Suspicious Partner: Episodes 23-24
I’m going to be honest here, this episode is not easy to watch. Our killer isn’t going to hide quietly until things blow over, and the closer the team gets to discovering the truth about him, the more unpredictable he becomes. As Ji-wook and Bong-hee prepare to define exactly what they have between them, they’ll face a challenge that could change their lives forever.
EPISODE 23 RECAP
After seeing his client Jung-ha die right in front of his eyes, Ji-wook thinks about Jung-ha’s prediction that there will be another death soon, and he calls Bong-hee. He runs to her, thinking that life is too short not to cherish those you love while you can.
When he finds her, he hugs her tightly and begs, “Like me back now, please, Bong-hee-ya.” Bong-hee pulls back to look into Ji-wook’s eyes. She sees the desperation on his face and bursts into tears, and all he can do is hold her while she ugly-cries.
That evening Bong-hee sits alone, wondering what to do now. Ji-wook jumps up nervously when she leaves her room, and she asks why he confessed in the street and made her feel pressured. He explains that he felt like he was wasting time, then says that it’s her turn to tell him what’s going on. Bong-hee thinks about her discovery that Hyun-soo is the killer, but she just tells Ji-wook that she cried earlier because she’s had a terrible day. Ji-wook studies her face carefully, then he asks if it’s because of Hyun-soo. He can tell he’s hit on the problem when Bong-hee doesn’t answer, so he asks what she knows about him.
The man from Chan-ho’s photo heads home with a suitcase in tow, with Hyun-soo following right behind him. Hyun-soo watches closely to see which light comes on when the man enters his apartment building, then he sighs and says to himself that it’s been a long time since he saw his friend.
Turning his question back on him, Bong-hee asks Ji-wook what he knows about Hyun-soo. After a long nervous pause, Ji-wook says that Hyun-soo might be the murderer who killed the chef, but he can’t bring himself to say, “… and Hee-joon.” He’s honest about the fact that he has no evidence and that it’s just a hunch.
Bong-hee looks betrayed and asks why he hid this from her after promising not to keep secrets. Ji-wook apologizes, and Bong-hee tells him to stop everything, even to stop expressing his feelings for her. Ji-wook refuses to do that, asking why they should let Hyun-soo come between them.
Scoffing, Bong-hee tells him to think of it from her perspective, but Ji-wook says that he already does. He knows that she blames herself for luring the killer to them, then for having them defend a guilty man and set him free. He understands that she’s having a hard time, but he tells her that she’s mistaken.
He tells Bong-hee that it was an accident, and that he’s going to help her get through it even if she tries to push him away. He promises her that he’ll catch Hyun-soo, and he says that she has a decision to make: Does she want them to go through this separately, or together?
In a dark alley, a man with one arm in a sling chases a young woman, and when he catches up to her, he throws her to the ground and pulls a knife on her. He growls that he told her not to leave him, so they can just die together. He begins swinging the knife wildly, managing to shallowly cut her arm as she tries to fight him off. A student sees them and screams, so the man escapes down the dark alley.
Bong-hee is snapped from her funk by a phone call from the girl who was attacked, Yeon-woo, who turns out to be an old friend. Bong-hee rushes to the police station with Ji-wook tagging along, where she learns that Yeon-woo’s boyfriend tried to kill her when she broke up with him. Bong-hee unleashes a string of curse words, then demands to know where the ex is now.
Luckily he was arrested and is being held in a cell, but the policeman says they didn’t find a weapon. Yeon-woo shows him her slashed arm, and Ji-wook says that if the man used a weapon, it can be considered attempted murder.
But he also points out that Yeon-woo’s wound is too small to prove that her ex was trying to kill her, and that there’s no evidence that he was even the one who did it. He verifies that the ex-boyfriend will be held for forty-eight hours, knowing that the police only have that long to obtain enough evidence to arrest him.
Meanwhile, the ex-boyfriend sits in his cell, shaking with fury and hissing to himself, “I’m going to kill her.”
Ji-wook and Bong-hee drop Yeon-woo off, then head home. Ji-wook can see how upset Bong-hee is, so he reaches over to take her hand. She puts up a small struggle, but then she thinks about how he said he felt like he was wasting time and relaxes.
When they get home, Bong-hee can’t help but recall Ji-wook asking why they have to be apart because of Hyun-soo, and his telling her that she needs to decide if they’ll go through this together or apart. She stays up all night thinking, and in the morning she goes upstairs to talk to him.
She surprises him as he’s coming out of the shower, and he yelps and nearly falls over, ha. She tells him firmly that she’s decided to live without shame, and that they should just live as they please and be selfish, because what more is there to life? Ji-wook is confused, so Bong-hee says in a nervous rush that today is their first day. EEEEeeeee!
She runs downstairs and Ji-wook calls after her, asking what she means by that. She yells up the stairs, “Let’s date!” Ji-wook’s smile nearly splits his face in half, and Bong-hee runs to her room to simultaneously cringe and squeal.
Bong-hee and Ji-wook arrive at the morning meeting grinning at each other, which Eun-hyuk notices immediately. Conversely, CEO Byun and Chief Bang both look exhausted, having lost sleep from worry over Jung-ha’s prediction that two of them will die.
Ji-wook starts to tell them about Jung-ha’s death, but he stops himself and simply forbids any more talk about dying. CEO Byun keeps grumbling about how he’s probably going to be one of the people who die, so Bong-hee complains that he’s derailing the meeting and they end up bickering again.
When Bong-hee cheekily refuses to get CEO Byun a glass of water, Ji-wook drags her aside and awkwardly brings up the adoptive parents he mentioned to her before. She says they must be angels for raising him, and he stumbles through an embarrassed prelude before declaring that CEO Byun is his father. It fries Bong-hee’s brain to process this, and then a montage of her petty arguments with CEO Byun runs through her head. She laughs and says that they’re doomed. LOL.
Chief Bang can’t get the photo of Chan-ho and the two other young men off his mind, but he puts the picture away. He gets a call and pulls Ji-wook upstairs to tell him that he knows the identity of one of the men in the picture.
Ji-wook reminds Chief Bang that he told him to stop investigating Hyun-soo, but his curiosity gets the better of him. Chief Bang tells him that he met with Chan-ho’s high school teacher and his youth club, and discovered that all three boys in the picture went to school together but graduated in different years.
Chief Bang points to the man on Chan-ho’s right (the one Hyun-soo has scratched out of his copy of the photo), whose name is Kim Min-gu. He says that now that he knows who he is, he can find out where he lives and talk to him.
Just then, Ji-wook gets a call from Yoo-jung, who says that they’ve identified one of the bodies found in the water tank. It’s Kim Min-gu.
Ji-wook holds an emergency meeting and tells everyone that just before he disappeared, Chan-ho told Bong-hee that he had information about the real killer. Ji-wook adds that Kim Min-gu was reported missing at about the same time as Hee-joon’s murder, and that the knives used to kill both Min-gu and Hee-joon are very similar. This means that the two deaths and Chan-ho’s disappearance are likely connected.
Bong-hee tells them that she believes the killer is Hyun-soo, because he was listening to the same song she heard Hee-joon’s murderer whistling. Chief Bang decides that they need to find the third man in the picture, but Ji-wook says that everything stops here. He forbids anyone in the room to take action, ordering them to let the prosecution handle this.
The meeting ends and Ji-wook checks in with Bong-hee, asking tenderly if she’s okay. LOL, Eun-hyuk and Chief Bang are still standing at the door, resolutely keeping their backs turned for fear of witnessing the mushiness happening behind them.
Eun-hyuk heads to the courthouse to brief Yoo-jung, who’s still sore from him saying that he doesn’t wish to see her. He greets Ji-hae, whom he remembers catfighting with Bong-hee, which makes him laugh.
In private, Eun-hyuk tells Yoo-jung that they don’t know if Hyun-soo is the murderer, but they definitely believe he’s connected to the murders. She recalls that smug smile she caught on Hyun-soo’s face after he was arrested and admits that something about him unsettles her.
She agrees to investigate further, though she’s curious as to why Ji-wook’s firm is so involved. She asks if it’s about justice or Bong-hee, but Eun-hyuk just asks, “Can’t it be both?” Yoo-jung complains that she already feels like she’s been replaced, and now she has to investigate a case for the woman who replaced her. Eun-hyuk offers to find another prosecutor, but Yoo-jung sighs wearily and says she’ll do it, though she asks that they not be so hard on her.
He doesn’t answer that, but Eun-hyuk does tell Yoo-jung not to investigate this alone, because Hyun-soo is dangerous. She says she can take care of herself, so he backs off and just asks her to be careful.
EPISODE 24 RECAP
Checking back in with the police regarding Yeon-woo’s case, Ji-wook and Bong-hee learn that no weapon was ever found and that it was too dark for the CCTVs in the area to be helpful. Bong-hee asks where the ex was when he was arrested, then tells Ji-wook that she can look for the weapon alone. He leaves her to it, but he doesn’t get ten steps before he’s circling back to help her. Hee.
They follow the path of the chase and the attack, looking for clues (the cinematography is so awesome here — the scenes from the attack are shown in grainy flashback, which then fade into Bong-hee and Ji-wook searching in the present day). When they get to the restroom where the ex was arrested, Ji-wook goes inside to investigate.
He doesn’t find the weapon or any other evidence, so they move on. Ji-wook tries to stop Bong-hee from searching the garbage, arguing that the garbage from the night of the attack will have been picked up by now, but he loses that debate. When they get home that night, Chief Bang and Eun-hyuk reel in horror at the stench rolling off of them. Bong-hee doesn’t smell anything, which makes the men stare at her.
She says they didn’t find anything, and they only have twenty-four hours left. Eun-hyuk asks about the student who screamed and scared off Yeon-woo’s attacker, and Bong-hee tells him that they haven’t identified her yet. But she recognized her uniform from the CCTV video and is working on finding her.
Hyun-soo lays out photos of everyone at Ji-wook’s firm, and he stares at them while fondling a wicked-looking knife. He decides that he needs an alibi, but first he has to decide who gets killed first.
In the absence of a weapon or a witness, Yeon-woo’s ex-boyfriend will only be charged with assault and will be fined, so Bong-hee is anxious to find something that proves that he meant to kill her friend. Ji-wook is oddly fidgety that Chief Bang and Eun-hyuk are still at his house, but they say they have a lot of work to do.
Ji-wook whines that they can work at home, his voice growing squeaky as he says that today is the first. Chief Bang argues that it’s mid-month, not the first, but Eun-hyuk gets a clue and asks if Ji-wook means that kind of first day, looking back and forth between Bong-hee and Ji-wook. Embarrassed, Ji-wook tries to distract him by telling him to go watch the CCTV footage again to find the high school student.
Instead, Eun-hyuk volunteers to track down the student witness using social media. None of them uses social media so his complicated explanation just leaves them staring at him blankly, and he realizes that they don’t understand a word he’s saying. Bong-hee: “I write in my diary, by hand.” He wanders off muttering that he’ll just do it himself.
Still frustrated that no one’s going home, Ji-wook shuffles off to the kitchen to make tea for himself and Bong-hee. She follows him, knowing that he’s had a stressful day following her around, and surprises him with a little peck on the lips.
Having bottled everything up all day, Ji-wook very nearly pounces on her right there in the kitchen. Bong-hee holds him back, saying that that’s enough for their first day, and trots off to squee in her room. She leaves him standing there in the kitchen, arms still spread out wide.
Eun-hyuk and Chief Bang see Bong-hee leaving the kitchen smiling, then Ji-wook following carrying two cups of tea. It’s pretty obvious what they were doing in there, but Ji-wook pretends he made the tea for them and goes back to work. They each take a sip and make faces at the horrible bitter tea.
The next morning, Eun-hyuk teaches Bong-hee and Ji-wook how to use Instagram. They both take selfies and upload them, then get all giggly from “liking” each other’s pictures. Nobody “likes” Eun-hyuk’s picture, so he has to do it himself, and then pats himself on the head for good measure. Awww, poor pitiful puppy.
His handsome face causes a minor stir when he shows up at the witness’s high school, and he finds two girls who responded to his online inquiries. They know the girl who witnessed Yeon-woo’s assault but they say she’s scared to speak up.
Bong-hee finds Ji-hae at the courthouse to ask her opinion on the recent increase in crimes committed after breakups. Ji-hae assumes Bong-hee’s talking about how she stole Hee-joon, but Bong-hee just brings up the rising number of abuse reports, and how seven women are killed every month due to domestic violence.
She orders Ji-hae to investigate the most recent cases and inform the public of her findings, promising her a case if she does. Ji-hae says that these things are difficult to investigate because a crime has to be committed before she can make an arrest. Bong-hee scoffs that she knew Ji-hae couldn’t do it and stalks off.
With only two hours left before the ex-boyfriend is released, Eun-hyuk still hasn’t found the witness. He calls Bong-hee, who’s grateful anyway at how hard he’s working to help. Ji-wook becomes increasingly annoyed with every compliment paid to Eun-hyuk, and he waits… and waits… and when no thanks comes his way from Bong-hee, he explodes with jealousy: “What about me? Me? Huh, what about me? I’m working really hard too!” LOL. Chief Bang and Bong-hee just laugh at him.
Worried that the ex may come after Yeon-woo as soon as he’s released, Bong-hee says she’s going to stay with her friend tonight, and Ji-wook insists on coming, too.
After they leave, Chief Bang gets another call, this time with the name and address of the third man in the picture, Lee Jae-ho. Despite Ji-wook’s warning to let the prosecutors handle this, he decides to talk to Jae-ho before Hyun-soo gets to him, and he leaves Ji-wook a message with the address just in case. Knowing that he’s worried about Chief Bang, Bong-hee tells Ji-wook to go to him. He drops her off, asking her simply to be careful.
The forty-eight hours are up, but Eun-hyuk finally spots the witness. She tells him that she can’t testify because she was skipping class at the time and she’ll be in trouble. With his most charming smile, Eun-hyuk threatens to tell her mother that she skipped class that night, and that she’s skipping class now, if she doesn’t testify. Wow, who knew he had a mischievous streak!
The girl is convinced, and she asks about the knife the ex had that night. This is exactly the proof Eun-hyuk needs, especially since she saw where he hid it—inside the cast on his arm.
When a lawyer comes to the police station, Yeon-woo’s ex acts all poor-pitiful-me and convinces him to argue the detective into releasing him. As he leaves the police station, he reaches inside his cast to pull out the knife that’s been there this entire time.
He makes a beeline for Yeon-woo’s building and attacks Bong-hee and Yeon-woo. Bong-hee shoves Yeon-woo behind her and faces him in a taekwondo stance, and despite his knife, she takes him down with a few swift moves. She turns to check on Yeon-woo and the ex gets up, lunging at Bong-hee again and slicing her upper arm open.
Eun-hyuk gets the news that the ex was released and he calls Ji-wook, who turns back to find Bong-hee. He arrives to see several police cars and an ambulance, and he desperately calls Bong-hee’s name until he finds her. He inspects her from head to toe, and she shows him that all she got was a tiny scratch.
Still, it sends him into a rage, and he tries to go after the ex-boyfriend bare-handed. Bong-hee stops him, assuring him that she’s fine, and he pulls her in for a relieved hug. Bong-hee asks about Chief Bang, and Ji-wook confesses that he rushed straight here.
Bong-hee tells Ji-wook to go and he agrees, but he only gets halfway to his car before running back to hug her again. He’s reluctant to leave her, but he finally does.
Chief Bang arrives at Jae-ho’s apartment to find that he’s too late—the place is a shambles and Jae-ho is already dead from a stab wound (in his lower left abdomen, the killer’s usual MO). Chief Bang answers a call from Ji-wook, but before he even says a word, he senses someone standing behind him. He turns to see a masked man, who swipes at him with a knife.
Chief Bang drops the phone and defends himself, and for a moment it looks like he may even have the upper hand. But the masked man quickly turns the tables, throwing Chief Bang to the floor. Chief Bang tries to rip the mask off but he doesn’t succeed, and his attacker slams him into the table, and Chief Bang slumps to the floor.
Ji-wook can only listen helplessly to the sounds of the fight, as the masked man drags Chief Bang to the middle of the room, and then escapes. Chief Bang is lying way too still when Ji-wook finally arrives and sees the blood on his lower left side. No…
Ji-wook kneels and tries to shake Chief Bang awake, but he doesn’t move a muscle. Ji-wook leans down to place his ear on Chief Bang’s chest, and what he hears—or more importantly, doesn’t hear—sends him into a panic. He calls Chief Bang’s name over and over, calling him “Eun-ho hyung” in a voice filled with heartbreaking pain and grief.
No matter how much Ji-wook cries, screams, and begs, Chief Bang never wakes up.
Epilogue. In a short scene, we see Ji-wook stop at a flower shop on his way to his big confession date with Bong-hee. He walks out with a bouquet in his hand and a smile on his face.
Oh no. Nononono, not Chief Bang. Listen here drama gods, you can’t take Chief Bang! The team needs him, Ji-wook needs him. He’s the glue that holds them together when their petty squabbles would otherwise break them apart, and he’s the one who sees the things that nobody else sees, especially personal issues like Ji-wook’s depression, or his and Bong-hee’s mutual attraction. If CEO Byun is Ji-wook’s father figure, then Chief Bang is his hyung, who takes care of him but makes sure he stays grounded in reality. If Ji-wook loses Chief Bang, he’ll be irrevocably broken, and he just found his smile again.
This show has got me so paranoid from all the twists and reversals that I’m scared to make any assumptions at all anymore without concrete proof. I say this because we never actually saw the face of the person who stabbed Chief Bang (and note that I don’t say “killed” because again, I’m assuming nothing until I see it with my own eyes). I’ve already been fooled once before when I concluded that it must have been Chan-ho behind the mask in Bong-hee’s old office, so I’m not saying that it was Hyun-soo until we know for sure.
Jung-ha’s final vision of Ji-wook screaming over someone did come true, but Jung-ha’s words were vague. His exact words were, “Don’t cry so much, because everything will be okay.” He could have been saying not to cry so much over his loved one’s death, because everything would be okay eventually. That said, it did look like Hyun-soo’s eyes above the mask, and I don’t think Ji-wook would have been so devastated if he’d heard Chief Bang’s heartbeat. I guess I’ll just anticipate the worst and spend the next week heartbroken until we find out for sure if Jung-ha’s prediction came true.
Moving onto happier things. As I said in the last recap, it’s past time for Ji-wook to stop being quite so respectful of Bong-hee, which is turning into an excuse not to have to make any moves that might result in his being hurt. It was time for him to start stating his own truths and risking his heart. Asking Bong-hee to love him was a great start, and I was thrilled to see him continue in that vein once they got home. I was proud of Ji-wook for refusing to stop expressing his feelings for Bong-hee, and for telling her that he’s going to be by her side no matter what. To me, that’s not the kind of disrespect that’s done so the person can do what they want—Ji-wook recognized that Bong-hee was isolating herself in an unhealthy way. By refusing to stop expressing his feelings and saying that he’s not going anywhere, Ji-wook was doing what’s best for her and their relationship. He still let Bong-hee decide when she was ready to come to him, but he no longer let her shut him out.
Their relationship is finally happening, and I love how healthy they are right off the bat. Although he’s a giant worrywart, Ji-wook never overrides Bong-hee’s wishes when she makes a decision, and he often lets her be in charge entirely. He totally let her drive the bus on her friend’s case (jealousy explosions notwithstanding), and even when he went along to help, he always deferred to her judgment. He trusts her, which is why he left her alone with her friend, again letting her decide what she needs from him, and when she’s capable of taking care of herself.
And Bong-hee has matured a lot too—I’ve touched on this before, but I love how she’s grown from being Ji-wook’s starry-eyed admirer, to having the strength to tell him “no” when he crosses a line, even though all she wants is to fall into his arms. Bong-hee has impressed me with her newfound ability to firmly draw her boundaries out for Ji-wook, the risk of losing him far less important than the risk of losing her own autonomy. She’s a lady who has her priorities straight, who’s determined to make her own way even if it means losing out on love. It’s no wonder Ji-wook looks at her like she’s his whole universe… with a woman like her, he never had a chance.
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