What’s it like to shatter a glass ceiling in an ostracised field that everyone else sees as gross and unlucky? Throughout the story, Chu Chu is doing something extraordinary: being the first female coroner in official service, and straight to the top of the three judicial offices, no less. Another drama might make that the entire narrative’s core, playing up the challenges and prejudices that a woman has to overcome to rise in a patriarchal world. But not The Imperial Coroner.
In this show, Chu Chu is a professional through and through. She’s not fixated on the idea of going down in history as the first woman this-or-that; her main priority is to do a good job and play her part in catching villains. She knows that she’s being ostracised and looked down upon because of what she does, but doesn’t let it get to her. She doesn’t think it’s about her at all; in one scene, Leng Yue tries to comfort Chu Chu by saying that no one will dare to bully her once she proves herself and attains a higher position. Chu Chu’s response is that she hopes that one day she won’t be bullied, not because of her position, but because all coroners will no longer be treated as pariahs.
It’s this professionalism and calm sense of self that makes Chu Chu such a great character. She knows what she’s good at, she’s committed to it, and she does a great job no matter what. ✊🏼