Chief Kim: Episode 18
This show just keeps getting better and better with its character moments, treating every member of its cast with depth, sympathy, and love. As Sung-ryong swoops in to save Yul, we see that even in our darkest times of need, there’s always a friend to help you out – even if that friend used to be the world’s worst, most evil, most annoying guy just a few days ago.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
Having successfully saved Yul, Yul’s white-haired minion throws the bad guys into his van. Sung-ryong finally asks his name, which we learn is Park In-hyuk, but Yul yells at him to hurry up before they can get any chummier.
As he drives, Sung-ryong smugly explains to Yul how they saved him: In-hyuk had put a tracker in Yul’s candy bar after seeing the file Sung-ryong sent him. Sung-ryong tells Yul not to give in so easily, but Yul assures him that he doesn’t plan to. Sung-ryong offers to buy him some time while he comes up with a plan, and while Yul is uncomfortable with Sung-ryong’s talk of being a “team,” it’s clear that he’ll need the help.
When they return to the Prosecutor’s Office, the entrance is crowded with reporters who leap up at the sight of Yul. Sung-ryong gets out of the car first to show the reporters the four tied-up thugs in the van. Sung-ryong dramatically cries out that Yul didn’t flee – he was abducted, and this whole situation was a scheme to frame him.
Yul finally gets out of the car, ignoring the cameras as the prosecutors escort him into the building. When Sung-ryong implores him for a word before he leaves, however, Yul gives the reporters the world’s meekest, quietest “Aja!” (lol), which Sung-ryong magnifies into a vow to reveal the truth. As Yul leaves, Sung-ryong explains how he was abducted on live television. At home, Ha-kyung and Kwang-sook watch Sung-ryong’s energetic display in amazement.
Yul returns to the interrogation room, where Prosecutor Moon insincerely laments Yul’s close call. At Yul’s flippant attitude, however, Prosecutor Moon demands to know why Yul is so confident. Yul just smirks, telling him that spoilers are no fun.
Outside, Prosecutor Moon’s boss tells him not to move Yul to the detention center yet – with the reporters requesting coverage of Yul’s abduction, the prosecutors’ investigation will look suspicious if they send Yul away now. Meanwhile, in his office, Yul wracks his brain for a plan.
By the next day, the media is rife with articles accusing Yul of accounting fraud, and Sung-ryong groans to himself that he made a scene for nothing. Even Business Operations is horrified by the scale of accusations against him. Ha-kyung sits in pensive silence, recalling how Yul said he ate so quickly because he was afraid someone would steal his food.
In Chairman Park’s office, Executive Director Jo reports that she just managed to block Sung-ryong’s rampage from the media but promises to get rid of him immediately. Chairman Park tells her to make the announcement of an “emergency reformation.”
At Business Operations, the team gathers around the TV for the announcement. Executive Director Jo explains that due to the severity of the situation, the board has been forced to come up with a three-part emergency reformation plan. First, she says, TQ will lay off 287 employees. Second, use of cell phones and personal computers is now prohibited. And third, employee benefits will be temporarily suspended.
Director Chu rushes to the list of layoffs, and sure enough, he finds his name among them. He collapses into his chair in dismay, burying his face in his hands. The team watches, helpless.
At home, a panicked Madam Jang tries to organize an emergency board meeting, but is informed that the unthinkable has happened: since this morning, eight board members have been charged by the Prosecutor’s Office for illegal bribes and stock management. She falls into a chair in horror.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Moon informs a shocked Prosecutor Han that Chief Lee’s evidence is not admissible due to unreliability. Prosecutor Han asks whether he’s accusing him of forging evidence, but Prosecutor Moon just tells him that Yul will be transferred to the detention center tomorrow.
After everyone leaves, Sung-ryong finds Director Chu alone in the office, head hung in defeat. Sung-ryong urges him to fight as they have been doing until now, but Director Chu shakes his head – he’s been gathering information on layoffs for years, and he can tell there’s no way out of this one.
Ga-eun tearily calls Sung-ryong to say that Chief Lee’s evidence will probably be discarded. The team laments the news, knowing how much Chief Lee risked to protect that evidence. Even when Sung-ryong tries to reason with Prosecutor Han, he tells him it’s a lost cause.
When Chairman Park returns home, Madam Jang demands to know how many people will have to bleed for him to stay on top. Chairman Park tells her that this is just the way of competition and survival and warns her not to try using her shares to do anything, or else her board members will suffer. Madam Jang collapses to the ground in despair, and Myung-suk runs to her side, swearing at his father.
Meanwhile, Sung-ryong returns home to hear Director Chu calling his daughter, cheerily pretending that nothing’s wrong. Aw.
The next morning, Yul eats a hearty breakfast at the Prosecutor’s Office, noting to himself that his plan is complete. Later, in the hallway, Ga-eun passes by a closely guarded Yul, who gives Ga-eun a frantic signal. She’s confused, but when he loudly fakes a stomachache and runs into the bathroom, she catches his meaning and runs off.
Disguised as a cleaning lady, Ga-eun enters the men’s restroom to talk to Yul. He has two things to say: First, he wants her to tell Sung-ryong to come see him before 11 a.m., no matter what. The second task is for Ga-eun herself, but we don’t get to hear it.
Over the phone, Ga-eun tells Sung-ryong that Yul needs to meet him. He leaps out of the office in joy, all fired up. At the Prosecutor’s Office, Sung-ryong wracks his brain with Prosecutor Han and Ga-eun for a way to get into Yul’s room.
The next thing we know, Sung-ryong appears in the Prosecutor’s Office dressed in priestly garb with a Bible in his hand. LOL. As Yul stares with an incredulous expression, Prosecutor Han explains to Prosecutor Moon that Sung-ryong’s a priest praying for criminals. They’re met with some pushback, but the office eventually gives in.
So Sung-ryong, Yul, and Prosecutor Han sit in a fake prayer circle to whisper about Yul’s plan. Sung-ryong isn’t convinced that it’s enough – even if Yul gets out of prison, he’ll simply be attacked again. Sung-ryong promises to think of something.
Catching the prosecutor’s suspicious gaze, the trio leaps up to exorcise the gluttonous sins out of Yul’s body, and Sung-ryong sends him off to the detention center with hymns.
Sung-ryong details the plan to Ha-kyung, who agrees that Yul will need a suit of armor to protect him from Chairman Park after he gets out of the detention center. Meanwhile, Ga-eun yawns in her office late at night, using her wiretap to do her part of Yul’s plan.
At home, Sung-ryong and Director Chu watch TV over fried chicken. Sung-ryong asks for suggestions on a plan, but Director Chu is too busy watching his favorite movie, New World. Sung-ryong sighs at his lack of interest before turning to the TV, where a scene gives him an idea.
He relays the idea to Ha-kyung, who notes that it’d be great if it works, but it’s too risky – she doubts that Yul and Prosecutor Han will be in support of it. Still, she agrees that it’s high risk, high return, and offers to get Kwang-sook’s help too.
So Kwang-sook delivers some fresh coffee to some female employees, taking the opportunity to tell them some new rumors about Yul’s arrest: “Yul actually came to TQ for a special purpose—…” The girls listen closely.
Myung-suk stops Sung-ryong in the halls to ask for some advice. He tells him that he wants to help Business Operations, but he can’t figure out how. Sung-ryong assures him that he’s valuable just by being on their side, and then notes that he’s becoming more and more like his mother when he was just like his father before. Myung-suk scowls at the implication.
Ga-eun calls to say that she’s finished her work, and Sung-ryong grins: that marks phase one of Operation: Rescue Gluttonous Sociopath. The first step is to show the corrupt that they have all their information.
Accountant Lee picks up a call from an unknown number to hear… a recording of himself. The recording is evidence of his transferring funds to Taipans Bank. Through a voice changer, the caller tells him that his lies have caused an innocent person to take the blame; he has twenty-four hours to fix his ways.
The terrified Accountant Lee demands to know who’s speaking, but the person doesn’t answer. We see that it’s Ha-kyung, talking through a voice-changing, untraceable cell phone given to her by Ga-eun.
Meanwhile, Ga-eun finishes sorting all of the wiretap recordings of Yul’s room by person and content.
The next targets are Executive Director Jo and Chairman Park, but Sung-ryong notes that she’s so loyal that she’ll take the blame if something happens. Director Go is also loyal, Ha-kyung says, but he has a weakness: he’s easily persuaded.
Director Chu meets with Director Go to ask him to reconsider his layoff, but he doesn’t budge. Before he leaves, Director Chu notes: “Myung-suk from our office said that Chairman Park said something about you…”
To reinforce the claim, Director Chu and Myung-suk speak loudly in the halls, saying that Chairman Park called Director Go a parasite who never does his job right. Myung-suk sighs that his father doesn’t care about hard work, and says that he plans to kick Director Go out soon.
Sung-ryong talks with Ha-kyung about Phase Two: maximize the fear they created in Phase One. Sung-ryong notes that she’s learned so much, and Ha-kyung insists that she came up with this herself.
Next, Director Chu talks loudly with Manager Lee in the halls, knowing that Accountant Lee is eavesdropping. They gossip that Yul refuses to go down by himself and will take Accountant Lee or Director Go down with him, but that if someone whistle-blows, he won’t take down the whistle-blower. Myung-suk does the same with Director Go, pushing him to whistle-blow.
That afternoon, Director Go meets with Accountant Lee, the atmosphere tense and suspicious. Director Go notes that Accountant Lee is more in danger since he did most of the dirty work, but Accountant Lee retorts that Director Go is in charge of Financial Management.
Sung-ryong visits Yul at the detention center, snickering at how he looks in the inmate uniform with his un-primped hair. When Yul asks about the progress of the plan, Sung-ryong tells him that they seem ready to move by tomorrow.
They bicker at each other through the glass divide, with Yul swearing to punish Sung-ryong to death as soon as he gets out. Sung-ryong gives him a kiss, fogging up the glass, and Yul screams: “Stop with the kissing already!” Lol.
Myung-suk gives a depressed Director Chu an expensive bottle of wine and an apology for his suffering as the whole office looks on with a proud smile. When Myung-suk returns to his desk, Sang-tae offers to split his work today, though he’s quick to go back to bullying him.
Accountant Lee receives another voice-changed call and wiretap recording of himself, telling him to whistle-blow. Meanwhile, Executive Director Jo informs Chairman Park and Director Go that there might be an undercover employee at TQ. Chairman Park erupts at Director Go for not knowing about this beforehand.
Accountant Park runs to Accountant Lee’s desk to tell him about the rumor that Kwang-sook has been spreading: Yul resigned the prosecution to carry out an undercover investigation of TQ, but Chairman Park found out and attacked him first. Now, he’s only pretending to be locked up as a cover.
Director Go leaves Chairman Park’s office in a daze, convinced that Yul was undercover. Now believing that Chairman Park was never on his side, he resolves to take him down first. Accountant Lee realizes the same, and leaves his desk with a sealed envelope.
Ha-kyung tells Sung-ryong that Director Go and Accountant Lee will probably give in today. Sung-ryong prepares to tell Prosecutor Han and Yul about the plan.
Director Go runs into Accountant Lee by the elevators, each realizing the other is on the way to whistle-blow. They race for the elevators to be the first to get there.
Sung-ryong explains “Operation: Spread the Rumor that Yul is Undercover” to Prosecutor Han and Ga-eun, saying that it will protect Yul from Chairman Park after he gets out. They ask why Sung-ryong wants to protect Yul so much, and Sung-ryong says that even bad guys deserve a second chance – he wasn’t a model citizen in the past, either. Satisfied with his explanation, they agree to help.
Meanwhile, Ha-kyung asks Madam Jang for her help, and she agrees to do so if Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung both trust that it’s the right thing to do. Sung-ryong shares this news with Prosecutor Han and Ga-eun, musing that it is a little weird to help Yul. But Prosecutor Han says that Yul isn’t all bad – he might be a gluttonous sociopath, but back in the day, he would sometimes give him candy bars.
Accountant Lee and Director Go stumble into the Prosecutor’s Office with their respective evidence against Chairman Park, both yelling that they were first. Prosecutor Moon demands to know what’s going on, and they tell him that Chairman Park was behind all of the accounting fraud. They start yelling, each insisting that they know more about TQ’s fraud.
Prosecutor Han and Sung-ryong stroll into the room at that moment, applauding the two whistle-blowers, and Prosecutor Han grins smugly at Prosecutor Han: “It looks like you’ll have to restart the investigation!” At Business Operations, Ha-kyung tells the office the good news, and Myung-suk smiles to himself.
Prosecutor Han finally gives the Chief Prosecutor the evidence against TQ. The Chief Prosecutor is furious that he didn’t tell him that Yul was an undercover prosecutor, especially since they could be penalized for this kind of operation. Prosecutor Han apologizes, saying that he had to keep it a secret.
The chief prosecutor orders them to release Yul, but to put the indictment against Chairman Park on hold – until they can come up with better evidence than the (very illegal) wiretap recordings that they have, they can’t make a case.
At the Han River, Sung-ryong greets a newly released Yul with a block of tofu, which Yul refuses to eat. They sit on the riverbank as Sung-ryong explains Operation: Undercover Yul, but Yul is entirely opposed to it, saying that it’s humiliating to get help from the ideals he betrayed. Sung-ryong, however, notes that he should see this as an opportunity to change himself.
Sung-ryong notes that when he became Mr. Righteous, it wasn’t on purpose – he slipped on some ice and accidentally became a hero. “These unlikely coincidences tend to change people’s lives. Why not use this one to change yours?” Yul sighs, saying that he’s gone too far to come back, but Sung-ryong can tell that he’s not being truthful – he wants to come back, but he’s scared. Yul gets up and leaves.
As Yul walks home that night, he receives a call from Ha-kyung congratulating him for his release. She asks to meet for a bit, and they find themselves at a virtual baseball zone. They play against each other, cheering and teasing each other from behind the fence. So. Cute.
Yul eventually wins, and they have a cup of tea in the lounge afterward. Yul isn’t stupid, however, and guesses that Ha-kyung lost on purpose. When he asks why, Ha-kyung says, “You like to win, and I wanted both of us to have fun, even if I had to lose.”
She tells him that she was initially reluctant to get to know Yul – not because she didn’t like him, but because she was afraid. Yul just nods, as if he expected that, but she continues to say that after meeting him a few times, the fear disappeared. She holds out a fist for him to bump and tells him that she looks forward to getting closer to them.
Yul walks home, mulling over Ha-kyung and Sung-ryong’s words about changing himself. Making a decision, he pulls out his phone to contact Sung-ryong.
Yul goes to find Sung-ryong at the Business Operations department late at night, telling him that he’s ready to take down Chairman Park.
The next morning, Chairman Park walks through TQ when he’s stopped by Go and Gu law firm. They inform him that the board has filed a complaint against him and has appointed two gentlemen to supervise the complaint. Chairman Park turns to the door, where Yul and Sung-ryong stroll in, side by side.
So great. So fun. So satisfying. This show always treats its viewers with intelligence and respect, knowing that it can’t reuse its tricks and antics, and instead draws upon strong character development and fun writing to keep us invested. Each episode executes its plans differently (save for the clever and psychologically unbeatable hero to carry them out). Through this whole episode, for example, we know that a plan is going on, but we aren’t told exactly what it is – and honestly, it doesn’t matter. Instead, the focus is put on the team members, both old and new, and how they interact with each other. It’s an especially well-executed tactic as the show winds down to its finale, since it takes advantage of the viewers’ evolved relationship with each of the cast members, warmly embracing their individual strengths. The gossipy, lovable, loyal-since-day-one Kwang-sook contributes with her outgoing personality; the morally awoken Myung-suk does his best to support his newfound ideals; and our newest team member, Yul, is slowly learning to be a better person as he’s saved by the very people he was trying to destroy.
And how great was it that Yul was the driving force behind the mission this time? Yul’s long-awaited change of heart was more satisfying than I was expecting – with all the evil things he’s done, I was starting to become afraid that he might be well on his way past the point of redemption. But Chief Kim is a show that emphasizes forgiveness and warmth to its characters most of all – the very premise of the show lies in Sung-ryong’s resolve to change himself, after all – and it gave our antagonist the same forgiving treatment. I love that Yul himself seems to be constantly surprised by the kindness he’s given, not only by Ha-kyung but by Sung-ryong, and by proxy, the rest of their team of TQ friends and prosecutors as well. He might have grown up in an environment where he had to eat quickly to survive, but in a land with friends like Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung, that isn’t necessary: they can share.
I’m also very happy that this episode touched on Sung-ryong’s feelings about being Mr. Righteous. After all, it was a mistake on an icy day that got Sung-ryong involved in this fight against TQ, not a sudden and heroic decision to change his life. It’s almost as if life itself pushed him into meeting his potential; without that fateful coincidence, perhaps Sung-ryong would never have changed his ways or realized his unique and unmatched strengths as a man for the people. By immersing himself at TQ, Sung-ryong was able to realize that he could apply his special skills to something constructive and good, and thanks to him, an entire company and culture has begun to change. I’m willing to guess that he’s a lot happier now than he was back in Gunsan – life may have more headaches, roadblocks, and threats than before, but he’s able to contribute to something he’s proud of. With that kind of satisfaction under his belt, is it any wonder that he’d want the same for Yul?
In a sense, Sung-ryong is a sort of father figure in the team, “adopting” these little lost, misguided puppies back into hopeful optimism. Kwang-sook was the first, Ha-kyung, Director Chu, and the rest of Business Operations next, then Ga-eun, Myung-suk, and Prosecutor Han, and now finally Yul – and as his team of do-gooders expands each episode, we’re reminded that a good fight is hard work and slow progress. And if change toward progress takes a person at a time, so be it – it can only mean more love in the future.
- Chief Kim: Episode 17
- 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