Dvd: Dvd 9 Dual Layer
Video: Mpeg 2
Audio: Dolby Digital AC3
Audio Channels: 2
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Resolution: 720×480 px
Region code: All Countries
Special Features: Interactive Menus, Scene Selections
Iris is a South Korean espionage television drama series broadcast by KBS in 2009. With a budget in excess of 20 billion won ($17 million USD), it, along with its spin-off Athena: Goddess of War, share the record for the most expensive Korean dramas ever produced.
Premiering in October 2009, the series was a critical and commercial success, with an average viewership of over 30% in addition to ranking as the top program consistently every week after its debut. The series also took home many of the highest honors at the 2009 KBS Drama Acting Awards, including Lee Byung-hun winning the top recognition in the form of the Daesang Award. Among other nominations and recognitions, Lee and Kim Tae-hee were also named as one of the best on-screen couples.
The plot revolves around two friends from the 707th Special Mission Battalion recruited into a secret South Korean black ops agency known as the National Security Service. Of the pair, recruit Kim Hyun-jun begins to uncover evidence that his foggy past may not be so irrelevant to his joining of the secret organization after all. As the two friends find their loyalties tested and forge new, unlikely alliances, the journey takes them from their home country to Hungary, Japan, and China where they find themselves at the center of an international conspiracy.
The success of the series has led to a feature film, a 2010 spin-off, and a sequel series set to follow in 2011.
Lifelong friends Kim Hyun-Jun (Lee Byung-hun) and Jin Sa-woo (Jung Joon-ho), two Special Forces soldiers under the South Korean army’s 707th Special Mission Battalion, each independently come into contact with an alluring woman by the name of Choi Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee). The pair do not at first realize they have fallen for the same woman and continue to aim for her affections. Soon afterward, they are ushered from their military base to a secret compound in the middle of the night.
There, they are subjected to extensive torture as a means of gauging their worth under the most extreme of conditions. After successfully completing the test, Hyun-jun and Sa-woo are introduced to the standing head of the National Security Service, Baek San (Kim Yeong-cheol). He informs them that the NSS is a secret organization tasked with preempting foreign threats and protecting the country’s interests through wetwork operations including assassination of anyone who could be a threat to South Korean national security. Since its founding in 1976 during the rule of Park Chung-hee, the agency’s very existence has remained a state secret from everyone, including the President.
Upon being initiated into the NSS, the pair learn individually that they had been headhunted by Seung-hee. Stirred by her deceit, Hyun-jun compliments her skills as an actress, while Sa-woo takes the news less bitterly. Still unaware that they share affection for the same woman, the two quickly prove themselves as capable agents within the NSS.
After taking on an unofficial assignment and foiling an assassination attempt on the leading presidential candidate, Hyun-jun and Sa-woo are invited to the Blue House. There, Hyun-jun experiences deja vu, believing that he had stood in that very spot many years earlier.
Meanwhile, an elite assassin (T.O.P) appears at a high-rise hotel in Shanghai to eliminate a figure of political importance. After his bodyguards are disposed of, the man is killed and the assassin mentions his intention to move to the next and final target: Hong Seung-ryong, a defector from North Korea and the scientist heading their nuclear arms program.
As their personal relationships develop in unexpected ways, Hyun-jun, Sa-woo, and Seung-hee are soon sent to Budapest to secure Hong Seung-ryong while the Blue House decides whether to grant him asylum. Despite interference, they manage to deliver the defector to fellow agents tasked with escorting him to the South.
While their handover of Hong goes unheeded, a grand conspiracy begins to unravel at the hands of a far-reaching villain. As political tensions mount, Hyun-jun is given an independent assignment that will alter the course of history and change his life forever.
The main cast of Iris, clockwise from top left: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-hee, Jung Joon-ho, T.O.P, Kim Seung-woo, and Kim So-yeon. The cast won numerous awards for their contributions to the series.
Iris featured an ensemble cast split between characters of North Korean and South Korean descent. Because the series explores the tension and mentality behind the two sides of the conflict, both the North and South perspectives are shown at length. The plot focuses on the cast overcoming the manipulation they face at an international level and occasionally attempting to reconcile their differences to fight an evil greater than either side ever acknowledged, making way for scenarios in which their allegiances are stressed and put to the test.
Lee Byung-hun as Kim Hyun-jun South Korea
A soldier with the South Korean Special Forces, Hyun-jun has floated through life with little attention for the details. Possessing a photographic memory, top athletic ability, and proficiency with most firearms, he has little difficulty distinguishing himself as a member of the NSS. Assuming the codename “TK1” during operations, he is frequently paired with his friend and colleague Jin Sa-woo.
Kim Tae-hee as Choi Seung-hee South Korea
Ranked as a “Team Leader” within the NSS, Seung-hee is an expert profiler that assisted the second-in-command, Park Sang-hyun, with recruiting Kim Hyun-jun and, more directly, Jin Sa-woo. Admired for her beauty and perspicacity, Seung-hee is universally liked within the organization and remains very close with fellow NSS member Yang Jung-in.
Jung Joon-ho as Jin Sa-woo South Korea
A friend that has grown up alongside Hyun-jun, Sa-woo is the more level-headed and responsible of the two. While members of the Special Forces, they often found themselves in fierce competitions, and after joining the NSS, find themselves competing for the affection of Choi Seung-hee. In accordance with Hyun-jun’s codename, he becomes known as “TK2”.
Kim Seung-woo as Park Cheol-young North Korea
A seasoned and steadfast supporter of the WPK, Park Cheol-young is the head of the North Korean security team responsible for escorting and protecting heads of state on diplomatic missions. He first encounters Kim Hyun-jun as they are caught in a political impasse in Hungaryone that leaves Park and his entire team at the mercy of their superiors should they not resolve the situation quickly in their favor.
Kim So-yeon as Kim Seon-hwa North Korea
Despite being one of very few females to achieve her status, Kim Seon-hwa has gained the trust and acknowledgment of her colleagues in the North Korean security forces. As a subordinate of Park Cheol-young and a ranking officer in his security outfit, she has great admiration for her superior and harbors deep resentment for the South.
T.O.P as Vick
A mysterious assassin working for an even more mysterious organization, Vick answers to a man known only as “Mr. Black.” Though of apparent Korean descent, his actual origins are unknown and he communicates fluently in both English and Korean. Often, he is responsible for eliminating political targets and retrieving, as well as destroying, sensitive information at the behest of his superiors.
Iris korean drama Photos