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Mystery Queen: Episode 5

The murder case takes an unexpected turn, and Seol-ok races to prove herself before Wan-seung’s time and patience runs out. Even though she’s slowly winning him over despite himself, she still hasn’t been able to tell her family the truth about her amateur sleuthing, and it’s complicating her ability to focus on solving the puzzle. This case has nuances that even Seol-ok can’t fully see, and it might poke at some sore spots that she’s carried for many years.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

Seol-ok scurries after Wan-seung and Cha Yong-chul (Hee-chul’s father) and asks the latter why he’s avoiding her questions and what he’s hiding, but Yong-chul says only that he’s busy. Wan-seung moves her aside and says that Yong-chul’s wife is dead, and his father is being held for her murder—doesn’t he want to find out who killed Myung-hee? Seol-ok wonders aloud if he already knows, and Yong-chul gives her a chilling glare.

As the man is led away to give his testimony, Seol-ok gives Wan-seung a thumbs up for his charisma. Wan-seung agrees, then asks why she’s still here. Seol-ok says it’s not midnight yet, and Wan-seung asks dryly if she wants to ride a pumpkin carriage home.

Seol-ok says that Yong-chul’s alibi doesn’t check out for the time of death. Wan-seung says they don’t know that since the autopsy results aren’t out, but she says that she figured it out from the family’s phone records. Wan-seung reaches the logical conclusion about how she got those and curses Joon-oh.

Wan-seung reminds Seol-ok that she can’t just go home after the phone call she made, and she cringes. She wonders if she should claim to have been kidnapped for overhearing state secrets. Wan-seung says to tell them her phone had no signal, but Seol-ok tells him she’ll get divorced if she makes up such an unbelievable excuse. He tells her to go home then, but she says if it’s going to get divorced anyway, she might as well solve the case.

She follows him to a diner and sits down across from him despite his urgings to go buy her mother-in-law’s promised dumplings before the store closes. Wan-seung asks why she has to lie—why not just boldly tell Kyung-suk to mind her own business? (Well said, Watson!) Seol-ok says that Kyung-suk wouldn’t like that, then she tells him this is no time to be eating.

Annoyed, he tells her they can’t do anything unless Yong-chul talks, and besides, they won’t have the time of death until they get the autopsy results tomorrow. Seol-ok reiterates that she already knows. He glares and goes back to his food, and Seol-ok moves to sit next to him.

Wan-seung ignores her and asks the waitress for more kimchi, but Seol-ok, unfazed, cuts it for him and explains the events of that night: At 8:00 p.m., Hee-chul came home and overheard his parents fighting, so he went to a friend’s house, texting his mom that he would spend the night there. At 9:00 p.m., Yong-chul texted his friend to meet him for drinks and left the house. At 11:00 p.m., Hee-chul couldn’t reach his mom, so he texted his grandma to tell her that he’d seen his parents fighting and that Myung-hee wasn’t picking up her phone. Grandma had texted back that they were heading home right away.

At 11:25 p.m., Yong-chul used his credit card at a convenience store. At 11:32 p.m., Myung-hee rejected a call, which means she was still alive. The old couple called Myung-hee multiple times, but she didn’t pick up, so Grandma texted her at 12:53 a.m. to say that they were almost home. The old woman called 119 at 1:00 a.m. but hung up immediately, which means that was when they discovered her body; Seol-ok infers that the old man stopped her from reporting it.

Seol-ok says that whoever was at home between 11:32 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. is the murderer. Wan-seung points out that everyone has an alibi except the old woman, but Seol-ok says that Yong-chul is missing one too.

Back at the station, Seol-ok lingers outside the forensics department, trying to eavesdrop on Wan-seung and CSI Park. When Wan-seung comes out, he confirms reluctantly that the windowsill fingerprint belonged to Yong-chul, as did one on the clock from his friend’s auto shop. He asks how she knew about the clock, and Seol-ok says that the friend knew what time it was when Yong-chul came back because he woke up and saw it, and it would have been easy for Yong-chul to change the time.

The problem is the credit card transaction, which Wan-seung tells her was recorded on the convenience store’s CCTV at 11:23 p.m. Seol-ok gives her phone to the officer standing guard and tells him not to answer it, then pleads for Wan-seung to show her the surveillance footage.

Ji-won walks into a wedding dress shop and chooses the first dress she sees. Wan-seung ignores Ji-won’s call, so she texts him a photo of an invitation to their engagement ceremony. He calls her and asks if she’s crazy and tells her that there’s no way she’s having an engagement ceremony. Ji-won hangs up on him, and Seol-ok winces.

Oblivious, Wan-seung tells her that she can see the surveillance footage, but it’s her last chance to catch the killer. She agrees, saying she has to at least do that when he’s working so hard that he’s been dumped. She pats his arm and tells him not to worry. Rolling his eyes, he tells her she has an hour.

She watches a short clip of Yong-chul buying beer and asks if this is all they have. He tells her not to be discouraged—she couldn’t have won, betting against a veteran like Wan-seung. Seol-ok ignores this and says she needs to see the rest of the tape. Wan-seung tells her she has thirty minutes before midnight—if she’s late, he won’t show her any mercy.

Meanwhile, the officer that Seol-ok entrusted her phone to forgets her instructions in his half-asleep state and answers her phone, giving his location. When Ho-chul identifies himself as Seol-ok’s husband, he hangs up, flustered.

Wan-seung calls the convenience store owner and tells him to have a copy of the surveillance footage ready, and Seol-ok puts her jacket into her bag and runs, visualizing the shortest route.

Yong-chul sits silently in the interrogation room, but Wan-seung is unbothered and says that they’ll talk to someone who is willing to answer their questions. Yong-chul’s friend comes in then, and Yong-chul tries to lead him out, but the man sits down at the table and says that Myung-hee would want them to find her real killer.

Ji-won is still trying on her dress when Jang Do-jang calls her to congratulate her on her engagement. She tells him to stop calling her, and he says he’d rather talk to her boss, CEO Ha, anyway. He tells her to make it happen.

Wan-seung has discovered that Myung-hee had three life insurance policies, and he asks the friend about them. The friend says that he didn’t know what they were, but he knows that Yong-chul bought them through someone he knew. Wan-seung asks if that person was a woman. Noticing Yong-chul watching them from the door, Wan-seung tells him to sit down or get out. He says that no one can fool his nose, and he smells something fishy about the old man, but also about the two friends.

Meanwhile, Seol-ok wonders if jumping across the rooftops like a criminal might be fastest. She tries to climb a wall and gets mistaken for a thief when a woman starts screaming for the police to catch her. With Earnest Cop on her tail, Seol-ok runs away.

Wan-seung says that the motivation for a man to murder is always women or money—which was it in this case? What if the old man bought life insurance, and the one who sold it was a close female friend? Or was Yong-chul having an affair with her? The friend avoids Wan-seung’s eyes, looking dismayed. Wan-seung says that even if he didn’t know about the life insurance, the friend must have known that Yong-chul killed his wife.

Yong-chul’s friend asks him if he really killed Myung-hee, and Yong-chul asks Wan-seung if he has evidence. “Let’s wait and see if the evidence comes,” says Wan-seung, looking at his watch. It’s 11:50 p.m. Seol-ok, hitching a ride in Earnest Cop’s cruiser, calls and asks for ten more minutes, or even five, but Wan-seung tells her to go home.

Seol-ok bursts into the interrogation room with five minutes to spare, and while she plugs in her flash drive, Ji-won calls Wan-seung to tell him that she tried on her dress for the engagement. Wan-seung tells her she’s crazy and says she’ll never wear that dress because she’s not getting engaged. After he hangs up, Seol-ok gives him a pitying look. She tells him to be thankful the girl even stayed with someone like him this long, and to be a man and let her go with dignity. Hahaha.

Seol-ok asks Yong-chul if he and his friend were drinking all night, and Yong-chul says they were, except when he stepped out to buy more beer. He pulls out the receipt from his wallet as if prepared, which Seol-ok observes. She asks if it was fun and wonders what they talked about, and Wan-seung just rolls his eyes. She asks matter-of-factly, “Was it more fun than beating your wife?”

Yong-chul bristles, and Seol-ok says that she’s heard from neighbors that the couple’s fights would often end at two or three in the morning, and with Myung-hee in the emergency room. Yet that night it ended early, and Seol-ok wonders why. Yong-chul’s friend asks if all this is true, and Young-chul replies, “She deserved the beating.”

“Ah, so she deserved a beating,” says Seol-ok with a little smile. She asks the friend if they drank the beer Yong-chul bought, saying she’d love a cold beer right now. He replies that they didn’t finish it because it was lukewarm, and Seol-ok remarks that it’s strange for it to warm up in the three minutes it takes to get to Yong-chul’s friend’s auto shop.

Wan-seung, suddenly alert, watches the security footage again, this time catching something he missed before. “You bastard,” he says to Yong-chul. “You entered from the left side and exited to the right.” Seol-ok asks Yong-chul where he went, since the auto shop is to the left, and Yong-chul’s house is to the right. Wan-seung fast-forwards the tape; he didn’t pass by again for an hour and a half.

We see Yong-chul’s memory of that night. By 11:15 p.m., his friend is passed out drunk, and he stops to buy the beer, then creeps back home and into Myung-hee’s room to stare at her as she sleeps. We see the house from outside and hear a scream, and then he’s back at the auto shop, changing the clock from 1:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. before he wakes his friend.

In the present, Yong-chul’s friend begs him to say he didn’t kill her, but Yong-chul only glares at Seol-ok. “Did Myung-hee deserve to die? Is it because she wouldn’t hurry up and die even though you bought three life insurance policies?” she asks. He finally explodes, flinging his chair at Wan-seung and yelling that Myung-hee was a useless drug addict and is better off dead. Wan-seung tackles him to the ground and arrests him for murder, and uniformed officers drag him away.

Wan-seung and Seol-ok stare at each other in silence. The friend asks why things turned out this way, but Seol-ok says that he must have known this would happen. She says that he claims to think of Myung-hee as a sister, but he turned a blind eye to her abuse. He says he didn’t think Yong-chul would actually kill her. “So beating her was okay, as long as he didn’t kill her? What a great brother,” says Seol-ok in disgust. She tells him he’s a perpetrator too, and he should feel guilty for the rest of his life.

As she exits the interrogation room, she sees that it’s past 12:20 a.m. Wan-seung asks Seol-ok if she knew from the start that Yong-chul was the killer, and she says she had a hunch because it was reported as a burglary (the word implying human injury). Wan-seung says the friend reported it, but she points out that Yong-chul supplied him with the term when he made the emergency call.

Wan-seung doesn’t have a reply for that, so she walks off. He follows her, saying he knew all along, of course, that Yong-chul made his friend call so they wouldn’t suspect him.

Ho-chul has been waiting in front of the station, and he calls Seol-ok again. Seeing him from the doorway, she hides. Wan-seung sees Ho-chul too and asks why she’s hiding from him, but she says she’s trying to think of an excuse—Ho-chul hates it when she gets involved with the police. Wan-seung asks if she’s that afraid of her husband—does he prosecute her at home? She says it’s not like that; she just doesn’t want to create any problems for her family.

He asks if it’s okay to lie to your family, but she says it’s not always best to be honest when it could hurt their feelings. It’s more comfortable if you fit yourself to the other person a bit. Wan-seung asks her if she’s comfortable, and she says she is if her family is.

Seol-ok asks if he’s okay since he got injured in the fight earlier, but he waves off his bloody hand with his usual bravado. She tells him to go to the hospital and get it checked out—does he know how many people die of tetanus every year? He replies, “One or two?” They look at each other and laugh at this reversal of their exchange from the night they met. (Okay, that was cute.)

Seol-ok’s phone rings again, and he answers it despite her protests, whispering that she can’t live like this forever. He tells Ho-chul that she witnessed a murder and was giving a statement, and apologizes for keeping her so late and not allowing her to answer her phone. Aw. He tells Seol-ok that he didn’t want to see her lie.

As she’s leaving, he tells her not to thank him; he knows she’s grateful. She turns around and grins. “I won,” she says. “You have to keep your promise.” They bicker for a bit, but he agrees. Once she’s gone, he slaps his own face for apologizing to Ho-chul because of Seol-ok, getting angrier the more he thinks about it.

Seol-ok glimpses Yong-chul’s father sitting outside as she joins Ho-chul. He asks if Wan-seung was mean to her and says he’ll file a complaint, but Seol-ok tells him to leave Wan-seung alone—he got demoted, and his girlfriend is marrying another man. (Ha.) Wan-seung, hearing this as he watches them leave, snorts and says they seem to get along better than he thought.

Dong-ki joins Wan-seung and asks him what happened with his eighty percent certainty, but Wan-seung just shakes his head and says that’s enough after all. In the car, Seol-ok looks back at where she saw the old man, but he’s gone. She asks Ho-chul to stop the car for a minute and runs back to the station.

As he gets into his own car, Wan-seung wonders why he felt so suspicious of the grandfather—his hunches are never wrong. He starts to drive, and the old man suddenly steps into the car’s path. Wan-seung barely stops in time and angrily gets out. The old man insists again that he killed Myung-hee, begging Wan-seung to believe him.

Wan-seung gets a phone call from CSI Park, and he tells Dong-ki to escort the old man into the station. Seol-ok arrives, and Wan-seung tells her the autopsy results are out. CSI Park tells them that Myung-hee’s husband is not the killer: She died at 3:00 a.m., and the cause of death was drowning. She was still alive when she was thrown in the river.

Seol-ok says the old couple must have thought she was dead when they threw her in, but Wan-seung is doubtful. She watches through the mirror as Wan-seung questions the old man. He admits that he knew she was alive as he breaks down in tears. We flash back to the old couple driving Myung-hee to the river that night, when he saw her move in the rearview mirror. We also see his hand on the steering wheel, dripping blood.

Seol-ok bursts into the interrogation room, listing all the health foods she found in the fridge that Myung-hee bought for his arthritis. “We thought of her as family too,” sobs the old man. Seol-ok asks if he would have done the same thing to his son if Myung-hee had killed him. The old man’s wife comes in then and runs over to him, asking tearfully if they really threw Myung-hee into the freezing river when she still was alive.

The old man sobs that he did it for Hee-chul—what would it do to him if he knew his father was a murderer? Then he looks up in horror at Hee-chul, who is watching from the door. Seol-ok looks at him too, tears gathering in her eyes.

We see a scene from Seol-ok’s past: She’s young and dressed in mourning clothes, begging a detective to look into her parents’ deaths, since she’s sure that they were murdered. He tells her the police are 99.9% sure it was suicide, but she wails that she wants 100% and collapses, crying and alone.

Blinking back tears and memories, Seol-ok walks out, and when Wan-seung mentions their deal as he follows her, she says that he was right. She was just an ajumma playing detective, and even a mistake of 0.01% can change someone’s life. He says that she wasn’t all wrong and they caught the killer anyway, but she says it’s worse to imprison one innocent man than to let ten guilty ones go.

He tells her to leave that part to the police, adding that she did help—without her, the case would have ended as a burglary, and besides, Yong-chul is still scum. She says that he’s not a murderer though, and walks away. He calls after her that Joon-oh will give him a hard time if she leaves like this. She turns and says to give Joon-oh her regards, and smiling, she thanks him for giving her an extra twenty minutes. Wan-seung watches her leave, looking disappointed.

Ho-chul asks if Seol-ok’s okay, wondering if something happened. She smiles and says that from now on, nothing will happen. They drive off, and Wan-seung emerges from behind the doorway, sighing.

Later, at home, the family laughs as they watch TV together, but Seol-ok’s smile looks wide and forced. In his dark apartment, Wan-seung takes the medicine that Seol-ok bought him out of his pocket, remembering her fussing over his wound the night they met. “It’d be bad to get tetanus,” he says to himself, and swallows a pill.

He lies in bed, unable to sleep, and turns to the picture of him and Hyun-soo on his nightstand, apologizing for getting hurt. He falls into a memory of finding her limp and bloody, and a tear runs down his face. He walks the city streets with her laughter ringing in his ears until he’s hanging over a bridge, yelling into the night.

He asks her aloud how much longer he has to wait for her to come home, and promises that he won’t die until he finds her. “Do you hear me, Hyun-soo? I miss you,” he says, and he cries again before slumping to the ground.

The next morning, Kyung-suk asks Seol-ok why she’s always getting into trouble, and Seol-ok says it won’t happen again. Ho-chul calls, asking her to look for a document he left behind. Alone in his office, she covers her face with the envelope and cries quietly.

Seol-ok goes to the prosecutor’s office to deliver the document, but when she arrives, she sees Wan-seung and Ho-chul in a stare-down on the front steps. Wan-seung asks Ho-chul how he can charge Jang Do-jang with petty larceny after looking at the man’s file. He accuses him of being paid off by Ha and Jung, Ji-won’s law firm. When Ho-chul doesn’t clearly deny it, Wan-seung pulls his fist back to deck him.

“Oppa!” calls Seol-ok.

 
COMMENTS

I find myself loving these two characters more and more as we get to know them better. Both Seol-ok and Wan-seung are complex and fully realized characters with more to them than meets the eye, and it’s a treat to see their layers emerge as we spend more time with them. Seol-ok’s intense, almost bullheadedly thorough approach to solving mysteries makes a lot of sense now that we know about her parents’ deaths, and it gives extra poignancy to how personally she takes every case, because it’s so obvious that she’s doing some kind of penance for being unable to solve her parents’ murders. The way she sacrifices her own dreams and desires for the sake of her husband and in-laws also makes a sad kind of sense, because they’re the only family she has, and she’s willing to do anything to keep from hurting them.

This episode also gave us a fascinating glimpse at Seol-ok’s relationship with Ho-chul, which I must admit I was expecting to be very different from what we got. He seems to genuinely care about her, and their relationship seems affectionate, if a bit cool; it’s only increased my curiosity about how their dynamic works and how it will develop. I know I said in the beginning that I want Seol-ok to dump Ho-chul and his selfish family, but I wonder how much of the current situation is actually his fault, and how much is due to Seol-ok overcompensating out of the fear of being alone in the world again. I think it would be an interesting conflict if Ho-chul is a corrupt prosecutor (which seems likely from the end of this episode) but a decent husband, or at least not an awful one, because it would require Seol-ok to make the kind of hard decisions that she’s been avoiding until now.

Wan-seung, on the other hand, is growing on me by leaps and bounds. I’m beginning to see that his rough, macho manner covers a softie who is remarkably observant and sensitive to the feelings of others. It’s in the little moments, like the way he stops to talk to the low-ranking officer standing guard at the police station to massage his shoulders and distract him from his boring duty. Or the way he tries to cheer Seol-ok up when she shows the slightest sign of discouragement, telling her not to feel bad and acknowledging her contributions.

It’s such a big difference from his manner toward her when they first met (and I can’t blame him, really—she was pretty annoying). Nothing exemplifies this change more in this hour than their joking exchange about tetanus cases; I loved that moment of camaraderie in the doorway, and I completely melted when he took the fall for her on the phone, even apologizing politely to Ho-chul for her sake despite his hatred for the man. Seol-ok and Wan-seung have incredible chemistry, and I wouldn’t mind a romance between them if she moved on from her marriage first, but after seeing how adorable they were working as a team in this episode, I’d be satisfied to see them as best friends and partners too.

The end of the hour took a melancholy turn that caught me by surprise, but which I loved anyway. I’ve enjoyed the show immensely so far, but I’d been waiting for this kind of emotional weight, and I think it came at just the right time. Seol-ok has finally gained some kind of legitimacy in Wan-seung’s eyes, and they’ve settled into a sparkling, hilarious pattern of banter and one-upmanship that I’m really loving, so for them to part ways now, even temporarily, feels like a loss. Seol-ok blossoms when she’s working on a case, and she’s so charming and intelligent that it’s no wonder that by now Wan-seung just follows her around and watches her like she’s the most interesting phenomenon he’s ever witnessed. I found it adorable how he kept reminding her to buy dumplings on the way home so she wouldn’t get in trouble, and the way he seemed to always be watching her leave with the expression of a little boy who just lost his playmate. Besides, who can resist Seol-ok’s Puss in Boots eyes? Not Wan-seung, that’s for sure.

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Just finished watching this episode! :) I'm among the few wishing Seol Ok a happy marriage with her prosecutor husband. I want her to want her independent life as an investigator for herself, and not because she is unhappy in her marriage and wants to/needs an escape from her husband. Does that make sense? It shouldn't be that the ahjumma is looking for a life outside her domestic everyday life because it makes her unhappy - that implies that she wouldn't look outside if she was happy. In other words, no matter what, her domestic life comes first.

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Lol I am sorry and feeling guilty at the same time to feel quite the opposite to be honest. I 'love' the chemistry between seol ok and wan seung. .not to say kwon sang woo is killing it with all the animated expression he keeps giving. I am feeling a bit frustrated how the show doesn't give or [yet has given him] much to play with, while seol has been doing most of the detective works, but he nails the persistent, drug sniffing, always on his toes, working the hell out the dedication and honesty part of his job...so I think most of it is due to kwon sang woo's amazing detailed facial expressions. And, I want to know what happened to the girl of his past. And it somehow feels like the writer knows where it's all headed to.
Coming to the husband, the nice act seems too much staged, for now at least. I feel like there was a whole different reason why or how seol ok's parents got killed, and I wonder whether her in law's family has anything to do with it. I maybe over thinking too, but, I would say it even if this sounds all wrong, I am all for the romance lol. Don't know how or 'if' the show will go that route, but can't wait to see the detective falling for seol ok, lol. Can't help it :'(.

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Oh and jang jae in and hanhae's new ost is love..Didn't know he's the same guy from auditory hallucination..Though I like the female voice more <33.

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Yes, lovely ost. Love Jang Jae In too. But is the Hanhae in this 'From far away' the same guy as Nashow of 'Auditory Hallucination' used in KMHM? Am really wondering for they seem to be different singers. ?

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They are two different rappers. The vocalist is the same.

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Do you know what is the song played by the end of this episode (episode 5)? I cant find it anywhere.

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I wonder if Jang Do Jang has anything to do with her parents' death. It seems like both Seol Ok and Wan Sung were both teenagers when their tragedies happened.

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I don't think so. JDJ was also young when it happened, and their animosity didn't start until the drug case or when WS was a police officer. He also wasn't a murderer, he's more of a drug trafficker?

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That's interesting because I never got the impression (nor did it ever occur to me) that Seol-ok wanted to escape an unhappy marriage or home life. Though I had jumped to a number of unflattering conclusions about her husband as a person, it never seemed to me that she herself felt unhappy or put upon in her domestic life, or that her interest in detective work (or meddling in police business) resulted from a desire to live an escapist fantasy life or simply get out of the house more. I see her as someone who's had a long-time dream to work in a profession that she seems to have a passion and affinity for, but never got the opportunity to pursue a formal education or career, so she turned to self-study and attempting to solve cases in her free time.

My assumptions about her husband had me thinking she would be better off divorced, but I was pleasantly surprised by the scene with everyone sitting together as a family and appearing to enjoy each other's company. If she's happy and everyone loves each other (even though the sister's such a brat :P), then I would love to see her find a way to somehow maintain her happy family life while also becoming able to enter the workforce doing her dream job. :/

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My thoughts echo yours. I think in terms of family life, she's pretty satisfied. And given how her parents were killed, having this family who tests your patience but watches TV with you like any normal family is something that is super precious to her. While Seok Ok is a wife and a daughter-in-law, she is also a woman who needs to be more than just a wife and daughter. And because of her past, she deeply empathizes with those who are killed - given her impassioned speech when Wan Sung visited her friend's restaurant's back room.

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I think she is also satisfied with her family life. That's why she is goes to great lengths to cover up her interest in crime solving because she doesn't want to to ruin her peaceful family life. However, that doesn't mean she is giving up on crime solving as shown by her passionate speech on perps and their lives. I think the test for her is how she would reconcile the two and still live happily ever after.

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'My assumptions about her husband had me thinking she would be better off divorced, but I was pleasantly surprised by the scene with everyone sitting together as a family and appearing to enjoy each other's company'
That more looked to me as a facade of a happy family, because first of all as wan seung said the prosecutor is telling people on his work place that he's single, and secondly all the time when seol ok asks anything to her husband , he answers quite carelessly, as if he couldn't care less. I don't understand yet but something seems off. As if he has his hands on more important a.k.a profit making business so seol ok is not that precious to him.
I do understand that people love or tend to attach to a happy marriage, but when things are going wrong and we pretend that everything is just right, then I don't know if it's okay to stick to that marriage. Like I was quite uncomfortable with the fact that how seol ok would always make some excuses to do things that SHE LIKES TO DO, and for that she always has to create some situation so she can escape her home and go do her things, either with her in law or her sister in law or her husband, who doesn't get the ticket to be included in her adventures, where instead wan seung knows almost everything about her in such a short period that he has got to know her. So that's one reason why I don't buy the happy marriage facade. When you are happy in your marriage you don't have to 'compromise' for at least things that you want to or love to do, right? Also the family night that people are mentioning here, I could see how she doesn't participate in the talk, rather she sees it from the side and thinks to herself how this, everything of this is okay, as if she's trying to force pretend that staying away from her addiction, fascination is a good idea, which it is not. The husband doesn't seem to care at all about what the wife is doing so late at night, and he doesn't even ask her wholeheartedly why she's out all night, and what if she got hurt or something. So for now, while I can see seol ok is hundred percent dedicated in her relationship, can't say the same for the husband or the in laws..yet. I don't want her either to jump into a relationship with wan seung but she needs to see whether she is happy in the relationship she is in now.

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I totally see where you’re coming from, and I think I would definitely agree with you on a number of points if this was any other show.
With Mystery Queen, I think it might be best if I give Seol-ok’s family the benefit of the doubt until we get the autopsy results, so to speak.

At first, I took it for granted that the hints we were given about Ho-chul’s marriage to Seol-ok, as well as questions concerning his fidelity and integrity, were naturally intended by the writers as clear messages to the viewer that Seol-ok is in a bad marriage behind the scenes. However, a few things that happened in this episode led me to reinterpret things which have happened in previous episodes, as well as rethink holding onto my assumptions. Now, I think it might actually be the case that the truth behind Seol-ok’s marriage, and her husband’s reputation as a prosecutor, are being treated as additional mysteries. I’m anticipating intentionally misleading info, misunderstandings galore, and probably at least one shocking plot twist.

Wasn’t it Wan-seung’s colleague/superior who had been under the impression that Ho-chul was single due to some unspecified behavior? When we were first introduced to Wan-seung’s colleagues, it seemed that they were intentionally being painted as being somewhat bumbling, so perhaps hearsay coming from that camp isn’t necessarily the most reliable. And I started to feel like I really shouldn’t take Wan-seung’s dislike of Ho-chul as evidence of some kind of corruption without further information. Wan-seung said he doesn’t like prosecutors in general, has an annoying attitude that’s visible to other characters on the show (not just me :P), and often seems to be motivated by pettiness. His super-hunch ability doesn’t really seem to be that helpful, either, aside from alerting him that something, which apparently might be just about anything, is suspicious.

Concerning Ho-chul’s interactions with Seol-ok during the episode, I interpreted things much differently. I got the feeling that the writers were intentionally trying to create situations which could lead one to (possibly mistakenly?) believe that Ho-chul is inattentive/indifferent toward Seol-ok, and also corrupt. I feel inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, both because I don’t think it’s fair (yet) to say that he doesn’t cherish Seol-ok just because he seems to be busy and isn’t the overly affectionate type, and also because it seemed to me that he might not have been aware of the fishy business going on at his firm. Perhaps he became (understandably) preoccupied with trying to figure out what exactly is going on, and his preoccupation could easily be interpreted the wrong way. It also seemed to me that he actually did seem to care about Seol-ok and asked after her when he went to pick her up from the station after he finally found out where she was. He just accepted the information from Wan-seung explaining what she had been doing, rather than being...

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I am really enjoying this show. I loved this episode. The scene where Seol ok attempted to scale the walls only to realise 'this is pretty difficult after all' was so funny. I love how quiet and subtle the humour is. I also like that seol ok ultimately didn't solve the mystery here - it gives the police more weight when Seol Ok and Wan seung are working together, and inspiring the other to look in new directions, rather than Seol Ok sweeping in to solve it all. Their parternship is hilarious and very entertaining to watch. I was surprised to see ho chul pop up - I admit I thought it may end up a small running gag to have him always absent - and was even more surprised by how warm his marriage with seol ok seems. I hope that it stays that way - rather, I like that in this intro he was not the stereotypical cold husband you may expect from a kdrama, and as you say it would be interesting to see seol ok dealing with being unsatisfied in an otherwise happy, stable marriage. I suppose that hint about ho chul prtending to be single may end up he is the typical two faced cheater though... :/

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Maybe it's just because HoChul doesn't act like a typical married man? Like he doesn't rush home or ever speaks about his wife?

Doesn't mean that he's bad but maybe it's just because he and SeolOk's relationship is just cool. He cares for her and gets concerned sometimes but I don't feel like he's the kind to suggest dates and just basically do romantic things couples in love usually do. If she asks for a date, he'd probably acquiesce but just look at how she's hiding from her in-laws just because she doesn't want to invite trouble. We don't even know how they'd actually react since she never told them.

Like, unless he or she were infertile, I don't really see why they're still childless, esp if she's a housewife (at least officially). That's an interesting relationship.

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I was wondering about the lack of children. I wonder if Seol-Ok's infertile and that's why her mother-in-law doesn't seem to respect her. But then again, given what I've been led to expect from mother-in-laws in kdramas, she's pretty generous for not insisting that her son divorce Seol-Ok due to infertility.

Ho Chul really feels more like an older brother than a husband.

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I hadn't thought about the lack of children. I wonder if they'll eventually bring it up, or if it'll even be an issue. But I don't get the feeling that Seol-ok's mother-in-law doesn't respect her. In fact, I think she's actually pretty caring and not too disagreeable or demanding, for the most part. (And I'm looking at this from a real-life perspective, not in comparison to the typical Korean drama mother-in-law). She doesn't even really get on her case that bad for not being able to cook well, so I think I'd be really surprised if she were to do something like insist they get divorced.

Hmm, but if she IS that type of mother-in-law, maybe they already know that Seol-ok isn't the one who can't have children :/

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I'm pretty curious about their relationship though. Are they really married? Why do so many people do not believe if she's married, even some still call her "agasshi."

Also, the advice from her best friend not to get divorce... What does it mean? Have she ever had an idea of getting divorce? I hope in the next episodes we'll going to have more back story of their relationship.

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I was also wondering at the lack of children. I wonder if they really have an intimate relationship though. Like, with ho chul always working late, and the family always around when would they, and they don't seem very passionate as a couple anyway (as you say, i can't imagine them going out regularly to dates or hotels?). So that could naturally lead to a lack of children. I do wonder, especially with how episode 6 went, if there is an underlying backstory or agreement to their relationship that keeps it platonic.

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Me too. I thought it would be a running gag to talk about a physically absent husband who is there behind the scenes, but what do you know?

I hope WS would be written with more smarts now that this case is over, and in his future collaborations with SO. I don't like his smarts being dumbed down for the sake of showing off SO's prowess because it is so unnecessary. Both Watson and Sherlock are smart in their own ways, and they contribute to the cases equally.

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Are you going by the Sherlock/Watson relationship in the show/movies? Because in the original stories Watson might not have been dumb, but he really didn't contribute much to the cases either. He was mostly just there as a literary device to narrate Sherlock's genius, so if SO keeps having the upper hand in this show, it will just be sticking to the source :)

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Thank you for the thoughtful review! I have found this show to be thoroughly engaging. I am completely enjoying all the characters, their relationships and their real-life adult concerns. There are no one-note players; everyone has depth and can elicit sympathy from the viewer.

Initially I was hoping to see a rom-com but I am willing to see where the writer takes us....it's difficult to root for a marital breakup especially since we were able to see the strong bond between husband and wife.

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I wish you would recap MQ a lil faster. I love this show. It has everything one wishes a kdrama has and seldome achieves. A smart plot, dynamic characters, an intelligent kick ass heroine, a subtle on spot humor, brilliant acting. Hopefully it'll keep the flow.

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5 episodes for one crime to be solved...? I was expecting them to solve one crime in 3 eps but the way it is going, they'll probably solve barely 2 more crimes before confronting the drug incident & then the show will end.... & when will SO & WS officially pair up?!

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You got a point. I like this drama a lot and I can't believe it's already EP 5~ I think the writer really took time with the main characters' first encounters and gradually built up their interactions. Wan Seung and Seol Ok were strangers beforehand. I do hope we get to see them officially forming a team soon and solving more cases.

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I actually like how it takes them soo long to get to the conclusion. It is not your typical crime solving drama where 2 episodes are already too much for a case. I also find it much more empathic so I don' t mind because it hits the cord for me.

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I didn't mind the pacing for this episode or the past episodes either. But I did want things to move more quickly in the next episode.

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yes, exactly. i like this drama too. I also want to see their official pairing soon, because that's when they'll fall into sync while solving cases which will be fun to watch.

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This is my concern too. I can't believe we spend an hour to reveal who the real culprit of the week case. By the end of the episode, I was so bored and almost give up if not for Kwon Sang-woo's animated expression that kept me watching. The reveal is also a bit lackluster. Still don't understand why the grandpa think that by killing his daughter in law would make the kid Hee Chul free from any kind of malice. I'm sure that his friends would surely alienated him because well, grandpa killing a good daughter in law? So not cool

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the grandfather wasn't expecting to get caught. He was likely hoping/expecting that people would assume that Hee Chul's mother ran away. No body, no crime? If he had brought the mother to the hospital, there would be questions that could lead to Hee Chul's dad being arrested for attempted murder. And if she dies at the hospital, which she was likely to do given all that blood, then Hee Chul's dad could be taken in for murder. He didn't realize that his son had already concocted an alibi.

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Yea, he wanted to protect his grandson, or so he said.

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I was thinking about that too, Hee Chul's dad was in no way better than his mom, what would have happened if he was left in his dad's care all alone...? poor kid. what a disastrous family... That's what made the reveal bland I think. The double twists in murder and attempted murder mystery was not satisfying in the end.

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For such a great detective, Seol-ok sure seems expert at misinterpreting everything about Wan-seung's girlfriend and the engagement. How ashamed will she be when she finally finds out?

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I thought that was funny. Why would she think she is dumping him? Anyone would have guessed she's going ahead with the engagement that the guy doesn't want. It is a very silly but cute misunderstanding.

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I love this show! Kwon Sang-woo and Choi Kang-hee, they are both great in their characters. I love how unrushed the characters are being played. I can't wait how Seol Ok and Wan Seung will learn how to respect and trust each other more as the story progress. Ho Chul, now I hope his back story will be give some time soon. I would also like to point out how effortless the portrayal of Seol-ok's best friend. I love how grounded her advise but most of all I love how she is there for Seol-Ok and how she cheers her up and stand up for her. Now there's a girlfriend I would wish every woman will have.

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I am so glad you mentioned her friend - their friendship is one of my favorite things about this show! It's just really fun to watch two women who obviously enjoy each other's company without having to hide their true selves at all. I've enjoyed all the episodes of this show so far, but this episode was a turning point for me in that I really found myself fully invested in the characters and relationships and actively looking forward to learning more about them!

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The show may be slowly losing me, but I absolutely LOVE their friendship. I could probably watch them interact all day. I'm thinking I might even need a spin-off with just the two of them... :P

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Yes the friendship between the two women is one of the highlights of the show. I also hope we learn more about Seol Ok's friend, and why she doesn't have custody of her child? (If I understood correctly, she is a divorced woman but for some reason is separated from her child. Do women not get custody of their children in S.K.?! Since I've seen similar scenarios in several dramas now)

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I still can’t believe they dragged that one case for 3 episodes and then kept going after the husband was arrested. Just keep making me cry why don’t you. But the OST during the show were so on point!!

Awwww I’m actually loving her husband. He seems sweet and is genuinely concerned about Seol Ok. But I wonder if it's love or more of a friendship?

Favorite Lines: WS: “Should I bet my head of something?”
SO: “Is it worth anything?” ???

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Yes! I am surprised that her husband is nice to her. I thought they have a very cool relationship, in which each stays out of the other's affairs. This throws a wedge in my rooting for WS and SO's blossoming relationship.

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I didn't expect to be quite fond of husband in this episode, when I was ready to hate him! And Seol Ok misunderstanding over Wan Seung engagement also the moment when the woman officer who gave the envelope with red ribbon to Wan Seung and escaped immediately were pretty hilarious! LOL! And maybe there will be love line? I was eh when he chose to take medication from Seul Ok rather than drinking beer and stared at Seol Ok who rushes to go home. I hope the case can be faster to solved too, 2 episodes per case. But directing + OST was nice plus Seol Ok and Wan Seung on screen together keep me looking forward to this show!

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I hope the cases can be solved within two episodes too. Three or more episodes is simply too long and drags out the case unnecessarily.

I was pleasantly surprised to see WS taking medication as per SO's instructions too. That's so sweet. It's like she has finally gotten beneath his tough exterior with her care and concern. Too bad she is married, or I will be shipping them in this show. Their chemistry is off the charts!

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I think I will just have to trust the writers of this show. Just when I was getting a little bored last episode, they give us more to chew on this one. I love the small details that give us great insights into the characters. Thanks for the recap!

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Thanks Laica for a great recap! I like and agree with your insightful review. I feel that Seol Ok's view of what is due to family has probably been shaped by the tragic loss of her own. We often regret much after a loss, for instance, the thought, "I could have been more considerate! It wouldn't have killed me to say it in a nicer way" or "I feel so bad that the last thing we remember of each other is something negative" ... are the thoughts that crop up. Perhaps something like this was on her mind when she said that small considerations between family members go a long way. If lies and deceptions smooth over or negate the cracks in family relationships, Seol Ok is (and dare I say quite a few of us too are) likely to go for that.

My thoughts on ... "Wan-seung asks why she has to lie—why not just boldly tell Kyung-suk to mind her own business?" - it's not the way in most Asian households where one is a daughter-in-law. Children and children-in-law are subject to a degree of scrutiny. It is a known and accepted part of being in family. The part about being a daughter-in-law that I notice and dislike in many kdramas, is that they are expected to be the maids in their in-law's household, and even need permission to go out or to do their own thing.

Seol Ok straddles the home-traditional family dynamics very well. She has successfully met most expectations, giving lots quietly and enough in the open, and yet not being a total underdog, since her opinions are still relied on. She has managed to be subservient without being completely downtrodden, and has retained the affection of her in-laws. At least her mum-in-law tends/tended to trust her (until her own friends raised doubts) and cares that she does not get hurt. It is because of this that Seol Ok was able to get away with so many lies.

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I was saddened by the way the case turned out. Poor Hee Chul. He was so afraid his father had hurt his mother, which was true, but he never thought his grandfather would do the same, in order to save him from being a murderer's son. Either way, his mum would have died. How is the poor kid to live in a home knowing he was the inadvertent cause of his mum's death, and that his father had stabbed and left his mother to die.

I'm enjoying this show a lot more than I expected. It brings on more heart and feels each week and reveals more and more about it's characters. I'd like Seol Ok and Wan Seung's dynamic to remain buddy-colleague and practically like a bro and bro bromance thing. I'd like them to do lots of bantering and teasing and be looking out for each other, and of course, I'd like her family to acknowledge what a great brain she has and a fantastic detective she is.

However with a husband as a prosecutor, and a shady one at that, I foresee much conflict of interest and angst in future episodes, for our smart, detective ahjumma.

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I don't see how Hee Chul is the inadvertent cause of his mother's death, though. His absence from home gave that window of opportunity for his father to do what he did but Hee Chul himself did not set in motion the cause of action that led to his mother's death, inadvertently or otherwise. He did not cause that death. I fully agree with you however that it's really horrible for Hee Chul, to have his mother murdered in their family home, by a family member. It's going to haunt him for the rest of his life. Poor kid.
I'm more perplexed by why the grandfather did what he did, continuing to dump the body after his DIL showed signs of life in the car. He could have turned the car around and headed for the hospital for the DIL to be saved instead. No one was dead then. His son was not yet a murderer. A criminal maybe but not a murderer. Instead, he proceeded to throw a live person into the river. And the grandfather was shown as a gentle, thoughtful and religious old man. Just wondering.

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This is what I'm guessing - Actually that part in the car, the grandma did not know or notice anything, but the grandpa knew all along that Hee Chul's mum was alive, however she had been stabbed and left to bleed to death ... which meant there was intent to kill. He had decided that for the sake of Hee Chul, that instead of having a father for a murderer, let the mum die anyway so that she could not say anything, and let either himself or a burglar take the blame.

So it was to prevent the label of being a murderer's son from falling on Hee Chul. In that sense, the poor boy, who would guess this, would feel that he's somehow responsible for his mum's death.

So sad!!! Losing faith and trust and family members all in one fell swoop. ?

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I know! To think that everyone in his family valued his mother's life so little. I love how Seol-ok basically shot back at the grandpa and was like "you said she was like a daughter to you, but you wouldn't have done this horrible thing if the tables were flipped and if it was your son". The grandparents also knew that their pathetic excuse for a human being son was abusing their daughter in law. Hee Chul is still too young to really process domestic abuse, but one day he will see how wrong it was and it was mess him up. And the grandparents were supposedly devout christians too! I think comfort in knowing that they believe in hell.

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Okay. That penultimate paragraph. Now i get what you meant by inadvertently causing his mom's death. So sad.

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" it's not the way in most Asian households where one is a daughter-in-law. "

You have to watch episode 6. Seol-ok is more than that.

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Just watched it. Very interesting family inter-relationship.

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Can I just say...I love this episode and the next one even more sooo!!! Thank you for the recap!!!

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It took me 4 episodes to realize their name is korean version of sherlock and watson.. ha...

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Wow- you are right! It didn't even register with me!

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Oh really? That's interesting!

I'm pronouncing them now! And it's true....

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This episode was better than I expected. Seeing how Seol Ok tracked Yong Chul's moves and caught his mistake was cool.
The sad twist about the case was shocking and left a big impression on me. I liked that it also left an effect on Wan Seung and Seol Ok. A bit more of their tragic pasts were revealed. I really felt bad for both of them and I want to learn the truth behind those mysteries.

Seol-ok’s Puss in Boots eyes

Omg yes, perfect description!!! I love her eyes and her bright expression. ^^

LOVE the first OST already!! Soooo good! It really fit the melancholic scenes well.

장재인 (Jang Jane), 한해 (Han Hae) - 멀리서 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbaqe_pSwN0

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agree with you about the OST. I'm loving it also!

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Love the ost too. Love Jang Jae In!

And does anyone know the BGM at the closing credits of this ep? The one that plays after the Jang Jae In number above? I really liked that too.

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I love this song! And the quirky, almost ufo-sounding lighthearted musical theme that comes up sometimes.

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One thing for sure, Seol-Ok grows on people! She already has Wan-Seung looking out for her after it seems like he thought she was initially a wombat. But is this the first time in 10 years that she got something wrong or was the stake in this case too high for her to suddenly "quit"? I don't understand how much she was "shaken" by this case that she would throw in the towel so quickly.

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I suppose she has just caught the wrong person for the crime. She would never have allowed herself to catch an innocent when he didn't do the crime for fear of harming his future. And besides, she had this agreement with WS never to interfere with any cases if she was wrong in this case.

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Seolok was driven to solve mysteries by the lack of closure in her parents deaths, but it's also her talent, and we get the impression from the first case shown in the convenience store (and the egg sale later) that she's having some fun solving cases as an intellectual exercise, but not on anything with high stakes or risk (she admits despite her comprehensive collection of mug shots, she hasn't found any wanted criminals, or solved any of the gruesome unsolved crimes collected in her bat cave). That's why she stood next to a gang leader as he searched for drugs and was completely absorbed in her (audibly voiced) thought process as she tried to complete the puzzle, not realizing it's a real life perilous situation. So after the escalation to physical danger in that case, now she just got involved in a case where she suddenly feels emotionally connected, relating to the son, and just as the police glossed over the .1% uncertainty of her parents' death, she feels she almost did the same thing. I think she's being unfair to herself--she pretty much got it right, but the whole truth of the case was even nastier than she expected, the emotional stakes harder to handle, and she feels like she made the same mistake that was the reason for her sleuthing obsession in the first place, so in a turnabout she feels she's out of her league while Wanseung wants her to keep going.

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I wish that Seol Ok will begin to see that her husband is not as great as she thought him to be. Although I wouldn't want to see her paired up with Detective Ha. I'd rather that she find her own path and follow her dreams of becoming part of the police force like her father was.

It was also heartbreaking for me to see Seol Ok putting on a happy front after she decided to stop all her sleuthing hobbies. Watching her slice the apple while laughing along with her family members as they watched a TV program was a sad scene for me. I almost expect her to shed a tear or two while she was preparing the fruits for her family to eat.

I do hope we can get to see more of Detective Ha's investigation skills in upcoming episodes. It'll be great to see the two of them partner up to solve cases with each showcasing their own strengths.

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Ikr? Detective ha is basically doing nothing as of now what a detective with drug sniffing ability should do lol.

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Episode 6 answered the.question a lot of viewers have been asking about Seol-ok's relationship with her husband's family. And I'd say, I'm really how her and Kwon Sang-woo's characters were fleshed out in the latest episode. Can't wait for the review.

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I don't agree with the "loving husband" thing with Ho Chul. In the 1st or 2nd episode a couple of cops (?) were talking about him, and one comment was ".. he acts like a bachelor".

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I feel like the show is just toying with us regarding his reputation and character.

Is he cheating? Did he use her to get an education? Is he a corrupt prosecutor? Does he even know something fishy is going on with his firm?

I expect they'll continue to toss out misleading hints, and probably throw in a few twists before the show's over, so I'm going to make an effort to not make any assumptions or believe anything without definitive evidence. :P

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Lollypip, i agree and love your assessment of Wan-seung. He is outwardly brash, but can be so considerate. I really like how he looks out for Seol-Ok. You mentioned the dumplings in this episode. In an earlier episode, he bought the tofu Seol-Ok had used as her excuse to escape.

I love how Seol-Ok doesn't really see him as a man. There have been a lot of moments when their heads were close to each other and I'm squealing like crazy, but no feeling of "padum padum", especially on Seol Ok's end.

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I love when he's being considerate, but I also can't help but be annoyed by him because he really does seem like he's just being petty most of the time! :P

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Yes, he is so considerate? When did he buy the tofu? I didn't even see him buying it. And the frequent reminder to buy the dumplings? That's so sweet of him, as if he doesn't want her to get into trouble with her in-laws either.

I am not sure if SO doesn't see him as a man, but I am sure she doesn't have any romantic feelings for him. She treats him like Officer Hong, that's why she doesn't get the padum padum when their heads are very close together.

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I wonder if WS really is that smart though. It was mentioned he was waiting for a promotion, which presumably he had been for a while, and he doesn't seem to have a good reputation. He is also violent and aggressive. Perhaps he could learn from SO in some ways. At least he is shown to be contributing more than the station head - such as with the insurance. The station head truly seems misplaced in his job...

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This was meant to be a reply to s9313 above. :(

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..Besides, who can resist Seol-ok’s Puss in Boots eyes? Not Wan-seung, that’s for sure..

*sigh* KSW definitely nailed it. The way his expression changed from glad to see her, annoyed yet following her, then turned to admiration changed to melancholy look when she had to go home were awesome. His comedic expression when they bantered and quarreled is simply priceless. Love their chemistry here!

Thanks for the recap, Laica!

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I love this show! I love how in his own little way Wan-Seung shows his care or concern for Seol-ok. Like how he kept on reminding him about the dumplings. I just want more cases for them to solve. I hope if they don't end up together, Seol-ok will achieve her dream (investigator).

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Anyone knows why Seol-ok was crying when she looked in to the envelope his husband was asking?

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I think it's just the first time she's been alone and able to emotionally let loose from the events of the previous evening. And maybe there's a bit of sadness at having made the decision to quit sleuthing and relegate herself to herself to being a perfect daughter-in-law (just before, her mother-in-law commented she finally got the soup right). She only looked at the document enough to confirm it's what her husband requested, although at first I thought she discovered something nefarious.

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i so love this show. love the comments. love kwon sang woo and so happy he is in another drama! he is just awesome in his acting with the nuances he can portray. and choi kang hee is nailing this role too! i want to hug her and thank sang woo for a perfect pairing! ok i want to hug sang woo too! such a suave sexy funny man!

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I am so loving this drama! All the characters, like you said, are so fully-realized. Even the minor minor characters like Detective Learner who always has his trusty notebook handy. The story is told so perfectly and stylishly. No one is totally bad and no one is predictable either. I'm actually wanting our leads to get together and I'm not a fan of folks divorcing each other in dramas to run off together. (Not that that happens often.) I love the various friendships and relationships between everyone. Thanks for recapping this seriously mature and adult drama/mystery/romance.

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i can't enter whisper episode 2, Do bong soon episode 15 and man to man episode 1, what is going on? please can somebody help? thank you

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i can't enter whisper episode 2, Do bong soon episode 15 and man to man episode 1, what is going on? please can somebody help? thank you

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I honestly wasn't expecting to see Seol Ok react to her husband in a loving way. So that was surprising. I am now curious about both her and WS's backstories now though.

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