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Spotlight (스포트라이트)

스포트라이트 (Seu-po-teu-la-i-teu)

Directed by Kim Do-hoon (김도훈)

Screenplay by ,


MBC | Airing dates :

16 episodes
Hours and days of effort go into preparing a 1-minute TV news story. Behind the scenes, office politics and frantic activity takes place and this TV drama illustrates the daily lives of network reporters as authentically as possible.
Woo-jin (actress Sohn Ye-jin) passed the highly competitive process of joining the news bureau of a major TV network to achieve her dream of becoming an anchorwoman. While undergoing the grueling first years as a cub reporter in the society newsdesk, she comes across a few bitter experiences. No matter how hard she works, her Cap, Oh Tae-seok(actor Ji Jin-Hee) somehow always finds fault with her abilities and it drives Woo-jin into a rage. But she finds the strength to rebound and channels her anger into fighting back and becoming a hard-hitting investigative journalist. At first, she wanted the prestige of becoming an anchorwoman but through Oh Tae-seok's hard training, she grows into a true journalist. She begins to develop a respect for Oh Tae-seok as a mentor and gradually falls in love with him....

Woo-jin is an aggressive journalist on the society newsdesk of GBS newsroom, who will do anything it takes to get a scoop. Woo-jin successfully interviews a fugitive but she rubs the police the wrong way because she interfered with their manhunt. The officers confiscate the tape that contains the interview. Through a series of events, she is able to recover the tape but since it has no audio track it cannot be aired on the 9 o’clock news. Everyone blames Woo-jin for not taping the interview correctly and she finds her job in a tenuous position.
Amidst her troubles, reporter Oh Tae-seok returns to the bureau as Woo-jin’s boss. The appearance of Tae-seok creates tensions in the newsroom. On the first day of Tae-seok’s appearance, he harshly reprimands Woo-jin and they get off to a bad start.
Woo-jin grows into a better reporter after handling a variety of assignments and Tae-seok looks on with approval of her progress. He becomes enamored with the person he mentored. Tae-seok transforms Woo-jin into a better journalist and those changes also open up Tae-seok’s heart. As Woo-jin and Tae-seok take on difficult assignments where they are threatened and pressured to back off, they develop a camaraderie that grows into feelings of love. Woo-jin gradually becomes a brilliant journalist who no longer needs any guidance from Tae-seok.
Meanwhile, Woo-jin is in the running to become the new co-anchor of GBS Nightly Spotlight after she wins the prestigious Press Award for Excellence in Reporting.
She appears as the new co-anchor of the 9 o’clock news and Tae-seok looks at his erstwhile mentee with pride but also a touch of sadness.
Why didn’t he have the guts to tell Woo-jin that he wanted to be with her? Tae-seok heads to the airport on his foreign correspondent assignment while cursing his lack of courage.
But at the airport he finds Woo-jin, who had sped to the airport after delivering her the news, waiting for him.
Misty-eyed, they hug each other.
Woo-jin and Tae-seok then take their relationship to the next level.


Seo Woo-jin / age: 27, News journalist - actress Sohn Ye-jin
After undergoing the grueling first years as a cub reporter in the society newsdesk, she realizes that life isn't a piece of cake. But after finishing a year of covering criminal cases, she is reassigned to the culture newsdesk and finds herself getting closer to her dreams of appearing on the 6 o'clock news. Full of hopes for her career, she also finds more time to relax. But when Oh Tae-seok, a reporter who was banished from the newsroom after clashing with the higher-ups, returns from his exile in a small town TV station, her dream is shattered. Woo-jin is sent back to the society newsdesk and returns to her days as a beat reporter. She is then saddled with the duty of training cub reporter Lee Soon-chul, who is a conservative type. But she finds the strength to rebound and channels her anger into fighting back and becoming a hard-hitting investigative journalist.

Oh Tae-seok / age: 33, Seo Woo-jin's mentor - actor Ji Jin-hee
Winning the journalism medal for three consecutive years, he is a true reporter who will hunt down a story like a pit bull. But his independent streak ends up putting him at odds with the higher-ups. His abilities as a journalist are highly regarded by everyone and the network cannot fire him for his disobedience because they would lose him to a rival network. So his bosses try to keep him on a tight leash while the younger news staff trembles in fear whenever he's in the newsroom. Three years ago, he wrote an article that became highly politicized and led to a big quarrel with his superiors, which ended with the network taking disciplinary action against him. He was subsequently relegated to a dead-end job at the network's local TV station. But when the society newsdesk starts to falter, his former bosses call him back to improve the quality of their operations and the second act of his career begins.

Ahn Joong-seok / Chief of society newsdesk - actor Ahn Seok-hwan
He grew up in the same town of his boss and competing with the chief of the politics newsdesk to become the next bureau chief. He used to advise journalist to only tell the truth no matter what but as he rises through the ranks of the newsroom, he makes compromises along the way to get where he wants.

Jung Sung-il / Chief of politics newsdesk - actor Jeong Gyoo-soo
He aspires to become the next bureau chief and then embark on a career in politics. Since he graduated from the same college as the bureau chief, he uses his connections to meddle in the society newsdesk affairs and bungle things up. As a journalist who covers politics, he analyzes all situations with a political perspective and tries to solve problems through political maneuvering.

Lee Joo-hee / Career journalist ranked behind Oh Tae-seok in the pecking order - actress Kim Bo-kyeong
As a single woman, she handles the internal affairs around the society newsdesk.
She has a secret crush on Oh Tae-seok ever since they joined the company in the same year. But before she could develop the relationship any further, Oh Tae-seok was sent to a dead-end job at a local TV station. When Oh Tae-seok returns to the newsroom, she feels an affinity with him and her emotions begin to stir again.
While she offers wise advice to the chief of the society newsdesk on important matters, she also tries to smooth out any rough patches between Oh Tae-seok and the chief that arise frequently.
After she detects that Oh Tae-seok has special feelings for Woo-jin, she begins to treat Woo-jin harshly.

Cha Myung-eun / Politics newsdesk journalist - actress Jo Yoon-hee
As a close partner of Woo-jin she worked with her on the same beat at the society newsdesk. She catches the attention of the chief of the politics newsdesk and is recruited to that bureau.
She always maintains her composure in any situation and treats superiors with respect and has a charming personality. But she's not well liked by reporters who are younger than her. She knows how to use her feminine charms to get what she wants and it's the secret to her success. She later competes for the coveted anchorwoman position against Woo-jin.

Lee Soon-chul / Cub reporter - actor Jin Goo
He is assigned as Woo-jin's assistant reporter but he graduated from the same college and class of '06 as Woo-jin. He is a conservative guy and a bit thickheaded. After trying to reposition his relationship with Woo-jin as equals, Woo-jin comes down hard on him by wielding her seniority as a weapon. Every since that spat, he treats her respectfully. As he assimilates himself into Woo-jin's world of journalism, he finds himself liking what he does.

Moon Jae-guk / Bureau chief - actor Lee Ki-yeol
He tries to track down sensational news stories that will raise the TV ratings of the news program and win points from the president. He doesn't care if viewers will hate his news show as long as he trounces the competition and brings in more advertisers.

Koh Byeong-chun / Detective - actor Lee Dae-yeon
A crafty detective at the police station where Woo-jin is a beat reporter.
He lost many opportunities to get promoted because every case he handled was swamped by journalists, who ended up muddling up his chances to crack the case. So he has bitter feelings against newsmen. He leads the legislation to remove the clubby pressroom from the police station, which is passed at the assembly. He tries to stop press leaks by harshly reminding his colleagues not to talk to the press until a case is solved. His actions put him at odds with journalists.

Lee Chun-ki / Detective - actor Lim Seung-dae
He has a close relationship with Woo-jin and even considers her as someone on his team. He provides her with important leaks. He has a crush on Woo-jin and this makes him the butt of many jokes at the precinct.

Episode guide

Episode 1
Mi-hee (actress Jung Hye-young) is anchoring the 9 o’clock news live when she suddenly cries in the middle of the show. The producer tells correspondent Woo-jin (actress Sohn Ye-jin) to extend her live coverage to give Mi-hee enough time to compose herself. This flusters Woo-jin. The most wanted man in Korea, Jang Jin-gyu (actor Jung Jin), is on the run after escaping from prison. Woo-jin tries to interview Jang Jin-gyu while also taping the exchange with a hidden camera by slipping into his room as a hooker. But the cops have already surrounded Jang’s hotel room. Nevertheless, Woo-jin proceeds with her dangerous interview.
But the cops lose Jang Jin-gyu in a chase and Woo-jin’s taped interview is confiscated by the cops. The chief of the news bureau tries to make the cops hand over the tape to them by taking the precinct chief out for drinks. After a round of negotiations, Woo-jin recovers her tape but there is no audio in it. The GBS newsdesk is in turmoil when they find out that they cannot use the tape for the news show. They replace her segment with another news story at the last minute.

Episode 2
Ordered by Tae-seok to retrieve the original tape, Woo-jin goes to the precinct and demands that they return the original to her. At this time, news about the assault on the precinct chief by the GBS chief of the news bureau appears in Myungsung Daily, a newspaper that is at odds with GBS. Woo-jin is contacted by fugitive Jang Jin-gyu. She then tells Detective Lee where Jang Jin-gyu will meet her in exchange for the return of her tape. Woo-jin looks through the trash to retrieve the tape and then takes it to Tae-seok.
At a news meeting, everyone learns that Woo-jin’s brother, a reporter at Myungsung Daily, leaked the story about the assault. Lee Soon-chul, a new cub reporter at GBS, turns out to be a college acquaintance of Woo-jin and he gives Woo-jin problems on his first day at work. Tae-seok has a “Deep Throat” contact who hands him damaging information about Myungsung Daily. He tells the reporters that an anonymous caller sent in a tip about Myungsung Daily and assigns Woo-jin to investigate it for a story.

Episode 3
When Woo-jin and Tae-seok fly over the home of the Myungsung Daily publisher in a helicopter to report his illegal activities, a call gets through to the GBS newsdesk. Woo-jin is assigned to cover a special segment on the news show and she takes Soon-chul with her to a market where fake luxury handbags are sold to Japanese tourists. Soon-chul’s poor Japanese language skills almost blows their cover but Woo-jin uses her wits to quickly slip out of the market along with Soon-chul. She is overjoyed to getting footage of the fake handbags with her hidden camera.
Soon-chul gets drunk after he withstands withering remarks from Woo-jin for his attitude. He sleeps in the press room attached to the station while only wearing his underwear and touches a female reporter for Myungsung Daily in his sleep. Woo-jin tries to persuade the female reporter to not press charges against Soon-chul for sexual assault but she refuses. Tae-seok tells his boss that they cannot agree to a deal with Myungsung Daily where they will not air the publisher’s illegal activities on air if the female reporter drops her charges but a deal is made and the news story is killed.

Episode 4
Woo-jin receives a call from Jang Jin-gyu and after thinking about what to do for a while, she decides to report it to her chief, Tae-seok. She tells the chief that she’ll succeed in getting an interview with him but he shoots down the idea on the grounds that it would put her life in danger. A man wears a raincoat and holds an umbrella as he evades the security system cameras to rob a jewelry store. After checking the security footage, the officers believe that the criminal was Jang Jin-gyu. SNS, a rival network exclusively obtains the security footage and GBS fumes over it.
Tae-seok calls a meeting that includes Woo-jin and punishes Woo-jin for not obtaining the security footage when Soon-chul, her mentee, was working the beat at the precinct in the area. He makes her work extra hours in the office. While answering phones all day at her desk, she gets a call from Jang Jin-gyu and leaves her office to meet him one-on-one.

Episode 5
Woo-jin points her gun at Jang Jin-gyu and makes a phone call to Tae-seok. At that instant, Jang Jin-gyu attacks and takes control over Woo-jin. Jang Jin-gyu holds Woo-jin hostage, and tells Tae-seok to air his message on live national television. In this critical moment, Tae-seok negotiates with Jang Jin-gyu. He has Woo-jin go live on TV and appear to be interviewing Jang Jin-gyu. Tae-seok makes it an exclusive interview and Woo-jin becomes a national star.
Woo-jin is recommended to audition for the anchor position on the news team, but Tae-seok rejects the idea saying that she lacks in skills. Woo-jin sees numerous gifts from fans at her desk. She feels uneasy about it and looks at Tae-seok. He seems fully immersed in his work and doesn’t even glance back at her. After the anchor candidates briefing, the GBS President asks why Woo-jin’s name is not included on the list.

Episode 6
After getting yelled at by Tae-seok, Woo-jin gets her bag and goes to the hospital. After looking at Soon-chul’s pocketbook, she reports to Tae-seok on what’s taking place at the scene. She later sits with other audition candidates and listens to lectures. While having her makeup applied, Tae-seok continues to call her and Woo-jin rushes out. While Woo-jin is having her meal, Tae-seok reproaches her about her not interviewing the Executive Manager of the hospital. Woo-jin is so upset that she cannot even digest her meal properly.
Woo-jin is pleased after reviewing the medical documents of an elderly patient that was provided by Soon-chul. She then asks Soon-chul to cover for her for one day. While she is practicing her lines, Woo-jin gets news that the elderly patient is in critical condition, and she rushes to the hospital. The elderly woman’s family is moved by Woo-jin’s sincerity. After leaving the hospital, Woo-jin goes to her audition with a worried look on her face.

Episode 7
While thinking about Tae-seok’s warnings, Woo-jin heads to the studio for her audition. She is surprised to see that Tae-seok is one of the judging committee members. During her second test on her ability to deliver emergency news, Woo-jin begins her news on the basis of the information given by Tae-seok.

Episode 8
During a company outing and while playing a game with Woo-jin, Tae-seok hears that a national assemblyman has been attacked. After reporting at the Investigation Unit, Woo-jin sees the Police Chief passing by and learns that the attack is related to the sale of real estate. Tae-seok tells the chief of the news bureau that this case is related to Younghwan Construction, but is ignored. Rather, the news chief calls Woo-jin separately to talk about the case.

Episode 9
Woo-jin sits together with Jae-ho and they chit-chat. Tae-seok, who has been waiting for Woo-jin, tells Soon-chul to bring Woo-jin to him. Jae-ho gifts Woo-jin with a handbag and somebody catches the moment on camera. Tae-seok asks Woo-jin who was at her house, and he warns her that this could create a huge problem later on. He tells her to maintain a low profile in the meantime.
Tae-seok goes to meet an executive at Younghwan Construction and demands an apology for hurting Woo-jin. He also tells him that there’s no way of stopping the story from being exposed. Woo-jin continues to get threatening calls, but her determination to report the case remains feverish.

Episode 10
Tae-seok asks the chief of the news bureau to not process Woo-jin’s resignation letter. Rather, he says that he’ll get to the bottom of the case. Soon-chul visits Mr. Ko and asks for his help in locating Jae-ho. Tae-seok beings to worry about Woo-jin who is not picking up her phone. Woo-jin and Soon-chul drink together and candidly talk about being reporters and their mission of exposing the truth.
After getting Jae-ho’s call, Tae-seok takes the bag with the camera and goes to see him. On her way home, Woo-jin is surprised to hear that Jae-ho has agreed to an interview.

Episode 11
The chief of the news bureau suggests to Tae-seok that they should make their report program a regular program on TV. Tae-seok then delivers this news to Woo-jin and Soon-chul. The program is to be hosted by one female reporter, and the selection and testing process will take place within the news section.
Tae-seok gives Woo-jin and Myung-eun the task of doing research and creating an article from their different points of views. After doing so, Woo-jin and Myung-eun are tested by Tae-seok. Despite Woo-jin’s desire to avoid this type of competition, Tae-seok persuades her to see this challenge to the very end.

Episode 12
Woo-jin and Myung-eun are surprised with the last task that involves both of them interviewing Lawyer Cho who has been missing from the public eye. Woo-jin, who is teamed up with Soon-chul, asks him to prepare documents on Mr. Cho for research. The two of them then come up with a solid plan.
It is decided that the new report program will be hosted by Tae-seok and one female reporter. Woo-jin finds out and is touched that Tae-seok has left some mosquito repellant for her in the reporters’ office. Woo-jin continues to pursue Mr. Cho while asking others about his whereabouts.
Episode 13
While recording a news segment, Tae-seok takes a call from Woo-jin and suddenly excuses himself. He is surprised to be told by Woo-jin that she will have Mr. Cho agree to an on-air interview. The lawyer agrees to appear on News Spotlight in a live interview and Woo-jin heads to the GBS headquarters with Mr. Cho.
Tae-seok looks tensely at Woo-jin when she arrives at the makeup room. Woo-jin starts to ask questions to the lawyer. The investigative reporters at the news bureau and Woo-jin’s family are shocked to watch the interview.

Episode 14
Hearing the news about the death of Mr. Cho, Woo-jin is filled with mixed feelings and she tells Tae-seok that she’ll continue with the investigation that Mr. Cho worked on and asks for his help. Woo-jin, Tae-seok, and Soon-chul begin to research the relation between Younghwan Developers and the Free Economic Zone.
Senator Oh Sung-hwan is released from prison and is greeted by the general manager of Younghwan Developers and hops into his limo. Tae-seok shows the chief and social section chief the outline of his story and tells them that they must air the story. He then calls a press conference. Woo-jin is stunned to learn that senator Oh Sung-hwan is Tae-seok’s father.

Episode 15
Tae-seok is arrested by the police based on false claims that he threatened Mr. Cho’s life. Tae-seok professes his innocence but the police take him away in handcuffs. Woo-jin is shocked to hear of his arrest. Woo-jin goes to see Tae-seok at the station and is speechless when she sees the state of his condition. Tae-seok tells Woo-jin that she’s also in danger and should halt her investigation until he is released.
Woo-jin and Soon-chul obtain the taped interview of Mr. Cho, which proves that the National Intelligence Agency had Mr. Cho under a witness protection program. Due to this evidence, Woo-jin gets Tae-seok released from prison and as they eat lunch together they talk about their resolve to get to the bottom of the scandal related to the Free Economic Zone.

Episode 16
Tae-seok and Woo-jin do a double-take when they see senator Oh Sung-hwan waiting for them. Oh Sung-hwan warns them to stop their investigation. The political section chief is suddenly made the interim chief of the entire news bureau and Woo-jin, Tae-seok, and Soon-chul discuss how they will respond to this.
Visiting Oh Sung-hwan, Woo-jin shows him a report and asks him to finish it. After hesitating, Oh Sung-hwan gives her an audio tape and a list of the casino shares that were illegally distributed among politicians and government officials. Three months later, Woo-jin takes a call from Oh Sung-hwan after finishing her beat at the national assembly and she tells this to Tae-seok and Soon-chul.


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 Oh Kyeong-hoon (오경훈)
 Production department
 Oh Hyeon-jong (오현종)
 Assistant director
Technical Information
60 min HD 16/9
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Airing dates : 2008/05/14~2008/07/03

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Spotlight (스포트라이트)