Recap: The Chaser Episode 1

I've heard only GREAT comments about The Chaser but surprisingly it was not recapped anywhere. I suppose at the end of the day, there was just not enough pretty (faces) to attract the interest of the audience (outside of Korea anyway - it did very well with the Korean audience). The funny thing is, I never had the urge to check it out until I saw Haha bumping into Son Hyun-joo on Running Man. And then, Kim Sang-jung and Jang Shin-young became the guests for one of the episodes. And even though they played loosen-up versions of their characters, I find both of them indescribably magnetic and arresting. So here I am hopping on the bandwagon trying to find out what is it about The Chaser that made it such a big success.

Episode 1

Courtroom. The verdict is being delivered in the trial involving PK Joon (Lee Yong-woo). One by one the verdict is read, and he's being declared not guilty for almost all the charges. His punishment? A mere 200 million in fine. The fan girls cheered at the verdict. The prosecutor (Ryu Seong-soo as Choi Jung-woo) and a lady reporter (Koh Joon-hee as Seo Ji-won) closes their eyes in disappointment. Through all this, our hero (Son Hyun-joo) purposefully makes his way into the courtroom, even attacking the guard outside when he was prevented to do so. As the Judge ends his verdict, two shots ring out.

Hong-seok strides to the center of the court and releases more shots, to the ceiling and the clock. The audience cowers under their seat. He shouts,"Judge, it's not the end yet!" He walks to PK, pointing the gun at him and announces: "From now on, I'm the prosecutor! The person who determines your life and death! What happened on the 28th of May 2012 at 9.42pm?" PK begs to be saved. Hong-seok is unmoved. His daughter must had begged to be saved too right? But what did he do?! Speak up! PK notices the court guard sneaking up on Hong-seok and tries to distract him by answering stutteringly. Lady reporter kicks over a nearby chair which successfully draws Hong-seok attention to the approaching guard.

PK makes a run for it but Hong-seok is on him again. In the ensuing struggle, the court watches in bated breath as the two fight for the gun in Hong-seok's hand. A shot reverberated ominously. Who was shot? It's PK! Hong-seok tries to stop the bleeding. He can't die. He has to tell the truth! As Hong-seok is being dragged away, he keeps shouting at PK not to die and speak out...How's that for the first 5 minutes of the drama?

Anyway. Rewind. Hong-seok is organizing a birthday party for his daughter, Soo-jung. Going slightly overboard with his enthusiastic singing which had daughter stepping on his foot to remind him to cut it out. Hah. After she blows her candles, dad whips out tickets to the sold out concert of PK Joon. Her friends are impressed and dad manages to get the boy  she likes, Jae-joon (Ah...I see him everywhere. He was in ILLTR too) to ask for the special seats. Father-daughter does this really adorable handshake thingy under the table. Ah...a dad who helps the daughter nail her guy. (I so cannot imagine my dad doing that!).

Soo-jung gives daddy a big kiss for his efforts when he leaves. She declares she wants to marry a guy like him when she grows up. Aww. Dad urges her to run back to her little party. Hong-seok receives a call and he's all gruff and unyielding to whatever it is that was requested of him by the person on the phone. Then Soo-jung calls out to him sending loves and kisses and he replies in kind. So sweet.......! LOL. He's truly a daughter's slave. :)

Hong-seok shows up at work - he's a cop - and threatens his superior Detective Hwang with a resignation letter. You can tell this is a familiar exercise Heh. Hong-seok plays the sympathy card by listing all the injuries he's sustained in the past years. The bottom line- he doesn't want to accept their latest orders to protect some candidate for presidency. Detective Hwang slips away unnoticed while Hong-seok is distracted, but not before aiming a fist at him in silent frustration. Haha.

In a large office elsewhere, Senator Kang Dong-yoon (Kim Sang-jung) reads the papers, ostensibly oblivious to his ringing cellphone. Senator reassures a worried Secretary Shin Hye-ra (Jang Shin-young) that time on on his side and they proceed to the press conference. But the hall is empty! No a soul in sight. Two election committee investigators show up to arrest his long-time assistant for alleged bribery. His cellphone rings again. It's his father-in-law. Senator answers the phone, all polite and submissive. Father-in-law is polite and all, but the undercurrent tension is so strong you know they hate each other. Father-in-law asks him pointedly, "Does he think time is still on his side?" Senator promises to be home soon.

Hye-ra knows he's upset. "There's no one here now. You can scream as loud as you want. Or...cry." She offers to leave him alone and once she shuts the door behind her, we hear Senator Kang screaming in frustration and throwing stuffs.

Hong-seok is out drinking and eating meat with Detective Jo, a serial bride on her way to her third marriage. Hah. She's got some bad experience with an ex so she decides if she's gonna get conned, then it might as well be some stranger. Don't agree with her logic, but hey, it's her life. Soo-jung calls dad and tells him excitedly that Jae-joon presented her with a hair clip and told her she's pretty. lol.She tells her dad all this!? Haha. Dad offers to pick her up but changes his mind when Hwang joins them, tempting him to stay with premium beef. Heh. Off duty, Hwang is more accommodating and apologizes for his incompetence. He's been team leader for 20 years. He doesn't have it easy too. Hong-seok finally caves and agrees to his request.

Elsewhere. A girl - Soo-jong!-  is knocked down by a fancy car. The driver, a distinguished-looking lady freaks out and wants to check on her. Her companion - it's PK Joon - advises her to leave the victim. She ignore his objections and gets down to check. Thinking the girl dead, she freaks out more, at a loss. PK Joon tells her to leave, no one would know. A gravely -injured Soo-jung grabs PK's ankle, begging to be saved. PK recognizes his concert tickets and realizes the girl might identify him as suspect if she lives. So instead of responding, he drags the protesting woman back into the car. He is not going to risk his hard-earned career over this. And so he revs the car and runs over Soo-jung's body. WTH!

Daddy Hong-seok is happily boasting to his colleagues how his daughter wanted to marry someone like him, unaware of his daughter's fate.He calls his beloved daughter to check on her just as PK Joon reverses over Soo-jooon AGAIN. Man, are you sick?! Soo-jung cellphone rings. Bleeding profusely now, she tries to reach for it but passes out before she is able to. PK drives off nervously, leaving her for dead. OMG is she still alive?

Senator joins father-in-law , president Seo for dinner. Seo describes a scenario on how the leasers of the lands of the owners are revolting against the owner. Senator denies that he's thinking of usurping his place. Seo slides divorce papers towards him and reminds him to prepare the speech declaring he will step down from campaigning for presidency. Just as he is being dismissed, he makes a final plea to campaign for presidency. He's got quite the chance since he commands 60% of public favour. Once he's elected, he promises to support the company's projects. In fact, he will not interfere in the company's affairs. Seo doesn't really care. His success is build on convincing others to trust his promises but distrusting other people's promises. He makes a call to a high-ranking officer who's responsible to draw up the papers to arrest Senator, reminding him of his powers over his fate.

Suddenly, a woman rushes into the room -it's the lady who ran over Soo-jung, and she's Seo's daughter, Seo Ji-soo, aka the Senator's wife! Thy're clearly estranged judging from her cold behaviour towards him - a marriage of convenience? Anyway, Senator finds her distraught behaviour suspicious and overhears that she was involved in an accident. Hmm...I see where this is going.

He asks Hye-ra for an update on his wife's current lovers. Pfft. Hye-ra tells him she's currently dating PK Joon, whom she meets up with twice a week at the mansion. Wow. Is there nothing she doesn't know? He instructs her to investigate what happened today...

Hong-seok finally receives the call. A moment later, he's wheeling his daughter into an ambulance. He's transferring Soo-jung to another hospital where his good friend, Dr.Yoon Chang-Min (Choi Jun-yong) works. Doc explains that her condition is very serious but as a friends, he'd try his best to save her. Then he hugs the distraught Hong-seok reassuringly before entering the Operation Theater (OT). Hong-seok belatedly remembers to call his wife to explain that Soo-jung is in the hospital.

Elsewhere, the senator's lackey has managed to beat the truth out of PK Joon. Hye-ra gets an update - the senator's wife did it and the victim may not survive. Senator asks Hye-ra if she believes in God. Only when it suits her. What of him? He does - from now on... Dun dun. Clearly he believes luck is on his side now. He's got the ammo to go against Seo. He chucks the divorce papers away and starts composing his speech on pulling out from election.

Mum, Mi-yeon (Kim Do-yeon) finally reaches the hospital, still in shock. She blames Hong-seok for not picking her up, especially once Hong-seok admitted that he was out drinking...He beats himself about it too, feeling guilty for not being with Soo-jung. Poor daddy. One of the assistants leaves the OT glumly. Mum faints when they are told that things are not looking so good in there. Oh no......

Dad looks at a photo of himself and a young Soo-jung as he watches over his wife. Flash to Soo-jung as a little child in her first public performance. She cries out of fear and daddy immediately joins her on stage. He sings My love, Clementine (Korean version) out loud and after a while a timid Soo-jung finally joins him and that was when the photo was taken. Now outside the OT, daddy sings the song again in encouragement to his daughter. Oh gawd, bawling here. He pauses when he chokes with tears and in the OT, Soo-jung's vitals flatlines. Nooooo! Daddy sings resolutely again, his voice hoarse. And like a miracle Soo-jung seems to sense her father's encouragement and she's back! Tears, they can't stop falling!!! Sob sob.

Senator intrudes on Seo who's still trying to comfort a distraught Ji-soo. He's here with the speech, ready to be cross-checked by Seo. Seo dismisses him but he's unexpectedly firm. In fact, he reads out the content aloud. Basically he's declaring that he's withdrawn himself from the election because he can no longer face the public - his wife was involved in a hit and run case (more like hit-hit-hit and run!). Ji-soo slaps him in anger. But he's indifferent to her. She was never his wife, only the daughter of his father-in-law. The winds have changed now, Seo realizes Senator holds the upper hand since he is fond of his daughter and will no way allow her to be ruined. He promises to deal with the matter in the morning but Senator demands that it be done now. Hah. Playing hardball now are we. Seo reluctantly calls the previous high-ranking officer to rescind the charges against the Senator.

He returns to his office and starts ordering Hye-ra to schedule appointments. He's gonna get his election after all. But Hye-ra's got bad news- the surgery is successful. Man, I've never seen people looking so glum over a successful surgery before. He slams the table in anger, "No. She can't...wake up." *Chills.

Now that Soo-jung is sure to recover, mum and dad are in a more cheerful mood. Daddy's been buying ddeokbukki (korean snack) at least three times a day. It's her favourite food and he hopes that the smell will wake her. Mum reminds him it's still too early for that because she's still not breathing on her own (without machines). But might there be miracle? Because Soo-jung's fingers are twitching!

Chang-min comes to check and announces that she's recovering nicely. She should regain consciousness within the day. Mum and dad are beyond happy. Chang-min tells dad to save his gratitude until they leave the hospital. Then he jokes that Hong-seok should never drag someone out of the loo even if he's anxious. Hah. Mum hugs dad in relief, thanking him for being there. He's the pillar of her strength. Dad says that they must be happy forever.

Hye-ra reads out the Senator's schedule as he plays with his son. He's quite the doting father. But once the son leaves, Hye-ra tells him that the 30 billion plan has been put in motion. The hospital was closed down several years ago due to a medical mishap which led to a debt of 10 billion. He's also in gambling debt and his wife is threatening divorce. it? The senator's lackey has approached CHANG-MIN! Senator is convince doc will do it. The weakest thing in the world is a friendship which can't resist temptation. Oh no oh no oh no. Don't do it!!!

Senator and wife plays the model husband and wife as they make their official rounds under the watchful cameras of dozen of reporters. In the hospital, Chang-min slips into Soo-jung's room quietly. He looks conflicted and leaves. But a moment later, he's back. He injects a vial of yellow liquid and apologizes to Soo-jung before leaving the room in haste.

Almost immediately, Soo-jung starts having trouble breathing. The staffs come running in and Soo-jung's parents as well. Hong-seok hugs Mi-yeon to stop her from interfering with the staff administering treatment. But he watches, expressionless, as Soo-jung gasps for breath until she draws her last breath. OMG that's so cruel...

Meanwhile, Hye-ra receives notification that the deed is done. She nods to the expectant Senator. He closes his eyes for a moment (did he feel a slight remorse?) but dons his political mask and continues posing for the cameras. Hye-ra turns away, not looking too happy. Can I interpret that as you having a conscience?

Detective Hwang and Jo are here to pay their respects. All her classmates too. Hong-seok sees Jae-jun among them and recalls her last conversation. Ooof. Hurts so bad. Later dad goes out to find mum staring into space, alone in the hospital compound. She seems to be on autopilot - asking about the preparations. But dad has taken care of everything. She turns to dad, both of them looking so heartbroken my heart goes out to them. Mum in in full-blown grieving mode, listing out her regrets one after another. She thought she had time... Dad tells her it's not her fault and hugs a crying mum comfortingly.

The next day, at the crematorium, a noticeably haggard Hong-seok performs the last rites with a stoic face. It's beautiful to watch but so very heartbreaking. After it's done, he marches out determinedly. He finds

Chang-min on his way out looking miserable (well, he should be. I wish you rot in hell.). He calls doc his best friend and asks that he takes over his duties at the funeral as the host (family of deceased). Doc looks shock, well it's twisted that he's grieving for the person he KILLED. Hong-seok dismisses his reluctance. He wants to catch the bastard who did this to his daughter.

As he marches pass the lobby, we see Kang giving a passionate speech about upholding justice for the unfortunate, being a friend of the people and creating fair society on the TV. Hypocrite with a capital H. *Hands in fist*


The story pulls you in like no other. One episode in and I'm already invested in everyone's lives. Yes the baddies included. Shows what great actors can do with promising characters. Son is fabulous in his character. The father-daughter relationship was so heartwarming and adorable that I feel his pain so much when she was taken away from him so cruelly like that. When she was knocked down the first time it was an accident, then the bloody star PK Joon ran over her twice to make sure she's dead?! WTH. And after almost dying in the OT, she had to be killed because she's a pawn in the power play between Kang and his father in law?! And by the same doctor who brought her back from the brink of death? Jeez, he gives Doc a bad name. Even more sick is the fact that he actually killed the daughter of his best friend. OMG, when the truth comes out, I can only imagine the anguish Hong-seok will feel. And to think he had PROMISED to save her!

Well, I'm pretty much ranting instead of giving a proper, rational analysis. But man, it just shows how emotional I am after watching this. How affected I am by the plight of this father and daughter. If this continues, I don't doubt this drama is worth every minute I spend watching.

This is more like an introduction. I've not decided about continuing the recaps. If I do, it will be slower. :)


  1. Such a great start. I haven't had the chance to watch this drama, so your recap is awesome. Thanks!