We enter a dark and gritty world.
Voice Episode 1 Recap “Chapter 1 – The Voice in the Dark”
It’s dark and she’s running, trying to get away from the man in the black hood. She hides.
Moo Jin Hyuk (Jang Hyuk) and his police detective buddies are on a stake out at the harbor. The bad guys arrive. Jin Hyuk asks where their backup is. They are on their way but it will take time to get there. Jin Hyuk tells his crew if they don’t act, the bad guys will get away on their boat. It’s time to move. They unload from the van. We see Jin Hyuk’s phone in the car, the call is from his wife, it goes unanswered because he’s apprehending the bad guys.
Jin Hyuk’s wife cries as her husband doesn’t answer the phone. She’s disheveled. It looks like she’s already been attacked once and the the man in the black hood is tracking her down. We can’t see his full face, only his mouth which smiles as he hunts his prey.
Jin Hyuk’s wife knows her husband can’t help her. She calls the emergency call center. Kang Kwon Joo (Lee Ha Na) answers the call. She has a hard time hearing Jin Hyuk’s wife who is speaking quietly as she hides behind items in a dark alley. Kwon Joo seems to be slow and her supervisor intervenes and takes the call. He tells Jin Hyuk’s wife they must know her location or they can’t help her. Jin Hyuk’s wife sees that she’s by a particular church. She says the name of the church. It’s unclear if she’s understood by the emergency call center. The call disconnects. The supervisor orders Kwon Joo to call Jin Hyuk’s wife back but she’s frozen. Someone hit redial and calls Jin Hyuk’s wife back.
Unfortunately, Jin Hyuk’s wife phone has the volume on her ringer ratcheted to maximum volume. Her attacker hears and starts zooming in on her location. Jin Hyuk’s wife scrambles out of her hiding location. She trips. The phone goes out of her hand. The emergency call center team can only listen as the attacker finds her. Jin Hyuk’s wife begs the man to let her live. She has a baby at home. The man smiles menacing and tells her she shouldn’t have attacked up. He takes a small kettlebell and tells her she must pay. He raises it over his head and beats her dead.
Jin Hyuk is drinking with his detective buddies after the successful capture of the bad guys. He gets a call from a detective friend, Shim Dae Sik (Baek Sung Hyun). He’s at the scene of the crime which is swarming with police. He asks Jin Hyuk if he’s spoken to his wife today. Feeling good due to the alcohol, Jin Hyuk laughs and says he missed a call from her earlier. Dae Sik is blunt. He’s at the scene of a crime and they think the murder victim might be Jin Hyuk’s wife. Jim Hyuk scoffs. He tells Dae Sik to look at the victim’s face and they’ll know it’s not his wife. Dae Sik says the face is unrecognizable. He tells Jin Hyuk to call his wife.
Jin Hyuk stares at his detective buddies and says someone is playing a bad joke on him. He feigns nonchalance as he calls his wife. She doesn’t answer. Jin Hyuk realizes this could be bad.
Drunk, Jin Hyuk arrives at the scene of the crime. He finds a note from his wife at the crime scene. He sees the lunch box she was bringing him. He crouches next to the covered body. He inspects the hand. He knows it’s her. He uncovered the battered face. He knows it’s her. He lays on the ground next to her uncovered and bloodied feat. He knows it’s her. He knows his wife is dead.
At the service, Jin Hyuk’s police detective buddies pay their respect. They tell him they’ve found his wife’s murderer. Jin Hyuk tells them to put the guy away.
Kwon Joo’s boss resigns from the emergency call center. Their incompetency at getting the needed information to help Jin Hyuk’s wife has led to public outcry.
At the trial, Jin Hyuk watches as the man accused of killing his wife claims he was drunk that night and does not remember. The prosecution calls Kwon Joo to the stand to identify the Jin Hyuk’s wife’s killer’s voice. The prosecutor has the defendant speak. Kwon Joo declares that is NOT the killer’s voice. The prosecutors are shocked, the defendant is shocked, Jin Hyuk is shocked, etc. Kwon Joo declares that if the recordings were listened to everyone would realize it is NOT the killer’s voice. The judge asks there are multiple recordings? Kwon Joo states there is MORE to recording of this crime. She states she spoke with the killer on her walkie talkie that night. She states this is the same man that killed her father. Wait a minute, is she reaching with that statement? How did her father die? How long ago? Does she have a grudge? The prosecutor is not happy and asks under his breath what she is doing. Kwon Joo replies that she told him this before the trial but he choose to believe she’d lie under oath. She tells the judges they must listen to the full recording. The judges ask for the full recordings.
They play the recording of Jin Hyuk’s wife begging for her life. And that’s it. Kwon Joo asks where the other part of the recording it. The judges states this is all the police sent over. Now Kwon Joo is the one shocked. The defendant states there’s doubt that he’s the killer. Jin Hyuk staggers to his feet and demands that Kwon Joo tell the truth. He slurs that the police found physical evidence in the defendant’s room. Dae Sik tries to hold him back but he won’t be silenced. Jin Hyuk offers Kwon Joo money to speak the truth. The defendant smiles, which enrages Jin Hyuk. The bailiffs hold him back from attacking the defendant and the judges adjourn the court session.
A reporter on TV states that because Kwon Joo declared he wasn’t the murderer, the defendant changed his plea to innocent, while the police claim confusion over Kwon Joo’s claims there was more to the recording, and now there is speculation that Jin Hyuk’s wife had a relationship with her murderer.
That’s a recipe for an unhappy Jin Hyuk. His wife dead. The murderer set free by the claims of a confused Kwon Joo. Yep, he can’t be happy.
Three years later…
Kwon Joo walks the streets alone. She listens to a news report of a grandson claiming he received a kidnapping call about his grandson. The kidnapping call is played. Kwon Joo calls the emergency call center tells them to turn on the news. She informs them that the kidnapping call is really the grandson’s voice put through a voice modulator. Her ears hear voice matches just like fingerprints match. She hangs up. She thinks to herself that due to a childhood eye injury she HEARS the world differently due to her special abilities. She puts on headphones.
At the police station a man arrested complains about his handling by Jim Hyuk. The detective complains that Jin Hyuk is muddying the waters by looking for the defendant that was released after being accused of murdering his wife. Jin Hyuk says that they need to find the defendant and bring him to justice. Dae Sik enters and tries to smooth things over. Dae Sik tells Jin Hyuk they should go. The arrested man realizes that Jin Hyuk is the man whose wife was killed 3 years ago. He calls him stupid for not being able to solve the crime. Jin Hyuk takes that personally and beats the man up. The police cover CCTV cameras during the incident. Jin Hyuk leaves. Dae Sik tells his fellow officers to take care of this and leaves.
After three years studying in the United States Kwon Joo is an expert voice profiler. She gives a presentation suggesting that the “golden time” to catch a criminal are the initial minutes after a call to the emergency call center is received. She declares they need instant dispatching of police. The police don’t like the idea. Kwon Joo retorts that their limited success in solving crimes lowers public faith. The police really don’t that that. Impassively Kwon Joo lists multiple cases where the victim died because the police did not act quickly enough. She recommends a new emergency call center be established that works directly with the police.
Dae Sik tells Jin Hyuk he’s got to stop pursing the defendant. Dae Sik tells Jim Hyuk that Kwon Joo is back. She wants to be the head of the new emergency call center. Dae Sik tells Jin Hyuk that Kwon Joo claims she’ll raise the statistics of success with her methodology helping the police’s image, victims and statics in the process. Dae Sik tells Jin Hyuk that Kwon Joo was successful in the United States though the rumor is that she was funded by the defendant’s sponsor. Ouch! That only lowers Jin Hyuk’s opinion Kwon Joo.
The police chief tells Kwon Joo he will not implement her proposal. That makes the other police officers happy. Kwon Joo tells the police chief his mind was closed to her suggestion. Jin Hyuk calls through the window. Kwon Joo sees him. She bids the police chief good day.
Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyuk that he should come with her so they can talk in private. He grabs her and says they don’t need to talk in private. He accuses her of taking bribes from the defendant’s sponsor, messing things up in court, and now daring to come here.
The police chief asks another officer why Kwon Joo is talking to Jin Hyuk. The officer realizes that Kwon Joo is why the defendant accused of killing Jin Hyuk’s wife was set free.
Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyuk that he’s in worse shape than she heard. That makes him laugh. Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyuk she wanted him to the police leader for her proposed new emergency call center. Jin Hyuk can’t believe her gall. He pretends to be honored. He insults her saying she even used her father’s death to advance herself. Made of stern stuff, Kwon Joo says that Jin Hyuk isn’t ready to listen to her or hear her apology. She turns to leave. He grabs her shoulder. Dae Sik arrives. He tries to pull Jin Hyuk’s hand off Kwon Joo. Dae Sik sees the police chief watching and relays this to Jin Hyuk who tells him to back off. Dae Sik walks away.
Jin Hyuk demands to know why Kwon Joo disappeared after destroying the case against the defendant that murdered his wife. He demands to know why she claimed there was more to the recording when there wasn’t. He yells at her to admit if she used her father’s death to advance her career. He demands to know if she was funded by the defendant’s sponsor to study in the United States. Not flinching or showing any emotion, Kwon Joo stares back and asks if Jin Hyuk is ready to hear the truth.
Meanwhile a kidnapping call comes into the emergency call center. The dispatcher asks for Kwon Joo to help.
Kwon Joo tries to push Jin Hyuk’s hand off her shoulder but he won’t release his grip. Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyuk that they can talk later, but she must engage right now or this new crime won’t get the proper attention. He stares at her. She stares at him. With flair he releases her.
Kwon Joo talks to the kidnapping victim. We see the beaten woman explain that she has been kidnapped by a crazy man. She eyes his backpack and verbalizes the knives it contains. She tells Kwon Joo she met him through online dating. He offered her $100 for their first date. He led her to a place but she refused come further. He forced her to come with him by knocking her out. Kwon Joo learns that the GPS tracking will take some time. Must be sub mistake because they say the victim is on a pay phone when she’s clearly on a cell phone. Kwon Joo asks the victim to describe her surroundings. The kidnapping victim describes a construction site. Kwon Joo thinks this is more complicated since the victim was moved to a prepared location. The victim crawls to a window a heaves out a brick. Mind you the phone call is live in the emergency call center. The kidnapper is outside and hears the brick hit the ground. He rushes inside to the where the victim is.
Kwon Joo tells the kidnap victim she’s going to help. She calls for the police to be dispatched to the area. Of course, the officer on the top of the response list is Jin Hyuk. He enters the emergency call center and tells Kwon Joo she cannot task him. She stares at him saying that his job is to respond to the victim. Jin Hyuk scoffs. The victim’s voice is heard asking when the police will arrive. She’s scared. She begs for help. Jin Hyuk remembers a similar call his wife made. He agrees to find the kidnapping victim. He leaves to find the kidnapping victim.
The police chief has watched the exchange and send his officer to tell Kwon Joo that she cannot implement the system they did not approve. Kwon Joo says the victim needs help and the archaic police department must adjust with the times.
We see 1 minute on the “golden time” timer.
Dae Sik demands to know why Jin Hyuk is responding to Kwon Joo’s request. He says she’s using him. He says the location is the same area his wife was killed. Jin Hyuk looks at Dae Sik and says the kidnapping victim needs saving. He leaves. I don’t care whatever demons are driving Jin Hyuk, the fact is that he sees the need to save the victim and is acting. This is a measure of the man moment.
The kidnapping victim cries and asks when the police will come. Kwon Joo distracts the woman by sharing the her father bullied her as a child. The kidnapping victim shares she was bullied by her father too. Kwon Joo promises the woman will find her.
Jin Hyuk leaves the police building.
The kidnapping victim remembers a playground. Kwon Joo sends a potential location to Jin Kyuk. He shakes his head and calls her a nuts. The kidnapping victim talks about colors. Kwon Joo realizes more details about the location.
We see 3 minutes on the “golden time” timer.
Jin Hyuk and his partner arrive and find only one other police pair was sent to search the area.
Kwon Joo tells the kidnapping victim the police have arrived in the area. She promises they’ll find her. Wow, that’s a big promise, one that she can’t make.
The police begin searching. Jin Hyuk sees colorful flyers on a door. He recalls the kidnapping victim saying something about colors. He enters the site. He directs his partner one direction while he goes another. He finds a cat in a closet.
The kidnapping victim says she’s going downstairs. The kidnapper arrives at the location. Kwon Joo tells the kidnapping victim to stay put. She goes downstairs and sees the kidnapper returning. She ducks into a side door but drops something on the steps.
Jin Hyuk and his partner are searching outside again.
The kidnapper rushes up the stairs past the side door where the kidnapping victim is. She asks Kwon Joo what she should do. She hides. The kidnapper finds the victim gone.
Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyuk the kidnapper has arrived. He asks people about colorful signs. They search without results.
The kidnapper enters the side room where the victim is. He doesn’t see her and heads into the street.
Jin Hyuk asks a convenience store worker about colorful signs. She mentions the abandoned day care center.
The kidnapper walks back to the location with a mallet in his hand.
Jin Hyuk tells Kwon Joo that there is abandoned daycare with painted flowers that could be what he’s searching for.
Kwon Joo asks about an lit sign. He tells her an abandoned daycare center would not have a lit sign. Oh no.
Kwon Joo tells the kidnapping victim the police as heading her way. That’s another promise she cannot guarantee. She’s grateful and apologizes for doubting Kwon Joo. She admits she’s made mistakes. Kwon Joo says she’s made mistakes too. But they must never give up.
The kidnapper returns. Kwon Joo hears him. He drags the mallet on the stairs. Kwon Joo realizes he’s carrying something metal. The kidnapper starts searching for the kidnapping victim. He enters the room where she’s at but doesn’t see the kidnapping victim because she’s behind the door. He leaves. The kidnapping victim tells Kwon Joo he’s leaving. The kidnapper finds what the kidnapping victim dropped on the stairs.
Jin Hyuk and his partner arrive at the abandoned daycare. Is it the right spot? Jin Hyuk and his partner enter. It doesn’t feel right but I hope I’m wrong.
The kidnapping victim peaks around the door she’s hiding behind and tells Kwon Joo that the kidnapper is downstairs. Kwon Joo is relieved but nervous. Something doesn’t feel right. I’m with you, this doesn’t feel right. The kidnapping victim says that the kidnapper carried a long wooden stick with something attached to it. Kwon Joo listens to the sound of the metal item the kidnapper carried. She wonders if it is a butchering implement. She recalls a case where someone’s skull was smashed. She sees a correlation I don’t see.
Jin Hyuk and his partner burst into a room at the abandoned daycare and find three guys drinking.
Kwon Joo tells the kidnapping victim she needs to get out. Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyuk he’s at the wrong location.
The kidnapper returns and pushes open the door that the kidnapping victim is hiding behind. He sees her. She sees him. He goes for her. He drags her out of the room.
Everyone at the emergency call center hears her pleas. The kidnapper puts her in a bathroom. Is she passed out?
Jin Hyuk runs through the alleys. She tells the police to be careful because the kidnapper is moving the victim. The police chief’s officer demands to know Kwon Joo’s thought process. Kwon Joo explains that the fracture skull case is directly correlated to the methodology of this case. The police chief’s officer yells that she’s crazy to correlate two unrelated cases and this proves her idea won’t work. The police chief’s officer gets a phone call that the correlated murder case suspect has an alibi. That angers the police chief. The police send more men to search.
Kwon Joo thinks that the kidnapper has taken the victims to somewhere that he can dismember the bodies. She thinks about the colors comment the victim told her. She thinks about the sounds. She stares at the map.
The kidnapper gets out his tools to dismember the victim.
Jin Hyuk searches.
Kwon Joo wonders if the victim saw and she heard a barber shop sign. She tells Jin Hyuk the victim is at a barber shop. He asks what she’s talking about. She says the kidnapper has a hammer just like the correlated case. He doesn’t believe her. She implores him to believe her. Jin Hyuk remembers coworkers talking about the correlated case suspect getting away. She tells him the location is a barber shop. He dashes towards the barber shop.
The kidnapping victim wakes and sees the kidnapper welding a knife. Jin Hyuk arrives outside the barber shop. The kidnapping victim asks the kidnapper not to kill her. He smiles and asks how she wants to die. He tells her he has to go home soon. He promises to make it quick. He raises the hammer. Jin Hyuk breaks in the barber shop door. We see 10 minutes on the “golden time” timer. The episode ends.
Gripping at times with logic issues that I must overlook.
* Here’s the good: The antipathy between Jim Hyuk and Kwon Joo was solidly crafted. Jang Hyuk made me believe that Jim Hyuk can’t move on without catching his wife’s killer. Lee Ha Na’s impassive yet determined manner (with sufficient sympathy for the victim) made me want to believe and back Kwon Joo. I want her statement in court that the defendant wasn’t the killer to be correct. Jin Hyuk has reason to hate and doubt Kwon Joo yet we know there is more to the story that what he knows. During the search, I was tense and engaged. I want Jin Hyuk to find the victim. I want Kwon Joo’s proposal to succeed and the police chief to be forced to be more responsive to victims. Kwon Joo’s superhuman hearing abilities I can accept. Kwon Joo’s proposal to dispatch the police to search and find victims before they die is logical.
* BUT…the magic of Kwon Joo directing the police and putting together the pieces (that included another case so this isn’t a one-off incident) in real time is a bit of a stretch. Kwon Joo telling the victim to stay put when the kidnapper wasn’t in the building was bad advice. Jin Hyuk was reduced to a pair of legs and eyes as an extension of Kwon Joo. I need more for Jin Hyuk than that. The production would have been improved if we saw the “golden time” displays multiple times so we had a sense of how much time was elapsing. Reference the final episode of K2 for the superb often referenced bomb countdown that ratcheted up the tension to the final moment.
Moo Jin Hyuk (Jang Hyuk) was broken by his wife’s death and must catch her killer. That’s a solid starting point for this character. That’s a great reason why he intensely dislikes Kwon Joo, who he believes set his wife’s killer free. Jang Hyuk sneers with conviction. Jang Hyuk’s gripped the character Kwon Joo on the shoulder with a pressure that ensured she wasn’t leaving without giving him answers. Jang Hyuk’s piercing intense stare was unnerving. And yet Jang Hyuk let us see the saw pain of this angry character and the need for resolution. I’m suspicious that Jin Hyuk’s friend Dae Sik is hiding something.
Kang Kwon Joo (Lee Ha Na) impassive nature and superhuman hearing makes her role easier and harder. Ha Na doesn’t need emotional stretch because her character shows limited feelings. Ha Na managed to make the superhuman hearing acceptable not ridiculous. The believably of this plot point rests squarely in the hands of the writer Ma Jin Won (who wrote I Am Legend and Save the Last Dance for Me which I have not seen). Ha Na can only execute what she’s given. I’ve never seen this actress before. My first impression is that right now while the character’s emotional scope is limited, she can do the job. Will she have the acting chops as the character evolves?