Hellbound: Why Detective Jin Kyung-hun Keeps New Truth Leader Jin-Soo’s Secret

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS for Hellbound.

Police detective Jin Kyung-hun (Yang Ik-Joon) in Hellbound chooses to keep quiet about New Truth leader Chairman Jung Jin-soo’s (Yoo Ah-In) secret past, but why didn’t he just expose the truth? Kyung-hun is the audience surrogate in the first half of Hellbound. The detective is tasked with finding out everything he can about the mysterious supernatural decrees and deaths. Kyung-hun’s investigations and neo-noir story arc yield no concrete explanations about Hellbound’s supernatural events. However, it does lead him to find out about Chairman Jung Jin-soo’s 20-year secret.

In Hellbound season 1, episode 3, Jin-soo reveals to Kyung-hun that he received a decree of death in 2002, and that he’s been living in fear for the last 20 years. This contradicts The New Truth Society’s teachings on how only sinners receive decrees. Jin-soo explains to Kyung-hun that he is tormented by the certainty of his death and the lack of any real explanation for its cause, so he created The New Truth Society to protect others who are also Hellbound from going through this same torment. Jin-soo believes that only his doctrines can convince people to stay righteous and not panic because of the supernatural events. This is what makes Chairman Jung Jin-soo such a crucial main character in Hellbound. Minutes before Jin-soo’s decreed execution, he gives Kyung-hun the choice to either film the event and refute The New Truth Society’s doctrines, or to keep Jin-soo’s decree a secret and allow people to keep living in relative peace, shielded from the truth by Jin-soo’s 20-year-old lie.

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Hellbound reveals that detective Kyung-hun decides to keep quiet about Chairman Jung Jin-soo, mainly because he realizes that Jin-soo might be right. The New Truth Society is a dangerous cult, but they do serve to give people a sense of control over the otherwise unexplained supernatural events. Moreover, as Jin-soo tells Kyung-hun, the detective also needs to worry about his daughter Jin Hee-jeong (Re Lee), and that The New Truth’s doctrines are what makes it possible for them to continue living normal lives. This is one of the moments that make Hellbound one of the best K-dramas on Netflix today. Kyung-hun’s choice to jeep Jin-soo’s secret – and allow The New Truth Society to continue gaining influence – shows how even the most intelligent and morally upright people can choose to take the easy way out, especially if it means protecting their families.

Furthermore, Kyung-hun’s choice also lends greater weight to the fates of Hellbound’s other main characters. Unlike Kyung-hun, Min Hye-Jin (Kim Hyun-Joo), Song So-hyun (Won Jin-ah), and Bae Young-jae (Park Jung-Min) all rose to the occasion when they were presented with a chance to refute The New Truth Society’s claims. While Hye-jin, So-hyun, and Young-jae also had families to protect just like Kyung-hun, they still chose to go against the New Truth’s authority, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Hellbound season 1, episode 3 is the last we see of detective Jin Kyung-hun and his daughter Hee-jeong, whose respective fates are unclear. But as Hellbound’s season 1 finale ends on several cliffhangers and twists, Hellbound season 2 could be in the works to resolve the series’ unanswered questions, which means that Kyung-hun and Hee-jeong might return to Hellbound soon. In light of the revelations in the finale, it would be interesting to see how detective Kyung-hun is living with his choice of keeping Jin-soo’s decree a secret and enabling The New Truth Society’s rise to power.

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