Vigilante Episode 1 begins in the solemn confines of a courtroom, where a judge delivers a verdict that sets the stage for the series. The criminal Choi Sung-Soo brutally beat a woman to death in this heinous case. Her son, Kim Ji-Yong, witnessed the crime.
Despite this being Sung-Soo’s second violent offence, the judge, citing his apparent remorse and lack of intent to kill, hands down a lenient sentence of only three and a half years. This moment of perceived injustice deeply affects Ji-Yong, who watches, tears streaming in silent anger, as Sung-Soo mocks him while being led away by the police.
A Vigilante Emerges
Twelve years later, Sung-Soo remains unrepentant and violent. He viciously assaults a bus driver for reporting him to the authorities. Sung-Soo leaves the passengers in shock as he destroys the bus’s CCTV camera before exiting. Unbeknownst to him, a mysterious hooded figure, later revealed to be Ji-Yong, follows him. When confronted, a confrontation ensues, leaving Sung-Soo severely beaten. Ji-Yong’s expressionless face as he walks away leaves viewers questioning whether he has taken justice into his own hands.
Life at the Police Academy
The narrative then shifts to Ji-Yong’s life at the Police Academy, where he is seen as a model student. His interactions with classmates, particularly his friends Min Seon-Wook and another, paint a picture of his seemingly normal life. However, Ji-Yong’s true nature is hinted at when he declines an invitation to go clubbing, citing busyness.
Ji-Yong’s Quest for Justice
Ji-Yong showcases his compassionate side by helping an elderly woman with her cart and receiving sweets in return. His attention, however, is soon captured by a news report about a man named Kim, who violently attacked a homeowner and was controversially acquitted. This incident spurs Ji-Yong to investigate further, leading him to witness Kim and an accomplice harassing the homeowner. Enraged, Ji-Yong brutally beats them both.
The Vigilante’s Weekend Missions
Throughout the weekend, Ji-Yong targets criminals who have slipped through the legal system’s cracks, including a doctor accused of rape. He confronts the doctor, demanding he leave medicine and change his ways, showcasing Ji-Yong’s belief in personal retribution over flawed legal justice.
A Reporter’s Pursuit
Meanwhile, Choi Mi-Ryeo, a determined reporter at Repo25h, becomes intrigued by a pattern of violent crimes against those who have escaped legal punishment. She persuades her reluctant boss to let her investigate, sensing a vigilante at work. Her determination sets her on a collision course with Ji-Yong’s secret life.
Debate at the Academy
Back at the academy, a debate ensues among Ji-Yong, Seon-Wook, and their friend, sparked by a homework assignment from Professor Lee Joon-Yeob. They discuss the unsolved nature of cold murder cases and the role of legal reforms. Ji-Yong surprisingly argues against retaliatory justice by the police, even in the face of absurd court rulings, a stance that confounds his friends who expect him to side with the victims.
The Vigilante in the News
Their discussion is interrupted by a news report about the vigilante’s latest act – the beating of Mr. Kim. The victim’s plea for police intervention contrasts with the gratitude expressed by the person he attacked. Seon-Wook admires the vigilante, calling him a ‘dark hero’, while Ji-Yong remains silent, concealing his bruised hands – a telltale sign of his double life.
Media Frenzy and the Si-Yoon Case
The vigilante’s actions start to gain significant media attention, prompting Repo25h to focus more on this story. Mi-Ryeo, sensing an opportunity, pushes for coverage of the Si-Yoon case, a past incident involving a student’s assault and the perpetrator’s light sentence. The broadcast stirs public outrage, leading to a vigil outside the assailant’s apartment, as Mi-Ryeo and her team wait, hoping the vigilante will strike.
Concurrently, Ji-Yong and Seon-Wook assist Professor Joon-Yeob with a criminal profiling app. Ji-Yong uses this opportunity to delve deeper into the Si-Yoon case, unbeknownst to the professor. His investigation leads him closer to the assailant, Jeong Deok-Heung, setting the stage for a dramatic confrontation.
The Hunt Intensifies
As the story unfolds, the focus shifts to the sinister Jeong Deok-Heung, the perpetrator in the Si-Yoon case. Having recently been released, Deok-Heung becomes the target of public ire, with citizens camping outside his apartment, clamouring for justice. Meanwhile, Ji-Yong, using his access to criminal files, intensifies his investigation into Deok-Heung, while Professor Joon-Yeob remains unaware of his student’s ulterior motives.
Reporter Mi-Ryeo, driven by her quest to uncover the truth about the vigilante, follows Deok-Heung as he makes a secretive escape from his apartment. Her pursuit leads her to Incheon Port, where Deok-Heung attempts to flee the country. The police, alerted to his escape and the removal of his electronic anklet, join the chase, fearing he might stow away on a ship.
Back at the academy, Ji-Yong is momentarily distracted by the unfolding events but manages to maintain his composure in class. The tension is palpable as the police and Mi-Ryeo converge on the port, each with their own agenda. Mi-Ryeo, in particular, is frustrated by the possibility of the police capturing Deok-Heung before the vigilante can enact his brand of justice.
A Narrow Escape and a New Threat
In a twist of fate, the police’s extensive search at the port yields no results. As a precaution, they assigned two officers to protect Si-Yoon, the victim in the Si-Yoon case. However, due to limited resources, one officer is called back to the port, leaving Si-Yoon vulnerable. Deok-Heung, seizing the opportunity, attacks a deliveryman and disguises himself to approach Si-Yoon’s residence.
A tense and violent confrontation ensues between Deok-Heung and the remaining officer. Despite the officer’s valiant efforts, he is overpowered and stabbed. Si-Yoon, hearing the commotion, is horrified to find her assailant at her doorstep. The officer, though severely wounded, urges her to flee.
The Vigilante’s Arrival
In a dramatic turn, Ji-Yong arrives just in time to find Deok-Heung about to harm Si-Yoon. What follows is a brutal and unrelenting assault by Ji-Yong, who shows no mercy to Deok-Heung’s pleas. After ensuring Si-Yoon’s safety, Ji-yong silently departs the scene.
Vigilante is now streaming on Disney+