Our heroine finally starts to suspect who our hero really is—or at least she starts suspecting the barrage of coincidences that always seem to happen when he’s around. To be fair, it is pretty hard to tell where Yi-soo’s planning ends and normal human nature begins, but that’s why we’ve got an investigative prosecutor as a heroine, right?
If there’s only one thing to be thankful for this episode, it’s that Hae-woo is still an awesome character. If there’s two, it’s that Detective Byun is also pretty good to have around. And if there’s three, it’s that Mrs. Park needs her own show. (Don’t ask me why, she just seems like she could handle it.)
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Cold open: A mysterious man flips through an album with pictures of the late Detective Jung. He finds one in particular from 1950, with a caption that tells him (and us) that Grandpa Jo is one of the two men in the photo.
We pick up where we last left off, with Hae-woo asking Yi-soo who he really is—and she doesn’t mean in the way that everyone knows him, as CEO Kim Jun.
Yi-soo gives a technical and evasive response—there’s no way for everyone to know someone, since each person views another differently. She’s not in the mood for word games and asks instead about how he received his shoulder and leg injuries, to which he replies that it was the result of a common yakuza conflict.
Hae-woo seems to believe him and apologizes, but her suspicions are aroused again when Yi-soo claims to know the man with whom they’re meeting with her husband: Dong-soo. It’s another dead end, however, when Yi-soo admits that he’s Dong-soo’s employer.
In the elevator, Hae-woo asks, “Are coincidences also part of your plan? You said you plan everything and act according to that plan… but it seems like there are too many coincidences between us.” Funny, that’s exactly what Mrs. Park called him out on.
But Yi-soo keeps all but shrugs his shoulders as he tells her that repeated coincidences can’t very well be considered coincidences anymore, can they? So says Mr. Cryptic.
Yi-soo and Hae-woo finally show up at the bar, but Joon-young doesn’t seem too happy to see her arriving with Yi-soo when she said she wouldn’t be coming at all.
Meanwhile, Secretary Jang sneaks into Yi-soo’s apartment to plant a bug behind his “Orpheus” painting, and gets quite a fright when Dong-soo drunk dials her to invite her out with them. Ha.
When even Joon-young mentions that it’s quite a coincidence that Dong-soo now works for Yi-soo, it either means Yi-soo is doing something wrong or that these coincidences are purposeful. (And knowing him, they are.)
Hae-woo leaves for a call and drops her wooden shark pendant, which she and Yi-soo try to pick up at the same time. But the call is to Soo-hyun, whom she instructs to find out everything there is to know about the man named Kim Jun.
When she rejoins the table, it marks the first time all four of the friends have been together since Yi-soo’s “death,” though none of them know it’s him. Dong-soo is pretty wasted and admits that though Joon-young is the hyung he admires most, seeing him together with Hae-woo always reminds him of Yi-soo. Aww. What a good friend.
Since drunk time means honest time, Dong-soo tells Yi-soo that he should get more friends: “It seems as if you have worries others don’t know about, but fish and paintings don’t answer you back. Everyday, you talk only with fish and a painting. Don’t do that.” HA! At least someone called him out on his inhuman behavior.
But that tidbit about the painting piques Hae-woo’s interest, so she asks Yi-soo which artist he likes. Chagall would be a dead giveaway, though he’s spared from answering when Dong-soo starts crying over Yi-soo, the friend he can’t help but miss every single day.
Yi-soo downs a drink while Joon-young drags their drunk friend away. That’s right, Yi-soo—you should feel guilty for the twelve years of unending grief you’ve caused Dong-soo.
Secretary Jang arrives to drive Yi-soo home, and it’s clear by Joon-young’s questioning about their hiring Dong-soo that he’s not convinced it was a coincidence.
Since Yi-soo has agreed to go to the Jo Family Hotel’s anniversary gala, Secretary Jang asks him if he’ll be okay with what’ll be going down soon, considering how he’s gotten close to Hae-woo and her husband. I’m guessing this has something to do with Junichiro’s plan to crush the Jo’s hotel empire, since he’ll also be attending the gala.
Yi-soo notices that his “Orpheus” painting is tilted, which sends a shiver down Secretary Jang’s spine. Ohhhh man, he’s so onto her. At least, through a flashback, we see that she removed the bug at the last minute. (But was the painting a red herring, and did she put it somewhere else?)
“If you knew Yi-soo was still alive, would you still have married me?” Joon-young asks Hae-woo on the walk home. It’s clearly niggling at him but not enough to start anything, so he’s content to just leave the question out there. Hae-woo isn’t.
Hae-woo: “Yes, I would have. When I was having a hard time, the person who stood by me was you. And the one by my side right now is you. There is no ‘what if.’ There’s only now.”
She adds that she’s unrelenting on the case not out of lingering affection for Yi-soo, but he knows that that’s just who she is. It eases his mind to get this affirmation, but who knows what’ll happen in the future?
After Detective Byun confirms with Hae-woo that the man in Japan didn’t recognize Yi-soo’s picture, he confronts the late Detective Jung’s partner about how he didn’t utter a peep about the cover-up for Daddy Jo’s hit-and-run during the investigation. Isn’t that convenient?
The partner backtracks a little, in that he only had a hunch about the cover-up—and of course, he had nothing to do with the actual act. He reminds Detective Byun about how bad this would be for the police department if the story leaked, though it seems like he’s worried for his own hide more than anything.
Detective Byun is able to follow the partner to the club that Detective Jung frequented after he asks about the locker key that disappeared from the evidence room. Well, there’s no question now that the dead man’s partner was/is also corrupt.
A flashback shows Detective Jung bragging about all the dirt he held on influential people, but that he was only waiting for the right time to reveal it. The painting he gestured at in the flashback is the one his partner faces in the present, and he lifts it, perhaps hoping to find a safe. There’s nothing.
Detective Byun catches him in the act, and now the partner has no choice but to be honest. Neither of them know of the ominous presence watching them—the poison pen assassin, who we’ll hereby refer to as “Clicky.” (Thanks for the suggestions, y’all!)
The partner explains to our good detective that he didn’t know what he expected to find, he just thought that there would be a safe. Detective Byun doesn’t believe him, even though the partner claims that he wanted to find the evidence because he wants to find Detective Jung’s murderer. Comparatively, his partner’s corruption was nothing.
“Twelve years ago, if Detective Jung hadn’t taken the locker key, if we had just found the evidence that Han Yi-soo desperately hid, then Detective Jung wouldn’t have been murdered. The corruption you speak of led to many people being killed. And the identity of the real perpetrator is about to be buried forever. Do you understand?” Detective Byun asks him. Translation: “How do you like them apples?”
Grandpa Jo presumably gets a phone call of updates from Clicky, and advises him to just keep an eye on Detective Byun for now. What’s more important is to find Yi-soo: “It will only end if you find that child.”
Yi-soo gets a call from a contact listed only as “Friend” (chingu), while Secretary Jang listens in. Ah, so she did plant the bug somewhere else.
Detective Byun finds Yi-hyun still awake and stargazing with the telescope Yi-soo got her. After some cute bantering, he asks her if she really believes her brother is still alive. With a smile, she answers that she’s never even entertained the thought that he’s dead.
He asks her if she has a reason to believe that, but she shakes her head. “There’s no reason. But if something’s really important, you just know it. Just… I just know it, as if we can communicate with each other. I just… know.”
But he’s still suspicious, so he asks her mom to watch everything she does—every call, every person she sees, anything strange at all.
Mrs. Park tries to ask Hae-woo about her current case, especially since she now knows it’s about Yi-soo. Hae-woo can’t tell her anything more, but the two are interrupted by Daddy Jo screaming obnoxiously into the phone before he scurries off like a rat to go find his dad about a story being spread through the press.
Of course, Yi-soo is the one who put out the news, and to this day I don’t understand why the Korean media even tries with anonymity when they make the clues as clear as day. (For instance, what other “Mr. J” (Jo) would have a “G Group” (Gaya Hotel), a prosecutor for a daughter, and a chief prosecutor for an in-law? Just say what you mean, Korean Press!)
Either way, the stories are packed with accusations, like how Mr. J was the last person to talk to an ex-cop before he was murdered (Detective Jung), and how there’s suspicion that he hired an assassin, etc.
Even though they’re just rumors, Hae-woo knows how damaging they can be. It’ll be next to impossible, but she wants Soo-hyun to try to track down the source of the articles—only he’s sure that the leak was an inside job, since the articles contained information only the police or prosecutor’s office would know.
Daddy Jo huffs and puffs about a swift and legal response to the accusations, but Joon-young advises him to be patient. If they act too fast, the public will think the rumors are true, so Joon-young takes on the task of damage control where stockholders and investors are involved.
Since the articles implicate Prosector Oh and Hae-woo, their office goes on high alert as a means to protect themselves when public support for them is already low. The plan is to start a re-investigation—at least on paper—and to call in Daddy Jo for questioning just to soothe the public.
Now that there’s a re-investigation, Detective Byun sweeps the warehouse where Detective Jung was murdered and finds something an entire CSI team had overlooked—an apartment smart key.
He tells Hae-woo the name of the complex, which so happens to be the same one she heard Secretary Jang say that Yi-soo lives in. She rushes off to meet Detective Byun there, after getting Yi-soo’s unit number from Dong-soo.
Secretary Jang finds out that Hae-woo is headed there from the same person, since she’s invited him out for lunch. (He’s over the moon about it.) But it’s doubtful that she likes him, especially when she keeps fishing for information about Yi-soo.
Eventually Dong-soo tells her that Yi-soo has a surviving sister working at a juice shop, and Secretary Jang knows which because of that time Yi-soo brought her ten cups of the stuff.
Dong-soo thinks Secretary Jang is so nice and caring to ask about his friends, to which she replies, “I’m not a nice person.” I think she’s being honest, and he just thinks she’s being modest. Either way, they agree to go to lunch at Yi-hyun’s juice shop.
Speaking of, Soo-hyun is already there to chat up Yi-hyun, and it’s pretty clear that he’s trying to ask her out on a date. They end up bickering a bit instead, but Soo-hyun gets away with using banmal with her before he leaves, passing up Secretary Jang in the process.
He stops to look back at her, almost as if he recognizes her. Iiinteresting.
Dong-soo introduces Secretary Jang to Yi-hyun, and she notes that Yi-hyun’s eyes are very similar to someone she knows.
While Yi-soo gets his pick of bland business shirts, Hae-woo and Detective Byun arrive at his complex. She tries the key at Yi-soo’s front door, but it’s a no-go. But Yi-soo heard something and opens it to find the two of them standing outside.
No one really addresses the very awkward situation they’re in, though Yi-soo does notice that she’s holding a key, and coolly advises her to go to the security office to find out which unit it belongs to.
Only when he’s out of their sight does he let his worry show. Oh, are things getting a little too close for comfort, Yi-soo? Did you not plan this one out?
When Detective Byun asks Hae-woo why she thought she knew which unit the key belonged to, her only answer is that she doesn’t have one. But if she becomes sure of her hunch, he’ll be the first to know.
They finally end up at the correct unit, and Hae-woo’s eyes go wide when the woman who answers the door proves to be none other than the anchorwoman who once had an affair with her father, the same one she confronted when she was younger. This is a surprise.
Grandpa Jo returns home to find Yi-soo waiting with a gift, explaining that he was at a used bookstore in the neighborhood. (With Clicky! Dun dun dun.) He unwraps a precious ceramic vase, and is slightly perplexed when Yi-soo claims he’s returning it to its original owner.
According to Yi-soo, the man who had it in Japan claimed that the vase belonged to Grandpa Jo’s father. Grandpa Jo becomes instantly uncomfortable, considering that he claimed he didn’t recognize the vase. Yi-soo tells him it was nothing to get it, because it would have returned to Grandpa Jo someday.
“What goes around comes around,” Yi-soo says ominously. “And in the end, everything returns to its rightful place. That’s nature.”
After Yi-soo leaves, Grandpa Jo just stares at the vase and repeats what Yi-soo said about it—that it contained the soul of his father.
Hae-woo and Detective Byun question the anchorwoman over coffee, but she’s pretty cavalier about everything considering that her key was found at a murder scene. She has no response for what she was doing the day of the murder—Hae-woo’s wedding day—so Hae-woo asks to speak to her privately.
“What are you hiding?” Hae-woo asks.
“On the day of your wedding, Hae-woo, I was with your father,” the anchorwoman replies. Yikes.
So Hae-woo not only hears the terrible news that her father is still seeing the woman he had an affair with, but that he also had a smart key to her house that he lost recently. So it could have been his copy of the key they found at the scene, which is even worse for Hae-woo.
When Detective Byun asks, she doesn’t tell. All she asks is for him to not do anything about the smart key for the time being, while Daddy Jo hears the news from the anchorwoman and goes into one of his signature tirades.
The situation is tense as Hae-woo tries to convince Detective Byun that the key is a trap—the crime scene was swept clean, so it doesn’t make sense that they’d overlook a key. She’s sure that the real culprit planted it to coincide with the re-investigation stemming from the rumor mill.
Detective Byun isn’t blind, and he knows the possibility is high that what she says is true. “But we still have to investigate what needs to be investigated.” Her father lied about his alibi, even though they know he lied to cover up his affair, and that alone is enough to arrest him.
She all but begs to be given just enough time to sort some things out, because they’ll just be reacting like the culprit wants them to otherwise.
“As a detective, I have a duty to conduct a fair investigation,” Detective Byun says. “And I can’t make an exception. Even for your father.”
Though that’s what he tells her, he changes his mind when his fellow detective calls, and orders him to hold off on the key for now since its sudden appearance is suspect. Still, he’s angry that he let Hae-woo convince him.
Meanwhile, Soo-hyun advises Hae-woo to stay away from her office to avoid the media swarm, but he’s able to give her the information he gathered on Kim Jun/Yi-soo. She calls Yi-soo for a meeting after she’s looked over it.
Detective Jung’s widow gets a visit from his old partner, and he’s the one we saw finding an old picture of Grandpa Jo during the 50s. But who’s the other man?
Yi-soo arrives for his meeting with Hae-woo, and she thanks him.
“I should be the one saying thank you,” he replies. “It’s not easy trying to find excuses to meet you.”
Yi-soo deflected Hae-woo’s suspicion that he is the real Yi-soo as expected, but it does make me wonder why he’s leading her on this merry chase where his identity is concerned and how he plans to fully control if/when she finds out. He started her down this road knowing how persistent she is, so why did he look so surprised when she showed up at his door? Is it his intention to give her clues, deflect them, give her more clues, then deny everything?
It’s kind of the same for the audience, especially in regards to things that should be mysteriously intriguing but just aren’t hitting the mark. The vase scene with Grandpa Jo was all hints and no payoff, for instance, and while I completely understand why Yi-soo can’t rain down an ungodly firestorm on Grandpa Jo’s head quite yet, seeing him restrain his angry facial tics for yet another scene didn’t add anything to the experience. We know why he doesn’t like Grandpa Jo. We know why he’d want to see him squirm. We can guess that Junichiro is involved with Grandpa Jo through his father, because it’s not a drama if children aren’t carrying around the sins of their fathers. But the scene itself just felt like a reminder, kind of like dangling a carrot in front of someone who’s really not that into vegetables.
This has been, and continues to be, The Hae-woo Show. She’s the one who commands the screen, with a journey that’s relatable and struggles that we can empathize with. Maybe it’s because between her and Yi-soo, she’s the only one facing the complete unknown, with truths that will test everything she’s made of. (I’m hoping there’ll still be some surprises left for Yi-soo, if only because Junichiro is a wild card I can’t quite get a grasp on.) But Yi-soo already seems to know that his position with his benefactor is a precarious one, as evidenced by his immediate suspicion about the bug in his house. Too bad he got fooled. (Orrrr did he?)
I have a feeling Joon-young is being set up to be more than what he is, and giving him some actual objectives other than “be supportive of Hae-woo” will do wonders for his character. As it stands, I’m loving our crime-solving duo in Hae-woo and Detective Byun the most, if only for the fact that they’re so candid with each other and incredibly dynamic. Both of them realize that they can’t do this alone, and both of them share the same passion for their work—which I guess is just the meaning of teamwork, isn’t it? Either way, go team.