Drama Recaps
Mixed-up Investigative Agency: Case 13
by | November 26, 2007 | 12 Comments

(Another) one of the things I like about Mixed-up Investigative Agency is that the band of treasure-hunting misfit friends has some good ideas, but so often, they’re just plain WRONG. One tricky thing in making a mystery come alive is in making each step believable and yet keep the viewers guessing. The difficulty, many times, is in allowing the heroes to gain their objective, but not TOO easily (or there’s no suspense or fun), and yet also not too much by coincidence, otherwise it’ll seem like they didn’t earn their victory.

The friends mess up quite often, but their mess-ups often lead to insights they wouldn’t have gained otherwise. Which also means that other, smarter people might not have figured out these clues, because they would’ve thought of different, more clever ideas. In this way, this really is a “mixed-up” agency — a bumbling, awkward, clumsy, but lovable group of heroes who may just be the only people capable of finding the treasure. Not in spite of their flaws but because of them.


J – “Ghost” from her newest (sixth) album. [ zShare download ]

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CASE No. 13: “Life Isn’t So Clear-Cut”

Following Eun-jae’s panic attack in the tunnel, the friends bring her home, where Mu-yeol in particular worries over her long unconscious spell. He wants to stay by her side till she wakes up (“If she wakes up all alone, she’ll feel scared”) but Hee-kyung coaxes him away. Just as they leave, Eun-jae opens her eyes — she was faking, because now that she knows that her father killed Yong-su’s brother, she can’t face him.

When she does work up the nerve to face the friends, she can’t help but stare at Yong-su for an unexplainably long time. But why? (They joke that Eun-jae now finds Yong-su attractive, but nobody really believes it.)

The two gangster sidekicks drop by to deliver something from Baek Min-chul, which confuses everyone, even 007, who doesn’t understand his motives.

Because what he has delivered them, with no demands and no apparent strings attached, is the second map. His message is merely that it’s a gift, meant as repayment for the treatment Yong-su showed his mother.

But what could he mean by this gesture? Min-chul merely tells 007 that he wonders if there’s a reason he was brought into contact with Yong-su and Eun-jae, in which case he might just follow where fate leads.

The four friends are so suspicious of Min-chul’s motives that they can’t accept the explanation, and speculate what the hidden meaning could be. Is it a fake map?

Mu-yeol insists it must be fake, while Yong-su isn’t so sure. Interestingly, Yong-su acts somewhat sympathetic to Min-chul — when Mu-yeol gets caught up in badmouthing Min-chul for beating up Yong-su and killing his brother (which makes Eun-jae uncomfortable, since she knows Min-chul isn’t a killer), Yong-su is the one who stops Mu-yeol. Hee-kyung suggests asking Min-chul directly — there’s no other way to find out why he handed it over.

They figure they have nothing to lose, and meet Min-chul that night. Hee-kyung and Eun-jae remain uncomfortable and silent, while Mu-yeol gets in a few jabs at Min-chul’s character before Yong-su begins asking their prepared questions. He’s quite polite about it, and Min-chul is forthcoming and honest in his responses.

Min-chul tells Yong-su the map is real, admitting that he’s giving up his quest: “When you’ve been doing one thing for too long, it starts to wear you down.”

Min-chul answers their questions about his connection to Jo Man Gi, going back to when they first met in 1989. Jo Man Gi found a map while grave-robbing and came to them for help identifying it — he’d somehow heard that they (Min-chul & company) were in possession of the other map. Their obstacle: the hidden gold was supposedly buried on the Deoksu palace gounds, requiring them to bring in another party — someone involved in construction who would have access to the area surrounding the palace.

But for whatever reason, perhaps wanting to shield Eun-jae from the truth, Min-chul doesn’t name her father as the contact (he merely refers to a head of a construction company), although Eun-jae already knows the truth. Jo Man Gi had disappeared while trying to find the gold to keep for himself.

In an awkward moment, Mu-yeol asks Min-chul, “So why did you kill him, that high school student?” Min-chul answers that it was an accident, and the others look away uncomfortably while Mu-yeol persists, growing angrier. As he goes off on Min-chul (“You can’t say one word of apology, huh? Is this how you act in front of the man whose brother you killed?”), Eun-jae feels overwhelmed with guilt, starting to cry silently.

Finally, she can’t take it, and Eun-jae opens her mouth to speak up — but Hee-kyung interrupts first. She excuses herself to go to the restroom, where she tries to get a grip on her emotions. Being this near to Min-chul, still having feelings for him despite her betrayal, is hard on her nerves.

Yong-su returns the documents they stole from Min-chul’s safe (since they have nothing to do with the treasure), and Min-chul notes that he’s missing one item. Eun-jae nervously gulps, knowing it’s the picture of her father that she took, but Min-chul doesn’t sell her out. He merely says he’s absolutely sure one item’s missing, but he’ll take something else in exchange — and plucks the flower ornament off Hee-kyung’s sweater, then leaves.

That shocks them all, most of all Hee-kyung, who tries to act like it means nothing. (And may we note that this is the second time Min-chul has “plucked her flower,” so to speak! Lol. Which sounds so much more exciting than the truth itself.)

This is one more step on the Min-chul redemption ladder, because at this point he’s done a number of selfless things — and not only do these actions NOT serve himself, they actually condemn him further in the eyes of the friends because he’s allowing them to believe he’s a cold-blooded killer and makes no defense of himself. Furthermore, it’s all to protect the feelings of people who were until just recently his rivals, people who hate him.

Eun-jae’s guilt finally pushes her to kick the friends out of her mansion. It’s all very awkward and sad, because she doesn’t truly want them to leave — it’s just that she can no longer bear to be around them because that exacerbates her guilt pangs. She may be taking the coward’s way out by avoiding the situation, but in her position, it’s understandable. It’s not her crime, but it’s her burden to bear since her father’s dead and there’s no one else to blame (at least in her logic). Plus, she’s never really had friends, so as far as she knows, if she outs herself, she’s subjecting herself to their painful rejection. In this way, at least she maintains a modicum of control over the situation.

But it’s still very sad, because the friends are surprised and hurt over the thought that Eun-jae had been annoyed with them all along. They accept her request to leave, smiling to cover up their embarrassment, telling her they’d meant to leave but were afraid Eun-jae might feel lonely or scared.

Mu-yeol spies Eun-jae looking out at Yong-su and wonders what that means. He asks Hee-kyung about something she said earlier — that girls who lose their fathers at a young age are drawn to older men. He wonders how much older that means, and Hee-kyung answers, “Enough to give him a fatherly vibe?” Mu-yeol jumps to the conclusion that Eun-jae has fallen for Yong-su, and is subsequently wracked with jealousy. It’s so funny.

The next day, the friends leave the mansion, rationalizing that it’s only natural that Eun-jae would want her space. They’d obviously worn out their welcome, and it’s time to get back to their lives.


Somehow, being back at the Gold Building just isn’t the same now that they’ve grown used to luxury. Hee-kyung’s bitter, wondering if they’d always lived in such pathetic circumstances. Mu-yeol is equally depressed, but for another reason — he’s angry at Yong-su for (supposedly) winning Eun-jae’s heart.

His drunken rant is hilarious, and makes no sense to Yong-su: “It’s because of you, hyung! It’s because you’re older than me! How great for you, to look so OLD.”

Meanwhile, Eun-jae’s just as miserable to have everyone gone, now alone in her big mansion without her friends.


Yong-su, Hee-kyung, and Mu-yeol resume their research of Deoksu palace, surveying the grounds for any hidden clues as to the whereabouts of the gold. They are unsuccessful.

A placard identifying one of the building does, however, trigger something for Mu-yeol, who remembers what the tour guide from before had said. Something about a Russian man named Sabatine…

The guide mentioned rumors that secret passageways had been built from the basement of the Russian building. Emperor Gojong was always worried about invasion by Japanese soldiers, and even moved his royal residence to Deoksu. The various foreign embassies nearby would provide quick asylum should he need to suddenly flee his country.

Hee-kyung and Mu-yeol sneak inside the basement and find a crawlspace, which Mu-yeol investigates…


… and they end up at the police station. Hehe.

But this detour isn’t wasted, because as they sit at the police station being berated by the more senior officer, a junior officer nearby browses through palace records. He mentions that they’re not the first to attempt to break in to the palace. There was a previous incident of intruders digging around, back in 1947…

The name of the perpetrator rings a bell — Lee Jae Seung, the man who was given the second map (the one Min-chul had). He was one of the original three map-holders.

Mu-yeol remembers the camera they hung over Lee Jae Seung’s gravestone. Their logic was that on the day before Chuseok, if Lee Jae Seung had any children, they would come by to pay their respects. Yong-su scolds their plan for being simple-minded (how can a mere picture help? What about a car license plate, or following the man home?) and Mu-yeol retrieves the tape.


Eun-jae, in the meantime, busily packs away her things, including photos of the father she had so lovingly idolized, which she can no longer bear to look at.


Left with few alternatives, Hee-kyung takes the map and drags Yong-su with her to a fortune-teller who’s supposedly famous for her real-estate-related predictions. (Which is why lots of construction people come to gain her advice about profitable ventures.)

The sight of one such construction worker sparks something in Hee-kyung’s mind, and she leaves Yong-su to deal with the fortune-teller and rushes off to confirm something.

Hee-kyung arrives at Eun-jae’s mansion, surprised to see everything covered in sheets. Hee-kyung asks Eun-jae about her father’s construction company, connecting the dots between Min-chul’s story and their information, and wonders if the construction man who helped Min-chul was Eun-jae’s father. Hee-kyung isn’t accusing, but Eun-jae takes on a defensive tone anyway. She says she doesn’t care anymore, and that she’s planning on going abroad for a while, then coolly asks Hee-kyung to leave.

Hee-kyung: “There’s something there, right? Lies are told to benefit someone, either you or someone else. Who are you lying on behalf of?” She turns to leave, and says sincerely, “I’m not angry with you so much as I’m saddened.” Zing! (How many mothers have perfected that guilt-inducer?)

Back at headquarters, Mu-yeol plays the footage from the cemetery, although nobody’s expecting anything to come of it. But Yong-su looks up at the screen JUST at the moment something interesting shows up:

It’s the antiques grandpa!

The very same grandpa who is, at that very moment, outside the office, walking toward him on his way to play chess with the landlord.


End sequence: “A familiar scent comes from the unfamiliar fortune-teller”

The end skit fills us in on what happened when Hee-kyung left Yong-su to deal with the fortune-teller. Immediately, she provides razor-sharp insights into Yong-su’s own life…

…until he recognizes her.

She’s Hee-kyung’s scam-fortune-teller mentor! (The very same woman who pretended to be blind to spook 007 in a previous episode.)


12 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Yisei

    ohhh looks interesting. I think I just found another series to start up on =D
    The song J – ghost is also great too! love the beat. Thanks for sharing~

  2. all4movies

    Love the song.

  3. thunderbolt

    Ah, this is a lovely surprise. Thank you!

    By the way, did anyone tell you that you take great screencaps too? Like the one you took of Eun-jae crying in Ep 12. I instantly teared when I saw it. And now that last cap of Yong-su. Hehe, what an expression.

    Now that I know Min-chul did not kill Yong-su’s brother, I really hope things will work out for him and Hee-kyung.

    The drama ends tomorrow! *sob*

  4. Amelieque

    The song is so JoJo, and so not J!

    Thanks for all the recaps on IA-series..! Haven’t been able to watch it, but just reading your posts is enough for me =)

  5. Di

    The series is coming to an end so fast!!
    I feel sad. 🙁
    Ah I suddenly feel like going treasure hunting.

  6. javabeans

    thundie, I want things to end well for Min-chul too… I wasn’t really sure how I felt about him till this episode, but when he voluntarily let everyone think the worst of him to preserve Eun-jae’s love for her father (not knowing she already knew the truth), that did it for me. But I’m optimistic, since in the first episode he was in the tunnel with the other four friends…

    oh, and thanks! i try to get the best caps to go with the summaries, since the perfect image speaks so loudly. 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    I love your summaries, especially since I can’t watch this drama anywhere without subs, haha. Thank you so much! You’ve got me addicted! 🙂

  8. Jo

    I love how in the midst of all this mess they show Mu-yeol and Heekyung signing Yong-su’s cast

  9. geekgal

    Nice character developments. The storyline involving Yong-su, Min-chul and Mrs. Baek is quietly moving and effective. There’s a degree of complexity given to the Min-chul character; making him more than the one-dimensional baddie that he could have been. It’s a testament to how terrific this drama is.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I love and cheer for these characters because they are flawed and ordinary. They made mistakes along the way; but many times prevailed though friendship, loyalty and teamwork. We see that these misfits learned and grew. And showed us, in many ways, that they are wise beyond their face values.

    I appreciate that you are continuing to recap this series. I’m falling behind in my drama watching and your summaries are just great. Thank you.

  10. 10 hellaakon

    You’re the caps-master indeed! 😀

  11. 11 bethany

    the drama ends TOMORROW?! oohh noooo -_-

    dear javabeans, thank you thank you thank you for being awesome and doing this. and not only posting summaries, but with style. and class. and wit.

    it’s a joy to read =)

  12. 12 Carissa

    “Yong-su returns the documents they stole from Min-chul’s safe (since they have nothing to do with the treasure), and Min-chul notes that he’s missing one item. Eun-jae nervously gulps, knowing it’s the picture of her father that she took, but Min-chul doesn’t sell her out. He merely says he’s absolutely sure one item’s missing, but he’ll take something else in exchange — and plucks the flower ornament off Hee-kyung’s sweater, then leaves.”

    I think that the item Min-chul refers to is the flower pendant of Hee-kyung’s shoe, which she found and took while they were searching the safe.
    Thank you so much for summarizing this show. I always watch and then read what you wrote! This show is the best!

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