Falsify: Episodes 7-8
This show works through plot developments at a pace that keeps the audience constantly hooked to the screen for the entire episode. Look away, and you’ll miss something crucial. Our trash reporter may have realized that he needs to temper his urge to swing the flaming sword of justice, but he won’t give up his mission to shine light on truths that others would rather stay hidden. And in this, unknown to him, he has an ally in our prosecutor who is working hard to shrug off the shackles of her position to carry out her duty.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Moo-young finds an intriguing case about an alleged murderer who is appealing for a retrial. Sniffing around, he finds that one lawyer from Noah—the law firm that represented said murderer pro bono—is disgruntled enough to promise him an interesting story because she’s just been fired.
So, while Moo-young is on his way to talk to his source, the murderer in question, YOON SEON-WOO (Lee Joo-seung) meets his lawyer to ask about his appeal. LAWYER PARK begins by saying that there isn’t enough evidence to start a retrial, but then suddenly grows tired of the pretense and admits that he can’t risk letting Seon-woo prove his innocence, because he was supposed to take the fall from the start.
As Seon-woo begins to understand how badly he’s been set up, Lawyer Park explains that he only kept Seon-woo’s hopes for a retrial alive for five years because it was the one way to ensure he couldn’t use “the evidence” to acquit himself.
Moo-young reaches the office of Disgruntled Lawyer dressed as a courier with his face hidden under a motorbike helmet, and collects a box of paperwork she’d kept ready for him. As Moo-young leaves, Lawyer Park walks by Disgruntled Lawyer’s cubicle and she shoots the man a hate-filled look.
Lawyer Park walks into Lawyer Jo’s office and asks to drop Seon-woo’s case. Lawyer Jo reminds Park why he was hired and asks if he’ll take responsibility for something going wrong with Seon-woo’s case after this. (You mean, something going right.)
Disgruntled Lawyer meets Moo-young in the garage below and explains that Lawyer Park is a freelancer that Noah hires to lose cases. Moo-young realizes that Lawyer Park has been ruining Seon-woo’s case until now. She doesn’t know the reason why behind this particular case, but says that the law can sometimes help people, but it can also be used to ruin lives.
So-ra’s boss is being particularly nasty since she refused to do his bidding. Among the many petty cases he tries to bury her under, he hands her Seon-woo’s retrial case as well. So-ra remains calm in the face of his smugness, promising not to forget his kindness.
Seok-min stops Chief Gu in the lobby of Daehan Daily and asks to have lunch with him. Suspicious but unable to refuse him in front of other reporters, Chief Gu tells him to set a date through his secretary. With an exaggerated friendly smile, Seok-min tells him to set aside a lot of time since he has something important to tell him.
Moo-young visits Seon-woo in prison but gets turned away. So he uses Boss Yang’s contacts behind bars to send Seon-woo a message, identifying himself as a reporter from Patriot News and promising to help with anything he needs.
However, Seon-woo has been living under the terror of some other convicts for years, and that day one of them hands him a blade and orders him to kill a fellow inmate. So, Seon-woo reads and throws away Moo-young’s message, and nervously readies the razor blade.
But later that night, an ambulance is called to take Seon-woo to the hospital—he’d swallowed the blade himself, and gets wheeled into the emergency room covered in blood.
When Seon-woo wakes up after surgery, he notices a story about Patriot News left behind by one of his guards. It says that Patriot News uncovered the truth in a case that even the prosecutors’ office couldn’t manage.
So-ra asks her subordinate about the details of Seon-woo’s case, and he grows alarmed. He warns her that the original case had been handled by their boss, the local Chief Prosecutor, and he won’t take it well if So-ra upends his work.
A young man comes to meet Seon-woo at the hospital and asks why he tried to kill himself when he still had a chance left with the retrial. Seon-woo tells him that he can’t trust anyone anymore, but he still wants to meet one last person.
Seok-min takes out a copy of the old Splash Team photo from his wallet and looks regretfully at Chul-ho’s face. He recalls the day he first caught Chul-ho printing fake stories designed to influence public opinion in favor of certain corporations. Chul-ho’s only defense was that if he didn’t do it, someone else would.
Seok-min had asked Chul-ho then if it was the first time he’d done such a thing, and Chul-ho had remained silent, unable to meet his friend’s eyes.
In the present, Seok-min waits in a small restaurant for Chief Gu. When the chief arrives, Seok-min begins by reminiscing about the old days, but Chief points out that their paths have diverged too much for them to reminisce as if nothing has changed between them.
Seok-min says he wants Chief Gu to keep his promise to revive the Splash Team someday. He promises that if Chief lets him investigate the lead he’s found, he is willing to bend his knees before him.
Seok-min then reveals his suspicions that Chul-ho’s accident was a cover-up for his murder. Chief Gu does a convincing job of looking surprised and eventually agrees to bring the matter of the Splash Team up at the next executive meeting. Seok-min bows in gratitude, and Chief Gu says regretfully that he misses the old times when Seok-min would treat him as a sunbae instead of a chief.
Seok-min steps out for a smoke and looks back at Chief Gu through the window as he says, “What now? What’s your plan?” Inside, the chief thinks to himself that he would have been better off reminiscing. He calls someone called Editor Jung and says that he needs to come in.
Seon-woo has his friend send Moo-young a text, asking him to come to his hospital room. Unaware of Seon-woo’s situation, Moo-young finds the young man overly dramatic. Despite his reluctance to be summoned, Moo-young can’t help himself and sneaks into Seon-woo’s room pretending to be a nurse. He whispers to Seon-woo to just accept him as a visitor at the prison next time.
When Moo-young gets the guard on duty to help him adjust the hospital bed, Seon-woo suddenly sits up and breaks a glass bottle on the guard’s head. He then rounds on a surprised Moo-young with a shard of glass.
Moo-young tries to calm him down, but Seon-woo makes it clear that he won’t survive if he’s sent back to prison now. Beyond caring about consequences, he tells Moo-young that he wants Patriot News to prove his innocence.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
With a few quick moves, Moo-young disarms Seon-woo and locks him in a hold he can’t break out of. Moo-young admits that he came here with a hunch, and he is inclined to believe a man’s desperation when he’s ready to kill for it.
Grabbing the young man’s collar, Moo-young asks for evidence that would prove his innocence. He tells Seon-woo that if he is convincing, he’ll help him get out of here so that Seon-woo doesn’t have to go back to prison again.
Seon-woo says he has just one piece of evidence left, but he wants to know Moo-young’s escape plan for him first. Moo-young takes out a small switchblade and indicates the collapsed guard. “You’ll play the villain anyway. Let’s pretend that this really happened.”
Reporter Na finds his junior intern pouting about the rest of the interns landing an exclusive while she’s stuck in the office. When he scoffs that the “exclusive” is probably a drunk celebrity driver, she points at the TV overhead and Reporter Na’s mouth drops open.
In the backroom, Yoo-kyung comes running up to Seok-min and drags him out to the press pit where all reporters stand slack-jawed as events unfold on the television.
A news anchor reports that murder suspect Seon-woo has escaped from the hospital after taking a hostage. Onscreen, we see Seon-woo wielding Moo-young’s switchblade while holding on to a man whose face is obscured by a hospital mask.
So-ra and her subordinate watch the report and she asks if this Seon-woo is their Seon-woo, and he answers with a sigh, “How nice would it be if it wasn’t?” Hehehe.
The Patriot News team is watching the coverage of the escape too, and Chief Yang feels particularly bad for the hostage. He grabs rookie Sang-ho to show the others how he would free himself in such a situation, when the hostage himself—Moo-young—walks in with Seon-woo to the alarm of the entire team.
As the team huddles together in one corner, Moo-young introduces Seon-woo and tries to present the situation in a positive light. He sketches a rosy picture of their team proving Seon-woo’s innocence in a falsified case, claiming that no other news agency can handle such an exclusive scoop.
When Chief Yang tries to protest, Moo-young gives up persuasion and says they should go live with cameras. “It’ll be a grand retrial for the nation coming at them live!” (Okay, he’s scary when he’s this intense!)
So-ra arrives at the hospital, and crooked cop Lieutenant Jeon tries to block her until he learns that she’s in charge of Seon-woo’s retrial. He’s surprised that Seon-woo appealed, and tells So-ra that he was the one to arrest Seon-woo the first time. Claiming that he’ll have Seon-woo back behind bars before morning, he walks away.
At Patriot News’ secret office, Seon-woo tells his story. Five years ago, he worked part-time at a bar, where the murdered coast guard was a regular. One night, the coast guard left his phone behind, and Seon-woo’s boss sent him on a errand to return it.
When he reached the coast guard’s apartment, Seon-woo found the door ajar and a stream of bloody water coming from the bathroom. He ran in to find the coast guard slumped, fully clothed and covered in blood, in the shower that was still running. He immediately called the police. However, the next morning, Lieutenant Jeon arrived at his house saying that it was suspicious that all of Seon-woo’s private loans had been paid off recently, implying that he’d been paid to kill the coast guard.
Chief Yang stops the story here to ask about this repayment, which sounds suspicious to him too. Seon-woo explains that his family had finally received compensation for his father’s death at a factory. But despite knowing this, the police kept pressuring him to admit to a crime he didn’t commit.
When Chief Yang says that it’s illegal for the police to detain him for long, Seon-woo says through tears that he hadn’t been taken to the station, but kept at an inn and beaten up for a week. He cries that despite knowing that things were off, he couldn’t help but go along with what they had asked because they were the police. Later, he trusted the prosecutor and the judges, who also let him down.
Moo-young remembers his own experience with the prosecutor’s office as he listens to Seon-woo. He recalls believing So-ra when she’d promised to investigate his coach, yet when the time came for her to keep her word, she’d failed him.
When Chief Yang asks for evidence to back up Seon-woo’s claims, Moo-young hands him some papers. These, he says, proves that Daehan Daily was complicit in framing him for the murder.
Chief Yang takes Moo-young outside and explains to him that taking this case on will end Patriot News. Moo-young asks if he isn’t tired of watching these people ruin lives like they’re playing a game.
Chief Yang points out that they’ll be going up against Daehan Daily, but Moo-young thinks that there’s no one better than them—trash reporters—to do something like this, because they have neither reputation nor dignity to worry about.
Moo-young puts his hands on Chief Yang’s shoulders and says the choice is up to him, but Chief Yang scoffs that he’s pretty much forcing him to do Moo-young’s will.
So-ra watches the CCTV footage of the hostage situation at the hospital’s control room and sighs when she recognizes Moo-young underneath the hospital mask. Moments later, Lieutenant Jeon walks in and tries to accuse her of getting underfoot.
Just then, a policeman arrives and alerts them to a live broadcast by Patriot News. So-ra takes out her own phone and watches as a countdown screen vanishes to show a masked man in a darkened room. It’s Moo-young, and he introduces himself as an anonymous reporter for Patriot News.
Claiming that Seon-woo has taken one of their reporters hostage, Moo-young says that a public trial was the ransom Seon-woo demanded in exchange for their reporter’s safe return.
The broadcast shifts to the other side of the darkened room—curtained off to give the appearance of a separate location—where Seon-woo sits before his own camera. Moo-young asks, simulating a phone connection, if their reporter is safe. Once assured of this, Moo-young begins to set up Seon-woo’s case before the public.
Acting as the devil’s advocate, Moo-young asks Seon-woo why he wants a live retrial instead of one through proper channels. Seon-woo then reveals that Daehan Daily likely had a hand in framing him and he can’t trust anyone until he knows who is behind the falsification of his case.
Moo-young reveals a screenshot of a news report by Daehan Daily that was printed at 6 A.M. the morning of the murder, even though the police didn’t arrive at the scene until 6:30. This report already names Seon-woo as a suspect in the coast guard’s death. Moo-young reacts with exaggerated surprise at the proof that someone had planned to implicate Seon-woo all along.
While this drama is going on online, the broadcast is being watched across the city, by everyone involved in the case from Lieutenant Jeon to Chief Gu to Lawyer Jo.
Seon-woo ends his impassioned plea for his side to be heard with a promise that he’ll prove his innocence over the next five days. He tells the public that Patriot News will have to cooperate with him to save their reporter, but that at the end of the five days, he’ll turn himself in to the police.
Moo-young takes it up from him, expressing that Patriot News is helpless and must comply with his demands in such a situation. Then promising to return again the next day, he signs off.
As the broadcast ends, everyone watching looks up from their screens as if waking from a spell. Daehan Daily’s phones start to ring, and Seok-min looks up articles on the coast guard murder in the news agency’s database. He finds nothing, but soon receives a text that says their system was supposedly under maintenance at the time, and the error was caused by a bug.
Seok-min finds this particularly fishy, since Seon-woo’s case was Chul-ho’s very first report. He takes out a thumb drive from his cabinet and looks thoughtful.
Lieutenant Jeon suddenly turns cooperative with So-ra, who tells him that he’ll be summoned to her office to answer questions about Seon-woo’s case soon. Walking outside, So-ra tells her subordinate that they’ll have to catch Moo-young first.
When the subordinate asks how they’re going to catch a hostage, So-ra explains that Patriot News is staging the whole retrial-hostage situation and catching Moo-young will lead them to Seon-woo. As she asks him about the judge on warrant duty that night, Lieutenant Jeon walks out of the room and overhears them talking about going after Daehan Daily.
As Chief Gu directs his people to make sure that no trace of the old article remains in their system, he gets a call from So-ra’s boss, warning him that So-ra is heading towards Daehan Daily with a warrant at that very moment.
At the same time, we see that So-ra is ignoring calls from her boss. She explains to her subordinate that as the original prosecutor on Seon-woo’s case, the chief prosecutor is directly implicated in the current matter, and therefore, has no right to interfere in their proceedings. So badass!
Moo-young takes Seon-woo to meet Boss Yang, who calls Moo-young disrespectful and annoying. But Moo-young convinces the crime boss to hide Seon-woo for the time being in exchange for feeding him information for his business. Before leaving, Seon-woo thanks Moo-young sincerely for believing him, and Moo-young tells him not to think that he’s the only one who’s ever faced this situation. Moo-young calls himself an expert in this, and tells Seon-woo to try and live like a normal person as best as he can, “And we’ll fight in your place.”
Seok-min and Yoo-kyung get texts from Daehan Daily’s IT department, asking them for the pass code to the Splash Team office. Yoo-kyung finds the timing strange, since the room hasn’t been accessed in five years. Seok-min guesses that they might be after the servers that were managed separately from the rest of the agency.
Realizing together that the coast guard murder report might have been published by a member of the Splash Team and the servers could hold crucial evidence, they run towards the old Splash Team office.
Reporter Na is being bullied by Editor Jung again to spill more about Patriot News. This time though, Reporter Na stands up to him and asks him not to make these requests of him. Editor Jung gets called down to attend to another matter, and we see that Seok-min and Yoo-kyung are barring the doors of the Splash Team office, refusing to let the IT team inside.
Editor Jung arrives on the scene and Seok-min tells him that he has a right to protect the team’s intellectual property. Editor Jung then accuses him of having taken bribes for the case that shut down the Splash Team, which gets Yoo-kyung so riled up that she tries to attack the editor.
Seok-min pulls her back and says that even if he has to leave Daehan Daily, he should at least be allowed to say goodbye to Chief Gu. Editor Jung smiles slyly, but close-up, we see that Seok-min’s eyes are hard and calculating.
Outside Daehan Daily, So-ra arrives with her team from the prosecutor’s office and starts walking up the steps to the entrance.
I find myself hooked on the cat and mouse chase in this story. Falsify has done a really good job of making this world of corrupt authority figures feel nicely lived in. Our heroes are imperfect, hesitant, and impulsive, but capable of learning from their mistakes. No one is above the law, not even the vigilantes who are trying to bring justice back into this world.
I like that Moo-young’s plan to get Seon-woo out of the hospital was messy and would leave Seon-woo with charges of assault and kidnapping even if he proves himself innocent of the coast guard’s murder. Real life is messy and brilliant that way, and neat plans don’t appear out of thin air whenever you need them.
Possibly because of the betrayals set up early in the show, I get a real sense of the dangers faced by our bold, determined heroes now. Trusting the people around them has brought them low, yet it’s trusting each other that might save them. I’m enjoying the way they set up Seon-woo’s case so that So-ra and Moo-young are again on the same side, yet positioned on opposite ends of the law.
With any other show, I might have predicted that this case would help heal the breach between the two characters, yet Falsify has been wily enough till now that I find myself bracing for more friction and disasters to come.
Of course, despite the thrills, there are a few weak moments in the storytelling where uninspired writing makes its presence felt. While the many coincidences involving the same group of people were quite remarkable, by far the most hair-tearing moment of the episode was when So-ra spoke about getting a search warrant for Daehan Daily within hearing distance of Lieutenant Jeon. Seriously, woman, walk and talk!
I guess this was necessary to ensure that Chief Gu learns of the warrant soon enough to send people to clean up the servers in the Splash Team office—thereby giving Seok-min and Yoo-kyung a chance to make their stand—but this diluted the tight narrative of the earlier parts of the episodes, where one scene flowed pretty organically into another.
But aside from this, the show has been consistent in its strong plotting and careful balancing of moral dilemmas faced by the protagonists. So far, Moo-young has learned to be slightly more careful about his actions, Seok-min has figured out that his hate might have blinded him to an injustice, and So-ra has decided that she can’t quiet her conscience in the hopes of a promotion anymore. It’s just been two weeks in, but I feel like I’ve been living with and rooting for these characters for years.
- 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