This is one drama that i did not plan to watch as it is a spinoff of the popular Korean spy drama "Iris" and hubby and i had love watching "Iris" but hated its ending which ended up with everyone dying and lot of questions answered that i did not want to watch "Athena" for fear of another ridiculous ending. However i read its plot online and find its kinda of interesting and its cast refreshing and watched an episode online at (http://www.dramabean.net/drama/Athena-Drama-IRIS-Season-2/). I ended up watching 5 episodes as i was attracted to the main characters, agent Jung-woo played by actor Jung Woo-sung and curious about the double agent character, Hye-in played by actress Soo Ae who looks so cool and mysterious in the drama and could not resist watching more episodes.
This drama is movie star Jung Woo-sung's first drama in 15 years. Actress Lee Ji-ah plays his fellow agent Jae-hee who was his ex-girlfriend and still has feelings for him. She dislikes Hye-in when she realize that Jung-woo is attracted to her. It is this drama that leads to Jung Woo-sung and Lee Ji-ah being together in real life and they really look very good together. The news initially hit the media after it was discovered that the couple recently enjoyed a date together in Paris. Jung Woo-sung ended up confirming his relationship with Lee Ji-ah on 20 March 2011 at his fanmeeting in Seoul which was also Jung’s 38th birthday - when a fan asked what in particular he liked about Lee Ji-ah, Jung answered, “I can talk to her easily. I liked that about her.”
Lee Jeong-woo- An top agent for the National Anti-Terror Service (NTS). He is described to be more charismatic than Lee ByungHun’s character and has some bad-boy characteristics. His sharp skills have garnered him respect from his juniors. One of his many missions will be to rescue the President’s daughter.
Son-Hyuk – The leader of “Athena,” an international terrorist group. Son Hyuk was once an agent for the CIA. Son Hyuk is described as a cold, villainous man with “neither blood nor tears” and has been secretly training his followers to be human weapons.
Yoon Hye-In – A double profiler/agent, working for both the NTS and a secret agency.
Han Jae-hee – A special agent in the European office of Anti-Terror Service. She is described as physically tough and level-headed, so the complete opposite of Yoon Hye-In (Su Ae).
Kwon Yong Gwan, former black ops agent who would never betray his country or his team. Director of NTS
Kim Ki-soo – A North Korean agent who is arrested by the South Korean agents while he was stationed in China. He later defects to the South and develops a close relationship with Lee Jeong-woo (Jung Woo Sung).
Choi Siwon from Super Junior plays Kim Jun-ho – The NTS junior data analyst who dreams of becoming a spy himself. He is a rookie spy with the NTS who looks up to the agency’s top spy (Jung Woo-sung) as a mentor figure and follows his lead loyally.
Sean Richard, the Korean-American actor who played Dr. Allen in SBS’s medical sageuk show Jejoongwon. In Athena, he’ll be a part of Cha Seung-won‘s secret organization, shedding the gentler image from Jejoongwon to dive into the action genre.
Park Chul Young 박철영 – North Korea’s top agent who is aggressive yet savvy and very dedicated to his work. Capable of dying for his beliefs, and never gives up. His first appearance was in IRIS. He holds key secrets that will help solve the mysteries left behind by “IRIS.”
The South Korean President’s Daughter – A graduate student in Italy with a free-spirited personality, gets kidnapped by a terrorist group and taken to a secluded mountain locale. This starts off the story with the NTS agents placed on a mission to rescue her.
Athena: Goddess of War is a South Korean espionage television drama series broadcast by SBS in 2010 and a spin-off of 2009's Iris. After having been budgeted at 20 billion won ($17 million USD ) like its predecessor, the two series have become the most expensive Korean dramas ever produced. Starring Jung Woo-sung , Cha Seung-won , Soo Ae , and Lee Ji-ah , the series premiered in December 2010 after filming in a number of overseas locations, including Italy , New Zealand , Japan , and the United States . The series is set in the same universe as its predecessor, allowing for select characters from Iris to reprise their roles throughout the story.
Developing on events set in motion in Iris, the story follows the fate of South Korea's ambitious nuclear energy program meant to unify the Korean Peninsula and position the country as the leader in the global energy race. As a result, a new counter-terrorism agency known as the National Anti-Terror Service is instituted and tasked with protecting the nuclear energy technology from potential threats at all costs. Among its ranks is seasoned agent Lee Jung-woo, a skilled operative that has grown tired of his job's uneventful day to day affairs. He soon finds the answer to his dull existence when fate introduces him to an efficacious villain by the name of Son Hyeok and the shadowy organization behind him known only as Athena.
The story begins around the same time as Iris, when Hyun-Jun is being hunted down by North Korean agents and branded a traitor while in Budapest. South Korean (SK) President Jo, expressed interest in advancing nuclear technology to lead the world with the most advanced and cost effective energy source of the century. To do this, he enlisted Dr. Kwon (a black-ops agent) to help retrieve a defecting North Korean scientist, Dr. Kim.
Dr. Kwon accepted the mission, but it was nearly ruined by a counter Athena group, led by Son Hyeok. Ultimately, Dr. Kwon managed to secured Dr. Kim's retrieval, but he was caught himself by Son Hyeok and tortured for information. Son Hyeok was supposed to kill Dr. Kwon, but he let him live out of momentary mercy. Three years after those events, President Jo re-enlisted Dr. Kwon to serve as the director of the new counter-terrorism task force, NTS (National Anti-Terror Service), to protect SK's future from aggressive foreign enemies trying to steal Dr. Kim's nuclear technology.
After Dr. Kwon arrived to be part of NTS, his old rival, Son Hyeok, had returned to SK as the new director of DIS (a US intelligence agency). At the same time, SK NIS (National Intelligence Security) agent Jung-Woo ( Jung Woo-Sung ) recently transferred to NTS to become their top agent. Unknown to everyone, Son Hyeok is a double-agent between DIS and Athena (an organization of influential people that controls the world's resources for their fortunes). With the help of another Athena double-agent, Yoon Hye-In, she infiltrated NTS and supplied Son-Hyeok with inside information about their activities. In a major grab for Dr. Kim's technology, both NTS and Athena had thwarted and countered each other in a high-stakes game of controlling the next great power resource.
Willing to do anything to gain the upper-hand for Athena, Son Hyeok had President Jo's daughter, Soo-Young ( Lee Bo-young ), kidnapped in Italy and used her as ransom to gain Dr. Kim. However, Jung-Woo rescued Soo-Young. To throw off Athena, Jung-Woo helped fake Dr. Kim's death to prevent them from trying any further, but that deception was exposed. Athena recovered Dr. Kim and forced him to complete his project for Athena instead.
NTS later found out Dr. Kim was kept in a secret facility in Japan. To avoid making their intel known, Jung-Woo was dispatched under false pretenses as a body guard for pop star, BoA, to make it seem their cover wasn't exposed. In NTS's quest to find Dr. Kim, they failed to rescue him, but NTS managed to recover a crucial component to Dr. Kim's technology and Athena wants it back. Using Jung-Woo's feelings for Hye-In against him, Athena faked a hostage situation that blackmailed Jung-Woo to return the component for Hye-In. However, that was thwarted as well, but at the price of Dr. Kim's life.
Fortunately, Dr. Kim managed to complete enough of his work that other scientists could complete it without him. Before he died though, he also secretly left a code that revealed NK's full nuclear capabilities; it prompted President Jo to speed-up peace negotiations between NK, but it was a rough process as NK found out they harbored Dr. Kim and they intervened against both sides. During this time, all the things Hye-In had done for Athena created a crisis of loyalty and ethics for Hye-In. She is loyal to Son Hyeok, but also developed feelings for Jung-Woo. With Athena's new goal of destroying the nuclear project before completion, Hye-In struggles to balance between orders from Athena and keeping Jung-Woo alive.
After Son-Hyeok's Athena affiliations was exposed, he was arrested by NTS for questioning. However, Athena agents recovered him and he's now planning to kill President Jo. During this time, Jung-Woo figured out Hye-In is an agent for Athena, but due to his love for her, he allowed her to escape NTS. However, because of her activities related to Son Hyeok, she was implicated along with his actions. Because Athena questions Hye-In's loyalties, she was confined, but she managed to inform Jung-Woo of President Jo's impending danger. Later Hye-In gets arrested is and held inside NTS. She eventually chose to defect from Athena and aided NTS to stop Son-Hyeok.
With so many failures, Son-Hyeok was stripped of his rank in Athena and his men replaced with a new team. Athena is aware of the problems Hye-In caused; she was also marked for death. Unwilling to allow Hye-In die, Son Hyeok and his team killed their replacements and gone rogue. Driven by his hatred, he sees NTS (especially Jung-Woo) as destroyers of his ambitions for power and taking away Hye-In; he used all his abilities to destroy them all.
SPOILER ALERT: do not read further if you do not wish to know its ending ;)
In a final endgame mission, Son Hyeok and his rogue team infiltrated NTS. They disabled the facility using an EMP device and tried to kill as many NTS agents as possible. Although many NTS agents were killed, Jung-Woo, Director Kwon, and Hye-In managed to defeat them. In a showdown between Son-Hyeok and Jung-Woo, Jung-Woo was proven the better fighter, but Son-Hyeok stopped him at gun point. Hye-In intervened to stop Son-Hyeok, but he couldn't stop. Therefore, Hye-In shoot Son-Hyeok.
Hye-In tried to kill herself to end the madness, but Son-Hyeok wanted her to live. Soon, Son-Hyeok died while Hye-In survives. After recovering from her injuries, Hye-In was given amnesty and she left South Korea. One year later, Jung-Woo left NTS to be with Hye-In in New Zealand. He found and surprised her in Auckland, where he hopes to start a happy chapter with her. The drama ends with the main couple smiling at each other.
Press Conference Pictures:
(Source: http://www.dramabeans.com )
(Source: http://www.koreandrama.org/?p=5498 )