Vampire Prosecutor is back! WHO’S EXCITED?
If you want your Vampire Prosecutor now and you want lots of it, good news for you: this season premiere covered a whopping 104 minutes. It’s a doozy of an opener, both in sheer breadth of story and also the impact of said story. Word for the weak of heart: this episode is pretty dark. It’s like Gaksital levels of brutality times ten, maybe.
On the good news front: The gang is back and they’re hotter than ever, and just as dryly hilarious. Plus, despite having a new director (PD Yoo Sun-dong of Death Bell replaced Season 1′s PD Kim Byung-soo, who did Queen In-hyun’s Man as well), this show looks and feels the same. Phew. (The writers have remained onboard.)
Also, for people new to the show: No, you don’t have to watch Season 1 first; if you wanted, you could dive right into the show with this episode—as long as you don’t mind being ‘spoiled’ about how last season ended, or missing a few details. The show does a good intro in this premiere to catch new viewers up to speed, which is smart of it, and we’ve got a brand-new Big Bad so we’re starting all over with a fresh mystery.
SONG OF THE DAY
Vampire Prosecutor 2 OST – “Danger” by MC Sniper. I love the incorporation of the drama’s own distinct piano theme song into the riff. [ Download ]
EPISODE 1: “The history of violence”
Nighttime car chase. Ooh, deja vu already? But in this premiere, the chased car contains one man holding an injured second man. They’re middle-aged and be-suited, perhaps politicians of some sort. The injured man lies half-conscious with a bloody chest wound, while his companion urges the driver to hurry to the hospital.
A jeep cuts off their car, screeching everyone to a halt. Armed men in military uniform surround them, then drag out the uninjured man and shove him in their vehicle.
In a dark creepy lab, a scientist answers the phone: “He was shot during a speech? I understand. Are you ready?” He cocks an eyebrow and sounds eager, so I’m gonna call him Mad Scientist. He eyes his mice in a cage. Poor mice.
Mad Scientist heads to another room, giving us a glimpse of the Mad Laboratory he works in—or should I call it dungeon? Inside a cell, a shackled man with long, scraggly hair lifts his head. Is he muzzled? Are you Hannibal Lecter?
Mad Scientist drops a mouse in the cell, and the muzzled man grabs it. Squeak. And… eats it, I think.
In another car, three men confirm that the man (called “Grandfather”) was shot. They’re in black suits and packing heat, so let’s call them secret agents of some sort. The lead agent hears that Grandfather’s car is headed down a different road, not to the hospital. He orders his driver in that direction, then grabs his gun: “Time to finish this for sure.”
Grandfather is brought to Mad Scientist’s compound and wheeled into the lab in a hurry. Already there is the muzzled man, who’s chained down to his bed. Ready the operation!
The head soldier asks if he can trust Mad Scientist, who just smirks that he’ll have to. The soldier insists, “Whatever happens, you must save him.” The politician, or the prisoner?
Just then, a fight breaks out at the entrance to the compound—our agents arrive on the scene and storm inside.
The medical procedure begins—and blood is transfused. The agents burst in and face off against the soldiers. It’s guns versus guns, suits versus uniforms.
They exchange hard words. Apparently the head soldier and the head agent (Go Chang-jin) are on familiar, but hostile, terms. Ah, so they’re in a military bunker, and the soldiers order them out. Agent Go Chang-jin declares that they’ve got business with Grandfather.
Soldier: “Go Chang-jin, you son of a bitch! Are you the one who made the Grandfather this way?!”
A nerdy-looking man is roused from sleep and drives frantically to the bunker, where he finds soldiers knocked out or dead. He runs inside just as Grandfather opens his eyes.
Grandfather yells in pain, and sits straight up, hissing and grunting. Mad Scientist approaches looking thrilled… and then Grandfather grabs him and bites down on his neck. The soldiers jump to subdue him, but Grandfather sends them flying with his superhuman strength.
While the others are engaged in the fight, the nerdy scientist approaches the muzzled man and pulls the blood tube out of his neck. He grabs a stray gun and points it at Grandfather. Bang!
Muzzled man wakes up.
Intro credits! Yay! That was an intense beginning, but I’m chomping at the bit to reconnect with our main characters.
In his swank bachelor pad, our hero MIN TAE-YEON (Yeon Jung-hoon) gets a call. Aw, are you still looking for your sister? That’s so sad, especially given the tragic confrontation when we last saw Yeon-ji. He provides the details of her last sighting, the location of that bridge, the bullet wound he’s sure she didn’t die of.
As he gets ready for work, we see a newspaper headline: “Vampire murder case!” It bears the photo of “psychopath prosecutor and serial killer” Jang Chul-ho, and Tae-yeon asks his contact about him too.
Clearly the contact is suggesting that the two fell off the bridge and died, but Tae-yeon answers that they may still be alive—and killing. “Please don’t give up. Please.”
Over a sushi dinner, an older man addresses his protégé, a sharply dressed (and sharp-spoken) Prosecutor Joo (I believe that’s her name; they almost never say it so if it’s wrong I’ll amend later). She briefs him on the Prosecutor-Police Joint Task Force members. Ha, what a smart way to get out exposition on our heroes without being so boring about it.
Prosecutor Joo describes Tae-yeon as a competent and efficient prosecutor, as evidenced by our flashback of a murder case he solves with ease, thanks to his knowledge of blood spatters. Once he gets a hunch, he pursues it and gets right to the heart of the crime.
She thinks he’s strong, but controllable. Boy is she going to learn the hard way. Also: Hm, is she their new boss, since Prosecutor Jang is gone?
Next is prosecutor YOO JUNG-IN (Lee Young-ah), whom she describes as more passion than skills. Ha. True, that.
We see Jung-in in court, questioning a gangster in a murder trial—it’s regarding the rival mob boss Jung-in’s mafia father killed last season. She’s aiming to pin Dad down for the crime, which actually pangs my heart a little since we know Dad did it to protect her. But the gangster’s obviously been offered some kind of compensation by Dad, because he changes his tune and confesses that he committed the murder. He even attacks Jung-in right there in court, and she does a pretty good smackdown of him before he’s carted off.
Then there’s detective HWANG SOON-BUM (Lee Won-jong): “What he’s good at: violence. What he’s bad at: good deeds, community service. Possesses: Strength. Doesn’t possess: Brain.” Haha.
Last but not least, CHOI DONG-MAN (Kim Joo-young). Yay, intern Dong-man’s back! Aw, but she declares him unimportant, intending to dismiss him when his intern contract is up this year.
Prosecutor Joo is on the ball and intelligent; her boss seems like a lazy fat cat. Boss-man tells her that he’s sending her to the joint task force as their chief prosecutor because while those kids are smart and get results (and awards), they’re like energetic adolescents—”they don’t listen to orders worth a damn.” He thought they’d be more obedient if he gave them a fancy new office, and tried giving them some media exposure, but no go.
Thus they need a firmer hand, and she’s the one to get them toeing the line. He calls himself their dad, and now she’s their mom. Whoop their asses into gear.
Tae-yeon joins them and is introduced to the new boss. She tells him she doesn’t want to be an interfering boss; she’ll leave Tae-yeon in charge per usual, and he’ll just brief her in short weekly meetings. They shake on it, and she notices that his hand is cold. Hm, does she know something? She also notices that he doesn’t drink the liquor she pours him.
Tae-yeon gets a call from Soon-bum, who leads with, “Did you meet the new boss? Is she pretty?” A case has just cropped up, so he excuses himself.
A body falls from a building in construction and lands hard on the concrete. The man’s already bloody, but the impact spatters even more blood.
Our team arrives. The victim is Heo Sang-soo, the son of an Incheon gangster. Soon-bum is all all, “D’you know him?” Jung-in grumps, “Do I have to know a gangster’s son just because I’m a gangster’s daughter?” Haha.
Tae-yeon is inside the building, checking out the room from whence Sang-soo fell. Creepy. It’s stained with blood, and contains sharp stakes, wires, and a torture chair. Gack.
The sight of the chair sends Tae-yeon into instant vamp mode. The blood gives him a vision of the scene before the fall: Sang-soo is tied to the chair and beaten with a sledgehammer by a man whose face we don’t see.
A man joins Tae-yeon in the room to take crime scene photos; he’s JO JUNG-HYUN (Lee Kyung-young), a veteran forensic doctor. Oh, so no more Chesty LaRue to flirt with Tae-yeon? Not that I liked her, but I did enjoy the sniping between her and Jung-in.
Jo Jung-hyun offers his insights and seems quite experienced, but Tae-yeon bristles—what is a coroner doing at the scene? Dr. Jo seems outwardly nice, but steely underneath, saying that he’s just adding another angle to the investigation.
Back at the office, Soon-bum asks Tae-yeon what he thought of the new doc, calling him 3-D: dirty, difficult, and dangerous cases are the only ones he takes on, and he shows up to crimes scenes to explain them in three-dimensional detail.
Tae-yeon describes the vision he had which explains only part of the blood spatter on the floor. There’s more to the case, and that’s for them to figure out. Gah, how can you be simultaneously that hot AND cute, Yeon Jung-hoon?
Sang-soo’s gangster father, Heo Hak-bum, arrives at the office to ask if they’ve caught the murderer. He wants the case solved, but curiously, he declares that he won’t be conducting an autopsy. Hm.
Dr. Jo is still intent on the case, though, and shows the team his workaround: a photo collage of the corpse, which he’ll use to investigate since he won’t have access to the body. He picks out clues, like the burn mark on the hand from an electrical shock
On to the victim’s car, which is found off the side of an out-of-the-way road. I love how Dong-man fills Jung-in in on the details, and is so on top of things that he jokingly calls her the amateur. Aw, our intern baby has grown up.
Soon-bum tracks down a gangster to be his rat, intimidating him into agreeing to wear a wire and keep tabs on Heo Hak-bum.
Tae-yeon returns to the crime scene, examining the unexplained blood spatter. In walks Heo Hak-bum, ignoring the police tape, who says the death must’ve been excruciating. Why does he sound so stoic about it, being the victim’s father?
Daddy Heo tells a story: If he were to show a picture of the ocean to a man and ask him what it was, and torture him enough for giving the answer “It’s the ocean,” the man would eventually change his tune to insist, “It’s a mountain.” That’s the kind of sick fuck who tortured his son and enjoyed it.
He asks Tae-yeon if he can understand a mind like that—because if he can’t, he won’t be able to catch the criminal. “When trying to catch a wolf, a puppy shouldn’t get involved.” So we agree Tae-yeon’s an adorable puppy?
Daddy Heo turns to leave, and Tae-yeon stops him with a simple question: “How did you know he was tortured?” Ooh. Dad smiles and leaves.
Tae-yeon turns his attention to the strange blood pattern, and notices something new. Three circular shapes. A tripod. Now the random streaks make sense—blood dripping from a camera.
Sang-soo’s car has scratches in the bumper, indicating a car accident. According to a monitor, the two cars both left within a minute, which is puzzling—you wouldn’t settle an accident claim that quickly.
Jung-in deduces that a trap was involved, and the accident was to lure the victim. She imagines the crash in her mind’s eye—Sang-soo being rear-ended and getting out to address the other driver, only to be knocked out and kidnapped. Then an accomplice drove the car off and ditched it in a remote location, meaning at least two criminals are involved.
A couple enters a hotel room busily making out, and start to undress. In walks Soon-bum, hahaha. It’s his snitch, ignoring his job to have some fun.
On to the report: Snitch says the atmosphere between gangsters changed a month back. Heo Hak-bum controls half of Incheon’s gang turf, and the other half is divided among a few of Heo’s mid-level bosses. But for some reason, Heo started killing them off, even though they’re his own gangsters. Maybe he wanted full control, maybe they pissed him off somehow. In any case, they were attacked by Heo’s men in black, sometimes in full daylight.
And also: “Heo Hak-bum has become strange, mentally.” He would be heard breaking things and crying, watching something on his computer.
Tae-yeon finds Heo Hak-bum at his son’s memorial altar and asks, “When did it start?”
He’s discovered something, having dug through the man’s office and found the broken CDs. One was undamaged, and shows the torture scenes. Ah, so someone was sending him tapes of his kidnapped son.
Tae-yeon asks why he’s not reporting this to the cops. Heo Hak-bum says what he needs isn’t some cops who won’t be of any use, but a snake’s venom.
Tae-yeon: “Is that why you killed your subordinates? The next case must be arranged, then.” Then… did Heo kill his men as bait?
As Tae-yeon leaves, Heo tells him, “I wish you luck. ”
Torture room. Another man in black readies his implements while a woman sobs and tries to free herself. She begs for mercy, but on go the electrical clips, and up goes the charge. She writhes and screams. The camera records all.
Jung-in tracks down one suspicious car to a Congressman Yoo. His daughter was driving, but hasn’t showed up to university classes in several days. He bristles—why does she want to know where his daughter is? She answers, “To find a murderer. Do you happen to know who that is?”
Congressman Yoo erupts, saying she’s being disrespectful to an elder. Jung-in stays cool as ice and suggests he cooperate, if he doesn’t want to be the recipient of a warrant and kick up public scandal. Ha, I love her balls.
It gets her a mighty slap, though, from the fuming congressman. Jung-in calmly says, “I’ll come back with a warrant.”
Soon-bum catches Dong-man sleeping at his desk and gives him a warning to get his act together. He raises a hand to slap him upside the head, which Dong-man blocks, warning Soon-bum that it’s workplace harassment. Soon-bum literally stutters in shock, haha. Baby really is all grown up! But he still has to work on the follow-through, since his threat to report him falls flat and gets him that slap after all.
The team gets hit with simultaneous phone calls: the torture video is up. They watch in horror at the live feed and try to trace its location, but it pulls up three locations—two redirects and one real one. Immediately they move out, leaving Dong-man to be their tech guy, and Tae-yeon orders the team to split up: one person to each location.
They jump into their respective cars, calling contacts on the way. Tae-yeon and Jung-in are urgent but professional, while Soon-bum bursts out with, “Who am I? I’m your wife’s boyfriend, you bastard!”
Congressman Yoo is barraged by the press for a quote, but he turns them away coldly. But then the reporters get word of the live torture video, and Congressman Yoo sees it with horror, punctuated with her scream, “Daddy!” Oh, you’re an ass but that’s rough.
The congressman collapses in sobs, and begs for mercy: “Please don’t kill her!”
Soon-bum and his backup team burst into the first location, an office building. False alarm. Tae-yeon charges into the second location, an apartment building. Another false alarm.
Jung-in storms into an industrial looking building and down to the basement. Bingo.
She bursts into the torture room with her team, gun drawn, ready to act. But… the woman is dead and there’s no sign of the man in black. It wasn’t a live feed after all.
Turns out there was a five-hour delay. Prosecutor Joo asks the congressman why he hadn’t alerted the cops—he’d known his daughter was missing for a month.
He cries that the kidnappers told him doing so would get her killed. He’d had the ransom money all prepared, but nobody ever contacted him. Instead, all they sent were torture videos, one a day.
At some point he started throwing them away, unable to look at them anymore.
Dr. Jo reports the findings of the autopsy, which are similar to Sang-soo’s death. He describes the torture as the goal, not a means for something else, and every aspect of the assault was designed to extract the most pain: “Unfortunately, it was a worst-case scenario.”
Tae-yeon asks for a blood sample, and Dr. Jo asks why he’d need any. He doesn’t refuse and hands it over, but he also isn’t letting it go unnoticed; he says that humans are creatures of habit, and that he’d heard from the previous coroner that Tae-yeon always started an investigation with a blood sample. “That must be your habit.”
Dr. Jo says it’s mere curiosity that has him asking, and he’s not being aggressive about it. But no doubt this present complications at some point; this isn’t a man who’s about to let things slide.
That night in his office, Tae-yeon downs the vial of blood. Seriously, you’re gonna do that at your desk, right after you give us a shot of your totally-encased-in-glass office? Doesn’t that swank new place have a secret door or, you know, a bathroom stall for these kinds of things?
Anyway. In the blood goes. Tae-yeon vamps out, gasping in pain from the blood vision side effect, and sees… a metal emblem with the face of a creature with fangs.
Jung-in and Soon-bum head to the basement bins to dig through the congressman’s trash for those CDs. Or rather, Jung-in digs through it while Soon-bum complains, arguing that they’re better off chasing other leads.
Soon-bum’s ranting triggers a realization for Jung-in, though. The congressman started throwing the CDs away two weeks ago. The CDs stopped coming four days ago. The video was uploaded to the internet. Why? Because the congressman stopped watching them.
So how did they know he wasn’t watching them? They were monitoring the congressman and Heo Hak-bum.
In an underground parking lot, a man finds his car blocked in by a truck. He knocks on the driver’s window… and gets tased unconscious. New victim caught.
Moments after the truck screeches off, the victim’s friend comes out to the car. He was just a few steps behind, but missed the whole thing. Where’d he go?
Working off that lead, Jung-in and Soon-bum investigate both fathers’ offices—that’s where the men watched their CDs. So the torturers must have been watching their reactions from a distance, getting a secondary thrill out of that anguish, too. Investigating the records of all rentals surrounding both offices yields one name in common: Gong Ji-hye.
That leads the team to a remote house. Ha, intern Dong-man stutters, “A-are we going to meet the serial killer now?” Soon-bum: “You think this is a date? We’re gonna catch ‘em, not meet ‘em.”
Dong-man pleads to be omitted from this mission after all, but it’s too late to reconfigure so Soon-bum just drags his cowardly butt along. He lets him stay outside the house, ordering him to beat anyone who comes out with a stick.
The team moves into place. They burst in… and find the killer mid-torture session. Damn. I was sure this would be another false alarm, but there’s our victim, screaming in pain. The killer stands there totally still, not even looking surprised.
He drops one of his torture implements, then smashes his electrical control panel and jumps out his second-story window. Tae-yeon leaps out after him, while Soon-bum and the rest of the team bolt out the front door… where Dong-man smacks Soon-bum over the head with his stick. HA. Okay, that got a laugh out loud from me. I swear Soon-bum shoots him this Imma kill you look even as he collapses unconscious.
Inside the house, Jung-in bashes in the electrical panel, trying to break it while the victim writhes in pain still hooked up to the controls. Damn. Is that the best way to handle this? But I suppose I have no better idea how to stop electricity without frying myself. I just hope she manages before the guy dies—it’s not looking too good right now…
Tae-yeon chases the killer, who runs through the woods and over a fence into a restricted area. Tae-yeon vamps out, then resumes the pursuit toward a large concrete structure. Is that what I think it is? Are we finally returning to the opening storyline with the military bunker?
Tae-yeon catches up to the killer, who wields a puny knife, and you can practically see Tae-yeon’s “Really? That?” look on his face. He easily disarms him and pummels him to the ground.
He picks up the dropped knife, and in the handle is that same emblem he saw in his blood vision.
It’s an easy capture, and the team heads back with the killer—Gong Doo-hoon—cuffed in the backseat and Dong-man shooting hilariously scared looks back at him. Tae-yeon asks for his reason—did he feel pleasure at the torture? Gong Doo-hoon replies no. Then why did he do it? “Because it’s my job.”
Tae-hyun asks what the emblem means—it’s a haetae, a mythical creature with a lion’s mane and a horn that is a symbol of justice. The killer says it has no meaning.
He gets a call from Heo Hak-bum, who asks whether he’s positive that Mr. Gong is the criminal. It’s like he’s one affirmation away from killing the guy himself, though Tae-hyun doesn’t give an answer.
The team’s car continues on its way… and Mr. Gong is the first to see a car barreling into the intersection, heading for them. Slam!
The prosecutor’s van stops. Men pour out of the other van ready to do some vigilante justice, but before anything can happen a gangster flies into the car. Tae-yeon. Ooh, did he anticipate this, or is he just a fast bastard?
He fights them all off in his usual badass way. The last gangster standing surprises him with a knife attack, slicing his cheek and drawing blood. Uh-oh. You really don’t want to do that…
Tae-yeon turns around with a dark look in his eye, as the slash literally heals itself before our eyes. This guy’s better than the rest, but in no time he’s out too.
Tae-yeon turns back to the van… and finds the killer’s seat empty. His teammates are out but alive, and he breathes a sigh of relief to find Jung-in’s pulse. But then… he sees the trickle of blood running down her neck… and out come the fangs. He charges at her throat, ready to dig right in…
And then gets a grip. He’d imagined vamping out, but you get the sense he was right there. Damn. That does puts a damper on the romance.
The team heads back to the office empty-handed. They confirm a few things, like the identities of the victim (Kim Chan) and the killer (Gong Ji-hye’s father, Gong Doo-hoon), and Jung-in shares her theory of there being accomplices. Tae-yeon tells the two others to head to the hospital but Jung-in declines, despite limping on an injured ankle.
Soon-bum chides her for her lack of foresight: “At times like this, you’re supposed to grab your head a little and collapse toward Tae-yeon. Then he’d catch you in his arms, you’d look into each other’s eyes, and fireworks would go off.” Haha. He cracks me up. Mind you, he says this in front of Tae-yeon, which makes it better. Jung-in averts her eyes in embarrassment, and Tae-yeon just goes *blinkblink.*
Dong-man nervously asks for Tae-yeon’s signature on a form, and falters under the stare as he explains about the worker’s comp. Haha. I love how he gets stammery at nothing more than a blank look, but he’s adorably relieved when Tae-yeon signs without a word. I love him, but I worry for him: You sure you’re in the right line of work?
Tae-yeon reports to Prosecutor Joo, who’s displeased at the loss of the criminal and appears to be ready to take a hard line for his mistake. But he’s not cowed, and tells her he’s here merely to report, not to offer excuses or ask her to handle the dirty work.
She walks off muttering to herself, “Just like my husband. Unpleasant no matter what he does.”
Soon-bum returns to the crime scene with a team to collect clues. He’s puzzling over the randomness of the murders, not seeing a link between them. Until he finds a photo of four men, dating back to 1985.
Dr. Jo reports an unusual finding in his autopsy: evidence of a new pattern emerging. In this case, the killer fled while the victim was alive, meaning he had no plans to kill him. It wasn’t torturing purely to extract maximum pain before death; his motive was to find out something. The abrupt interruption led him to kill the victim off.
Tae-yeon makes another observation: no camera.
Jung-in arrives at a home that night. Eek, don’t tell me you went alone! Have you learned nothing from Season 1? There’s no sign of anyone although we hear a radio blaring, until a voice croaks, “Who’s there?”
It’s a grizzled looking man in a wheelchair, and she identifies him as a man Mr. Gong had recently called multiple times. The old man says that getting old has made him hard of sight and hearing, and tells her to come closer. EEK. Don’t do it!
She limps forward, and he offers her a chair. She takes it. Okay, it seems he’s not going to do anything right now, so I’ll allow myself to relax. One. Tiny. Bit.
Jung-in asks about his association to Gong, holding out that 1985 photo and asking if the others are connected. The man identifies them as Congressman Yoo and Heo Hak-bum; they all worked for the Public Security Department together.
Heo Hak-bum would take anybody—a kidnapped hobo off the street, for instance—and Gong would torture him and turn him into a spy. Congressman Yoo, then a prosecutor, “produced results” (and spun stories to the press, calling the victims communist spies). But Gong was betrayed, after he accidentally killed someone mid-torture. That, apparently, was not uncommon in their line of work, but a reporter got wind of it and broke the story that the Public Security Department killed a man.
Yoo wasn’t able to cover that up, and gangster Heo Hak-bum wasn’t in a position to, so Gong took the fall for everyone. Thus he went after their children in revenge.
Jung-in wonders why he didn’t just go for the men directly, to which the old man laughs that that’s just murder, not torture. Gong was the man who once said, “Plucking a flower once is no fun. You have to pull its petals one by one, and watch until it withers. Then when there’s nothing left but a skinny twig, you trample it underfoot.”
Jung-in asks how the recent victim, Kim Chan, fits into this. His father had nothing to do with Public Security and died a natural death. The old man just tells her to go back now, because he’s done talking.
She’s not so easy as that. She leans forward to warn him that she didn’t come here to gather testimony: “I came to catch the man suspected of being an accomplice.”
He scoffs at that idea, so she tells him to clear the doubts, then. She suggests finishing up their chat at the police station.
The old man rasps, “Come closer. Then you’ll find out everything.”
Gulp. I’m freaking out here. She inches closer, and he tells her, “More. More. More.”
Then when she’s right in front of him, he leaps up and grabs her shirtfront. He glares at her with his whitened eyes, demanding, “You think I could kill anyone with a body like this?!” GACK. I was expecting the attack, but it still makes me jump out of my skin.
Now Jung-in looks down and sees his stump of a leg. He lets go of her and falls back, spent.
Elsewhere, Gong Doo-hoon steps inside a dark home. He makes his way inside, looking in empty rooms. Comes to the last one. It’s a torture room, laid out in vinyl coverings and a torture table—yet oddly, Gong looks shocked at the sight. There’s a serial killer wall too, whose newspaper clippings follow the spymaker operation and Gong’s arrest.
They’re the same clippings Tae-yeon reads through at the office. One story pictures the dead victim’s family, the Kims, who lost their case for reparations.
The old man continues, telling Jung-in of Gong’s recent call asking for the roster of their torture victims. Among those names was Kim Chan, whose father and uncle were tortured and accused of being commies. So when Gong called, he was frantic, saying he had to do something, or “my Ji-hye” would die.
Soon-bum wraps up his investigation of Gong’s torture shack, but comes across a CD, labeled “Day 26.”
Tae-yeon realizes something while looking at the old story about Kim’s surviving family—one of the men is holding a knife with the haetae emblem.
A young man arrives at the house, only to be knocked out by Gong. Next thing he knows, he’s strapped into the torture table and shot with electricity. Ah, another Kim, son of one of the dead Kims.
The team has enough pieces to narrow down the victim and hunt him down. They race to save him, while Gong hovers over the young man and asks where she is—he was told she was still alive. Where?
The victim asks, “You’ve forgotten your past, haven’t you?” Gong seems pressed for time, saying that this time the death will be even more agonizing. The young man just says he won’t talk ever, and warns, “If you torture me now, you’ll regret it.” But Gong gets vicious, smashing his knees and juicing the electricity.
Finally Kim talks. Ji-hye’s in the basement.
Ah. Gong wasn’t the initial killer—he was the killer’s target. He figured out that the same fate would befall him that his colleagues faced, and has been desperate to save his daughter from the same agony. The Kims have been getting their revenge using Gong’s own techniques against him—and Gong copycatted the third torture (with a Kim) trying to glean his daughter’s location.
The prosecutor team narrows down the neighborhood, then finally gets a lock on Kim’s GPS location. They move in.
Gong finds his way to the basement. A woman’s body is in the chair. Dead? Alive?
From his torture chair, young Kim screams, “You all didn’t give my dad a chance! But I gave you all one. If you seemed like you were changing your ways, I was going to forgive you. But! Do you know what you were doing? Heo Hak-bum was taking innocent people as always, and Yoo Young-gil was covering the truth for self-gain. And you—you tortured me to get the info you wanted.”
In the basement, Gong registers that his daughter is battered, probably dead. He sobs, “Ji-hye, Dad’s here.” He falls to the ground in tears.
And then, to make this all even more twisted, he sees that his daughter’s body has been wired into the same current serving the table that shocked Kim upstairs. Kim says now, “See, I told you you’d regret torturing me.” Because up until a few minutes ago, Ji-hye was alive—and Gong killed her when he tortured Kim.
Kim screams that he was going to return the pain he felt all his life, many times over. For losing his father, for being treated like a commie.
Gong returns to the room. “Why are you doing this to me?” he asks.
Kim returns, “Then why did you do that to us?” He remembers being a little boy and being brought in to see his dad the “spy,” battered and tortured.
Gong goes to the electrical board and turns up the dial. As he does, we see his younger self doing the same, to Kim’s father, as the little boy watched. With the table still going at full power, Gong takes his dead Ji-hye’s body in his arm and leaves.
He carries her right past the prosecutors running toward the house. One authority apprehends him while the rest charge into the house. Tae-yeon’s first inside, but they’re too late.
It’s only till the body’s loaded into the ambulance that Tae-yeon realizes Gong is gone. A man says he was taken away by a prosecutor.
Not so. Gong sits in a car with Heo Hak-bum, who demands to know why he took out his anger on his innocent son. Oh crap, he still doesn’t know the story about the Kims.
Gong just says that the sins of the fathers get passed down to their children. He means it as a realization, not as a taunt, but it’s not an answer that makes Heo happy.
He grabs a dagger and guts Gong. “You won’t die right away,” he warns. “You’ll die in agony.”
Gong’s body is left in the middle of the road to die there.
The next day, Soon-bum bursts into Heo Hak-bum’s office to arrest him on murder and obstruction of justice charges.
Tae-yeon finds Prosecutor Joo sitting in his chair, here to to congratulate him on a job well done. And also, to steer him to “see the trees, not the forest.” In other words, she wants him to “cultivate” a case, and points him in the direction: Congressman Yoo’s daughter was killed by, for instance, someone suspected of being a spy. Is she really telling him to create a (false) narrative with his investigation?
He scoffs, “Do you really think I’d agree to that?” She tells him it’s not his choice, but hers, and advises him that this isn’t a time for him to fight. She tells him her nickname is turtle, because she lies low when the situation is unfavorable for her, and the moment it turns advantageous she snaps into action.
And guess who gave her that nickname—former chief prosecutor Jang Chul-ho. The man Tae-hyun once worked for, who turned into a serial killer. She laughs in this nasty way, amused at the hand of fate.
She drops to banmal and tells him to knock off the arrogant act: “It’s nothing to me to stomp all over bastards like you.”
Torture room. Oh god, I thought we’d had enough of that for one episode. A man sits in the chair—it’s the nerdy man from our intro scene, who’d held a gun to Grandfather’s head.
A man enters to ask him what he knows. His mind flashes back to the vampire attack, and the muzzled man who’d looked him in the eye. He gurgles out, “V-vampire.”
And the interrogator swoops into his face. Ack! It’s Lawyer Park Hoon! (Tae-yeon’s sire.) I thought we saw the last of him!
Vampire Prosecutor is back! This episode had all the hallmarks of a typical episode—tone, humor, sexy leads with chemistry, and yes, grisly crime. I was afraid that the director switch would be a big change, but thankfully it’s the same show we know and love, with the same stylishness and badass action. It’s just amped everything up a notch—an overarching mystery that looks like a grand-scale type conspiracy, and a new contentious boss who one-ups Jang Chul-ho for aggressiveness and sharp-wittedness.
I like the new coroner as well, and by working him into the big picture as this mysterious, all-knowing doctor who seems to know a little bit about Tae-yeon’s true identity, he fills a gap we didn’t have last season, where the flirty coroner was just comic relief or jealousy-bait. He seems friendly and possibly a helpful presence to Tae-yeon… but he’s also too smart to discount. Will he turn out to be part of the Scooby Gang, or will he turn into another foe?
The lady prosecutor, on the other hand, is clearly foe. I already love to hate her, which is a good sign. She seems competent and shrewd, and definitely not too noble to be a benign presence. She all but throws down with Tae-yeon and makes it known she’ll put him in his place, and often. I don’t expect a romantic interest in her at all (in fact, that would piss me off, since I hate her too much for that), but I do anticipate some sort of sexual tension sparking between them, even if it’s just on her end. After all, she equated him to her husband, even if that was in a negative way. She wants a man she can easily manipulate and control, and Tae-yeon won’t be that—equally aggravating and attractive, no?
I do think the premiere was much longer than it needed to be—did we really need a double episode? Or let me rephrase: It would have been worth the two hours if they’d spent more of that time building up the big season arc, and less on the torture revenge. I can see why they wanted to start out with the big mystery, then pull back to give us the crime of the day, but if they’re not going to be related at all, then I don’t see why it had to be so long. Eeek. That was a lot of torture to sit through. Shudders. I may have to go watch something silly and fluffy to wash my brain before sleeping tonight.
That said, I think the hint at the big mystery looks promising. It’s completely different from last year’s, which isn’t to say one’s better than the other. Season 1′s was shrouded in more uncertainty and shadows the whole way through, and turned out to have a really nice heartwrenching personal hook. This year’s mystery looks like it goes way, way deeper, setting us up for lots of complex turns. I’m looking forward to that.
All I ask is: Now that we’ve done the dark grisly murder, can we have a funny case next week? Please? Because mostly, I’m just thrilled to have any excuse to have Yeon Jung-hoon & Co. back on my screen. And they’re such a hoot when the chemistry gets going.
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- Vampire Prosecutor: Episode 1