Wanted: Episode 2
Hye-in’s dream for a normal life is forgotten as she invites cameras and the public into her private nightmare. As she prepares for the performance of a lifetime, Hye-in and the production team will need to rely on skill, talent, experience and ratings to complete their missions. Meanwhile, the police begin their investigation, revealing more about Hye-in and those close to her. The race to ready the first episode of the kidnapper’s show is on.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Jung Hye-in is a surprise guest on the highly rated live variety show, Kiss and Tell. The show’s hostess starts her interview with some light banter, but Hye-in is subdued. Finding her voice, she explains something happened the day she announced her retirement.
The audience falls silent as Hye-in looks into the camera, visibly shaken, and tells the world that her son Hyun-woo was kidnapped that day. She explains that a production team is ready to produce a program that will help her find her son, who she hopes is safe.
Her experience as a performer kicks in as she mentions the network, day and time of the first episode, begging the audience to help her as she ends with a deep bow, touching Hyun-woo’s necklace wrapped around her wrist.
PD Shin Dong-wook and the rest of Hye-in’s production team are all caught unaware by her appearance. Writer YEON WOO-SHIN (Park Hyo-joo) checks her phone and sees that the kidnapping announcement is the top search on the internet.
Still live on television, Hye-in collapses in a dead faint. Dong-wook observes that it looks like an act, and Writer Yeon admires Hye-in’s years of experience. She coolly explains that this is how viewers become emotionally invested enough to watch a show to stricken production assistant PARK BO-YEON (Jung Hyo-sung).
Hye-in’s husband, Song Jung-ho, is having lunch with the police commissioner. He offers a gift, suggesting it’s time for the commissioner to become an assemblyman. The commissioner looks into the gift bag filled with bundles of cash, and while Jung-ho promises more in the future, he takes a brief call.
When he hangs up, he asks a calm Jung-ho if this has anything to do with his son. Jung-ho assures him this plan was just moved forward and wants to ensure the police investigation won’t interfere with the show for ten days.
Meanwhile, Dong-wook tapes footage of Hye-in alone in a dressing room, staring at her phone. He stops the camera, applies some powder to her mouth, and quietly reminds her that she should have told the team about her plans to appear on the show.
He lets her know that if she does anything else without his approval, he’s out. She wonders if he cares at all about finding Hyun-woo. He assures her that he does but wonders why she cares about how he feels.
Hye-in walks away from him, eventually exiting the building with Dong-wook behind her as he videotapes her moving through a crowd of reporters and cameramen. One video camera in particular stands out.
Seung-in sits at his station desk when his boss, Captain JUNG JUNG-KI, walks in, instructing him to take the Hye-in case. He protests, not wanting to hand the lower profile Ji-eun (the mukbang kidnapping victim) case over to another officer.
His boss wants Seung-in because he has the highest abduction recovery rate, but he points out Ji-eun is a victim as well and, unmoved by the high profile nature of Hye-in’s case, asks to be ignored until he finds her. Another officer calls Seung-in arrogant, musing his record must be so good because he can pick and choose his cases.
The top news story is Hyun-woo’s kidnapping. A high rise with a huge television transmits the news, getting the attention of the public.
A courier on a motorcycle stops at a light where he sees the broadcast. He removes his helmet to hone in on the report, oblivious to the green light and the honking cars that have to move to get around him.
A press conference is under way at Gangnam Police Station. After promising cooperation with the production team, the high ranking spokesman leaves amid a barrage of questions and flashing cameras, immediately placing a phone call. He insists that he can only give two weeks and to find the boy before then.
It turns out he is speaking to Captain Jung, who agrees but hangs up while muttering that the order is easier said than done. In front of him is the task unit assembled to work the case. He emphasizes they have already lost three days and everyone needs to be on their game—there will be no rest until the kid is found.
Hye-in is at home with a pair of officers from the special unit who connect a monitoring device to her phone. The lead officer, Seung-in’s snarky colleague, criticizes her for not contacting the police while his partner tries to silence him.
Hye-in thinks of Hyun-woo tied to a mattress crying for her and asks, “Do all victims always come back alive because the crime is reported to the police?” She asks the officer if he has children, and when he admits he has a daughter, she wonders what he would do in her shoes.
The officers have moved to Hyun-woo’s room to question his parents. They inquire about any malicious intent against either of them, which Jung-ho denies. The officer presses further, asking if there may have been some problems at work, which Jung-ho also dismisses.
Hye-in interjects that Jung-ho’s company is dealing with an employee-led lawsuit and that wages remain unpaid. Jung-ho paints it as a minor problem, a business issue that an actress wouldn’t understand. The lead officer announces they will decide what is important and unimportant, instructing Jung-ho to inform them of even minor incidents.
Hye-in lets the officers know she’s been bothered by stalkers and has sued people for malicious comments posted online. Pausing for the slightest bit, she shares that Jung-ho has had brief affairs. He is asked to step aside for a more private interview, with a promise of respect for the couple’s privacy. Jung-ho brushes her accusations aside, pointing out her industry makes her distrustful.
Later, Jung-ho enters their bedroom asking Hye-in if she is out of her mind, to which she responds, “Do you think I could be sane right now?” He worries about news of the lawsuit leaking out if the police question the employees, but Hye-in doesn’t care.
Jung-ho points out how helpful he can be in finding Hyun-woo. She tells him to start doing everything possible now, because he’s been her son’s father for seven years.
A magazine office is hard at work, except for one key reporter, the one in charge of all news related to Hye-in. The team leader calls out for Reporter JANG JIN-WOONG and a head pops out from a cubicle, revealing the slacker reporter. He gets taken to task for doing nothing to pursue the Hye-in story.
Arguing they only report entertainment news, Reporter Jang points out that a kidnapping is not entertainment. His boss counters that Hye-in is an actress and her fans want information. Dismissing him as too carefree, the team leader barks to Reporter Jang to investigate the story, and tells him to dig through Hye-in’s trash if he has to.
The lead detective on Hye-in’s case takes a witness statement from Hye-in’s manager, KWON KYUNG-HOON. Manager Kwon claims he was out drinking that night with the movie crew and stayed in a nearby motel, so he was unaware of what had happened until midday.
He also says he received a text from Hye-in telling him to go to his parent’s home for a couple of days. Thinking she and Jung-ho might be having issues about her retirement announcement, he did as she asked.
Looking nervous, Manager Kwon asks if he can leave, because the show will air that night and he needs to be with Hye-in. The detective refuses, preferring to ask about the camera hidden in her car because, as her manager, he was responsible for her vehicle.
The production team waits for their mission and Director Choi Joon-gu laments that it’s almost time for the show to air, but they have yet to hear anything. He wonders if the criminal never intended to go through with the broadcast. Writer Yeon points out that the show will be live, meaning the kidnapper is purposely giving them very little time to prepare.
It’s lunchtime and a meal is delivered to the production team but Hye-in doesn’t eat. She stares at everyone eating, bothered they can eat at all, and throws her rice bowl to the floor.
Dong-wook dryly tells her not to sleep or eat, since the criminal will be sure to return Hyun-woo when he sees that. He puts another bowl of rice in front of her and points out he can leave anytime, and if she’s not in shape to work with him, he won’t deal with her. He urges her to take care of herself and bear with the situation.
Seung-in and detective hoobae Young-gwan are eating as well, and the younger officer thinks Hyun-woo’s kidnapping was orchestrated because Hye-in’s husband is president of a network. He rightly recalls that there was an announcement of a reality TV show in the works for her and then she suddenly retired. Hyun-woo coincidentally disappeared that very same day. Seung-in tells Young-hwan to stop watching dramas. Ha! As if.
After lunch, they visit a Coconut TV user and show her the video of Ji-eun’s kidnapping. The young woman denies it was a kidnapping, just an act, declaring Ji-eun a psycho to agree to it. Her interview with the detectives about the “orson welles21” screen name seems to reveal that he’s a disturbed man who would email creepy videos to her.
Seung-in asks if she ever met him and when she says she did, he has Young-gwan shows her the photo of him and Ji-eun. She ID’s him as Orson Welles and shares how he told her he had some big business plan to kidnap people while they were broadcasting.
Later, Young-gwan is driving when Seung-in receives a call. The information requires them to turn around and head to Yeonnamdong. Young-gwan asks if they should report this, but Seung-in argues there is no time—they need to arrest their suspect first and worry about a warrant later.
An envelope is finally delivered, addressed “To the Wanted Team.” The employee who took the envelope says it came from a delivery service they work with often.
Hye-in runs off and finds the courier in front of the building. It’s the same guy who was watching the news earlier while stopped at a traffic light. She rushes at him and he pushes her away.
Refusing to give up, she continues to tussle with him, even getting her hands on his keys, but she can’t stop him and no one jumps to her aid. Just as he’s about to get away, Hye-in’s manager pulls up in her SUV, jumps out, and tackles the guy.
Joon-gu holds the contents of the envelope, a cover sheet that reads, “First mission: I wonder what’s inside the trunk of this car?” accompanied by a photo of a black sedan parked by a shipping container with unusual graffiti.
The production team has detained the courier and Joon-gu demands information. The courier admits he was offered one million won (about $850) to run this errand, as well as to give some girl a ride.
He denies he knew what was going on, admitting he saw the news but was afraid something would happen to him if he didn’t make the delivery. Writer Yeon records video of the courier’s interview, and when asked who hired him, he names Park Sae-young, a high school classmate who was known as a psycho.
Hye-in asks about the girl he mentioned and where he dropped her off. When the courier says he dropped her off in Yeonnamdong, Dong-wook tells him he better be telling them everything, or else he will be tried as an accomplice.
The courier protests that he didn’t know what he was delivering, but believed Sae-young’s threat that everyone would be killed if he told anyone what he knew, fearing for himself and his family.
Seung-in and Young-gwan arrive at a house in Yeonnamdong with a red motorcycle parked out front. Announcing a package, Seung-in calls out for Park Sae-young.
A woman opens the gate but Seung-in insists he has to deliver the package directly to Park Sae-young. She’s adamant he’s not there, threatening to call the police, but they identify themselves and say they just need to ask a few questions.
They resort to pushing their way in, detecting a strong odor and evidence of drugs. Seung-in is forced to break down the door to Park Sae-young’s room, only to find their suspect hanging from a cord. The men take him down and Young-gwan calls for an ambulance.
Seung-in tries to revive Park Sae-young, but it’s too late. He looks at the rope burns on the victim’s neck and notices a large burn scar on his wrist.
Having a sudden thought, Seung-in throws open the doors to another room, finding it plastered with photos of Hye-in. Young-gwan suggests securing the premises, but Seung-in points out that Ji-eun isn’t there.
Young-gwan thinks Park Sae-young may have already killed her, so Seung-in shouts at him to find the corpse while he goes through Park Sae-young’s personal effects. He finds a notebook with more photos of Hye-in and “This is all your fault” scribbled in it.
Dong-wook wants Joon-gu to send the photo of the car to the police and UCN’s breaking news team, but, as the youngest member of the team, Bo-yeon uses social media to get the information out faster. Meanwhile, Writer Yeon studies the photo of the car pinned to their program board.
Hye-in is alone when Manager Kwon approaches her, saying she has a call from the police. It’s from Seung-in, inquiring if she received any recent threats, or if she possibly has a long time stalker.
When she answers yes, he sends a photo to her phone. She recognizes the part-timer who took Hyun-woo the night he was kidnapped, and falls to the floor in shock.
Seung-in asks her to come to the scene he is investigating in Yeonnamdong. When Manager Kwon offers to drive her, she turns to him angrily, telling him he should have stayed with Hyun-woo the night he disappeared. She lets him know if anything happens to her son, she will never forgive him.
Hye-in shows up at Park Sae-young’s house and frantically calls out for Hyun-woo. She tries to run into the house, but the police hold her back until Young-gwan tells them to let her in.
Seung-in is still looking for evidence and finds Ji-eun’s headband, the one she wore when she was kidnapped, under the bed along with a receipt to a gas station.
Hye-in stops in the doorway to the room, taking in all the photos of her taped up everywhere. Seung-in introduces himself and, when asked, tells her that her son was not at the house.
He shows her the photo of Ji-eun and asks if Hye-in recognizes her. She identifies her as the girl who delivered the script to her home the night Hyun-woo was taken, calling her an accomplice. Seung-in says she’s a victim, as she was kidnapped like Hyun-woo.
Hye-in reads Park Sae-young’s notebook, and tells Seung-in she didn’t know the man—he was only on her movie set the last few days and lied about his identity. She denies seeing him anywhere else and wonders if he did this to prevent her from retiring, like he wrote in his notebook.
Seung-in explains if that was true, he wouldn’t have committed suicide, because if he had decided to kill himself, there should have been a note with instructions. Instead, he thinks someone else is behind everything and only used Park Sae-young because he was a fan. Just then, Hye-in gets a call from Hyun-woo.
With the show scheduled to begin soon, Writer Yeon pours through video footage, searching the ports for the car’s location. Dong-wook sits uncomfortably in Jung-ho’s network office, bristling at Jung-ho’s compliments before telling him he will listen to him after the show airs.
Jung-ho drops the niceties, and wants to know if there is a backup plan as the show airs in two hours and all they have is a photo. Dong-wook admits there is no plan, and when Jung-ho asks if he’s trying to get his son killed, Dong-wook answers that may happen if he keeps wasting his time.
Seung-in puts Hye-in’s call with Hyun-woo on speaker. In tears, she promises to find her son soon, desperately asking him to give her any information about where he is. The call ends before Hyun-woo can say more, but Seung-in hears something of interest in the background and checks his watch.
The production team hasn’t found the car and Bo-yeon can’t reach Hye-in or her manager. She’s tasked with getting Hye-in back to the studio in thirty minutes. Just then, Writer Yeon runs in with the location of the car, having recognized the graffiti from an earlier assignment.
The team decides not to give the police the car’s location, not wanting to risk any interference with their filming. Writer Yeon agrees, arguing viewers won’t continue with the show if it doesn’t appear genuine and reminds them that getting twenty percent in ratings is a huge challenge.
Dong-wook leaves the studio to go on location, leaving Writer Yeon and Joon-gu to get ready to go on the air at the scheduled time, 10:00 p.m.
Seung-in asks Young-gwan to find a port in Incheon that has smaller freight ships as well as train tracks close to the beach. Young-gwan asks if he’s found Ji-eun, but Seung-in tells him that Hye-in got a call from her son, and that he’s headed to Incheon. He instructs Young-gwan to call him as soon as he finds a location that matches his criteria, train schedule and all.
Reminding Seung-in that she may get another call from Hyun-woo, Hye-in accompanies him to Incheon.
Dong-wook leaves the UCN building, stopped by the still grumpy lead detective who asks him where he’s going. Dong-wook objects to the officer’s informal language before proceeding to yell at Bo-yeon because they still can’t locate Hye-in.
The diversion almost works as Dong-wook and Bo-yeon make their way to the news truck just in time to see entertainment reporter Jang Jin-woong exiting. He starts to run away as Dong-wook chases after him, joined by the detective.
They catch Reporter Jang who protests he’s just doing his job. Dong-wook checks the time, 9:24 p.m., and runs to the news truck as Reporter Jang is led away.
Back at the police station, Young-gwan studies maps to find a location that fits Seung-in’s description. Young-gwan finds it and calls Seung-in, who tells Hye-in they found the spot where Hyun-woo’s call was made. It’s 9:30 p.m., and Hye-in wonders if they can find him in thirty minutes.
She calls Dong-wook, who tells her to get to the studio right away, he is on the way to the scene where the car was found, a warehouse in Incheon. Hye-in asks if there are railroad tracks nearby, and he wonders how she could know that.
It’s 10:00 p.m., and the show begins to air with archived footage of Hye-in and Hyun-woo. Jung-ho sits alone at home watching the show, turning to look at a family photo of him with his wife and son.
Seung-in’s car and the news truck close in on the car’s location while the rest of the team waits on standby at UCN, ready to broadcast Hye-in from her cell phone.
They go live and Hye-in explains to the viewers that she is on her way to the car in Incheon, promising to reveal what is in the trunk before the show is over in order to complete the first mission.
The news truck has just arrived and Dong-wook shouts directions to the cameras to catch Hye-in’s arrival. As soon as his car stops, Seung-in exits and runs off, leaving everyone else to try and keep up.
Seung-in makes it to the car first, flings open the trunk and, after seeing what’s inside, slams it shut before anyone catches up to him. He runs to Hye-in to hold her back as Dong-wook runs around them to the car and opens the trunk, filming all the while.
The team in the studio freezes as they watch the live feed from the scene, revealing the body of a young boy, his back to the cameras.
Hye-in reaches into the trunk and slowly turns the boy over. Back at the family home, Jung-ho is shown watching the program, his face unreadable while somewhere else, another viewer watches the same footage on a small, battered television.
Everyone at the scene hesitates, preparing for the worst, when suddenly, the boy reaches his hand back to grab Hye-in’s sleeve.
That ending took me by surprise. I was fully expecting a body, but I thought it would be kidnapped Coconut TV broadcaster, Ji-eun, not a boy. The two separate kidnapping investigations of Hyun-woo and Ji-eun came together so quickly, rather than being dragged out for a few more episodes, which I could see happening. Despite his protests, Seung-in is smack dab in the middle of Hyun-woo’s investigation, and I can’t wait to see how that will influence the police side of the story. It’s pretty clear he’s intuitive and observant, avoids jumping to conclusions, and sticks with a case to the end. That kind of police work will be critical in untangling what is quickly becoming a dense web of kidnapping cases.
That boy in the trunk can’t be Hyun-woo, which would equal three people who have been abducted so far. It looks as if Park Sae-young’s death could be a murder, making for a deadly game of cat and mouse. If there is any hope of bringing Hyun-woo and Ji-eun back alive, the detective with the best recovery rate is certainly needed. This is my first time seeing any of Ji Hyun-woo’s work and so far, I’m impressed. He really sells Seung-in’s dedication, intensity and concern for his cases. I’m just hoping no one hits that pretty face.
If and when Hyun-woo is recovered, I can’t help but wonder what he will come home to. Hye-in and Jung-ho appear to be married in name only, barely civil to one another. Add with all of the secrets that are trickling out, I expect they might tear each other apart before this is all over. It’s hard to imagine they genuinely ever cared for one another. It was particularly telling when, after their interview with the policemen, Jung-ho was upset about the employees behind the lawsuit being questioned by the police, not the fact the she outed him as a cheater. He’s offered no emotional support to her since Hyun-woo’s disappearance, not a word of encouragement, nothing. In fact, hardly anyone has, which I find unusual. Does she have no other family or friends, or is everyone close to her somehow linked to her industry, more colleague than confidant?
Hye-in has been incredibly restrained considering the circumstances. Kim Ah-Joong portrays Hye-in with a certain fragility, but also a steeliness. There haven’t been many tears, considering Hye-in’s situation, but her hands have often been unsteady and there are the occasional outbursts. She’s distant with the people around her, perhaps a product of her personal and professional relationships, but she speaks up and does what she wants, so she’s not timid. The realization that someone has been watching her for a very long time without her knowledge must be driving her to be even more guarded. Hye-in’s detachment from those around her might be a defense mechanism, by not allowing anyone to get too close so she can keep it together. If someone was kind or consoling, she might fall apart completely, unable to do what she needs to do to regain her son. So she’s emotionally distant and isolated. However, when she is under duress, she can’t contain herself and will slump in despair, singlehandedly try to restrain a courier, or fight her way to the trunk of that car. She’s a mother desperate to find her son.
That isolation is reinforced by the people around her. The production team and the police unit personnel assigned to the case are there to do their jobs, but they are a jaded bunch. Obviously, there’s a backstory regarding Dong-wook and Hye-in. He’s been mostly professional with her, but is able to cross into a more personal zone at times, applying some powder to her face or giving her food that she actually eats, putting him in a unique position in her circle. Even so, he’s trying to maintain a strict boundary with her. The lead detective assigned to work her case is a dour, disapproving fellow, not at all careful about keeping his critiques of her to himself. The only person who was warm and loving to Hye-in was Hyun-woo. With him missing, she is really alone.
Cameras and television screens are front and center in this show, pretty much a statement of our times. The faces that end up on those screens, broadcast to the countless devices people view, result in viewers who become dangerously comfortable with them. The line between professional and private disappears, creating genuine fear for some performers. Being a successful entertainer can be both a blessing and a curse, and Hye-in’s story brings that contradiction to life.
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