'Queen of Tears' snags 24.9 percent rating in record-breaking finale

Actors Kim Ji-won, left, and Kim Soo-hyun star as a married couple with marital troubles on tvN's drama series ″Queen of Tears.″ The series' final episode, which aired on Sunday, achieved the highest viewership ratings ever for a drama series aired on tvN. [TVN]

“Queen of Tears,” the latest tvN romance drama series starring Kim Soo-hyun and Kim Ji-won, ended with a 24.9 percent viewership rating on Sunday, the highest for the cable channel.

The ratings surpassed the previous record held by “Crash Landing on You” (2019-20) featuring actors Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin, which achieved a rating of 21.7 percent with its finale.

“Queen of Tears” follows the story of Hong Hae-in — a third-generation heiress from a chaebol, or conglomerate, family to a chain of department stores — and her husband of three years, Baek Hyun-woo, who works as a lawyer for Hong’s family’s company. The drama shows the ups and downs of the couple's marital troubles, as well as a heartwarming story of family, while a feud between conglomerates rages in the background.

Actor Kim Soo-hyun made his return to the small screen after three years as Baek, while actor Kim Ji-won stars as privileged and sharp businessperson Hong.

Actors Kim Ji-won, left, and Kim Soo-hyun in their respective roles of department store heiress Hong Hae-in and lawyer Baek Hyun-woo in tvN drama series "Queen of Tears" [TVN]

The series started strong thanks to the two stars' reputations as well as a storyline that seemed new and refreshing — at first.

Though the show ended on a record-breaking high, it also drew criticism audiences for including cliché motifs that are often used in Korean dramas, such as terminal illness, memory loss and car accident tropes.

Viewers, for instance, disapproved of a scene where Baek miraculously survives a car accident, calling it an “unnecessary scene” that did nothing for the plot.

“An accident? Again?” a commentator asked on X, formerly Twitter. "'Queen of Tears' would not be out of place if it was aired in the early 2000s,” another viewer said.

A scene from tvN's romantic comedy series ″Queen of Tears″ [TVN]

Meanwhile, Kim Soo-hyun thanked the show’s fans in a video uploaded to Netflix’s K-Content YouTube channel, which was recorded ahead of the finale’s airing on Sunday. The actor has clenched a Best Actor nomination for his role in “Queen of Tears” at the upcoming Baeksang Arts Awards, which will take place on May 7.