Queenmaker Season 1 Review – Netflix deliver another well written political thriller

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3/5



Netflix have a knack for producing decent K-drama offerings for a wide range of different tastes and preferences. While Squid Game obviously had universal appeal, other shows like Juvenile Justice quietly carve out a specific niche that works well to offer more variety.

In many ways, Queenmaker follows suit with Juvenile Justice. This is not a show that’s likely to make massive waves on the platform, but the 11 episode political thriller scratches an itch that those after a serious, politically charged drama, will find very satisfying to sit through.

While the first few episodes tease that this will err toward an extreme revenge thriller like The Glory or tvN’s Eve, Queenmaker instead marches to the beat of its own drum after a compelling few chapters, settling into showcasing a political campaign between two vastly different and morally ambiguous set of characters.

At the center of all this is Hwang Do-hee. She works for the Eunsung Group as their campaign manager, deflecting the attention away from the awful atrocities the current CEO, Chae-ryoung, inflicts on her staff. And that’s before mentioning her womanizer husband and Chae-ryoung’s unhinged sister, Seo-jin. Affectionately referred to as “Toilet Hwang” by human rights activist and lawyer-by-trade Kyung-sook, a shocking suicide sees Do-hee finally wake up and decide to shift sides.

Unfortunately, Do-hee’s decision has rippling effects for her friends, family and everyone in between, as the Chairwoman of Eunsung, Ms. Son, decides to make an example out of her. Do-hee knows precisely where to hurt Son though, and teams up with Kyung-sook, as the pair launch a political campaign to become Mayor of Seoul and oust all the corruption that Eunsung have inflicted.

The rest of the episodes essentially see-saw between both parties, with each gaining a slight upper-hand before something else throws everything out of whack and the balance of power shifts again. As a result of this, parts of Queenmaker can feel a little formulaic, especially during the middle slew of episodes, as both campaigns throw out scandals to try and off-kilter the other.

However, this is off-set slightly by the great acting from everyone involved. Seo Yi-sook is fantastic as Chairwoman Son, while Kim Hee-ae and Moon So-ri, who play Do-hee and Kyung-sook respectively, do well to add complexity to their chosen characters.

There are some pretty strong themes here too, including a lot of female empowerment and a harsh look at corruption, especially the way politicians dupe unsuspecting citizens into voting for something against their common interests. I’m not about to get political here, given we’re an entertainment site after all, but suffice to say there are parallels in this that can be felt across the globe.

The story is definitely gripping enough to stick with for the long-haul and after a rather tepid opening chapter, this one really doubles down and runs with its ideas. As a binge-watch, this one’s pretty difficult to plough through and is much better spread across 3 or 4 nights. However, for fans of complex political thrillers, Queenmaker has enough in the tank that you won’t regret sinking some serious hours into this.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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