45
11."Infatuation" Lee Gun-young 2:11
12."Sunwoo’s Provocation" Jo Yoon-jung 2:30
  • Gaemi
  • Lee Gun-young
14."Vengeance" Park Mi-sun 2:39
15."Distrust" Park Yoon-seo 2:59
16."Passion" Lee Gun-young 3:15
17."The Beginning of Doubt" Jo Yoon-jung 2:48
18."I Hope Not" Lee Sung-gu 2:15
Total length:57:03
CD 2
1."Tears of Solitude"Gaemi5:21
2."Doubt"Lee Gun-young2:33
3."Collapsing"Park Mi-sun3:13
4."Seemingly"Park Yoon-seo3:12
5."Rumor"Park Mi-sun2:46
6."The Silent Whisper"Park Jung-hwan2:32
7."A Dark Room"Lee Sung-gu2:52
8."What a Delightful Thought"Park Jung-hwan3:10
9."Grief"Lee Gun-young3:16
10."Perfect Day"James Kang2:06
11."Reasonable Suspicion"Park Yoon-seo2:49
12."One Fine Day"Gaemi3:48
13."Perplexing"Lee Sung-gu3:33
15."Unjustified"Park Yoon-seo2:26
16."The Woman Amongst True Friends"
  • Jo Yoon-jung
  • Park Jung-hwan
Total length:51:11
Original soundtrack (Part 1-6)

Part 1

Released on March 28, 2020 (2020-03-28)[33]
1."Lonely Sailing" (고독한 항해)GaemiGaemiKim Yoon-ah (Jaurim)4:45
2."Lonely Sailing" (Inst.) Gaemi 4:45
Total length:9:30

Part 2

Released on April 4, 2020 (2020-04-04)[33]
1."Nothing On You"Josh DanielGaemiJosh Daniel3:09
2."Nothing On You" (Inst.) Gaemi 3:09
Total length:6:18

Part 3

Released on April 11, 2020 (2020-04-11)[33]
  • Jeong Sung-min (POPKID)
  • Shin Ji-hoo (Postmen)
Son Seung-yeon3:37
2."Sad" (Inst.) 
  • Jeong Sung-min (POPKID)
  • Shin Ji-hoo (Postmen)
Total length:7:14

Part 4

Released on April 17, 2020 (2020-04-17)[33]
1."Just Leave Me" (그냥 나를 버려요)
  • Ra.L
  • Naomi
  • Gaemi
  • Ra.L
Ha Dong-kyun4:20
2."Just Leave Me" (Inst.) 
  • Gaemi
  • Ra.L
Total length:8:40

Part 5

Released on April 25, 2020 (2020-04-25)[34]
1."Farewell In Tears" (눈물로 너를 떠나보낸다)
  • Gaemi
  • Ra.L
  • Naomi
GaemiHuh Gak4:17
2."Farewell In Tears" (Inst.) Gaemi 4:17
Total length:8:34

Part 6

Released on May 1, 2020 (2020-05-01)[35]
1."The Days We Loved" (사랑했던 날들)
  • Gaemi
  • Midnight
  • Gaemi
  • Midnight
Baek Ji-young4:01
2."The Days We Loved" (Inst.) 
  • Gaemi
  • Midnight
Total length:8:02


Commercial performanceEdit

The series emerged as the most-talked-about series in South Korea in the first half of 2020.[36] According to big data analytics firm Good Data Corporation, the series ranked first place in the series category with an overwhelming score, achieving an "all-kill" record for its huge online presence in terms of news articles and comments, video views, and blog and community posts and comments.[citation needed] Additionally, various parodies were made about the series by other entertainment programs, Korean celebrities and the online community.[37][38] As a result, the keyword 'adultery', which was considered to be a serious and rarely-discussed topic on Korean broadcasting channels, went beyond the series and became a widely discussed topic on social media.[39]

Kim's fashion and styling in the series also received attention from the public by consistently rising to be the top real-time search term after an episode was aired. The fashion, dubbed as "Kim Hee-ae Fashion" and "Ji Sun-woo Style", boosted a style that mixes inner outfit, outer outfit and shoes of similar colors.[40] In addition, premium golf brand St Andrews experienced an unexpected huge burst in sales by about 4,000% YOY in the first two weeks of May after Han So-hee wore its golf apparel in the series. The clothes and hats that Han wore were all sold out in stores across the country for two days after the episode was aired.[41] Emons Furniture also saw its sales volume almost doubled after its products appeared in the series.[42]

Critical responseEdit

The series was met with praises from critics for steering away from the typical revenge storyline and instead focuses on the complex aspects of marriage life. Series critic Gong Hee-jung said that it is different from other dramas about conflicts between couples in that it "closely depicted the psychology of the characters in each situation".[43] Edmund Lee of South China Morning Post gave the drama series 4.5 out of 5 stars and called it "one of the best Korean dramas in years" due to its "masterfully scripted story of infidelity and revenge" and "vividly caustic dialogue, melancholic plot twists and some wonderfully convincing performances".[44] Jung Deok-hyun, a pop culture critic, called the series "a great significance", as there have been no Korean television show restricted to viewers over 19 that achieved the same success as The World of the Married and said that the series opened the door for other shows to contain more mature content.[36] According to The Guardian, the drama won praises for its realism with its portrayal of life after divorce and how it broke the way how men are usually portrayed in Korean dramas, as well as featuring plot lines implying issues that were not featured in the original series such as dating violence and the widening social inequality and gender inequality in the Korean society.[45] Storylines about gender discrimination in the workplace were shared broadly on the internet and further prompted many women to share about their negative experiences with male colleagues.[46]

The production team also received positive reviews for their willingness to push the boundaries not only with the story but with their unique filming approach.[10] According to EDaily, the series's success was led by director Mo Wan-il, whose detailed and sensuous directing that focused on the emotions and psychology of the characters differentiated the series from other shows about adultery.[47] Additionally, the success of the series was attributed to the solid performances from the cast, particularly Kim Hee-ae who received rave reviews for her intense and explosive portrayal of Ji Sun-woo throughout the series.[48][49]

Meanwhile, culture critic Hwang Jin-mi criticized the series questioning if the portrayal of the main character's fear of being a divorcee fits with society today.[50]


The drama series sparked viewer criticisms for a violent scene featured in Episode 8, which was edited from the perpetrator's view similar to what it is in virtual reality.[9] The unprecedented "detailed first-person perspective" of the scene was said to be too aggressive for television and could possibly be a trauma trigger for some viewers. On the other hand, there were viewers who found the "first-person perspective" camerawork to be refreshing and experimental in the Korean drama scene as it added to the overall tension of the moment.[10]

There was also a controversial scene that was deemed to be a "commercialization of sex" in the drama when a female character asked for a luxury bag in return for sexual favours. It was criticized for the manner in which it depicts the theme. After the controversies, the Korea Communications Standards Commission suggested that new measures had to be take to curb inappropriate content on South Korean television, as such plot points promote violence and deliver negative messages about women. Committee member Park Sang-soo claimed that "the scene of the assault is cruel" and that "the scene of the female character demanding the luxury bag shows a disgusting view of women". However, there were differing opinions saying that television should be more bold with more mature content as such situations are realistic.[9] In a meeting held on 27 May 2020, the broadcasting review subcommittee of the Korea Communications Standards Commission decided on the administrative guidance "recommendation" for the drama due to its controversial scenes and the re-broadcasting of the same content during the youth viewing protection hours. As a result, the series received a warning from the broadcasting committee, although no penalty was given to JTBC.[11]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2020 56th Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Kim Hee-ae Nominated [51]
Best Director Mo Wan-il Won [52]
Best Actress Kim Hee-ae Won
Best Supporting Actor Kim Young-min Nominated
Best New Actress Han So-hee Nominated
2020 Brand of the Year Awards Actress of the Year - Rising Star Won [54]
Actor of the Year - Scene Stealer Kim Young-min Won
Actress of the Year - Scene Stealer Shim Eun-woo Won
2nd Asia Contents Awards Best Asian Drama The World of the Married Nominated [55]
Best Creative Mo Wan-il Won
Best Actress Kim Hee-ae Won
Best Writer Joo-hyun Nominated
7th APAN Star Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Kim Hee-ae Nominated [57]
Best Actor in a Mini Series Park Hae-joon Won
Best Supporting Actor Kim Young-min Won
Best New Actor Lee Hak-joo Nominated
Best New Actress Han So-hee Nominated
5th Asia Artist Awards Rookie of the Year - Television/Film Won [58]
2021 2021 Korea First Brand Awards Best Rising Star Actress Won [59]
25th Asian Television Awards Best Drama Series The World of the Married Nominated [60]


Although the series airs on JTBC, a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS), after only 12 episodes, the drama series became the most-watched series ever in Korean cable television history according to Nielsen Korea, surpassing the previous record of 23.8 percent set by another JTBC's series SKY Castle. This marked the highest viewership by a series episode aired on a local cable channel and the second-highest for all programs aired on cable networks.[61]

The World of the Married : South Korea viewers per episode (millions)
SeasonEpisode numberAverage
Source: Audience measurement performed nationwide by Nielsen Media Research.[62]
Average TV viewership ratings
Ep. Original broadcast date Average audience share
(AGB Nielsen)[62]
Nationwide Seoul
1 March 27, 2020 6.260% (1st) 6.786% (1st)
2 March 28, 2020 9.979% (1st) 11.023% (1st)
3 April 3, 2020 11.882% (1st) 14.016% (1st)
4 April 4, 2020 13.986% (1st) 15.794% (1st)
5 April 10, 2020 14.676% (1st) 16.118% (1st)
6 April 11, 2020 18.816% (1st) 21.390% (1st)
7 April 17, 2020 18.501% (1st) 21.406% (1st)
8 April 18, 2020 20.061% (1st) 22.276% (1st)
9 April 24, 2020 20.539% (1st) 23.175% (1st)
10 April 25, 2020 22.913% (1st) 25.878% (1st)
11 May 1, 2020 21.122% (1st) 23.986% (1st)
12 May 2, 2020 24.332% (1st) 26.747% (1st)
13 May 8, 2020 21.087% (1st) 23.920% (1st)
14 May 9, 2020 24.307% (1st) 26.841% (1st)
15 May 15, 2020 24.442% (1st) 27.975% (1st)
16 May 16, 2020 28.371% (1st) 31.669% (1st)
Average 18.830% 21.188%
Special May 22, 2020 3.904% 4.777%
May 23, 2020 4.288% 4.534%
  • In the table above, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
  • The special episodes include behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with the actors.[3]

International broadcastEdit

The World of the Married is available for streaming online via Viu in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar. The series became the most-watched drama on the streaming platform, being watched by more than 55% of Viu's audience in Asia since the beginning of its screening.[1][63] It is also available to stream on Iflix in Southeast Asia with subtitles in Indonesian, English, Malay and Vietnamese.[64]


  1. ^ Plot Line (글Line) is a drama creative group founded by Kang Eun-kyung in 2015.
  2. ^ Kim Sung-jin is an assistant director. All directing credits would still go to Mo Wan-il.[2]


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External linksEdit