Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong Ki) believes his goal is to tear down the building he is staring at from the city rooftop. He imagines it happening.
72 hours ago…Rome Italy…
Vincenzo wakes and prepares for the day. He’s the Cassano Family adviser (aka consigliere – trusted confidant, advisor to the boss in a Mafia crime family). While driving a single engine plane sprays vineyards the parallel the road. He’s admitted to a rival’s compound. The rival boss smirks that he won’t take an offer from Vincenzo’s now dead boss. Vincenzo warns the murders to gain control were a mistake. Accepting the offer is the only way to avoid trouble. The rival boss tells him to go back to Korea and reiterates he won’t accept the offer. Vincenzo suggests he’ll regret the choice. The rival boss notes he has backing over another powerful family and he’s willing to go to war. Vincenzo stands and promises the rival boss will regret this day. The single engine plan sprays the rival boss. Vincenzo walks to his car and throws his lighter on the ground. The fuel laden grass lights. The rival boss screams at Vincenzo while he watches his vineyards burn.
Vincenzo arrives at the Cassano home. He pays his respects to the body of his now dead boss. He murmurs father. The heir apparent isn’t happy with Vincenzo’s burn the vineyard stunt. Vincenzo counters his father gave him full latitude. The Cassano son grumbles he wasn’t given the same. Vincenzo notes the son’s tactics were not to his father’s standards. The Cassano son demands Vincenzo’s loyalty now that he’s the boss. Vincenzo promises his loyalty if the leadership merits. He walks away from the now angry boss.
That evening 3 hit men try and assassinate him. Vincenzo kills all three.
The Cassano son returns home and is shocked to get a call from Vincenzo who apologizes in advance for the car which explodes. Vincenzo warns the Cassano son to never look for him after he returns to Korea. Vincenzo promises the Cassano son if he does come after him, the next time the car will explode with him in it. He ends the phone call with the observation the Cassano son doesn’t have what it takes to be a good boss. Vincenzo removes his sim card from his phone. He reviews a list of businesses in Geumga Plaza, Seoul, South Korea. He looks at a picture of the building and an article stating the building will be demolished due to the conglomerate’s tyranny.
That’s burning bridges with an employer!
Hong Cha Young (Jeon Yeo Bin) warns a driver that Babel Group wants to sue him. She claims she’s the only one that can help.
Intern Jang Joon Woo (TaecYeon) is late irking Cha Young. They hurry to the courtroom. The first day of the Babel Group trial is underway. Cha Young is the lawyer for Babel. The plaintiff’s lawyer Mr. Hong argues with Vincenzo about cause of death. Cha Young reveals a key plaintiff witness is now admitting perjury. Mr. Hong is not happy.
Outside the courtroom, Mr. Hong complains his daughter shouldn’t treat him like that. Cha Young counters he should have had a better case before going after Babel Group. Mr. Hong declares she’s defending the wrong clients. Cha Young cries and admits she worries about her father’s health due to job stress. Mr. Hong claims she could be on the stage with her acting skills. He strides away. Cha Young yells he’ll never beat her. Her father begs to differ.
Vincenzo arrives and deplanes in South Korea. He calls Mr. Cho to report he’ll be there in an hour or so. A limo driver offers to drive Vincenzo to town. Vincenzo accepts. He thinks that he must finish in 30 days then return to Malta. He drinks water while listening to a news report of foreigners being drugged by limo drivers. Vincenzo falls asleep.
Agent An Ki Seok (International Crime Response Agency) is shocked to learn Vincenzo has returned to Korea. He explains to his boss that 5 years ago, Vincenzo was an ordinary lawyer, but now returns as the Cassano Family adviser. Mr. Tae can’t believe that Vincenzo has returned for nefarious reasons as Agent An is suggesting. Mr. Tae refuses to let Agent An tail Vincenzo.
Cha Young returns to the office hearing congratulations from her coworkers about her courtroom performance. Her boss Han Seung Hyeok notes Cha Young should have gone easier on her father. Cha Young counters that her father was representing the wrong side. She promises to wrap it up as quickly as she can. She cries crocodile tears when he gives her a bonus.
The driver and accomplice rifled through Vincenzo’s suitcases looting as he sleeps. He wakes as they rob him. They knock him out. The next time Vincenzo wakes he’s in the middle of a field without any of his possessions. He screams his anger and vows revenge on the thieves. He continues his ravings at the bus stop. A woman offers him a wet nap to clean his face.
Vincenzo arrives at Geumga Plaza. He remembers his goal is to tear the building down.
5 years ago…A Chinese business man, who knew Vincenzo’s boss, asks Vincenzo to hide his gold Korea. Vincenzo advises him to purchase a building under the name of his friend, Mr. Cho, building a secret vault in the basement, and transport the gold over time to avoid detection. The vault’s security system should only open to the business man. But there should be a special feature. The business man does as advised and fills the vault with gold and treasures.
Mr. Cho meets Vincenzo at Geumga Plaza. He notices his disarray and asks what happened after confirming Vincenzo’s apartment has been cleaned. Lee Cheol Wook spies Vincenzo and pulls into the shadows to avoid being seen. Mr. Cho relays that Babel Group has purchased all the land and businesses around Geumga Plaza. They make daily offers to purchase the building.
Mr. Cho brings Vincenzo to his bare bones apartment. He’ll meet with tenants tomorrow. Mr. Cho notes money, phone, and clothes are in the bedroom. Vincenzo confirms he’ll be leaving Korea as soon as the goal is met.
Mr. Lee tells his cohorts, Mr. Hong and Mr. Nam, at Jipuragi Law Firm he saw Vincenzo with the building owner Mr. Cho and enter an upstairs apartment. Mr. Hong wants the other tenants warned.
Mr. Cho tells Vincenzo that Mr. Hong, a lawyer downstairs, is leading the opposition. Vincenzo and Mr. Cho walk through the building and view the businesses. None of the tenants are happy to see Mr. Cho and Vincenzo. It is an eccentric bunch. Vincenzo is dismayed to see the monk as the basement tenant, who unknowingly meditates on the secret vault. One of the monks tells Mr. Cho and Vincenzo they oppose the development and will protect their temple.
When Vincenzo drops his suit off at the building dry cleaner, he’s taken aback to find other tenants staring at him. Mr. Hong introduces himself and offers his card. Mr. Hong assumes Vincenzo can’t practice law while in country. Vincenzo confirms and notes he’s not there to practice law. He tells the tenants they’ll learn why he’s there at the tenant meeting tomorrow. He strides away with everyone watching him go.
Vincenzo has to deal with a finicky shower. Then he stares at the stars the previous tenant put on the ceiling. The bird outside his window is another annoyance. Awake, Vincenzo looks at the prison notice.
Flashback…Vincenzo watches a woman, Mrs. Oh, railroaded for murder of her employee. The woman declares her employer was abusive and has banded together to blame her for the death. When she states all previous housekeepers were abused, the judge orders her to keep quiet. Mrs. Oh states it is futile as the decision was made long before the courtroom session.
Vincenzo reads the prison report which states Mrs. Oh refused a retrial. He gets out Mr. Hong’s card and wonders if he can help.
Is the woman Vincenzo’s mother?
Vincenzo goes to the building’s Italian eatery, where the chef doesn’t speak Italian, and orders. He spits out the food. He exposes the chef and leaves.
Vincenzo goes to the prison but doesn’t enter. Mr. Hong arrives and speaks with Mrs. Oh. He’s happy that she’s receiving treatment before she dies. She tells him he doesn’t have a come monthly anymore. Once again, she refuses his offer to pursue a retrial. She wants to be left alone, noting she’s made mistakes in her life.
Vincenzo meets Mr. Cho who informs him the team lead from Babel Group will be there soon. Mr. Hong interrupts and suggests the meeting take place in his office as it concerns the building.
Vincenzo informs the Babel Group team lead; the building will be demolished and a new one built. The team lead makes the best offer yet. Vincenzo and Mr. Cho aren’t interested. The team lead warns Babel Group doesn’t take rejection well. Vincenzo warns him not to threaten him.
Vincenzo and Mr. Cho inform the tenants they will have places in the new building. The tenants wonder if they can trust the agreement being drawn up stating this. They take a vote and trusting Vincenzo is the majority. After the meeting, Mr. Hong points out that the tenants don’t have much evidence that Vincenzo will keep his word. Mr. Hong states he doesn’t believe Vincenzo because his master is money and rich clients. Mr. Hong believes the buyer is Babel Group.
Mr. Cho returns home to find his family tied up and a thug with a contract to sell the building demanding his signature.
Cha Young receives a notice from her father relinquishing parental rights. She calls but he won’t talk. Irked, Cha Young rushes out of the office.
A battered Mr. Cho signs the contract. The thug confirms the money has been transferred. He takes the contract and swaggers out.
Cha Young arrives in her father’s office and demands to know what he intends. Mr. Hong states he’s removing her from his family registry. Cha Young declares that isn’t allowed anymore. She calls her father petty for not allowing her legally to address him as her father.
Vincenzo is livid when the dry cleaner shrinks his expensive suit. Vincenzo demands to know if he did it on purpose. He demands compensation. Announcement requesting the tenants is issued. Mr. Cho calls Vincenzo and explains that his wife and daughter were threatened and he had no choice. He promises to fix it. Mr. Cho’s car is side swiped by a truck. Vincenzo calls to Mr. Cho, but of course, there is no response.
Cha Young demands to know why her father believes he can donate her family photos. Mr. Hong counters that Cha Young’s lack of lawyer ethics forces him to reject her and her life. He orders her not to show her face again. She agrees. Mr. Lee bursts into the office and tells Mr. Hong he must come quickly.
The Babel Group puts up notices informing the public and tenants of the sale of the building. Park Seok Do arrives and introduces himself to the tenants. He states Babel Group will negotiate with each of them and if they don’t cooperate his thugs will harass them until they cave. Mr. Hong declares threatening the tenants is a violation of law. A thug pushes Mr. Hong. Riled Cha Young inserts herself in the conversation. Mr. Park asks why a lawyer from her firm is here. She warns them to back off. The thug pushes her. She makes for the thug.
A voice comes from the end of the hall. It’s Vincenzo!
Vincenzo strides through the tenants to face Mr. Park. He tells Mr. Park he represents the building’s owner Mr. Cho. The thug goes after Vincenzo who dispatches him with ease. Mr. Park approaches and asks what he wants. Vincenzo bloodies Mr. Park’s nose and hangs the stunned man from the window. The thugs approach, but back away when Vincenzo informs them, he’ll drop Mr. Park; who clamors for them to back off.
Vincenzo tells Mr. Park the fall won’t kill him but will break his leg. He tells Mr. Park the building was purchase through coercion. He won’t forgive that. Vincenzo swears he’ll get the building back and make them all pay. In Italian, Vincenzo declares, the building belongs to him.
Positive first episode. Writer Park Jae Bum made the story clear – Vincenzo wants the gold treasure and will work against the coercive Babel Group. Involvement with the tenants, Cha Young, and the woman in the prison, interest me. Writer Park used humor throughout that was more snappy than silly. Director Kim Hee Won (Money Flower) made Italy gorgeous (easy to do), special effects add to the story (burning vineyards visual), and created a sense of community in the building with the placement of tenants. Song Joong Ki made Vincenzo driven, demanding, suave, and taken aback by the quirks of his native country after a 5-year absence.
Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong Ki) has his own charm. Flame on Vincenzo, take out your opponent’s vineyards and blow up the entitled heir’s car. Vincenzo wasn’t flawless. He didn’t do everything right. I did enjoy the shower scene. But for the standoffish manner, he didn’t embarrass the Italy chef in front of the others while he did literally hang the Babel Group Representative out the window. Neat trick to wrap the wrists then dangle the shocked bloody nosed man out and over the street in a blink.
Hong Cha Young (Jeon Yeo Bin) wins in court but loses with her father. I loved Mr. Hong, Cha Young’s father. He has ethics, honor, and forthrightness. Cha Young can’t twist him around her finger with her crocodile tears. Instead, he pushes her for selling out. When push came to shove, she stood by her father’s side.
I rank this episode as good, 7 on a 10-point scale.
I barely started LUCA yet but I was compelled to see what direction Vincenzo would go.
The beginning scenes were a little James Bond. SJK was silk and the vineyard cgi scene + the pre-planned car explosion was effective in establishing his characters skill set. Powerful guy.
I’m a little confused about who the gold actually belongs to – a Chinese businessman? Why would V be retrieving it if only someone else can open the vault? Did I miss something?
I, too, was glad to see from the shower scene SJK is still working out ☺
Both the daughter and the kooky tenants were a little jarring for me, almost like the drama went in a completely different direction when they are on screen. I didn’t watch any trailers or promos so I may need to adjust my expectations. When our lead kills 3 guys early on, I wasn’t thinking it would get silly. That said, it is a kdrama. 😁 The music is goofy too even when confronting the KR thugs it didn’t switch to threatening.
Hope I get time to see ep 2 tomorrow.
Thanks for the quick write up kjt. I will be following.
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Both the daughter and the kooky tenants were a little jarring for me, almost like the drama went in a completely different direction when they are on screen.
Agree Italy was one direction but the building tenants took the episode in another. They are an eclectic bunch. I may not warm up to all of them, we’ll see.
the gold actually belongs to – a Chinese businessman? Why would V be retrieving it?
The gold belongs to the Chinese businessman. TBD why Vincenzo wants to retrieve it. He has ethics, so there’s more to the story.
I will be following.
Glad to have you along!
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*Does* Vincenzo have ethics??? I’m not sure yet. I get that most of what we’ve seen so far seems justified (although smacks of vigilantism).
I’m not sure if the character is righteous or if it’s my Joong ki swoony ❤ coloring my view.
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💜💜 double ditto beez. 😍
Ha ha ha, you may be right Beez, Joong Ki swoony has that effect.
Vincenzo was raised in a crime family I suspect greed may be his impetus for “going for the gold”. Since Vincenzo’s father/godfather passed away, the new godfather has made it clear Vincenzo is not welcome … perhaps the will provide an early retirement.
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I have been fascinated by SJKs effect. On the surface he doesn’t have the appearance of what might be considered manly man… but he really makes you feel it.
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Everything was so serious and went so smoothly for Vincenzo while in Italy 🇮🇹, it surprised me that Vincenzo got off on the wrong foot and then turned to comedy in South Korea 🇰🇷.
I had to laugh at the shower 🚿 scene. I had a similar “bi-polar” shower experience in a motel in Macon, Georgia … tragedy + time = humor 😆.
I found the plaza tenant to be quirky … I hope they keep the vibe snappy and don’t go to slapstick.
I do like Mr Hong and him pushing Cha Young to get back on the ethical path.
I feel like we have a decent foundation for an interesting story.
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Looks like an interesting first episode. I will be checking it out 🙂
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