It’s time to say goodbye to our favorite paralegal-turned-lawyer and her loyal suitcase. Geum-joo’s journey has been both heartbreaking and inspirational, capped by a rare retrial in the case that started it all. Her story is a testament to perseverance, but while Geum-joo’s promise to be a “forever friend” to her clients has worked out beautifully for her career, Bok-geo is looking for a “forever partner.” Will all his waiting finally be rewarded?
EPISODE 16: “Not Giving Up”
The long-awaited reunion between Bok-geo and Geum-joo is interrupted by approaching policemen, who arrest Geum-joo on the spot for violating the Attorney-at-Law Act.
At NIS headquarters, a crazed-looking Hye-joo sits alone in an interrogation room practicing the story she’ll tell the investigators. Barking like a dog, she tells herself that she’ll convince them she was just following orders as Oh Sung’s dog. But then Agent-Driver walks in with CEO Lee to explain that her cooperation is needed once more, so she’s transferred to the prosecutor’s office.
Fixer Kang is a suspect in multiple unsolved cases and has to choose between cooperating or being turned over to the KGB. He decides to cooperate, and names CEO Lee as the person who ordered the murders of Ji-ah and Yoo Tae-ho.
Prosecutor Choi shows Hye-joo a copy of Ji-ah’s missing autopsy page that was acquired by K-Fact. She admits to taking a photo before destroying the original, as ordered by CEO Lee. Prosecutor Choi warns her that a confession will mean the loss of her attorney’s license. CEO Lee suggests that Hye-joo could avoid that penalty, but she reminds him that he already threw her lawyer badge away.
Suk-woo runs into the police station and learns from Bok-geo that Geum-joo is being questioned. He joins her as former Prosecutor Jung explains that Geum-joo breached her contract with Hye-ryung. Suk-woo clarifies that he was the attorney in Hye-ryung’s divorce case — Geum-joo was just the paralegal, so any breach is his fault. He then cites ethics regulations that justify Geum-joo’s actions.
The former prosecutor takes a call from Bok-geo, who congratulates Jung as the new CEO of Oh Sung. Bok-geo demands Geum-joo’s release, but CEO Jung cockily refuses. Bok-geo sends him a list of Food Talk members, threatening to give the list to Oh Sung unless Geum-joo is released. And so, CEO Jung informs Geum-joo and Suk-woo that Bok-geo just negotiated a deal for their release.
CEO Lee’s actions have finally caught up to him, and he is led to a prison cell as he recites, “Life is meaningless… Oh Sung is meaningless too.”
A young woman is viciously beaten by a man identified as Choi Min-ki of Hanma Group. He picks up a knife but is hit over the head with a bottle, and we see that the woman’s ear is partially severed. After the tussle, the woman accuses Choi Min-ki of attempted murder, and Detective Kang informs her that Choi Min-ki made the same accusation about her, claiming that she was after money.
We learn that three years have passed as a very jovial Manager Hwang shouts morning greetings to the newer employees at Golden Tree. An-na is now a paralegal, and she informs a caller that Geum-joo is unavailable due to her appearance on Power News.
The interview highlights Geum-joo’s impressive career since the homeless girl case. In a small law office, a man sees the broadcast and asks Hye-joo, who is his paralegal, if Geum-joo is her sister. He mentions that it won’t be long before Hye-joo will have her license again, but she grabs a stack of flyers and makes a hasty exit.
Geum-joo’s interview ends with a question about her future plans, and she admits that there is one thing left for her to accomplish. She refuses to share details as she explains that it is related to a case, reminding the interviewer about her past troubles with the Attorney-at-Law Act.
Geum-joo now has a driver, who asks where she was thinking of buying a house. She looks up to check the neighborhood, but something catches her attention. It’s Hye-joo passing out flyers, and just like Geum-joo in the past, someone bumps into her and knocks them out of her hands. As she stoops to pick them up, she notices someone standing in front of her.
Geum-joo helps Hye-joo gather the flyers before demonstrating the correct way to pass them out. Hye-joo comments that it’s proper to ignore a pathetic sight, but Geum-joo admits that she stopped on purpose. Hye-joo returns to work, calling out the name of her office, but Geum-joo shouts out, “Come to Golden Tree.”
Geum-joo looks at Hye-joo and asks, “Won’t you come? To your sister?” Hye-joo doesn’t answer, but instead walks away as she continues to distribute flyers. As she is driven away, Geum-joo’s memories of her troubled relationship with Hye-joo are interrupted by a call from KIM YOUNG-AE of Hanma Group.
Suk-woo, now a prosecutor, receives an update on Food Talk, learning that the group supposedly became inactive after CEO Lee went to prison. Suk-woo believes that the members have regrouped under a different name, and suggests expanding the search.
Geum-joo observes Choi Min-ki’s police interrogation from behind a two way mirror. He denies starting the attack, claiming that his accuser approached him first at a nightclub. Geum-joo later meets with Hanma Group’s mother and son, shocking Choi Min-ki with her first question: “Did you have sex with her?” He has to admit that he did in front of his mother.
Choi Min-ki sticks to his story that the woman, Son Na-hee, attacked him. He seems unaware of the ear injury, claiming that he was out of it that night. His mother interrupts to explain that her son is too nice, which leads to problems with weird girls.
Choi Min-ki maintains his story as his mother admits that the family paid off another girl in a previous incident. Geum-joo explains that a charge of attempted murder makes the case more challenging (meaning higher fees) and recites her customary condition, “Payment first, work after.”
Choi Min-ki to protests that Geum-joo’s fees are too high, but his mother quickly promises an immediate deposit. Detective Kang enters their room where the newly hired Geum-joo insists that he either arrest or release her client, adding that both parties will be charged in the attack. The boy’s mother looks satisfied with their new attorney.
Geum-joo has an awkward encounter with Suk-woo on her way out. They relocate to a coffee shop, where Suk-woo admits that being a prosecutor suits him, except for the fact that he must avoid Golden Tree.
Suk-woo explains that he is expected to sever ties with the law firm to avoid any professional misunderstandings. He’s subdued as he promises to visit her sometime as just a man rather than a prosecutor.
The K-Fact team sets up a newly purchased, high-powered camera on the roof of a building. Reporter Baek isn’t convinced that she can get the photo that Bok-geo wants, but the others have faith that the lens will deliver.
CEO Jung approaches the recently released CEO Lee at a driving range, asking him to keep Suk-woo in line now that he’s become a prosecutor. CEO Lee declines, having joined another law firm, and is happy that Oh Sung’s problems are now CEO Jung’s concern.
Having captured the photos of current Food Talk meetings with the new camera, Bok-geo recognizes an original member, and Reporter Baek points out CEO Jung. She reports that Food Talk changed their location to an officetel and switched to women in their twenties instead of teenagers.
Professor Kim is now a presidential candidate, which causes a buzz when he meets Geum-joo at Golden Tree. He asks her to handle a lawsuit, mentioning that CEO Lee is advising his opponent. This presents Geum-joo with an opportunity to win a case against the man who sent her to prison. He also offers Geum-joo a prestigious position in his administration should he win the election.
Geum-joo wonders who recommended her, and Professor Kim stifles a smile. Later, he updates Hye-joo on his meeting, explaining that Geum-joo turned down his offer because she lacks political experience. Hye-joo still insists that Geum-joo is the perfect person for the job.
Bok-geo invites Geum-joo to lunch and admits that he heard about her meeting with Professor Kim. She changes the subject, reminding him that he said he had something to tell her. Bok-geo hesitates before asking Geum-joo again if she will be his companion.
Geum-joo apologizes for not answering him sooner. (It’s only been five years!) Geum-joo struggles to answer, so Bok-geo mentions that he might need her legal help again. An exasperated Geum-joo sputters, wondering what crime he hasn’t allegedly committed at this point. Bok-geo suggests fraud, mentioning that he’s working on a plan that involves scamming the prosecutor’s office.
Hye-joo is at her desk when Suk-woo walks into her new office/his old office, explaining that he saw her name on the door and wanted to see the space again. Hye-joo believes it’s good luck that she has the same office that Suk-woo and Geum-joo once shared.
Being back in his old office causes Suk-woo to reminisce, and he admits to Hye-joo that his happiest days were spent there. He offers her encouragement, but Hye-joo wonders if Suk-woo has another reason for his visit. He does, and asks if she knows anything about Food Talk.
A young, barefoot girl climbs out of a second story window, slipping and falling onto the street below. Getting up, she pulls out a worn business card bearing Geum-joo’s name, but is caught and reported to the police when she’s found stealing food from a store.
The team at Golden Tree reviews Choi Min-ki’s case, and Manager Hwang takes Geum-joo aside to show her an unsolved case that he worked on when she was in prison. The Sinchon College student case had a similar M.O., he claims, since the victim’s ear was similarly severed. Geum-joo is cautious about connecting the cases since she’s representing Choi Min-ki.
An-na answers a call from a girl who claims that Geum-joo is her mother. Geum-joo rushes to the police station and is reunited with the little girl who she once gave her business card to in a hospital. The young girl sobs as she begs Geum-joo to rescue her from her mother.
Editor Go and Bok-geo discuss the Food Talk photos. Editor Go suggests passing them to another publication, but Bok-geo proposes having the information taken from them and meets with Suk-woo to ask about his interest in Food Talk.
Suk-woo guesses that Bok-geo has information, but is told that K-Fact can’t reveal anything. He reminds Bok-geo that he vowed to expose Food Talk, but the CEO refuses to risk K-Fact after everything he’s been through — plus, he made a deal with CEO Jung when he saved Geum-joo. Suk-woo threatens to arrest Bok-geo, which Bok-geo thinks is a great idea.
Bok-geo suggests that Suk-woo should issue an arrest warrant, play up their grudge, and use that to search K-Fact’s files. Suk-woo clarifies that Bok-geo is asking for a search and seizure warrant on his own office, and gets a wink as his answer. Suk-woo then goes to Assistant Chief Prosecutor Choi and tells him that K-Fact is suspected of leaking secrets in order to get an approval for his warrant.
At the station, the mother of Geum-joo’s young friend tells the police that her daughter is a liar and a troublemaker. The girl is at Golden Tree, where An-na urges Geum-joo to accept the case. Instead, Geum-joo surprises everyone and refuses it, claiming that she is too busy.
The girl sobs, reminding Geum-joo that she promised to be her companion, and that she even called her a future client. After the girl leaves Golden Tree with an escort, An-na voices her disapproval, but Manager Hwang insists that Geum-joo must have her reasons. An-na thinks that Geum-joo only wants cases that pay well.
A potential client leaves Hye-joo’s office, leaving her feeling discouraged. The little girl is then brought in by her escort, who explains that the girl may be a victim of abuse while informing Hye-joo that she was recommended as a lawyer who would take good care of the girl. Hye-joo asks about the source of her referral, but is told that the information is confidential.
Hye-joo gasps to see a large bruise on the girl’s collarbone and learns that the girl gets hit when she asks for food. The young girl also reveals that her mom is really her stepmother and her only family since her father died. She adds that her stepmother refuses to buy her sanitary pads, causing Hye-joo to remember her own past experiences.
Suk-woo shows up at K-Fact with his warrant, and Bok-geo feigns disappointment over Suk-woo’s betrayal. A wink to Editor Go lets him know that the seizure was planned. When another prosecutor can’t access Bok-geo’s computer, Suk-woo suggests that he try the password, “Get Lost Attorney Ma.” It works, and Bok-geo mutters that he should have changed it. Ha.
An-na walks with Geum-joo to K-Fact, explaining that Suk-woo served Bok-geo sa search and seizure warrant. He runs into Geum-joo on his way out, and Bok-geo makes a scene, amazed at how much Suk-woo has changed since becoming a prosecutor. Suk-woo walks away, and Bok-geo quietly confides that their former lawyer is a much better prosecutor than he ever was.
The seizure of K-Fact’s files makes the news. The report states that K-Fact possessed the member list of Food Talk but neglected to give the information to the prosecutor’s office, forcing them to seize it. Geum-joo watches a report and asks Bok-geo if he arranged to give Suk-woo the information, but he just smiles.
CEO Jung is busy shredding files when Suk-woo’s team walks into his office with a warrant. Editor Go reports to Bok-geo that K-Fact isn’t under any suspicion of passing information to the prosecutor’s office due to the reported bad blood between him and Suk-woo.
Reporter Baek scolds Bok-geo about his password, but he confesses that he changed it long ago. Editor Go wants to know his new password, but is told to ask the NIS. Agent-Driver walks in then, but he looks depressed as he tells the team that he quit the NIS. Bok-geo hires him, suggesting that he can take photos, but Reporter Baek and Editor Go protest that he’s not very good.
An-na invites Suk-woo to attend Geum-joo’s trial, noting that he should find it interesting as a prosecutor. Choi Min-ki’s case is underway, and Geum-joo establishes Son Na-hee’s pattern of bringing men home from clubs for one-night stands.
Geum-joo expertly defends Choi Min-ki, who seems mostly bored. Suk-woo and his companion manage to enter the courtroom just as Geum-joo begins her closing argument.
Geum-joo focuses on the attempt to sever Son Na-hee’s ear, which causes Suk-woo’s companion to remember something. Geum-joo argues that the M.O. only makes sense if the defendant is a psychopath. While Suk-woo leaves the courtroom with his detective companion, Geum-joo charges that the victim’s intent was to target an heir for a monetary settlement.
The court finds Choi Min-ki not guilty. After leaving the courtroom, Geum-joo verifies that she’s been paid in full, but Choi Min-ki calls her fee excessive and argues that the not guilty verdict was easier that he expected. Geum-joo agrees that this trial was easy, but warns him that the next one will be extremely difficult.
Suk-woo and the detective approach Choi Min-ki to arrest him for murder in the Sinchon Student case, causing Geum-joo to offer a sympathetic pout. Choi Min-ki becomes meek, reaching out to Geum-joo for help, but she claims that she is too busy for such a difficult trial and wishes Suk-woo luck before walking away. K-Fact investigates Choi Min-ki’s background, confirming his violent tendencies.
Hye-joo appears in court with the young girl, KIM HAN-YI, to request a termination of parental rights based on evidence of abuse. As Hye-joo presents medical records to the judge, Geum-joo quietly enters the courtroom. The girl’s stepmother explains away the many broken bones as being due to the girl’s own clumsiness.
The stepmother argues that she could have sent the girl to an orphanage, then assures the judge that she’s done her best to raise Kim Han-yi. She claims to have money problems and sobs for effect, until Hye-joo asks about the insurance money. Hye-joo gives the judge evidence that proves that the stepmother won’t get that money until Kim Han-yi reaches adulthood, which explains why she kept the girl.
Hye-joo argues that Kim Han-yi should have someone who will provide for her needs whether she asks for them or not. She repeats the request for parental termination, asking for protective services until a guardian can be assigned. As she consoles Kim Han-yi, Hye-joo notices Geum-joo in the courtroom.
The sisters sit together outside, and when Hye-joo asks if Geum-joo sent Kim Han-yi’s case to her, Geum-joo just says that she was too busy. Hye-joo admits that the case helped her to realize that Geum-joo was always there for her, and wonders how she might have turned out otherwise. She asks after Geum-joo’s mother, worried that they became estranged because of her.
Hye-joo tearfully acknowledges that Geum-joo was more like a mother than a sister and offers her sincere thanks. Geum-joo is crying too, grateful for Hye-joo’s admission, but is fretful since she’s due in court. As Geum-joo stands to leave, she tells Hye-joo to call for any reason, and Hye-joo asks Geum-joo to focus on what makes her happy.
Geum-joo defends a client in an assault case where Suk-woo is the prosecutor. Their fiery exchange in court proves their expert grasp of the law as they face off as equals.
Bok-geo walks towards K-Fact when he stops to watch Geum-joo, who is just ahead of him. As his gaze follows her, he’s flooded with memories. Bok-geo runs to help Geum-joo with her suitcase, confessing that he should behave in front of her, but she thinks that he must be in legal trouble again.
Bok-geo admits that Geum-joo will have to accompany him for a long time, suggesting that he stumbled upon a national top secret. She gasps at the news, before she demands that he pay first. Bok-geo chuckles as Geum-joo stomps away, though a huge smile spreads across her face as she turns to look back at him.
Geum-joo works in her office at Golden Tree as she narrates that it takes dedication and hard work to protect the people around her. As she stands before the courthouse, her narration continues, promising that her suitcase will roll energetically beside her for a long time.
For a drama that started out with a heavy dose of cute and sweet, this episode was awfully somber. This wasn’t the final episode that I was hoping for, but let’s talk about what ended up with.
CEO Lee and Fixer Kang were finally caught, and Hye-joo lost her license for stealing and concealing evidence. It was about time, but I didn’t find the resolution very satisfying, because it felt a bit rushed. After the three year time jump, CEO Lee was a free man and Hye-joo was on the verge of getting her license back, so it hardly felt like they were punished at all.
Suk-woo went on to become a prosecutor, but having to sever ties with everyone at Golden Tree seemed to take the joy out of his life. The flashbacks of him smiling with Geum-joo only served to reinforce how much he sacrificed to serve the law. I felt sad for him and missed his youthful energy, since there were more sighs than smiles in the end. Suk-woo’s scene in his old office with Hye-joo, where he admitted that he spent his happiest days there with Geum-joo, was particularly touching. I get choked up just thinking about it.
With Suk-woo in the prosecutor’s office, Bok-geo was able to work with him to bring the members of Food Talk to justice, but that wasn’t enough of a happy ending for such an endearing character. In a personal sense, Suk-woo ended the story the way that he began before he met Geum-joo, lonely and isolated, even though he learned so much from her along the way. While it was exciting to see him face Geum-joo in court as her equal, all I could think of were his many declarations that he couldn’t be without her. I think that he was right after all.
Hye-joo’s estrangement from Geum-joo continued, as if the years had done nothing to soften her. Geum-joo’s admission in her TV interview that she had one important goal to accomplish must have been about Hye-joo. Even though Hye-joo had turned her back on Geum-joo, the reverse was never true. Unfortunately, relationships are a two-way street, and Geum-joo had no choice but to wait for Hye-joo to make the first move.
It was interesting to see Hye-joo struggle alone to start her career over again, just as Geum-joo once did. She demonstrated that she was a fighter. Hye-joo finally had an epiphany after representing Kim Han-yi in her abuse case, since the young girl’s plight managed to help Hye-joo understand that Geum-joo never abandoned her, and that she grew up with a real advocate by her side, unlike her client. Her admission that Geum-joo was more mother than sister allowed them to finally begin the work of repairing their relationship, and that was certainly a happy ending for both of them.
Bok-geo was ever faithful in his dedication to Geum-joo, both personally and professionally. Just as Geum-joo had to wait for Hye-joo, Bok-geo waited for Geum-joo to accept him. Five years is a long time, and I was surprised that their relationship was on hold for so long, since the earlier episodes were more aggressive. Bok-geo had to be satisfied with seeing Geum-joo rise to her professional potential, and he was clearly proud of her. I very much enjoyed the character, who always struck me as a behind-the-scenes type of hero: silly and goofy on the outside, serious and loyal on the inside. Bok-geo was key in giving Geum-joo a second chance, in saving Min-ah, and in exposing Food Talk. I loved the way that Bok-geo interacted with his employees, since there was just a looseness that made their scenes fun to watch. I suppose that Bok-geo ended up with an open ended happy ending, working at K-Fact with a loyal team to expose crime and corruption, hopeful of a future with Geum-joo by his side. He was certainly the poster child of not giving up, as per the episode’s title.
Geum-joo was haunted by that Attorney-at-Law Act throughout the story, and it’s a testament to her growth that she learned how to work around it. She ended up in another ethical dilemma when she defended Choi Min-ki in his attempted murder case and borrowed a page from Bok-geo’s book, leading Suk-woo and the detective to her client so that he could be arrested in another crime without violating the law. It’s interesting that Bok-geo seems to somehow teach her what she needs to know to be effective. First, it was that owner/property contract to help prepare her for the bar, and now, it’s allowing the prosecution to acquire important information indirectly. Bok-geo has been a good mentor for her.
Looking back, Geum-joo’s life was shattered by CEO Lee’s interference, and it took all those years to put her life back together. You can argue that she couldn’t accept Bok-geo until she set everything right, but I think that keeping them apart allowed her to finally stand before him as an equal. Geum-joo was no longer a paralegal with a flaw, newly divorced by a cheating husband and abandoned by her sister, without money or a place to call home. She re-established herself in every area, and by the time Hye-joo urged her to be happy, Geum-joo looked ready to do exactly that. Geum-joo got her wish to become famous, and it afforded her the power and authority to help the people that need it the most. Even though an opportunity to serve in the Blue House was offered, I don’t see her leaving behind the practice or the people who brought meaning to her life. Ultimately, Seochodong is her home. Geum-joo’s closing narration promised that her suitcase would roll for a long time, and I can just see her rolling that suitcase into the sunset with Bok-geo by her side.
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 15
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 14
- Woman With a Suitcase: Episode 13
- 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