Queen of Ambition a.k.a For the Love of Melos

Someone...not to mention any names....calls me the Queen of Melos.  While I would argue with that description (I would say I'm the Queen of GOOD Melos) there is some truth to it.   Give me a well-written melo that I can sink my teeth into, that causes me to love and hate and cry and long and want to pull my hair out - in essence to FEEL - and I'm in heaven.  And right now my melo of choice is Queen of Ambition (Yawang). For those continuing to read, there will be NO SPOILERS.
I was looking forward to this drama for two reasons - Su Ae and Kwon Sang Woo.  Both are accomplished, mature, serious actors. At at more than half-way through, this show and their acting have not disappointed. Ha Ryu is the good hearted person who supremely sacrifices himself to help the woman he loves, until he can take no more. I believe KSW was once called the king of tears, and it really works to his advantage here. Su Ae is perfect as Da Hae, the woman we love to hate. Characterized as heartless upon first meeting, there is never any question as to her motives or how far she'll go to get what she wants, but the look of fear gracing her face from time to time is priceless. Almost as priceless as the feeling we get when the fall inches closer.
This is a story of revenge, and while some would say this is a clone of Nice Guy, I would say this is like Nice Guy for adults. Believe me, I loved my Nice Guy with it's fast-paced writing and beautiful characters (I'm still pining over Soong Jong Ki).  But there are important differences. Whereas in Nice Guy, MaRu quickly transformed into a cold, scheming person who we couldn't trust, the character development of Ha Ryu is well paced. We have a gradual build up of situations until Ha Ryu finally hits the breaking point. Yet there is no doubt that he has still retained his compassion and basic decency, along with our unfailing sympathy towards him. Oh, and there is one more thing that Ha Ryu trumps MaRu on:
Apart from a few well-developed abs, why do I love Queen of Ambition? There are definitely constant  twists that add suspense to this story, making me question "wait, what are they going to do with THIS?" So far, the tight writing and sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers have really delivered.  Some parts were very hard to watch in the beginning, yet I haven't felt the gratuitous sad for sad's sake type of tears as in the melos that play the leukemia or amnesia card.  (I will admit that one part was almost a deal breaker for me, but after I had to step away from the drama I realized it was very necessary to the storyline.) And it doesn't have the vile, difficult to watch subject matter or constant flow of tears that were so commonplace that they became meaningless that I Miss You had. Yes, there are parts here that require a suspension of disbelief, and no, it is not over so still has time to go downhill (why, Nice Guy, why??) But by the time I got to the revenge portion of the drama, I was fully invested in Ha Ryu's character and ready to volunteer to follow him around and hand him all necessary weapons of destruction that he may need!
Another important requirement for me is that I don't loathe any of the characters. Of course Da Hae is loathseome, but Su Ae portrays her in a cold but understated way. It's also a cast of beautiful people. For those wanting some idol love, there is Yunho of TVXQ who does a fine job as the second lead, along with Kim Sung Ryung as Yunho's sister/mother (this is not giving anything away, as it is glaringly apparent from the getgo).  I am really anxious to see how things progress with both of their characters. Rounding out the cast are Go Joon Hee as the broken-hearted fiance, Sung Ji Roo as an unlikely accomplice you grow to love, Lee Jae Yoon as the "hot step-brother" (to quote a friend), and then there's Cha Hwa Yun, the hardest working actress playing adjumma roles today!
All the beautiful people!
I am eagerly anticipating each new episode of Queen of Ambition and praying it stays as good as it's been until the end. Check back to see if it lives up to my expectations! If not, well, I've been known to write my own endings before. And there is always That Winter, The Wind Blows to start watching.