Gyeom was living with his two parents and sister in a lovely house with a beautiful garden until his life was ruined and his family was killed. Now, he has become a night thief that the government seeks. He robs properties for the poor and saves people, leaving a painting of a wooden plum branch behind him.
Iljimae is and will always be one of my all-time favourites. Lee Jun Ki plays the role of the three boys, who're actually all one person, perfectly. On the outside, he's Yong, a cheerful but superficial and lazy young boy, the adopted son of a former thief and a beautiful sewer. Deep down inside he's the troubled young man Geom, who lost all of his family at a young age and had to watch his own father being murdered by strangers. He's earnest and loving, hard-working and trying to protect everyone around him and never make anyone worry about him by acting like the untroubled Yong. Then, at night, he turns into Iljimae - his means to revenge his dead family and protect his living family.
Even though the Drama takes off really slow paced at first, it takes enough time to explain the complicated three characters of Yong and the awakening of both Geom and Iljimae in Yong. It may take some patience to watch through the first few episodes if you're looking forward to meet the master thief Iljimae, but it will be worth it!
The story is made even more interesting by Ja Dol, the real son of Yong's adoptive mother, who is given away to live with an aristocratic family where he falls in love with his supposed sister Eun Chan, who herself falls in love with Iljimae, not knowing that he actually is the boy Yong, whom she despises.
Then there is Bong Sun, who meets Geom as a child. He doesn't remember her as Yong, but she soon realises who he is and falls in love with him.
The dramatic and sad story is made lighter by a lot of comical scenes, which sometimes contradict the cruel events that take place in a very strange way, but they lighten up the mood and make it easier for the viewer to fall in love with all of the characters and personally I often admired especially Yong and his adoptive father for staying comical and cheerful in spite of everything that happens around them.
What I didn't like about this Drama was the end. Though it wasn't really a bad ending, there were some things left open I couldn't live with (and I'm not talking about Yong here) and which made me really, really sad. Still, it's left open enough to have you imagine your own happy end, so I still say this Drama is a masterpiece, no matter if you like historical Dramas or not, because this is simply a very, very good Drama and worth watching!