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City Hunter (TV series)

City Hunter (Korean시티헌터) is a 2011 South Korean television drama based on the Japanese manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo,[1] 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.

City Hunter
Promotional poster for City Hunter
Based onCity Hunter
by Tsukasa Hojo
Written byHwang Eun-kyung
Choi Soo-jin
Directed byJin Hyuk
StarringLee Min-ho
Park Min-young
Lee Joon-hyuk
Kim Sang-joong
Hwang Sun-hee
Goo Ha-ra
Chun Ho-jin
Opening theme"It's Alright" by Yang Hwa-jin
Ending theme"Suddenly" by Kim bo-kyung
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of episodes20
Executive producer(s)Kim Eui-joon
Producer(s)Kim Young-sup
Sebastian Dong-hun Lee
Production location(s)Korea, Thailand
Running timeWednesdays and Thursday at 21:55 (KST)
Production company(s)SSD
Original networkSeoul Broadcasting System
Original release25 May (2011-05-25) –
28 July 2011 (2011-07-28)
Preceded by49 Days
Followed byProtect the Boss
External links
Korean name
Revised RomanizationSiti Heonteo
McCune–ReischauerSit'i Hŏnt'ŏ


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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.


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.
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.
The head of the Blue House's National Communications Network team.
Kim Na-na's other female colleague in the PSS, who is assigned to look after Choi Da-hye.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Special appearancesEdit

  • 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

Original soundtrackEdit

City Hunter
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
Released2011 (2011)
LabelSony Music
Glory MK Entertainment

Part 1Edit

Released on May 20, 2011 (2011-05-20)
1."Sarang "(사랑)"" (Love)Yim Jae-beom4:34
2."Sarang" (Inst.) 4:34
Total length:8:38

Part 2Edit

Released on June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03)
1."So Goodbye"Kim Jonghyun4:12
2."It's Alright"Yang Hwa-jin3:47
Total length:7:59

Part 3Edit

Released on June 10, 2011 (2011-06-10)
1."Cupid"Girl's Day3:38
2."Cupid" ((Acoustic ver.))Girl's Day3:20
3."Cupid" (Inst.) 3:38
Total length:10:56

Part 4Edit

Released on June 15, 2011 (2011-06-15)
1."Suddenly"Kim Bo-kyung3:42
2."Lonely Day"J Symphony3:40
Total length:7:42

Part 5Edit

Released on June 23, 2011 (2011-06-23)
1."I Only Look At You"Gyuri4:12
2."I Only Look At You" (Inst.) 4:12
Total length:8:24

Part 6Edit

Released on July 6, 2011 (2011-07-06)
1."You and I"Rainbow3:35
2."You and I" (Inst.) 3:35
Total length:7:30

Part 7Edit

Released on July 20, 2011 (2011-07-20)
1."Can't Stop"Son Han-byeol3:32
2."I Love You, I Want You, I Need You"Apple Mango3:23
3."I Love You, I Want You, I Need You (Sweet Acoustic Version)"Hara3:20
4."I Love You, I Want You, I Need You" (Inst.) 4:06
Total length:14:35

Disc 2:
1."A Hot Spade"Oh Joon Sung2:04
2."Aria of the City"Oh Joon Sung2:22
3."Attention"Oh Joon Sung1:47
4."Always Here"Oh Joon Sung1:41
5."Black Warrior"Oh Joon Sung1:52
6."City Hunter"Oh Joon Sung1:41
7."Dead or Live"Oh Joon Sung1:44
8."Deep Inside"Oh Joon Sung1:41
9."Eagle Eye"Oh Joon Sung1:50
10."Endless Cry"Oh Joon Sung2:07
11."Fire Flower"Oh Joon Sung2:08
12."Gun Fighter"Oh Joon Sung1:35
13."Glory of the City"Oh Joon Sung1:57
14."Kwang Hwa Moon"Oh Joon Sung2:46
15."Lair"Oh Joon Sung2:01
16."Mama's Cry"Oh Joon Sung1:29
17."Memories of Love (Acoustic ver.)"Park Joo Won2:22
18."Memories of Love (Guitar ver.)"Park Joon Won3:19
19."Middle point Symphony"Oh Joon Sung1:46
20."Morning Garden"Oh Joon Sung2:05
21."Nice Play"Oh Joon Sung1:44
22."NaNa's Theme"Oh Joon Sung2:21
23."Puchai Love"Oh Joon Sung2:47
24."Puchai Waltz"Oh Joon Sung1:59
25."Red Water"Oh Joon Sung1:43
26."Sad Run"Oh Joon Sung1:40
27."The Fire of Love"Oh Joon Sung1:43
28."Yellow Party"Oh Joon Sung1:55


The series has received positive reviews[2] and was also a commercial success selling out advertisement space at a high price of ₩420 million ($420,000) per episode.[3] 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.[4]

Lee's role netted him Best Actor at the 4th Korea Drama Awards, as well as an endorser for the Hyundai Veloster in China.[5] He would later be recognized by the Seoul Prosecutor's Office as an "Honorable Prosecutor" in a ceremony on January 4, 2012.[6]

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).[7]


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
TNmS AGB Nielsen[8]
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)
Average 15.2% 17.2% 16.0% 16.6%

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
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
Chun Ho-jin Nominated
New Star Award Goo Ha-ra Won
Top 10 Stars Lee Min-ho Won
Popularity Award Won
Park Min-young Nominated
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
Goo Ha-ra Nominated
7th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Drama City Hunter Nominated
Outstanding Korean Actor Lee Min-ho Nominated
Popularity Award Nominated

International broadcastEdit

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.[9] In the United States the drama was made available for streaming with English subtitles on Hulu.[10]

  •   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.[11][12]
  •   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.[13][14] The series was then rerun again starting March 29, 2012 on cable channel BS Fuji on Tuesdays at 7pm.[15][16] The series also re-aired on cable channel KNTV from November 6, 2012 to January 8, 2013 in Korean with Japanese subtitles.[17]
  •   Malaysia: 8TV January 10, 2013 on Mondays through Friday's at 8:30pm.[18]
  •   Singapore: MediaCorp Channel U from December 30, 2012 to May 26, 2013.[19]
  •   Hong Kong: TVB from July 2, 2012 to August 7, 2012.[20]
  •   Indonesia: Indosiar February 14, 2012 on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm,[21]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[22]
  •   United Arab Emirates: MBC Action
  •   Thailand: Channel 7 January 21, 2012 on Saturdays & Sundays at 9:15AM[23]
  •   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.[24]


  1. ^ "시티헌터 – Daum 영화" (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  2. ^ "YESASIA: City Hunter (2011) (DVD) (7-Disc) (English Subtitled) (End) (SBS TV Drama) (US Version) DVD - Lee Min Ho, Park Min Young, YA Entertainment - Korea TV Series & Dramas - Free Shipping - North America Site".
  3. ^ "Sold out guy Lee Min-ho". HanCinema. 2011-06-14.
  4. ^ 100억의 사나이 이민호. Hankook Ilbo (in Korean). Hankook Ilbo Media Group. 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  5. ^ "Lee Min-ho chosen to model for Hyundai 'Veloster' in China @ HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database". 2011-09-20. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  6. ^ 이민호, 대한민국 검찰 울린 '폭풍매너' 화제 : 네이트 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  7. ^ "City Hunter makes bone marrow donation badass: Kdrama Series Sweepstakes #1". TransplantInformers. 2012-01-30. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  8. ^ "Nielsen Korea". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  9. ^ "SBS "City Hunter" Already Sold to Multiple Countries Including Hulu". Soompi. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  10. ^ "Korean City Hunter Show Licensed for U.S. Hulu Streaming".
  11. ^ "PinoyThinking: City Hunter:Lee Min Ho on ABS CBN this January 23 2012".
  12. ^ "Lee Min Ho's 'City Hunter' Returns this July 9 with K-Drama 'Two Wives' | BIDA KAPAMILYA".
  13. ^ ""City Hunter" Air on Japanese Fuji TV on February 6". KpopStarz. 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  14. ^ "'City Hunter' and 'Personal Taste' to Air in Japan: Lee Min Ho vs. Lee Min Ho?". Retrieved 2013-09-08.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Lee Mi-ho still wanted in Japan @ HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database". 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  16. ^ "Lee Min Ho's "City Hunter" Fascinates Japan". Soompi. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2014-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^
  20. ^ Sailormoontroops [@StroopsMINOZ] (4 July 2012). "City Hunter will airing on TVB J2 Channel,Hongkong this week. Cr.meow13" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2014-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Programmes - GONG NETWORKS".
  23. ^ "ละคร City Hunter : ซิตี้ฮันเตอร์". (in Thai). 2 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2016-01-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit