This episode is part one of a two-parter case, titled “Part 1: The Kidnapping of Min Chae Won.” I think this episode just sets us up for the twisted-ness that comes in part 2, mainly because we have a standard kidnapping, and our team is simply unable to track down where the kid is. Part 2 delves deeper into the motives of those involved.
Jung Hee Won apologizes to her young daughter Chae Won over the phone, but from the tone of her voice, she doesn’t sound apologetic at all. She says they’ll talk again when she picks her up at the kindergarten.
Next phone conversation with an employee – she criticizes her employee’s designs abrasively and hangs up. Third phone conversation – this time with a lover. Hee Won coos and complains about being tired.
Fourth phone conversation. It’s past 5pm, and she asks the mother of Chae Won’s classmate, Min Ji, to help pick up Chae Won at the school. She’s apparently “too busy at work” still. She reminds Min Ji’s mother that Chae Won cannot eat strawberry or go near dogs.
Closer to 6pm, Min Ji’s mother calls back. Chae Won is not at the kindergarten. Hee Won isn’t too worried though because it’s possible Chae Won went to another friend’s home. She continues working and has a tense conversation with a client about getting paid and finishing up the designs for an office interior.
At 7pm, Hee Won receives a phone call from Chae Won. She apologizes for being unable to pick her up at school, but there’s silence on the other end. Confused, she hangs up, thinking Chae Won hung up herself, or called her by accident. Immediately, Hee Won receives a video text message.
It’s a video of Chae Won in a bathroom stall, taking off her dress and shirt in front of the videographer. Hee Won faints, but the video continues playing. Chae Won puts on another red dress, and smiles.
The police are called in, and they scour the bathroom where Chae Won was filmed. The dogs are brought in to sniff for clues, and one of them finds her dress in the garbage bin outside. The sight of it is enough to send Hee Won into a frenzy. Chae Won has now been missing for 15 hours.
The police officers set up a little headquarters at the Min household in case the kidnapper calls Jung Hee Won. Chae Won’s Grandfather is also anxiously waiting for news. A former head of the National Police branch in Daegu, he has high expectations from the police and how he wants the investigations to be done. So, Chief Jung gets Ji Hoon and his team involved – of course!
Ji Hoon suggests they release an Amber Alert, but Hee Won refuses because she’s afraid that more danger will come to her daughter. The Grandfather takes things into his own hands and starts questioning his daughter-in-law about any possible enemies she may have; does she have enemies because of her failing business? Is she in a relationship at the moment?
That pisses Hee Won off because she finds him incredibly nosy. He reprimands her child-rearing ways, and she reminds him that he’s no longer a police officer. Ji Hoon chimes in – family members should not get involved in the case. Grandfather’s not pleased, but he promises to back down as long as Ji Hoon can guarantee the safety of his granddaughter.
Do Shik is off to investigate the kindergarten, where he meets up with a bitter Min Ho griping about not getting a day off. Do Shik immediately puts him in his place: a kidnapping is not like any other case where all they have to do is catch the culprit. Here, they need to catch the culprit and make sure the child is safely returned. Otherwise, one second’s mistake will haunt them for years to come. I have not seen Do Shik looking so serious and grave in a long time…
The teacher says that she had only looked away from watching Chae Won for a few moments to break up a little fight when Chae Won disappeared. She had assumed that Min Ji’s mother had picked her up. They all review the footage and see Chae Won walking around the corner, and then running to meet someone unseen.
It took 15 seconds for Chae Won to completely disappear, before her teacher came looking for her. Do Shik and Min Ho quickly trace Chae Won’s steps, and take the path that is not recorded by surrounding surveillance cameras. It leads them to an open air parking lot where no surveillance cameras exist. (That’s not smart – what if someone steals a car!?)
They ask the parking attendant for his list of parked cars, and notice that only one car was parked from 4 to 6pm. The parking attendant remembers that one because he noticed it was a stolen car. From his experience, cars with tinted windows, too many screws on a license plate, and faded license plate numbers are usually stolen cars. Great – they’re trying to catch a professional.
Ye Ri is back in the house, checking out Chae Won’s room. The growth chart in the room still reflects Chae Won’s old height, so Ye Ri notices that the mother has not been interacting with her child lately. She then finds the mother in her room, reading from a diary. Ye Ri asks to take a look, and it records her pregnancy with Chae Won, complete with sonogram pictures. Before Chae Won was born, she was referred to as “Ki Ppeum,” or “Joy.”
Hee Won feels a lot of guilt for not having gone to pick up her child that day. Ye Ri assures her that she will help find Chae Won again, so that mother and daughter may hold hands again.
Ji Hoon rewatches the video the kidnapper sent with Chief Jung and Do Shik. Because Chae Won was told to change into a bright red dress (which would attract more attention), it’s likely the kidnapper was trying to change Chae Won to suit his/her tastes. In addition, Ji Hoon observes that Chae Won doesn’t show any sign of rejection or resistance towards the kidnapper, which then suggests that she knows the person. Do Shik adds that the little girl ran to her kidnapper with a smiling face.
Ye Ri then interrupts them – Chae Won’s room is full of stuffed puppy dolls because she has a severe allergy towards animal fur, pollen, and certain foods, but really wanted a dog. Ye Ri noticed that one of her favorite dog toys – a dalmatian – is missing from the room. Do Shik realizes that Chae Won’s backpack looked a little too big for a kindergartener in the video. It’s likely that Chae Won had planned to runaway with her kidnapper, and the kidnapper also prepared their escape as if it were a professional kidnapping.
The team goes to present their findings to Hee Won and Grandfather. They believe the kidnapper is the type of pedophile that targets neglected children, and takes the time to earn the child’s love. The reason why Hee Won was sent the video was because the kidnapper was showing off the love he/she and Chae Won had for each other. Hee Won thinks this might be a good thing – after all, if the kidnapper loves Chae Won, then Chae Won wouldn’t get hurt, right?
Wrong. Ji Hoon says that if Chae Won begins to reject the kidnapper and notice the kidnapper’s weird behavior, he/she may lash out and hurt Chae Won more. His suggestion is for Hee Won to consent to sending out an Amber Alert. Since Chae Won’s been missing for 18 hours, the possibility of her surviving is 25%. Without the alert, it’ll be 5%. Not very favorable prospects.
Grandfather steps in – he wants the police to issue the Amber Alert, and he’ll take responsibility for it. He does not think Hee Won is suited to make a decision, and doesn’t even deserve to be considered the parent. That is some blow to what little strength she has left.
Suddenly a call comes through; it’s from the kidnapper. Chief Jung reminds Hee Won to take as much time as possible on the phone so that they can track the location, and to not use negative words that may just piss off the kidnapper. She picks up the phone – the voice has been changed into a high-pitched robotic voice. The kidnapper assures her that Chae Won is safe, but only if the mother follows the instructions carefully. She asks to listen to Chae Won’s voice, but the kidnapper says no. Instead, Hee Won must be ready with $300 million in cash by noon. If any of the police get involved in this ransom drop-off, Chae Won will die.
The one good thing out of this is they managed to track the location of the call. The bad thing is, Ji Hoon was proven wrong. The kidnapper isn’t a pedophile – he/she just wants money.
Min Ho is shocked that The Mighty Ji Hoon was actually wrong, but Do Shik and Ye Ri still find the situation weird. Why would the kidnapper wait 18 hours before finally contacting the family for ransom? Min Ho wonders if Chae Won is already dead, and the kidnapper just wanted money out of it as well.
Another detective manages to track down the exact location of the kidnapper’s cell phone. However, she finds it odd that within the 1 minute conversation, the kidnapper was found in three separate locations. Calculating the distance between the three locations, Ji Hoon figures out that the kidnapper must have been on the subway. The kidnapper was professional enough to know to keep changing locations.
As for the voice, it would be difficult to decode because the voice changer was an old Russian type that makes it difficult for the officers to get the original voice. So Do Shik goes to find his old friend that is an expert on spy devices, voice changers, and wire tapping. After a good listen, the expert confirms that the voice changer is from the Soviet Union era – it’s good, hard to restore, and seriously difficult to retrieve the original voice from. However, he is able to determine that the speaker is male, over 30’s, and is an aficionado for antique things.
Meanwhile, Chief Jung tries to convince Hee Won to work with the police so that they can capture the kidnapper during the ransom drop-off, but she refuses to, fearing that her daughter will be killed. Grandfather is furious she would rather trust what the kidnapper says than work with the police. He even blames her for everything that happened to his son (her husband) and Chae Won. If she hadn’t had Chae Won, she would never have been accepted into the family too. Oooh – family tensions?
Grandfather also points out that she doesn’t make near enough money to pay for the ransom. That’s when she gets down on her knees. He’s Chae Won’s grandfather too, so she hopes – even expects – him to help pay the ransom. She will do everything she can to pay him back afterwards. Well, he does love his granddaughter…
Ji Hoon plays the call from the kidnapper again. If the kidnapper’s sole purpose was the money, then he was likely to do anything to get that money – such as investing the time and energy to gaining the child’s love. Do Shik follows up on that lead, and he ends up in a ransacked office belonging to a man deep in debt with the gangs. He’s certainly desperate enough to kidnap. In the mess of the place, Do Shik also finds a stash of stolen phones.
Ye Ri and Min Ho prepare the ransom money in a small lightweight luggage, and plant a tracking device in one of the handles. At 12 noon on the dot, the phone rings and Hee Won picks up. She is instructed to go to Yeouinaru by the Han River within 30 minutes.
As she drives over, two other cars tail her while the rest of the police team wait by the river park. Unfortunately, because of the cold weather there aren’t many people around, and so it’s harder for officers to try and blend in with the non-existent crowds. They watch her receive a text message, and then start running to the lockers. There’s a small purse with a ringing phone inside – one that the police can’t track. She is ordered to rent a bicycle, and the police team on the ground calmly follow by foot, watching her. She bikes down the river, and arrives at the river tour cruise.
Hee Won makes it onto the boat just in time before it leaves the port, but the other officers tailing her can’t make it. It’s all OK though! Ji Hoon speaks into his hidden mike, “Are you two having fun dating?”
On the boat with his arm around Ye Ri, Min Ho replies,”Yes, I’m totally having fun…” and he pinches Ye Ri’s cheeks. HAHAH! Chief Jung is impressed with Ji Hoon’s foresight, and wants to assemble police forces to wait at the cruise’s next stop. But now Ji Hoon is worried, because the kidnapper wouldn’t be so stupid to wait at the next stop and be surrounded by police. Ye Ri and Min Ho also find it strange that no one on the boat looks suspicious. How is the kidnapper to retrieve the money without getting caught?
Suddenly, Hee Won receives a message, gets up, and throws the luggage with the money overboard. She watches as it floats away, and suddenly a speedboat with two people on it come speeding up alongside the cruise boat. They spin around, pick up the luggage, and zoom off. On top of that, the tracking device gets disconnected.
Bam! This kidnapper is good! Ji Hoon may have lost the money, but at least he can assure the grandfather that Chae Won will be safe.
They all return home, and Hee Won insists that the police do something more quickly in saving Chae Won, who has now been missing for 22 hours. The team talk off to the side: Ji Hoon is holding his own suspicions against the mother. Why did she choose a lightweight red luggage that was waterproof and could float easily in the water? Also, the kidnapper knew where the tracking device was, which means there must have been an inside informant.
They’ve been thinking all along that the kidnapper was a professional who really loved the kid as well. However, it’s more like there were two people – one who was a professional, and an accomplice who just really loved the kid and wanted Chae Won. That boils down the possibilities for the accomplice to two people: Grandfather, and Chae Won’s Mother.
The grandfather comes up to them and says that the kidnapper took a long time to contact them about money, and that it only happened after they found out exactly how much money he had in his account. On top of that, Hee Won’s business wasn’t doing very well… Everyone gives a glance over at Hee Won, who immediately disappears into a room to answer a phone call. Grandpa inches over to see if he can listen in on the conversation. Something’s fishy…!
But Ye Ri isn’t fooled. She’s spoken to Hee Won and knows for a fact that she loves Chae Won so much, she would never hurt her. It sounds like a weak argument, but Ji Hoon knows that Ye Ri can tell if people are lying or not. He asks if the Grandfather is lying about Hee Won’s possibly being the accomplice to the kidnapping. Ye Ri is unsure. HMMM…
Ji Hoon gets a call from Do Shik at that moment. He’s been testing out the stolen phones and checking the call lists. One of them made a call to Hee Won right after she filed a missing person’s report. He had called the number just minutes ago, and that’s why everyone saw Hee Won disappear into another room to pick up a call. Looks like she IS the accomplice!
Grandfather wants to go and confront her immediately, but Ji Hoon stops him. Things have just gotten interesting, and if they wait a little longer, they just might be able to catch both her and the kidnapper.
Hee Won races out of the house, deciding to take control without the police’s help. What she doesn’t realize is that they’ve put a tracking device on her coat button; as she drives to an unknown destination, Ye Ri and Ji Hoon are right behind her. In the car, Ye Ri asks why Ji Hoon never told her he was suspecting the mother. “You think you can read everyone’s lies?” Ji Hoon says. She’s not infallible, and the mother might just be a good actress.
They arrive at an apartment complex’s parking lot. Ji Hoon takes Do Shik, Ye Ri, and several officers for backup, and orders Min Ho to stay in the parking lot in case the kidnapper runs. They bump into another resident leaving, and Ye Ri tells her to be quiet.
They track Hee Won up to an apartment, where the door is left open. Hee Won is inside, lying on a rug in a pool of blood. She’s still alive, but has been stabbed. Chae Won’s dalmatian doll is laying on the sofa. Do Shik sees some take out food on the counter – it’s still warm. He quickly warns Min Ho to catch the kidnapper.
Guess the mother might not be an accomplice after all!?!?
Min Ho sees a car with tinted windows and a worn license plate speed out of the parking lot. He hops onto his red motorcycle and gives chase. Whooo! Min Ho is lookin’ hot! Unfortunately, just as they exit the parking lot Min Ho swerves too hard to avoid a bicyclist and crashes. The car gets away.
Hee Won is taken away to a hospital, and Grandfather arrives at the apartment, furious to see that Ji Hoon and his team have once again lost the ball in retrieving Chae Won.
Two things: 1) Wow, Ji Hoon and his team are messing up quite a bit. And 2) this kidnapping is totally a set up!!
First of all, Ji Hoon and his team keep making assumptions about the kidnapper and his personality, and yet things aren’t adding up. It’s also frustrating that they can’t pin down the kidnapper anywhere when they’re usually on target. I can see why they’re messing up, because I feel like we have way too many moving pieces as culprits; it’s as if there’s the kidnapping mastermind demanding money, the two lackeys that pick up the money, another kidnapper who loves Chae Won (and Chae Won loves back), and then an insider who is helping them (either the mother or the grandfather). And yet, I know that it can’t be that complicated. Or could it?
Usually in the drama’s cases, there’s only one person who’s the killer/criminal, and you can tell that there’s only one person moving about, committing crimes. Here it feels like there’s a gang that’s targeting this poor family.
Number of criminals aside, it’s interesting to see Ji Hoon be foiled so much. His initial description of the criminal proved to be wrong, and he was unable to stop the ransom drop-off from failing. And now, he was so close to catching the kidnapper and finding Chae Won, only to have Hee Won stabbed and Chae Won still missing. There are cracks in his armor!
Now on to the second bit: I think it would be incredibly messed up if the mother were involved in this kidnapping just to milk money out of her father-in-law, the Grandfather. That’s a ridiculous and elaborate set-up for money, if you ask me. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were, because whenever she looked remorseful, there was always a shade of haughtiness that came with her expression. In fact, sometimes she glared at the police as if she were daring them to find her daughter, rather than pleading them to find Chae Won.
If the grandfather were involved though, that is one messed-up way of him trying to wrest control over the child from his daughter-in-law. Whichever family member it is though, they surely are twisted…
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- Special Affairs Team TEN: Episode 4
- Special Affairs Team TEN: Episode 3
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- Special Affairs Team TEN: Episode 1 (Part 2)
- Special Affairs Team TEN: Episode 1 (Part 1)
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