Falsify: Episodes 15-16
In a battle against great odds (or fake news!), the smallest victories can turn the tables and begin to bring about real change. After days of fighting Daehan Daily through underground broadcasts and quiet investigations, our good guys are finally ready to enact their climactic reversal. Will they be able to expose the seedy underbelly of the country’s most trusted news source at last? Or will Chief Gu and his cohorts outmaneuver them again?
EPISODE 15 RECAP
The killer enters Moo-young’s hospital room to murder him with a fatal injection, but Moo-young manages to wrest it from him, and knock the killer down with some fancy flying kicks. Killer is skilled but Moo-young is fighting for his life, and he manages to pin Killer down and the turn the needle on him. As he glares down at Killer, Moo-young asks whom he works for and why he killed Chul-ho. Killer just grins and kicks Moo-young off.
This time, Killer shows no mercy and Moo-young begins to lose the fight. In the end, Killer has Moo-young on his knees with the syringe inches from his neck, when Moo-young begins to scream. The focus shifts to the patient lying on another bed in the room… and we see that it’s also Moo-young.
With a violent jerk, Moo-young wakes from his dream and looks around the room full of patients. (Gaaah! But the fight was so good!) Moo-young tears the IV line from his arm and struggles to process what just happened.
Paralegal Park asks So-ra if she intends to keep the truth about the killer’s tattoo from Moo-young. So-ra asks him, “What if the case I’m investigating, which I believe is only right to dig up until the very bottom, only ends up hurting the person I cherish the most? How do you think you’d feel?”
Paralegal Park tells her that she isn’t someone who would run away from the truth because she’s afraid to get hurt, and that you can only heal after you’ve understood the full truth.
Reporter Na stands in Daehan Daily’s lobby and frets over the decision he needs to make, when Intern Ji-won comes along. He ribs her as usual, but then stops her to ask what she would do if she were offered a full-time position with the paper in exchange for a false article.
Intern Ji-won says with idealistic fervor that some people might not need to sacrifice something to take a stand, but they’re different because they’re journalists. She says she wouldn’t have become a journalist in the first place if she were going to sell out like that. Her upright speech somehow ends with her fangirling over how handsome Seok-min looks in his slippers at work. Hahaha.
Reporter Na is miffed at her idol worshipping of Seok-min, and huffs that he’s 3 centimeters taller, heh. But he takes her words seriously. Alone in the staff bathroom, he tells his reflection: “Let’s get scolded while I still can. I should still protect my pride.”
He walks into the Splash Team headquarters and heads straight for Seok-min’s office. He tells his senior that he’ll write the next day’s article himself. Seok-min asks if he’s sure he doesn’t want to quit his job, which prompts Reporter Na to say that he can hit him until he feels better.
Seok-min isn’t in a forgiving mood, and tells Reporter Na that he hates sycophants like him who do everything to attain success. Reporter Na looks almost tearful as he realizes that he’s lost Seok-min’s respect completely.
But Seok-min does agree to let him write the next day’s article… but on Seok-min’s personal (unbugged) laptop. When Reporter Na hesitantly asks why, Seok-min intimidates him into avoiding an answer.
As Reporter Na wipes away his tears and walks out, Yoo-kyung enters the office and stares after him in surprise. She then corners Ji-won about her ferocious fight with the other reporters the day before, to which Ji-won self-effacingly says that she’s as gentle as an herbivore. Muahaha. Sure.
Two cops come to take Moo-young’s statement and laugh at his assertions that Lieutenant Jeon’s death wasn’t an accident. When one of them asks if he witnessed something after the crash, Moo-young takes their measure and then lies that he hadn’t.
The killer meets Lawyer Jo and reports that he couldn’t find the CCTV footage in Lieutenant Jeon’s house. Lawyer Jo tells him that someone called Nam Kang-myung is coming back from China. This news seems to concern our otherwise imperturbable assassin. “Is it feasible for him to return?” he asks.
Lawyer Jo says no, and that if not for this man, they would not have had to kill the coast guard or frame Seon-woo. But he tells Killer not to worry about all that: “We’re happiest when we do what we’re instructed to.”
Someone else just returned from China as well—Prosecutor Cha, So-ra’s sympathetic senior who had tried to work with Seok-min in Chairman Min’s case five years ago. Her “vacation” in China had a secret purpose: to nail down Nam Kang-myung’s location. Back in her office, we see that her team has been quietly working to unveil the “black curtain that controls Korea” for the last five years.
Prosecutor Cha is confident that because of a heart disease that can only be treated in South Korea, Nam Kang-myung will return to the country soon. It’s her belief that he is the middleman who stole tax dollars from the country and bribed people like Chairman Min in the past. On a secret whiteboard, we see that she’s connected the old case with Seon-woo’s framing. Even So-ra’s boss, Prosecutor Im, is in her crosshairs.
Prosecutor Cha walks out of the meeting with a Chinese sword for her superior, keeping up her vacation ruse with the souvenir. On the way, a junior on her team reports on the progress made in Seon-woo’s retrial case. On hearing that So-ra has subpoenaed Prosecutor Im, she accidentally pulls out the sword from the sheath, ruing that So-ra is just as dim and rash as ever.
Prosecutor Im wines and dines the District Attorney to find a way out of the retrial. But the DA tells him bluntly that he’ll have to cooperate with So-ra and claim his innocence in court.
So, Prosecutor Im sits in So-ra’s office, legs crossed and foot swinging insolently as So-ra goes over the initial case report. Every time she points out a negligence on his part, he answers: “I don’t remember. I only investigated based on the findings of the police,” over and over again
So-ra finally trips him up by asking his name, to which he mindlessly rattles off the same line that he doesn’t know, then he stops and glares at her. After barking at her for being ungrateful for all the support he’s given her, he tells her that he’ll make two phone calls once he leaves: one to settle this matter, and the other to her father, who believes he’s safe from the law because his daughter is a prosecutor.
As he begins to walk out of her office, So-ra asks what his relationship to Chief Gu is. Bringing out a case file, she tells him that Chief Gu had been slapped with a defamation lawsuit six years ago, but got indicted by Prosecutor Im. Coincidentally, the firm defending Chief Gu was Noah.
She asks the chief prosecutor if it isn’t interesting that every time these three parties were involved in a case, the verdict was a curious and unexpected one. Almost as if… there were an underhanded deal going on behind the scenes.
So-ra asks if Seon-woo’s case was also part of this deal, and Prosecutor Im asks her if she really means to fight him. She tells him that she’ll keep fighting as long as she can, so he should endure it as best as possible. Paralegal Park gives her a quiet thumbs up.
So-ra visits Moo-young next and tut-tuts over his condition. She tells him that she was genuinely worried about him, especially because of the kind of journalist he is: reckless and solely focused on his revenge.
That last word strikes Moo-young and he asks what she’s talking about. So-ra hands him the file on Boss Park’s case and Moo-young sees the globe imprint on one of the murdered girl’s shoes. So-ra asks if the tattooed man he’s searching for killed his brother.
As Moo-young looks at her in surprise, she confesses that she gave the matter some thought. If she pursued the killer herself, then Moo-young’s scars would never heal. And, if she remained quiet and used his thirst for revenge to solve this case, then that wouldn’t be right either.
Instead, she offers to work with him to find the truth. “If you and I are the only ones who can solve this case, it’s only right for us to do so… Would you like to join me and see what’s at the end of this road?” Moo-young agrees and says that he might regret this path, but this is the only way to get back his life.
But before they chase down Chul-ho’s killer, Moo-young wants So-ra to do an autopsy on Lieutenant Jeon’s body. He tells her about the killer injecting something into Jeon, and puts his trust in So-ra to find out what it was.
Prosecutor Im meets Chief Gu in an expensive restaurant and warns him that So-ra knows about their connection. Instead of telling him a way out, Chief Gu expresses his displeasure at his incompetence.
He warns Prosecutor Im that as soon as he walks out of the restaurant, he’ll be taken to a disciplinary committee for taking a bribe and acquitting the son of a conglomerate family.
Nervously, Prosecutor Im asks if Chief Gu means to cut him adrift or if he has a plan in mind. Chief Gu asks for his unquestioning loyalty from this day forth, instead of the partnership they had before. After Prosecutor Im agrees, Chief Gu promises to take care of everything.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
The Patriot News team learns that their arrest warrants won’t automatically be canceled just because Lieutenant Jeon has been proved to be corrupt. The officer in charge even tells them that he’ll be bringing Moo-young in as soon as he’s discharged from the hospital.
Reporter Na submits his article to Seok-min, who asks him if he’s ready to be humiliated now. The article seems to be a confession of some sort, because after reading the draft, Yoo-kyung glares at Reporter Na, while Ji-won looks askance at him. Seok-min calls the story “the birth of the biggest false news in Daehan Daily’s history,” pointing to its star, Reporter Na.
However, as much as Seok-min is shaming Reporter Na, he reminds Yoo-kyung of the previous Splash Team’s inability to prevent false reports from being printed, and Ji-won of the time Reporter Na had carried her out of a dangerous situation. He tells them that they have to work together now, and Reporter Na looks up at him gratefully.
Seok-min tells his team that once the article is published, they will have a window of two hours before it’s taken down from their websites and replaced on newsstands. It’s the Splash Team’s first article, and he tells them not to falter.
Moo-young leaves the hospital under the cover of night and takes Seok-min’s call. Moo-young is positive that the article will change things, while Seok-min is skeptical but willing to try.
Editor Jung checks the final draft of the next morning’s paper and reports to Chief Gu that everything is as they wanted. The Splash Team has only written a piece on government funds and nothing controversial.
Down at the printing press, Reporter Na calls Seok-min and tells him that the first issues are out. Seok-min calls the man in charge of the press and asks him to stop the presses so the Splash Team can make a change in their article. The man agrees, but as he picks up the phone to call Editor Jung, Yoo-kyung intervenes and assures him that the Splash Team doesn’t need the editor’s approval. He readily accepts, since that’s always been the case.
Meanwhile, Moo-young arrives at the police station and is greeted by a jubilant Patriot News team. As the cop saunters up to arrest Moo-young, he tells him that there will be no arrests since Daehan News has just published an article that acquits Patriot News of any wrongdoing.
The entire team is startled, and Moo-young whispers for them to go along with it. As the cop looks up Daehan Daily’s site, he pretends to gasp in surprise, but then shows that there is no such article on their page. Moo-young takes the phone from him and begins to repeatedly refresh the page anxiously. Ha.
At the Splash Team headquarters, Ji-won asks if she should put up the article, but Seok-min is waiting for the right time, since internet articles can be taken down swiftly. He wants the newspapers to start getting delivered first.
Soon, Reporter Na calls to say that their version of the paper has been sent out in trucks to be delivered throughout Seoul. Seok-min turns to Ji-won and tells her to upload it now.
Moo-young sits in the cop’s chair and checks his computer for the article to appear. (How does he manage to convince people to let him do this stuff?) Chief Yang assures him that he wants to believe Moo-young, but he doesn’t understand what’s happening. As the rest of the team tells Moo-young to join them in jail later… he suddenly exclaims that it’s up!
Chief Gu is on his way to visit his wife when he gets the news that the Splash Team has published an article about Daehan Daily writing false news. He shouts at Editor Jung to stop the presses and take down the article from their website immediately.
Seok-min and Ji-won monitor the website from their office with the entrance barred as people start banging on their door. Editor Jung tries uselessly to reach the man in charge of the printing press, but he’s being kept distracted by Yoo-kyung’s gossip.
Someone walks into the police station, as the cop reads the article and mutters that it’s impossible that Seon-woo… Meanwhile, the newspaper gets delivered to Daehan Daily’s own press room, causing the reporters there to wonder if the Splash Team has gone insane.
That’s when we finally see the article published by Splash Team: “Who ordered the false report? Yoon Seon-woo still alive.” Right above that on the same front page is the defamatory article Chief Gu ordered Reporter Na to write: “Patriot News must be held responsible for Yoon Seon-woo’s regrettable suicide.” While the false article is credited to Reporter Na, the one below is credited to the entire Splash Team. (Ouch, this is going to be bad for our amoral reporter puppy.)
In the police station, we see that the stranger to walk in was Seon-woo. As Chief Yang faints in shock, Moo-young tells the cop that the charges against Patriot News for abetting Seon-woo’s suicide are clearly fake. He tells the cops to go find the liars, while “we innocent people” will go home.
As Lawyer Jo hurries down to exit his office, he gets stopped by So-ra, who asks if he’s curious about Seon-woo being alive.
In Daehan Daily’s lobby, Chief Gu walks in and confronts Seok-min about the embarrassment of publishing two contradictory articles on their front page. He asks Seok-min if he doesn’t know what happens to whistleblowers.
Seok-min tells him that he had to bring the truth to light, as truth cannot coexist with lies. “One must move out of the way.” Chief Gu asks if he thinks he’s a fighter who’ll change him or the world with one article. Seok-min tells him that he isn’t a fighter: “I’m a reporter. I’m not trying to change the world; I’m just reporting things as they are.”
Seok-min says that Chief Gu has a long night ahead of him cleaning up after his poop, and walks away with a bow. Chief Gu remains standing alone on the motto inscribed on the floor of the lobby: “Do not worry about the consequences; pursue only the truth.”
Editor Jung brings Chief Gu the computers from Splash Team’s headquarters, and tells him that they must’ve already known about them being bugged. Chief Gu smiles and says it seems that they really want to fly, so he’ll let them.
Lawyer Jo denies knowing Lawyer Park (the “specialist” who loses cases for Noah), which makes So-ra walk up to a framed picture of Lawyer Jo on a fishing trip. She asks him about the big catch he posed with, and he tells her that it’s a place he visits annually. She then takes out another picture taken at the same spot, but this time, Lawyer Jo has his arm around Lawyer Park.
Lawyer Jo points out that she can’t prove anything with that picture, and she assures him that she won’t try to catch a dinosaur with a flyswatter. She leans closer and asks who is behind Lawyer Jo, and is unsurprised to get no answer. After exchanging some more threats, they shake hands and part ways.
Moo-young treats his team to a large spread, and Chief Yang berates him for keeping him in the dark as they chomp down on the food. Everyone is curious about how Moo-young pulled this off, and Moo-young leans in to tell them.
Morning arrives with all the news channels reporting Daehan Daily’s conflicting claims about Seon-woo. At Daehan, Editor Jung is cornered by his staff and asked about the false article. Everyone believes that no matter their past, Splash Team would only publish such an article if they had strong proof. As the editor is questioned by his reporters, Yoo-kyung takes surreptitious pictures from a corner of the office, excited by the spectacle.
Paralegal Park brings two different versions of today’s newspaper to So-ra and shows her that they have two different articles by the Splash Team. He asks So-ra if Seon-woo is really alive, and So-ra confirms it, to his surprise.
As reporters gather outside the court, Chief Yang works out his anger by shouting at all the city newspapers for targeting Patriot News and falsely accusing them. Finally, one journalist hilariously advises him to speak coherently so they can have usable footage for the news.
Moo-young watches from a distance, as the Splash Team escorts Seon-woo to the building, and the reporters finally get the shot they were waiting for. Seok-min walks him into the lobby, where So-ra waits. Reporter Na sits in the car, hiding his face, as the journalists clamor to know where he is and why he hasn’t retracted his article yet.
Seok-min and So-ra nod at each other, and we flash back to the moment in the hospital when Seok-min told her the truth about Seon-woo’s suicide. He explained that the moment he realized that Daehan Daily had helped fabricate Seon-woo’s charges, he knew that the game was lost because they couldn’t defeat a major media outlet.
Then, when he met Moo-young after Seon-woo’s broadcast, Seok-min understood that Moo-young intended to go after Daehan Daily regardless of the risks. So, he figured out that while a big newspaper can erase evidence in front of their eyes, they are also arrogant enough to believe that they can cover up everything… and that would be their fatal mistake.
As Moo-young, Seok-min, and everyone related to the case gathers in the courtroom for Seon-woo’s hearing, Moo-young flashes back to the day Seon-woo tried to jump off the bridge. With memories of his brother’s death flashing in his mind, Moo-young had leaped after Seon-woo and succeeded in catching his hand as the boy went over.
As they dangled precariously from the bridge railing, Moo-young had yelled at Seon-woo not to die before his eyes, because he was going to save his life.
Seok-min had known that it was necessary for Daehan Daily to claim Seon-woo’s innocence first. That was the only way to avoid Daehan Daily sending in the false witnesses and fake evidence to muddy up Seon-woo’s retrial. So he waited for them to change their own story.
In the present, Seon-woo’s friend testifies in court that he was bribed into perjuring himself. As So-ra waits to make her final statement, she remembers Seok-min telling her to listen only to the law: “You must be the one to end this case.”
So-ra gets up and says that the country’s constitution failed Seon-woo, and that the young man had to escape, broadcast the truth live, and die for a chance at a retrial that should have been his right. She declares that the prosecution will not appeal, and that at the end of his retrial, she hopes Seon-woo will be able to find the meaning he had lost in life.
The judge comes back after deliberating the case and announces that given the clear proof of abuse of authority and fabrication of evidence, he will allow a retrial for Seon-woo. Our team celebrates, and even Reporter Na looks tearful at this small but important victory.
Seon-woo gets up and wildly looks around for Moo-young, calling out to him, “Reporter Han!” As guards come up to escort Seon-woo away, Moo-young tells him not to call him a reporter: “I’m this nation’s best trash reporter!”
Seon-woo breaks away from the guards and hugs Moo-young. As the young man sobs on his shoulder, Moo-young hugs him back tearfully, and So-ra smiles at them. Outside, Paralegal Park gives So-ra a thumbs up for her hard work, and she pounds her heart in solidarity. Aww. As Seon-woo is taken away, he stops and bows to So-ra, who respectfully bows back.
When the bus takes Seon-woo back to prison, the young man finally cracks a smile. Back at the steps of the courtroom, So-ra sighs in relief.
Oh my god, it’s so good to finally have a solid win on our heroes’ side! Yes, the retrial hasn’t even begun yet, but it’s clear that for Seon-woo the real heartbreak was in never being allowed his day in court. And with Moo-young and Seok-min’s clever manipulation of Daehan Daily, it’s unlikely that Chief Gu would be trying to ruin Seon-woo’s case again. I’m satisfied that this plot line has given all it can. Now, the rest of Seon-woo’s case should get resolved behind the scenes, so our Davids can move on to tackle the real Goliaths.
I found it adorable that Reporter Na is so hard up for confidantes that he had to resort to taking advice from a newbie intern. His jealousy over Ji-won’s crush on Seok-min is cute too. But mostly, I was genuinely moved by Reporter Na’s struggle this week. He was in an untenable position and a lesser man would have quit before admitting (on the front page!) that he had falsified news. I have high hopes from this character as well as this actor.
It’s also a relief to have Moo-young and So-ra’s distrust resolved so quickly. They had promised to work together for this one case and keep their doubts about each other at bay. But by now, I think both have glimpsed enough of the other’s life to know that they can trust each other. I’m glad that this felt organic, instead of being presented in an Ah-ha! moment.
The only gripe I have is with Seok-min claiming credit for Seon-woo’s faked death. He most certainly had not planned that! The most he can say is that he was handed the perfect situation to manipulate after Moo-young prevented a near tragedy. But I really enjoyed Seok-min’s mastermind moment in the Splash Team headquarters when he orchestrated the printing of the changed article by anticipating all the failsafes and disabling them. I don’t care how unrealistic that was, it was brilliant to watch!
So, now we’re halfway through and we seem to be running short on bad guys. Chief Gu’s authority has suffered a major blow with his paper being discredited. Lawyer Jo knows that So-ra is looking into his firm. Lieutenant Jeon is dead, Prosecutor Im is likely to stay out of the picture for a while, and Reporter Na has joined the side of angels. We have a potential new villain in Nam Kang-myung, and there is the killer, but they lack the layers of Chief Gu or the subtle internal conflict of Lieutenant Jeon or Reporter Na. Therefore, Falsify needs to raise their stakes again and give our heroes a real challenge to sink their teeth into next.
- Falsify: Episodes 1-2
- The news and the law come together for Falsify
- Righteous prosecutor and journalists challenge the corrupt in Falsify’s first teaser
- SBS’s Falsify finds its female lead in Eom Ji-won
- Two more actresses decline SBS’s Falsify, show still without leading lady
- Search for Falsify’s female lead narrows in on Kim Ok-bin
- Namgoong Min offered spot on Jeon Hye-bin’s Falsify team
- Jeon Hye-bin up to join SBS’s Falsify as photojournalist
- Chun Woo-hee, Yoo Joon-sang consider new SBS legal thriller Falsify