Hierarchy Ending Explained, Who Is The Unexpected Culprit Behind Kang In-Han’s Death?

Hierarchy cast, characters, plot, ending explained 2024
Hierarchy cast, characters, plot, ending explained (2024)

“Hierarchy” is a Korean drama series released on June 7, 2024, and available on Netflix. The show consists of 7 episodes, each approximately 1 hour and 9 minutes long. It stars Bae Hyeong-jin and is written by Chu Hye-mi. The genre of the series includes teen drama, romance, and mystery.

Plot Summary 

The story unfolds in a prestigious school where hierarchy is dictated by wealth, giving affluent students more influence than teachers. They disdain scholarship students, treating them as inferior while asserting themselves as school royalty. The plot thickens with the death of student Kang In-Han in a hit-and-run accident. But when his brother enrolls in the same school with a singular mission to uncover the truth—will he succeed in exposing the killer and confronting the hidden power dynamics at play?

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Cast with Characters

•  Roh Jeong-Eui as Jung Jae-i: She is the main female lead, reigning as the queen of Joosin High Academy, but living under her father’s abusive control.

•  Lee Chae-min as Kang Ha: He is Kang In-Han’s brother, determined to unravel the truth behind his sibling’s fatal hit-and-run at the same school.

•  Kim Jae-won as Kim Ri-an: He is the successor to the Jooshin Group. He has a bold character well knowing the power in his hands. 

•  Ji Hye-won as Yoon He-ra: She is the daughter of International Yoon, a prominent Korean trading company, and a friend of Jung Jae-i, though she often harbors jealousy toward her.

•  Lee Won-jung as Lee Woo-jin: he is the son of a family that has produced politicians for generations. He has an inappropriate relationship with his teacher. 

What Motivated Kang Ha To Enroll In Jooshin High Academy?

The main reason behind Kang Ha’s motivation was the death of his brother, Kang In-han, who attended Jooshin High Academy. Kang Ha joined the academy as a scholarship student, indifferent to the rules and regulations. In this school, students respect the high-ranking and wealthy students more than the teachers. Wealth is a crucial factor, and the top students, who come from affluent backgrounds, even have different neckties. Scholarship students are looked down upon. Kang Ha’s sole motivation was to uncover the truth behind his brother’s death, find the culprit, and expose all the hidden dirty secrets of the academy and those involved in his brother’s demise.

Does Jung Jae-I Find Out Who Kang Ha Is?

Jung Jae-i discovers Kang Ha’s true identity when she notices he is wearing the same bracelet that belonged to Kang In Han, someone she was very close with. The bracelet is a black strand with a fish pendant. She directly asks Kang Ha why he came to Jooshin High Academy. He tells her his goal is to take her place at the top of the class until graduation. If he achieves this, Jooshin will pay for him to study abroad and give him priority when applying to overseas branches. To verify her suspicions, Jung Jae-i goes through his student profile but finds that it states he has no siblings. Despite this, she remains doubtful, especially because of the bracelet she saw on him.

Who Is Threatening Jung Jae-i?

The person threatening Jung Jae I is Nam Ju Won, the principal’s son at Jooshin High. He appears innocent but has a strong dislike for the school’s culture and environment. Jung Jae-i became a target because she symbolizes everything he dislikes about the school. His threats were not because of anything specific she did wrong to him, but because he wanted to assert control in a place where he felt powerless and unnoticed.

Who Is The Main Culprit For The Death Of Kang In Han?

When suspicions initially fell on Kim Ri An as Kang In-han’s killer, the true culprit turned out to be someone unexpected: Han Ji Su, a teacher at the school. The reason behind her actions was her inappropriate relationship with a student named Lee Woo Jin. To conceal this relationship, she committed a deliberate hit-and-run. On the day of the incident, Ji Su planned to celebrate Woo Jin’s birthday at a party where In-han was being bullied. When In-han fled the party, he unexpectedly encountered Ji Su and Woo Jin together. Startled and panicked, Ji Su chased after In-han, resulting in a tragic accident.

Does Jung Jae-I Stand Up For Herself from Her Abusive Father, Jung Ki-Young?

Yes, Jung Jae-I finally stands up to her abusive father, who is obsessed with wealth and appearances in society. He’s extremely strict and controls her life in harmful ways. In her confrontation, she tells her dad that she remembers him telling her if she acts inappropriately she will vanish like her mother, something she was always scared of but not anymore. Despite hating his behavior, she felt powerless until she gathered her courage to confront him. Instead of moving to New York, she chooses to stay and rebuild a relationship with her mother, who lives a humble life away from their wealth and power.

Do Jung Jae-I and Kim Ri-An End Up Together?

Jung Jae-I and Kim Ri-An don’t end up together in the end. After reflecting on her traumatic experiences with her abusive father, Jung Jae-I decides to start fresh with her mother, distancing herself from her father’s control. Meanwhile, Kim Ri-An realizes his misunderstanding of Jae-I and confesses his love for her. He feels intense guilt when he discovers Jae-I broke up with him to protect him from pain. Jae-I was also carrying Ri-An’s child. Their breakup initially aimed to shield him from hardship, which was why she initially went to New York. Upon returning, she grew distant and cold towards Ri-An.

Is This K-Drama Suitable For Children And Families?

The Korean drama “Hierarchy” explores mature themes such as bullying, violence, murder, blackmail, abortion, and complex relationships. While it attempts to address these serious topics, it doesn’t always do so effectively, making it unsuitable for younger audiences, including children and pre-teens. Parents should exercise caution and consider the age and maturity of older teenagers and young adults before allowing them to watch, as they may find the drama engaging but should still approach it with discretion.