Ghost: Episode 7
Because one case is not enough, we have two! There’s seriously no rest for our poor cyber crime team. While I was not too impressed with this week’s case of cyber bullying, what made up for it was the development of Hyun Min’s character. I am starting to think that the odd-numbered episodes are a little more tedious and boring than the even-numbered episodes, but all for good reason. After the even-numbered episode, you’re forced to wait an entire week to find out what happens next, so it only makes sense to put all the twists there!
Seong Yeon High School – the most competitive private high school in all of Korea with its top facilities, top grade teachers, notable lecturers, and students that end up attending Ivy Leagues or the best universities in Korea. It is the topic for a TV documentary, and one of the teachers, Oh Yeon Sook, takes the cameras around the school. She shows off how most classes are taught in English, how the students are so diligent, and how they eat specially prepared healthy meals.
That is, until a student knocks over a large metal can of salad, and stuffs her face with her hands like an animal. It’s all caught on camera too.
At the bureau, Woo Hyun goes over Gu Yeon Joo’s background with Kang Mi. Yeon Joo is the youngest captain for the police force’s official newspaper. He had tried to hack into her laptop, but she had a lot of security mechanisms and vaccine programs going on it the whole time. She never downloaded email attachments for fear of viruses too. Woo Hyun figures that if she really dated old-Woo Hyun, it’s no wonder she’s so paranoid.
Kang Mi doesn’t believe that they were dating, since old-Woo Hyun never mentioned anything. Pfft – d’ya think he would have told you if he were? Even Woo Hyun wonders if Kang Mi is in denial because she’s jealous. He’s more concerned about getting found out, since anyone who used to date old-Woo Hyun would know that he’s not really Woo Hyun. The net is cinching in ever closer around Woo Hyun, and he’s more concerned about getting that Phantom video file again.
As he passes by the evidence room in the bureau, Woo Hyun flashes back to the Phantom video file’s contents. So there was so much more than just a guy drinking and then dying! The CK Company representative, Nam Sang Won, had taken a swig of the drink, and then claimed that there must have been some misunderstanding between him and Hyun Min. But when he clutched his chest, he realized he was being poisoned, and then collapsed before Hyun Min and Woo Hyun’s eyes. Of course, our present-Woo Hyun doesn’t know the victim’s name is Nam Sang Won; if he did, he would be one step closer to figuring out the entire mystery.
But Hyuk Joo on the other hand – he knows Nam Sang Won’s identity, and he’s already checking out Hae Myung resort where Nam’s body was found in one of the villas. A concierge doesn’t have much information to give Hyuk Joo, as this particular resort does not keep track of every guest that comes in. They serve to the highest echelons of society – those who wish to keep their identities private. There are CCTV videos scattered throughout the resort, but they only point at the streets due to privacy issues. Plus, the resort only keeps records up to six months; this particular murder occurred a year ago.
Another flashback helps explain why Hyuk Joo is investigating this for Director Jun. Nam and Director Jun were especially close, and shared information when it benefited the other. However, last year Nam Sang Won had a very important tip that could put his life on the line, but he couldn’t reach Director Jun, who was on a business trip. When Director Jun returned, Nam was dead. He went to visit the family, and as he wandered into Nam’s office, he saw Woo Hyun’s business card. (Mind you, this is old-Woo Hyun we’re referring to in this flashback.)
Director Jun would have ignored the fact that they knew each other – but when he asked Woo Hyun about it, he denied knowledge of Nam Sang Won. So Director Jun dug deeper, and he found a CCTV video near the villa that caught Woo Hyun on camera. Though there’s no concrete evidence that Woo Hyun meeting Nam Sang Won, Director Jun is sure that Woo Hyun was involved in the death.
Hyuk Joo leaves his business card with the concierge, just in case the concierge remembers anything else. But once Hyuk Joo is gone, the concierge phones Jae Hee. Someone from the cyber crime team is snooping around Nam Sang Won’s death! Jae Hee is concerned – this is not good news, and he’s going to have to tell Hyun Min.
Tae Gyun presents a report from Safe Tech on the DDOS attack that hit Se Kang Securities to Woo Hyun. Both are impressed with Safe Tech’s report, since that company used to be subpar in their industry. It prompts Woo Hyun to go off on his own again, completely disregarding Young Suk’s Board of Duties. As Young Suk assigns a case to each member of the team, I’m starting to wonder whether he even assigns any to Woo Hyun…
Anyways – Kang Mi is assigned to the Seong Yeon High School suicide case. It’s like a homecoming for her, as Seong Yeon was her alma mater. In the middle of the courtyard, a yellow tape blocks off where the body was found. The victim was junior Seo Jin Won. The local police think that he fell from the roof, as his student ID was found there. Jin Won died from the fall, but he also had his left hand bandaged from an injury in art class. The police are investigating whether he was bullied, but the reason why Kang Mi was called in for her cyber expertise was because all of his emails in the past week were deleted ten minutes after his death. Someone was trying to clean up his death.
When Kang Mi looks up at the roof where Jin Won supposedly fell, she sees another student teetering at the edge. Another suicide in front of her very eyes?! Before Kang Mi can scream anything, the student falls… and crashes into a million pieces on the ground.
It was just a mannequin.
Kang Mi sees another student staring down, and runs upstairs to catch her. No one is on the roof, so she walks back. The student, hiding behind a wall, quickly makes her escape, but is caught! Kang Mi: “Sorry, but I know this roof very well too.”
Inside, she confronts the student – Kwak Ji Soo – about the mannequin. Ji Soo was just acting out; the teachers had prevented the classmates from attending Jin Won’s funeral just because it was finals time. Even though she wasn’t exactly close to Jin Won, she was angry that the teachers were so heartless. She doesn’t think Jin Won was bullied though, so that eliminates that motive for suicide. Rather, Ji Soo believes that Jin Won died because he got the “legendary answer sheet.”
That rings a bell for Kang Mi, and we are taken back in time to when she was a student. She had heard of the “legendary answer sheet” too, but she didn’t exactly need it since she was at the top of her class. Her best friend Eun Sol was hoping to get her hands on it. However, one day Eun Sol was found by the courtyard, having jumped to her death.
Ji Soo believes in the legend behind the answer sheet. According to the story, a student who was at the top of her class committed suicide in the bathroom due to stress from finals. Since then, every year at finals time, the student’s ghost gives the “legendary answer sheet” to one of the juniors, who then becomes number one in the class. After that, they would commit suicide. Kang Mi dismisses the ghost story, even though Ji Soo asserts that Jin Won got the answer sheet.
Teacher Oh Yeon Sook catches Ji Soo with Kang Mi and dismisses the girl. She knows Ji Soo is responsible for the mannequin prank, but will hold off punishing her until the finals are done. Yeon Sook remembers Kang Mi as a bright student as well, and was slightly disappointed that Kang Mi became a police officer instead of attending a prestigious university. Kang Mi brings up bullying again as a possible reason why Jin Won committed suicide. But Yeon Sook dismisses that theory; in Seong Yeon High, no one has time to bully another. Third years are simply stressed out because their futures are dependent on their GPA’s.
Woo Hyun meets with a Safe Tech representative to see the original report on the DDOS attack. It’s still as impressive as the one Tae Gyun gave him, which makes him suspicious; it’s so detailed that it looks like the person who committed the crime wrote up the report. Hyun Min: “I’ll take that as a compliment!” He interrupts for a private moment with Woo Hyun, who then takes the opportunity to lay down his suspicions. If Se Kang Securities had a great security team like Safe Tech, shouldn’t they have consulted Safe Tech instead of asking for the police to get involved?
Woo Hyun points out that Safe Tech profited from the DDOS attack, and its stock went up. It’s possible that Hyun Min knew there wouldn’t be a second attack because he and Safe Tech fabricated this attack to make some money. Hyun Min counters with his own hypothesis: if it were true that Safe Tech made up the DDOS attack, then they would all be under the scrutiny of several government agencies just to raise the stock prices once. For Hyun Min, that “game” wouldn’t be worth it.
Touche. Woo Hyun tries a different question – did he and Hyun Min meet often before the accident? Hyun Min: “Seems like you don’t remember still. When you do, let me know.” And he leaves.
Woo Hyun returns home to find Yeon Joo standing outside his apartment door. He had changed the password, so she couldn’t get in. He lets her in, and she goes to grab drinks for the both of them in his fridge. Yeon Joo is surprised to see that the fridge is full of beer cans: “Do people’s tastes change after accidents?” The old-Woo Hyun never drank before, and the new-Woo Hyun has no response.
Yeon Joo gets to the point – he doesn’t seem like the old Woo Hyun she knew before. She gets up and Woo Hyun grabs her. He forcefully pushes her against a bookcase and then leans in for a kiss. Instinctively, Yeon Joo turns her face away. Woo Hyun: “I thought you said we were in a relationship.” Haha – good point! Though I don’t advocate for men to come on to women so strongly, Yeon Joo did shy away a little too suspiciously, and then made a quick exit by lying that she had other things to do.
Woo Hyun remembers that there are sympathizers within the bureau who know Shin Hyo Jung’s killer, and would be covering up for the killer. He deduces that they’d try to contact Woo Hyun again, and it’s possible Yeon Joo is one of those sympathizers.
He heads back to the bureau and bumps into Young Suk’s, who’s working another late night. Young Suk mentions that Kang Mi is working the Seong Yeon suicide case and wonders if she’d be ok. After all, she did have a bad experience in that school. Woo Hyun’s never heard of Seong Yeon High, even though that’s the place where he supposedly met Kang Mi for the first time. Oops…
Woo Hyun goes into the database and tries to search Yeon Joo and the newspaper, but nothing comes up. Remembering Young Suk’s comment about Kang Mi, he looks up Seong Yeon High School. He gets one search result – the 2003 suicide case of Kwon Eun Sol, Kang Mi’s best friend. And old-Woo Hyun back then was in charge of that case. Old-Woo Hyun had gone to investigate because Eun Sol supposedly had bullies online. Since her cellphone had been destroyed by the fall, he had gone around looking for Eun Sol’s dorm room. He entered to find young Kang Mi sitting in the darkness, razor blade over her wrist as she prepared herself to commit suicide. Old-Woo Hyun had managed to grab hold of the blade before she could hurt herself, but the emotional pain was much greater, as Kang Mi blamed herself for Eun Sol’s death.
Kang Mi investigates Jin Won’s computer with Yeon Sook supervising, and manages to find Jin Won’s deleted emails in the history. She finds one of the attachments to be the “legendary answer sheet” – so it does exist! Yeon Sook thinks this is all a joke, and sincerely believes that Jin Won died from stress. Wow, for a teacher to not believe that cheat sheets exist – she must be one naive and trusting teacher.
Meanwhile on the rooftop, a student with a white bow leaves a report card by the ledge and looks down at the white outline of Jin Won’s body below…
Next thing Kang Mi and Yeon Sook know, they have another dead student in their hands. Cha Soo Yeon is found lying right over Jin Won’s body outline. While Yeon Sook stares at the body in shock that this has happened again, Kang Mi hurries to Soo Yeon’s room. She barely pays attention to the other student walking swiftly down the hall as she enters the dorm room and logs on to Soo Yeon’s computer. The emails were deleted not a minute ago, and Kang Mi remembers that student who had walked away. She chases after that female student, going down to the basement and entering a large storage room. The door locks behind her.
Kang Mi flashes back to her days as a junior. One time, Eun Sol had managed to place first, and Kang Mi was second. Eun Sol was visibly thrilled, but Kang Mi was crestfallen. Dang – it’s just one spot in the ranking. That fall was enough to prompt a bunch of other bullies to lock Eun Sol in the same storage closet. They accused her of cheating, as there was no other way that Eun Sol could have ranked first in their minds. And Kang Mi just watched the bullies rather than help her best friend, choosing to believe that it was impossible for Eun Sol to be smarter than her.
Now, Kang Mi is trapped in the same room – doesn’t feel too great to be locked in a dark room, does it? What’s worse is, she sees Eun Sol standing in the corner, calling out to her. A ghost in Ghost!? Well finally we have the supernatural! Kang Mi trips and falls backwards, landing badly on her hand. She bangs on the door, crying for help as Eun Sol’s ghost comes towards her, hand outstretched. It reaches to clamp over Kang Mi’s mouth… and the door opens!
Woo Hyun stands at the door, wondering why Kang Mi is in there by herself. But she only faints from fear, and collapses into his shoulder, crying. Awkwardly, Woo Hyun pats her on the shoulder.
As Woo Hyun bandages Kang Mi’s bruised wrist, she explains her bad history with the school. For a high-stress school like Seong Yeon where the tuition amounts to thousands of dollars over three years, and families go in debt putting their children through it, students have no choice but to do well. Because Eun Sol couldn’t be at the top of her class, and because her family’s economic situation was poor, she chose to commit suicide. For these students, they never knew what it meant to not do well, and so they only took the most extreme measures when dealing with mistakes.
Kang Mi says that an answer sheet never existed in the past, but now there is one. And each time a student receives it, they die. Woo Hyun shoots down that theory – he checked Soo Yeon’s deleted emails and she never received the answer sheet. Um – I thought you guys knew how to hack into computers and recover deleted files from computers, just to check? Anyways, Woo Hyun does note that someone could have deleted their emails from any device, provided that they had the username and password. It appears that Jin Won’s emails were deleted remotely, but Soo Yeon’s emails were deleted at her computer. Since her computer also didn’t have any sign of a downloaded answer sheet attachment, they come to the conclusion that the mysterious female student must have deleted both the file and the emails. Because the perpetrator was female, it was easier to enter Soo Yeon’s dorm room than it was to enter Jin Won’s dorm room (so she deleted his emails remotely).
Woo Hyun’s had Tae Gyun find the ISP that deleted Jin Won’s emails, which amuses Kang Mi. He didn’t bother trying to hack the computer? Woo Hyun just didn’t want to risk getting caught from some “stupid” mistake that would make Hyuk Joo even more suspicious.
When Hyun Min is finally notified of Hyuk Joo snooping around the Nam Sang Won case, he’s at a museum with his wheelchair-bound uncle. His uncle reminds him that Hyun Min is not the successor to Se Kang Group. He’s not?! Therefore, Hyun Min should stop making deals that might cause more problems – such as Se Kang Securities’ merger with Safe Tech. Hyun Min assures his uncle that the merger is only for the best of all of Se Kang, as Internet security in this day and age is far more important. He suggests that Se Kang headquarters use Safe Tech as a form of protection as well. Somewhat convinced, the uncle agrees to mention it to the board.
Uncle’s son shows up, saying that the car is ready outside. Uncle is wheeled out, and Hyun Min’s cousin reminds him to live quietly – if he doesn’t want to end up like his father. Oooh… Hyun Min isn’t worried though; once his “vaccine program” is ready, everything will be over.
Meanwhile, Hyuk Joo and Sang Woo are busy trying to find the connection between Nam Sang Won and Woo Hyun. Sang Woo manages to get the old CCTV recordings from the CCTV company, and they start reviewing the tapes for that night, looking for both Nam and Woo Hyun’s car license plates.
Tae Gyun contacts Woo Hyun about the IP address. Jin Won’s emails were accessed and deleted through a smartphone belonging to Soo Yeon. Whoa – so Soo Yeon killed Jin Won, and then killed herself?! The thing is, Soo Yeon’s cell phone was not found with her body; cell phones in general are not allowed in the dormitories!
Back in the nurse’s office, Kang Mi sees a log of students that came in for treatment. Both Jin Won and Soo Yeon had come in because they had cuts in their left hands. For Jin Won, he apparently cut himself in art class. For Soo Yeon, she cut herself while in her room; her roommate thought it was due to stress from the upcoming finals.
Kang Mi confronts Yeon Sook about the two students, both of whom clearly had mental problems. Yeon Sook’s main concern is for the exams, rather than trying to figure out why her two dead students may have committed suicide. Sheesh. Kang Mi points out that the similarities between Jin Won and Soo Yeon’s deaths suggest that they were not ordinary suicides. Yeon Sook must know something about the two of them – for one, why did the two students wander around the school at 8pm? All students had a curfew, so for them to be out that late, they had to get permission from Yeon Sook.
The teacher realizes that both students wanted to go to the art room, claiming that they left something behind.
At the bureau, Hyuk Joo and Sang Woo track down the route that Woo Hyun and Nam’s cars had gone that evening at the resort. Though Nam Sang Won’s body was found in the villa #12, there’s no concrete indication of Woo Hyun going into that house from the cameras. To eliminate the possibility of Woo Hyun going into another villa, Hyuk Joo checks the other CCTV cameras near the other villas. The cameras catch Woo Hyun and Nam’s cars passing by house #13 and #14. So they went past house #12!
The last camera to catch Woo Hyun and Nam’s cars is the one in front of house #15, which indicates that that is the real house they met up in. They check another camera’s recordings from a different angle, and they see another white sedan parked in the same place. Its license plate number rings a bell for Hyuk Joo, and he rifles through his old notebooks to figure out where he last saw it.
That white sedan belonged to Shin Hyo Jung. So Shin Hyo Jung, Nam Sang Won, and Woo Hyun were all together that night. Now they need to figure out why. (You’re so close to the truth, Mr. Kwon Hyuk Joo!)
With the local police’s help, Woo Hyun tracks down Soo Yeon’s phone within the school. He’s led to the teachers’ office, and he calls up Soo Yeon’s phone. It starts ringing from Yeon Sook’s desk. In her drawer are a bunch of confiscated cellphones, including Soo Yeon’s. Things are not looking too good for the dear teacher… Meanwhile Kang Mi heads over to the art room, wondering what it could be that Jin Won and Soo Yeon left behind here.
Woo Hyun opens the email browser in Soo Yeon’s phone and sees that there’s a history of sent messages to Soo Yeon and Jin Won about the answer sheet. Apparently, a student claimed to have hacked into the teachers’ computers a few days ago and stole the answer sheet. The student sent the file to Jin Won and Soo Yeon, but had locked the document with a password. To get the password, they had to do a couple of things first in secret. For Jin Won, he was to leave his student ID at the rooftop during lunchtime; for Soo Yeon, she was to leave her report card. Both were objects that were later found on the rooftop after they died.
Of course, both Jin Won and Soo Yeon did as requested, and so they moved on to the next step. Once this mysterious student (with her white bow) got the items, she requested that Jin Won and Soo Yeon stab themselves in the left hand, and make sure they bled. Hence, their wounds on their left hands. Crazy things kids will do, just to excel in school.
Woo Hyun opens the final, and latest email. After Jin Won and Soo Yeon had stabbed themselves, the mysterious student told them that the password was stuck on the pipe next to the left-most window in the art room. It’s the same window that Kang Mi looks out of as she inspects the room, and when she looks down, she has a perfect view of the students’ outlined bodies on the ground. Kang Mi too sees the piece of paper stuck on the pipe, and climbs on a chair to reach out and get it.
Woo Hyun connects the dots – the students didn’t commit suicide. They were murdered while trying to get the password for the answer sheet. Because their left hands were injured, they were unable to hold on to the window frame while trying to reach for the paper with their right hand. The pipe was also most likely waxed, making it slippery for the students to hold on. Because they lost their grips, they fell to their deaths. Then, the murderer planted the school ID and report card on the roof to make it look like suicide.
Yay! Woo Hyun figured it out! Problem is, Kang Mi just lost her grip on the window frame, thanks to her bandaged left hand.
Well now ain’t that great! I’m betting that Woo Hyun will catch Kang Mi before she falls to her death, so we’ll be okay on that front. I didn’t think they were going to take the whole “ghost” theme seriously, but hey – it works! Using Eun Sol’s ghost to haunt Kang Mi allows us to see a little more about Kang Mi’s past, though I felt it was mostly contrived to fit this case. Kang Mi’s backstory does prove that she was a very smart student, so she’s more than just a pretty face. But if having her be an indirect cause to her best friend’s death is supposed to add sympathy for her character, I don’t think it really added much to the story. If she didn’t have a past at Seong Yeon high school, I don’t think it would have made a difference to how she treated this case. As a police officer, I would understand if she wanted to get to the bottom of it no matter what, whether she felt empathy towards the students’ situations or not. Her backstory tried to make this case personal, when it didn’t even have to be personal.
What’s quite glaring in this episode, more so than in the past episodes, was how lacking the police teams were in general. The improper handling of the crime scenes never really bothered me before (i.e. the lack of latex gloves, no fingerprint dusting, no cameras, etc) since we were always dealing with cyber crimes that involved the Internet, and it didn’t really matter who touched the keyboard since you could eventually locate them anyways. However, based on the montages that reenact the crimes and the deaths in this episode, it looked like our perpetrator never used gloves when handling Jin Won’s ID or Soo Yeon’s report card. That led me to wondering why the local police never dusted the ID or report card for fingerprints, because then they could have identified the perpetrator. The police must not have bothered with it because they thought it was a suicide, and assumed that they’d only find the dead students’ fingerprints. But even that explanation is frustrating because the local police knew that someone else was involved in these suicides when they saw that the emails were being cleaned out. It sounded like they felt these suicides were a bit fishy too.
But aside from this glaring error in storytelling, we get glimpses on the grand scheme of things that Hyun Min is operating on. Though we don’t have all the puzzle pieces yet, it appears that Hyun Min is a very bitter man who wants to take over Se Kang Group. He’s only in charge of the Securities division right now, but every action he takes will slowly lead to him becoming the CEO of the entire conglomerate. He doesn’t want his cousin’s position as heir – he wants his uncle’s position. I can already see that by advocating Safe Tech, he’s going to use that technology against the company and extract information that he needs to use against his uncle and cousin. It’s like installing a major virus within the headquarters by disguising it as a safety measure. I’m glad we’re not dealing with a simple psychopath, but rather a remorseless killer with ambition and greed.
Or – perhaps old-Woo Hyun was helping Hyun Min with his plan, and figuring out why Hyun Min’s father died. Perhaps the sympathizers towards Hyun Min were trying to help him regain his rightful claim to the company. Then again, perhaps Hyun Min is playing all of them, and tricking them all into helping him.