Although I don’t really buy the idea of a high-tech + kungfu errand boy, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying Healer. (in fact, this show does stretch realism by quite a bit, but who cares as long as there’s chocolate abs right?)
- Ji Chang-wook (from Empress Ki) as Seo Jung-hoo (aka Healer). The anonymous hi-tech “errand boy” who will help clients (who also wanna remain anonymous) take on deliveries. He is assisted by hacker ahjumma, Jo Min-ja. Very much a lone wolf, his objective in life is to earn enough $$ to purchase a deserted island for his lonesome self.
- Kim Mi-kyung (from Faith) as Jo Min-ja (aka Ahjumma). “Ahjumma” is what Healer calls her. But she is NOT your housewifery type (although she knits while not hacking). She breaks into govt firewalls, high security networks like nobody’s business. (the recent spate of IT-savvy Silver Generation is impressive — re: Bad Guys‘ baduk ahjusshi, who can do wire tapping)
- Park Min-young (from City Hunter) as Chae Young-shin. Rookie reporter for a small-time tabloid press — Sometime News. She is the missing child whom Kim Moon-ho seems intent on finding. (methinks she is the not-so-dead daughter of Myung-hee, or his sis-in-law) Anyway, Young-shin hears about the Healer by chance one day, and thinks he will make a good story, or rather the secrets he carry would. (her big break, perhaps?)
- Yoo Ji-tae as Kim Moon-ho. A famous reporter/ anchor at ABS news centre, who basically represents the Ideal Reporter type. Meaning, he’s sensitive to those he interviews, yet upright and honest enough not to bow down to threats/ bribes to give an unbiased story. He has been engaging Healer to look for Young-shin. His hyung, Moon-shik, shares a close yet tensed relationship with him. Cos unlike Moon-ho, Moon-shik is not immune to bribery and corruption.
- Park Sang-won as Kim Moon-shik. Moon-ho’s hyung, and also the chairperson of Jeil Newspapers. He’s the Bad Reporter as opposed to Moon-ho’s Ideal Reporter. To him, news is juz another way to make money. He’s not above putting a spin to sob stories, or pandering to corporations to make profits.
For full recap of ep1, read Dramabeans. I will give instead a chronological (sorta) run-down of the debut’s plot:
In the 1980s, a band of 5 young people (and one little boy) forms a pro-democracy, anti-autocratic Govt group. The band uses a truck as a makeshift radio station to broadcast pro-democracy messages on the sly. The driver of the truck is Moon-shik, who seems to be the most unwilling participator of the group. His little brother Moon-ho tags around — they are probably orphans and only have each other for support. In the little band, Myung-hee is the only girl. Moon-ho grows to love her as his own noona. Myung-hee falls in love with one of the guys in the band and later had a daughter with him. However, her husband and daughter (or so she thinks) both die later. She re-married Moon-shik after that.
In the present day, Moon-shik has become the chairman of the biggest newspapers corporation — Jeil News. His younger brother, Moon-ho, helms the evening news as a popular reporter/anchor at ABS. Moon-shik is warm towards his dongsaeng (even though his work ethics run counter to Moon-ho’s). However, Moon-ho appears to distrust his hyung (despite being nice in front of him), to the extent of setting up hidden cameras in his study to spy on him.
As for where the Healer comes in, Moon-shik has Healer deliver a package regarding a recent union strike against Samhae Industry to him. Moon-ho tries to intervene using a competitor company, Double S Guards, but to no avail. However, Moon-ho is also aware of and interested in Healer’s activities. He has been tracking him since the 80s. (i think it is a different person…Jung-hoo should have inherited his role from somebody) Moon-ho also uses Healer’s services to track down certain girls to send their DNA samples for testing. Out of the 4 girls sampled, Young-shin comes out as a match — she is the daughter of another female sample Moon-ho had sent earlier. He then assigns the Healer to trail Young-shin and find out as much as possible about her background.
Now to Young-shin. She is adopted by a prosecutor (and part-time barista), Chae Chi-soo. Chi-soo is a kindhearted lawyer, who believes in giving criminals second chances. Thus, the cafe he operates on his free time (when not in Court) is runned mainly by ex-convicts (including those he has personally thrown into jail). Young-shin as a young girl picks up really cool tricks of the trades from them — like lock picking, pick pocketing, and most importantly, a sharp awareness of her surroundings. These abilities are put to good use in her job as a small time tabloid reporter — but she is unable to best Jung-hoo in a scuffle as he subdues her easily to clip off her fingernails for DNA sampling.
Jung-hoo later gets implicated for the murder of the client in ep1 (likely done in by Moon-shik). While rummaging Young-shin’s room (his new assignment from Moon-ho is to find out her ambition), he chances upon his and Moon-ho’s pics on the wall. And that got Jung-hoo attention…he now wants to know why Young-shin is interested in him.
I admit I was a little skeptical about the premise of Healer when I watched the trailers and later ep1. However, when the little niggly plot lines start to merge together, the story begins to get really intense. My bet at this moment is Moon-shik probably sold out his little group to the Govt, and indirectly/ directly caused the death of Myung-hee’s husband, and the disappearance of their little girl. Moon-ho, who worships Myung-hee, probably knows summat about it, and makes it his mission to locate the missing daughter. (ok, i may be wrong…but i do like speculating)
Since the genres are espoinage — industrial/ political, and corruption (yawn), the role of Healer kinda makes sense here. As Jung-hoo puts it, he is like the fabled mercenery thief or assassin. He doesn’t care what secret he is passing to whom, he only cares about being paid. From Young-shin’s viewpoint though, he is someone who has access to MANY secrets, and as a reporter, he smells like a veritable goldmine.
Right now, the biggest secret/mystery is likely to revolve around the 5 young people who set up the makeshift radio station in the 80s, and what happened to them eventually. Some pieces of information are very likely going to end up in Healer’s hands, if it hasn’t done so already — remember that Healer has been around since the 80s too? I believe the current Healer, aka Jung-hoo, already holds one large piece of the puzzle in his hands — Young-shin. If she is indeed the not-dead child of Myung-hee, some skeletons will make their ways out of the locked cupboard very soon.