Whisper: Episode 13
Thanks to the presidential election pre-emptions, there’s only one episode this week of our usual dose of corrupt cat-and-mouse games. But at least it’s a good one full of intrigue and surprises — although by now we shouldn’t be quite so surprised when someone else gets the upper hand. After all, it isn’t Whisper if there isn’t a little backstabbing as everyone attempts to usurp the king of Taebaek.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Dong-joon runs into Jung-il in the lobby of Taebaek, where Jung-il informs him that he’s returning from his father’s grave and he’s made sure to find a place for Lawyer Choi’s grave as well. Dong-joon muses that Jung-il’s anger at losing his father is understandable, but it seems he’s lost any sense of guilt for killing Sung-shik. Jung-il tells him that he’s sure it’s buried deep inside, and Dong-joon offers to take that heavy burden from him. The words are polite — the meaning, not so much.
With a glance at Soo-yeon as she and her assistant leaving the building, Jung-il tells hm that Dong-joon’s shot at Lawyer Choi merely winged him, but Jung-il’s aiming for his heart. Taebaek’s managed to bury the case around Secretary Song, largely thanks to Soo-yeon’s efforts, who visits him at the police station.
She’s there to offer him a deal if he keeps quiet about what really happened the night Chairman Kang was killed. She’ll minimize the embezzlement charge, instead calling the money he stole as his “severance pay.”
Soo-yeon stops by Young-joo’s desk, and the other woman looks up at her nonchalantly, telling her that she’ll talk to her as a witness after she’s finished investigating Secretary Song. Soo-yeon reminds her that any investigation without evidence is unreasonable, and as Young-joo’s phone rings, she also reminds her that the Chief of Police is under Taebaek influence.
Young-joo ignores the call from her boss, pointing out that it’s difficult putting people who are above the law, under the law. Soo-yeon just smirks and tells her to try it according to the law. After all, Taebaek has 800 lawyers — does Young-joo think she can take on everyone of them by herself?
When Soo-yeon returns to Taebaek, she organizes a team to tackle the case. They’ll make sure that there are no press leaks about Secretary Song’s embezzlement because it will tarnish the company’s reputation. She also mobilizes some of the attorneys to look into the prosecution and judges of the case to see if they can prevent it going to trial and get Secretary Song out on bail.
Over dinner (at Subway, of course), Young-joo muses that there are millions of news articles about a celebrity couple’s breakup, but not one little line about Secretary Song’s embezzlement.
Dong-joon reminds her that Taebaek will try to take care of it as an internal issue. But they realize that if they can find a way to drag a celebrity name into it, then the case will finally get press recognition that not even Taebaek can stop.
Young-joo’s team barges into the money changer’s office that Secretary Song had used, arresting everyone and confiscating all their files. She was banking on there being a celebrity or two that had used the same office for illegal overseas gambling, and her hunch was correct.
Breaking news reveals the money changer gangsters laundered the money via illegal gambling sites, citing that among the names that used the gangster’s services were a Hallyu star, a famous sports star… and Taebaek’s Secretary Song. The police promise to investigate fully and deliver severe punishments to everyone involved in the illegal gambling.
With his name and face all over the news, Secretary Song’s one hope that his arrest would be kept secret from his daughter is officially ruined. Soo-yeon visits him at the police station and tells him that even though he now won’t be able to avoid a jail sentence, Taebaek will do their best to minimize it. For his sake and his daughter’s sake, he should agree to hire her as his lawyer (well, technically her assistant who actually passed the bar).
Just as he’s about to sign the attorney-client agreement, Young-joo and Dong-joon arrive with their own agreement. Young-joo tells him that even if he goes to jail for embezzlement, they’ll at least make sure he doesn’t go to jail for murder. He points out that Soo-yeon is only helping him because he’s the sole eye-witness in Chairman Kang’s death.
Soo-yeon reiterates that Taebaek has hundreds of lawyers to help minimize his embezzlement charge, but Young-joo points out that with such legal power, Soo-yeon could also turn Secretary Song into a murderer. After all, he knows what happened to Young-joo’s father. Dong-joon reminds him that the strongest defense is in the truth: he witnessed Lawyer Choi murdering Chairman Kang and then stole the money to flee.
Thinking over his options, and knowing that Lawyer Choi wants him to take the fall for Chairman Kang’s murder, Secretary Song signs Dong-joon’s agreement. He may have stolen money, but he didn’t kill anyone. Now it’s Dong-joon’s turn to smirk at Soo-yeon, telling her that he’ll be home late since he and his client have a lot to talk about.
When he finally does arrive home, he finds his father and Lawyer Choi waiting for him. Apparently Doctor Dad’s hospital has suddenly been audited by multiple agencies thanks to Lawyer Choi’s connections — it’s payback for Dong-joon’s actions against him.
In private, he warns Dong-joon that if the hospital is ruined, then he’ll abandon his son. But Dong-joon reminds him that he’s already abandoned his father — his stepbrother is Doctor Dad’s only son now.
Young-joo tries to subpoena Lawyer Choi as a suspect in Chairman Kang’s death, but her idealism crashes against the harsh realities that the police chief and commissioner are swayed by Taebaek’s money and authority. Jung-il actually is thankful that Dong-joon and Young-joo are distracting Lawyer Choi with Secretary Song’s case, because it means he won’t be focusing on the audit going on with Chairman Kang’s company — an audit that will reveal how corrupt both men truly were.
Dong-joon and Young-joo focus on a new strategic attack, this time using Secretary Song’s knowledge to undermine Lawyer Choi’s promises. While Dong-joon meets with the police commissioner, Young-joo has Secretary Song call and reveal that he knows all about the commissioner’s mistress because he was the one, as Lawyer Choi’s right-hand man, who set up the rent payments for the secret condo. Ha! Using that as blackmail, the police commissioner is forced to agree to the subpoena.
Soo-yeon and her father pull in all their favors to try and stop it — or at least get Young-joo removed from the case — but they forget that Secretary Song is privy to all the leverage they hold, and his threat of ruining the high-ranking officers’ lives trumps any promises that Taebaek can make.
They also aren’t prepared for Jung-il to quietly intervene and persuade Lawyer Choi’s only hope for an alibi to change alliances. When he runs into Soo-yeon in the lobby, he warns her that Lawyer Choi won’t survive prison life very long, then he whispers the first sentence of the eulogy he’s prepared for her father.
His threat that her father no longer has an alibi seems to have rattled her, and she goes to the hotel room that they used to frequent — and that Jung-il still seems to use, as the closet is filled with his clothes.
This is also where they went the night Sung-shik died, and she had given him towels to wash off his bloodstained hands. He changed his shirt when he saw the bloodstain on the cuff, and even though Soo-yeon offered to do anything to help, Jung-il told her she should get married to Dong-joon until Sung-shik’s case is over.
They clung to each other, still wet from the rain from that night. Jung-il promised that they’d run away to the States as soon as Chang-ho was declared guilty and the trial was over.
She shakes off the memory of that night, only concerned about the bloodstain on Jung-il’s cuff. She pricks her thumb and rubs it along the cuff of one his crisp white shirts, and then sends him a photo of it the freshly bloodstained shirt. If he doesn’t come to pick up his belongings, she’ll send them to the police.
He meets with her in Taebaek’s conference room, where she reveals that she kept his shirt from that night. She’d originally planned to burn it, but for some reason she didn’t. Perhaps she knew a day like this would come, and muses that Young-joo would be delighted to have his shirt with Sung-shik’s blood on it.
But when Jung-il sees a larger picture of the shirt, he realizes that it’s not the original. He changed his clothing brand a couple months ago, and scornfully informs Soo-yeon that her little trick won’t work. She starts to cry as she wonders what would have happened if they fled to America that night — would they be waking up together right now? Would they have a child?
She wonders if what he did that night was really for her sake, like he said, or if it was for his own sake. He tells her he killed Sung-shik for the both of them.
With tears still in her eyes, Soo-yeon wonders if he feels guilt for that night and if that’s why he gave so much condolence money to Young-joo. Jung-il tells her that he was, indeed, grateful for Chang-ho false confession — but the point is he managed to escape that trap, and now it’s time for her father to step into one.
He stands to leave, stopping in surprise when she suddenly thanks him for letting her start over. She plays a recorded video of the conversation they just had, which includes Jung-il’s confession that he killed Sung-shik and used Chang-ho to cover it up.
Soo-yeon calmly wipes away her tears and cooly reveals that the recording is being transmitted to a safe place that Jung-il won’t be able to find. If Jung-il doesn’t want the video to be revealed, then he’ll need to testify that he was working on a case with Lawyer Choi the night his father died. She leaves the office with her trademark smirk as Jung-il reels in shock.
Young-joo finds Soo-yeon waiting for her at her desk, and she snatches away the photo of her family that the other woman is idly staring at. Soo-yeon’s there to schedule her father’s visit, telling Young-joo where to have the reporters waiting, when to have tea served, and when to break for lunch.
But Young-joo commands her authority by informing Soo-yeon that the schedule will go as she wills it. Soo-yeon tells her she’ll at least need to fit in another witness testimony, and then muses that her father should be able to leave the station before dinner.
Trying to hide her anger, Young-joo wonders how Soo-yeon can so willingly eat with a murderer. But Soo-eyon wonders how Young-joo could watch her father go through the last few months of his life being called a murderer and rejected by society. Young-joo might think it’s tolerable to endure her own father being called a murderer, but Soo-yeon can’t do the same.
Jung-il’s deep in thought when Soo-yeon stops by to make sure he didn’t forget to go to the station tomorrow to testify as her father’s alibi. He says that he didn’t forget — he remembers what his father told him about Soo-yeon, that she’s first-and-foremost Lawyer Choi’s daughter.
But Soo-yeon also hasn’t forgotten that her father also told her that what Jung-il wants most is Taebaek, not her. She still vividly remembers the betrayal she felt when she discovered that Jung-il was planning to pin Sung-shik’s death on her.
Meanwhile, Dong-joon and Young-joo are trying to figure out what mysterious witness Soo-yeon’s scheduled for tomorrow, and Dong-joon has a hunch it will be Jung-il. They also know they have to make sure Lawyer Choi’s questioning is perfect because they’ll likely only get one chance to bring him in to the station. In order to prepare and make sure there won’t be any surprises, they’ll need to postpone it a few days.
But they’ll need to do it in a way that won’t raise suspicion or enable Lawyer Choi to get out of it, and Young-joo smiles as she tells Secretary Song that he’s about to be sick. Soo-yeon and Lawyer Choi find it suspicious that Secretary Song fell so conveniently ill, but she also looked into it and he’s admitted to the hospital with severe panic disorder. Which only makes sense, if he’s about to become Taebaek’s whistleblower.
Secretary Song is in a guarded hospital room, and Ki-yong arrives to inform Young-joo and Dong-joon that it does look like Jung-il is the additional witness who will be making a statement. Young-joo finds it odd that Jung-il would testify on behalf of Lawyer Choi when he’s just as eager as they are to remove him from Taebaek.
Their focus is turned to Driver Park, the only other witness. They’ve found out that he’ll be returning to Korea the morning of Lawyer Choi’s questioning, and there’s a chance they could persuade him over to their side.
For now, Dong-joon orders a search-and-seizure warrant against his father, much to Young-joo’s surprise. Dong-joon needs to find out if his father is hiding anything for Lawyer Choi. Even though he acts like he doesn’t care he’s reacting against his father, he does warn him the hospital is going to be put in danger, so he should abandon Lawyer Choi.
Attorney Jo can’t believe that even after he threw away his father’s company to try and ruin Lawyer Choi, Jung-il is now going to testify as his alibi. But Jung-il is trapped by that recorded confession. He decides the only way out is to drag Sang-gu back from the Philippines.
It’s the day of Lawyer Choi’s summons, and he’s greeted by crowds of reporters shouting for his opinion on being accused for Chairman Kang’s murder. Meanwhile, Soo-yeon has her team at the ready as they pay close attention to the news, prepared to jump into the fray should her father need legal representation. But all her father tells the reporters is that he’s lived his life lawfully (ha!) and is simply complying with the request that he appear for questioning.
Lawyer Choi and one of his representative attorneys meets with Young-joo, where she immediately gets down to business, asking him what he was doing at the time of the murder. He insists that he was having dinner elsewhere, so she brings in Secretary Song and Dong-joon.
Lawyer Choi’s attorney protests that they weren’t informed about a cross-examination, but Dong-joon smiles as he says this isn’t a cross-examination. They’re all there to observe the questioning of another witness who will arrive soon. And that witness is… Doctor Dad?
Everyone who isn’t Team Young-joo is surprised, including Soo-yeon when she gets word. She barges into Jung-il’s office, demanding he get down to the station and make his statement immediately instead of later this afternoon.
In the interrogation room, Doctor Dad makes an official statement that he was coerced into covering up Chairman Kang’s death. Lawyer Choi used threats of harming the hospital to make sure Doctor Dad used his forensic connections to tamper with the autopsy. He looks at Dong-joon as states it was his conscience as a doctor that made him decide to confess. He asks Young-joo to reveal the truth so he can save his hospital.
Watching the video feed of the interrogation room is Driver Park, whose arrival into Korea was intercepted by Young-joo’s men before Soo-yeon could get to him. Realizing that his support could be disappearing soon, he makes a statement that he drove Lawyer Choi to the building where Chairman Kang was killed. He keeps a log of where he drives the vehicle, but left it in the car because of how quickly he left for the States.
How convenient, then, that Lawyer Choi’s car is currently parked in the police station’s lot. It’s a race to see who can get to the log first, since Detective Bae informs Soo-yeon about it, too. Taebaek’s men retrieve it first before the detectives can, and the detectives demand they hand it over. But the men refuse without proof of a warrant, and their protest draws the attention of the press.
The reporters film as the detectives manage to grab the log away from Taebek’s men, and as they do, Attorney Jo and Jung-il arrive at the station. Jung-il eyes the confrontation, aware that it doesn’t look good for Lawyer Choi.
Young-joo flips through the log until she finds the record that states Lawyer Choi was driven to the building where Chairman Kang was murdered. Lawyer Choi blusters that it’s probably all fabricated, but it’s enough evidence for Young-joo to request an arrest warrant for murder.
Even with Lawyer Choi’s reputation as the head of Taebaek, it will be difficult to avoid the fact that his men were just filmed trying to destroy evidence, that his own secretary and driver testified against against him. Even if she doesn’t have a warrant yet, she has enough to detain him and slaps the handcuffs on him, letting him know he’s officially a suspect for Chairman Kang’s murder. Dong-joo “reassures” Lawyer Choi that he’ll take good care of his father-in-law’s family — and Taebaek.
I love this side of Soo-yeon. She may not be the crafty lawyer or detective that the others are, but she’s actually a shrewd business woman. I finally understand what she meant when she told Dong-joon that she takes care of stuff no one else sees. She’s the one who gets her hands dirty as she persuades the people in power to support Taebaek. I was utterly baffled at first when she put her blood on Jung-il’s shirt because, even if she’s not a lawyer, surely she knows that the shirt would be tested for DNA and it would be revealed it wasn’t Sung-shik’s blood, but hers.
But that means I, too, also got taken in by her fake crocodile tears and believed everything she said to get Jung-il to confess. Because that’s the Soo-yeon I know — the emotional one who desperately wants to save her father but also can’t help but love Jung-il and long for a happier life in America. I just didn’t realize exactly how much her loyalty to her father would drive her more than anything she’s ever felt for Jung-il. Even though I’ve believed for a while that her driving concern is protecting her father (and ooooh, how that knife twisted when she rubbed in the fact that she would do anything to protect her father, as if Young-joo didn’t practically throw her life away in her desperation to clear Chang-ho’s name), I now also believe that Soo-yeon wants to save Taebaek and is determined to challenge Jung-il’s attempt to destroy both her father and the company.
In fact, in a different world, I could now believe that she would be capable to take over Taebaek as its ruthless leader. She’s good at the wheeling and dealing, at making appearances that bely the truth, and could easily continue her father’s corrupt-yet-powerful legacy. But even though I know she’s ready to destroy Jung-il if need be, I can’t shake the thought there’s still some tangled emotion there. Even if she no longer loves him, his betrayal still hurts, and her reactions against him do seem to come more from an emotional place than a purely logical one. But wow, I still can’t get over how expertly she owned him when she got him to confess on video. And maybe this video won’t be destroyed (although it does feel like we’ve gone an episode too long without someone burning something important).
Which means that I’m eager to see how everything pans out. It does feel like we’re getting rid of all the fathers so that the younger generation will have no one left to hide behind. They’ll just be left to fight their own battles, and honestly, I can’t wait. I’m ready to watch all four of them out-strategize each other while simultaneously barging in, guns blazing as they finally put their daddy issues to rest.
One thing I’m vaguely confused by, though, is that Dong-joon was apparently already selected to marry Soo-yeon even before Chang-ho went to trial. In that flashback where we saw her helping Jung-il clean up and change out of his bloodstained shirt, he tells her to marry Dong-joon. I was under the impression that Dong-joon only became an option once he ended up as the judge for Chang-ho’s trial, but it would seem that Lawyer Choi already had him in mind as a son-in-law long before then — perhaps due to his connection to Doctor Dad being his long-term physician. Maybe he had planned to drag in a principled, upright judge to protect Taebaek’s reputation long before his daughter got involved in a murder case. Maybe I’m just confused by all the timelines, or maybe I missed a reference that Lawyer Choi wanted Dong-joon in the first place, but I was a little surprised by that and wondered if it was sloppy writing or if it was just me. But I did appreciate that flashback as a reminder that Soo-yeon and Jung-il did both love each other — it didn’t seem like Jung-il was just wooing her to take over the company, at least not until Lawyer Choi’s paranoia started to infect Soo-yeon. Then again, it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you.
While I’m sad that there’s only one episode this week, there’s something almost poetic about this show being pre-empted to make way for an election that’s a result of high-ranking corruption being ousted. While I know that anything can (and does) happen on this show, I’m fairly confident that we’re at least finally on a path where our heroes, with their pursuit of truth and justice, will win against those who are so desperate to maintain their corrupt power through any means possible.
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