‘High School Return of a Gangster’ Cast, Characters, Plot and Ending Explained, What Happens When a Gangster Takes Over a High School Student’s Life?

High School Return of a Gangster Cast, Characters, Plot, Ending Explained (2024)
High School Return of a Gangster Cast, Characters, Plot, Ending Explained (2024)

“High School Return of a Gangster” is a Korean drama series with eight episodes, directed by Lee Sung-Taek and written by Horol and Jung Da-Hee. Released from May 29 to June 19, it falls under the genres of fantasy, teen drama, action, and revenge. The series is available for streaming on MyAsianTV, HiTV, and DramaCool.

Cast with Characters

  • Yoon Chan Young plays Song Yi Heon –  He is a depressed and bullied high school student with suicidal thoughts, who comes from a rich family with a toxic background
  • Bong Jae Hyun portrays Choi Se Kyung – He is the top student in his class who comes from a very strict background with a controlling father. This oppressive environment has a significant impact on his mental health. 
  • Lee Seo Jin plays Kim Deuk Pal – He is a former gangster with a long-held dream of attending university. His soul is swapped with that of a depressed high school boy, while his physical body is dead.
  • Seo Tae Hwa plays Choi Myung Hyun- He is Se Kyung’s very strict and controlling father.

Plot Summary

“High School Return of a Gangster” follows Kim Deuk-Pal, a tough 47-year-old gangster who wants to experience college life. When his spirit enters the body of Song Yi-Heon, a 19-year-old high school student facing bullying and considering suicide, everything changes. Now living as Song Yi-Heon, Kim Deuk-Pal stands up to the bullies and befriends a student who faces abuse at home. Can Kim Deuk-Pal navigate high school life, change lives for the better, and find redemption along the way?

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Why Is Mr. Kim, A Powerful Gangster, Dedicating Himself To Intensive Study?

This drama introduces Kim Deuk Pal, a gangster who willingly attends a one-on-one math tuition class at his place. Despite his sincere efforts, he struggles with the subject, and his teacher comments that his math skills are comparable to those of a ninth-grader. Kim Deuk Pal holds a strong ambition to attend university, a dream he has cherished for years. However, his past reveals that personal challenges, like financial constraints, have hindered him from achieving this goal earlier in life.

Does Kim Deuk-pal End Up Inside The Body Of Yi-heon?

Deuk-pal meets with the gang’s Chairman, who advises him to focus on his studies and prepare to lead the gang. On his way home alone, Deuk-pal encounters Song Yi-heon, a high school student contemplating suicide on a bridge. Acting without hesitation, Deuk-pal saves Yi-heon but tragically loses his own life. When he wakes up in the hospital, he realizes he’s inside Yi-heon’s body and is attacked by his men who blame him for their boss’s death. Unable to convince anyone of his true identity, Deuk-pal is overwhelmed by confusion and sadness. He returns to the bridge, hoping to turn back time, but instead falls onto a bus, waking up again in the hospital. Disappointed to be trapped in this new body, he learns Mr. Kim’s funeral, which he now inhabits, has already passed. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, Deuk-pal sees an opportunity in Yi-heon’s young body to achieve his dreams and decides to make the most of it.

What Does Deuk-pal Discover About This Kid’s Life When He Opens His Digital Diary?

Opening Yi-heon’s digital diary, Kim Deuk-pal discovered that the kid, Song Yi Heon was going through a tough time. Yi-heon was bullied by his friends and mistreated despite being from a rich family. His home life wasn’t good either. In his diary, Yi-heon wrote things like “I’m tired of this, I want to quit” and “I wish I could disappear.” Kim found out more about Yi-heon’s life—he was abused and bullied by classmates and others. For example, someone made him steal alcohol from home, then jewellery, and cigarettes from a store. When Yi-heon said no, he was beaten up badly by a gang.

Kim was very angry when he read this. Yi-heon felt like he had no hope and couldn’t be helped. Everyone at school avoided Yi-heon because a bully named Hong Jae Min called him a stalker. Yi-heon was stripped and beaten up, and they even played cruel games hitting him with toy arrows on his back. Nobody dared to help because the bully was so powerful at school. This helped Kim understand why he was in Yi-heon’s body.

Kim decided to use Yi-heon’s body to go to school. He planned to confront and defeat the bullies so that Yi-heon could live peacefully when he returned to his own body.

Does Deuk-pal, Inside Song Yi-heon’s Body, Give The Bullies A Taste Of Their Own Medicine?

With Kim Deuk Pal now in control of Song Yi Heon’s body, he begins to assert himself as the protector of the class. He starts by treating the girls to dinner, but his true motivation is to shield them from bullies, despite appearing flirtatious in Song Yi Heon’s body. His actions earned him admiration, especially from the girls who see him as both courageous and caring. His new character earns admiration, especially from many girls who are impressed by his courage and strength.

There was a particular incident where the bullies surrounded him and forced him to watch a video on one of their phones showing Song Yi Heon being bullied. This infuriates him. The bullies laughed at him, but he broke the phone in a fit of rage. He then states out loud, “One who keeps company with the wolf will learn how to howl. One takes the characteristics of whom they associate with,” warning that other kids will pick up these bullying traits.

The leader of the bullies steps forward and sneers, “This wasn’t enough, was it?” Kim Deuk Pal, inside Song Yi Heon’s body, calmly looks at him, pats his shoulder as if brushing off dirt, then grabs his shoulder, pulls him closer, and says, “Let’s see who gets it this time.” A fight ensues, and with a swift headbutt, he brings the main bully down. He then tackles the rest, smoothly beating them up, ensuring they remember the day they underestimated him.

What Is Choi Se Kyung’s Secret?

Choi Se-kyung is portrayed as an outstanding student who excels in almost everything except physical confrontations. Despite his outward perfection, he harbors a painful secret: he suffers from domestic violence inflicted by his father at home. Throughout the drama, there are fleeting moments that show Choi Se-Kyung and Song Yi Heon interacting and speaking with each other, hinting at a deeper connection between them.

Does Kim Deuk Pal Inside Song Yi Heon Confess To Choi Se Kyung That He Is Not Song Yi Heon?

Se-Kyung starts questioning Yi-heon’s identity, especially after Yi-heon claims to have lost his memories in an accident. He becomes suspicious, noticing drastic changes in behavior and personality. One day, Se-kyung visits Yi-heon’s house to tutor him, and tensions rise in the study room. Kim Deuk Pal inside Song Yi Heon then reveals how Yi-heon jumped off a bridge after encountering him. Curious, Se-Kyung asks what happened next, but their conversation is interrupted by Yi-heon’s mother’s sudden yelling from another room, prompting both of them to investigate.

Afterward, they go out, and Choi Se Kyung brings up the same topic again. Kim Deuk Pal, in Song Yi Heon’s body, tells Choi Se Kyung to stop investigating him. Their relationship becomes strained, but Choi Se Kyung remains suspicious.

During a food accident, Choi Se Kyung takes him to the hospital. There, Choi Se Kyung confesses his suspicion, now certain that the person before him is not Song Yi Heon. Kim Deuk Pal, still in Yi Heon’s body, responds, “So you want to apologize to him?” He then adds, “Okay, I’ll make sure you meet him so you can do that.” This gives viewers an indirect hint that he is not Yi Heon.

Kim Deuk Pal further explains that he will ensure Yi Heon comes back. When Se Kyung asks when, Kim Deuk Pal replies, “Maybe in the future. He might return sooner if you help me.” He asks Se Kyung to help him until Yi Heon can safely return and live a proper life.

Who Planned The Kidnapping Of Song Yi Heon’s Mother And Why?

The kidnapping of Song Yi Heon’s mother was planned by Mi-Kyung. She is known for being secretive and clever, making her the perfect person to carry out such a plan. The exact reason for the kidnapping isn’t clear, but it’s part of a bigger scheme against Yi Heon and is connected to the power struggles in the series.

Yi Heon and Se-kyung manage to stop the kidnapping by bravely fighting off the attackers from the Dong-soo gang. They get help from Jae-min, the leader of the school bullies, who had previously tried to join the Dong-soo gang with his friends. However, Jae-min tries to escape during the fight, which leads to his downfall.

Does Kim Deuk Pal’s Gang Members Come to Know Of The Real Truth Of The Soul Change, Or Does It Just Go By As It Is?

Kim Deuk Pal’s gang members remain unaware of the supernatural soul swap that occurred. As a result, they do not realize the truth behind the change at first. Gang members Jong Cheol and Dong Soo start to suspect that Yi Heon might be Deuk Pal’s son, leading them to take him under their wing and protect him as one of their own.

Towards the end of this drama, a tense confrontation unfolds between Kim Deuk Pal, now inhabiting Yi Heon’s body, and Yi Heon’s spirit. During this encounter, Deuk Pal reveals the truth about the soul exchange to Yi Heon. Meanwhile, Kim Dong Soo, who had assumed leadership following Deuk Pal’s death, is overwhelmed with a mix of sorrow and gratitude upon learning the truth. Despite his grief, he feels thankful for the resolution and clarity this revelation brings. In a poignant moment, Yi Heon’s spirit expresses deep gratitude to Kim Dong Soo for his unwavering loyalty throughout the years.

How Does Kim Deuk-pal’s Presence In Song Yi-heon’s Body Impact Yi-heon’s Family, And What Changes Does It Bring About?

Deuk-pal’s presence inside Song Yi Heon’s body has brought about the most significant changes in Choi Se Kyung’s life, particularly in his newfound ability to stand up against his strict and controlling father. This courageous act is especially bold for someone like Choi Se Kyung, who has endured a strained and toxic relationship with his father while living under his roof. Spending time with Deuk-pal inhabiting Song Yi Heon’s body also bolsters Se Kyung’s self-confidence, giving him the courage to confront his father about the invasive CCTV surveillance in his room.

Se-Kyung reveals that upon coming to his senses, he left home and found himself at the overpass. Apart from studying, his thoughts were consumed by finding a way to escape from his father.

Does Song Yi Heon Return, Or Does Kim Deuk Pal Permanently Take Over His Body?

Yi Heon’s spirit and Deuk Pal sit together in the charnel house, knowing that Deuk Pal must soon leave for the realm of the dead. There, Song Yi Heon tells Deuk Pal that he must go. Deuk Pal, confused, asks, “Go where?” Song Yi Heon responds, “You know where to go. I have no more desires in this life. When I jumped off that pedestrian overpass, I let go of everything, but I can’t steal your life.”

Feeling tired, worn out, and with no energy to go on, Yi Heon continues, expressing gratitude to Deuk Pal for bringing a smile to his face. Yi Heon shares that if someone could be happy in his body, that would be enough for him. In this sad and touching moment, Yi Heon walks toward the light, beginning his journey and leaving behind the earthly world. Deuk Pal, now permanently in the body of Song Yi Heon, remains behind, adjusting to his new life.