All along, Bok-geo has been guiding Geum-joo on her journey to become a good lawyer. He continues to be her mentor, friend, and hopefully something more as he does his best to prepare her for that fateful day. Will that elusive badge finally be added to Geum-joo’s courtroom attire, or does she need to fear Bok-geo’s penalty for failure?
EPISODE 12: “Having Hit Rock Bottom”
On a public phone, Bok-geo hears Geum-joo’s emotional response to what he’s just told her on the other end. She manages to tell the team that she won’t have to get flicked, meaning that she must have passed the exam. An-na goes online to check the results, shouting out that Geum-joo did indeed pass. Tears, cheers and congratulations erupt and the forgotten Bok-geo joins in with, “Congratulations, Lawyer Cha,” before hanging up.
Hye-joo asks Prosecutor Choi about the additional evidence in Ji-ah’s case. He tells her that Bok-geo’s DNA was found, sealing the case against him. Hye-joo studies the stolen autopsy page and remembers the dead bird sent to Geum-joo during the homeless girl case. She takes photos of Ji-ah’s sketch.
Attorney Goo reminds the team that passing the exam is only the first step to becoming a lawyer. Flowers are then delivered, causing An-na to praise Bok-geo’s thoughtfulness. However, Geum-joo reads the card and realizes that they are from Hye-joo, who asks if her debt is now repaid.
After paying his respects at Ji-ah’s memorial, Bok-geo finds himself surrounded by Prosecutor Choi and a team of policemen. He fights off a few officers before his agent/driver joins him.
His driver later scolds Bok-geo for ignoring instructions to stay away. Bok-geo returns the favor by yelling at him for being so late, noting that he was almost caught. As the agent drives, Bok-geo finally tells him, “Thank you.”
The agent/driver hands over a passport with a plane ticket, explaining that he may have to resign because of Bok-geo. He asks Bok-geo to take responsibility for him, but the CEO reminds him that he has someone else to worry about. Agent-Driver confesses that he has someone that he likes too.
Hye-joo and CEO Lee wait together at the elevator, and he mentions Geum-joo’s exam result, supposing that Bok-geo’s case could be her first. The other Oh Sung lawyers join them, talking about an interesting duel in Seochodong. CEO Lee laughs about Hye-joo being a backup player before they get on the elevator.
While Geum-joo works at Bok-geo’s house, Min-ah hands her a postcard delivered from Bok-geo. And we see that, over time, she receives many postcards from a variety of destinations.
Two years have passed, and Geum-joo attends a class led by Hye-joo’s law professor. She answers a question about criminal retrials as Suk-woo quietly enters the classroom. Afterward, Suk-woo wonders how Bok-geo is doing, admitting that he and Geum-joo are breaking his heart. As for Bok-geo, he happens to be at a beach resort where he pens another postcard to Geum-joo.
Geum-joo and Suk-woo investigate a sighting of the homeless boy, Gyeong-hwan, at an abandoned house. The young man is inside, covered in grime, hungrily eating a sandwich. He jumps out of a window when he hears Suk-woo’s knock on the door.
CEO Lee meets with Hye-ryung as he works to strengthen his hold on Oh Sung. She inquires about Bok-geo, and CEO Lee guesses that Geum-joo is working on his case. Hye-ryung worries that Geum-joo will bring up the homeless girl case to clear Bok-geo, and suggests that there must be a way to keep Geum-joo from becoming an attorney.
Prosecutor Choi admires Hye-joo’s posh apartment, promising that she won’t have to wait long to share it with him. She informs him that she invited him over to ask about the coroner on Bok-geo’s case, while a stuffed bear with a hidden camera records their meeting.
Geum-joo meets with Hye-joo’s law professor, who has the difficult task of informing her that there is resistance to her obtaining a license. Because of Bok-geo’s case, she has been accused of aiding a criminal.
At Golden Tree, a concerned Manager Hwang asks Suk-woo about Geum-joo’s possible disqualification as a trainee. Suk-woo explains that her professor has been working hard on her behalf.
The K-Fact and Golden Tree teams wait together to see if they will be attending Geum-joo’s graduation. Editor Go takes a call from someone with an urgent tip: It’s Bok-geo, who claims to have a big exclusive.
Geum-joo exits the law school looking downcast just as Suk-woo runs up with flowers. The decision went against her, and she tells Suk-woo that she wasn’t meant to be a lawyer. A crowd runs towards them, led by Editor Go and Reporter Baek, just as a van pulls up. A window lowers to reveal that the passenger inside is Bok-geo.
Bok-geo exits the van, irritated to see Suk-woo at Geum-joo’s side. They have a competitive moment for old time’s sake and Bok-geo waves flowers in Suk-woo’s face. Realizing that he alerted the reporters, Geum-joo calls him crazy, and Bok-geo agrees—after all, he hasn’t been able to see her for over two years. With a wink, he offers his flowers to “Attorney Cha.”
Reporters shout questions as Prosecutor Choi arrives with a team of policemen. Bok-geo acknowledges that he’s turning himself in because he heard that someone was accused of aiding a criminal. Turning to Geum-joo, he asks her to go with him.
At the Golden Tree office, Suk-woo reviews the prosecution’s witness list in Bok-geo’s case. He thinks that their team should call the coroner, and Guem-joo suggests they use the detective who wrote a profile on the murderer.
CEO Lee meets with Hye-joo and Prosecutor Choi and bluntly asks if they are thinking of getting back together. Hye-joo denies it, then asks about the reason for the meeting. CEO Lee informs them that the judge for Bok-geo’s case has been selected. He’s chosen someone known for harsh sentences, JUDGE SEO MIN-GOOK.
Geum-joo meets with Bok-geo at the detention center to ask if he really wants her to take his case. He explains that he waited for her to become a lawyer before turning himself in. Geum-joo cautions Bok-geo that he could be sentenced to twelve years, but he thinks that she’s worried because it’s her first case, even though she admits that she’s worried because it’s him. She urges Bok-geo to give more thought to hiring her as his lawyer.
Bok-geo advises her that a lawyer matures the most from losses. “You have to prepare very hard and get completely destroyed. That’s when you really grow up.” Bok-geo does admit that he is concerned for Geum-joo’s safety, though.
Geum-joo and Bok-geo’s driver shows Min-ah the photo of CEO Lee’s hitman, asking if he was the one who kidnapped and beat her for her phone. She remembers that it was someone shorter and younger.
Prosecutor Choi invites his coroner friend, PARK JI-SEOK, for a drink, and they end up at Hye-joo’s apartment. Prosecutor Choi excuses himself, giving Hye-joo a chance to ask Coroner Park if there was anything unusual in Bok-geo’s case.
The coroner recalls the candy wrapper, but notes that the prosecutor’s office didn’t follow up on it, so it must not have been important. Hye-joo learns that evidence is destroyed after six months and confirms that nothing of the wrapper was retained.
Hye-joo then calls Geum-joo to ask for a meeting. She tells Geum-joo that she’s thinking of really paying back her debt this time.
CEO Lee’s janitor sits in a darkened car and listens to a recording of Hye-joo’s conversation with Coroner Park. He makes a call to CEO Lee to tell him that Hye-joo found out something unusual.
At Oh Sung, CEO Lee asks Hye-joo if she resents having to clean up after rich clients. She looks confused as he tells her that she can only escape by nurturing even greater ambition. He informs Hye-joo that what she knows must be buried, cautioning that when someone else is sacrificed in her place, she won’t think of escaping again. That someone else is Coroner Park, who we find lying dead on the ground outside of a tall building.
Geum-joo waits in a restaurant for Hye-joo, who hasn’t arrived or called. Unable to reach her, Geum-joo goes to Hye-joo’s apartment and finds her frantically tearing up the place as she searches for the hidden recording device. Concerned, Geum-joo reaches out, but Hye-joo pushes her away.
Visibly distraught, Hye-joo tells Geum-joo how hard it has been for her. Geum-joo suggests that they forget everything, but Hye-joo tearfully declines, admitting that some things can’t be undone. She tells Geum-joo that she won’t be able to pay back her debt after all. Geum-joo offers to take care of whatever is troubling her, but Hye-joo screams at her, asking, “How? How!”
Geum-joo promises that a trial will show Hye-joo how to resolve her problems, saying that it will repay her debt. She admits that as a paralegal, she shined even when she did an okay job. Geum-joo realizes that Hye-joo hid her talent so that she could shine, and for that, she owes her a debt.
While Suk-woo remains in shock over the coroner’s sudden death, Geum-joo finds the timing strange, since Bok-geo’s trial is about to begin. She decides to take a closer look at Coroner Park’s autopsy report on Ji-ah, and realizes that a page is missing.
Prosecutor Choi meets CEO Lee in secret to review Bok-geo’s case, concerned that Geum-joo will argue that a third party committed the murder. CEO Lee instructs him to come up with a reality that can’t be changed and suggests that he use Hye-joo, along with one other person.
Cue the police seizing evidence from Attorney Goo due to her husband, who’s been reported for accounting and stock violations for his business. Unfortunately for her, she’s listed as director of that business.
Suk-woo compliments Geum-joo’s discovery of the missing autopsy attachment. Attorney Goo walks in, announcing that she can’t sit in on Bok-geo’s trial because she’s been criminally charged. Geum-joo panics about trying the case without her, but Attorney Goo promises to serve as her paralegal instead.
Geum-joo approaches the courthouse, pulling her suitcase behind her. She tells herself that she’s not nervous because she’s climbed these steps thousands of times. She admits that her lawyer badge is heavier than her suitcase, but she must endure to prove the innocence of her client.
A rough-looking Hye-joo watches Geum-joo make her way up the stairs before walking in to the courthouse. Geum-joo meets up with an admittedly nervous Suk-woo, and Attorney Goo does her best to calm the junior attorneys.
Geum-joo sits between Bok-geo and Suk-woo as the trial begins, and Bok-geo looks at her encouragingly. Prosecutor Choi claims that Bok-geo was resentful towards the victim for ending his career as a prosecutor and formally indicts him for murder. Suk-woo can see that Geum-joo is nervous, so he hands her a rubber grip for her thumb, suggesting that she think of the courtroom as their office.
The first witness is lieutenant KANG YOUNG-SHIK. He testifies that Bok-geo’s footprint and button were found at the crime scene along with his DNA, leading the police to conclude that a third party was not involved. Prosecutor Choi asks the policeman to explain why Bok-geo ran away instead of turning himself in, and he suggests that Bok-geo may not be innocent.
The teams from Golden Tree and K-Face watch intently as Suk-woo cross-examines Lieutenant Kang. He deftly guides the witness back to the possibility that a third party could have committed the murder. Suk-woo argues that other footprints were found near Ji-ah’s body, but were not included in the investigation. He also notes that Ji-ah’s body temperature showed that she was dead before Bok-geo could’ve arrived on the scene. The detective argues that the cold water influenced her body temperature, making it difficult to determine the time of death.
Suk-woo criticizes the investigation for failing to question witnesses where Ji-ah’s body was found. Lieutenant Kang argues that the evidence seized from K-Fact proved that Bok-geo was tracking Ji-ah for years, proving that he held a grudge against her. Suk-woo asks the detective if he has ever seen an innocent man run from the police, ending his questioning when the detective fails to answer.
Prosecutor Choi’s next witness is a salesgirl who testifies about the shirt button, positively identifying it in the crime scene photos. A shaky-looking Hye-joo leaves the courtroom under CEO Lee’s watchful eye, retreating to a restroom. He texts her, “Where are you? Did you make up your mind?” She splashes water onto her face, trembling as she remembers Geum-joo’s promise to repay her debt with a trial.
Back in the courtroom, Prosecutor Choi calls Reporter Baek as a witness. He projects the photo that she took of Bok-geo and Geum-joo kissing, causing an uproar in the courtroom. Geum-joo has to listen to the gossip about her, while Bok-geo looks on in concern. Suk-woo objects to the questioning, causing Prosecutor Choi to ask Bok-geo to explain the photo.
Bok-geo describes the photo as a beautiful moment between a man and a woman. Prosecutor Choi presents it as proof that Bok-geo and Geum-joo are in an inappropriate relationship, suggesting that Geum-joo is trying to mislead the trial due to her personal feelings.
Bok-geo asks his own question of Prosecutor Choi, wanting to know what is inappropriate about his relationship with Geum-joo. Bok-geo expresses curiosity about the prosecutor’s overreaction, but invites more questions so that he can prove his innocence and resume their relationship. Geum-joo looks at Bok-geo in disbelief as her gives he a wink, while Attorney Goo mutters about Bok-geo’s bad habits.
Geum-joo stands up to question the next witness, the detective who wrote the profile on Ji-ah’s murderer, detective KWON IN-SOO. The profiler testifies that the murderer was very deliberate, even going so far as to put the body in the water to confuse the time of death. Geum-joo suggests that the lack of fibers on the button could mean that it was planted rather than torn from a shirt, and also notes that a murderer would likely remove such evidence before leaving the scene.
Detective Kwon admits that the button is controversial and then adds that strangulation does not suggest an impulsive murder either. Geum-joo gets Detective Kwon to admit that Bok-geo might not be Ji-ah’s killer. Prosecutor Choi counters that a profile is merely a reference, asking the court to focus on the evidence instead.
When Prosecutor Choi questions Bok-geo on the stand, he explains his that he knew Ji-ah through the teenage sex hostess case that he tried as a prosecutor. Bok-geo testifies that he did not ask Ji-ah to commit perjury, even though it was rumored that he did. But he does acknowledge that he resigned because of her testimony in that case.
Prosecutor Choi alleges that Bok-geo held a grudge against Ji-ah, but he denies it. The prosecutor then projects a CCTV image that shows Bok-geo at the scene of Ji-ah’s murder, adding that the shoes he is wearing in the photo match the footprint found at the scene.
Bok-geo admits that he used a dating app to meet Ji-ah that night. Prosecutor Choi details that the app is used by people interested in sexual encounters and has led to an increase in rapes and murders, even though Suk-woo argues that Bok-geo only used the app to avoid monitoring.
The judge waves off Suk-woo, encouraging Prosecutor Choi to continue his questioning. The prosecutor alleges that Bok-geo intended to rape Ji-ah and killed her when she resisted. Bok-geo denies that claim, explaining that he was concerned about her safety. Instead, he found her already dead. Prosecutor Choi argues that if Bok-geo wanted to help her, he should have reported the crime.
Bok-geo explains that he tried to pull Ji-ah from the water and saw his button in her hand, leading to the realization that he had been framed. He left it alone, because in his experience as a prosecutor, taking it would’ve made him appear guilty.
Geum-joo looks at the rubber thimble on her thumb before calling researcher NO SEON-AE, assistant to the coroner during the autopsy, to the stand. Geum-joo explains how she began as a paralegal, being responsible for reviewing case-related documents. Geum-joo shows that she wore a hole in her thimble while reviewing the documents in this case, adding that hitting rock bottom can be meaningful.
Prosecutor Choi objects, complaining that he has no idea where she’s going with this lofty talk. Geum-joo places an additional autopsy report on the projector that details the analysis of the stomach contents. As she explains each page, the judge gets impatient with her, telling Geum-joo that she’s wasting the court’s time. Geum-joo informs the judge that the prosecution is unaware that a page of reference material is missing from the report.
Geum-joo accuses the prosecution of limiting their investigation because they only saw what they wanted to see, causing them to miss a very important detail. Prosecutor Choi texts CEO Lee, asking him what to do, and is advised to allow Geum-joo to focus on the foreign substance.
Geum-joo returns to her witness, asking Researcher No if there was anything unusual about Ji-ah’s autopsy. He remembers a small plastic wrapper that was found with the stomach contents, recorded on a separate page. Geum-joo informs the court that the page is missing, explaining that a new copy of the report was missing the same page.
Geum-joo explains to the court that the original page written by Coroner Park cannot be found. She challenges the prosecutor’s office to explain the incomplete report. Attorney Goo praises Geum-joo’s tactic as Manager Hwang tears up, and An-na sighs in relief. Geum-joo turns to the judge and says, “That’s all.”
I didn’t expect the time jump, and especially not one that covered two years. What has been going on in that time? Hye-joo has been biding her time at Oh Sung and has maybe rekindled her relationship with Prosecutor Choi. Bok-geo’s driver is conspicuously absent from K-Fact while Attorney Goo and Suk-woo are still at Golden Tree. Geum-joo still doesn’t have her lawyer’s badge, and she and Bok-geo haven’t seen one another. Once they are reunited, he ends up in custody. Bok-geo’s comment that he wants to be proven innocent so that he can spend more personal time with Geum-joo is shared by the viewers, I’m sure.
While Bok-geo’s trial shares center stage with Geum-joo’s first case as a lawyer, the focus of the story shifted to CEO Lee’s power grab for Oh Sung. He has really embraced his notion that ambition is the only way to escape the swamp that is Oh Sung. Hye-joo finds herself in a dangerous predicament after trying to play her hand against Oh Sung and failing miserably. The seriousness of her situation has finally become clear, and she seems to be teetering on the verge of a breakdown over her dilemma. Even though her collapse is riveting, Hye-joo continues to puzzle me. Did she steal the page from the autopsy report so that she could play hero at the eleventh hour? She has had the information for over two years, so she might have been able to prevent the coroner’s death and keep herself safe if she hadn’t been going for a grand gesture. Hye-joo’s crisis is entirely of her own making, driven by poor choices, greed, and her desire to stand apart from Geum-joo. My sympathy goes to the characters that are collateral damage, such as the unsuspecting coroner and Gyeong-hwan, and not an attorney trying to climb a very corrupt ladder.
The presence of that hidden surveillance camera in her apartment was unsettling, not only because Hye-joo was secretly recorded, but because someone managed to place it there without her knowledge. After Min-ah’s revelation that the man who kidnapped and beat her was a younger, shorter man, I wondered who that could be. Prosecutor Choi’s behavior has been suspicious, but his cooperation with CEO Lee during the investigation surrounding Bok-geo’s case makes it look as if he’s the same type of prosecutor that CEO Lee once was: corrupt. What happened to his declaration to Hye-joo that he was planning on exposing Oh Sung and freeing her? Was he trying to gain her trust so that he could spy on her? After Min-ah’s description of her attacker, I’m thinking he may be another Oh Sung fixer.
Even though I find myself unsympathetic to Hye-joo’s current situation, I do admire the acting of Jeon Hye-bin. It’s the first time that I have watched her in a drama, and I can really feel her character’s growing desperation. She isn’t afraid to look disheveled and unhinged, which is a challenge for attractive actresses. Her demeanor contrasts sharply with Geum-joo’s calm façade, further highlighting her descent as compared to her sister’s ascent.
What makes these two women so interesting lies in their differences. Geum-joo doesn’t live her life based on fear. During the homeless girl case, she ignored the threat to drop the case and ended up in prison. After her release, she had nothing, and accepted menial work as she tried to rebuild her life. Geum-joo didn’t allow herself to become desperate, and her calmness allowed her to be deliberate and thoughtful. Hye-joo’s reaction to the threat from CEO Lee’s fixer was to run as far away from Geum-joo as possible. Her job at Oh Sung offered her money and prestige, making it impossible for her to leave even after she discovered the reason for her position. While Geum-joo maintained her dignity even as her life fell apart, Hye-joo is in a full-blown panic, lashing out at the one person who has ever been loyal to her. One sister will most likely be vindicated, while the other may stay trapped in a horrific limbo.
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 11
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 10
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 9
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 8
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 7
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 6
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 5
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 4
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 3
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 2
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 1