‘Hierarchy’ Ending Explained & Will It Return for Season 2 on Netflix?

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Hierarchy Ending Explained And Why It Wont Return For Season 2

Picture: Hierarchy – Studio Dragon

Netflix’s latest teen K-drama Hierarchy was meant to be a limited series, but thanks to a bloodied post-credit scene, fans are already demanding more. Will Netflix renew Hierarchy for a second season? Here’s how the ending sets up a second season.

Hierarchy is a South Korean Netflix Original teen mystery K-drama series written by Bae Hyun Jin and directed by Choo Hye Mi. Studio Dragon, the same studio behind popular Netflix shows such as Crash Landing on You, Vincenzo, and Alchemy of Souls, led the production.

The series takes place at the fictional Jooshin High School, a school for the 0.01% of society, where the children of South Korea’s social elite attend. But, when scholarship student Kang Ha is transferred to Jooshin, his presence, and quest to find the truth behind his brother’s murder upset the social order of the school.

Will Hierarchy return for a second season?

The simplest and shortest answer is that Hierarchy was ordered as a “limited series.” This means that when Netflix first greenlit the K-drama, the plan was only to produce one season.

You will find the limited series status highlighted on the Netflix app or your web browser.

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What would it take for Netflix to produce a second season?

It’s extremely rare for any limited series to get a second season. Even when Netflix has had limited series become smash hits, such as The Queen’s Gambit, the streaming service has decided not to pursue further seasons.

However, a rare and recent example of Netflix pursuing a second season of a limited series is the Emmy Award-winning comedy Beef.

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South Korean director Lee Sung Jin poses in the press room with the Outstanding Writing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie and Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series awards for “Beef” during the 75th Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on January 15, 2024. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Other examples on Netflix are 13 Reasons Why and The Watcher.

For Netflix to consider pursuing a second season, Hierarchy would need some strong viewing numbers over the next several weeks.

Hierarchy Ending Explained

Kang Ha, who entered Jooshin High School as one of the “poor” exchange students, arrived intending to get vengeance for the death of his brother, In-Han. Through his investigation into the social hierarchy of Jooshin High School, he discovered that his brother was the victim of relentless bullying, which Ri-An was the instigator of. While he had nothing to do with In-Han’s murder, Ri-An accepted accountability for his actions and the role he played in Kang Ha’s brother being bullied.

Kang Ha Hierarchy Ending Explained And Why It Wont Return For Season 2

Picture: Lee Chae Min as Kang Ha – Studio Dragon

We learned that on the night of In-Han’s death, he was severely beaten by some of his bullies, and in his attempt to run away, he accidentally witnessed Ji Soo, a teacher, and her student Woo-Jin making out in the corridor. In her panic about being caught with a student, Ji Soo tried to chase after In-Han, which resulted in her using Woo-Jin’s family car and accidentally running him over. She had the opportunity to save his life but left him to die, stealing his phone and camera pen in the process.

Ji Soo Hierarchy Ending Explained And Why It Wont Return For Season 2

Picture: Byeon Seo Yoon as Ji-Soo – Studio Dragon

Thanks to the actions taken by Jae-I to change the Jooshin system, Woo Jin also takes accountability for his actions, and after finding In-Han’s phone and camera pen, he hands them over to Jae-I, which are then given to Kang Ha. In-Ha recorded all the events of that fateful night, which gave Kang Ha all the evidence he needed to have his brother’s killer arrested.

By the end of the season, the social order of Jooshin High School had been upended by the efforts of Kang Ha and Jae-I, with their fellow students Ri-An, He-Ra, and Woo-Jin all returning to school wanting to be better versions of themselves. Not to mention, the school now has a new principal after Principal Park resigned from her position for involvement in covering up Ji-Soo’s part in In-Han’s murder.

Kang Ha x Jae-I?

By the end of the season, Kang Ha has fallen in love with Jae-I. While she admits her feelings for Kang Ha, she isn’t pursuing a relationship now. She had only just recently broken up with her ex-boyfriend Ri-An and is still recovering from the grief of suffering through a miscarriage. Pile on her family drama of finally finding her birth mother, and the last thing on Jae-I’s mind right now is romance.

At the very least, a new, complicated love triangle awaits her back at Jooshin High School.

Kang Ha Jae I Hierarchy Ending Explained And Why It Wont Return For Season 2

Picture: Roh Jeong Eui as Jae-I and Lee Chae Min as Kang Ha (right) – Studio Dragon

That post-credit scene

In a post-credits scene that seemingly sets up the story for the second season, we see a student, having been murdered in the middle of the day, found dead by their horrified classmates. Kim Ri-An receives an ominous and anonymous message: “You look shaken up, Kim Ri-an.”

Ri An Hierarchy Ending Explained And Why It Wont Return For Season 2

Picture: Kim Jae Won as Kim Ri-An – Studio Dragon

The student’s identity is unknown, and it remains unclear what connections they have to Ri-An other than as classmates.

Could the killer be Kang Ha? The show suggests it could be, but this is likely a red herring.

Would you have liked a second season of Hierarchy on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 as a fulltime writer having worked in numerous other industries until that point. Jacob covers all things Netflix whether that's TV or movies but specializes in covering new anime and K-dramas. Resides in Norwich in the United Kingdom.