It’s the beginning of the showdown Bok-geo has spent years preparing Geum-joo for, and she finally has the all-important badge she needs to go to bat for her unjustly framed benefactor. As their opponents use their influence to keep justice at bay, Geum-joo finds that she must be more on her toes than ever to overturn another seemingly impossible case—and with the odds against them, they’ll need all the teamwork they can get.
EPISODE 13: “Putting the Defendant’s Interests First”
Geum-joo surprises the prosecution by bringing up the missing page from the coroner’s report which mentioned the plastic wrapper found in Ji-ah’s stomach. Then, under the proud gaze of Attorney Goo and Manager Hwang, she asks the prosecution to explain how they could have ignored missing evidence, and why they didn’t investigate the matter.
Hye-joo returns to the courtroom with red-rimmed eyes. Geum-joo notices the look and watches her sister with concern. CEO Lee congratulates Hye-joo on making the right decision and texts Prosecutor Choi to ask for permission to call a new witness.
Judge Seo asks the other judges how they should proceed, and they advise asking the prosecution to address the missing evidence by the next trial date. Prosecutor Choi tells the judges that that would be unnecessary, since they have a crucial new witness who can shed light on the matter with them. Suk-woo objects to the entry of a surprise witness, but the prosecution insists that their investigation turned up an explanation for the missing page.
Hye-joo takes the witness stand, and Prosecutor Choi asks if she has something to testify regarding the missing pages in the coroner’s report. Hye-joo says she does. The prosecutor then asks if Hye-joo met Coroner Park before his demise, and what he said to her about the report.
Hye-joo hesitates for a long moment before admitting that he had told her about a plastic wrapper found in Ji-ah’s stomach. When asked what was on the wrapper, she says that there was a writing on it, as if the victim had wanted to identify the killer. To everyone’s shock, she reveals that it had said, “Hamburger.”
As Prosecutor Choi prods her to tell the court what that word could mean in this context, Hye-joo looks into Geum-joo’s disbelieving eyes and says that it’s a term of endearment for the defendant, Ham Bok-geo.
Prosecutor Choi uses this as a jumping point to speculate that Coroner Park had been threatened by Bok-geo and committed suicide to protect his family. He wants to charge Bok-geo with the coroner’s murder, and asks that he be prosecuted either with this case or separately.
Suk-woo gets up to object and points out that the defense cannot accept any evidence that they have not been able to examine themselves, and certainly not on the basis of testimony by a last-minute witness entry. He asks the judges to ignore circumstantial evidence and decide on Bok-geo’s guilt based only on definite evidence that proves culpability beyond reasonable doubt.
Prosecutor Choi tells Suk-woo that to give them the concrete evidence they want, he wants to call to stand a certain foreign priest residing in South Korean called “Alan Baston.” It turns out to be CEO Lee’s fixer in glasses his never-killed-anyone face on. Fixer testifies in court that he’s an early morning jogger in the park where Ji-ah was murdered, and that he saw Bok-geo there that morning.
He says he identified him because he’d borrowed water from him before and wanted to say hello. He claims he didn’t end up doing so because Bok-geo had an angry look on his face: “As if he could kill someone.” Meanwhile, Bok-geo points Fixer out as the real killer to Geum-joo, and says that CEO Lee wants to finish this trial today.
Prosecutor Choi asks Fixer if he remembers what Bok-geo wore, and he “recalls” a black jacket with a beige shirt. As Prosecutor Choi brings up a picture of the shirt with the missing button, Fixer even helpfully identifies the brand. Suk-woo covers his face in defeat as Hye-joo — apparently at peace with her inner evil now — smiles to herself.
At the end of the session, Bok-geo tells Geum-joo that she was very cool that day. He also tells her to be careful since the killer is a real professional. The Golden Tree team wonder about Hye-joo’s perjury, and Manager Hwang notes that she’s crossed over to a place she can’t come back from.
Hye-joo travels in CEO Lee’s car and tells him that when she was taken to the police station for petty theft as a teenager, Geum-joo had come to rescue her. She says ruefully that she’s always been Geum-joo’s first — her first “client” back then, and now a perjurer at her first trial.
Hye-joo takes off her lawyer’s badge and CEO Lee offers to throw it out for her. As the metal clinks in the gutter outside, he tells her that she will soon gain something far more valuable than a lawyer’s badge. Hye-joo smiles again.
Suk-woo catches up with Judge Seo and politely criticizes his decision to accept Hye-joo as a last-minute witness. The judge simply says that since she’s a lawyer, he didn’t see a problem and found her testimony perfectly convincing.
Editor Go tells the K-Fact staff that they should go after CEO Lee and Hye-ryung using Yoo Tae-ho. Agent Driver starts following the young celebrity. In another part of town, CEO Lee asks Hye-ryung what she means to do with Yoo Tae-ho. Hye-ryung slides her arms around his waist suggestively, and says that she’ll leave everything up to him.
Suk-woo cajoles a tense Geum-joo into leaving the office and going out to eat. They sit before a table full of food while Suk-woo tries to tempt her appetite by telling her which dishes are best for both brain and body. When Geum-joo asks if he’s making all of it up, he cheekily admits that he is, but says that he’s sure all the food is good for her anyway.
Bok-geo asks Suk-woo to meet him at the detention center alone. There he tells Suk-woo that Fixer is a professional “janitor” who has been said to be involved in several international incidents. Bok-geo had been investigating the man for the last two years and advises Suk-woo that if they intend to call Fixer back for cross-examination, they should prepare a big punch to take out the opponent.
An-na and Geum-joo visit the coroner’s assistant, who tells them that the original report also has the same page missing. But he also tells them about a small development. Having noticed a portion of the report noting an “incomplete shifting of lividity,” he had emailed a German doctor for a second opinion. The doctor had written back that this suggested the body had been moved after death.
Geum-joo asks if the coroner’s office had checked the corpse’s temperature to judge the time of death, but the assistant admits that they couldn’t do it because it was out of their budget.
Hye-joo sits in CEO Lee’s office and asks him if she should manage Hye-ryung during the upcoming Oh Sung shareholders’ meeting. Just then, a man enters the office and shakes hands with CEO Lee. It’s Prosecutor Jung, the man who had been in charge of Min-ah’s case and who is now an attorney for Oh Sung.
Back in her office, Hye-joo thinks back to her younger self confronting the prosecutor over leading the homeless boy, Gyeong-hwan, to a false confession. She had told him that she would petition to reopen the case, and he had arrogantly said that he was hardly ever wrong. Now, she can’t help but think that he really was wrong, but it’s too late for her to change her direction.
Hye-joo meets Hye-ryung and compliments her on how well she’s doing under pressure. She asks to look into the file detailing their presentation for the shareholders’ meeting and suggests a few changes. She stresses that they shouldn’t mention Yoo Tae-ho, who is their brand model, and Hye-ryung easily agrees.
Fixer reports to CEO Lee that he has been subpoenaed to return as a witness to court, but he used his foreigner status to get out of it. CEO Lee asks about Yoo Tae-ho, and Fixer tells him that K-Fact is having him tailed. Fixer asks if Hye-ryung feels strongly about the model, since a romantic attachment between them could spell trouble later on.
Yoo Tae-ho gets tired of being followed by Reporter Baek and Editor Go. He jumps out of his car and bangs on their window, determined to stop them from bothering him. He manages to get the K-Fact van’s door open and snatches Reporter Baek’s camera, which he then smashes.
Later, he calls Hye-ryung up and asks her to reveal everything so that she can get a divorce, and they can be together. Hye-ryung pretends to have a guest and hangs up on him.
Geum-joo visits a dry cleaner’s shop with An-na and asks the store manager if they keep clothes that were never picked up separately. She shows the man a picture of Bok-geo’s beige shirt with the missing button, and the man looks up in recognition.
Geum-joo, An-na, and Manager Hwang discuss how every small lead is worth chasing down. They found the dry cleaning store even though it’s been two years and they moved shop. Now, they can cast doubt on “Alan Baston’s” testimony with the shop records they found.
On the next trial date, Geum-joo and Hye-joo come face to face. Geum-joo notes that Hye-joo’s taken off her badge and says that she must still have a conscience. Hye-joo corrects her and says that she simply realized there are more valuable things than that.
Geum-joo wants her to tell Hye-ryung that even if they lose today, this won’t be the end. Hye-joo tells her that Hye-ryung depends on her now, and that she’s found many similarities between Hye-ryung and herself.
The prosecution begins by trying to establish the time of death. They call a police officer to the witness stand, who testifies that they recreated the water temperature from the night of Ji-ah’s death and tested the body temperature using the corpse of a dog. They compared this to Ji-ah’s anal temperature and established that she died after 5 a.m. when Bok-geo arrived on scene.
An-na wonders how they could have done the experiment when the coroner’s office supposedly didn’t have the budget to take Ji-ah’s anal temperature in the first place.
Geum-joo has the coroner’s assistant testify that the body was moved after death according to the opinion of the German doctor they consulted. By which reasoning, she establishes that Ji-ah’s death occurred between 3 and 5 a.m. She asks Prosecutor Choi to explain how Bok-geo got there and committed the murder before he was even caught on CCTV.
Judge Seo calls for “Alan Baston” as the next witness. Prosecutor Choi explains that the witness refused to come because he feared for his safety, and as he is a foreigner, they could not force him. Suk-woo asks to reveal some new information that they discovered regarding the witness, and the judge agrees.
Suk-woo presents evidence that while an “Alan Baston” was indeed registered as priest in France up to 2004, his current whereabouts are unknown to his monastery. Suk-woo also presents some newspaper clips that show his involvement in a few international incidents.
When Prosecutor Choi objects to this, Geum-joo gets up and asks if the prosecution agrees with their witness’s testimony in its entirety. Prosecutor Choi smugly says yes, and Geum-joo calls in a new witness.
It’s the dry cleaning store’s manager. Geum-joo shows him a picture of Bok-geo’s shirt and asks him if he recognizes it. He says that it was in his store on the day of the murder. To back this up, he takes out his record books and begins flipping through the pages. Geum-joo asks if there was anything special on the shirt, like mud or blood. The store owner points out his entry two years ago and says that there was only the third shirt button missing.
Geum-joo asks the store manager if there is any way the witness, “Alan Baston,” could have seen Bok-geo wearing that shirt on the day of the murder. The manager laughs and says that since Bok-geo never paid for the cleaning, the shirt is still with him. He looks over at Bok-geo and tells him he’ll have to pay two years’ worth of late fees.
The court laughs, and Manager Hwang says that it’s finally over. Geum-joo asks the judges not to dismiss their arguments as meaningless, since they are breadcrumbs on the path to the truth. The court takes a break as the judges deliberate upon their decision. Finally, everyone is called back in, and Judge Seo gives his verdict.
He admits that almost all “concrete” evidence forwarded by the prosecution has been cast in doubt by the defense, but adds that since the overall picture and circumstantial evidence still point towards Bok-geo, it is enough to assume Bok-geo’s guilt. He sentences Bok-geo to twelve years in prison, while Geum-joo and the Golden Tree team listen in stunned silence.
Bok-geo is led away by guards and ignores questions thrown at him by the press as he locks eyes with a distraught Geum-joo.
In their office later, An-na begins to cry at how unfair the judgement was. Geum-joo comforts her like the natural elder sister she is. Suk-woo asks Geum-joo if they should appeal, but before she can respond she gets a call from Detective Kim. He has located Gyeong-hwan.
When Suk-woo and Geum-joo arrive at his station, he tells them that he’s been looking for the boy ever since he learned that the real culprit of Min-ah’s case was found. It was apparently a drug peddling young man who had hidden the knife he used and then boasted about what he had done to his friends. Despite getting caught with a confession, Prosecutor Jung — the one who had investigated Min-ah’s case — let him go, claiming that there wasn’t enough evidence.
Detective Kim hands them a letter and says that a city office regularly receives these letters from a nearby mental hospital, and he suspects that they are from Gyeong-hwan.
Geum-joo and Suk-woo visit the hospital and find Gyeong-hwan repeatedly writing confessions about the old case to the police. The moment he sees them he falls on his knees and begs forgiveness for killing Min-ah. Geum-joo tries to reach through his tortured mind, but fails.
Afterward, Geum-joo cries and tells Suk-woo that she feels guilty for how things turned out for the pitiful boy.
Hye-joo reports to CEO Lee that Gyeong-hwan has been found, but that he’s not in his right mind. They debate on how to deal with an appeal of Bok-geo’s case.
Geum-joo visits Hye-joo in her office and tells her that she’s going to make an appeal, not for Bok-geo’s case, but for Min-ah’s. Geum-joo says that she realized that some secrets must be brought to light to reopen the case, such as the affair between Hye-ryung and Yoo Tae-ho that led to Min-ah’s kidnapping.
Hye-joo asks how Geum-joo intends to reopen a case where she was the defending attorney. Geum-joo tells her stepsister that she was just her avatar then, and that she should return all the case files to their true owner. Hye-joo agrees and brings out a bin full of shredded paper. Geum-joo takes the bin and upturns the content on her sister’s head.
Prosecutor Jung, now working for Oh Sung, worries that people might be suspicious if it comes out that everyone involved in Min-ah’s case works for the same organization. This gets CEO Lee to pay Bok-geo a visit, where he threatens Geum-joo’s life and tells Bok-geo to stop her from appealing if he wants to protect her.
Suk-woo asks Geum-joo if it isn’t more humane to leave Gyeong-hwan as he is rather than dragging him through a trial again. Geum-joo tells him that she believes that for Gyeong-hwan to live normally again, he must get an apology from the people who ruined his life. When Suk-woo brings up the safety of everyone involved, Geum-joo says that she will protect both Min-ah and Gyeong-hwan, since she has no one else left.
Geum-joo takes Min-ah to a testing center and has her DNA matched to that of the victim of the homeless girl case. They hug each other, because Min-ah can finally reclaim her identity again.
Bok-geo orders Editor Go to send a certain picture to Yoo Tae-ho. It’s a picture of Hye-ryung with her arms around CEO Lee’s waist. Tae-ho doesn’t take it well and tries calling up Hye-ryung, but her assistant takes the call and tells him not to contact her for now.
Geum-joo and Suk-woo begin their search for new evidence for Min-ah’s case. Without even the old files, their work is made much harder. While Suk-woo asks Detective Kim if he can identify the man who confessed to being the real culprit in Min-ah’s case, Geum-joo visits Gyeong-hwan and goes in search of the copies of Gyeong-hwan’s testimony from the original trial.
Geum-joo thinks to herself that there have only been five appeals in criminal trial in her country. She asks herself if she’s taking on such a difficult thing to defend the existence of law before admitting that it’s because she’s just that angry.
Yoo Tae-ho sends Geum-joo a message and asks to meet. They talk by the riverside, where he says he’ll reveal that everything happened because of his affair with Hye-ryung. Geum-joo asks why, since this could very well be a trap. Tae-ho says that he wants to destroy them before they destroy everything he worked for.
She takes out her phone and records his confession about how Min-ah’s kidnapping came about. Evidence firmly in hand, Geum-joo and Tae-ho walk back to their cars, but are stopped when Fixer arrives, bidding them a cheerful greeting. He orders Geum-joo to leave the phone and walk away.
Geum-joo refuses, and hides the phone behind her back. Fixer walks up to her and confesses that when he was following her, he began liking her as a person. When Tae-ho intervenes, he turns to threaten the model, and Geum-joo starts walking towards her car.
Fixer points his gun at Tae-ho, and asks Geum-joo to stop. Fixer then turns the gun on her, but Geum-joo doesn’t flinch. She tells him that the recording in the phone is her life now, so he can shoot if he wants to.
Fixer shoots twice, quite close to her, but Geum-joo doesn’t react. Giving him an impassive glare, she calmly walks to her car. Fixer says with admiration that this is why he likes her. Then, pointing his gun straight at her, he shoots.
That last scene was like an homage to Geum-joo’s epic badassery. I love how there’s a hitman threatening to put a bullet through her, but she’s having none of it simply because she has other places to be. Ha. It’s particularly delicious because it robs Fixer of the fear he thrives on.
There are times when this show surprises me. Geum-joo losing her very first case — the most important one she’s ever fought — is a pretty great setup. She has the confidence and assurance of a pro, but also the doubts and fears of a first-timer. For this case to be the one that gives her the impetus to go after Oh Sung, it had to be a crucial one. And despite Bok-geo’s apparent carelessness, the show makes it clear that the twelve year sentence hit him hard. This loss matters. The consequences will be far-reaching.
As much as I regret the lack of development in his character, I like this version of Suk-woo a lot more than the one we dealt with for the last six episodes. I suppose two years of watching someone pine for another man is a pretty great cure for a crush. I liked that Suk-woo questioned Geum-joo’s decision to reopen Gyeong-hwan’s case. This is what I expected from his character from the very beginning, the idealistic one who would question the jaded decisions of his more experienced colleagues. Gyeong-hwan and Min-ah have both gone through horrible ordeals for kids their age, so while I appreciate Geum-joo’s sentiment and applaud her fearlessness in taking on a mammoth like Oh Sung, I can’t help but agree with Suk-woo that she’s set them all on a path of hurt. It’s all well and good to say she’ll protect the kids, but exactly how does she think she’ll do that? The other side’s got guns.
This is an episode that contained two of the most irreconcilable aspects of this show. Unbearable silliness — why would a victim write “Hamburger,” or even draw a parrot for that matter, when she could just have written the killer’s name? — and heavy realism, like Geum-joo’s frustration at hearing that a necessary test couldn’t be performed because it was beyond the coroner’s budget. It used to frustrate me, but I look forward to these moments now.
Lastly, I think the show is telling me to give up on Hye-joo now. I admit I remained naively optimistic about a redemption arc, simply because I like the actress, Jeon Hye-bin, so much. She has this way of combining softness and poison that just gets to me. Sadly, at this point the show only has one use for her character, and that’s apparently to sell lipstick. On the other hand, if the show decides to fully plumb the depths of her villainy, then I’m all for that. Hye-ryung makes for an excellent sphinx-like woman of mystery. Mistress of All Evil? Not so much. I could really get behind Hye-joo being the baddest bad — it would at least give her something to do.
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 12
- 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