Kevin Cheng’s “Mystery in the Palace” Criticized as Lacking Suspense

Last night, new mainland drama, Mystery in the Palace <深宫谍影> premiered on Hunan TV. Many fans who highly anticipated the drama’s release, commented that too many clues were revealed in the palace suspense thriller, noting that the story was unoriginal.  Although only two episodes were aired, netizens guessed the outcome of the drama’s ending. Allegedly, one netizen even claimed to have read the series’ script, noting that a murder will occur in a secret chamber of the palace.

Many fans looked forward to the release of Mystery in the Palace due to the popularity of Kevin Cheng (郑嘉颖). However, after watching the initial episodes, fans lamented that Kevin was a character solely focused on love. From the dialogue, one would mistaken Mystery in the Palace for a Qiong Yao drama!


In the first episode, after drinking some wine, Princess Yi Dan (Gan Tingting) was raped by drunk Emperor Kang Xi (Ni Qi Min). Princess Yi Dan gave birth to a pair of boy-girl twins, upon which she gave them two keepsakes: a jade seal and a jade butterfly. However, the whereabouts of the two children grown up was unknown.

Since Gan Tingting portrayed the role of both the mother, Princess Yi Dan, and the daughter, Han Xiang, it was easily known that she was the baby girl.  However, whether Princess Yi Dan’s baby boy was alive or dead remained a mystery.

Regarding the whereabouts of the boy twin, netizens speculated that Kevin Cheng’s character was the long-lost brother of Gan Tingting.  Netizens complained that Mystery in the Palace was unrealistic, but hoped that the ending will not reveal that Kevin and Gan Tingting are siblings!

Excerpt from

Jayne: An early assessment of Mystery in the Palace, but there are still many more episodes to go. An historical murder/suspense thriller is a difficult genre to produce.

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  1. “Princess Yi Dan (Gan Tingting) was raped by drunk Emperor Kang Xi (Ni Qi Min)”

    So she was raped by her father or uncle?? ewwww =/

    1. I was thinking cousin since chinese rules on relationships are very strict and Kangxi will never be portrayed that negatively. I will say 2nd cousin.

      1. Wasn’t it ok for cousins to be in relationships back then(some even still allow it to this day, but just not as much)?? As long as it isn’t siblings, then they would accept it. Oh wait, they allowed the cousin relationships for the mom’s side but not the dad’s side which I find kind of contradictory since they did not allow people with the same surname to marry, but yet cousins are allowed to… Goodness…

      2. Chinese has strict rules. First cousins are like siblings. That’s why “tong gor” is called “ah gor”. Second cousins as in related from mother’s side is ok. Not from father’s side. It’s not contradictory at all. After all father’s genes is supposed to be more dominant.

      3. Ok, you have confused me now Funn. I always thought that first cousins from the mom’s side are allowed to get married since they don’t have the same surname. But the first cousin’s from the dad’s side you can’t because you have the same surname. I am not sure about the second cousins and beyond that… I was just referring to the first cousins which are almost like your siblings. Were you referring to the second cousins?? I personally don’t like cousins marrying since that is incest…

      4. Wait! Isn’t first cousins from FATHER’S SIDE? Mother’s side is err… cousins? Anyway you can marry mother’s side but not father’s side.

      5. No. First cousins is anyone you share grandparents with. 2nd cousins are like your Grandparent’s brother’s daughter’s daughter.

      6. Only in Chinese culture do we distinct your father’s brother’s kids as “Special cousins”.

      7. Ok, I am even more confused now… But whatever…I am too Americanized I think…

      8. So technically,

        You share grandparents with 1st cousins, great-grandparents with 2nd cousins, great-great grandparents with 3rd cousins and so on. Right?

      9. @Funn I don’t think the father’s genes are more dominant. It should be 50/50 for both, so technically, if you could marry your maternal cousin and have healthy babies, you could also marry your paternal cousin and have healthy babies. I think it’s more because paternal cousins share the same family name.

      10. AH reading all your comments about cousins make me sooooo confused *brain hurts* lol

        I dunno im an ABC and when i was younger? some TVB series had cousin relationship and i asked my mum so cousins can date?? =/ but she was like in the past yeah but nowdays no, so dont even (LOL)

        So yeah i think maybe it still exists in deep in mainland somewhere (like an isolated/poor area) but i expected Hong Kong to be more… modernized?
        I find it weird TVB still sell these type of story (actually.. there hasn’t been a cousin relationship/one sided crush from them for a while)

        But with eg “on the first beat” Kate liked Ron. Kates mum was Rons older sister.
        And also Kate char supposedly being from overseas… why would she fall for her cousin?
        In western country people dont date there cousins. Its looked down upon… so yah TVB should do a research on that. oh another example Kate (again) dating her “cousin” Moses (although they later found out they weren’t related but still she went there thinking he was her cousin)

      11. I never find cousin dating cousin (different surname) a big deal. So, I was surprised when I see all the eww and incest comment in AF. I think in HK, it’s not a taboo either. That’s why TVB film it.

      12. Hello ,Kangxi are not a Han Chinese ,he a Manchu mixed with Mongol ,Korean and Daur.
        in Manchu Kangxi can marry his cousin or wife of his father ,brother or son if anyone of them pass aways.incest is accepted in Manchu culture since Manchu religion is Tibetan Buddhist mixed with Shaman unlike Han.

      13. @HeTieShou Really? I’ve never seen On the First Beat, but it’s weird for TVB to use cousin romance as a plotline, even now. Dating cousins aren’t really taboo in HK, but no one does it.

      14. @Addy,
        What show is On the First Beat?? I have never seen that. Does it have a cousin theme too?? I heard that Koreans also allowed cousins to be date and get married too. I personally get really grossed out at cousins dating each other. I once talked to one of my best friends about it and he said that anything after 4th cousin was ok to him. For some odd reason, I still felt strange about that…

      15. Let’s be clear; cousins as in biu gor, biu mui is ok. Tong got, tong mui is not. Kangxi may be manchu but he got assimilated into han culture and confuciunism and incest by blood is of course a no no, by relations, well you can marry your brother;s wife not your niece so to speak unles you;re indian.

      16. U can marry your brother’s wife??! Man, I thought coveting thy neighbor’s wife was bad…

        BTW, Kate must be the only girl tvb force to portray the kissing cousin. I think she and Ron were 2nd cousins in “wax and wane” too.

      17. The Manchu culture allow tong gor and tong mui marry each other ,this not joke ,Nurhachi was allow his 2nd son Daishan son marry to his 5th son manggultai daughter .even when the Khan or emperor dies his son are allow to take his father wife ,when Kangxi died some of his wife was given to his son and nephew ,the Manchu only really become Chinese during Qian long era ,I study Manchu history before and some of my friends were Manchu origin.

      18. No same surname, nothing wrong to Chinese. They thinks the same blood only runs in the same surname ppl.

      19. There are many people who have the same surname but are not related at all, but you can be first cousins on the mom’s side and not have the same surname. Therefore, does that make it ok to get married?? I personally don’t believe that it is ok but that is just what I think…

      20. With science, we now know that it is risky to marry your first cousins (regardless of parental side) rather than a non-relative with the same surname. But people did not have that kind of logic back then.

      21. The risk of cousin marriage is actually not that much higher (2-3%) than non-relative marriage. It’s also very dependent of the gene pool.

      22. Maybe not but gene compounded on gene, say every generation marries the cousin or some close family with same genepool and the last or at the end of the genepool the latest generation will suffer.

    2. I can’t believe that they would say that Kang Xi raped someone… I think some people will complain just like they did when Zhu Ge Liang was made many years ago… They need to be careful when they use any historical figures in a drama…

  2. “Kevin Cheng’s “Mystery in the Palace” Criticized as Lacking Suspense”

    I don’t know why but when I saw this headline I burst out laughing!!! Really funny!!!

    I am not surprised.

    1. Funn,

      Does that mean u won’t be submitting a “why I love KC” essay?

    1. If that is the case, then that theme has been used way too many times. These mystery types of series are hard to produce since you seriously run out of ideas… I saw all 3 parts of Young Justice Pao and some stories/cases were interesting, but some were so boring and redundant….

      1. Young Justice Pao “borrowed” alot from Conan and Kindaichi Manga, but the pilot became increasingly draggy from the I to the III. I prefer the first one to the rest but acting wise, the 3rd Young Pao is the best, but he’s also the ugliest. ^^

      2. I don’t think so… I think the 3rd part was the most boring one of all. Of course they would have to borrow a lot of ideas for all of those cases since I highly doubt any of the storywriters were able to think of all of those ideas all by themselves…

      3. Dear, I said the actor in the 3rd one did the best job although he is the least handsome, and the plot of the first was the most interesting. Read carefully before reply.

      4. The boring pilot and the acting skill of the main lead are different stories.

      5. OH sorry, but I also did mean to say that Deng Chao’s acting(the one that played Justice Pao in the 3rd part) was not that great either… I actually like Zhou Jie and Lu Yi more…

      6. As a fan of Lu Yi, I have to say Deng Chao has a better acting but an unsuitable face to act the role than Lu Yi. And all the cases in first parts are borrowed either from Kindaichi or Conan detective and I find it is kinda annoying since the directors denied all. Nope, in fact they were not borrowed but basically put all in and just change the character. Even some minor details are also copied, such as the cat in the case of cutting corpses to make 6 becomes 7 (the best case). Borrow the idea is ok but copy all like this, I don’t like. That’s why Young Justice Pao is out of my fave list.

      7. I think Deng Chao is a good actor, but I did not like him the role of in Young Justice Pao. He did better in other series…

  3. Gan Ting Ting really looks like Shui Ling in the second photo.

  4. I like the series. I don’t think people should judge it so harshly after 2 episodes. Nothing has happened much to indicate that Kevin is some kind of love-sick loser. Even if he’s love-sick, he’s far from the pathetic image. The girl’s acting is pretty good too. I like that they keep running into funny misunderstandings 🙂 What a good chuckle!

  5. Anyone tells me where to watch. Give me the link, please! Thank

      1. Fan Bing Bing
        Gan Ting Ting

        it’s not just their images that look the same -.-

  6. I think it is quite simple. In the old days people with similar surnames weren’t suppose to marry one another for fear they were related on the boy’s side. Actually the Chinese never liked relatives to marry one another.

  7. The 1st thing I want to comment on the 1st eps is that: ancient women are just amazing, they can walk or run real fast instantly after giving birth. When Yi Dan princess carrying her baby and ran arround the room, i was like “ouch, will that hurts?”

    1. Lol, it’s matter of series. I also started to watch this one. Hope it is good as first eps is quite boring.

  8. Yes, they were too. In Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth” right after labour the mother gets back to the rice fields to work. Modern women are just having it too good. I tried to get the sries on Ch. 310 but without success. Can someone tell what time it airs over Malaysia?

  9. Hello jayne and everybody ,is this drama have feature any kung fu or wuxia fighting element ,is kevin have good in fighting skill in this drama ?is kevin han or manchu race in this drama?

  10. The actress (Gan Ting Ting??) has an unattractive profile. Frontal view, she’s pretty though. Also, the profile makes me think she has a nose job.

    1. Maybe she did have work done but of course she won’t admit it.

    2. I watched her first series Hanoi Hanoi and she looks the same to now. Even better.

  11. When I first saw Gan Ting Ting in Water Margin as Pan Jin Lian I thought she was so gorgeous. She is still pretty here, but not as captivating as she was in WM. Or perhaps she has one of those faces that diminishes in beauty with repeated viewing.

    ::scratches head::

    Perhaps, I am over thinking her face.

    1. Hm… maybe you are right. THere are some people that may not look that good at first glance, but look better and better the more you look at them. However, there are people that look good at first glance but then look worse and worse the more you look at them. Also, some look better in some series than others due to the make up, lighting, costume, and other factors.

      1. That can be true since she does have that typical mainland plastic look…

      2. I think FBB is pretty natural for the most part since I saw photos of her when she was really young and she looked about the same that she does now.I think she only had some minor things done. With Viann, we all know her story…

      3. @HTS: Which series you are mentioning about FBB? Huanzhu? I watched FBB’s first series about Latma Monk (she acts a minor role there) and she was pretty, but not really like now. I like her own look than now. FBB had done with face but she still kept her own features, just to make it looks more “star-alike”. So her PS is a well-done. PS supposed to be that, but be careful since it might make someone look uglier.

      4. @Fox,
        No, I am not talking about any series. I am talking about FBB’s photos when she was younger. She has a lot the same features that she does now. However, I think that she did some minor work done to make the features more “sharp”, which I think is similar to what Barbie Hsu did… Like I have said, even if they did get work done, they will NOT admit it. I hate that because IF they are so ashamed of plastic surgery or whatever, then why do it and then lie about it?? I find that so shameful and pathetic…

  12. wait, so i was watching this drama online and i didnt understand it. did she sleep with her brother?

      1. I have gotten lazy and busy to watch series lately. Maybe I will see this one when I have time.

    1. Can! In ancient times, can! Imagine, 13 year old give birth. Then 13 year old again give birth. So grandma is 26. Boy grows into 20, grandma is 46. Still much younger than her real age! Can!

      1. While Michelle does look 46, nowhere does Kevin looks 20!!!!!!!! They should have found someone like Li Geng Xin.

      2. Aiyahhhh!! He was supposed to be 23 in BBJX, Nicky was supposed to be 26… just assume in ancient times people age faster lar! Lin Geng Xin is not as famous as he.

      3. Maybe Michelle is late 50’s and Kevin is 30.

        And how can the netizens speculate that he is gan ting ting’s long lost twin brother when they obviously don’t look the same age?

      4. Worse is Florence Tan act his mother’s age!!! And she’s almost 10 years younger!
        The ages in this series is all over the place!!! LGX not as famous? Zhang Han more famous! get him!!
        BBJX not so bad, as Damien is acting his father, not acting as his grandfather.

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