City Hunter (TV series)
City Hunter (Korean: 시티헌터) is a 2011 South Korean television drama based on the Japanese manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo, starring Lee Min-ho, Park Min-young, Lee Joon-hyuk, Kim Sang-joong, Kim Sang-ho, Hwang Sun-hee, Goo Ha-ra, Chun Ho-jin and Lee Kwang-soo. It premiered on May 25, 2011 on SBS and finished broadcasting on July 28, 2011.
Promotional poster for City Hunter
|Based on||City Hunter|
by Tsukasa Hojo
|Written by||Hwang Eun-kyung|
|Directed by||Jin Hyuk|
|Opening theme||"It's Alright" by Yang Hwa-jin|
|Ending theme||"Suddenly" by Kim bo-kyung|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Executive producer(s)||Kim Eui-joon|
|Producer(s)||Kim Young-sup |
Sebastian Dong-hun Lee
|Production location(s)||Korea, Thailand|
|Running time||Wednesdays and Thursday at 21:55 (KST)|
|Original network||Seoul Broadcasting System|
|Original release||25 May –|
28 July 2011
|Preceded by||49 Days|
|Followed by||Protect the Boss|
|Revised Romanization||Siti Heonteo|
In 1983, the South Korean president and his delegates are visiting Burma when a bomb planted by North Korean agents explodes, killing some high-ranking officials. This historical event is called the Rangoon bombing (also known as the Rangoon incident). To strike back, five South Korean officials plan a covert operation, codenamed "Operation Cleansweep," to enter North Korea and kill several top members of the North's high command. Lee Jin-pyo and Park Moo-yul, two Presidential Security Service bodyguards and best friends who were present at the bombing, organize a 21-man team for the mission. However, as the team wreaks havoc in Pyongyang, the five officials abort the plan to avoid an international crisis if the mission is discovered. Their major concern is that the United States will withdraw its nuclear protection if the mission is made public, in light of Seoul's official declaration that it will not retaliate.
The operation is successful, but as the troops swim out from Nampo to an ROK Navy submarine assigned for their extraction, snipers aboard the submarine open fire on them. An already injured Park sacrifices his life to save Lee. Lee swims back to shore and returns to South Korea, where he finds out that the assault team's service and personal records have been erased.
Promising to avenge his fallen comrades, Jin-pyo kidnaps Moo-yul's infant son, and names him Lee Yoon-sung. He flees to the Golden Triangle to raise the child as his own and trains the boy intensively in combat. Following an attack on a village they are living in, Jin-pyo confesses his long-term plan for revenge to a teenaged Yoon-sung.
Seven years later, after successfully finishing his education and attaining a doctorate in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yoon-sung returns to South Korea to fulfill his adoptive father's plan for revenge. He enters the Blue House as an IT expert under the National Communication Network Team. He is warned by Jin-pyo not to trust anyone and never fall in love, as doing so will put the people around him in danger.
While working at the Blue House, Lee meets bodyguard Kim Na-na. Eventually Na-na participates in his revenge plan, as they discover that they have the same goal in mind. Problems occur as Jin-pyo's revenge plot unfolds, especially when Lee defies his surrogate father at several occasions as they try to identify and kill the officials, known as the "Council of Five."
Each member of the Council have achieved significant wealth and political influence since 1983, and are engaged in various levels of corruption. Jin-pyo and Yoon-sung's conflict stems primarily from Jin-pyo's wish to murder each official, and Yoon-sung's wish to teach them a lesson and expose their corruption without killing them. As Yoon-sung exposes the officials' corruption, the citizens of Korea sense an unseen force of justice that they dub "City Hunter."
- Codenamed "City Hunter", Yoon-sung's ultimate goal is to avenge his father's killers. Using the identity of a Korean-American teenager, who is later revealed to have died several years before, he assumes a double life by graduating from MIT with a doctorate degree and lands a job at South Korea's presidential palace. It led him to cross paths with presidential bodyguard Kim Na-na, with whom he falls in love.
- Park Min-young as Kim Na-na
- Forced to take care of herself at an early age after her mother was killed in a drunk driving accident and her father became comatose, she is independent and strong-willed. Her exceptional skills in martial arts eventually earns her an assignment with the Presidential Security Service. During her time as a bodyguard, she falls in love with Lee Yoon-sung and eventually discovers his real identity.
- Lee Joon-hyuk as Kim Young-joo
- An intelligent prosecutor, Kim Young-joo possesses a strong sense of justice, even against the corrupt politicians of South Korea. He is the son of one of the members of the "Council of Five." He is a constant rival of City Hunter, working towards the same goals under legal cover, while trying to figure out his identity at the same time.
- Kim Sang-joong as Lee Jin-pyo
- Operation Clean Sweep's sole survivor, Lee spends the mediate years in the Golden Triangle as a drug lord. Full of anger, he wants to kill all of the people who ordered his team dead. He pretends to be a Korean-American investor and uses Lee Yoon-sung as his agent of vengeance.
- Kim Sang-ho as Bae Man-duk/Bae Shik-joong
- A problem gambler but a very good cook whom Lee Yoon-sung saves from thugs in Thailand and later becomes his close friend. Over the course of the series, Bae and Lee become partners under Lee Jin-pyo's scheme – and also racks up huge debts buying stuff from the home-shopping network. However, it is revealed that Bae witnessed the accident that resulted in Kim Na-na's woes and was hiding in Thailand by the start of the series after being paid off by the culprit – Kim Jong-shik, a member of the Council of Five – to change his story
- Hwang Sun-hee as Jin Sae-hee
- A veterinarian by trade, Sae-hee is Young-joo's ex-wife and a good friend to the other characters. She is the first of Lee Yoon-sung's accomplices to learn of his secret identity as the City Hunter.
- Goo Ha-ra as Choi Da-hye
- One of President Choi's two children, Da-hye is smitten with Lee Yoon-sung early in the series and requests him to be her tutor. Her status of being the president's daughter does not win her any friends at school and even creates a public scandal when she attacks a group of girls who criticizes her father's governance within earshot. She decides not to go to college (because of her poor grades) and is forced to find a job, and later falls in love with Kim Young-joo.
- Chun Ho-jin as Choi Eung-chan
- The incumbent president of South Korea, Choi was one of the five men involved in planning the 1983 operation and promised the unit he will help get them home. He was later out-voted in the decision to abort the operation and forced to live with the guilt for 28 years. He is the only member of the group who knows that Lee Jin-pyo survived the debacle, yet does nothing to stop him despite knowing that the former bodyguard's ultimate goal is to kill him and the other officials. It is later revealed that the president is Lee Yoon-sung's real father, who sired him with Lee Kyung-hee. He is depicted in the series as an idealist who believes the end is worth the means, which results in his impeachment by the National Assembly after he bribed a number of deputies to help pass an important education reform bill.
- Park Sang-min as Park Mu-yeol
- Lee Yoon-sung's father, who dies protecting Jin-pyo in the first episode. It is revealed that he is not Yoon-sung's real father, and was merely protecting Lee Kyung-hee after her affair with Choi Eung-chan ended. Park and Lee Jin-pyo's names are at the top of a memorial slab honoring the Clean Sweep team.
- Kim Mi-sook as Lee Kyung-hee
- Lee Yoon-sung's mother, who went on to lead a solitary life running a small eatery after Yoon-sung was kidnapped as an infant. She had become pregnant with Choi Eung-chan's child, but when she decided to keep the baby, her life and the baby's was threatened by Chun Jae-man. She contracts leukemia later in the series, but starts to recover after Yoon-sung donates bone marrow to her. Kyung-hee travels to the United States with Shik-joong to start a new life in the final episode.
- Lee Seung-hyung as Song Young-duk
- The head of the Blue House's National Communications Network team.
- Yang Jin-sung as Shin Eun-ah
- Kim Na-na's other female colleague in the PSS, who is assigned to look after Choi Da-hye.
- Lee Kwang-soo as Ko Ki-joon
- Yoon-sung's colleague in the National Communications Network team who is visibly interested in Eun-ah. The couple are engaged at the end of the series.
- Jung Joon as Kim Sang-gook
- A former police officer, Kim is tapped by Jin-pyo for the revenge project upon learning that his own brother was part of the 1983 operation. He was sacked from the force for breaking into the National Intelligence Service's files while trying to find out what happened to his brother.
- Lee Hyo-jung as Lee Kyung-wan
- A senator, Kyung-wan is the City Hunter's first target among the Council of Five, who also pocketed certain children's welfare funds. He is imprisoned for the crime, but is implied to have died at Jin-pyo's hands in Episode 9.
- Choi Jung-woo as Chun Jae-man
- A businessman running a chaebol (a chemical company and hospital is seen in the series as part of it), Jae-man participated in planning the North Korea mission. He is the most corrupt and ruthless member of the Council of Five. He later burns a book containing all covert operations in 1983 that were supposed to be declassified in 2030. It is revealed that the book he burned was just a copy and Jin-pyo acquired the original document, but not before Jae-man does a little historical revisionism by saying that the operation took place because the team tried to defect to the North with some state secrets. His corruption case is also depicted as one that no government prosecutor wants to handle, as those who do take it on are often harassed into quitting. Chun dies at Jin-pyo's hands in the final episode.
- Choi Il-hwa as Kim Jong-shik
- Kim Young-joo's father and a former education minister, Jong-shik was one of the officials who plotted the North Korea mission and agreed to the subsequent cover-up. He also killed Kim Na-na's mother and gravely injured her father while drunk-driving, and pays off a witness (Bae Sik-joong) to say that Na-na's parents were at fault for the accident. He would become comatose later in the series as the City Hunter tries to take him down in light of an investigation over hiding around two billion won in college subsidies. He regains consciousness in the final episode to learn of his son's death.
- Choi Sang-hoon as Seo Yong-hak
- A former defense minister and a prospective presidential contender, Yong-hak was an army general at the time of the 1983 operation and has often used his influence to have his three sons avoid the military's required three-year conscription. The City Hunter unmasks him for entering into deals to provide substandard combat boots and acquire defective fighters for the Air Force. As the truth behind Clean Sweep unravels, Yong-hak comes forward with what he knows and pins the president as the mastermind.
- Min Young-won as Min-hee
- Yoon Ye-hee as Mrs. Yong (First Lady)
- Kim Byung-choon as Jang Woo-hyun
- Shin Young-jin as Kim Mi-ok
- ไก่ สุปราณี (Kai Supranee) Supporting Thai Actress
|Soundtrack album by |
Glory MK Entertainment
|Released on May 20, 2011|
|1.||"Sarang "(사랑)"" (Love)||Yim Jae-beom||4:34|
|Released on June 3, 2011|
|1.||"So Goodbye"||Kim Jonghyun||4:12|
|2.||"It's Alright"||Yang Hwa-jin||3:47|
|Released on June 10, 2011|
|2.||"Cupid" ((Acoustic ver.))||Girl's Day||3:20|
|Released on June 15, 2011|
|2.||"Lonely Day"||J Symphony||3:40|
|Released on June 23, 2011|
|1.||"I Only Look At You"||Gyuri||4:12|
|2.||"I Only Look At You" (Inst.)||4:12|
|Released on July 6, 2011|
|1.||"You and I"||Rainbow||3:35|
|2.||"You and I" (Inst.)||3:35|
|Released on July 20, 2011|
|1.||"Can't Stop"||Son Han-byeol||3:32|
|2.||"I Love You, I Want You, I Need You"||Apple Mango||3:23|
|3.||"I Love You, I Want You, I Need You (Sweet Acoustic Version)"||Hara||3:20|
|4.||"I Love You, I Want You, I Need You" (Inst.)||4:06|
|1.||"A Hot Spade"||Oh Joon Sung||2:04|
|2.||"Aria of the City"||Oh Joon Sung||2:22|
|3.||"Attention"||Oh Joon Sung||1:47|
|4.||"Always Here"||Oh Joon Sung||1:41|
|5.||"Black Warrior"||Oh Joon Sung||1:52|
|6.||"City Hunter"||Oh Joon Sung||1:41|
|7.||"Dead or Live"||Oh Joon Sung||1:44|
|8.||"Deep Inside"||Oh Joon Sung||1:41|
|9.||"Eagle Eye"||Oh Joon Sung||1:50|
|10.||"Endless Cry"||Oh Joon Sung||2:07|
|11.||"Fire Flower"||Oh Joon Sung||2:08|
|12.||"Gun Fighter"||Oh Joon Sung||1:35|
|13.||"Glory of the City"||Oh Joon Sung||1:57|
|14.||"Kwang Hwa Moon"||Oh Joon Sung||2:46|
|15.||"Lair"||Oh Joon Sung||2:01|
|16.||"Mama's Cry"||Oh Joon Sung||1:29|
|17.||"Memories of Love (Acoustic ver.)"||Park Joo Won||2:22|
|18.||"Memories of Love (Guitar ver.)"||Park Joon Won||3:19|
|19.||"Middle point Symphony"||Oh Joon Sung||1:46|
|20.||"Morning Garden"||Oh Joon Sung||2:05|
|21.||"Nice Play"||Oh Joon Sung||1:44|
|22.||"NaNa's Theme"||Oh Joon Sung||2:21|
|23.||"Puchai Love"||Oh Joon Sung||2:47|
|24.||"Puchai Waltz"||Oh Joon Sung||1:59|
|25.||"Red Water"||Oh Joon Sung||1:43|
|26.||"Sad Run"||Oh Joon Sung||1:40|
|27.||"The Fire of Love"||Oh Joon Sung||1:43|
|28.||"Yellow Party"||Oh Joon Sung||1:55|
The series has received positive reviews and was also a commercial success selling out advertisement space at a high price of ₩420 million ($420,000) per episode. By the end of its run in July 2011, the series had earned ₩10.45 billion ($10.45 million) from television advertising in South Korea.
Lee's role netted him Best Actor at the 4th Korea Drama Awards, as well as an endorser for the Hyundai Veloster in China. He would later be recognized by the Seoul Prosecutor's Office as an "Honorable Prosecutor" in a ceremony on January 4, 2012.
In between December 2011 and January 2012, the Asian-American Donor Program partnered with the Transplant Informers blog to run a special raffle for a full DVD boxed set of the series, as part of an awareness campaign for bone-marrow transplants. The promotion was held to recognize the show's authentic depiction of a bone-marrow transplant (when Yoon-sung had to donate some for his mother).
In this table, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
|Ep.||Original broadcast date||Average audience share|
|Nationwide||Seoul National Capital Area||Nationwide||Seoul National Capital Area|
|1||May 25, 2011||9.5% (9th)||11.8% (6th)||10.5% (6th)||11.0% (7th)|
|2||May 26, 2011||10.0% (9th)||12.2% (7th)||11.1% (8th)||12.2% (7th)|
|3||June 1, 2011||11.9% (4th)||13.6% (5th)||12.3% (5th)||13.0% (5th)|
|4||June 2, 2011||12.6% (5th)||15.0% (4th)||12.8% (5th)||13.3% (5th)|
|5||June 8, 2011||13.0% (4th)||15.7% (3rd)||13.7% (5th)||14.9% (4th)|
|6||June 9, 2011||13.2% (4th)||15.4% (2nd)||14.2% (4th)||14.8% (4th)|
|7||June 15, 2011||13.6% (3rd)||16.7% (2nd)||13.7% (5th)||14.0% (5th)|
|8||June 16, 2011||12.7% (4th)||14.2% (2nd)||13.8% (4th)||13.8% (5th)|
|9||June 22, 2011||13.8% (4th)||15.2% (3rd)||13.4% (5th)||13.4% (6th)|
|10||June 23, 2011||14.4% (4th)||16.4% (3rd)||14.6% (4th)||15.4% (5th)|
|11||June 29, 2011||17.4% (3rd)||19.5% (1st)||18.4% (1st)||19.4% (1st)|
|12||June 30, 2011||18.3% (2nd)||20.5% (1st)||18.8% (1st)||19.1% (1st)|
|13||July 6, 2011||18.5% (1st)||20.5% (1st)||18.7% (1st)||19.8% (2nd)|
|14||July 7, 2011||18.3% (2nd)||20.6% (1st)||19.6% (1st)||19.8% (1st)|
|15||July 13, 2011||17.4% (3rd)||19.6% (1st)||19.9% (1st)||20.5% (1st)|
|16||July 14, 2011||17.5% (3rd)||18.8% (1st)||19.2% (1st)||19.8% (1st)|
|17||July 20, 2011||17.9% (2nd)||19.6% (1st)||18.8% (1st)||19.7% (1st)|
|18||July 21, 2011||18.6% (1st)||20.3% (1st)||19.3% (1st)||19.3% (1st)|
|19||July 27, 2011||17.2% (3rd)||18.7% (1st)||18.8% (3rd)||19.0% (3rd)|
|20||July 28, 2011||19.1% (3rd)||20.6% (1st)||18.0% (1st)||20.0% (1st)|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2011||4th Korea Drama Awards||Best Director||Jin Hyuk||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Lee Min-ho||Won|
|Best Actress||Park Min-young||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Kim Sang-ho||Nominated|
|Hallyu Star Award||Lee Min-ho||Won|
|Best New Actress||Hwang Sun-hee||Nominated|
|5th Mnet 20's Choice Awards||Hot Male Drama Star||Lee Min-ho||Nominated|
|SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Lee Min-ho||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Lee Joon-hyuk||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Park Min-young||Nominated|
|Special Acting Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Kim Sang-joong||Nominated|
|New Star Award||Goo Ha-ra||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Lee Min-ho||Won|
|Best Couple Award||Lee Min-ho & Park Min-young||Nominated|
|2012||48th Baeksang Arts Awards||Popularity Award, Actor (TV)||Lee Min-ho||Nominated|
|Popularity Award, Actress (TV)||Park Min-young||Nominated|
|7th Seoul International Drama Awards||Outstanding Korean Drama||City Hunter||Nominated|
|Outstanding Korean Actor||Lee Min-ho||Nominated|
Before the series aired the broadcast rights were exported to several countries such as the U.S., Hong Kong, Thailand, Romania and Vietnam. At the time other countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Bulgaria, the Philippines, and Kazakhstan were also actively seeking to acquire the dramas broadcast rights. In the United States the drama was made available for streaming with English subtitles on Hulu.
- Philippines – The ABS-CBN network aired the show dubbed in Filipino during primetime from January 23, 2012 to April 13, 2012 replacing My Binondo Girl. A rerun called "City Hunter Returns," aired in the network's "Kapamilya Gold" afternoon program lineup from July 9, 2012 to September 7, 2012.
- Japan: Fuji TV from February 6 to 29, 2012 five episodes a week for an hour at 2pm. The series aired in Japan in the same time-slot as Lee Min-Ho's previous drama Personal Taste which was airing on TBS. The series was then rerun again starting March 29, 2012 on cable channel BS Fuji on Tuesdays at 7pm. The series also re-aired on cable channel KNTV from November 6, 2012 to January 8, 2013 in Korean with Japanese subtitles.
- Malaysia: 8TV January 10, 2013 on Mondays through Friday's at 8:30pm.
- Singapore: MediaCorp Channel U from December 30, 2012 to May 26, 2013.
- Hong Kong: TVB from July 2, 2012 to August 7, 2012.
- Indonesia: Indosiar February 14, 2012 on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm,RTV April 27, 2015 on Monday to Friday at 2:00 pm
- Algeria: City Hunter aired on DTV starting 2015, dubbed into Arabic as قناص المدينة (Qannāṣ al-Madīnah).
- France: GONG February 5, 2012 on Sundays at 9:40PM
- United Arab Emirates: MBC Action
- Thailand: Channel 7 January 21, 2012 on Saturdays & Sundays at 9:15AM
- Vietnam: City Hunter was broadcast on HTV2, it was called Thợ Săn Thành Phố and it was also broadcast on SET (Saigon Entertainment Television), however it was called Tránh Né Tình Yêu.
- Sri Lanka: City Hunter aired on ITN from December 2015.
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