The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Voice premiered this week, leaving me with incredible excitement and curiosity at what’s to come. First episode arrived with a bang, bringing in all the good stuff OCN’s known for. The cinematography is great, the plot is solid, acting is top-notch, giving you a thrilling story that was inspired by true events.
We start out with a severely beaten woman (Heo Ji Hye) running barefoot through secluded streets, a black hooded man pursuing her. She trips and falls, dropping a lunch box on the ground. Thankfully the man hadn’t gotten to her yet and she continues running, looking for a place to hide. She finally comes to a stop and hides behind the trash cans. The caption states – November 25, 2014, 10:15pm, Eunhyung-dong, Sungwun.
The scene switches to port Sungwun, where our male lead – Moo Jin Hyeok (Jang Hyuk) is on a stakeout with his team. A bunch of gangsters arrives in a minivan. The backup is still on the way, so the policemen decide to start the operation now, or else the criminals will get away. Just then Jin Hyeok gets a call from his wife, but decides to ignore it. The timing couldn’t be worse.
Unable to get through to her husband, Hah Ji Hye calls the 112 Emergency Call Center for help. Kang Kwon Joo (Lee Ha Na), still a rookie at this point, answers the call, acquiring info about the situation. The woman spots a banner near her, so she’s able to tell her location – near Banseok Chursh, but the call gets cut off right after. Her pursuer is roaming around, still unable to locate his victim.
Kwon Joo tries calling the woman again. The call gets through, and the criminal, who was about to go in the other direction, hears the ringing and slowly advances to where Ji Hye is hiding. She sees him walk by meters away and decides to switch her hiding location, but just as she’s about to do it, the man knocks her down. The call center employees are still listening on the call and not doing anything about it, mind you.
Ji Hye tries to crawl away, but her pursuer steps on her foot, preventing her from going any further. She pleads to save her life, saying she has a child at home, to which he answers with a menacing smile on his face – “You shouldn’t have acted up”, and bludgeons her in the head with a kettlebell. Kwon Joo, freaking out in the call center, hears the brutal murder taking place.
We cut to Jin Hyeok and his team, fighting off baddies with ease. Later that night they get wasted, celebrating a successful operation. Jin Hyeok gets a call from his hoobae friend, Dae Shik, informing him of a woman, who got killed after an unsuccessful rape attempt. They found her ID card – it’s Jin Hyeok’s wife. Jin Hyeok, being drunk, doesn’t take it seriously and tries to call his wife, but gets no answer, getting agitated by the minute.
When Jin Hyeok finally arrives at the crime scene, he’s completely wasted, barely able to stand straight. His colleagues, Dae Shik and Jang Kyeong Hak, try to spot him from looking at the body, but it’s no use. Jin Hyeok finds a ruined lunch box his wife prepared for his birthday. He gets to her body, trying to get her up, still unable to believe she’s dead, but falls near her feet. The agonizing realization comes to him slowly, as he’s lying on the ground clutching his wife’s bruised and bloody foot, crying.
The story makes it in the news the next day, blaming 112 Call Center for their incompetency to handle the situation in time. Kwon Joo and her sunbae go to testify in court, journalists high on their heels. The police higher-ups resign, following harsh criticism of the public. Jin Hyeok’s colleagues visit him at the funeral, telling him that the criminal, Go Dong Chul, has been arrested. Bloody clothes were found in the guy’s home, the DNA matches Jin Hyeoks wife. He’ll get a life sentence, since the higher-ups want to close the case as soon as possible, having admitted the mistake of 112 Call Center. Jin Hyeok wows to kill the bastard if he ever gets out.
The trial begins and Go Dong Chul denies all allegations, because he was drunk that night and can’t remember anything. Kwon Joo goes to give her testimony, still in mourning over her father’s death, who got killed by the same guy as Jin Hyeok’s wife. When asked if it’s Go Dong Chul’s voice she heard that night, she denies it, saying that it was definitely another person’s. Jin Hyeok is pissed over her testimony. Dae Shik tells him that from the beginning Kwon Joo’s been suggesting that the killer was a different person, who also killed her dad, but it was proven that her dad died in a hit-and-run accident. He thinks, she’s just trying to cover up her mistakes.
Kwon Joo insists on her testimony, asking to play the recording from that day, but when they do, a portion of it, that contained the culprit’s voice, is missing. She insists that there’s more to the recording, but no one believes her. Jin Hyeok is unable to stand it anymore, he stands up and asks her to tell the truth, tossing his wallet at her, thinking she was paid off. He gets so livid that they have to drag him away.
3 years have passed since the incident. Kwon Joo, having returned from overseas, sees a news coverage of how a young man’s grandfather received a voice phishing call. They play the recording and Kwon Joo can easily recognize the voice of the grandson as the culprit. She calls the 112 Call Center, providing them with this information.
Kwon Joo can hear every little sound around her as she crosses the road. After receiving an eye injury in her childhood, her hearing heightened to the point, where she needs to wear headphones in public places. She bumps into a girl, who’s talking on the phone with a guy, promising to give her 100 dollars if she talks to him. We’ll meet the girl later once more.
Back in the police station Jin Hyeok’s colleagues are questioning an escort agency’s manager. They lost a criminal, who smashed his victim’s head with a hammer, because Jin Hyeok wanted to catch this guy, who might know the whereabouts of Dong Chul, the suspect of his wife’s murder case. That manager guy has the nerve to blame Jin Hyeok for what happened to his wife, so Jin Hyeok manages to beat him with a nearby chair, before Dae Shik drags him away.
Kwon Joo is presenting a plan to the higher-ups of the local police station to create a Golden Time Team. The aim is to be on the scene in 3 minutes after the report, and arrest the criminal within the next 10 minutes. The higher-ups are against it, saying it would cause a shift in the hierarchy, since violent crimes division would be working under the Golden Time Team. Dae Shik tells Jin Hyeok, that Kwon Joo returned to Korea and even had the audacity to go work in their district as the head of the Emergency Call Center. Since she solved a big case in the US, some of the officials are very supportive of her now. There’s even a rumor that she studied in the US with the money from Dong Chul’s sponsor.
Jin Hyeok confronts her in the hallway, asking how dare she come here, after accepting a bribe from the criminal. She tells him of her plan to make him their team leader, but she’s now hesitating, because he’s a total wreck. He belittles her some more, even bringing up her dead father, but she just says to think whatever he wants, since he won’t believe in anything she’ll say.
The Emergency Call Center gets a kidnapping report and Kwon Joo gets called over. A 17-year-old girl, Park Bok Nim (the one who bumped into Kwon Joo earlier), got kidnapped by a guy whom she met through a dating application. The guy led her to a suspicious place. When she sensed that something was wrong and tried to walk away, he attacked her.
They locate her mobile phone within 2km radius of the Eunhyung-dong, but it’s too broad to locate her in time. Bok Nim describes the place she’s at. Noticing that the guy is not around, she crawls to the window and drops a brick outside. It sends the kidnapper running outside, thinking Bok Nim escaped. Kwon Joo activates code zero, utilizing her Golden Time Team tactic. She dispatches a nearby patrol division and Jin Hyeok as a member of the Golden Time Team. He refuses to go, but when the victim pleads for help, he heads out immediately, remembering his wife in a similar situation.
Bok Nim is having a break down, thinking they won’t save her, since her life is worthless. Kwon Joo successfully distracts and calms the girl with a story from her life and promises to save her no matter what. They try to get more details about her location. Bok Nim mentions a playground, and something colorful and flickering. Kwon Joo tries to figure it out, meanwhile Jin Hyeok and a few more officers arrive at the scene within 3 minutes and start the search.
Bok Nim decides to head outside, since the man is nowhere to be seen, but Kwon Joo tells her to stay where she is now. Right when she’s walking down the stairs, her kidnapper returns. Bok Nim manages to hide behind a bathroom door unnoticed, but she loses her key chain on the stairs.
Jin Hyeok and the team are still unable to find the location, running around in futile attempts to find the right building. The kidnapper gets a hammer and goes outside, looking for Bok Nim again. Meanwhile Jin Hyeok gets a lead about a daycare center with colorful paintings, where a girl was sexually assaulted. It seems to fit the description, so they decide to check it out. Kwon Joo can’t seem to recognize the sound of something swirling, coming from outside of Bok Nim’s building.
Bok Nim’s kidnapper returns and rushes to gather his things, deciding to run away, since he couldn’t find the girl. As he goes down the stairs, he sees Bok Nim’s keychain and realizes that she’s still in the building. Jin Hyeok finds the daycare center, but when he goes inside, there’s only homeless people, no one else.
Bok Nim tells Kwon Joo that the kidnapper carried around a hammer. That’s when it all clicks and Kwon Joo remembers a recent Gojeong-dong case, where they found a body with a fractured skull. She announces the info to Jin Hyeok and orders Bok Nim to get out of there as soon as possible. It’s too late though, the kidnapper already found her.
There’s a ruckus in the Emergency Call Center, where Kwon Joo tries to explain the situation to the chief Jang Kyung-hak, who’s angry that she does whatever the hell she wants. His team tried to find the serial killer of the Gojeong-dong, there’s no way he’s the kidnapper they are searching for right now. Chief Kyung-hak gets a call, telling him that the Gojeong-dong’s killer has been arrested, but he has an alibi. Everything fits into place and they send a backup team to help catch the kidnapper. Meanwhile Jin Hyeok runs around searching for any clues that might indicate the location of the victim.
Kwon Joo analyzes information they got so far and tries to pinpoint the sound she kept hearing outside of the building. She finally understands where the sound was coming from – it’s a barber shop’s sign. Jin Hyeok finds the shop, having seen it before, where the kidnapper chooses the best weapon for killing Bok Nim. We end the episode just as he’s about to hit Bok Nim with a hammer and Jin Hyeok gets inside barber shop.
Holy Mother of God! If they’re going to have such cliffhangers every episode, I don’t think I’ll survive. I still feel the thrill from watching this episode. It’s been awhile since a drama/movie made me so invested. I expected it to be good, but this exceeded all my expectation. After Vampire Detective and Neighborhood Hero I was honestly doubting OCN, but nope, the network still got it.
I like how every minute was filled with action and none of it was wasted. The killer of Jin Hyeok’s wife is a complete psycho that needs to be put behind bars immediately. Just imagine what he might’ve done in those 3 years, going without punishment. Bok Nim’s kidnapper is no better, but he at least got caught. I want to know more about the big bad and what drives him to murder so brutally, his motivation.
Voice is a drama I was craving for. It’s dark and revels in its darkness, without being afraid to cross the lines. It grabs your attention from the first minute and won’t let go until you’re completely wasted. The sound technicians skillfully worked their magic on my ears to the point where I was desperately trying to listen to every sound together with Kwon Joo. It felt as if I was at the 112 Emergency Call Center, trying to save Bok Nim. I don’t know how they managed to skillfully enhance all those meager sounds, but it worked on me like a charm.
Action scenes were done great, major props to Jang Hyuk for being in such good form, because some of those stunts looked really difficult. Makeup artists did an impressive job with all the bruises and cuts as well. Blood looked like blood and injuries on people actually looked believable, which helped the immersion even more.
There’s a lot to be said about the characters and actors, but I’ll refrain from making any judgement until I’ve finished episode 2. This was an epic first impression and hopefully more people tune in to watch it. The cast and crew definitely deserve it.