Criminal Minds Episode 1 Recap

Criminal Minds Episode 1 Recap

Here we go…Lee Joon Gi’s latest kdrama…I’m like a moth to a flame…

A bomb goes off in an office building downtown. We get our first glimpse of Kim Hyun Joon (Lee Joon Gi) in black with a go-cam on his helmet.

Decent special effects. No one looks good sporting a camera on their helmet.

Four members of the Criminal Minds team report to Team Lead Kang Ki Hyung (Son Hyun Joo) about the bomber they have in custody. He was special forces. Team Lead Kang orders his team to do various tasks.


Sporting the biggest triangle earrings in kdrama history Na Na Hwang (Yoo Sun) reports to listening team members that the bomber had an incident from his army days that killed seven. Team Lead Kang orders the young nervous police officer to cut the white wire. He’s a bomb expert too? Hyun Joon declares he can’t take watching. He’s told to chill while the bomb is defused. They ask the bomber which option to take. Before he can answer, Ha Sun Woo (Moon Chae Won) calls to inform Team Lead Kang that the bomber was never injured in the explosion. The bomb tells them to select the command “pass”. Team Lead Kang orders the opposite command, “by-pass”, be selected. Team Lead Kang’s superior argues with him. Team Lead Kang declares killing people is the bombers go, not helping them. His superior orders the command “pass” selected. Hyun Joon watches it selected, the clock stops, then starts, then the bomb explodes, killing the young nervous police officer and engulfing those near in flames. The impact spews through the side of the building. Somehow Hyun Joon stands there with minor injuries. Team Lead Kang stares at him. Hyun Joon cries for his fallen fellow police officer.

Okay, glad the obligatory opening big money scene is done. Let’s move on.

1 year later…

A girl is lured by a test drive of a cute antique car. When the man offers to drive her home, she agrees but quickly realizes they aren’t going to her house. He hits her. When she wakes, she’s blindfolded, chained, and in a cage. She screams.

The chief hears of the girl’s kidnapping. She is likely the 4th victim of a serial killer’s spree. He declares it is time for Team Lead Kang to return to duty. Sun Woo replies that is Team Lead Kang’s decision to make.

Team Lead Kang is teaching a class on serial killers. He describes one serial killer that would place an item from the previous victim on the current. He’s never been caught and stopped killing 7 years ago. He makes the point that anyone can be a criminal. Sun Woo steps into the class and listens.


After class Sun Woo details the 4th victim. He starts to walk away. She encourages him to get help to rid himself of his demons. He stares at her.

Hyun Joon tries to figure out details about the current case. His partner calls that a suspect has been apprehended.

Waiting for his wife to complete her doctor’s visit, Team Lead Kang talks to his young son, Kang Han Byul. He has a flashback of the bomb explosion and his carnage. He gets dizzy. When his wife, Hye Won, exits the doctor’s office she tells him the good news. She’s pregnant and 8 weeks along. They hug, thrilled with the news.

At home, Team Lead Kang remembers Sun Woo’s words to get help. His wife tells him that he needs to return to work to sort out his demons. She and Han Byul will guard the house. They hug.

Yoo Min Young (Lee Sun Bin) briefs the team on the series of victims. The chief asks for details. Sun Woo detail that the killer is getting better at covering his tracks and leaving less trace evidence.

Hyun Joon tells the squad chief the suspect isn’t the killer. He explains the suspect has narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, that precludes him from driving.  The criminal minds team arrives and Sun Woo announces they will be working with the police on the 4th victim.  She introduces Professor Lee Han (Go Yoon) and Yoo Min Young. Miffed Hyun Joon leaves.

The criminal mind team explains the details of the victims. Based the previous pattern, the 4th victim will be killed in 48 hours as the killer allows each victim a certain number of days alive (the 3rd victim had 5 days, the 4th victim has 3 days, etc.). Min Young explains there’s a gag order on discussing the case.


Hyun Joon serves his partner at his mother’s eatery. He stares the picture on the wall. Ah, the police officer that was killed in the bomb blast was his brother. His sister comes into the eatery and they tease each other. Hyun Joon leaves calling farewell to his mother.


Hyun Joon retraces the victim’s path before her abduction. He seems to have the ability to visualize. He ends up at the street corner where the abduction occurred. He looks across the street and sees Sun Woo.

Nice graphics and music in that scene. Hyun Joon is obviously smart and detailed oriented. Just the kind of guy for the criminal minds team.

Min Young and Professor Lee visit the victim’s brother who can’t believe Professor Lee is a doctor. Professor Lee retorts he has 2 PHD degrees and is working on a third. He notes with an IQ of 187, he’s considered a genius. He sees a scrapbook with antique cars. He asks if the victim was into them. The brother confirms this.

I like smart nerds. Professor Lee qualifies.

Hyun Joon asks Sun Woo if she’s following him. She provides details on the case. He’s miffed she has his case file. She continues with her theory. Hyun Joon sighs and asks if she always has her say. As he starts to explain what’s important, Sun Woo takes a phone call and learns from Min Young that the victim likes antique cars. Hyun Joon realizes the victim was abducted with the lure of a test drive. Sun Woo offer to give him a ride. He declines. When he sees his car being towed, he reverses his decision.

Good first meet. He’s smart, she’s smart, and they are both no nonsense.

Sun Woo peppers Hyun Joon with questions. He tells her drive and not bother him. She profiles him accurately – special forces, acts tough but likely grew up without a father and meticulous. He returns the favor and profiles her accurately – know it all only child, complicated with family problems. Sun Woo doesn’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot. She gets a call to return to the office.

I like the interactions between these two.

Team Lead Kang looks up the information on the 3 previous victims.

Sun Woo learns from computer expert Na Hwang that the killer erased histories on the victim’s computers. Sun Woo looks at her watch. She knows time is running low for the 4th victim.

The killer toys with the 4th victim, ranking the chain and choking her.

The cage, the chain, and duct tape blindfold, makes the victim’s plight grim.


Sun Woo and Min Young brief the police team (this time Hyun Joon is there). They detail that all the victim purchased items from an on-line trading company. They believe the killer trolls for his victims there. She reminds them they don’t have much time. Team Lead Kang enters and says the victim is already dead. Sun Woo is shocked and asks how he knows this. Hyun Joon gets angry and declares no matter who he is, declaring the victim dead is irresponsible. Team Lead Kang recognizes Hyun Joon from the bomb wreckage. Hyun Joon strides out of the room.

The 4th victim is found in a dumpster.

The criminal minds team (Team Lead Kang, Sun Woo, Min Young and Professor Lee) discuss the body and what they know. The killer has changed his MO confusing them. Is it the same killer? Team Lead Kang suggests the killer is trying to confuse them. Perhaps the killer is watching them right now.

Hyun Joon sits alone and remembers his brother, Sang Hyun, being blow up, Team Lead Kang standing there, his mother and sister’s horror, the funeral, the grave, and Team Lead Kang attending the funeral. Team Lead Kang bears the guilt of giving Sang Hyun the wrong command.

But did he? Didn’t the superior give the faulty command?


Team Lead Kang flashes back to the funeral recalls telling his co-worker if he’d been more certain of his bomber’s profile he could have averted the incident.

Sun Woo, Min Young, Professor Lee and Na Hwang are happy Team Lead Kang has returned. Sun Woo asks how Team Lead Kang knew the 4th victim was dead. Team Lead Kang found the overlooked 4th victim when he reviewed the case, a runaway that wasn’t processed by the police but child services. Sun Woo realizes each victim gets 1 day less time alive, so the 5th victim had to be dead when Team Lead Kang made his statement.

Team Lead Kang brief the police on his profiling results. The killer is addicted to killing, he’s average, a loner, his job is solo, he’s smart and understands people. Murder is his method to feel powerful. He’s likely a known criminal. But the window between victims is decreasing. He must be stopped.

The killer interacts with a Hyun Joon’s sister about selling an item. She’s tempted to meet him.

Rats!

The police are busy doing what the criminal mind team has asked. Hyun Joon gets miffed and tells them they are not lackeys. He leaves.


The 6th victim, Hyun Joon’s sister, waits. The killer arrives and offers to let her check the item in his car. He claims he needs to move the car. As they drive, he locks the doors. She calls Hyun Joon. He’s on the phone. He sees the missed call and returns the call. The killer hears her phone ring. He puts on his gloves. She answers the phone call. The killer hits her. Hyun Joon hears his sister crime. The phone goes dead. Hyun Joon yells her name.

That was tense and well done. The killer’s pleasure was evident. Hyun Joon immediately knew his sister was in dire straits. She’s the 6th victim. She only has 48 hours to live.

The killer tosses the phone out the window.

The criminal minds team tracks the information on the 6th victim.

Hyun Joon retraces his sister’s path. He stands at the intersection where the killer picked her up. He listens to her voicemail. He realizes she was at an eatery across the street. He shows his sister picture. The owner recognizes her. She tells him the girl stood across the street until she was picked up in a car. The owner couldn’t see the driver’s face. Sun Woo arrives and shows the picture of who they believe is the killer (it is the killer). The owner remembers a silver SUV. Hyun Joon realizes that the illegally parked vehicle camera might have footage of the car waiting for his sister. He’s right. They get the license plate of the silver SUV.

Another well done scene. The flow was excellent. I’m into this case. I want his sister to live.


Hyun Joon’s sister is blindfolded, chained and in a cage. The killer watches her struggle on CCTV. He gets a call from a woman claiming to have scratched his car’s bumper. He switches to the CCTV near his car. He sees a woman. He agrees to come to her. When he approaches her, we see it is Min Young. The team pounces and captures him. He smiles.

Hyun Joon and Sun Woo find his lair. The find the basement. Hyun Joon’s sister hear a noise. The basement doesn’t have his sister. Sun Woo tells him his sister is still alive. Hyun Joon doesn’t believe the profiling that indicates how much time his sister has.

The team goes through the killer’s room. Professor Lee finds a book on criminal psychology. He finds a newspaper clipping showing Team Lead Kang and detailing the bomb incident.


The killer tells Team Lead Kang he didn’t do anything wrong in the bomb incident. Team Lead Kang where the 6th victim is. He claims not to know. Hyun Joon rushes in and grabs the killer. He pulls a gun on Team Lead Kang and orders him to back off. Sun Woo tells him to stop. Calmly Team Lead Kang takes the gun from Hyun Joon’s hand and puts it in his holster. He tells Hyun Joon to do his job and let him do his job. Cool move! Hyun Joon releases the killer and leaves. Sun Woo follows him.

That was awesome! Team Lead Kang, cool as a cucumber, pulls the gun from Hyun Joon and returns the gun to him.

Hyun Joon beats the wall in frustration. Sun Woo agrees profiling isn’t perfect. She tells him to stop acting like a child and help. He glares at her.

Unfortunately, the killer’s computer is locked when the fake password he planted is used by the team. They call Na Hwang. When Professor Lee explains the situation, she says the only way to break the password quickly is to get the killer share it.

Team Lead Kang and Sun Woo watch the killer be transported by police. Team Lead Kang and Sun Woo come to the same conclusion, there must be an accomplice to account for the discrepancies in the profile.

Hyun Joon finds a business card for Ma Hyung Tae who works for the on-line trading company.

The criminal minds team agree that the killer in custody is actually the accomplice who the killer used to pick up victims. They agree to delve into the accomplice’s path.


Hyun Joon arrives at the on-line trading company and asks for Ma Hyung Tae. When they claim not to know. He bashes a window and pulls his gun. That gets attention.

The accomplice’s parole officer is surprised his former charge is in trouble. His assistant suggests the friend they are searching for could be the kid from the detention center, Ma Hyung Tae.

Na Hwang looks up the address and gives it to Sun Woo.


Team Lead Kang talks to the accomplice about his time in the detention center, and who helped him survived. Team Lead Kang asks if My Hyung Tae ordered him to pick up victims. The accomplice smiles.


Sun Woo arrives at Ma Hyung Tae’s home or work. It must be work because a coworker tries to call the police and give information. Ma Hyung Tae puts a knife in him. Sun Woo enters the office as Ma Hyung Tae exits. She finds the dead man. She runs outside only to be tossed over Ma Hyung Tae’s escaping car. She falls to the ground. She struggles to sit up. A car arrives. A man gets out holding a gun.

My Thoughts

Good opening episode, not great, but good. Here’s what I liked:
* The connection between Team Lead Kang and Hyun Joon through the bomb incident that killer Hyun Joon’s brother
* The bomb incident traumatized Team Lead Kang and he took a break from the job to deal with or ignore the issue
* There wasn’t excessive violence or gore
* The criminal mind team looks solid:
** Sun Woo is a standout. She’s the smart profiler that paired perfectly with Team Lead Kang and Hyun Joon.
** Professor Lee with his IQ of 187 was fun and insightful.
** Min Young seems fine, she didn’t have a chance to stand out this episode.
** Na Hwang, the resident computer expert, was okay.

Hyun Joon (Lee Joon Gi) hit the ground running as a police officer with baggage from his past. The opening bomb scene was fine but without knowing any of the characters, it didn’t mean much. But when we learned that Hyun Joon’s brother was the police officer trying to disarm the bomb and was blown up, suddenly that opening scene meant quite a bit. That explained why he distrusted Team Lead Kang and profiling in general. But when his sister was captured, he had to be impressed with the speed that Sun Woo caught up to him and offered the picture of who they thought the killer was. The scene where Hyun Joon pulled the gun on Team Lead Kang was riveting. Hyun Joon’s hand shook as aiming his weapon at a fellow officer couldn’t be easy. Team Lead Kang’s controlled response as awesome. It got even better when Sun Woo told Hyun Joon to can the outburst and start helping. Of course, Hyun Joon is on the ragged edge. His sister is the 6th victim. Will she survive?

Team Lead Kang (Son Hyun Joo) is the perfect leader of the criminal mind team. He is calm, smart, and his profiling is spot on. He has guilt over the bomb explosion. It is unclear to me if he selected the right command. I thought Team Lead Kang’s superior gave the wrong command. Either way, Team Lead Kang’s guilt is born from not being 100% sure if the bomber was lying or not. His instinct told him the right choice but he didn’t have full conviction. The fact that Team Lead Kang is “responsible” for Hyun Joon’s brother’s death is a powerful tie between the two men. It should provide sufficient tension and amp up the team dynamics until it is resolved.

Writer Hong Seung Hyun crafted a solid opening episode. I have not seen Writer Hong’s previous series (Cheon Yong 1 and 2). The opening bomb scene, which could have been merely pretty special effects, bound Team Lead Kang and Hyun Joon. The dialog mattered and the logical flow was quick. Writer Hong didn’t dawdle in this episode. I wasn’t bored.

I can’t believe I’m watching another police drama, my third in 2017. The previous police dramas in order of preference were Tunnel and Voice. I don’t typically enjoy police dramas, especially “crime of the week” procedures which Criminal Minds is modeled after. I haven’t seen the US Criminal Minds for the reason stated – I don’t like procedural crime dramas. But it’s simple with me. If an actor is a favorite, I’ll watch the drama no questions asked. Lee Joon Gi is in this drama which means I’m watching and recapping.

Ranking the episodes (on a scale from 1-10) had me rank this episode as good.  My episode ranking chart is below.

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Posted in Criminal Minds, Recaps
12 comments on “Criminal Minds Episode 1 Recap
  1. Jane Tilly says:

    Where are you watching Criminal Minds? It doesn’t seem to be on Dramafever or Viki. Inquiring minds, as well as the criminal ones, want to know, 부디‼

  2. Hanna says:

    Here’s what confuses me tho. Did the bomb expert chose “pass”? If so, why does it seems like they blame Team Lead Kang and the profilers team if he recommended the safe option which is “by-pass”?

    • I had the same opinion. Team Lead Kang did select the correct option but his superior over road him. That fact got lost. When Team Lead Kang stepped away from his job, the incorrect assumption that he selected the wrong option became fact.

  3. Kay says:

    Fellow moth here, hehe. I’m just like you in that I can’t believe I will be watching yet ANOTHER crime drama this year, also following Voice and Tunnel. But Lee Joon Gi is there, so it can’t be helped. It looks like a solid opening though, and I’m hopeful for another crime drama experience 🙂

    • Hello fellow moth! 🦋

      The overarching story versus crime-of-the-week will interest me the most. Hopefully in 20 episodes Writer Hong will maximize the relationships and connections. It would be great if each featured crime ties into the overarching story.

  4. studiomarie says:

    Add me to the list of I can’t believe I am watching another crime drama. I loved Lee Joon Gi in Scarlet Heart so I thought I would give Criminal Minds a try. I saw the first 2 seasons of the US version so I am familiar with the premise. The music rocks in this version but I don’t know if I can handle the subject matter. I have also been watching “A forest of Secrets”. It is really good and depressing. Thanks for the recap.

    • Another fellow moth! 🦋

      I touched base with a friend that was a fan of the US Criminal Minds. They said the makeup of the team was similar.

      It appears Criminal Minds won’t make crime pretty. But it wasn’t gory like Voice, which I appreciated.

      I looked up Forest of Secrets. It looks like a cross between Beautiful Mind (unemotional male lead) and Voice (find a serial killer with corruption on the side).

  5. Jane Tilly says:

    Crime 🚨 dramas are not my favorite Kdrama genre, but I concur there have been some good ones this year‼

    I used to watch 📺 and enjoy the US 🇺🇸 version of Criminal Minds, but after many seasons (6 or 7) the crimes seemed to escalate to a level of depravity that was apparently hard for me to handle. I stopped watching when I started having nightmares 💭😈. Original cast member Mandy Patinkin left after 3 Or 4 seasons indicating he was deeply disturbed by the storylines.

    Anywho, I concur that the cast members seem to be similar to the that characters in the US 🇺🇸 cast. I recognized the storyline of kidnapping using the sale of a classic 🚗 car; the Korean 🇰🇷 twist was the latest victim being the sister of Hyun Joon’s subordinate that was KIA in the opening 💣💥 sequence.

    This was a good start and I am looking forward to more.

    • crimes seemed to escalate to a level of depravity that was apparently hard for me to handle. I stopped watching when I started having nightmares 💭😈
      Egad, I’d stopped watching too if nightmares were the by-product!😫

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