Defendant: Episode 8
Jung-woo continues to remember bits and pieces of his past, and as he begins to reconstruct the events of the night he lost everything, he realizes that he has very few options now. Time is running out before his fate is decided for him, and even the new information available to him won’t do him any good when he’s locked up in prison. But he’s a man on a mission, and he’s determined to find a way.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
9:00 a.m. on the day of the Wolha-dong murder incident.
Police swarm Jung-woo’s apartment building. Sung-kyu returns home to his apartment, which is across the hall from Jung-woo’s, and Detective Oh questions him. Sung-kyu says he heard the couple arguing around dawn. Detective Oh notes that Sung-kyu seems quite calm when a murder just happened next door, but he says he only moved in recently and doesn’t know his neighbors well. The police soon leave, and as Sung-kyu enters his apartment, we see his black pants and shoes, which are similar to the ones in the video of the murder.
He sighs in relief as the cops leave, and Ha-yeon emerges from a bedroom, asking who he is. She asks him where her parents are, since she needs to go to preschool. Sung-kyu takes her back into the room and tells her that Jung-woo went to catch some bad guys, and that he left Ha-yeon with “uncle” for a while. He tells her that Ji-soo is sick, but Ha-yeon says that her mom isn’t sick. She notices as well that she isn’t in her own home, and asks Sung-kyu again who he is.
Sung-kyu gets a text from someone telling him to call right away. He asks if Ha-yeon wants to talk to her dad, then dials and hands her the phone. We see now the other side of the conversation she had with Jung-woo when he was in the interrogation room at the prosecutor’s office. After Jung-woo reassures Ha-yeon that he’ll see her soon, Sung-kyu steps out and warns Jung-woo to confess if he wants to see his daughter again.
We flash back to a few hours ago in Ha-yeon’s bedroom, when Sung-kyu picked the sleeping girl up and carried her into his own apartment.
Jung-woo lies handcuffed to a hospital bed, reliving the night of the murder in a nightmare. He is in his bed again, and a voice says his name, telling him to wake up. He gets up, calling for Ji-soo, but when he goes to the living room, he finds her bloody on the floor. He goes to her, frantically calling her name, and she weakly tells him that Ha-yeon is missing. Jung-woo looks at Ha-yeon’s open door, but then Ji-soo loses consciousness and he begs and cries for her to wake up.
Someone says his name again, and Jung-woo looks up to see a man dressed all in black walking toward him and Ji-soo. Before Jung-woo can see the man’s face, he wakes up, losing the image. He thrashes in his bed, gasping and screaming as he wakes and looks around in confusion until he remembers Sung-kyu’s visit, and his deduction that Ha-yeon was nearby.
He begins to call her name again and flails against his bonds when the doctor comes in. The doctor tells him to calm down, since it’s not like he can leave the prison anyway. She says she can’t help him if he continues to act this way. He asks her how long it’s been, and she says two hours—she was worried he might lose his memory again, since it’s the first time he’s actually fainted.
Jung-woo cries as he says his wife’s name, and the doctor asks him what he has remembered, but he’s too overwrought to speak. She says that someone is here to help him, and that they’ve been waiting for him to wake up.
Eun-hye rushes in, and Jung-woo tells her immediately that Sung-kyu came, and that he had Ha-yeon with him. He asks Eun-hye about Sung-kyu’s younger sister, but she relays the news that she died last year, and Jung-woo laughs to realize it was Ha-yeon that Sung-kyu was talking about all along. Eun-hye also reveals that Sung-kyu was living across the hall from Jung-woo’s family at the time of the incident. Jung-woo is shocked to hear this, but says that the man he saw on the night of the incident wasn’t Sung-kyu, although he can’t remember who it was.
Eun-hye tells him that they only have a few days left to file for a final appeal, and she encourages him to do it—his memory is returning, after all. But he shakes his head, saying it won’t work. “It was me. It had to be me. In order to save Ha-yeon, I had to become the criminal. I faked all the evidence, perfectly.” Eun-hye gasps in dismay.
Min-ho calls the warden, angry that his orders were disobeyed, as he’s heard about Jung-woo meeting Sung-kyu. The warden assures Min-ho that the meeting wasn’t recorded, but he still demands that Jung-woo be put in solitary until he dies. The warden says he can’t do that because of the new doctor at the prison. Once he hangs up, the warden plays the recording he has of Sung-kyu’s visit and puts the audio file on a flash drive.
The woman from Sun-ho’s past looks up articles about Min-ho’s death and approaches Min-ho when he arrives at work, calling him by his real name. Recognizing her from their encounter in the hotel elevator, he realizes she must have known his brother, and tells her that he’s Sun-ho. His secretary pulls him away, but before Min-ho leaves, the woman tells him she has something to tell him and will wait in the lobby.
Once in his secret room, Min-ho searches his wall of photos for the woman’s identity, but he can’t find her. When he leaves for the day, he asks his secretary to accompany him. As they’re walking out of the lobby, Min-ho covers his face with his hand, but the woman is nowhere to be seen.
Min-ho returns home to find a jubilant Eun-soo, who shows him a toy that “Aunt” bought him. This turns out the to be the same woman from before, sitting with Yeon-hee. She greets him as “Sun-ho” and says it’s their first time meeting since his wedding to Yeon-hee.
Min-ho looks through yearbooks in his office and guesses that it doesn’t seem like the first time in six years that the woman is seeing him. Yeon-hee comes in and tells him the woman is JENNIFER LEE (Oh Yeon-ah), her friend from university—and Sun-ho’s lover. Min-ho is shocked to find out both that Sun-ho had a mistress and that Yeon-hee knew about it, and asks why she never told him. Yeon-hee says that Jennifer probably showed up because she hasn’t been able to get in touch with Sun-ho for a while. She tells him that Sun-ho loved Jennifer a lot and wishes him luck. He asks her to help him.
Jennifer stays for dinner, and Min-ho puts on a show of appreciating Yeon-hee’s cooking while apologizing to Jennifer for not recognizing her earlier. He tells her that his brother’s death was traumatic for him, and he’s receiving treatment these days because he lost a lot of his memories.
After dinner, Yeon-hee asks if Jennifer wants to get married, but she replies that it’s too bothersome, so she’ll just date instead. She asks Min-ho if he’ll introduce her to one of his friends, and he agrees. Eun-soo wakes up, and Yeon-hee leaves to put him back to bed.
Jennifer asks if he really doesn’t remember, and Min-ho says he failed to recognize one of his oldest friends, which is how he found out that he’d lost some of his memories. Jennifer apologizes for bringing it up, but as she’s leaving, Jennifer asks if he still can’t remember that old friend; Min-ho says that memory has returned, and Jennifer smiles.
Once she’s gone, Yeon-hee says, “Pathetic, isn’t it? That I lived pretending not to know my friend was having an affair with Sun-ho.” She warns Min-ho that Jennifer is very ambitious and won’t give up easily.
Jung-woo returns to his cell, and Mil-yang asks if he’s okay. Rockfish comments that he always ends up back in the cell with them, whatever happens—what kind of connections does he have? Jung-woo, however, is still preoccupied with trying to identify the voice of the murderer he saw in his dreams.
Jennifer goes to a detective agency while Min-ho seems to have contacted one himself, as he receives a report about Jennifer in his email.
Sung-kyu is in a motel for the night. He remembers a nighttime meeting with Seok, who handed him a bag and told him to “finish things well,” telling him not to worry as his sister’s surgery would be taken care of. Seok told Sung-kyu he’d find a suitcase at the designated spot; once he put the kid in the suitcase, everything would be over.
Next, we see Sung-kyu with Ha-yeon on a mountain while the little girl asked if her dad was really there. Ha-yeon said she was tired and grabbed Sung-kyu’s pinkie, startling him. She started to sing her favorite song as they walked. In the present, Sung-kyu looks over at Ha-yeon sleeping next to him and wonders what to do now—should he turn himself in? He mutters that he must be going crazy.
In Jung-woo’s cell, Mong-chi exits the bathroom, and the other prisoners ask why he always puts pain patches on in there, calling it suspicious. Mong-chi says Jung-woo is the suspicious one for never replying to them or telling them what’s on his mind.
Aunt clucks over Eun-hye, who was up all night and is passed out on her desk. Eun-hye mumbles in her sleep, “Wait a little more, Park Jung-woo.”
While the other prisoners exercise, Jung-woo sits by himself once again and repeats, “I had to be the criminal.” He remembers stumbling in from outside sometime after Ji-soo’s death, removing a mask he’d been wearing. He cried and apologized to Ji-soo, with the voice of the murderer in the background telling Jung-woo that he had to become the culprit if he wanted to save Ha-yeon.
Jung-woo had taken a knife from their kitchen and wiped it on Ji-soo’s bloody clothes, screaming in anguish and apology. He wiped the floor clean of footprints and burned their family photographs, leaving one of Ji-soo with an unknown man to make it seem like he discovered an affair.
Jung-woo then thinks of earlier that day, when he told Eun-hye he had to get out of the prison. Eun-hye had warned that it was too dangerous, but Jung-woo said that Ha-yeon was alive. An appeal would take months, and there was no guarantee it would succeed when he’d already confessed.
“Who would believe me? Do you even believe me?” he asked. “I believe you,” she said, and pointed out that he must trust her too, since he was telling her all this. They had to at least buy time with an appeal, she told him. Jung-woo thinks now, I don’t have time.
The deputy chief comes into Joon-hyuk’s office and asks why it’s taking so long to wrap up Jung-woo’s case, and Joon-hyuk says it’s because of Ha-yeon—he must find her before he leaves. The deputy chief says Joon-hyuk has been nominated for the Prosecutor General’s Award, hinting that he’d better finish up soon.
After his cellmates fall asleep, Jung-woo tests the bars on his cell window. Mil-yang asks if he’s trying to get out, but Jung-woo denies it. Mil-yang tells Jung-woo he tried to escape once, before he lost his memory. The old man says casually that there’s a “master of breaking out” who loves cigarettes very much.
The man is prisoner 2460, and Jung-woo approaches this man on their next exercise break. 2460 has his hat pulled over his eyes, but when Jung-woo sits down by him, he says, “It’ll be hard to get out,” and gets up, folding his hat back up (cameo by Lee Deok-hwa). “This place is small and old. There are no blind spots,” says 2640, and tells Jung-woo (as he motions for a cigarette, ha) that human eyes are the hardest to deceive, because they read emotions. He points to the guard tower, saying that it has the most eyes, and unlike cameras, you can’t see where they are looking.
2640 asks if Jung-woo wants to know the way to get out, and motions for another smoke. Once he has the cigarette, the old man says, “There is no way.” If he knew of one, he points out, why would he still be here? Jung-woo says he thought the old man was the master of breaking out, and 2640 laughs and says he was, long ago.
But, says the man, Jung-woo already knows the way to get out; he taps the number on his chest, telling him to think hard, before he walks off. Chul-shik approaches and asks what that was about, but Jung-woo ignores him, and the gangster goes to have a chat with the head of security.
Jennifer meets a private detective and exchanges money for information; once she leaves, Seok gives the man another envelope of money. Jennifer has been given medical records that confirm the lies Min-ho told her, and she wonders if he’s really Sun-ho after all. When she goes back to her hotel room, however, he’s waiting for her. He says, “I remembered who my closest friend was,” and kisses her passionately. He takes her to a villa that the couple used to frequent.
Jung-woo ponders 2640’s words as he sits up at night, when suddenly, the appeal paperwork he’s poring over catches his eye.
The next morning, Jennifer wakes up first and remembers that Sun-ho had a scar on his chest. She carefully moves aside her lover’s robe to find a crescent-shaped scar and is about to touch it when Min-ho grabs her hand. He smiles at her in greeting, and we flash back to the day of the autopsy for a moment, where we see Min-ho taking pictures of the scars on Sun-ho’s body. She smiles back and leaves the room, and Min-ho says to himself, “She still doesn’t believe me?”
He joins her in the living room and says he’ll miss her when she leaves. She offers him white wine, and he thanks her; she smiles, suddenly nervous, and hugs him from behind. She says she’ll be right back, and in a panic, whispers to herself, “Yeon-hee knew about this.” She dials Yeon-hee, but puts down her phone when Min-ho joins her.
Jennifer pours him another refill with shaking hands, and he comes close to her and says, “My brother didn’t like white wine though. You knew that, didn’t you?” On the table, we see her phone call to Yeon-hee is still connected. Min-ho raises a candlestick and hits Jennifer hard on the head; she screams and falls to the floor, her blood splattering on Min-ho’s face. Min-ho slowly walks toward the lake behind the villa, bloody candlestick dripping on the snow.
Eun-hye comes to see Jung-woo, asking why he gave up on the appeal. He says the only way out of this prison is to be transferred out—once his sentence is finalized, they’ll move him to a prison where they do executions. Realizing that he means to escape, Eun-hye asks him if he’s lost his mind, but he says it’s the only way.
Tae-soo’s fellow guards somberly give him Jung-woo’s new uniform now that his sentence has been finalized, and it’s blue with the red labels that denote a death row inmate. Tae-soo takes it to him and asks why he’s given up after making such a big fuss, and if he’s admitting his guilt. He says Ji-soo will be happy. Jung-woo says his name, but Tae-soo tells him to call him Officer Yoon now, and refers to Jung-woo by his inmate number.
Min-ho is drinking at the kitchen table when Seok bursts in to ask if he’s all right. (Dude, really? There’s a dead woman on the floor.) Min-ho numbly tells Seok that Yeon-hee heard everything, and Seok tells him to leave first so that he can take care of it. Min-ho calls his secretary to come and pick him up, and when he arrives, asks him to find out where Yeon-hee is, since he can’t reach her.
Yeon-hee drinks at a bar and ignores Min-ho’s calls, sobbing as she remembers Jennifer’s scream. After a while she leaves, driving drunk and crying, so she’s unable to stop in time when she sees a pedestrian. She hits him dead on.
Min-ho arrives soon after, and she begs him to tell her that she heard wrong. Min-ho agrees that she did, and she repeats after him, whimpering, “That’s right, I must have heard wrong.” She suddenly remembers that she hit someone and tells Min-ho, beginning to cry again. He sends her home in his car, and drives off slowly in hers, giving the police a chance to catch up.
Prosecutor Choi bursts into Joon-hyuk’s office, asking if he will give up looking for Ha-yeon now that Jung-woo has dropped the appeal. Joon-hyuk apologizes while Prosecutor Choi shouts that if Jung-woo had taken Joon-hyuk’s case, he’d never have let it end like this. He leaves, and the deputy chief comes in and asks Joon-hyuk to take care of one last matter—Cha Sun-ho’s hit-and-run case.
Min-ho waits in the interrogation room, wondering again what Sung-kyu could have told Jung-woo that caused him to faint. His phone rings, and he receives the news that Jung-woo gave up his appeal, which mystifies him even more.
We don’t see the interrogation, but as soon as Joon-hyuk returns to his office, the deputy chief comes in and slaps him. He asks how he could put Cha Sun-ho in jail, but Joon-hyuk tells his superior that the man asked him to put him away.
Min-ho rides a prison bus, thinking, Park Jung-woo gave up the appeal. Does that mean I can kill him now? Now that the trial is over, who will care if he dies? The warden serves him dinner after he changes into a prison uniform, telling him that he’ll prepare a solitary cell for him.
Jung-woo’s cellmates celebrate when they hear they’ll soon have a newcomer joining them. Chul-shik prepares to move out of his cell, provoking his scary cellmates as he leaves, when the guard suddenly locks him back in with his very angry companions.
In Jung-woo’s memories, the face of Ji-soo’s murderer finally comes into focus. “It was Cha Min-ho,” he says to himself, as that very man is escorted into his cell. The two men stare at each other, and Min-ho slowly smirks.
What an intense episode, and one with some very interesting character development. It was both fascinating and terrifying to see Min-ho slowly figure out who Jennifer was and how he would deal with her. It was a bold move—and yet totally in line with his ruthless personality—to “restart” his relationship with Jennifer when he could have just stuck with the amnesia plot and used that excuse to distance himself from her. It’s just like him to make sure to tie up every loose end in the most brutal way possible. I got a chill when he casually pointed out that Sun-ho hadn’t liked white wine, making it clear to Jennifer that he’d figured out her ploy before he killed her, as if to ensure that she knew he’d won. Because murdering her isn’t enough of an ego boost for him, apparently. I also wonder what kind of hold Min-ho has on Seok, that he routinely uses him to clean up dead bodies for him and treats him like dirt, and yet Seok seems devoted far beyond what one might expect of a mere employee, or even a minion.
Speaking of employees, I found myself paying far more attention this hour to Min-ho’s secretary, who isn’t privy to Min-ho’s secrets, and yet he was with him during many of his outbursts and vulnerable moments, and seemed to pick up on far more than is probably good for his continued health. I wonder if he has figured out that his boss has changed, and whether (in light of the fact that almost every other piece of evidence has been destroyed) he might end up being a key to Min-ho’s downfall. Jung-woo certainly needs all the help he can get, especially now that he’s going to be literally sleeping with the enemy.
Yeon-hee also took an interesting turn this episode; until now she’s been a character to pity and an innocent victim of Min-ho’s schemes. One might even forgive her for continuing the charade, if she believed Min-ho’s lie about Sun-ho’s death being an accident. But she’s become Min-ho’s accomplice now, willfully closing her eyes to Jennifer’s murder and allowing Min-ho to take the fall for hitting that pedestrian. I could almost see the moment she decided to give up and put her fate into Min-ho’s hands, to walk to the end with him on the path he’s chosen. And despite how incredibly evil Min-ho is, in a weird way I was kind of touched that this selfish maniac was willing to take responsibility for her crime. It’s probably the only selfless act we’ve seen from him during the entirety of the show, and proves that he does love her in his own way. (Of course, being the opportunist Min-ho is, he later found a way to use the hit-and-run to his advantage as well.)
There were interesting parallels in this episode between different characters’ responses to death, and how they chose to protect their loved ones. Jung-woo took the blame for Ji-soo and Ha-yeon’s murders in order to protect his daughter, whereas Seok seems perpetually ready to take on the bloody aftermath of Min-ho’s crimes. We have Sung-kyu, who committed a crime for the sake of his beloved sister, but was unable to follow through with the ugliness of what he agreed to, which is in contrast with Yeon-hee, who is willing to close her eyes to the horror of Min-ho’s true nature as long as she can keep her little family unit. All of these characters have made different decisions about the price they’re willing to pay to protect their loved ones, and it’s both inspiring and troubling to see. Here’s hoping that the mercy and sacrifice shown by Jung-woo and Sung-kyu brings some light to this very dark situation next week.