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Series / The Heirs

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Left to right: Choi Young-do, Kang Ye-sol, Cha Eun Sang, Lee Hyo Shin, Kim Tan, Yoon Chan Young, Jo Myeong-su, Lee Bo Na, Yoo Rachel

The Heirs is a Korean Series created in 2013, set in Jeguk High, a high school populated by the privileged and uber-rich. Each character has his or her own story that is intertwined with the stories of the people around them.

Cha Eun-sang lives with her mute mother who works as a housemaid in Jeguk Group's mansion. After hearing that her sister Eun-seok, who is living in America, is going to get married, Eun-sang flies to America in hopes of escaping her poor lifestyle. Howesver, upon arriving, she finds out that her sister's life isn't as perfect as she imagined: Eun-soek hasn't been going to university, and her live-in partner uses her money on his drinking habits.

Meanwhile, Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) is the second son of the Jeguk Group, and was sent to America to study three years before the main story. However, it is actually a form of exile which his older brother, Kim Won, imposed upon him so Won could take over their family's company. He happened to see Eun-sang fighting with her sister, and he lets Eun-sang stay at his place. Then Yoo Rachel, Kim Tan's fiancee, arrives and makes trouble for Eun-sang, leaving Eun-sang with no other choice but to turn to her friend, Chan Young, for help.

Cha Eun-sang arrives at Korea only to find out that her mother now works as a live-in housemaid, and so she lives alongside her mother in a small room at the mansion. On the other hand, Kim Tan returns to Korea a short while after she does, and she eventually finds out that Tan is the son of the master of the mansion. She is then offered a scholarship to Jeguk High, where only the rich may attend.

The series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Tan and Won's parents don't seem to care about their children's well-being at all. Though, in Tan's case, the chairwoman is his stepmother so this is probably why she doesn't care about him. This is noticed by Choi Young Do when he and Kim Tan were called to the chairwoman's office after getting into a fight.
    Choi Young Do (To Kim Tan): She could have asked you if you were okay. Oh, it's because she isn't your real mother.
    • Young Do's father doesn't care about Young Do as well.
    • According to Rachel, her mother controlled her life from the age of three.
    Yoo Rachel (To her mother): I'm not your new product for the season.
    • Hyo Shin's parents are forcing him to take law in college, which is something he doesn't want. Even though he doesn't attend the entrance exams and doesn't take the interviews seriously, his parents still want him to go to law school. This leads to him turning to sleeping pills, and he has even attempted to kill himself once.
  • A-Cup Angst: Eun-sang, on the Santa Monica Pier, looks down and sees Tan in the company of several busty white women in bikinis. She then looks down her own shirt, frustrated.
    Eun-sang: Is it because we eat different food?
  • After-School Cleaning Duty: Kim Tan and Choi Young Do are forced to clean the school after fighting. After another fight, they are given the duties of Jeguk High janitors.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Tan whenever Eun Sang gets into something bad (usually done by Chan Young or Rachel).
  • Arranged Marriage: Kim Tan doesn't like the idea of getting married to Yoo Rachel, while she likes him. After Ki Ae shows Esther a picture of the latter kissing Jae Ho, Esther cancels their engagement.
    • Rachel's mother Esther and Young Do's father, Dong Uk. They're only getting married so that their companies get larger. They call off their marriage in the end.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Most of the students at Jeguk High are incredibly beautiful. Well, since this is a school for rich people, it's to be expected.
  • Berserk Button: One similarity between Young Do and Tan is that their berserk button is their mother.
  • Beta Couple: Chan Young and Bo Na.
  • Big Brother Worship: Tan to Won.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Of course, the main couple shares one, but there's Yoo Rachel and Lee Hyo Shin's no feelings involved kissing scene. And they do it twice, consecutively, the first being initiated by Rachel (who wants things to become awkward become Hyo Shin and Tan) and the second by Hyo Shin (who wants to make Hyeong-joo jealous).
  • Big Fancy House: Kim Tan's family's mansion, as well as the other characters' homes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tan reconciles with Won and Young Do, and Eun Sang is starting to be accepted by Tan's father. Ki Ae is free to go wherever she wants with Hee Nam by her side. Esther seems to be making it up to Rachel, and they work together on their fashion business. Young Do finally sees his mother again. However, it isn't stated if Young Do's father is convicted, or if Eun Sang, Rachel, and Tan make up. Hyo Shin leaves for the army, while Hyeong-joo and Won break up for good.
  • Book Dumb: Myeong Su is always seen copying Tan's answers to tests. But then, it's revealed that Tan got 100th place (out of 100 junior students), with Myeong Su at 99th place. Young Do? 98th.
    • In the second to the last episode, we find out that Myeong Su takes Tan's place at 100th, while Tan got 50th.
    Won (to Tan): How did you do on your finals?
    Tan: You'd be surprised. Ask Chan Young.
    Chan Young: He got 50th place.
    Won and Jae Ho: 50th place?!
    Won: He did really well.
    Jae Ho: ...Well? I didn't know there were 50 students in Jeguk High.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Young Do suggests this to Rachel so that their parents could break off their arranged marriage. They both agree that it is too late to act in love with each other.
  • Cast Full of Rich People: Everyone at Jeguk High comes from a very rich family. Eun Sang is the Penny Among Diamonds.
  • Childhood Friends: Eun Sang and Chan Young. The rest of the cast are these too, since they come from rich families and the most important thing in that world is connections.
  • Class Representative: Yoon Chan Young.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Lee Bo Na.
  • Cool Big Sis: Eun-soek to Eun Sang. Or at least that's what Eun Sang believed.
  • Delinquents: Young Do and his group of bullies.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Yoo Rachel doesn't want to become this to Kim Tan. She eventually ends her engagement with him.
  • Disappeared Dad: Eun Sang's father died, while Rachel's parents are divorced.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lee Hyo Shin has tried to kill himself. He says he won't do it again though, since the hospital food tastes horrible.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In one episode, Chan Young notices that Jae Ho isn't in the mood, he suggests they go for a drink. Jae Ho scolds him, but eventually gives in.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Eun Sang prefers this over having lunch with Young Do.
  • Elaborate University High: Though it is not mentioned if there Jeguk High has other divisions, the high school is big enough to have electives such as golf and horseback riding.
  • Everyone Can See It: Kim Tan's attraction to Cha Eun Sang.
  • The Fashionista: No matter what situation she is, Yoo Rachel's outfits are always fashionable.
    Kim Ji Won: “Because Rachel is a character who wears a lot of fancy clothes despite being a student, I’m actually enjoying filming a lot.”
  • Faux Fluency: Lee Min-ho is not particularly convincing when playing Kim Tan, who is supposedly fluent in English and has been studying in America for years.
  • Follow That Motorcycle: Rachel asks her driver to follow Young Do so that she could find out where Eun Sang works at.
  • Girl Posse: Present in Jeguk High.
  • Gratuitous English: The first part of the series takes place in America, so a lot of English-speaking was done. In Jeguk High, students use English as part of their everyday speech, particularly Lee Bo Na.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Choi Young Do.
  • Hot Teacher: Jeon Hyeon-joo.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Yoo Rachel threatens to destroy Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang's life after being rejected by the former.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Choi Young Do is overly protective of Cha Eun Sang, even though he bullies her himself.
  • Imagine Spot: Tan has this in the ending, where a party is being held at his house. Lee Bo Na and Chan Young are still together (with Chan Young being an officer at the Internet Crime Division and Lee Bo Na talking on the phone with someone while flaunting her wealthiness), Hyo Shin returning from the military and pursuing his dream as a filmmaker, Ye Sol is still rich, Rachel inheriting her mother's fashion business, Young Do being the new head of Hotel Zeus, Nam Yun recovering and being a part of the family, Jae Ho still working for the Jeguk Group, while Ji Suk, Ki Ae, and Hee Nam become close friends.
  • Inter-Class Romance:
    • Present in the love triangle between Kim Tan, Choi Young Do, and Cha Eun Sang. Kim Tan wins.
    • There's Yoon Chan Young and Lee Bo Na as well, and they once broke up after Kang Ye Sol told Lee Bo Na to leave him due to their social differences. Bo Na didn't listen to Ye Sol, but this made Chan Young disappointed since he thought Bo Na was embarrassed to have him as her boyfriend. They make up.
    • And of course, Kim Won and Jeon Hyeon-joo, whose love story is similar to Tan and Eun Sang's. Unlike the latter, Won and Hyeong Joo break up.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Tan and Eun Sang use this to comfort each other.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Averted. A teacher at Jeguk High tells Eun Sang that the students hire private tutors just for a chance of getting into Ivy League universities.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Prominently, Kim Tan and Choi Young Do.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: The main characters except Eun Sang have shown shades of this, but in particular, Yoo Rachel.
  • Missing Mom: Younng Do's mother, which is one of the main reasons why he and Tan are at odds. They were able to see each other in the end.
  • New Transfer Student: Cha Eun Sang. Kim Tan may also count, but he has studied with the others before.
  • Nice Girl: Lee Bo Na may be annoying sometimes, but she does continue being friends with Kang Ye Sol after the latter insulting Chan Young and Lee Bo Na finding out that the latter's mother's business is with hostess bars. She also helps Eun Sang a lot of times, but claims she is doing it so that Chan Young won't be the one helping Eun Sang.
  • No Dress Code: The students wear the standard Jeguk High uniform, though some of them add a lot of accessories, don't wear the blazer, or wear a jacket or coat over their shirt as an alternative for the blazer. Eun Sang even went to school without a uniform for the first few days and during the time Rachel threw her uniform away.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: What Cha Eun Sang wants to become. Sadly, she doesn't become one.
  • Ojou: Yoo Rachel, Lee Bo Na, Kang Ye Sol, and most of the female students of Jeguk High.
  • Passing Notes in Class: When Chan Young asks Eun Sang what happened between her and Kim Tan.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Between Kim Won and Jeon Hyeon-joo.
  • Possessive Wrist Grab: Kim Tan and Choi Young-do do this with Eun-sang all the time. In some scenes they'll take turns, with one grabbing Eun-sang's wrist and the other doing it when Eun-sang breaks free of the first and tries to get away.
  • Private Tutor: Jeon Hyeon-joo to Lee Hyo Shin.
  • Rich Bitch: Yoo Rachel, big-time. She enjoys taunting poor people like Eun Sang, and she is a screechy, self-centered brat. Some of the girls at Jeguk High are also this. Lee Bo Na is more of a lovable rich bitch, given her relationship with Chan Young and Eun Sang.
  • School Sport Uniform: Jeguk High's consists of a gray sweatshirt and sweatpants with maroon accents. For other electives such as horseback riding and golf, the students are to bring their own clothes.
  • Scholarship Student: Tan's father allows Eun Sang to enter Jeguk High free of tuition, but it turns out that Eun Sang still needs to pay for her uniform (which costs around a million) and elective fees. The reason why Tan's father allowed her to enter Jeguk High is because he wants her to hear from a hundred people that she and Tan can never be together.
    • Hyeon-joo is also Tan's father's scholarship student, and much like Eun Sang, Tan's father wanted her to hear that she and Won are not to be together. She becomes a teacher at Jeguk High in the second half, and Won's father wants to publish an article about her entitled Orphan Scholar of Jeguk returns to Jeguk. The article doesn't get published though, thanks to Won's intervention.
  • Secretly Wealthy: The students at Jeguk High assume that Eun Sang is this, because she comes to the first days of school without riding a car and wearing a school uniform, and is then introduced as "new money" or someone whose family has just gotten rich.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Eun Sang to Tan. Tan is popular in the school for a Delinquent different reason, though.
  • Succession Crisis: Between Kim Tan and Kim Won.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Yoo Rachel.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Lee Hyo Shin's first love is his private tutor, Hyeon-joo.
  • The Parent-Produced Project: The school camp is made possible by the students' parents who pay for the location, hotel accomodations, food, and transportation.
  • Tsundere: Lee Bo Na has definitely moved on from her short relationship with Kim Tan, and she and Eun Sang are definitely not friends. Definitely.
    • Won is this to Tan. He acts like he doesn't care and wants the latter out of his life, but he is the one who gives Tan a place to stay when the latter was kicked out of their house and even brings him to school the next day. He also goes to see the chairwoman when Tan got into a fight and expressed worry over his brother's grades. He also helps Tan with regards to Eun Sang. Hyeon-joo also tells Tan that Won would always talk about him, that Tan was a kind brother. During the time that Eun Sang was separated from Tan, Won was the only one in the family who would try to get Tan out of his room. Towards the end, the brothers have reconciled.
    • Tan and Won's father acts like this towards Eun Sang in the end, saying that he doesn't want her to flatter him, yet thanking her for the books she brought for him to read while in the hospital.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Yoo Rachel and Lee Hyo Shin's relationship is still unclear by the end of the series, since he went to the army.