Good Casting – K-Drama Episode 1 Recap and Review

Assembling The Team

Good Casting is a lot of fun. Blending comedy, drama and espionage shenanigans, SBS’s latest Korean drama is certainly a hit. With three strong females at the centre of this and an intriguing set-up for the season ahead, Good Casting throws in an awful lot of exposition during its opening hour but it does so with some excellent cinematography and editing, making for a joyous watch.

Episode 1 of Good Casting begins in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness, as a group of men board a fishing vessel and present a case full of fish. Only, within that case is a bomb with the word M on. Five members onboard the boat perish and as we soon learn, these were actually undercover agents on a top secret mission.

When word gets across to Geum Dong-Seok (deputy head of NIS), he attends a briefing led by team leader Gwan-Su who believes a man named Michael Lee is behind the hit. As we soon learn, he defected to China in the past and given he’s an unidentified ghost, they need to assemble a team to go after him and bring him to justice.

Step forward Mi-Soon – a woman fronting as an insurance salesman but actually a high level spy who spent her time encouraging North Korean spies to switch sides. Joining her is “white agent” Ye-Eun, a promising young woman but without any field experience, and Chan-Mi, the craziest agent they have on the roster who happens to be known as Royal Psycho. With Mr Dong in charge, he’s tasked with bringing these women together to form a formidable group.

Ye-Eun and Mi-Soon are both called to action, with the latter expressing her displeasure in working with someone so inexperienced. Unfortunately Mr Dong blackmails them both to keep the girls in line and tells them they’re going after Michael – a guy who Mi-Soon has serious history with, vowing to kill him in private.

Meanwhile, Chan-Mi uncovers a secret inscription on the wall of her cell belonging to a strange woman called Madam Wu who passed away in solitary months before. Pressing a Russian inmate named Barbara for information, she beats it out of her and drops the evidence uncovered in the Warden’s office where it’s revealed she was actually working undercover all this time. It’s here she learns she’s being transferred in order to work with the team.

When she sees the team though, she’s not pleased with what she has to work with. Awkward truths about her relationship with Mr Dong in the past come out and with it, hints that Chan-Mi betrayed the team and caused chaos in the past. As the group retire for the evening, we learn Ye-Eun has a child called So-Hee who unfortunately doesn’t have a father. Instead of going to the playground with the other children,  Ye-Eun instead takes her home as we see flashbacks of Ye-Eun and her husband looking over baby scan pictures.

The next day, Chan-Mi and Ye-Eun test their fighting skills but unfortunately the former overpowers her repeatedly. With a weak mind and body, Chan-Mi doubts her use in the field.

3 years ago in Busan we see what happened with the team and Ye-Eun’s boyfriend, Min-Seok. Mi-Soon and Chan-Mi happened to be on a secret assignment, going after Michael while Ye-Eun is rushed to hospital in labour. Min-Seok receives a text about a blue scarf and chases after his suspect. Only, Michael is clearly ready for him and clocks the young man in the back of the head with a lead pipe.

Taking her initiative and chasing after Michael herself, Chan-Mi defies instructions from Dong and the rest of the team, chasing Michael down to the docks. Min-Seok follows in hot pursuit but unfortunately he’s blind-sided by Michael, who stabs him in the stomach. As he sits, bleeding out, he finally messages back to Ye-Eul and tells her he loves her.

Chan-Mi chases after Michael and tries to kill him but Mr Dong stops her from delivering the killer blow. Instead, she heads up to the hospital and sees Min-Seok pass away before her eyes, screaming to the heavens maniacally in the wake of his fatal injuries.

Back in the present, our trio of ladies prepare for the job ahead while in the epilogue, Mr Dong reveals that the ladies are working undercover to a mysterious woman who has ties to the company they’re about to infiltrate.

With some wonderful editing and great cinematography throughout, Good Castings gets off to a really strong start. The humour is well placed too, with Chan-Mi fronting as a nun in her cell and the hard cuts to the facial expressions of our trio of ladies the stand-out moments of the episode. 

The scene is certainly set here for a really fun and engaging spy comedy to follow and so far this opening episode has done a wonderful job balancing out that humour with a darker edge to proceedings. Lets hope the second episode follows suit!

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