Agent Ko is an agent with the Agency.
At least that is the plan by the Academy, the training facility in North Korea which monitors probably thousands of potential agents as they grow into near-adulthood and then pluck them from their lives, harsh and unpleasant as most are, and toss them into its even harsher environs. Training in that rough environ is extreme and most who are "invited" to try fail. Failure always ends badly.
Ko's full name is Ko Min-Jung. She is likely 16-17 years of age when the series begins. For much of her young life she lived in the Osang region of the country, far to the north from the capital. Her father was a fisherman who struggled every day to put enough food on the table for he and his wife and Min-Jung and her little brother, Woong.
As a little girl Ko did not know how meager their existence was. She knew she and her brother went to sleep hungry most of the time but that was unfortunately normal. Nevertheless she was happy with Papa and Woong. Mama was someone she loved but it was never really clear whether the feelings were mutual and not a day went by without Mama getting angry for something wrong Ko did. But like the hunger paigns, that was the norm.
Then the floods came one year and Woong was swept away and a harsh life became harder. And different. For some reason she never understood the family was moved to Pyongyang and day-to-day got perhaps a tad better but Mama was still always upset at her and Woong was still gone and, unbeknown to her she was being monitored. A 'friend' of her father, Ryuk, came to dinner on occasion and Ko came to think that, old those he was (almost Papa's age) he was thinking of asking to marry her.
The proposal that Ryuk made, though, was not for marriage but to take her to the Academy where she would train to become an agent for the Great Leader.
She would learn to lie and sneak and stalk and kill. She would learn that absolutely no one could be trusted and anyone she might think a friend would betray her for the least offense at a moment's notice if that meant they could survive. She would, unfortunately, learn how to be just as pernicious.
It would not come easily to a young girl who was kind of heart and loving and sweet. But it would, regrettably, come.