The world of K-drama Bloodhounds revolves around loan sharks or money lenders who provide hassle-free money to their customers in times of dire need. People often fail to procure funds from banks and other reputable financial institutions because these corporations demand a lot of legal paperwork, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That is when these loan sharks come into play and they are ready to offer easy money with shady conditions. They often charge a high-interest rate on the principal amount and could ask for any kind of guarantee in case the customer fails to pay the debt. However, that’s not the end of their greedy practices.
Most loan sharks often employ musclemen to recover their loans, and these are the people whom we come to know as “bloodhounds” in the series. These thugs mentally and physically rough up the customers and violently force them to pay their debts. They even threaten to harm their families, and thus, a person in debt is left with no other choice but to give in. Most of them end up killing themselves, in the end, to save their families from such a burden.
In the series, Kim Geon-woo’s mother was tricked by one such loan shark company called Smile Capital, run by the treacherous Kim Myung-gil, who preyed upon people’s weaknesses in order to fill his pockets. Geon-woo, being a disciplined boxer, used his skills to do part-time jobs so that he could pay back the loan, but Myung-gil’s scam came as a total shock to him. As the series is set during COVID times, Geon-woo didn’t have a lot of job options, and being a former marine, the only offer he got was to become a bloodhound. However, he chooses not to violently threaten innocent people in order to pay back his mother’s debt. From the very beginning of the series, we have seen Geon-woo as a righteous and selfless man with a conscience who never wanted to hurt anyone for his personal gain. He had even been friendly with the boxers he fought in the ring and apologized to them every time he knocked them down.
Maybe Geon-woo didn’t like to spill unnecessary blood, which is why he often used to punch his opponents in the ribs to win the match without causing any serious injury. His decision didn’t change even when a former moneylender, President Choi Tae-ho, asked him to become a bodyguard for his granddaughter. Geon-woo and his friend, Hong Woo-jin, maintained their grace during all the action sequences just because they didn’t want to become ruthless killers. Their empathy for others and their passion for helping the weak were the traits that distinguished them from the main antagonist of Bloodhounds.
Maybe because Geon-woo and Woo-jin never intended to kill anyone, they never used any weapon or tool in any of their fights. And even when they had to pick up tools (a fishing landing net and a metal drain grate) during the second-last battle of the series, they mostly avoided using those on the goons. Their sole purpose was to protect themselves and the people they loved. Throughout the series, the duo believed that they needed to improve their punches and make themselves stronger, so they didn’t have to resort to using lethal weapons even to defend themselves.
In the season finale of Bloodhounds, we come across one scene that could be recognized as the test of their morals and beliefs. Myung-gil’s most dangerous and threatening bloodhound, Kang In-beom, had called Geon-woo and his friend to Four Garden Shopping Mall if they wanted to save Jang-do, one of Mr. Choi’s close associates. After the battle at the shopping mall, Geon-woo was able to capture In-beom and bring him to a safe location to interrogate him, but In-beom bit off his tongue to maintain his silence. At this crucial moment, Geon-woo would have just let In-beom bleed out and die, but Geon-woo chose not to let a person die on his watch. He anonymously called the ambulance so that In-beom would get the treatment he needed and his life would be saved.
However, towards the end of Bloodhounds, Geon-woo really lost control of himself while trying to capture Kim Myung-gil, the monster who had taken the lives of so many innocent individuals. On the cargo ship, Geon-woo punched Myung-gil in the face multiple times and even swore to kill him if he showed his face again. At this point, Geon-woo saw blood on his gloves; the gloves that he had worn to box in the ring were tainted with blood forever. Geon-woo believed that he had become a bloodhound who was using violence to recover the lost money, but it was Woo-jin who reminded his friend that they could always go back to their past lives as boxers and start anew. It was the only ray of hope that Geon-woo was looking for, and finally, he got the confidence to make the necessary amends.
Geon-woo always found his happiness in the little victories he had in his daily life, where he was able to do one good deed that might bring a smile to a person’s face. Whether it was asking a passenger to wear a mask or helping a stranger on the road, Geon-woo was always ready to lend a helping hand. Maybe, it was the second quality that distinguished him from others in the series. When Geon-woo first met Mr. Choi, he found out that he shared similar beliefs because of which Mr. Choi had left the shady world of loan sharks. After Geon-woo recovered a huge amount of money for Mr. Choi from his bookshop, Mr. Choi cleared all his debts, yet Geon-woo was eager to help him in his cause. We understood the fact that Geon-woo’s intentions were never ruled by a desire for financial gains, and he really wanted to make a difference so that others wouldn’t have to face misery like his mother. Perhaps it was the reason why Geon-woo continued his battle with Goliath even after Mr. Choi and all his assassins were long dead. Geon-woo wanted to finish what he had started because that was the only way to make a difference in his life.
In the end, it was Geon-woo’s selfless nature that motivated him to give away all the illegal gold bars to Director Hong Min-beom so that he could use the money to open a welfare foundation whose sole purpose would be to provide medical assistance to people who couldn’t afford it. And to thank Mr. Choi for his kindness, Geon-woo requested Min-beom to open a hospital in his name so that he would be remembered for his kindness even after his death. That was the most Geon-woo would do for a person who held his hand in times of need. As for Geon-woo and Woo-jin, they just wanted to return to their normal lives and live a simple life as boxers. And we really hope that Geon-woo does become a successful boxer in the future because he is a sportsman in the truest sense.