1. Park Shin-hye as Che En Sang
Down-to-earth and very law-abiding, she diligently works part-time jobs to support herself and her mother, and gets caught in a love triangle between Tan and Ying Dao. She lives in Tan's home, since her mother is a live-in housekeeper. She grows up with Chan Rong, her best friend, and is enrolled in Di Guo High School on a welfare scholarship.
Tan comes into her life and will not stop pursuing her, but though she does reciprocate his feelings, many are bent on splitting them up. She runs away and gets caught by him. Finally, she musters the courage to be with him. Very bland acting from her. Her role is also too weak to make anyone like her.
2. Lee Min-ho as Jin Tan
He is the future heir to the Di Guo ("Empire") Group. Though hot-headed and at times immature, Tan is warm-hearted and honest. Tan is handsome and wealthy to be sent to study abroad in the U.S. But in reality, it's a form of exile, as his elder half-brother back home, Yuan schemes to take over the family business. He does not have a good relationship with his father and half-brother, the latter from whom he constantly seeks friendship but he is constantly ignored.
He is actually the son of his father's mistress, but is listed in the family registry as the son of his father's second wife in order to be a legitimate heir. While in the States, Tan bumps into En Sang, who has arrived from Korea in search of her older sister who claims that she is in need of money for her wedding. He feels sorry for her as her sister spends all her money so he offers her to stay at his home.
Although he is engaged to Rui Qiu, he is attracted to En Sang at first sight and falls in love with her despite her poor background. When Rui Qiu arrives to bring him back to Korea, his heart is torn between love and duty. Both return to Korea, only to meet again. Slowly, he finds himself falling for her, later realizing that she is the daughter of his family's mute housekeeper.
He hides from her at first but later reveals his identity. That stresses her and she avoids him as much as she can. He initially obeys his father as not to affect her future but later decides to be strong to get his beloved. Also unsatisfying performance from Min Ho. He only looks good in his dressing.
3. Kim Woo-bin as Cui Ying Dao
He is the heir to the Zeus Hotel Group. He has an IQ of 150, but does not put any effort into his schoolwork. Due to this, he ranks 98th out of 100 in his class during the first finals. Known for his cunning intellect and volatile manners, he is feared by his classmates, whom he bullies.
His father, Dong Xu is mercilessly strict and physically abusive towards him, and engages with him in judo matches to get him to do things. As part of his training as the next CEO of Zeus Hotel, Ying Dao often washes dishes at the hotel, something he's been doing since middle school. Unlike others who drive, he owns a motorcycle. Though former best friends with Tan, the two now have a mutual hatred for each other, which was partly brought about by the departure of his beloved mother.
He also looks down on Tan for being a mistress's son. Still, he doesn't reveal this to the classmates. Ying Dao begins picking on En Sang to irritate Tan but he soon realizes that she is always on his mind. He will protect her whenever Rui Qiu bullies her. He deliberately gets intimate with En Sang to make Tan burst to retaliate. Both guys are often at war but they make up with each other in the end.
Knowing that they like each other, he even helps Tan to escape from home to be with her. What a refreshing role and I like it! Woo-bin gives this role a lot of punch.
4. Choi Jin-hyuk as Jin Yuan
He is Tan's older half-brother, whose birth is by Nan Yun's first wife. He is an accomplished and capable young executive who runs his family's giant conglomerate, Di Guo Group. At constant friction with his family, he attempts to rule the company himself, and fears that Tan will get in his way. Due to this, he had never had a real brotherly relationship with Tan, who tries everything he can to win his brother's heart.
He and Tan eventually learn to get along when Zhi Shu wants to seize the company. He chooses to concentrate on running Di Guo Group at the expense of his relationship with Xian Zhu. Although Yuan attempts everything to save their relationship, she knows there is nothing he can do. So she breaks up with him to allow him to carry out his dream. Another forceful role who leaves a deep impression. Jin-hyuk does a wonderful job.
5. Kang Min-hyuk as Yin Chan Rong
He is the son of the Di Guo Group's secretary. He and En Sang have known each other since young. Kind, cool-headed, warm, and smart, he is ranked number one in his class, and always sees the best in people. Ying Dao and Tan are often at the lowest end so they envy him. Even En Sang who joins the school midway manages to be an average pupil.
Despite being in the social care group, he doesn't get picked on by the "higher social status" students because he is the class president. He thinks that everything his girlfriend Bao Na does is cute, especially when she is jealous of him to be with En Sang.
6. Kim Ji-won as Liu Rui Qiu
She is Tan's fiancée. As the rich, chic and haughty heiress of clothing company RS International, she is also known as "Di Guo High School's Paris Hilton." She gives En Sang hell, especially when she realizes that Tan likes her. En Sang grabs her nametag while she nearly throws away En Sang's only uniform. Furious and humiliated, she attempts many times to split them apart. She tries to please Yuan. Yuan isn't cold to her as RS International is one of their business associates.
7. Kang Ha-neul as Lee Xiao Xin
He is the son of the attorney general. He has a crush on his private tutor, Xian Zhu. His parents constantly pressure him to get into law school to follow the tradition, despite his dislike for the profession. Calm and laid back, he runs the school broadcasting system. He is also close friends with Tan.
To overcome his family's pressure and to try to forget Xian Zhu, he joins the army without telling anyone besides Tan and Rui Qiu, with whom he develops a friendship. Through working with En Sang, he knows that Rui Qiu doesn't stand a chance and advises her to give up.
8. Krystal Jung Soo Jung as Lee Bao Na
She is the daughter of the CEO of Mega Entertainment, and therefore is spoiled. She is still cute and has a good heart. Tan is her first love and ex-boyfriend but they are still friendly to each other. She is devoted and possessive towards her current boyfriend, Can Rong. She dislikes En Sang at first for being his best friend, believing that there is no way for a girl and a boy to simply be just friends. But as the time goes by she becomes friends with her but she won't admit it.
9. Park Hyung-sik as Zhao Ming Xiu
He is Son of the CEO of Victory Law Firm, the largest law firm in town. Quick to think on his feet, he is a slacker who doesn't want to inherit the family business. Playful and a joker, he prefers hanging out at night clubs and taking photos of his friends. He often asks them if they need legal advice.
Although he doesn't understand Ying Dao that well, he still tries to help him. Ming Xiu often hangs out in his private studio with Ying Do and Bao Na. He decorates a wall there with pictures of his friends and family and this moves them.
10. Lim Ju-eun as Quan Xiao Zhu
She is a teacher at Di Guo High School. She is cool but has low self-esteem. She shares the same diligent, earnest personality as En Sang. Xian Zhu gets Yuan's attention for her sharp intelligence and they enter into a relationship. But she knew it will never work out no matter how much they want it to.
11. Soo-jin as Jiang Yi Se
She is the daughter of a former bar hostess who owns 10 large bars in Gangnam, Seoul. She lies to the others that her mother owns a mineral water company. Her best friend is Bao Na, while her mother is friends with Tan's biological mother. Her existence in Di Guo High School is ignored until Rachel exposes her mother's profession, which temporarily halts her friendship with Bao Na. Later, the classmates flock to the bars for celebrations.
12. Cho Yoon-woo as Wen Jun Yong
He is a victim of Ying Dao's bullying at Di Guo High School due to his "welfare status." En Sang feels sorry for him to speak up for him to get bullied together. He later leaves to another school.
13. Choi Won-young as Yin Zai Hao
He is Di Guo Group secretary. He is also the father of Can Rong and is previously involved with Esther. He has internal struggles to get her with another man and tries to avoid her. He gives Yuan advice to improve his relationship with his father.
14. Lee Yoon Son-ha as Esther Lee
She is the president of RS International. She is also Rui Qiu's mother and is engaged to Dong Xu, Ying Dao's father. This woman only loves money to divorce Rui Qiu's mother when he goes bankrupt. When Zeus runs into trouble, she quickly breaks off their engagement but Ying Dao still treats Rui Qiu like his younger sister. Still, she is concerned when Rui Qiu can't sleep and loses weight over her breakup with Tan.
15. Kim Sung-ryung as Han Ji Ai
She is Tan 's mother and the mistress of Nan Yun. She longs for a formal title to go to Di Guo High School with pride but can only hide in the dark. She tries all means to oppose Zhi Shu but fails. In the end, her wish comes true when Nan Yu finally gives her a legal name.
16. Park Joon-geum as Zheng Zhi Shu
She is Chairwoman of Di Guo High School and is Nan Yun's second wife. She is also Tan's registered mother. She feels insecure as she is childless. Selfish and controlling, she attempts to take over Di Guo Group when the chairman and her husband Nan Yun falls ill. Luckily, Nan Yun wakes up from his heart attack to discover how she wants to throw the brothers out of the company. He divorces her immediately.
17. Kim Mi-kyung as Piao Hui Nan
She is the mute housekeeper of the Jin famil. She is also En Sang's mother. She loses her voice when she is three years old due to a severe fever. She often gives advice to Ji Ai, and although in the beginning she doesn't treat her well, they end up on friendly terms. Ji Ai even comes to the province to look for her when she leaves home. She is kind, and wants the best for her daughter.
18. Choi Jin-ho as Cui Dong Xu
He is the president of Zeus Hotel Group. He is controlling, and became a womanizer after his first wife, Ying Dao's mother, left their family. He does not have a good relationship with his son, Young-do
19. Jung Dong-hwan as Jin Nan Yun
He is President of Di Guo Group. He has En Sang attend Di Guo High School, so that she can be told by everyone in her peer group why she and Tan can't be together. He does not change after getting a stroke. He only gives his approval to the two after surviving a heart attack.
20. Choi Eun-young as Mrs Jiang
She often visits Ji Ai as she pities her. Both are in the same boat of being unable to reveal their real identity.Interesting facts
The highest rating is 29%. Due to its star-studded cast and writer Kim Eun-sook (who previously wrote Lovers in Paris, Secret Garden and A Gentleman's Dignity), international broadcasting rights were sold to 13 countries. It had the highest selling price in Japan among all the 2013 Korean dramas.
CNBlue's Jang Yong Ha was supposed to join in the shoot but his managing company and the TV company had different views on the role that he was going to be involved so he did not join in.Awards and nominations
18th Anhui TV Drama Awards Popular Foreign Actress Park Shin-hye Won
Popular Foreign Actor Kim Woo-bin Won
Baidu Fei Dian ("The Hottest") Awards Best Asian Actor Lee Min-ho Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Park Shin-hye Won
Special Acting Award, Actress in a Drama Special Kim Sung-ryung Won
Top 10 Stars Lee Min-ho Won
Park Shin-hye Won
Kim Woo-bin Won
New Star Award Choi Jin-hyuk Won
Kang Min-hyuk Won
Kim Ji-won Won
Netizen Popularity Award Lee Min-ho Won
Kim Woo-bin Nominated
Park Shin-hye Nominated
Best Couple Award Lee Min-ho and Park Shin-hye Won
Best Dressed Lee Min-ho Won
50th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) Nominated
Kim Woo-bin Nominated
Park Hyung-sik Nominated
Most Popular Actress (TV) Park Shin-hye Won
Best OST Moment - Lee Changmin Nominated
2nd Asia Rainbow TV Awards Best Modern Drama The Heirs Won
Best Leading Actor Lee Min-ho Nominated
Outstanding Leading Actress Park Shin-hye Won
Best Supporting Actor Kim Woo-bin Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Ji-won Nominated
Outstanding Director Kang Shin-hyo Won
Outstanding Scriptwriter Kim Eun-sook Won
Outstanding Theme Song Moment - Lee Changmin Won
9th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Drama The Heirs Won
Outstanding Korean Actor Lee Min-ho Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actress Park Shin-hye Nominated
People's Choice Actor Lee Min-ho Nominated
Kim Woo-bin Nominated
People's Choice Actress Park Shin-hye Nominated
Outstanding Korean Drama OST I'm Saying - Lee Hong-gi Nominated
Only With My Heart - Lena Park Nominated
7th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Lee Min-ho Nominated
Best Production Director Kang Shin-hyo and Boo Sung-chul Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor Kim Woo-bin Nominated
Choi Jin-hyuk Nominated
16th Seoul International Youth Film Festival Best Young Actor Kang Ha-neul Nominated
Best Young Actress Park Shin-hye Nominated
Best OST by a Male Artist I'm Saying - Lee Hong-gi Nominated
Moment - Lee Changmin Nominated
3rd APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Lee Min-ho Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Kim Woo-bin Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Park Shin-hye Won
Most favourite character
The first is Ying Dao, although I can't tolerate his bullying, he is genuine to En Sang to want the best for her. A second is Tan, although he is submissive at times, he knows that he doesn't love Rui Qiu to want to end their engagement to be with En Sang.
Most hated character
Nan Yu, his stubborn ways earn zero respect from his two sons.
I think that 'Boys Over Flowers' is better. The female lead here is evasive and timid. The male lead only wants to keep quiet to please his family at first. The arrangement to the US shoot is too deliberate for the sake of sight-seeing. If En Sang is poor, how does her elder sister manage to find money to survive there for so many years?! Living off her savings is simply not enough!
Ying Dao's threat that most people can't get close to En Sang or Tan will be his enemy does not seem to work well too. Should he be more forceful to scare more of them? Still, I must say that they look convincing as high school pupils in their uniform.
I cannot commend much on the acting as the young cast just needs to look good in their uniform or branded clothes. It is said that 'He Who Wears the Crown Must Bear Its Weight'. It seems that no one manages to make it except for Yuan. The others are still better off to be dependent on their parents' wealth for survival.
On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)