First Impression: The Road: The Tragedy of One

Drama Profile

Title: The Road: The Tragedy of One (literal title)
Main Cast: Ji Jin-hee, Yoon Se-ah, Kim Hye-eun
Writer: Yoon Hee-jung
PD:  Kim No-won
Timeslot: Wednesday and Thursday – 22:50
Network: tvN
Episodes: 12
Genre: Mystery, Dark thriller, Makjang

Plot Synopsis:

A determined news anchor gets caught up in a web of power, greed, and revenge after disclosing a massive corruption scheme to the public.

Major Trope: Birth secret / Whodunit / Eat the rich / Revenge

Grumpy’s First Impression

Honestly, it’s a confusing first episode. The world-building is over the top, yet lacking – if you know what I mean. There are too many characters being introduced at the same time, and everyone seems untrustworthy! It’s just so intense that I didn’t have time to breathe before a new character enters the frame. And then comes the second episode – a completely shocking tale of “what happened next.” We got a better glimpse of the chaos that’s about to unfold and the motives behind all the possible suspects.

Our main guy Baek Soo-hyun is a primetime news anchor widely known for living by the book. I keep remembering Misty every time I watch Ji Jin-hee as a tenacious news anchor in The Road. I can’t help but think that Baek Soo-hyun is Kang Tae-wook in his next life doing the same job as his wife Go Hye-ran.

We meet Soo-hyun as he prepares his next expose – a massive web of corruption involving his own father-in-law’s company Jegang Group, politicians, prosecutors, and police officers. An informant who owns a nightclub in Gangnam will stand as the whistleblower in the scandal since he has the original files of the transactions. His name is Yoon Dong-pil aka Kim Seok-pil, who also got involved in another bribery scandal some years ago. He and Baek Soo-hyun go a long way, but trust was never established between them. Dong-pil asks for an enormous amount of crypto and cash from Soo-hyun in exchange for the files.

Soo-hyun’s wife Seo Eun-soo (Yoon Se-ah) is a chaebol who doesn’t care about her family’s opulence. She devotes her time to art and defends Soo-hyun against her father. Eun-soo’s character is also filled with secrets that I can’t wait to unveil, but I won’t be surprised if she’s not as sinless and reserved as she looks. Her relationship with her husband seems fine on the outside but there’s a layer of indifference between them. I’m not sure if I’m just too skeptical about everyone but they don’t seem like they truly love each other. One thing’s for sure, though. They both love their son, Yeon-woo, and will do everything to protect the innocent boy.

On the other side of the spectrum lives the scumbags of this drama. The pact is led by Soo-hyun’s father-in-law, Jegang Group’s chair Seo Ki-tae (Cheon Ho-jin). He emits a very villainy vibe – someone who’s always ready to toss around others in the dirt if they prove to be not useful anymore, even if they’re family. Next is his wife, Bae Kyung-sook (Kang Kyung-hun), a gold digger whose life goal is to get her husband’s riches through her bastard son Seo Jung-wook (Jo Sung-joon). Completing the group is Chairman Seo’s loyal mad dog, Secretary Jo Moon-do (Hyun Woo-sung), who’s as shady as his boss.

By the way, The Road also gives me Mine feels – the astronomical amount of wealth, the overly secretive gated community called Royal the Hill, and the extravagant lifestyle. Everyone is ready to kill if it involves money, and the righteous always end up losing either their own lives or the lives of their loved ones. A messy set-up perfect for a makjang story.

The first two episodes revolved around the kidnapping of Yeon-woo. The execution was full of cut scenes aimed to baffle the audience and aptly reveal the first twist of the story – the kidnap-murder is not a case of mistaken identity. The dead child, Yeon-woo’s friend Joon-young, is indeed Soo-hyun’s lovechild with Cha Seo-young (Kim Hye-eun).

Seo-young’s definitely not an ordinary mom. She doesn’t feel sad about her son’s death and fakes wailing at the morgue for Soo-hyun to hear. Her character description is “always hungry for success” but I think she’s not all that. She’s may or may not have loved Soo-hyun back in the day, and her aggression could have history in it.

So, who is the killer? The drama gave us a brief glimpse of the possible suspects – Chairman Seo, Kyung-sook, Woo-sung, Jung-wook. Another set of shady people include Assemblyman Hwang Tae-seob (Kim Roe-ha) and his wife Yang Sung-ja (Ha Min).

Eun-soo’s brother-in-law Oh Jang-ho (Kang Sung-min) is another jerk to add to our list of people to watch out for in the series. Why does he have a restraining order? It’s not yet established why does he call Eun-soo as his sister-in-law because it doesn’t look like he’s Soo-hyun’s brother (I based this because they don’t have the same surnames but I may be wrong). But the way he said that he also had a right to see Yeon-woo felt like something is off. Is Yeon-woo his son? With whom? I have so many concerns!

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