Hello, and dare I say….’Happy New Year!’ this late into the month? I hope you all had a great holiday and that 2017 will be kind to us all. A big thank you to those who have stayed with me through all my hiatuses and what not. Now, I’m not usually into crime dramas unless they really have me on the edge of my seat. The posters and previews for Voice alone were enough to catch my interest and let me tell you—so far—this drama really delivers. I am mighty impressed with the first two episodes and my only regret is that we have to sit and wait for the next two.
[Be Forewarned: Spoilers Below].
The story begins with the brutal murder of a young woman. On her way to bring her husband some food, she gets cornered in an alley way by a stranger after being sexually assaulted and badly beaten. As she hides, she makes a desperate phone call to her husband, a police detective named Moo Jin Hyuk (Jang Hyuk). He and his fellow officers have just successfully taken down a mob and gone out for celebratory drinking. Being caught up in the moment, he chooses not to take her call, assuming it’s most likely unimportant.
She then calls the 112 emergency center where Kang Kwon Joo (Lee Ha Na) is given control of the call. The call disconnects during their conversation, and Kwon Joo’s coworker orders her to call back the number. Kwon Joo hesitates, but the coworker insists. Unfortunately, that call becomes the fatal mistake leading to the woman’s death. When the emergency center calls her back, the woman’s ringtone signals loud and clear to the killer where she’s hiding. As she’s dragged from her hiding place and battered down into the cold streets, the only thing the emergency center can do is listen as she begs the killer to spare her life. He smiles creepily, a hood shielding the majority of his face, and says
“This is why…you shouldn’t have acted up.”
He then raises a heavy metal object and ruthlessly bashes it against her skull until it cracks open. The call center hears the entire scene play out.
Back at the drinking house Jin Hyuk gets a call from fellow officer Shim Dae Shik (Baek Sung Hyun) who is clearly very shook up. He’s at the crime scene and he’s trying to deliver the grim news to Jin Hyuk as graciously as he can. Jin Hyuk isn’t exactly making the task any easier by being completely fucked over from the excessive amount of liquor he’s consumed. He laughs off the prospect and hangs up, telling Dae Shik that he’ll call his wife to put an end to such an outrageous joke. It is clear from the dark and awkward expressions of his fellow drinking buddies that they are concerned that it really isn’t a joke. Their caution is proved to be reasonable when he calls his wife three times and she fails to pick up.
Next thing we know, a drunken Jin Hyuk is stumbling his way through the caution tape of the crime scene where he falls over right next to the bloodied corpse of his dead wife and proceeds to cling to her body. He knows it’s her, because he’s just passed by the spilt boxed lunch she had prepared him with a handwritten note, and also spotted the bracelet on her arm, but he lifts up the drape covering her face ever so slightly as if he’s trying to make sure, and it’s enough to set him over the edge.
The next day, the news reports that it was the emergency call center’s failures that caused this tragedy. However, the police announce that they’ve caught the criminal responsible for the murder. The funeral is a bleak occasion. Jin Hyuk is clearly still distraught with grief, and his fellow officers seem beside themselves in their attempts to comfort him. They claim they’ll be able to put the criminal away for life with the evidence and witnesses they have. Jin Hyuk states that if the criminal is ever released, he’ll kill him, and I fucking believe it.
Shit hits the fan at the trial, when the main witness, Kang Kwon Joo, refuses to testify that the suspect has the same voice as the man she heard on the phone at the time of the murder. This literally rustles everybody’s jimmies for several reasons:
- Everyone just wants to put this tragedy to rest; and everyone loves an easy solution.
- The suspect (murderer or not) is a scumbag, who wears a smile through the whole trial.
- Jin Hyuk is still pretty mentally unstable from grief, and not to mention a well respected police detective, so people don’t want to upset him further.
- There are rumors that Kwon Joo thinks her father was murdered by the same man who murdered Jin Hyuk’s wife, but they say it was a proven hit-and-run (basically, everyone thinks she’s nuts and that she has her own agenda to cover up her faults).
- The lawyer is not trying to ruin his career and credibility.
- The judge clearly looks like he wants to eat his lunch and be home in time for his afternoon nap.
Basically, her refusal leads to a completely disruptive hearing where an all out brawl ensues between the rabid Jin Hyuk and the security trying to hold him back from attacking Kwon Joo. It’s ugly.
Flash forward three years. Kwon Joo has since received voice profile training abroad in America to further train her talent of hearing. She explains that ever since recovering from an eye injury when she was younger, she’s had the ability to hear even the faintest sounds and detect their origin.
Jin Hyuk on the other hand, is not doing so hot. He’s let the tragedy seep into his soul and he’s pretty much lost all logic and motivation. He appears drunk at his job where he’s still trying to track down the murderer of his wife, which has hindered his team’s efforts to capture a major serial killer on the loose. He flips out at the office when his buddy is questioning a random lowlife criminal dude (I forget his offense; honestly I couldn’t stop seeing Eunuch Jang from Love in the Moonlight) that might have evidence on his wife’s murder case. He seem’s to be an empty barrel though because he doesn’t seem to actually know anything. He has a big mouth though, and makes some pretty offensive statements to Jin Hyuk, who then proceeds to beat the crap out of him before being removed from the office.
Meanwhile, Kwon Joo hasn’t let her life’s setbacks impede her from chasing her goals. She is trying to establish a team of experts called the Golden Time Team. Ideally, the team would be dispatched immediately upon receiving high priority emergency calls, which would cut down the delay between the time of the call and the time of the dispatched team’s arrival. This would allow police forces to arrive at the scene faster, consequently increasing the survival rate of victims. Unfortunately, she’s speaking to a bunch of high ranking jackass men who think she’s nuts because they believe the rumors regarding her past. But they mostly won’t cooperate with her because they’re simply asshats. In the middle of her negotiations with the men, Jin Hyuk decides to pay a visit to the woman he thinks ruined his wife’s chances of being saved, and also the one who ruined the chances of who he believed was the right criminal, going to jail. Talk about awkward.
She spots him and calmly walks over to greet him. It’s the two of them in the hallway, but the higher ups are watching from across the way. He basically thinks she’s brazen for showing herself when she is supposedly responsible for his wife’s death. He tells her that she’s using her father’s death for her own sake and basically tries to shame her. But it’s he who looks like the fool. She remarks that she had been hoping to make him team leader of her dispatch team, but now that she’s seeing him, he looks much worse off than she’d predicted. Jin Hyuk mocks her asking if he’s supposed to thank her for such a charitable act and then he’s grabbing her by the collar much to the horror of Dae Shik. He asks her why she wouldn’t say it was the same man’s voice on the phone back in the courtroom that day, and she’s ready to tell him, but she wants to know if he’s finally ready to listen, because he never seems to believe anything that leaves her mouth.
Luckily for Kwon Joo, the altercation is interrupted by an emergency call that seems too big for the employees to handle. It’s a kidnapping situation, and it’s clear that Kwon Joo’s assistance is needed. She breaks off the conversation, telling Jin Hyuk that she’ll finish the discussion later, but that for now, a life is on the line and every minute counts. He is clearly offended but somehow, by the grace of a higher power, decides to back off. The victim is seventeen year old Park Bok Nim (Jun Soo Jin), and she’s badly beaten. She tells Kwon Joo she was kidnapped after meeting a man who claimed he’d give her $100 in exchange for small talk (how she managed to take seedy bait like that fascinates me but okay…). Last minute she decided to bail, because he was taking her to a sketchy area and it no longer seemed worth it (honey, it’s never worth it). It was a little too late though, because as she turned to leave, the man knocked her unconscious and dragged her to his happy hut. Now she’s currently hiding because she thinks he’s going to kill her ( and I think so too). He has a large bag full of various knives and prospects are grim.
The team tries to track her location, but it’s not going well. Kwon Joo has to rely on Bok Nim’s memory in order to try and place the location. Once the girl mentions that it looks like a construction site, Kwon Joo realizes the gravity of the situation. This is no mere rape or kidnapping, this is a carefully chosen space, perfect for murder. Kwon Joo signals a code zero and announces that Detective Moo Jin Hyuk has been dispatched from Golden Time Team (lmfao gotta love the determination and boldness of this leading lady). Obviously, Detective Moo is extremely miffed and immediately commences barking about ‘how dare she order him around’ and ‘oh the humanity!’ But Kwon Joo isn’t playin any games. She stands her ground and firmly asserts that if they don’t reach this victim within the fragile ten minute window, they’ll be another body in the morgue that Jin Hyuk will be partially responsible for. He’s about to beat his chest and stamp his feet, but the victim begins pleading desperately on the phone for someone to rescue her, and he’s suddenly brought back to that tape he heard of his wife begging for the same thing back in the courtroom. It’s enough to push his pride aside, even if only for the time being. He assures Kwon Joo that the conversation isn’t over, and he intends to finish it when he gets back.
But we have more moody men to deal with. One of the higher ups from the earlier negotiation with Kwon Joo is wondering when the hell this Golden Time Team was permitted to be established. He is already doubting the seriousness of the situation and says that it could just be a pervert (just a pervert. if my eyes could roll all the way back to the inside of my head…). Anyway she shuts them down and basically proceeds from this moment onward without any interruptions from fellow officers.
In her emotional state, Bok Nim reflects back on her life, and confesses it’s been a pitiful one, even her name sucks. Kwon Joo is clearly made for this job. She’s calm, cool, and collected, but compassionate and determined. She tells Bok Nim that her name sucks too, and that her dad was even drunk on the day of her birth. With some reassurance, Bok Nim is able to remember a few more details about her location. She saw a playground, and something with colors. At this point three minutes have already passed. The police arrive within a small radius of the location, but the exact building remains a mystery and a setback. A number of them spread out to search the area, but time is quickly going by, and the killer is growing all the more anxious to get the job done. Knowing the police are now somewhere within the area, Bok Nim decides to go downstairs, but this is much to Kwon Joo’s dismay. Kwon Joo adamantly advises against this move, and she was right. The minute Bok Nim begins to descend the stairs, the killer is already on his way back inside the building to find her.
Meanwhile, Jin Hyuk and a fellow officer ask one of the locals if there are any particular places with bright colors that stand out. A storeowner alerts them about a day care center that was shut down because the owners got in trouble for sexual harassment. With this new information, the two men now embark on a search for this day care center. Meanwhile Bok Nim is apologizing for her mistake of going down stairs. Kwon Joo assures her that mistakes are a part of life and that if you learn from them and don’t let them discourage you enough to give up, you can earn a second chance. Unfortunately, the killer is back in the building, and he’s found the little cell phone charm that fell off of Bok Nim’s hand phone when she tried to venture down stairs. Now he knows she’s in the building and that she’s close by.
The men find the mural on the side of the daycare center and peer through some of the windows. Bok Nim remarks that the killer is now downstairs and she has now recalled a new detail. He was holding a large wooden stick with something metal on the end. Kwon Joo wonders if it’s a hammer. She reflects on a previous case where a woman’s skull was bashed in with a hammer, she realizes she was right… that this really is the infamous serial killer she thought it was. Unfortunately at this moment, the two officers have broken into the day care center, only to find a group of men eating dinner together. Kwon Joo quickly alerts them that it can’t be the men at the day care center, because the suspect is a serial killer and not the man who sexually abused children.
And that’s when our serial killer finds Bok Nim. He drags her to the grimy bathroom where the murder will take place as she screams and begs him to spare her life, all while the emergency center listens in horror. Kwon Joo tells the officers immediately that the serial killer is moving the victim and that there is a possibility this man is a prime suspect for other serial crimes. The same higher up from before begins to antagonize her, but she shuts him down by revealing that the weapon is the same one used in the other murders. She recalls that in those cases, the killer had dismembered the body. Kwon Joo thinks about the colors Bok Nim was talking about, and hears a sort of grating sound. It’s familiar but she can’t seem to place it, until suddenly it dawns on her. The barber shop. She tells Jin Hyuk to trust her because it’s the same man from a previous case. He realizes she must be right, because his fellow officers had mentioned that suspect’s use of a hammer as well, and it was the very case where he had hindered his team from catching said suspect.
He begins looking for the barber shop as the killer begins sorting through his knives. Bok Nim wakes up from an unconscious state, and she’s now lying on the floor of the world’s filthiest bathroom (seriously). She begs for her life once more, but he remarks that he has to go home too. Then he asks how she wants to die before reaching for his trusted hammer. He grabs her neck, lifts the hammer and prepares to swing. The clock shows that ten minutes have elapsed and the scene cuts to black.
Wow! What an intense and exciting first episode. I’m super pleased with the cast and cinematography, which is unexpectedly beautiful for a crime drama. I knew this drama was going to be suspenseful, but this was really, really impressive. An unforgettable and strong start, to this action packed thriller.
Are you watching Voice? What did you think of the first episode? If you haven’t already, you can check out the five minute extended preview here.