‘The Killing Vote’ Episode 1 Review/Recap: How Does Joo-Hyum Find The Culprit?

The new Korean drama The Killing Vote on Prime Video is a fascinating new thriller series that explores Korea’s idea of justice by using a vigilante that shares a question with the whole nation in order to take action on their behalf. The show stars Park Hae-Jin, Park Sung-Woong, and everyone’s new favorite, Lim Ji-Yeon (although she played a villain in her last). A lot happens in the first episode, as is common in the Hallyu world, and we can’t wait to see what happens next. The episode is extremely quick-paced, and it’s so great to see Ji-Yeon with this new fun and non-nonsense attitude in this drama. Let’s get straight into The Killing Vote


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Episode?

The Killing Vote Episode 1 begins eight years into the past, when Kim Moo-Chan, a then-police officer, chases after a man. The man he’s following is trying to kill somebody, and Moo-Chan has a gun. Unfortunately, though, he doesn’t make it in time and witnesses the end of a murder. The scene quickly changes to eight years later, when Joo-Hyun, a member of the cybercrime department, is doing a performance in a nondescript underground cam girl facility. We later find out that she was actually there to get the location for the crime investigation department. They’re just able to make it in time and get the bad guys. A few things are made clear then: Moo-Chan and his team are essentially a clean-up team for the police department, and Joo-Hyun is a whistleblower. While Moo-Chan interrogates the culprit, Joo-Hyun returns to her department, where she is treated terribly.


At the same time, Bae Gi-Chul, the criminal mind behind some explicit films involving children, is released from jail barely one and a half years into his sentence. Because the public’s view of such a release will be bad, Moo-Chan’s team is chosen to escort him. Moo-Chan lets him get beaten up a little by the public after he accidentally trips and falls down before entering the car. It’s very clear that Gi-Chul is very proud of his work and claims he’s not the problem because he’s only a provider. He’s been released because he got married. But since he’s been married to a foreigner for his own advantage, he can just dump her after he’s been released.

On the other hand, Joo-Hyun meets her younger sister, who uses an app to track her. Joo-Min is a big fan of a popular female journalist. Joo-Hyun tries to distract her from watching just the news because she wants to protect her from the serious stuff. While Joo-Min continues to watch TV, Joo-Hyun decides to fix her laptop, which has gone completely rogue. When she opens it, there are error after error on her screen. Joo-Hyun does some coding on her laptop and lands on a video file. She plays the video, and it’s a man wearing a mask that resembles a dog. He says some cryptic things about how certain people deserve to die, but the system in Korea doesn’t allow that, so instead, they get imprisoned for barely any time, getting out Scot-free. This fake Batman addresses the nation while talking in this video. At work, Joo-Hyun immediately rushes to her boss and tells him what she found. He ignores her completely and threatens to send her on more terrible fieldwork that she’s completely uninterested in. Joo-Hyun is definitely really good at her work, but her boss doesn’t give her any opportunities.


In Gi-Chul’s lair, he continues to release thousands of inappropriate child videos immediately after getting out of prison. He is abusing his wife and attempting to sell more of his videos at the same time. It turns out the woman was planted there by Moo-Chan, and he gets mad when he sees she’s being abused. Moo-Chan, who is there to meet Gi-Chul’s wife to get some information from her, sees him abusing her and decides to beat him up.

In a random cram school, we see a young man texting a person titled executioner. They send out a particular message to the whole nation. Everyone, including Moo-Chan and Joo-Hyun, receives this all-consuming message that appears on everyone’s phones. The pop-up asks all viewers who are 18 and older to answer a poll question. The poll asks if Gi-Chul, who has been spreading these videos of children, should be executed for his crimes. The masked man also appears in a video message, telling the people of the country that justice is in their hands. Most people don’t take it very seriously and answer the poll with yes. Gi-Chul himself, who has been kidnapped and tied to a chair in the middle of a basement somewhere, thinks it’s some kind of joke when the masked man appears in front of him. He then thinks it’s Moo-Chan or some acquaintance who might be mad at him. Ultimately, the masked man reveals that over 80 percent of people agree to kill the guy, so that’s what he ends up doing. The masked man stuffs Gi-Chul’s face with bundles of cash because he’s money-hungry (similar to how Crassus got gold poured down his glutten).


Who Does Joo-Hyun Think The Murderer Is?

Moo-Chan’s team is sent to the location of the crime, and immediately they notice a horde of reporters there. Before Moo-Chan can tell the reporters to get out of there and to make sure the Korean public doesn’t find out about what has happened, the masked man himself releases video footage of what he did to Gi-Chul. He even leaves introductions on how to leave the pop-up, making it clear that this is all the viewer’s choice. This is not the last of these kinds of murders, and the masked man claims that if more than 50% of viewers vote yes, then he will execute the person for the public, getting justice for everyone. Now, because this is a nationwide incident, the police department is very concerned as to who should be in charge of trying to catch this masked man. If they catch him, the public will be mad, but if they don’t catch him, the public will be mad anyway. Both options look bad for the police because, at the end of the day, that is what the masked man is fighting—the justice system. They offer Moo-Chan the job, which he accepts on the condition that he can join the HQ investigation team. There’s a particular case he wants to work on, and if he catches the masked man, he would be able to work on that one too.

On the other hand, Joo-Hyun’s sidekick gets sent off to the team that is trying to figure out who the vigilante is, and she decides she’s finally had enough. Her boss tries to sweep under the rug the fact that she found that video first and wanted to work on it because it would reflect poorly on him. She disrespects the guy and tells him that if he doesn’t let her work on this case, she’ll do things her own way. Everyone considers her a weirdo anyway, so she ends up going to the team herself with no orders or permissions. When she arrives there, she tells Moo-Chan that she may have an answer to who is behind the mask.


She plays the video for him and tells him that there’s one particular line the man says that sticks with her. Something along the lines of monsters who are considered innocent is what the man says, and the exact same words were said by Kwon Seok-Joo, the man who Moo-Chan was trying to catch ten years ago. Seok-Joo had taken revenge on the man who had hurt his young daughter, and Moo-Chan had called him Hyung, the word used to address an older brother. Moo-Chan had asked him to stop while holding a gun in his face, and Seok-Joo had only smiled. Now, eight years later, Seok-Joo sits in prison, so it’s not entirely clear how he could orchestrate such a plan from inside there. Additionally, how many executioners would he have, and would somebody else be killing the people for him? We’ll find out in the next episode of The Killing Vote.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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The new Korean drama The Killing Vote on Prime Video is a fascinating new thriller series that explores Korea’s idea of justice by using a vigilante that shares a question with the whole nation in order to take action on their behalf. 'The Killing Vote' Episode 1 Review/Recap: How Does Joo-Hyum Find The Culprit?