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(LEAD) 'Pied Piper' debuts with moderate viewership

All Headlines 14:33 March 08, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with plot summary, preview from 3rd para; ADDS byline)
By Park Sojung

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- A tvN series on crisis negotiation got off to a moderate start Monday, renewing the viewership record for the Monday-Tuesday night time slot by a small margin.

The pilot episode of "Pied Piper," starring actor Shin Ha-kyun as police negotiator Ju Seong-chan, drew 3.7 percent of TV viewers, data by Nielsen Korea showed. That's 0.1 percentage point higher than that of its predecessor and previous record holder "Cheese in the Trap."

Ju is a corporate negotiator-turned-policeman who has seemingly mastered the art of persuasion. The pilot starts with the protagonist squeezing past a festival crowd in the Philippines -- a scene reminiscent of the opening of "Spectre," where James Bond cuts through a Day of the Dead procession in Mexico.

Ju was sent there by a conglomerate to bring back five employees who were taken hostage by a local gang. The company provides only a fraction of the ransom and orders Ju to keep it a secret from the Korean public.

In the end, a hostage dies in the process of negotiation, with the victim's brother learning that Ju had calculated his brother's death.

After returning to South Korea, the surviving brother tries to retaliate by taking Ju's girlfriend hostage at a restaurant.

In a botched attempt to save his lover, Ju is acquainted with a computer-generated voice, who is behind all the other disasters set to come on "Piped Piper," according to the producers.

Part of the fun of watching the show is guessing who the mysterious character may be.

"Pied Piper" airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 11 p.m.

sojungpark@yna.co.kr
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