Chief Kim: Episode 17
Like the calm before the storm, the Business Operations Department is finally experiencing a moment of peace after their hard-earned win, but this only makes Sung-ryong more uneasy for what is still to come. Now that it’s Chairman Park’s turn to retaliate, it seems that no one is safe from his ambition to make TQ Group completely his, once and for all.
EPISODE 17 RECAP
Ha-kyung barges into the final audit meeting, declaring her objection to the audits from this year and from previous years. Moments later, Sung-ryong runs in, and Ha-kyung reveals the evidence: a micro SD card left by Chief Lee.
Right then, Prosecutor Han enters, and Ha-kyung hands over the chip, explaining that it contains the original audit files from last year as well as a video recording of the forgery. In the back, Sung-ryong tattles to Prosecutor Han about the connection between the accounting firm and TQ Group while deliberately pointing out Yul as the most dastardly.
Yul storms out of the room, and the auditing chief chases after him. Distressed, he grabs Yul’s sleeve and pleads for a solution. Yul tosses the man aside and leaves to report to the chairman.
Yul quickly explains to Chairman Park that the Prosecutor’s Office, the Financial Supervisory Service, and the National Tax Service will soon come after them, and he indirectly blames the chairman for creating this predicament by failing to deal with Chief Lee properly. Unperturbed by the accusation, the chairman tells Yul to calm down and prepare for damage control.
Prosecutor Han arrives at TQ Group with a search and seizure warrant, and the accounting director is apprehended. While the accounting department glumly watches all their hard drives and files being taken, the Business Operations Department is abuzz with excitement, though Myung-suk anxiously glues receipts in the background.
Prosecutor Han meets with the Business Operations Department (minus Sung-ryong) to thank them for their cooperation, and he reassures them that their hard drives were taken because of protocol. Giddy, Manager Lee cracks a joke, noting that the prosecutor looks much better without the helmet. Without skipping a beat, Prosecutor Han deadpans, “It’s true.”
He asks everyone to hand over any copies of the file they might have kept, and a pile of flash drives end up on the table, much to his surprise. Ha-kyung quickly explains that they each kept a copy, just in case. These people have been watching their dramas!
Meanwhile, Sung-ryong meets with Ga-eun, who informs him that she’s returning to her original office. She gives her thanks and tells Sung-ryong that it was an honor working for him. He returns the sentiment and asks if Ga-eun will say goodbye to everyone in the department. Though she’s embarrassed to see them since she lied about her identity, Ga-eun agrees to say farewell.
Everyone in the Business Operations Department gathers around Ga-eun as she explains her departure from TQ Group, and Sang-tae jokingly wonders if Ga-eun was secretly part of the “royal family.” Myung-suk quickly informs Sang-tae that there’s no one this pretty in their family besides his mother, and then asks for Ga-eun’s number to make sure. Heh.
When Director Chu asks if she’s found another job, Ga-eun hesitantly confesses that she’s actually an undercover detective. She nervously waits for their reaction, but the whole room bursts into laughter. Confused, Ga-eun says that she’s serious, but that only makes everyone laugh harder, since they all think she’s joking.
Meanwhile, Sung-ryong sits across from Executive Director Jo and Director Go—who are mimicking each other in posture and attitude—while an apprehensive Director of Ethical Management fidgets next to Sung-ryong. He reminds the two directors that he has the power to request their punishment, and cues the Director of Ethical Management to inform them of their punishment.
Timidly, she tells them that they need to submit twenty apology letters, and they almost flip the table in anger. Executive Director Jo gets up to leave, but when Sung-ryong threatens them with a disciplinary hearing instead, Director Go manages to convince her to stay. As a final message, Sung-ryong requests for the Director of Ethical Management to repeat her mantra: “Don’t get mad!”
The news of TQ Group’s latest audit scandal plays in the lobby, and in his office, the chairman yells at his three directors. Executive Director Jo apologizes for the commotion, but Chairman Park is tired of hearing her apologies. He divides up the tasks (Jo on media, Yul on prosecutors, and Go on internal management) and icily tells them that he’s decided to trust them less.
Prosecutor Han interrogates the accounting director who remains silent, so he brings in a familiar face in hopes of getting him to talk. Ga-eun walks in, and reveals her true identity as a detective of the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit. She then proceeds to yell at the director and slams the table. Taken aback, Prosecutor Han whispers in her ear that she should tone it down. Ha!
Yul meets with the chief prosecutor to ask for help, but the prosecutor says that he has no reason to stop the investigation.
Everyone in the Business Operations Department is giddy with their recent win, all except Myung-suk. He excuses himself from their celebratory party after work, citing a prior engagement, and Sung-ryong follows after him. Realizing their mistake, Director Chu and Ha-kyung chide themselves for being inconsiderate.
Out in the hallway, Sung-ryong invites Myung-suk out for drinks, and when Myung-suk mentions that he has plans, Sung-ryong tells him that the truth is written on his forehead (i.e. he made it up). Sung-ryong throws his arm around Myung-suk’s shoulder, and though Myung-suk complains that they look too friendly, Sung-ryong says that they’ve progressed to this stage in their relationship.
Chairman Park waits for a guest at a fancy restaurant, and when his guest finally appears, the chairman gets up from his seat to politely greet the other gentleman.
Sharing a bottle of soju, Sung-ryong asks how Myung-suk is feeling, and the latter gives a half-hearted response. Sung-ryong points to Myung-suk’s forehead and tells him that it’s obvious he’s upset. Addressing the elephant in the room, Sung-ryong asks if it’s because he’s bullying his father.
With a sigh, Myung-suk tells Sung-ryong to take it easy, and Sung-ryong shouts that the elbow bends inward (a Korean idiom meaning that people favor those closest to them). Myung-suk explains that he knows his father is heartless, which is why he wants Sung-ryong to be careful, especially since he almost died before.
After a pause, he admits that he doesn’t want to go to Sung-ryong’s funeral, and Sung-ryong playfully asks if he’s worried about him. Myung-suk claims that he just doesn’t like the food served at funerals, but admits that lately he’s been thinking that his father should know how to be ashamed. Smiling, Sung-ryong teases Myung-suk and feeds him a slice of meat.
At the fancy restaurant, Chairman Park’s guest muses about the difficult request the chairman just made, but in the end, he agrees to help. The gentleman informs Chairman Park that he’ll also send a subordinate in the next couple of days, and the chairman thanks him profusely.
This time, Sung-ryong waits for Director Chu on the couch, and once Director Chu comes home, they talk about Myung-suk and how he actually seems to be a good person. Director Chu adds that you have to be a good person to be a good superior like him, and Sung-ryong teasingly asks what makes Director Chu a good superior.
He explains that a good boss has to be diligent but lazy, as well as smart but dumb. That only confuses Sung-ryong, so Director Chu makes it simpler for him: everyone needs a breather. Director Chu then blinks at Sung-ryong and asks him if he would be his teddy bear tonight. Sung-ryong threatens to beat him, but that doesn’t stop Director Chu from chasing him around the living room for some snuggle time.
In a less happy home, Madam Jang waits for Chairman Park, and once he arrives, she immediately asks how he let the company fall into this state. Sneering, Chairman Park accuses his wife of being secretly happy to see his demise, but she tells him that she’s also resigning if he steps down.
She plans to cut off all the rotten parts of the company, once and for all. Chairman Park angrily shouts that TQ Group is his, and he dares her to take it from him. Upstairs, Myung-suk eavesdrops on his parents and watches them argue with a dejected expression.
Prosecutor Han confronts the chief prosecutor about his recent orders to conduct the investigation on TQ Group behind closed doors. His boss cites his last failed attempt as the reason for his decision, so Prosecutor Han asks why they’re blocking the media, then. The chief prosecutor merely shrugs and says that TQ Group is powerful.
As Myung-suk leaves for work, he overhears Chairman Park thanking someone over the phone in the living room. Chairman Park says that they took care of the media and mentions the word “scapegoat.”
Sung-ryong receives a call from Prosecutor Han, who informs him of the recent development. Quick on his feet, Sung-ryong surmises that the higher-ups are interfering.
Looking haggard, the accounting director reports to Yul after being released, and Yul notes how quickly things are being handled. Confirming that the accounting director didn’t tell the prosecutor anything, Yul dismisses him before wondering who could be behind all of this.
The subordinate sent by Chairman Park’s helper—who calls himself Manager Choi—arrives, and he assures the chairman that he’ll quickly return the company to normal. As Manager Choi leaves the office, he crosses paths with Yul, and though Yul spares a second glance at the older gentleman, he continues on his way.
Chairman Park approves of Yul’s proposal to change accounting firms, and when he asks if Yul has anything else to say, Yul admits to having a question. He asks the chairman how he managed to quiet everything, and Chairman Park tells him that he received helped from a certain gentleman.
The chief prosecutor receives a call from the higher-ups and asks if Prosecutor Han would accept these changes. Though we don’t hear the exact details, from the look on the chief’s face, this probably means more bad news for our heroes.
The Business Operations Department is busy yet calm, which only makes Sung-ryong feel uneasy. Next to him, Myung-suk fidgets in his seat, and Sung-ryong wonders why he’s acting like a puppy that wants to poop. At Sung-ryong’s prodding, Myung-suk silently mouths at him to come outside.
Stepping into the hallway, Myung-suk explains to Sung-ryong that he heard his father talking about a scapegoat and that he was working with someone. Sung-ryong complains about the vague information, but Myung-suk is convinced that the scapegoat is Sung-ryong.
Convinced, Sung-ryong then orders Myung-suk to continue eavesdropping on his father, but Myung-suk refuses out of fear of getting caught. Thus, Sung-ryong advises him to act like he wasn’t spying and offers to help him practice by pretending to be the chairman. Playing along, Myung-suk pretends to be caught, and then says “I love you” while shooting finger guns. Smooth.
Yul calls the chief prosecutor to ask about the investigation, and the chief tells him that the higher-ups have taken care of everything. However, just as one problem gets resolved, another appears.
Chairman Park and the high-ranking officers gather in an emergency meeting to discuss Seoahn Jangryong’s recent decision to pull its investments. Yul offers to contact them, but Chairman Park is sick of begging. He warns his directors to be prepared for massive restructuring in the near future and leaves the meeting.
Word spreads fast, and Sang-tae hurries to the Business Operations Department to report about the incident with Seoahn Jangryong. Ha-kyung notes that this could mean bankruptcy for the company, and Myung-suk looks stricken by the news.
Sung-ryong tells Kwang-sook that the chairman is making him a scapegoat, and Kwang-sook gasps in shock. He muses that big hardships follow big people as he asks Kwang-sook to look for any suspicious characters. She assures him that it’s her specialty, and he reminds her that his life is on the line.
Prosecutor Han confronts the chief prosecutor over his replacement on the TQ Group case, but the chief prosecutor simply states that the higher-ups thought that Prosecutor Han was too personally attached. In his office, Prosecutor Han lets out his anger, and Ga-eun watches from the doorway before reporting the reassignment to Sung-ryong.
In the hallway, Sung-ryong tells Ha-kyung that he’s the new scapegoat, but she asks quizzically if he’s sure, since she doesn’t see how using him as a scapegoat would be beneficial. Affronted, Sung-ryong reasserts his status as the scapegoat, and Ha-kyung doesn’t argue.
Meanwhile, Manager Choi meets with Director Go and the accounting director and asks them to share all their knowledge about Yul. Oh no!
Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung meet with Prosecutor Han and Ga-eun to talk about the reassignment, but unfortunately, there’s nothing they can do about it. At Ha-kyung’s suggestion, Sung-ryong shares with the group that he’s going to be a scapegoat, but Prosecutor Han is also skeptical about his claims.
Back at TQ Group, Kwang-sook strolls around the Accounting Department and spots Manager Choi in his meeting. She barges in, saying that she’s here to deliver free coffee, but Manager Choi glares at her and orders her to leave. Kwang-sook’s bubbly attitude is no match for his steely scowl, so Kwang-sook retreats and settles for photos instead.
With Kwang-sook gone, Manager Choi informs the two men that a new prosecutor will take them in for an interrogation. However, all they need to do is follow the prosecutor’s lead.
Meanwhile, Chairman Park assigns Yul some new responsibilities and even gives him access to some of his private funds. Though surprised, Yul gladly accepts the new tasks.
While out for dinner, Ha-kyung tells Sung-ryong to calm down as he barks at a waitress for almost bumping into him. She sighs about the irony of worrying about the evidence they handed to the prosecutors, though she claims to finally understand why Sung-ryong wanted to go to Denmark.
Just then, Sung-ryong receives a text message, and he happily forwards it to Ga-eun. It’s a photo of Manager Choi, and Sung-ryong asks her to run a background check on the “mean-looking” man.
At home, Sung-ryong checks all his files and accounts. Lying on the couch behind him, Director Chu dryly comments, “It’s not you.” He explains that a scapegoat is on a different level, which only angers Sung-ryong. He pouts, thinking that he’s being undervalued, and Director Chu drops the topic, deciding to go to bed. However, he chuckles to himself, and Sung-ryong accuses him of laughing. Director Chu lies that it’s because he needs to pee, but when he continues to laugh, Sung-ryong pounces on him.
The new prosecutor on the TQ Group case interrogates the accounting director as well as Director Go and Executive Director Jo. He asks leading questions about Yul’s activities, and everyone readily blames Yul for the recent disaster, citing his manipulation, threats, and embezzlement as the cause.
Prosecutor Han hears about the interrogation and the new prosecutor’s interest in Yul. Making the connection, he tries to contact Yul, but he’s too busy trying to calm a room filled with angry board members to answer.
Prosecutor Han delivers the information on Manager Choi to Sung-ryong and explains that the gentleman is a famous “architect” in the political world. He adds that Manager Choi only attacks those of high caliber, meaning that Sung-ryong isn’t the scapegoat, but that only ruffles Sung-ryong’s feathers.
Sung-ryong proclaims that he must be the scapegoat since he’s a celebrity, but Prosecutor Han’s incessant denial forces Sung-ryong to relent. He asks who else could be the scapegoat then, and Prosecutor Han tells him of his hunch concerning Yul. Sung-ryong agrees that this makes more sense, and Prosecutor Han asks Sung-ryong to help Yul if it’s true.
Thus, Sung-ryong finds Yul to warn him about the chairman, but Yul merely screams in Sung-ryong’s face. Debating if he should just let Yul die, Sung-ryong ultimately decides to help and follows him to his office. He tells Yul that he’s the scapegoat, but Yul assumes that he’s just playing a trick, considering that they’re enemies.
Sung-ryong explains that he’s warning him because he called dibs on ruining Yul, and he indirectly kisses Yul on the cheek with his thumb. Enraged, Yul grabs his letter opener and yells at him to leave. Right then, his secretary walks in, and Yul briefly regains his composure before returning to being angry. With a pout, Sung-ryong says that Yul will regret this and calls him an idiot.
Prosecutor Han chases after the chief prosecutor and tries to stop him from arresting Yul. He argues that Yul isn’t the main target and that they should arrest Chairman Park instead. However, his pleas fall on deaf ears.
As Yul organizes the files on his desk, his curiosity wins, and he opens the envelope Sung-ryong left behind. After reading about Manager Choi, he orders his minion to come meet him.
Ga-eun calls Sung-ryong to tell him about Yul’s upcoming arrest, and Sung-ryong happens to run into Ha-kyung in the hallway. He shares the message with her, and she is shocked by the news.
Yul’s minion shares the little he knows about Manager Choi with Yul and advises Yul to avoid him at all cost. Acting tough, Yul challenges them to come, and his minion hands him a chocolate bar. Heh.
Yul finally picks up the call from Prosecutor Han and quickly heads for his car in the garage. He orders his minion to buy him two hours in order to come up with countermeasures, and Sung-ryong calls him just then, telling him not to get caught.
It’s too late for that, though, as officers from the prosecutor’s office arrive with a warrant. Just as Yul is about to be arrested, another van appears, and a group of men beat up the minion as they drag Yul away.
Moments later, Sung-ryong arrives and asks the minion where Yul went. He ignores Sung-ryong and gets into his car, but Sung-ryong tries to join him, explaining that he has to repay Yul for saving his life. At that, the minion lets Sung-ryong come with him.
In an abandoned warehouse, the men take away Yul’s possessions, including the chocolate bar, which actually turns out to be a tracking device. Sung-ryong is amazed by the technology and chatters away as the minion grips the steering wheel, just barely controlling his anger. In the end, he yells at Sung-ryong to just shut up already, but unfazed, Sung-ryong continues to talk.
At the warehouse, Manager Choi marches up to Yul and shows him a news report. The prosecutors are accusing Yul of running away and have given him until midnight to turn himself in. Manager Choi tells him that they’ll release him after midnight, and Yul scoffs at their meticulous plan.
Manager Choi decides to share some wisdom with Yul and says that he’s seen a lot of prosecutors like Yul before. They all want to be king, but no matter how hard they try, they will always be a pawn. This is reality, and Manager Choi advises Yul to be humble and accept his place in life.
Sung-ryong and the minion arrive at the warehouse, and the minion takes out a pole from his trunk of weapons. Sung-ryong asks for one, too, so the minion hands him a bat. Then, in a glorious Goblin parody, Sung-ryong and the minion strut towards the warehouse through a fog, backlit by the headlights from the car.
They make their dramatic entrance, and Sung-ryong throws out his witty comments while the minion mumbles that he talks too much. As soon as the fight begins, Sung-ryong scurries off to the side to free Yul while the minion takes down each opponent one by one with a flurry of hits and kicks.
Shocked, Yul wonders why Sung-ryong is here, and with a smile, Sung-ryong reaches into his inside pocket. He takes out an invisible ticket and proudly presents his life extension ticket.
That parody was perfect. Sung-ryong and the minion make a hilarious combo, especially since Sung-ryong’s craziness seems to be magnified next to the minion’s stoicism. I absolutely love them together, and definitely would like to see more of their interactions. Then again, I basically love Sung-ryong with nearly everyone because he’s a wacky guy who would probably have chemistry with a wooden pole. Besides the wonderful duo of Sung-ryong and the minion, everything about the ending was fantastic because, despite the dramatic moment, the show (as always) ends with its signature, off-beat charm. Only Sung-ryong would crack a joke as he saves someone in an abandoned warehouse while an epic fight occurs in the background, and this is why I love him as a character.
Though not much happened this episode objectively, I didn’t mind the buildup to the actual reveal and the subsequent kidnapping. I enjoyed how the episode showed Manager Choi’s (and indirectly, Chairman Park’s) plan bit by bit because it was mostly played for laughs at the expense of Sung-ryong. It was funny how he was convinced that he was the scapegoat and then got annoyed when everyone else (besides his cheering squad of Kwang-sook and new-member Myung-suk) realized that he couldn’t be the scapegoat. Which is why I laughed when Sung-ryong so easily accepted the truth that Yul was more likely the scapegoat, because it’s so in line with his character to flop from one extreme to the next.
Furthermore, I’m probably a bit more forgiving about the pace because of the implications this episode hinted at. It’s actually brilliant how the show played this because they’ve created a way for Yul to actually team-up with Sung-ryong’s team without compromising his character. They’ve organically made the chairman enemies to both, which means that Yul can join Sung-ryong without experiencing a random revelation and character change. He’s still the “psychopathic” glutton who’s probably motivated by greed, but now he can be the psycho glutton alongside TQ’s resident psycho, Sung-ryong! It’s going to be great.
Myung-suk continues to be a surprising gem, and I’m actually amazed by how well the show has handled his character so far. Rather than fully incorporating Myung-suk into the team and making him a one-dimensional character, the show has given him some depth by portraying his struggle with his family ties and his moral compass. Though Myung-suk has shed much of his bratty persona, he’s still the chairman’s son, and I believe the show made Myung-suk an even more endearing character by acknowledging the two sides Myung-suk must straddle. On one hand, Myung-suk recognizes human dignity and doesn’t see people as machines to make money for him like his father, but because he has compassion and a human heart, he also can’t completely abandon his father and hate him.
It’s easy for the others, like the members in the Business Operations Department, to despise the chairman and get excited to bring him down, but for Myung-suk, it’s an internal battle between fighting for justice while accepting that this means his father will get hurt. Dramas about workplace corruption, especially comedies, don’t really deal with this issue, so it’s interesting to see Chief Kim show this struggle of doing what’s right even if it’s against your own kin. The show could have easily made Myung-suk into a side character who experiences a change of heart and becomes a typical “good guy,” but they chose to give him a legitimate conflict and add shades of grey into his character. Also, his growing attachment to Sung-ryong is adorable, especially since he’s still trying to deny it even as his little subconscious actions reveal that he’s a bonafide member of the Sung-ryong Fan Club.
- Chief Kim: Episode 16
- Chief Kim: Episode 15
- Chief Kim: Episode 14
- Chief Kim: Episode 13
- Chief Kim: Episode 12
- Chief Kim: Episode 11
- Chief Kim: Episode 10
- Chief Kim: Episode 9
- Chief Kim: Episode 8
- Chief Kim: Episode 7
- Chief Kim: Episode 6
- Chief Kim: Episode 5
- Chief Kim: Episode 4
- Chief Kim: Episode 3
- Chief Kim: Episode 2
- Chief Kim: Episode 1