The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016–2017) [Pureun bada-ui jeonseol] is a South Korean comedy, fantasy, romance television series directed by Jin Hyuk. It stars Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Min-ho. Inspired by a classic Joseon legend from Korea’s first collection of unofficial historical tales about a fisherman who captures and releases a mermaid. This drama tells the love story between a con-artist and the mermaid who travels across the ocean to find him. It aired on SBS beginning on November 16, 2016 through January 25, 2017.
The Legend of the Blue Sea is a historical love story. In the present day Heo Joon-jae (Lee Min-ho) is the son of a rich businessman whose family was torn apart by a con-woman, Kang Seo-hee (Oh Yeon-ah) when he was a child. After causing a divorce between Heo Joon-jae’s parents, Seo-hee marries his father and forces his mother to leave without her son by making her believe that it will be better for her son to be with his wealthy father. Missing his mother and miserable with the woman and her son who bewitched his father, Heo Joon-jae finally leaves during high school to find his mother. In order to survive, he hooks up with con-men Jo Nam Doo (Lee Hee Joon) and Tae Oh (Shin Won Ho) and becomes a clever, and highly skilled, con-man himself.
Traveling to Spain on vacation, Heo Joon-jae meets a woman named Se-hwa (Jun Ji-hyun). She is a mermaid who left the ocean to continue her search for the nobleman’s son who she has known and loved since their childhood in the Joseon Dynasty. The two lovers have been parted throughout the centuries under similar circumstance and each time she erases her loves memories of her so he doesn’t suffer longing for her. When they meet in Spain Heo Joon-jae becomes interested in Se-hwa because of a very valuable jade bracelet, worth $6 million, she is wearing. She is alone with no place to go and because of the bracelet he keeps her by his side and once again love begins to grow. History continues to repeat itself and they are separated. Unable to live without him, Se-hwa swims all the way from Spain to Seoul to find Joon-jae, but when they meet again he doesn’t remember her as his memories of her have been erased. Heo Joon-jae names her Shim Cheong as a joke, and once again she has no where to go and ends up living with the three con-men. Love grows again but it appears that their fate is already set as they once again fight the evil around them to an end they can’t seem to change.
The Legend of the Blue Sea focuses on rebirth, fate, and unrequited love, and the story is juxtaposed with a parallel story of their Joseon era incarnations, town head Kim Dam-ryeong and the mermaid Se-hwa.