Since I like my drama heroines to be strong-willed and smart, I decided to check out Legend of Lu Zhen. This drama tells the journey of the first female prime minister of China. Lu Zhen, played by Zhanilia Zhao of Shan Shan Comes to eat, comes from a wealthy merchant family. However, her birth is of mysterious circumstances and she is heavily bullied by her stepmother who wants the family fortune. Luckily, her stepsister stands on her side and tries to help her out of difficult circumstances often.
Lu Zhen has a modern woman mentality where she doesn’t just want to be married, but prefers to pursue a career and she has the smart to accomplish that. However, due to her stepmother’s evil trap, she is accused of murdering her own father whom she loves deeply. While is able to escape being sold off as a concubine to an elderly neighbor, she accidents kills a man who tries to sexually assault her. She had asked the man to help her make a fake birth status certification, but the confrontation had turned ugly. Lu Zhen decides that she wants to enter the palace to avoid being arrested by the police, but was unable to stay there due to her fake certification being exposed.
Meanwhile, Prince Ah Zhan, who was set to be the next emperor after his father died was pushed off the throne by his stepmother, the current Empress. She installed her own son, the sickly Gao Yan, as emperor. The two brothers have an excellent relationship and luckily do not fight for the throne. However, Ah Zhan lost not only his first love, Princess Huan Yuan, who married his brother to become Imperial Consort, but his emperor seat. He was even almost assassinated by his stepmother’s people who wanted to keep her son’s emperor seat permanent. Lu Zhen, while hiding from civilization, manages to save Ah Zhan’s life. They develop a heartfelt and sincere relationship with neither knowing the other’s true identity. Due to other unfortunate events, both are able to enter the palace. Lu Zhen enters as a lowly palace maid who quickly ascends rankings to become an official. Meanwhile, Ah Zhan, becomes Crown Prince and is entangled in the power struggle between his stepmother, Empress Luo, and his previous love, Consort Huan Yuan. Lu Zhen also becomes embroiled in this power struggle, but wishes to achieve high ranking status due to her own skills. Prince Ah Zhan is biding his time until he can get revenge for his mother, who Empress Luo killed. Their love is tenuous in the harsh palace, but both try to their best to support each other in their endeavors.
Zhanilia Zhao is both adorable, yet surprisingly steely enough to play a young girl who matures into a high ranking official in the palace. She plays a naïve girl who is too trusting of others at first, but what sets her apart from the others is her pure heart untouched by the cattiness of the other palace staff. It is also endearing to watch her overcome her difficulties and hurdles to gain acknowledgement for her successes. She also has some amazing chemistry with her lead male co-star! If you like watching Inner Palace intrigue, this is for you!