Writer Song Ji-Na's Q&A - Backstories


Q: How did Hacker Ajumma come across Teacher and visit him 5 times? I'm curious about how they started the Healer business.
A: Min-Ja visited Young-Jae in 1992. (Young-Jae got out of prison in February of 1993.) Min-Ja had been investigating cases related to the Elder for a while, and eventually resigned from her post when she missed her son's deathbed while investigating the Elder's money laundering case.
I think Gil-Han and Joon-Seok's 1992 case raised a lot of flags for the cops who had been trailing the Elder. (I trust that there are cops like that out there.) Even though the evidence Joon-Seok had brought in disappeared, that means there were people out there who did the job of getting rid of them.
So, Min-Ja must have somehow figured out that Young-Jae was their friends, she must have found out what kind of people they were.
And later, she must have persuaded Young-Jae into becoming Healer, as all she can do is a desk job, and she needed someone to do the action.

Q: Is the reason Young-Shin feels relaxed when she holds onto Jung-Hoo's arm because of their childhood and does it also imply that they're destined to be together?
A: A little bit of that, too, but I personally wanted to express personal contact. People these days are all busy looking at their smartphones, but I think it would be better if we actually touched each other, holding hands, hugging... then you can convey way more than just by texting.

Q: What is your favorite scene of Healer?
A: I would have to say the elevator scene. It was something impossible to shoot with the time and money we had. Yet, the director told me to write it. So my assistants and I researched the design of elevators day and night and devised a way for Jung-Hoo to rescue her, while keeping the cost low... and while my script was pathetic, they shot a masterpiece. Afterwards, we just couldn't afford any more action scenes like that. I hope the director and the actors get to work on a movie or something where they can really flex their muscles without worrying about the cost.

Q: Why does Hacker Min-Ja obsess so much over money?
A: That one got skipped, too. Actually, Det. Yoon was supposed to track her down and see her at a children's hospital. After her son died, Min-Ja had been sponsoring sick children that couldn't afford their medical expenses.

Q: When did Jung-Hoo realize for the first time that Young-Shin knew who he was?
A: At the hospital, the focus was more on him not wanting to lie to Young-Shin anymore. Young-Shin couldn't reveal to him that she knew, and Jung-Hoo didn't want to like to Young-Shin anymore. Then he was relieved to find the star in the car. Then he realizes at the cafe. She knows. She says she'll wait. If Jung-Hoo doesn't realize after that, he's either dumb or a jerk.

Q: Why did Kim Moon-Shik leave the bug in his library even though he knew his wife was listening in?
A: I thought about that from his perspective. He finds out Myung-Hee put a bug. If he gets rid of it, Myung-Hee will think he's hiding something from her. No, no. I have nothing to hide from Myung-Hee. Myung-Hee needs to know that... This is how I felt, so that's why he left it there. (In fact, the conversation between him and Secretary Oh about it was supposed to be outside, but because the crew didn't have time, they did in inside, which gave me chills.)

Q: When was the moment Kim Moon-Shik started to believe that he didn't do anything wrong?
A: I don't really know. All I know is that he was such a vulnerable person who couldn't stand it without deceiving himself like that. I think we all have a little bit of Kim Moon-Shik in us. I do that, too, sometimes. Going through a series of steps. Keep deceiving others, eventually start deceiving myself, and then you can only fall asleep once you've successfully fooled yourself. I had such times, too.

Q: I saw in the script that you specifically asked for white bedding in Jung-Hoo's base. It doesn't seem to match with the rest of the place. Does it signify anything?
A: Ah, it had to be white. LOL I couldn't stand colorful patterns on the bedding because it was supposed to embrace the innocence of Jung-Hoo, and Young-Shin and Jung-Hoo's innocence as they'd be together some day.

Q: I'm curious about Young-Shin's missing memories of her childhood, including the man with an iron pipe in his hand.
A: I'm not curious about them at all. One of the things I absolutely can't stand is child abuse, so I tried to be as symbolic about that as possible. I didn't want to think about the details there.

Q: If you could express each character (Jung-Hoo, Young-Shin, Moon-Ho, Min-Ja) in a line?
A: Jung-Hoo: I don't know how to run away.
Young-Shin: I knew it.
Moon-Ho: My crime is silence.
Min-Ja: I had to see those eyes.

Q: Did you intend the symbolic meanings in the character names? For example, I thought Myung-Hee stood for a warm glow of this age and democracy, Moon-Shik for the facade of capitalism that devours the media, and Moon-Ho for the protection of media that doesn't yield to the control of money. I also wonder about how Jung-Hoo and Dae-Yong met, and how Dae-Yong and the delivery guys came to work for Jung-Hoo.
A: I did see the dictionary reference about the meanings of some of the characters. I was very surprised. (in response to a similar question later) One or two of such meanings were intended, but the rest were decided by the general impression of the characters.

Dae-Yong is the only person that really works for Jung-Hoo, but she has a lot of friends, so those delivery guys end up helping her a lot. At first, I had planned on featuring those delivery guys a lot, and spent the time to include a scene of what they do for fun, but because of the restraints on action scenes (budget and time T_T), we couldn't incorporate them a lot, which is really sad.

Q: How did Young-Shin know about Healer even before she met him?
A: The reputation of Healer must have spread discretely somehow. That way he'd get clients who'd hire him.
There's this guy called Healer, who only deals with top class information and is extravagantly expensive...
Apparently, he's a special dealer of information in the world of politics and business... He doesn't just take any job just because of the money.
If rumors like these went around, what reporter wouldn't want to meet him?

Q: What is the meaning of Min-Ja always knitting?
A: Min-Ja is supposed to be donating to a children's hospital. So she knits things to give to the children there or other orphanages. Also, when she's not working with Jung-Hoo, there's nothing else for her to do. Just spacing out in that space if she's not knitting. So knitting is her way of killing time.

Q: When Gi Young-Jae went to the hospital where Myung-Hee was admitted, Kim Moon-Shik tried to explain his excuse. Had Young-Jae listend to that, what would have happened? When Kim Moon-Shik was taken to the Elder, that might have been the only choice he could make in order to save his beloved Myung-Hee, right? If Kim Moon-Shik had chosen to go against the Elder, could Myung-Hee have survived?
A: Kim Moon-Shik's excuses would have been a series of lies that even he himself couldn't really buy.
Had Kim Moon-Shik gone against the Elder, Myung-Hee might have died. Instead of living like a human vegetable for decades. I don't know which one she would have liked better.
Today we live in houses with good heating, with clothes, without starving... but do we become happier in proportion to the size of our houses?

Q: Chae Chi-Soo's cafe name used to be "Evergreen Tree" and Ji-An's name changes to 'Chae Young-Shin." Are these references to Evergreen Tree (a novel written by Sim Hun in 1935)?
A: Somebody had also suspected Young-Shin to be part of the phrase, "Ring out the old (Song-Goo送舊), ring in the new (Young-Shin迎新)," and I think there's some truth in that.
Yes, it is Chae Young-Shin from Evergreen Tree. While that character has a tragic death, she had a progressive spirit...
At any rate, I wanted Young-Shin to have that analog feel. Old-fashioned name... using a folder phone... not wanting to be hooked on internet...
The reason why Young-Shin doesn't do blogs or use any social media is actually because she is afraid she might get connected with her previous adoptive parents (that physically abused her). I had wanted to bring this up in the drama, but ended up not doing it, perhaps because I didn't want to deep in my consciousness.

Q: How were the scenes of the remote conversation between Healer and Hacker Ajumma shot? How did you time the dialogue so perfectly when they must have been shot separately?
A: This was what I had worried the most from the beginning as I started writing the script for the first episode. Ajumma and Jung-Hoo don't meet, and they aren't shot in the same room. Yet their dialogues had to be tightly knit almost to the point of overlapping. So a lot of preparation went into this.
1. Before shooting, the actors came to my studio several times and worked on getting the rhythm and the feel down, building their characters and working on their teamwork.
(This was the first moment I was impressed with actor Ji Chang-Wook. The recent trend is that scheduling a meeting with a young and famous actor is quite a complex process like organizing a summit of the two Koreas, having to go through many steps starting with their personal assistants and what not. However, Chang-Wook always called first and asked to meet with me, wanting to practice more, and just showed up by himself ready to take notes. On top of that, when he showed up and saw rookie actors practicing, he even helped them practice by taking part in their dialogue. I was very surprised.)
2. Even so, after editing the first shooting, the rhythm wasn't there, with too much pauses between lines. (Somebody from the crew read the lines of the other party to the actor while shooting, but that just didn't work.) So we started wondering if both actors needed to be present for shooting, then the director decided to make a phone call with Actress Mi-Kyung before shooting Jung-Hoo's scenes. So they'd get the rhythm down via phone and shoot Jung-Hoo's part first, then edit that footage and show it to Mi-Kyung before shooting her part. Then Mi-Kyung would act her part following that rhythm. Later on, we didn't have the time to shoot and edit one side first to have the other actor watch it, but by then, both actors had already become fully incarnated Jung-Hoo and Min-Ja, so...
3. I can imagine how the final edit must have been difficult. Even after steps 1 and 2, there would have been awkward pauses and the whole credit should go to the editing team for cutting and pasting word by word to make it flow naturally. The credit for the split scenes goes to the directing team. Getting the rhythm down that the writer couldn't possibly create from her mere script writing were thanks the dedicated efforts of the two directors (plus the editing director) who would pull all-nighters in the editing room.

I'd like to use this opportunity to say thanks to everybody who took part in this whole process.


  1. What SJN says about YS not getting onto blogs and such is absolutely true. I was in a very abusive relationship and I never do blogs and only began doing this type of social media because of Healer. I do not have a facebook and although I have twitter and tumblr, it is only so I read about JCW. I never post there because of the abusive relationship. I would be horrified beyond words if that subhuman tried to contact me. I am amazed to read this from SJN.

  2. Thanks for sharing all these Q&A in this blog!!

  3. Thanks for sharing all these Q&A in this blog!!

  4. what we always do when we comments in sites... we only guess what the Writer actually means by actions the Actor or Actress made, and what they are thinking when they said certain things... reading your questionaries really help a deeper insight into the "real Him /real Her"... who can know Jung Hoo or Young shin better than Writer Song... thanks. hope you do more interviews with her, and let us has further understanding of what she is thinking when she writes ...
    actually one thing bugs me, in final ep 20, when ahjumma switched the photo of real Bong Sook with the reports at Newspaper... this may fool many who have not seen the face of Bong Sook (aka Jung Hoo acting as Bong Sooke)... but for the lackery and the goons even who works for Elder (Boss),, , even SS goons and Hacker Ahn, they have seen Jung Hoo in Bong sook's identity, ... even if anounced Bong Sook as dead, did not the Someday news people also can testimony the Bong Sook in the news who died is not the Bong Sook they knew.. and when Goons and lesser evils, like Yo Yo and SS guards passed out from Prison, they will go after Jung Hoo, whom they knew is not the person surposely died at the airport, the face of Bong Sook in the news report and the BongSook he interact is different...this has been bugging me.... then how can Jung Hoo and Young Shin be forever at peace, since so many people know the "face" who drop "dead" at airport is not the face in the newspaper.

    Writer Song, will you kindly write Healer 2? we will be eternally grateful.

  5. "If you could express each character (Jung-Hoo, Young-Shin, Moon-Ho, Min-Ja) in a line?
    A: Jung-Hoo: I don't know how to run away.
    Young-Shin: I knew it."
    yes, for me, Jung Hoo's " i don't know how to run away", and "i can live in the image you want" are one of the two most touching k drama lines i ever read... "i don't know how to run".. not that i cannot run, but have not strength to run, refuse to run, too intoxicated and indulged with you, that i rather live till the last moment, not running away, the only route i can be happy with, is continue walk forward, this line just caught me breathless, in Jung Hoo's helplessness, running and flying forward is part of Healer's expertise, he's like spiderman, no building he can't scaled, running itself is nothing to him. but to run along as shadow of someone down there, trailing her at rooftop, yet enjoying it, is something new to him, running forwards only for her alone, is really departing from the rules of Healer, to run who the money or job requires. to say it is running,. guess it is more like following, right behind Young shin,... and not running away, from the danger, of realising He as Healer also needs Healing, and only one way can heal him, run beside her, along her, behind her... not wanting to be free anymore . "i don't know and don't want to run away".
    Writer Song, thru out this show, you can written many heart wrenching, shattering souls lines... awesome, awesome, awesome.
    Young shin's " i knew it" and her "come back, even if you cannot find"... is tied together. she need not any evidence, not that she is not hurt, not that she don't feel doubts, or fear, but amidst all these, she is able to controlled her own "rights" and shake off her own fear, and trust the Bong Sook that she knew, trust the Jung Hoo that she just started to discovered since healing him at his house, ... whatever she remembered about him, she will hold tight and believe him, she knew him as he is, even if no evidence, come back.

  6. Thank you for sharing this!!!