‘The Killing Vote’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Is The Killing Vote?


If a guy is wearing mauve lipstick, then he is supposed to be tough. These are the rules of Korean drama land, and Kim Mu Chan is simply following them. The reason this is our greatest observation is because we found the first episode of The Killing Vote to be strictly okay. The premise feels done before (don’t ask us where), and though there is a promise of excitement, we don’t believe it yet. There is nothing to criticize about the first episode, but neither is there anything noteworthy, except Lim Ji Yeon. So, here is the recap of it.

Spoiler Alert

What Is The Killing Vote?

The scales of justice are never really balanced, and sometimes that forces people to turn into vigilantes. When a criminal by the name of Bae Gi Chul is released early from prison, where he had served a year and a half for distributing inappropriate pictures and videos of children, it causes an uproar in the country. Everyone is up in arms, saying that the time he served was too short and that justice was not served in his case. But Gi Chul was let go since he got married in prison, and his wife put on a tearful performance in front of the jury, asking for his jail term to end soon. Gi Chul gets out, but he doesn’t care for his fake wife at all. Mu Chan even meets her secretly, asking for her help in getting Gi Chul arrested again, but she comes across as rather helpless. However, she has been pretending not to speak Korean, whereas she is completely fluent. We may get more on her in the next episode.

Meanwhile, since Gi Chul’s case is one of justice denied, someone has taken a lot of offense in this regard. One evening, people across the country get a notification for a poll where they have to choose between yes or no, which will finally decide whether Gi Chul should be killed or not. Most people, including Gi Chul, think that it is a prank or a nonsense thing started by someone. But that turns out to be false when, within the hour, Gi Chul is kidnapped by the masked man and killed by stuffing his airways with bank notes. As shocked as everyone is, a video is released by the killer that ends up being extremely polarizing.

The masked man admits to being the one to organize the poll and commit murder. He shows facts and figures of the amount of money Gi Chul had made from his website, before and after his jail term, and he concludes it by asking the definitive question of whether Gi Chul was actually repentant or if it was for show and what was wrong about killing someone like that? The man says that from then on, he would organize the poll twice a month and target people who had gotten away from the system due to lapses of justice. If the poll had more than half the people saying they were in favor of the person’s execution, then the murder would happen, or they would be let go. This gave the police two weeks before their next case.

Since it was a case where the public was open to judging the morality of the vigilante, the police were hesitant as to which officer would agree to come under such scrutiny. The answer is Kim Mu Chan, since he was known for taking cases that no one else did. He got three teams under him to work on the case, and once he was successful, he could go to the headquarters as he wanted. But the team he was assigned to was a motley group of criminals and police officers alike. The ex-cons had worn similar masks in their crime days, and the officers were known for bending and breaking the rules.

As Kim Jo Dan puts it, they “brought together garbage to form the clean-up crew.” But it may all be over even before it starts because Joo Hyun has already found a major piece of evidence. She has a reputation as a whistleblower; two years ago, she leaked information about her team leader to a reporter, which got him fired. Joo Hyun still has a job, which means that she must have done something righteous, but her actions went against the “team spirit” of the force. She has been a bit of an outcast since then and is not really assigned much work, either as a punishment or in fear of what she may do next. She is also often sent on undercover missions because she is the only one with the time and guts to do it. But that is not her job, and she keeps looking for good work that rarely comes her way until one day.

Who Does Joo Hyun Say Is Behind The Killing Vote?

Joo Hyun finds a video on her sister’s laptop before the murder of Gi Chul that has the masked man saying almost all the same things that he said in the killing vote aftermath video. Joo Hyun had brought it up with her team leader and asked him to investigate it, but he had pushed her away. Later, after the murder, he asked her to keep quiet about finding the video, as it would be a bad look for their department. This irritates Joo Hyun, and she finally snaps at him, questioning his abilities as team leader and letting him know that the combination of coffee and cigarettes makes his breath stink. Joo Hyun doesn’t want to stay mum about this whole thing, so she goes to meet Mu Chan, who seems to dislike her a bit. Or it could be that he hates everyone, and she is no different. Either way, she tells him that she may know who the vote killer might be, and that catches his attention.

At the end of episode 1 of The Killing Vote, Joo Hyun replays the video for him and points out a particular line said by the killer, which is exactly what another person had said in a case that Mi Chan had investigated eight years ago. We saw at the beginning of the episode that Mu Chan was frantically looking for someone named Kwon Seok Joo. We had assumed that it was the person being chased and that Mu Chan wanted to protect him. It turns out that it was the man doing the chasing, and he ended up killing the person he was running after. The deceased had murdered Seok Joo’s daughter and, similar to Gi Chul, had gotten away with a light sentence, forcing him to take the law into his own hands. This is who Joo Hyun says is the man behind the black and white dog mask, though the episode closes with a shot of him likely in jail.

Final Thoughts

Our first question would be how Joo Hyun knows about this eight years old case. Either she is related to the man and his daughter, or she has done a really deep dive into many cases over the years. The second thing would be that we probably know some of the vote killer’s next few victims. The female politician who came on the reporter’s show seems to be a good target. Or it could be some seemingly innocent person whose reputation is going to get tarnished. Moral dilemmas will be a huge part of The Killing Vote, and we can look forward to them.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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