Whisper: Episode 11
Like father, like daughter. History repeats itself as the innocent Young-joo is framed for murder, but this time, Dong-joon has a chance to redeem himself in the fight for truth and justice. Of course, the lies and corruption are unceasing, and it will take a miracle for Young-joo to be freed from the tangled web that Lawyer Choi has so elaborately spun.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Due to the discover of Chairman Kang’s body in her car, Young-joo is taken into custody as the most likely suspect. The news stations are buzzing with this information, which means everyone knows about it. Dong-joon races to the police station, taking control of the situation as Young-joo’s attorney.
Once they’re given some privacy, he gently asks if she’s okay. She’s more focused on why Secretary Song moved the body, but instead he dabs at her raw wrists and bruised cheek — it doesn’t seem like it was a gentle arrest. He urges her to refuse to say anything to the detectives, since any statement she might make will get distorted and used against her by Lawyer Choi. Anything she needs to say, she can say it to him, her lawyer.
She doesn’t want her father to know, and even though Dong-joon was just at the nursing home where her father watched the breaking news, he reassures Young-joo that her father is in no condition to know what’s going on. He also promises her that he’ll make sure she’ll be free and able to be with her father in his last moments. As the detectives escort her away to her holding cell, he leans in and whispers: “Trust me.”
It’s an ornate funeral for Chairman Kang, and Lawyer Choi leads the procession of guests to the memorial hall where Jung-il waits. He and Soo-yeon pay their respects to Chairman Kang while Jung-il stares them down, and then Lawyer Choi tells him that Soo-yeon will give the eulogy, since he knows Chairman Kang was fond of her. Um, that’s not exactly the word I’d use, but sure.
Jung-il simply says that he’s indebted to Lawyer Choi, and promises to repay that debt as soon as possible. He also tells Soo-yeon that he hopes she gives his father a nice eulogy, since he plans to do the same for her father. Despite the polite veneer, there’s a distinct threat behind his words.
When Dong-joon arrives at the office the next morning, he’s determined to track down the original car Secretary Song used and find some trace that the body was in it. But Ki-yong reveals it’s already headed for the scrapheap.
Secretary Song talks to his daughter who lives overseas, apologizing for waking her up. His apology sounds like it covers more than just forgetting the difference between time zones. Dong-joon finds him and reveals that a shard of the celadon vase was discovered at the scene, and idly wonders if Secretary Song could have been the one to smash the vase against Chairman Kang’s head.
Even if Young-joo is out of the picture, Secretary Song still has to deal with him — and he knows how persistent Dong-joon can be. Not only that, Lawyer Choi is the kind of person who will change tactics and make it so Secretary Song was the one holding the vase. Considering he was coerced into hiding the body, Dong-joon’s convinced Secretary Song could make a deal and be out of jail in just a few years.
But when the two men enter Lawyer Choi’s office, it’s revealed that the one Lawyer Choi will threaten to destroy is Dong-joon himself. He’s ready to set him up as Young-joo’s accomplice. He reminds Dong-joon that his father has been the Choi family doctor for the past twenty years and it would be a pity if something happened to the doctor’s family. He orders Dong-joon to put a stop to things.
At the cemetery, Attorney Jo urges Jung-il to rest for a few days after they bury his father. But Jung-il, with fire in his eyes, is determined to return to work right away. He knows that Dong-joon will be working hard to prove Young-joo’s innocence.
Since the original car has already been destroyed, Dong-joon is now looking for copies of the blackbox videos from cars that would have also been parked there that night. Young-joo has already figured out that Dong-joon is being painted as her accomplice, and she muses that he must be feeling regret.
He admits that he is — he regrets that he didn’t originally listen to Chang-ho’s voice of conscience. He regrets that he didn’t join her side earlier. With a smile, he says that he may be in trouble, but at least now his heart is at ease.
Young-joo points out that it won’t be easy for him to get records of the cars that were parked there that night, or figure out who owns the cars without the police’s help. She wonders what he’ll be able to do without her. Then she points out that they can just make others do the work for them, and she casually knocks his notes off the table as the detective inters the interrogation room.
As the detective picks up the piece of paper to return it to Dong-joon, he reads the notes that indicate they’ll be tracking down the blackboxes. He then reports back to Lawyer Choi, who reminds everyone that they still have the perfect set-up of Young-joo killing Chairman Kang in retaliation for Jung-il killing Sung-shik and framing her father. He’s using them against each other to clear his name.
Jung-il returns to Taebaek, and his first stop is Lawyer Choi’s office. He’s prepared a small “thank you” gift for everything Lawyer Choi did during the funeral. It’s a vase exactly like the one Lawyer Choi used to kill Chairman Kang, but Lawyer Choi hides any reaction and simply says that this one must be authentic, since he heard his father was going to give him the real vase for his office.
Jung-il tells him that just like belongings arrive at a new house before the owner does, he’ll be leaving the vase here — implying that it won’t be long before he becomes the new head of Taebaek.
First things first, though. Lawyer Choi orders Secretary Song to prevent Dong-joon from getting further in his investigation. But Secretary Song, knowing full well that Lawyer Choi would just as easily pin the murder on him, demands some leverage: Soo-yeon.
Lawyer Choi angrily tells him to leave his daughter out of this, but Secretary Song cooly states that he’ll only work with Soo-yeon. Annoyed, Soo-yeon volunteers her services, with the silent reassurance to her father that she can handle it.
Attorney Jo is worried about Jung-il showing his hand so openly, but Jung-il points out they’ve already seen his claws — now he just has to sharpen them. He knows Lawyer Choi will start to rush, giving Dong-joon an opportunity, which Jung-il will then take from him. Concerned about how weary Jung-il looks, Attorney Jo urges him to rest, but Jung-il reminds him that his father is doing enough resting for them both.
Secretary Song has tracked down most of the cars that were parked in the lot the same night he moved the body, but there are still two that he hasn’t been able to find yet. He tells Soo-yeon that, to avoid suspicion and getting the police involved, they’ll use Taebaek’s internal accident response team to look up the information.
Ki-yong’s been keeping a careful eye on what’s been going on in Soo-yeon’s office, and goes downstairs to flirt with one of the women on the accident response team. Which means he happens to be lingering nearby when she pulls up the information about the unknown cars. He memorizes the contact information and he and Dong-joon immediately head out to the most likely car.
Lying in wait are Jung-il and Attorney Jo, who follow them as they head to the car owner’s home. Dong-joon politely asks the owner if they may look at her blackbox since it might hold important information in a case, but when they get down the parking garage, they’re too late: the windshield has been broken and the box stolen from the car. Jung-il and Attorney Jo drive by, making it clear they were the ones who took it, and Dong-joon sighs in frustration.
It’s two days later and everyone’s wondering why Jung-il hasn’t revealed what’s on the video. It’s because there isn’t anything useful on it — at least, not for him. Even though it clearly shows someone putting something in Young-joo’s car, they aren’t able to prove that it’s Secretary Song since his face is never revealed.
This means that the footage will only help Young-joo prove her innocence, and if she’s free, then she’ll come after them in order to prove her father’s innocence, disrupting their plans to go after Lawyer Choi. It’ll only be a headache if the footage is revealed. But Jung-il decides to use it as bait, and meets with Soo-yeon.
She refuses to accept his attempt to make a deal, since she knows that if he hasn’t revealed the contents of the video now, then it must not be useful. He reminds her that he’s been called to testify at Chang-ho’s trial, and that if their testimonies conflict, then it’ll be difficult for the judge to make a verdict.
But she’s not worried, because her father’s powers of persuasion (or fearless use of blackmail) means that they’ve already secured a ruling. Just as Young-joo will be declared Chairman Kang’s killer, so he will be named as Sung-shik’s killer. They might even end up in the same prison.
Jung-il says she’s changed a lot, but she says she’s just following his lead. Handing over a plane ticket to Switzerland, she offers him the chance to run away, change his name, and use funds set up in a Swiss bank account to start a new life. Instead, Jung-il tells her to keep the ticket for when she needs to run away.
At the police station, Attorney Jo dramatically burns photos from the blackbox showing Secretary Song moving the body. Because of course the only way to destroy evidence is by fire. Jung-il tells Young-joo that she has what he needs and vice versa. Knowing that Lawyer Choi is pitting them against each other, he informs Young-joo that the way they can escape the trap is for her to withdraw the appeal for her father’s trial.
If that trial is stopped, and Chang-ho makes a confession that he killed Sung-shik, then he’ll give her the evidence she needs to prove her innocence. He also reveals that he knows her father has less than a month to live, maybe even barely a week, considering his current state.
Young-joo refuses — she will fight using the law. Even if Lawyer Choi can persuade judges and prosecutors, she’s convinced that there will be at least someone who is trying to rebuild himself from where he’s fallen. She and Dong-joon exchange a meaningful look.
Jung-il tells her that she’ll regret sending her father away without one last goodbye, just as he regrets not seeing his own father more often before he was killed. He’ll wait for her call, but he won’t wait very long — since her father doesn’t have very long. After he and Attorney Jo leave, Young-joo reminds herself that her father lived by the adage that falsehoods will never win over the truth. Then again, her mother considered that belief to be nothing more than superstition.
Dong-joon’s new tactic is to retaliate by using a lie to beat a lie. He’ll make up an alibi for the night the body was moved. He’ll let it leak that he and Young-joon were lovers, and that night they were together in his room at his mother’s place. He even has “proof” that they were in a relationship via the few frames of the video she uploaded of them in bed together.
He’ll deny the relationship, but because of the evidence that will be leaked, people will start to doubt him and believe her. She’s concerned that he’s throwing away his reputation, but he’s just relieved he still has something left to throw away, and that he can do it for Chang-ho’s sake.
Dong-joon goes to the nursing home to ask the real Yeon-hwa to help them. While he’s there, his mother shows off the fact he’s on the cover of a magazine, with a headline that boasts of his honorable convictions as he went up against the Chief Justice. Mom is proud of him and brags about how her friends are so impressed. He gently takes her hand in his, warning her that he’s going to be criticized from now on.
When he gets home, he finds Soo-yeon waiting for him. At least they won’t have to share this space much longer. She wonders if it’s finally time to wake up from this dream. Dong-joon tells her that the nightmare is only just beginning.
Her assistant calls, letting her know that there’s breaking news about Yeon-hwa posting statements that Dong-joon and Young-joo are lovers and that they were together at the nursing home the night Chairman Kang was killed. Smiling, Dong-joon warns Soo-yeon that she’d better rest up — tomorrow will be a rough day.
In the morning, as the couple arrive at Taebaek, they’re immediately swarmed by reporters demanding a statement. Dong-joon pleasantly insists that he only has a business relationship with Young-joo. Pulling Soo-yeon closer, he smiles and says he loves his wife, apologizing for any misunderstanding.
Next, the video of him in bed with Young-joo is leaked, and even though their faces aren’t revealed, the reporters are confident that it’s them, since they also have the CCTV footage of them entering and leaving the hotel that night. The most shocking aspect is that the affair happened the morning of his wedding day. Everything is going according to plan, since now there’s doubt about where Young-joo was the night Chairman Kang was killed and therefore the police will have to restart the investigation.
Poor Mom is disheartened by all the news of the affair, and Dong-joon gently asks her to tell the police that he was at the nursing home with Young-joo the night Chairman Kang was murdered. She’s also to tell them that Dong-joon had requested she keep the affair a secret, but she couldn’t lie about it anymore. So… he’s asking her to lie about telling a lie? Despite her distress, Mom agrees.
Secretary Song reports to Lawyer Choi, informing him that because of the fierce public criticism against Dong-joon and demand for the “truth” to be revealed, the police will likely need to restart their investigation. But Lawyer Choi has already invested too much into his plan — he can’t go back now.
Poor Ki-yong is at his wit’s end from all the terrible things people are saying about Dong-joon, but Dong-joon simply says that he was too uncomfortable when he was being praised, and it’s more comfortable like this. He tells Ki-yong to be with his mother while the reporters interview her, then heads to the hospital where his father has suddenly requested they meet.
When he enters his father’s office, he stops short at the sight of reporters — and Soo-yeon. Doctor Dad is there to reveal that the night before the wedding, when his son and Young-joo were supposedly together at the hotel, Dong-joon was actually at the hospital with Soo-yeon to meet with a gynecologist. Soo-yeon sweetly adds that she knows her husband and Young-joo were in a previous relationship, but they broke it off once he got married.
Before Dong-joon can say anything, she slips her arm around his, adding that he took Young-joo’s case out of a sense of pity. She also has heard that there’s a witness who can put Young-joo at the scene of the crime. Doctor Dad reminds the reporters that Young-joo only has her word, but they have medical records to back up their claim. Dong-joon sighs, helpless against their attack.
That means Young-joo will be arrested for Chairman Kang’s murder. Attorney Jo doesn’t understand why she and Dong-joon won’t ally themselves with them, especially now that their tactic didn’t work. Jung-il decides it’s time to take the matter into their own hands and help Chang-ho make up his mind.
Dong-joon goes to see Young-joo at the police station, updating her on the case and the complications now that their attempt at an alibi fell through. Despondent, she accepts it all, sadly adding that she wants to speak to her father. Over the phone, she reassures her father that there’s nothing to worry about, and she’ll take care of Sung-shik’s case, too.
Chang-ho gasps out that he’s sorry. With tears in her eyes, Young-joo tells him that he should go first, and she’ll follow many years later after she’s taken care of things here. Trying to hold back her sobs, she tells her father to have fun in heaven with Sung-shik. After she hangs up, she freely weeps.
Meanwhile, Jung-il and Attorney Jo arrive at the nursing home to meet with Chang-ho. Jung-il introduces himself as Chairman Kang’s son, and offers him an opportunity to save Young-joo from being arrested for murder. Is twenty years in prison the kind of “better world” he wanted to leave behind for his daughter?
Dong-joon is in court, fighting against the request for a warrant for Young-joo’s arrest. He points out that the prosecutors don’t have enough proof. Eye-witness testimony isn’t enough, plus it’s ridiculous to believe that such a tiny woman would be able to drag and carry a heavy dead body into the trunk of a car. (That’s just because they haven’t seen her fight Sang-gu and his men, or they’d know she’s freakishly strong.)
The prosecutor persists in clinging to the fact they found the body in her car, and that she must have had an accomplice, which they will need to investigate. Which is why they need Young-joo in custody.
Someone arrives just then with last-minute evidence — submitted by the defendant? It’s news to both Dong-joon and Young-joo, who stare at each other in bewilderment. This new evidence is the video from the blackbox which shows someone putting the body in her trunk. It’s enough to convince the judge there’s enough doubt about the case, and rejects the request for an arrest warrant. Young-joo is free to go!
But she knows the only reason that video would have been released was if Jung-il got something in return. When they get a call that Chang-ho likely only has minutes to live, Young-joo is ready to rush off, but a news report stops her in her tracks, and she watches as the breaking news plays a video of her father confessing that he killed Sung-shik over a loan he couldn’t pay back. Between the video and a signed confession, Jung-il will avoid getting a murder charge — that’s the reason he released the blackbox video.
Young-joo and Dong-joon run to the nursing home, but by the time they get there, they’re seconds too late — Chang-ho is dead. Young-joo falls on her father in grief, weeping as she begs for one last moment. Playing on the TV behind them is Chang-ho’s “confession” and apology.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the one father on this show that didn’t actively try to ruin his child’s life for his own selfishness. I’m sad Chang-ho succumbed to his cancer, but I’m also relieved that he can no longer be used as blackmail. I assume that Young-joo won’t give up on proving that he was innocent, but at least there’s no longer a time-limit where foolish decisions might be made in desperation — such as confessing to a crime you didn’t commit. Not that I can fault Chang-ho. After all, he knew he was dying, and if it’s a matter of admitting to something that people already think he did while knowing he’ll die before he’ll return to prison, or letting his daughter take the fall for another murder, then the choice is clear.
It does make me wonder which dad will be next on the chopping block. Doctor Dad, probably, since I can’t imagine Lawyer Choi being taken down until the last moment. Then again, I keep forgetting that Dong-joon’s father exists and is even relevant to the show, except for the random moments when he pops up to be infuriating or to provide a fake alibi to go against another fake alibi. Actually, that specific alibi was real — Dong-joon and Young-joo were, indeed, at the hotel together the morning before his wedding. Now I can’t decide if using a fake alibi to destroy a fake alibi that was created to prove Young-joo was falsely accused is ingenious or just confusing. Considering how many lies are being declared as truth, I’m think I’m even starting to forget what’s really real. How many lies does it take until the truth finally wins out? I dunno, but I bet there is a lot more deception to wade through before we get there.
I’m excited that Jung-il is stepping up his villain game. I have no problems with him taking down Lawyer Choi, it’s just the troublesome issue of him having to take down Young-joo and Dong-joo at the same time. Even though I know they’d never agree to work together, especially now that Jung-il has removed (in his favor) the main point of leverage, I still want them to at least agree that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” and destroy Lawyer Choi. The old man is getting too confident in his role as puppet-master, and it’s about time he was uprooted. Although I suppose he deserves to be the “king of the hill” for a little longer, considering that he literally killed to get there. Even so, no matter how confident he is or how many connections he has, the Taebaek tower is not as strong as it once was. There are chinks and, with a little effort, the cracks will grow and eventually cause Taebaek to crumble. Which is what I really want, if only because I’m getting tired of seeing those glossy granite walls every week. Who needs to die when you already feel like you’re encased in a tomb that you can’t escape?
I am starting to feel sorry for Soo-yeon, though. I had hoped she’d step up her game and fully embrace the dark side, but she’s all smirks and bluster. Jung-il, Young-joo, and Dong-joon, heck, even Secretary Song are leagues ahead of her when it comes to ruthless conniving. I feel like she’s literally a pawn, the tiny piece on the chessboard that has little range of motion or role, but can only stand diligently in front of the king to help protect him from an attack. While I wish she’d march on down the board and turn into a powerful queen, realistically I just want her to take herself up on her own offer to run away to Switzerland. She’s much more suited to living a life of leisure, which she could so easily do under an assumed name and generous bank account. She should be the one who could escape and live a life of freedom away from the tyrannical walls of Taebaek, enjoyig a happy but simple life, drinking wine and eating Subway.
Maybe she’ll prove me wrong and rise to the occasion when her father’s life is finally on the line — but I doubt it. It takes a special kind of personality to go up against the tenacious likes of Jung-il, Young-joo, Dong-joo, and unfortunately for her, her own father. I don’t see how she’ll be able to survive on her own. She has neither the claws to fight like Young-joo or the wily wits to match Jung-il or the strength of character to sacrifice like Dong-joon. I fear her ending will be very pitiable indeed, if only because she never realized that she was doomed from the very start.
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