Jin Do-hyuk (LEE JUN KI) is a reporter for a tabloid MONDAY SEOUL. The little news agency doesn’t have much of a reputation, thanks to its sleazy news contents and paparazzi-styled method of gathering news. Still, he’s enthusiastic about his work and as his colleague commented, he’s the only diligent reporter in the office.
Due to his work, he’s buddies with the officers from the criminal section of the Yongcheon Police Division. He sorta bribes them with little gifts and coffee and soju sessions just so to gather information. However, he has just met with an opposing force that will put that previous arrangement on a permanent standstill.
That force is the new section chief Joo Jae-in (YOON SO YI), who he had the literally slammed into while he’s on the swinging high, clicking paparazzi pictures at a concert; and she’s on an undercover assignment protecting a female pop group (yes, that’s really KARA) from an anonymous threat. She’s knocked out cold and as the performers and audience scramble off in mid the chaos, the attending press captures the moment Do-hyuk performs mouth to mouth resuscitation on Jae-in! Jae-in regains consciousness and seeing a stranger putting his lips on her isn’t exactly helping her think straight. She reflexively hits his family jewels and gets him hauled up in lockup for the night.
The next day, Do-hyuk and Jae-in, in their lipped-up glory, grace the newspaper front. Do-hyuk is excited about being (in)famous for the day but Jae-in is still clueless….until they meet at the police station and a verbal war breaks out.
Do-hyuk: WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
Do-hyuk: Great! What perfect timing! How about an apology from you?
Jae-in: APOLOGY? ME? TO YOU?
Do-hyuk: What a woman…! I broke my camera, got a lashing from my chief and spent the night in the lockup. All because of you. Not only that, I lost my only chance at scooping an exclusive report!
Jae-in: Exclusive? Ah….celebrity paparazzi. You’re the reporter from MONDAY SEOUL who specializes in covering news about marital affairs. Isn’t it? You call that sort of trash a news report?
Do-hyuk: Hey! Regardless of the content, as long as there’s readership, it’s worth writing about!
Jae-in: Ah….you must be basking in bliss then, finding such great achievement in your work.
Do-hyuk: Cut that crap. Apologize. RIGHT NOW!
Jae-in: Excuse me too! My case was ruined because of you! I hurt my head because of you! And it’s still hurting now! AHHH! (Jae-in holds the back of her head, yakking in pain)
Do-hyuk: What a woman…..! YOU! Almost ruined my entire life too! (Do-hyuk points south, reminding her where he was hurt)
Jae-in loses the upper arm. Her look is telling that she’s reminded she’s at fault for almost causing grievous hurt. That is until, her subordinates (who are unaware of the grudge between them) stops Do-hyuk from being rude, telling him she’s their new boss. Do-hyuk crumbles, Jae-in regains her earlier stance. She asks him what’s his purpose for coming here? Is his presence even legitimate? She takes the opportunity to remind everyone that all future cases – solved or unsolved – remains confidential. Do-hyuk yells at her for being unprofessional and finds her too unreasonable to continue fighting until….he glimpsed the paper and the two stars of the day put him right back into a favorable position. For vengeance.
He grabs the paper and calls out for the other officers, spreading a little gossip about the female in the news. The grapevine says she’s a cop too! He narrates how she had went down and how he had given her the ‘mouth-to-mouth’. And how he had learned that she’s actually from their division! Jae-in, who had grown suspicious of what’s in the news, moves up to look at the paper. She’s shocked and smacks her palm right over the mouth of the horrendous blabbermouth! At the losing end now, she begs him with a little facial language – desperate eyes, shaking head, beseeching. Do-hyuk nods his head, signaling a truce. Jae-in is relieved, she slacks immediately, letting her hand slip from the gaping hole of broken promise! In an instant, Do-hyuk eyes light up, thumbs right at her face and tells everyone “SHE’S THE ONE!” and he scrams right out of the office. Jae-in is seriously pi*sed, left to endure the humiliating giggles and snickers from her men.
Now enter CHARACTER #3 – Kang Hae-sung (UHM KI JOON) from a reputable and large news agency – Daese Ilbo. How high is he on the high seat, I don’t have an idea now but he’s high enough to be after his reporters’ hides for letting tabloid news hit the front page. He’s high enough to bought lunch by political figures to help blank out their dirt from the media and he’s high enough to reject them outright. Of course, he’s high enough to have Chairman Choi’s (of the news agency) backing for him to be that bold. Such fearlessness seems so attractive in print except that newsman Kang is treading on the tightrope of underworld links too. Not the justice by night underworld dealings but the injustice kind as we see him receiving a call from a shifty figure Gong Chil-sung , asking him if he knows that a certain Jo Yong-deok will be released from prison and he might need some finishing off. The cool newsman tells him that he will handle the problem himself (which really means butt-off!) and Gong isn’t too happy with that sort of careless treatment.
Enter CHARACTER #5384 – Jo Yong-deok (BAEK YOON SHIK) aka THE TRIAD. Former inmate as of now. Trapped in a time warp as in forever. Do-hyuk’s interview quest of 15 years but the sombre ex-kingpin is nowhere interested. He has a debt to collect and he heads off with a trusted triad member Sang-cheol (whose loyalty may need some looking into, I think), with a persistent Do-hyuk tailing them. They arrive at Daese Ilbo building and Yong-deok lunges for Chairman Choi. Ever the newsman, Hae-sung captures that scene on camera (and we notice a quick moment of recognition for Do-hyuk), the trio are held back and soon ferried to the police station, by order of Jae-in who was called in by Hae-sung. Hae-sung, plays the nice gentleman and tells Jae-in to let the trio off, he thinks it’s an incident out of a misunderstanding. Jae-in complies, lets them off and enters into a small argument with Do-hyuk.
And now the relationship pattern is coming together. Jae-in has a crush on Hae-sung (who says she isn’t with that adoring smile). Hae-sung isn’t interested at all, likely playing to that adoration for favors (like that of today). Hae-sung knows Do-hyuk (because he asks Jae-in about him) and is not buddy with him (by that conceited smile he flashes on knowing that Do-hyuk is a small fry attached to a cheap tabloid). And we all know that this is likely to be played out to Jae-in being the trophy later.
Do-hyuk, undeterred by Yong-deok’s rejection to be interviewed, tries to get into his favor by feeding him. Yong-deok feeds himself but is still not obliged to return the favor. Do-hyuk leaves him his contact number and address. He’ll be waiting. Yong-deok splits path with Sang-cheol and heads off to meet Gong Chil-sung. His expression says he knows Chil-sung is no good anymore but still asks why didn’t he come visit? Gong Chil-sung dispenses some good advice to his hyung-nim – times aren’t like before…the triad is dissolved….they have gone straight and it’s not doing hyung-nim any good to be thinking about that business anymore. He hands over some money to Yong-deok and gets whacked in the head by an ashtray. Blood trickles down, Gong Chil-sung is a wounded and raging animal. Yong-deok leaves without batting an eyelid.
Yong-deok decides he wants to look for Do-hyuk but he’s seriously hampered by the modern day inventions so he ends up WALKING to Do-hyuk’s residence – to see him trapped in a serious mess. What happened? Retreat a couple of scenes back. Do-hyuk was at a nightclub, he’s friendly with the female boss Madam P. He’s fishing for news leads. She tells him to come help her instead, she can even pay him good money and on time too. He declines but promising to come help when he’s free. He heads home, surprised to see his nieces So-ra and Jung-ah. And the cheat of his sister (Do-hee) who he’s now trying to make her pay for running of with his house deposit. She scurries away when the creditors come-a-knocking and Do-hyuk suffers the physical brunt. This is when Yong-deok comes to his rescue, which he then uses the favor to exchange for staying for the night. Do-hyuk learns that he’s now a guarantor to his sister’s debts. How it came to that, he doesn’t know. Now that she has skipped town, Do-hyuk is expected to pay up or surrender his organs.
After the initial earth-shattering news, Do-hyuk has calmed down and promises to care for his nieces despite his impoverished state, the least he promises to do is to feed them. Meanwhile, not wanting to be obliged to Do-hyuk, Yong-deok declines dinner although his belly is growling in hunger. That night, he offers us a peek into his life. It was a last assassination job, after which he will leave the triad and go back to his wife and daughter. But his flashbacks shows us that he missed his target…..the next morning, he asks for breakfast. He had mended the girls’ torn socks as a barter. No obligations again.
Do-hyuk is dropping off So-ra at school before he leaves for work when they meet Jae-in. She has just moved into his neighborhood and had bumped right into his hip. She thinks his nieces are his daughters and tells him to live right for their sakes. So-ra corrects her but Jae-in is not in the mood for another argument with the kid who she already thinks is a species of rudeness, taking into account her encounter with So-ra at the convenience store. The nasty mood prompts Jung-ah to wail, Jae-in tries to coax her unsuccessfully and Do-hyuk has just found his babysitter for the day. Do-hyuk might think he has scored big for that morning but things are not well at work. The office is bare, the boss is gone, the reporters are jobless and penniless.
His day gets gets worse when he meets Hae-sung outside the police station. Do-hyuk is there for Jung-ah, Hae-sung is there to meet Jae-in for lunch (in return for the favor). Hae-sung tells Jae-in they were classmates from middle school and wants a private word with Do-hyuk, at which he turns smug. Do-hyuk is surprised that Hae-sung is a section chief at Daese Ilbo.
Meanwhile, Yong-deok has also left the house to look for his wife, who has remarried by now and refusing to let him meet his daughter, citing his unchanged ways by evidence of the newspaper report. Hae-sung’s picture-taking has a purpose and it has gone on to make the news.
Yong-deok finds Do-hyuk drinking in the park, he almost choked him by telling Do-hyuk that he’s ready for the interview. Do-hyuk tells him that it’s pointless now, his office has shut down. “Then set up another one.” Do-hyuk chokes again. “WHAT?” Without much of an expression, Yong-deok says. “Let’s set up a news agency.”
***END OF EPISODE 1***