Crash Landing on You (2019–2020)
|Creator||Jung Hyo Lee|
|Creator||Ji Eun Park|
|Genre||Adventure, Comedy, Romance|
|Content Rating||TV-14 (TV-14)|
|Awards||Top rated TV #152 | Awards4 wins & 8 nominations|
|Company||Culture Depot, Studio Dragon|
Crash Landing on You
Crash Landing on You (Korean: 사랑의 불시착; Hanja: 사랑의 不時着; RR: Sarang-ui Bulsichak; MR: Sarang-ŭi pulshich'ak; lit. Love's Emergency Landing) is a South Korean television series directed by Lee Jeong-hyo and featuring Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Kim Jung-hyun, and Seo Ji-hye. It is about a South Korean chaebol heiress who, while paragliding in Seoul, South Korea, is swept up in a sudden storm, crash-lands in the North Korean portion of the DMZ, and meets a captain in the Korean People's Army. Over time, they fall in love, despite the divide and dispute between their respective countries.
The series aired on tvN in South Korea and on Netflix worldwide from December 14, 2019, to February 16, 2020. It is the highest rated tvN drama and the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history.
Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) is a South Korean chaebol heiress to the Queen’s Group; her existence threatens her half elder brothers and is disliked by her mother. Because of this, she left the family fortune and founded her own empire with an international fashion and beauty company: Se-ri's Choice. Se-ri’s dad was just released from jail and can no longer run Queen’s Group. Because neither of his sons are competent in leadership and business, he wanted Se-ri to lead. Before she took over Queen’s Group, she already had an engagement to promote her extreme sports wear, featuring a new paragliding suit. Unfortunately, a cyclone happened and the storm blew her far up into North Korea (NK), where she’ll have a fateful meeting with NK Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok.
Se-ri met Captain Ri and realized she’s far from home. Desperate to go home, Se-ri escaped capture from Jeong-hyeok and his men. However, she accidentally made it to Captain Ri’s stationed village. Jeong-hyeok wasn’t sure to turn her in; he relented to help her get home after Se-ri threatened to report Jeong-hyeok and his team for failing to capture her. During this time, Se-ri's eldest brother and sister-in-law, Se-hyung (Hyung-soo Park) and Sang-A (Yoon Ji-min) conspired to lead Queen's Group and take over Se-ri's company. After Se-hyung realized Se-ri still lives, he tried to prevent her from coming home.
Jeong-hyeok first attempted to smuggle Se-ri back to the south by boat, but was thwarted by the coast guard. Upon their second attempt, Jeong-hyeok used his connections to give her a fake ID and have her fly off to another airport where she could safely fly back home. Unfortunately, their activities caught the attention of intelligence officer Cho Cheol-gang (Oh Man-seok). In his attempt to stop Se-ri from escaping, Jeong-hyeok got shot. Se-ri chose to stay to help him get a medic, Jeong-hyeok was upset that she squandered her chance to go home. The brewing romantic tension accumulated to a kiss and the two became a couple.
By now, Jeong-hyeok’s true fiancé, Seo Dan, returned home and discovered Jeong-hyeok was protecting Se-ri; she reported the matter to his father, Director Ri. The director captured Se-ri to better understand the situation and didn't realize the two were in love. To resolve this matter, Director Ri sent Se-ri and Jeong-hyeok to the border of the DMZ. There was news of a deserter and border patrol was dispatched to search. Taking advantage of the situation, Captain Ri was sent to the front lines, under the guise to find the deserter. In reality, he’s secretly escorted Se-ri to a path where she can safely cross the DMZ. The two embraced each other for the last time and Se-ri finally made it home.
Sang-A was prepared to merge Se-ri’s Choice with Queen’s Group; Se-ri’s return put a stop to all of it. To everyone’s shock, Se-ri appeared during her own wake and announced her return. While Se-ri’s parents were happy she’s alive, the half-brothers were not and conspired against her. Se-ri was originally promised chairmanship of Queen’s Group and she wants it back but Se-hyung would resist her. During this time, Jeong-hyeok found evidence of Cheol-gang's racketeering and proof of him murdering his brother. Cheol-gang was found guilty of his crimes and sent to jail, but his men rescued him and he escaped to Seoul. He wanted revenge against Jeong-hyeok and teamed up with Se-hyung to destroy Se-ri. Worried for Se-ri, Jeong-hyeok infiltrated Seoul to find her.
Jeong-hyeok would happily reunite with Se-ri and learn about Cheol-gang's intentions. Worried that his son wasn't up to the task, Director Ri sent his son's men to find Jeong-hyeok as back up. Captain Ri and his men would eventually reunite and Se-ri took care of them, providing them with food, shelter, and money like family. Sang-A tipped off Cheol-gang of Se-ri's residence and tried to capture her, but Jeong-hyeok's team protected her. In a confrontation between Cheol-gang and Jeong-hyeok, Cheol-gang tried to shoot Jeong-hyeok but Se-ri dived in to take the bullet for him. Critically wounded, Se-ri was hospitalized but survived. When Se-ri's dad learned about Se-hyung's and Sang-A's misdeeds, he stripped him of his chairmanship and removed him from the family fortune. Se-hyung blamed Sang-A for their situation and she decided to inform the National Intelligence Service (NIS) of Se-ri's North Korean activities.
Jeong-hyeok tracked down Cheol-gang and he tried to get Jeong-hyeok killed in a shootout between him and NIS, but Jeong-hyeok evaded gunfire. Cheol-gang died, but Captain Ri and his company were detained. Jeong-hyeok took full responsibility and lied to NIS that he manipulated Se-ri for his gain. This would absolve Se-ri and his company of all potential crimes. However, NIS found no incriminating behavior and even offered amnesty to get them settled in Seoul if they wanted to. Jeong-hyeok and his men declined and decided to return home. Jeong-hyeok's denial of loving Se-ri weakened her health and almost died from sepsis, but she recovered. Both sides of the government agreed to a quiet prisoner exchange and Se-ri was exonerated of any crimes. During the exchange, Se-ri went to see Jeong-hyeok one last time before saying goodbye for good. Jeong-hyeok successfully returned home without incident.
Before Jeong-hyeok left, he programmed a series of text messages for Se-ri to read. He taught her to lead a better lifestyle and to enjoy life with the people around her. Se-ri’s tough boss image dropped and she became a nicer and generous CEO to the people under her. One day while paragliding through Switzerland, she found Jeong-hyeok in front of her. He has since been discharged from the military and has come to Switzerland to represent NK as a pianist. This would become a path where both can be together.
Three years later, Se-hyung remains in jail and filed for divorce with Sang-A. Se-ri continues managing both Queen’s Group and Se-ri’s Choice. Seo Dan cancelled her engagement with Jeong-hyeok and intends to continue her musical career. Se-ri has since founded a musical scholarship program that supports underprivileged children in Switzerland. Every year, she takes a two week vacation to Switzerland to observe the progress of her scholarship but also spend that time with Jeong-hyeok. The story ends with two finding love and happiness in Switzerland.
- Hyun Bin as Ri Jeong-hyeokLee Chun-moo as young Jeong-hyeok Kim Seung-chan as teenage Jeong-hyeok
- Lee Chun-moo as young Jeong-hyeok
- Kim Seung-chan as teenage Jeong-hyeok
- Son Ye-jin as Yoon Se-riKim Tae-yeon as young Se-ri
- Kim Tae-yeon as young Se-ri
- Seo Ji-hye as Seo DanPark Seo-yeon as young Dan
- Park Seo-yeon as young Dan
- Kim Jung-hyun as Gu Seung-jun / Alberto Gu
People around Ri Jeong-hyeok
- Jun Gook-hwan as Ri Chung-ryeol, Jeong-hyeok's father, director of the General Political Bureau and vice-marshal of Korean People's Army.
- Jung Ae-ri as Kim Yun-hui, Jeong-hyeok's mother, and a former actress. Like her husband, she still grieves Mu-hyeok's death.
- Ha Seok-jin as Ri Mu-hyeok, Jeong Hyeok's deceased older brother and an army captain, who was killed in a staged accident for threatening to expose Cho Cheol-gang.
- Yang Kyung-won as Pyo Chi-su, a sergeant major in Company Five, who enjoys drinking and antagonizing Se-ri because of his paranoia against South Koreans.
- Lee Shin-young as Park Kwang-beom, a staff sergeant in Company Five, oblivious of his model good looks.
- Yoo Su-bin as Kim Ju-meok, a corporal in Company Five, who uses his fascination with Korean dramas / the Korean wave (that he watches in secret) to explain South Korean culture to his team.
- Tang Joon-sang as Geum Eun-dong, a lance-corporal in Company Five, who is the sole provider of his family and the youngest member of the unit.
People around Yoon Se-ri
- Nam Kyung-eup as Yoon Jeung-pyeong, Se-ri's father, South Korean Chaebol and chairman of Queen's Group. After serving time for financial malfeasance, he looks to name one of his children heir to his chairmanship.
- Bang Eun-jin as Han Jeong-yeon, Se-ri's stepmother. She struggles to reconcile her resentment towards Se-ri as a product of her husband's infidelity with Se-ri's sincere love and affection towards her.
- Choi Dae-hoon as Yoon Se-jun, Se-ri's immature and hot-headed eldest half-brother, who sides with Se-ri against Se-hyung.
- Hwang Woo-seul-hye as Do Hye-ji, Se-jun's materialistic but supportive wife.
- Park Hyung-soo as Yoon Se-hyung, Se-ri's unflappable older half-brother, whose greed and naiveté allowed Seung-jun to embezzle funds from Queen's Group.
- Yoon Ji-min as Go Sang-ah, Se-hyung's intelligent and ruthlessly-ambitious wife who covets Se-ri's company.
- Go Kyu-pil as Hong Chang-sik, Se-ri's over-stressed team manager who, along with Su-chan, tries to find Se-ri's whereabouts after her disappearance.
- Lim Chul-soo as Park Su-chan, Se-ri's insurance agent, who becomes obsessed with proving that Se-ri survived the paragliding accident.
People around Seo Dan
- Jang Hye-jin as Ko Myeong-eun, Dan's wealthy mother who owns Pyongyang's largest department store and is eager to see Dan married.
- Park Myung-hoon as Ko Myeong-seok, Dan's maternal uncle who is also a high-ranking officer in the State Security Department and supportive of both Jeong-hyeok and Dan.
People around Gu Seung-jun
- Hong Woo-jin as Cheon Su-bok, a corrupt North Korean government official who helps people illegally enter and stay in North Korea.
- Yoon Sang-hoon as Manager Oh, an intermediate broker who connects Seung-jun to the North Korean "keeping business".
North Korean military housing
- Kim Sun-young as Na Wol-suk, the head of the village
- Kim Jung-nan as Ma Young-ae, Senior Colonel Kim's wife
- Jang So-yeon as Hyun Myeong-sun, Jung Man-bok's wife
- Cha Chung-hwa as Yang Ok-geum, a hairdresser
Korean People's Army
- Oh Man-seok as Cho Cheol-gang, a Lieutenant Commander in the North Korean Armed Forces' Security Bureau, who is the principal villain of the story. An orphan, he is corrupt and heads a vast criminal operation that stretches across the Korean peninsula, including harboring fugitives such as Gu Seung-jun while having no qualms turning them over to the highest bidder.
- Kim Young-min as Jung Man-bok, a North Korean wiretapper coerced by Cheol-gang to facilitate criminal activities, which has made him feel guilty about his work. He is known as "The Rat" among members of the village due to his job, resulting in his family being ostracized. Forced to facilitate Ri Mu-hyeok's death despite being the recipient of his kindness, Man-bok hopes to atone for his betrayal by assisting Jeong-hyeok.
- Kim Young-pil as Kim Ryong-hae, a senior colonel who is Jeong-hyeok's superior and Young-ae's husband. He dislikes Jeong-hyeok but, after knowing his real identity as the son of the director of the General Political Bureau, he tries his best to please him.
- Oh Han-kyul as Jung Woo-pil, Man-bok and Myeong-sun's son
- Gu Jun-woo as Kim Nam-sik, Senior Colonel Kim and Young-ae's son who gets bad grades
- Lim Sung-mi as Geum-soon, a market vendor in the marketplace who secretly sells South Korean goods
- Yoo Jung-ho as Chief Kim, Chief of the National Intelligence Service and investigator. He understands the relationship between Ri Jeong-hyeok and Yoon Se-ri and helps to make their parting more bearable.
- Jung Kyung-ho as Cha Sang-woo, Se-ri's South Korean ex-boyfriend (Ep. 1, 5 & 7)
- Park Sung-woong as a North Korean taxi driver (Ep. 4)
- Kim Ah-ra as a house villager
- Yoon Seol-mi as a train salesperson
- Na Young-hee as a North Korean wedding dress boutique owner (Ep. 7)
- Kim Soo-hyun as Won Ryu-hwan / Bang Dong-gu, a North Korean spy from Division 11, disguised as a village idiot (Ep. 10)
- Kim Sook as a North Korean fortune teller (Ep. 11 & 16)
- Choi Ji-woo as herself (Ep. 13), an actress whom Kim Ju-muk idolized from his secret viewing of Korean dramas.
|No.||Title||Original release date||South Korea viewers|
|1||"Episode 1"||December 14, 2019||1.508|
|Knocked out by fierce winds while paragliding through the air, Yoon Se-ri, a wealthy businesswoman and CEO from South Korea, wakes up on the north side of the Korean Demilitarized Zone and is discovered by Ri Jeong Hyeok, a captain in the North Korean military.|
|2||"Episode 2"||December 15, 2019||1.773|
|After talking Jeong Hyeok and his comrades into hiding her in his home, Se-ri gets a taste of his way of life. Gu Seung-jun buys refuge in a secluded villa in North Korea through a broker.|
|3||"Episode 3"||December 21, 2019||1.894|
|Se-ri is discovered hiding at Jeong Hyeok's home during an unexpected home inspection. Jeong Hyeok invents a bold background story for Se-ri as a recently-returned agent from Division 11, the secret division of North Korean military which has spies sent to South Korea. He calls Se-ri his fiancée, in his attempt to protect her. However, his rival, Cho Cheol Gang, isn't fooled. Seo Dan, Jeong Hyeok's actual fiancée for ten years, returns to North Korea after finishing her studies in Russia.|
|4||"Episode 4"||December 22, 2019||2.225|
|When her escape plan falls through, Se-ri turns to another idea. Dan heads to the village to see Jeong Hyeok. The villagers are confused on seeing Dan, as they were told that Se-ri is Jeong Hyeok's fiancée.|
|5||"Episode 5"||December 28, 2019||2.210|
|Jeong Hyeok agrees to marry Dan sooner, as his parents wish, but they must do him a favor first. Seung-jun discovers Se-ri is also in North Korea.|
|6||"Episode 6"||December 29, 2019||2.414|
|Dan is less than happy when she hears Jeong Hyeok and Se-ri are at a hotel together. Meanwhile, Seung-jun plays what cards he has to save himself.|
|7||"Episode 7"||January 11, 2020||2.510|
|A flight out of North Korea awaits Se-ri at the airport. But, unwilling to leave Jeong Hyeok while he's injured, she brings him to a hospital instead, thus missing her flight out of North Korea.|
|8||"Episode 8"||January 12, 2020||3.043|
|Keeping Jeong Hyeok away from Se-ri turns out to be much more difficult than Seung-jun anticipated. Cheol Gang stays on their tail.|
|9||"Episode 9"||January 18, 2020||2.941|
|Se-ri faces her kidnapper. Elsewhere, Jeong Hyeok is forced to spread a formidable rumor about himself in order to escape Cheol Gang's clutches.|
|10||"Episode 10"||January 19, 2020||3.927|
|Back to her cushy life in the spotlight, Se-ri takes care of business — though nothing feels quite the same. Jeong Hyeok goes after Cheol Gang in South Korea, who in turn is after Se-Ri in order to use her to blackmail Jeong Hyeok's family.|
|11||"Episode 11"||February 1, 2020||3.726|
|It is Jeong Hyeok's turn to adjust to a new world. Back in North Korea, Dan gives Seung-jun a place to stay after he loses his protection.|
|12||"Episode 12"||February 2, 2020||4.782|
|Hoping to meet Jeong Hyeok, his comrades attend an event hosted by Se-ri's company. Seung-jun opens up to Dan over a bowl of rice porridge.|
|13||"Episode 13"||February 8, 2020||3.998|
|Se-ri sends the comrades on a shopping spree, and plays hooky from work with Jeong Hyeok. Jung Man Bok encounters a dilemma.|
|14||"Episode 14"||February 9, 2020||5.119|
|While Jeong Hyeok keeps watch over Se-ri, his comrades make themselves useful. Seung-jun can't stop worrying about Dan.|
|15||"Episode 15"||February 15, 2020||4.898|
|South Korean officials try to figure out what's going on, but they're given conflicting stories. Seung-jun flees from his captors.|
|16||"Episode 16"||February 16, 2020||6.337|
|Before departing, Jeong Hyeok leaves behind a surprise that keeps on giving messages from Jeong Hyeok's phone everyday. The last message tells Se-ri where to find Jeong Hyeok. Dan delivers bittersweet justice.|
The premise of Crash Landing on You was inspired by a real event involving South Korean actress, Jung Yang. In September 2008, Yang and three others had to be rescued after bad fog had caused their leisure boat to drift "into the maritime boundary between North and South Korea." Park Ji-eun, the drama's screenwriter, was introduced to North Korean defector turned film adviser and writer Kwak Moon-wan, who became part of the drama's writing team. Kwak, who studied film directing in Pyongyang and had also been a member of an elite security force protecting the Kims, helped in crafting the drama's plot and in conceptualizing the setting and scenes in the drama portraying North Korean life.
The production process proved to be "painstakingly meticulous", owing to South Korea's relationship with North Korea where most of the story's plot ensues. The use of the honorific Chairman to refer to North Korea's leaders was avoided, and the North Korean lapel pins used by the cast members taking North Korean roles were one third smaller than their actual size. Props manager Joo Dong-man said the crew did not have a "guidebook on multiple hurdles he had to hop over — skillfully and delicately – to accurately depict the country while dodging criticism" and, thus, had to be careful "not to misrepresent the state". They worked with guidance from North Koreans living in South Korea and research.
The first script reading took place on July 31, 2019 in Sangam-dong, Seoul, and filming overseas started at the end of August 2019. North Korean scenes were shot in South Korea and Mongolia. Scenes that took place in Switzerland were shot on location.
|Crash Landing on You|
(Original Television Soundtrack)
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||February 16, 2020|
|Label||Stone Music Entertainment|
|Singles from Crash Landing on You|
The following is the official track list of Crash Landing on You (Original Television Soundtrack) album. The tracks with no indicated lyricists and composers are the drama's musical score; the artists indicated for these tracks are the tracks' composers themselves. Singles included on the album were released from December 15, 2019, to February 16, 2020.
|1.||"But It's Destiny" (우연인 듯 운명)||Jung Gu-hyun||Jung Gu-hyun||10cm||3:51|
|3.||"Sunset" (노을)||Park Woo-sang||Park Woo-sang||Davichi||3:36|
|4.||"Here I Am Again" (다시 난, 여기)||Baek Ye-rin||3:54|
|5.||"Someday" (어떤 날엔)||Kim Ho-kyung||1601||Kim Jae-hwan||4:18|
|6.||"Sigriswil" (Crash Landing on You Title Full Version)||Kim Kyung-hee||3:42|
|7.||"Spring in My Hometown" (고향의 봄)||4:47|
|8.||"The Wind of the Day" (그날의 바람)||4:58|
|9.||"The Song for My Brother" (형을 위한 노래)||4:21|
|10.||"My Companion" (나의 동무여)||5:15|
|11.||"Like a Wild Flower" (들꽃처럼)||4:35|
|12.||"Time of Jeong-Hyeok for Se-ri" (세리를 향한 정혁의 시간)||1:48|
|13.||"Moments We Walked Together" (함께 걷던 순간)||2:34|
|14.||"Se-ri's Choice" (세리스 쵸이스)||1:54|
|1.||"Photo of My Mind" (내 마음의 사진)||Song Ga-in||4:32|
|2.||"The Hill of Yearning" (그리움의 언덕)||April 2||3:54|
|3.||"All of My Days" (나의 모든 날)||Sejeong (Gugudan)||3:58|
|4.||"Like You" (좋다)||Lee Geon||3:25|
|5.||"Let Us Go" (둘만의 세상으로 가)||Dong Woo-seok||Crush||3:41|
|6.||"Give You My Heart" (마음을 드려요)||IU||4:40|
|7.||"Yeong-ae and Villagers" (영애동지와 마을 사람들)||3:14|
|8.||"Chi-soo and Se-ri" (치수와 세리)||3:14|
|9.||"The Song for My Brother" (형을 위한 노래; orchestral ver.)||4:35|
|10.||"Seo Dan" (단이)||0:52|
|11.||"Same Sky, Different World" (같은 하늘, 다른 세상)||3:18|
|13.||"The Season of Us" (너와 나의 그 계절)||3:47|
|14.||"When That Day Comes" (그날이 오면)||4:22|
|15.||"Sigriswil" (Opening Title Version)||Kim Kyung-hee||0:42|
|"But It's Destiny" (10cm)||2019||108||72||Part 1|
|"Flower" (Yoon Mi-rae)||22||20||Part 2|
|"Sunset" (Davichi)||47||32||Part 3|
|"Here I Am Again" (Baek Ye-rin)||2020||4||6||Part 4|
|"Someday" (Kim Jae-hwan)||18||17||Part 5|
|"Photo of My Mind" (Song Ga-in)||35||31||Part 6|
|"The Hill of Yearning" (April 2)||187||–||Part 7|
|"All of My Days" (Sejeong (Gugudan))||50||31||Part 8|
|"Let Us Go" (Crush)||3||7||Part 10|
|"Give You My Heart" (IU)||1||3||Part 11|
With 1.75 billion online views, Crash Landing on You outperformed the prior leader, Mr. Sunshine, for most viewed drama clips by 200 million views as of February 17, 2020. The success of the drama helped to boost brand items due to product placement. The lead characters portrayed by Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin ate Gold Olive Chicken, a product which had a 100% sales improvement due to the show. There was also an increase in sales of the Swarovski earrings worn by Son Ye-jin.
It was a success in China. The hashtag for the drama's final episode has received over 460 million views on China's Twitter-like Weibo. The streaming website for the South Korean drama, which holds the copyright in China with Chinese subtitles, crashed on the night it aired the final episode due to the enormous number of users. It was popular in Japan during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic via Netflix. While the Korean Wave is a historically prominent component of media within Japan, Crash Landing on You has been uniquely influential there, in part due to its portrayal of daily life in North Korea. The series was also a hit in the Philippines where many viewers noted similarities between the plot line and the political narrative of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the United States, Variety Magazine named Crash Landing on You one of "The Best International Shows on Netflix," and one of the "Best International TV Series of 2020." Time Magazine also ranked it as one of the best Korean dramas on Netflix. Elle Magazine ranked it #1 (out of 10) on the October 2020 10 Best K-Dramas To Binge-Watch On Netflix list, and Vogue listed it as one of "Netflix: 4 Korean dramas to discover this summer." BuzzFeed listed it as #3 of the top 27 best K-dramas on Netflix. Forbes noted that it ranked #1 out of the top 10 on a Netflix's Instagram list of its most romantic series, and Screen Rant ranked it as having the #2 (out of the top 10) "tear-jerking scenes in K-dramas." In addition, Jo Walker of The Guardian's "Stream Team" called it "addictively off-the-wall, heartbreaking and hilarious." Adella Suliman and Stella Kim of NBC News also suggested that the drama "features all the ingredients a viewer could wish for" and has "drawn a global audience of millions, many no doubt searching for entertainment as they while away their time in coronavirus-related lockdowns." Wadzanai Mhute of The Daily Beast argues that Crash Landing on You, "was a cultural phenomenon in its native South Korea, and it’s gone criminally overlooked in the States, where it’s available to stream on Netflix." Megan O'Keefe of Decider states that, "Crash Landing on You is a show unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It has insane action sequences, glorious montages of wealth porn, unblinking looks at the impoverished lives of everyday North Koreans, and one of the most heart-wrenching love stories in ages. With 16 90-minute-long episodes, it’s truly a feast to be savored and the perfect antidote to the winter quarantine blues."
Aljazeera stated that it is a hallyu success.
Representation of and reception in South and North Korea
Although the series is a work of fiction, it has received some positive reviews from North Korean defectors for its depiction of everyday life in North Korea. At the same time, some details, such as the availability of food, relatively warm behavior of the army and the ease with which the characters cross the border have been criticized. One of the extras (who portrayed a North Korean villager) is a writer and actress from North Korea who states that she felt "like was actually back in a North Korean village." Kwak Moon-wan, a North Korean defector, who had served with the Supreme Guard Command (which protects the ruling Kim family) worked as an adviser for the series, providing the writers with details about life in North Korea as well as North Korean governmental agencies that added credibility to the show. He acknowledged some of the criticism, admitting that he has taken liberties with the depiction of North Korea (such as not mentioning food shortages), but rejected the claim that he was glamorizing the regime or drawing a false equivalence, saying that the show also depicted some of the darker aspect of life under the regime, such as the issue of kotjebi (child homeless) and the frequent power cuts. Some North Korean refugees, such as Chun Hyo-jin, who defected from the border village of Hyesan at the age of nineteen, tend to agree: "Even if what they say, that it glamorizes North Korea, is true, would they choose to live there? I don't think so". Even though the drama leaves political matters aside, which are essential to the North Korea issue as she sees it, she says it still is of great significance: "Its depiction of North Korea is a bit far from reality but it has made the people interested in North Korea". The drama's producer Lee Jung-hyo said during a press conference in Seoul in December: "I know some people are uncomfortable about our subject, North Korea, but we don't portray a wholly authentic North Korea in our drama. Most settings are closer to a fantasy, although some aspects do reflect real North Korean life".
Kang Nara, a North Korean defector who advised the show's production team, stated that about 60% of North Korea's depiction in the show is accurate: "The richer families in North Korea like to show off their wealth by adding lace curtains to their windows. So that was pretty well portrayed". She also appreciated the detail about kimchi caves: "Since rural North Korea doesn't get electricity, they don't have refrigerators. They have kimchi caves where they store kimchi, and that was also recreated well". House checks are also a regular affair. She revealed that she once had to hide inside a furnace at the house of the broker who helped her to escape to avoid detection. In the drama, the heiress had to hide in the kimchi storage area when security forces came knocking one night. As depicted in the drama, North Koreans are allowed to choose only from a fixed list of hair styles - 18 for women and 28 for men. "There's a punishment for you if you don't comply" Kang said in an interview with YouTube channel DKDKTV. On the other hand, as she explained in a YouTube video, the characters were able to slip across the border much more easily than in real life: "I had to pay a broker 10 million won (US$8,400) to swim across the Yalu river while being shot at from behind by soldiers". Cartoonist Choi Seong-guk, who defected to the South in 2011, also said the drama set is 60% accurate. The portrayal of jangmadang, or local markets where all kinds of goods, including imports from South Korea, are sold is especially real, he told The Sunday Times. However, he felt that the drama "glamorized the soldiers too much, almost to an uncomfortable extent". He said North Korean men enter the military when they are 17 and serve for 10 to 13 years. "During this time, they are... ruthless and harsh, robbing homes and raping women at night". Still, he hopes the drama will make its way to North Korea and go viral: "I hope the North Koreans who see this drama will realize how positively the South Koreans think of them and learn to change".
There were also critical responses to the themes of the drama in both regions. In January 2020, The Christian Liberal Party (CLP) filed a complaint in South Korea against tvN at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, accusing the network of glamorizing North Korea through this series, in violation of the National Security Law. Then, in March 2020, a few North Korean media outlets criticized unnamed South Korean programs and films that explored relations between North and South Korea. While Crash Landing on You was not directly mentioned by the media outlets, it was perceived to be among the referenced works. Another is the 2019 film, Ashfall, although that film was also not directly cited in the articles.
Stephen Epstein (Victoria University of Wellington) and Christopher Green (Leiden University) suggest that while Crash Landing on You is formulaic, it also "is a crucial text for evaluating ongoing change in South Korean popular representations of its neighbour. Indeed, given the concerted use of North Korean backdrops in Crash Landing on You and the size and global extent of its audiences, the show is likely the most noteworthy South Korean popular culture representation of North Korea yet produced.” Yun Suk-jin, a professor at Chungnam National University concurs, noting that the series "changed the stereotypes on North Korea and candidly showed that it too is a place where people live." Sarah A. Son, Lecturer in Korean Studies at the University of Sheffield also agrees, noting that Crash Landing on You responds to the "socio-cultural divide" between the North and the South, which academic scholarship cites as one of the biggest obstacles to future unification. Son argues that "through the re-framing of stereotypes, albeit with some creative licence, Crash Landing on You arguably humanises the North for its audience in ways that inter-Korean dialogue has not in recent years. Despite its soft-focus romanticisation of the political situation, Crash Landing on You brings the pain of the division to a personal level for a generation of Koreans who, unlike their grandparents, have no memory of what it was like to be a single nation."
Joanna Elfving-Hwang, associate professor of Korean studies at the University of Western Australia notes that “North Korea tends to appear in our imagination as the ‘axis of evil’, we think of nuclear weapons and human rights abuses...this drama has dared to think about North Korean people differently and represented them as quite human and quite Korean.” Steve Hung Lok-wai, a Korean affairs expert from Chinese University of Hong Kong states that the drama sidestepped larger political issues through a narrative that did not end with the male lead's defection: "Lots of people questioned whether the male lead, the North Korean soldier, would end up defecting to the South for love, but they were able to sidestep that scenario and gave it a plausible ending where the two would meet in Switzerland". Thus, he argues, it's "quite smart because they avoided all the real taboos but made it believable enough where it would make people think about these political problems." John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University, praised the series for its decision to draw parallels between powerful families in both the South and the North, and to humanize North Koreans beyond generic stereotypes.
This series aired on tvN, 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). Crash Landing on You is the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history. Early in its run, Crash Landing on You was the fourth highest rated Korean cable drama. The final episode's ratings made it the third highest rated Korean drama in cable television history, surpassing fellow tvN dramas Reply 1988 and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.
|Ep.||Original broadcast date||Average audience share|
|1||December 14, 2019||6.074% (1st)||6.558% (1st)|
|2||December 15, 2019||7.845% (1st)||7.841% (1st)|
|3||December 21, 2019||7.414% (1st)||7.689% (1st)|
|4||December 22, 2019||9.499% (1st)||9.409% (1st)|
|5||December 28, 2019||9.730% (1st)||9.794% (1st)|
|6||December 29, 2019||9.223% (1st)||9.535% (1st)|
|7||January 11, 2020||9.394% (1st)||9.738% (1st)|
|8||January 12, 2020||11.349% (1st)||12.031% (1st)|
|9||January 18, 2020||12.516% (1st)||12.355% (1st)|
|10||January 19, 2020||14.633% (1st)||15.903% (1st)|
|11||February 1, 2020||14.238% (1st)||14.648% (1st)|
|12||February 2, 2020||15.933% (1st)||16.413% (1st)|
|13||February 8, 2020||14.097% (1st)||14.620% (1st)|
|14||February 9, 2020||17.705% (1st)||18.612% (1st)|
|15||February 15, 2020||17.066% (1st)||17.406% (1st)|
|16||February 16, 2020||21.683% (1st)||23.249% (1st)|
|Special||January 4, 2020||4.810% (1st)||4.253% (1st)|
|Special||January 5, 2020||3.975% (1st)||3.252% (1st)|
|Special||January 25, 2020||4.180% (1st)||4.283% (1st)|
Honors, awards, and nominations
In May 2020 the show's scriptwriter, Park Ji-eun, was named "Person of the Year" by South Korea's Unification Ministry, for contributing to "unification education."
|2020||56th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Drama||Crash Landing on You||Nominated|
|Best Director||Lee Jung-hyo||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Hyun Bin||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Son Ye-jin||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Yang Kyung-won||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Kim Sun-young||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Park Ji-eun||Nominated|
|Popularity Award||Hyun Bin||Won|
|Bazaar Icon Award||Seo Ji-hye||Won|
|15th Seoul International Drama Awards||Best Mini-series||Crash Landing on You||Nominated|
|Outstanding Korean Drama||Won|
|Outstanding Korean Actress||Son Ye-jin||Won|
|Asian Academy Creative Awards||Best Drama Series (Korea)||Crash Landing on You||Won|
|Best Drama Series (Grand Final)||Won|
|Asia Contents Awards||Best Asian Drama||Nominated|
|Best Writer||Park Ji-eun||Nominated|
|Korea Cable TV Broadcasting Association||Global Award (VOD Category)||Crash Landing on You||Won|
|Tokyo Drama Award 2020||Overseas Drama Special Award||Crash Landing on You||Won|
|2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best OST||"Here I Am Again" (Baek Yerin)||Nominated|
|3rd Annual Global TV Demand Awards||Most In-Demand Korean Drama Series||Crash Landing on You||Won|
|7th APAN Star Awards||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Hyun Bin||Won|
|Drama of the Year||Crash Landing on You||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Son Ye-jin||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Seo Ji-hye||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Kim Jung-hyun||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Kim Sun-young||Won|
|KT Seezn Star Award||Son Ye-jin||Won|
|2021||30th Seoul Music Awards||OST Award||"Here I Am Again" (Baek Yerin)||Nominated|
|"Give You My Heart" (IU)||Nominated|