Does Ji Dong Hee hate or love Choi Chi Yeol in Crash Course in Romance? Savior or destroyer?

** This article features SPOILERS galore, so if you don’t want to know what happens in Crash Course in Romance up to Episode 12, click away now

As a huge fan of the onging Korean drama Crash Course in Romance, I have been replaying certain scenes over and over in my head over the last few weeks in an attempt to figure out who the metal ball murderer is, and why he is attacking the people he goes after.

After the ending of Crash Course in Romance, Episode 12 last week, however, it now seems Choi Chi Yeol’s secretary Ji Dong Hee is the metal ball murderer (although many of us already suspected him), so now there is just the motive to figure out.

A motive that obviously revolves around Choi Chi Yeol himself (masterfully played by Jung Kyung Ho), and his relationship with Ji Dong Hee (Shin Jae Ha).

It is also still unclear whether Ji Dong Hee sees himself as Choi Chi Yeol’s savior or his destroyer?

Is he trying to save him from what he perceives as threats to the well-being of the man he works for?

Or is Dong Hee attempting to destroy Chi Yeol’s life and, possibly, eventually frame him for the murders he himself commits?

Does Ji Dong Hee hate or love Choi Chi Yeol in Crash Course in Romance?

When you look at the murders, it would seem as though Dong Hee is trying to save Chi Yeol from the people who would do him harm.

People like the crazy stalker who gets shot as she is walking home late at night, after she still insists she and Chi Yeol are secret lovers.

Or someone like Lee Yeong Min, the nasty student who decides to report Choi Chi Yeol on an online forum for “kicking him out of the classroom”.

Or Jin Yi Sang, the teacher, who is so jealous of Chi Yeol he will make up any lie to destroy him.

And, of course, banchan shop owner Nam Haeng Seon (Jeon Do Yeon), Chi Yeol’s new lover and someone who he now prioritizes over everyone else.

Dong Hee obviously hates Haeng Seon as, not only is she taking Chi Yeol away from him, but she also helped persuade him to stay at the Pride Academy after Dong Hee had him set up with a better deal somewhere else.


Crash Course in Romance, Episode 2 — Nam Haeng Seon drags Choi Chi Yeol back into the shop

The thing that confused me about whether Ji Dong Hee hates or loves Choi Chi Yeol, however, and something that is paramount to the motive for the killings, was the scene at the end of Episode 2 where the metal ball suddenly flies through the shop window while Chi Yeol is standing there.

If Dong Hee loves Chi Yeol, then why was he firing metal balls in his vicinity?

And then it dawned on me.

If you look at every metal ball killing throughout Crash Course in Romance, Dong Hee is a superb shot and always hits the person he is aiming for with a one-shot takeout.

In Episode 2, however, the metal ball smashes through the shop window at high speed but doesn’t hit anyone?

Why is that?

Simply put, Dong Hee has obviously followed Choi Chi Yeol to the banchan shop and sees him arguing with Nam Haeng Seon, after Haeng Seon has finally figured out Chi Yeol is the one who stole then broke her brother’s phone.

Right before the metal ball hits, Haeng Seon is pulling Chi Yeol into the back of the store by his arm, so she can return the phone he bought to him. Chi Yeol is trying to get away.

This obviously annoys Dong Hee so, in his warped mind, he must do everything he can to protect and save Chi Yeol from what he believes is Haeng Seon’s aggression.

Hence, the metal ball breaking the shop window but not hitting anyone.

After all, if he had tried to hit Haeng Seon, the ball could have hit Chi Yeol, and that would have been catastrophic.

Is Dong Hee the savior or the destroyer of Choi Chi Yeol then?

If I was forced to decide I would say, in his messed-up mind at least, Ji Dong Hee believes he is Choi Chi Yeol’s savior.

Even the small things point to that — the way he always gets Choi Chi Yeol coffee, for instance, as he believes he is helping him stay awake.

Meanwhile Nam Haeng Seon, the one who genuinely loves Chi Yeol, is asking him to stop drinking so much of it as she knows it is harmful to his health.

Unfortunately for Choi Chi Yeol though, if Dong Hee is the murderer then, no matter what Dong Hee believes is the reality, he is not his savior but his potential destroyer.

A destroyer who murdered several people just to “protect” Chi Yeol, and one who will cause the math teacher to feel immense guilt once he finds out.

Even though he wasn’t involved in the murders himself.

It will also likely damage Chi Yeol’s ability to trust others going forward as, let’s face it, when the person closest to you perpetrates heinous acts on your behalf, how do you trust other people you meet later on in life not to do the same?


Choi Chi Yeol tells Jeong Su Hyeon’s brother he can keep the pen he gave his sister – Crash Course in Romance, Episode 6

What is Dong Hee’s motive for killing Chi Yeol’s attackers?

The motive was obvious right from Crash Course in Romance‘s, Episode 6, as Ji Dong Hee’s real identity is as the brother of student Jeong Su Hyeon —  the girl who killed herself after she found out the “study aids” her mother had illegally procured for her were not aids, but the upcoming test itself.

And the girl Choi Chi Yeol feels guilty about as, even if he wasn’t the cause of her death, he knows he didn’t answer the phone when she called him.

It became obvious Dong Hee was Su Hyeon’s brother (although most of us suspected it already) when, at the photo shoot in Episode 12, he is recognized as being Jeong Seong Hyeon, but denies it.


As for the motive for the murders, Dong Hee (aka Jeong Seong Hyeon) cares about Choi Chi Yeol as, not only did his sister tell him all about the math teacher before she took her own life (Episode 6), Chi Yeol also let him keep the pen after he tries to return it at his sister’s funeral.

For him then, Chi Yeol is the person his sister admired and liked the most. A person who was also kind to Dong Hee himself when he was suddenly all alone in the grips of his still education-obsessed mother.

A mother he eventually killed by pushing her off a balcony.

That is why it is now paramount Dong Hee protect Chi Yeol no matter what as, he believes, his sister would want him to.

According to the trailer for Crash Course in Romance, Episode 13 then, it appears likely Dong Hee is ramping up his dislike of Haeng Seon with a goal of ultimately getting rid of her.

We will find out tomorrow.

Then again, in Korean dramas, it is always possible a twist suddenly arrives out of left-field after everything has been pointing in another direction.

If that occurs in the last few episodes of Crash Course in Romance, then some of the above will obviously be moot.

Come on, I’m a writer, not a psychic.

Now watch the trailer for Crash Course in Romance, Episode 13, as this one should be exciting.

Nope, Dong Hee doesn’t like Haeng Seon at all. And she knows it.

Crash Course in Romance is currently streaming outside Korea via Netflix. It is one of the best Korean rom-com dramas in a long time.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.