‘The Whirlwind’ Series Recap & Ending Explained: What Happened To The President?

When we elect a president or prime minister for our nation, we often hope that they will eradicate injustice and corruption. We want them to use their power to make our country great and just. But what happens when those in power corrupt themselves, whether by choice or circumstance? Netflix’s The Whirlwind is the story of the South Korean president, Jang Il-joon, who falls into corruption. Prime Minister Park Dong-ho steps up, determined to clean up the mess and save the country. He dreams of becoming president himself and believes he can eliminate corruption and bring justice. However, it’s not an easy task. President Jang is not ready to step down, and Park Dong-ho is exhausted from constantly dealing with the president’s mistakes. Amid this power struggle, Deputy Prime Minister Jeong Su-jin has her own plans. She wants to take down Park Dong-ho and become president herself. But why? Is she hiding her own corruption? To find out what happens, continue reading this explainer on The Whirlwind. It’s a gripping series that explores these intense political battles and personal ambitions. Will Park Dong-ho achieve his dream of becoming president? Or will Jeong Su-jin succeed in her quest for power? Let’s find out. 

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Spoilers Ahead


What happened to the president? 

President Jang Il-joon and Prime Minister Park Dong-ho had a long history together. They first met when Park Dong-ho was a prosecutor investigating the corrupt Daejin Group. But he got transferred in the middle of his investigation, and that’s why, for help, he turned to Jang Il-joon. And from that moment on, they pledged to work together to bring peace and justice to South Korea and eliminate corruption. However, along the way, President Jang Il-joon became corrupt himself. He embezzled a significant amount of funds for his son from the PE fund, and a large sum of money disappeared. When Prosecutor Seo Gi-tae tried to investigate this embezzlement, he was forced to commit suicide to keep the truth hidden. This scandal involved not only the president but also Deputy Prime Minister Jeong Su-jin, whose husband Han Min-Ho had also taken questionable funds with the backing of the Daejin Group. They knew that if the president were exposed, they would be too, so they wanted to silence Seo Gi-tae and any threats that would expose their secrets. Prime Minister Park Dong-ho knew all about it. He realized that President Jang would never willingly step down.

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After all, President Jang Il-joon had been given the Nobel Peace Prize and had a stellar reputation, and was respected by the whole country and the rest of the world. He couldn’t let go of it all that easily. The prime minister had warned him multiple times, but nothing worked. That’s when Park Dong-ho took the drastic measure of trying to assassinate the president of Korea by making him inhale krokodil and methamphetamine through his vape. To him, it felt like he wasn’t killing the president but saving the country. The president went through a severe heart attack but didn’t die. While he was in the hospital, Park Dong-ho became the acting president-in-charge. Deputy Prime Minister Jeong Su-jin feared for her life and threatened him. She said that if he didn’t give up his position, all the members of the cabinet would turn against him, which would eventually shut down the government.

Instead, Park Dong-ho, with his newfound power, removed Jeong Su-jin from her cabinet position. Jeong Su-jin then went to ask for help from Vice Chairman Kang of the Daejin Group. Kang was all about abusing political power with his money, so he tried to manipulate Park Dong-ho instead. But little did he know, he was messing with the wrong guy. Kang wanted Park to stop the investigation into the PE funds and get his father, the owner of the Daejin Group, a pardon from jail so that Kang could become the successor of the company. What did Park Dong-ho do? He mixed aconitine into their drinks. When Kang refused to drink, Park drank it himself and rushed to the hospital by framing Kang for trying to kill him. This made Kang a suspect in the attack on the acting president and also in the earlier heart attack of President Jang Il-Joon, because Kang had visited the president before Park did. That was Park’s plan—to make Kang a suspect so that all his crimes would come to light. This shows how far Park Dong-ho was willing to go to expose the abuse of political power and bring justice, even if it meant poisoning himself!

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The investigation continued, and President Jang Il-joon’s eldest son, Jang Hyeon-su, was arrested to look into the private equity fund and expose everyone involved. When Jeong Su-jin found out, she was desperate and didn’t know how to stop it. She knew the president was still hospitalized, so she went to visit him. Then she took an extreme measure. While the president was still in bed and battling for his life, Jeong Su-jin killed him with her own hands. The assassination that Park Dong-ho had attempted, Jeong Su-jin completed successfully. Why did she do it? She knew the public would get sentimental over the president’s death. If Park Dong-ho continued the investigation against Jang Hyeon-su, people would shame him, which would eventually make him stop. At the funeral, Jeong Su-jin pretended to be the heartbroken, good-hearted deputy prime minister, mourning the president’s death to gain the public’s attention and love. She wanted to turn them against Park Dong-ho by painting him as a heartless monster.


Did Jeong Su-jin’s threat against Park Dong-ho work? 

Acting President Park Dong-ho realized that continuing his cold-hearted investigations and taking drastic measures was not winning the hearts of the people. He was turning both the general public and the ministry against him. Without proper support, he couldn’t win this battle. So, he decided to step down as acting president and run for president in the upcoming election. To secure his position, Park Dong-ho manipulated and threatened other candidates, like Chairman Park and right-wing leader Jo Sang-cheon, to get their backing. This strategy worked, and he secured more votes than Jeong Su-jin and became the prime candidate for the Korean Liberal Party.

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Jeong Su-jin started to realize she couldn’t win the battle and was unable to tolerate the idea of right-wing extremist Jo Sang-cheon becoming president. So she decided to join Park Dong-ho’s campaign. Initially skeptical, she saw this as an opportunity to spy on him. She had the First Lady give Park a watch that allowed her to listen in on all his conversations and plans. Through this, Jeong Su-jin discovered that Park Dong-ho had confessed to attempting to assassinate the president. This confession was recorded in a pen that Park had given to his chief of staff, Choi Yeon-sook, and hidden in a safe. Knowing she couldn’t expose this right away, she decided to make Park Dong-ho president first and then reveal his agenda to hide her own corruption.

Jeong Su-jin fed Park information about how Jo Sang-cheon had helped his father when he was abducted by the North Korean army and even sent money to North Korea through his half-brother, who was now making missiles that would target the country by working under Kim Jong Un. This information ruined Jo Sang-cheon’s campaign, and Park Dong-ho became the president of South Korea. To keep a close watch on her, he made Jeong Su-jin the prime minister by living by the motto: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Jeong Su-jin, feeling cornered, knew she had evidence to prove that Park Dong-ho was responsible for the president’s death. However, she didn’t know that Park was always one step ahead. He knew she was tracking him, and so he’d also planted a recorder to catch her confession about killing the president. When Jeong Su-jin confessed to her secretary about her crime, Park had it recorded. Realizing it was an eye-for-an-eye situation, Jeong Su-jin knew she couldn’t win. Park had only tried to assassinate the president, but she had actually killed him. She had already lost so much. That’s why Jeong Su-jin decided to destroy her evidence, as she knew her threats wouldn’t work anymore—it was a lost battle that she couldn’t win.


What happened to Park Dong-ho? 

Park Dong-ho manipulated Kang Yeong-ik, the chairman of the Daejin Group, to learn about his financial backing of political parties and the embezzled money over the years. Chairman Kang was willing to expose this information if Park Dong-ho helped him make his younger son the successor of the company instead of his older son, who was already in jail as a suspect for the attempted murder of both the president and the former president. However, this was all part of Park’s plan. He wanted to turn the son against the father. Park kept Kang on a call to hear what his father had to say about him. When Kang found out about his father’s plans, he was devastated. In his frustration, he leaked information about the private equity fund and revealed that the money had been transferred for personal purposes not only to the president’s son but also to Jeong Su-jin’s husband, Han Min-ho. Han Min-ho had used these illegal funds to support 100 candidates of the Korean Liberal Party, 50 of whom got elected. The revelation humiliated Han Min-ho. Knowing that coming forward would destroy the Korean Liberal Party, he committed suicide.

Jeong Su-jin, who had been cleaning up her husband’s mess all these years, felt devastated. Thus, to seek revenge, she planned to expose Park’s assassination attempt on the president. However, the First Lady sided with Park by saying that Park had come to see her, not the president, on the night of the murder at the Blue House. She was scared for her son’s life and what the prosecutors would do to him for the embezzlement. Park then arrested Chairman Kang for bribery and giving away illegal campaign funds under Han Min-ho’s supervision. And who knew about it all? Jeong Su-jin. So, Park orchestrated the entire plan in a way that would demolish Jeong Su-jin not only for financial corruption but also for killing the president. Park Dong-ho’s strategy to manipulate, expose, and ultimately destroy his opponents was a complex and calculated move. He managed to gain power by turning allies against each other and using every opportunity to his advantage, which shows how far he was willing to go to achieve his goals.

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In the end, Park Dong-ho’s main goal was never about gaining power but about rooting out corruption in the nation. He managed to expose Jeong Su-jin, and in a bold move, he confessed in front of a live audience that he had tried to assassinate the former president himself. Slowly but surely, his agenda was becoming successful. He exposed so much corruption that, ultimately, he felt he had nothing more to give. Park Dong-ho knew he would be arrested and would get a life sentence, so he decided to take a drastic step. He called Jeong Su-jin to a mountainside. There, he expressed his pride in being part of a new chapter in the country’s history, one that could begin without corruption. He believed Jeong Su-jin was unworthy, corrupt, and vile, and should not become president. Taking the red handkerchief that Jeong Su-jin had used to kill former President Jang Il-Joon from her pocket, he jumped from the mountain, making it look like Jeong Su-jin had pushed him to gain political power and become the next president. Park Dong-ho died. This shows that he did not fear anything—not even death—to eradicate corruption. So, what will now happen to Jeong Su-jin? With her history of killing the former president and now this incident, I think she would become a suspect. This wouldn’t be considered a suicide but rather a murder, with Jeong Su-jin at the center of it all for sure. As for who will become the next president of South Korea, we’ll find out in the next season of The Whirlwind, if there is any.


Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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