Athena: Goddess of War () is a South Korean espionage television drama series broadcast by SBS in 2010 and a spin-off of 2009's "Iris". Budgeted at 20 billion (US$ 17 million) like its predecessor, the two series are among the most expensive Korean dramas ever produced.
Starring Jung Woo-sung, Cha Seung-won, Soo Ae, and Lee Ji-ah, the series premiered in December 2010 after filming in a number of overseas locations, including Italy, New Zealand, Japan, and the United States. The series is set in the same universe as its predecessor, allowing for select characters from Iris to reprise their roles throughout the story.
Developing on events set in motion in Iris, the story follows the fate of South Korea's ambitious nuclear energy program meant to unify the Korean Peninsula and position the country as the leader in the global energy race. As a result, a new counter-terrorism agency known as the National Anti-Terror Service is instituted and tasked with protecting the nuclear energy technology from potential threats at all costs. Among its ranks is seasoned agent Lee Jung-woo, a skilled operative that has grown tired of his job's uneventful day to day affairs. He soon finds the answer to his dull existence when fate introduces him to an efficacious villain by the name of Son Hyeok and the shadowy organization behind him known only as Athena.
Sometime in the near future, the Korean peninsula attempts to reunify. The South Korean government, which needs enormous funds for the unification to succeed, develops a landmark new technology called the TWR. The TWR is a high speed nuclear reactor and other countries want the technology.
To prevent terror in the aftermath of the TWR breakthrough, the government establishes a new organization named NTS (National Anti-Terror Service). Jung-Woo (Jung Woo-Sung) is transferred to the NTS group from the NIS. He's excited about the transfer and hopes to live the life of a real agent, but then discovers his main responsibility is to watch North Korean defectors.
One day, Jung-Woo is given the order to travel to Italy to track terrorists from North Korea. Jung-Woo goes to Italy with Ki-Soo (Kim Min-Jong). Ki-Soo is a former North Korean agent who has defected to South Korea. Ki-Soo's specialty is information on the European region. Up until now, Ki-Soo was one of the North Korean defectors that Jung-Woo had to monitor.
While in Italy, Soo-Young (Lee Bo-Young), the daughter of the South Korean President Jo Myeong-Ho (Lee Jeong-Kil), is kidnapped by terrorists. To solve the case the Korean government sends additional NTS agents including Jae-Hee (Lee Ji-A) to Italy. The NTS agents are able to negotiate with the terrorists, but during their negotiations Hye-In (Su-Ae) suddenly appears. Jung-Woo and the other agents are surprised. Hye-In works as a guide at the exhibition hall in the NIS building. Jung-Woo has always held strong feelings towards Hye-In, but he has never expressed his feelings towards her. Following Hye-In, Son-Hyuk (Cha Seung-Won), the chief of the East Asia branch of Department of Homeland Security in the U.S., suddenly appears as well. The NTS agents are mystified by their appearance.
Jung-Woo learns that there is a secret "solutions" group within the NTS whose sole responsibility is to solve problems that others agencies can not. More surprisingly, Hye-In is part of that group.
Other mysterious cases start to occur and Jung-Woo's intuition leads him to believe that there is unfathomable conspiracy occurring to rearrange the power structure of the entire world. That conspiracy is led by Athena.
What is the real identity of Athena and what does Hye-In and Son-Hyuk hide in their NTS "solutions" group?
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