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Forest of Secrets: Episode 16 (Final)

It’s the end of the road, and those who have been escaping justice for far too long will be called to pay the price. But the villains in this drama have never been straightforward, and in this final episode, events once again take an unexpected turn. Shi-mok, Yeo-jin, and their team challenge everything they thought they knew before, with the hope that this long fight can finally be over.

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Shi-mok stares at the last picture remaining on his white board, recalling his then-superior Lee Chang-joon telling him that prosecutors were different from those they needed to punish. Just then, Clerk Kim bursts into Shi-mok’s office to inform him that a man with Secretary Woo’s name went to Taipei yesterday. Shi-mok tells him to alert Interpol and arrange to send investigators to Taiwan.

Chairman Lee calls his son-in-law and asks him what he’s plotting by moving Yeon-jae’s money, making her leave the country, and then trying to steal Chairman Lee’s profit from the bank. Chief Secretary Lee says calmly, “Eun-soo… You’re the one who killed her, right?” The chairman tells him to stop being ridiculous, but his son-in-law says that Chairman Lee must have ordered Secretary Woo to do the deed and leave the country.

Chairman Lee asks if he’s doing this for money; after all, the killer was caught already. Chief Secretary Lee says that someone else killed Eun-soo—he would know, because he’s the one who killed CEO Park and attacked Ga-young. Pardon me, but holy shit.

Chairman Lee straightens in his chair. Chief Secretary Lee says that Yoon was only the blade—he himself held the handle of the knife. Chairman Lee asks why, and his son-in-law promises that he’ll find out soon.

He asks Chairman Lee to be honest now that he’s made his own confession, but Chairman Lee denies everything. Seeing an incoming call from Shi-mok, Chief Secretary Lee excuses himself and hangs up, the conversation successfully recorded. Chairman Lee orders one of his secretaries to freeze all of Chief Secretary Lee’s financial accounts.

Shi-mok tells his former boss that he’d like to meet, and asks Yeo-jin to go to Taiwan with Gun to arrest Secretary Woo. Shi-mok informs her that Chief Secretary Lee was Yoon’s accomplice, and tells her where he’s meeting him.

Chairman Lee remembers slapping Secretary Woo when he confessed to killing Eun-soo. Chairman Lee told him to leave the country immediately, and to get rid of the stuff he brought with him, which includes a piece of paper with “DT” on it (the one Eun-soo drew), and a file folder and what looks like a USB.

Now, Chairman Lee’s new secretary informs him that Chief Secretary Lee has a personal safety deposit box at Hanil Bank. Chairman Lee goes there and opens up the safety deposit box, but finds only a blank sheet of paper, much to his frustration.

Dong-jae follows Chief Secretary Lee from the Blue House after overhearing him banning entry to anyone from Hanjo as he left carrying a bag, but he loses him at a traffic light.

Yeo-jin, tracking Chief Secretary Lee’s location, tells Gun that the man is heading to his rendezvous spot with Shi-mok, and wonders why he’s letting himself be tracked so easily.

Shi-mok arrives at an semi-completed building, and finds Chief Secretary Lee on on of the higher floors. (Ack, what are you doing? Why would you meet a murderer in a tall building with no walls?!)

Shi-mok notes the luggage as Lee greets him and says cryptically that he still has a long road ahead. At Shi-mok’s questions, Lee confesses to instigating Yoon to kill CEO Park and hurt Ga-young, but denies responsibility for Eun-soo’s murder.

Shi-mok asks why he did it, and Lee replies that he should have refused to introduce CEO Park to the then-small and unremarkable Hanjo Distribution when CEO Park’s business was failing. He didn’t know then that the company had been purposely kept from the limelight so it could be used for an illegal transfer of assets. He says it’s the one thing he regrets—that misjudgment.

Dong-jae and Yeo-jin both arrive below, surprised to see each other, and look up at the building. Back inside, Shi-mok asks why Chief Secretary Lee asked him to come here. After a pause, Lee comments on the nice weather, then talks about how it will be once he’s arrested, imprisoned, and interrogated by his hoobaes.

“Please come with me,” says Shi-mok. Chief Secretary Lee takes a step back toward the open wall behind him. “Should I become the defeated and get dragged around as a captive? Or shall I choose to vanish on the battleground?” he asks.

“Sunbae-nim,” says Shi-mok, and Lee smiles as he says that he likes the sound of that. Shi-mok walks toward him, and Lee moves back, telling him to slow down. But Shi-mok suddenly lunges forward.

Yeo-jin and Dong-jae turn in shock when a body falls from the building and crashes down on a pile of lumber near them. Yeo-jin approaches the body of Chief Secretary Lee and spots Shi-mok above (although she doesn’t recognize him from that distance) and tells a near-catatonic Dong-jae to stay and guard Lee while she goes to check.

Dong-jae suddenly snaps out of his trance and runs over to his fallen boss, shaking him and begging him to wake up. Lee weakly raises one arm, and Dong-jae clasps his hand and desperately tells him to hold on. “You still have a chance, Dong-jae. Do not… follow my path,” Lee manages to force out, before he goes limp.

Yeo-jin approaches Shi-mok, her weapon cocked, and is dismayed to recognize him. She tells him to raise his hands and turn around, which he does. “Did you push him?” she asks. Meanwhile, in Shi-mok’s office, a breeze blows Lee Chang-joon’s picture to the floor.

Police and paramedics have arrived, and Gun tells Team Leader Choi that Lee jumped off before Shi-mok could even arrest him, after confessing to being Yoon’s accomplice. Team Leader Choi asks if the two men might have fought alone up there, but Gun assures him that Yeo-jin saw Lee jump. Yeo-jin glances over at Shi-mok at this.

Team Leader Choi says he’s not accusing Shi-mok of intentionally pushing Lee, just that he could have done it by mistake while trying to arrest him, but Soon-chang says that Dong-jae also witnessed it.

Chairman Lee’s secretary informs him of his son-in-law’s suicide. The news gives the old man pause for a moment, but he immediately tells his secretary to write a press release saying that Lee Chang-joon committed many corrupt acts while in the prosecutor’s office, that he ordered the murder of CEO Park to cover those crimes up, and that he took his own life out of guilt. The words seem to pain him, but still, that’s cold.

After the secretary leaves, Chairman Lee calls his son-in-law a fool for giving up his life, and tells himself that was just the man’s fate—there was nothing he could do. (Is that a tear I see?)

Shi-mok spreads the contents of Lee Chang-joon’s bag on Chief Prosecutor Kang’s desk. “As a prosecutor, I want to do it,” says Kang, “But Shi-mok-ah… I don’t want to lose this position.” The section chiefs burst in as a group to ask if the news about their former boss is true, which Shi-mok confirms.

Shi-mok sympathetically asks Chief Prosecutor Kang if they should start. After a long moment, Kang agrees that they must, and Shi-mok passes around folders full of documents and USBs to the section chiefs.

They contain two years’ worth of never-before-seen evidence of Hanjo Group’s crimes, including intellectual property infringement, illegal sales of real estate, unlawful transfer of assets, tax evasion, and violating the Foreign Exchange Act. There’s also evidence of them colluding with public officials and politicians to evade the law and influence personnel decisions.

“We’re so dead, aren’t we?” says Chief Prosecutor Kang wryly. After a tense silence, one of the section chiefs holds up his file. “Why should we die? They’re the ones who have to die.” Kang nods and advises a full-on, decisive attack as the only way to emerge victorious. Shi-mok bows and respectfully asks for their help, and the section chiefs nod, determined.

Yeo-jin visits Yoon in jail and tells him that his accomplice confessed and jumped to his death; at his unsurprised reaction, she deduces that this was part of their plan. She asks if Lee Chang-joon told Yoon that Secretary Woo killed Eun-soo, and if that’s why he kept silent. He nods, and she prods for intel about where Woo might be now, but Yoon says he doesn’t know.

After a pause, Yeo-jin comments that he must have thought the rest of the special investigation team were idiots while they searched everywhere looking for the killer while addressing him so politely—they probably looked pathetic to him. Yoon replies that being part of the investigation team was the first time in two years that he felt like he could breathe.

Tears gathering in her eyes, Yes-jin grinds out, “Shall I go tell Mr. Park’s mother that the prick who slashed her son to death said he felt like he could finally breathe? Or shall I go tell Ga-young’s mom?” Unable to hold her tears back any longer, Yeo-jin finally cries.

Yeo-jin: “In this country, there are so many parents who lost their children unfairly. Do all of them brandish knives? You’ve stabbed them, too. They’ve done everything in their power to overcome their losses, and you made all of their efforts go to waste. But you feel like you can breathe now?”

She leaves the room, slamming the door behind her.

The news media is in a frenzy over the newly exposed evidence left behind by Chief Secretary Lee, as teams of prosecutors invade both the Bahn and Hanjo Group headquarters with search and seizure warrants. Yeo-jin’s team also deploys to various locations to investigate all these new leads, while she and Gun head to Taiwan to hunt down Secretary Woo.

Chief Prosecutor Kang and Shi-mok call Bae Sang-wook in for questioning, and when the assemblyman denies everything, they play a recording of his damning recent conversation with Chief Secretary Lee over the intercom.

Chairman Lee arrives at the prosecutor’s office for questioning, swarmed by reporters. He gives them a self-righteous speech about how he’s responsible for 30% of the country’s GDP and has created countless jobs, and how he’s “terrified” that the country will go into decline because of the current “unreasonable rage” against corporations. He declares loudly that history will prove him innocent.

A voice calls out that even toddlers have shame, but that same voice points out that Chairman Lee hasn’t become a human being even after killing someone. It’s Young Il-jae, and Chairman Lee protests that he had nothing to do with Eun-soo’s death, but Young is talking about Lee Chang-joon: “You killed him.”

With that, he leaves Chairman Lee in stunned silence.

Night falls, and Chairman Lee’s interrogation drags on. Yeo-jin and Gun return from Taiwan, Secretary Woo in tow, and slump in exhaustion at their desks. They report that Woo refuses to blame the chairman for anything.

Chief Prosecutor Kang yawns across from Chairman Lee in the interrogation room as the man continues to deny his guilt. Lee says the prosecution is pretending they have decisive evidence against him, but in the end they need him to admit that he did wrong, or they wouldn’t have kept him this long. “But no matter how hard I rack my brain, I’ve only done good things,” he says smugly, and takes his leave.

As Chairman Lee is about to exit the building, Shi-mok and a group of his hoobaes line up to block him. Shi-mok tells Lee to come with them, as a stretching Chief Prosecutor Kang joins them—having held onto Lee just long enough for the arrest warrant to be issued. Ha!

Chairman Lee addresses Shi-mok and tells him that if the Lee family collapses, Korea will collapse. “It won’t collapse,” says Shi-mok flatly, and nods for his colleagues to take the man away.

Shi-mok slouches at his desk, rubbing his head with a sigh. He’s about to call Yeo-jin (aw), when he receives word of a visitor. It’s a coldly furious Yeon-jae, who announces that she’s going to destroy Shi-mok using every means at her disposal for daring to provoke “us.” Shi-mok asks her if that “us” includes her husband, which makes her drop her smile and clench her fist. “You killed him,” she says.

Shi-mok gives her the letter that Chief Secretary Lee left in the bag he gave Shi-mok. Lee’s voice narrates as Yeon-jae reads, and we see him sitting at his desk that last day, writing his suicide note. He says that the country is collapsing, as is the safety and security of ordinary people. For nineteen years, he says, he’s watched that hole of destruction grow as he arrested pitiful, poverty-stricken people during the day and spent his nights entertaining the filthy rich and helping them escape justice.

Lee says that if the corruption had been moderate, he’d have ignored it and enjoyed its benefits, but at a certain point it became unbearable. He asks that the evidence in the bag be declared confiscated from him while on the run, not the belongings of a traitor who stabbed his father-in-law in the back. Lee asks to be remembered as a chaebol’s loyal dog, comfortable until his final moments, because he knows that’s the only way for the evidence to be useful and credible.

We see him watching Yeon-jae as she slept, secretly recording meetings where shady deals went down, meticulously recording phone conversations, and snooping through Chairman Lee’s office.

His letter continues that the corruption in this country is no longer just a malaise; it’s taking countless lives. He says that neither time nor money can save this failed system, only the blood sacrifice of many people. We see Lee’s body fall from the building again, and Shi-mok and Yeo-jin discovering his letter.

Lee Chang-joon: “We’ve already missed the time it could’ve been healed by normal means. I must not forbear any longer. I should not wait for someone else to clean up the filth in my place. If I wait and stay silent, this entire country will be covered in filth in no time. Now, I ought to open my mouth, point at those who have done wrong and reveal the secret behind the curtains that had been kept closed. I hope that this is the beginning.”

Yeon-jae finishes reading the letter, places it on the table, and silently leaves. Shi-mok watches her go.

At his trial, former police chief Kim pleads guilty to all of his charges and declines a defense, with Team Leader Choi and a tearful Soo-chan watching in the audience. When the judge asks him why, Kim says that he wants to apologize to the police officers who are working hard for honor and justice, and that he hopes they won’t turn out like him. The judge sentences him to three and a half years in jail.

Yeo-jin questions an up-and-moving Ga-young about the other men she met, but the girl irritably says that she’s still sick and she doesn’t remember. Her mother comes to pick her up, but Ga-young is back to her old self and complains that her mom is embarrassing before telling her to go away. Yeo-jin was walking away, but at this, she turns around and comes back.

Yeo-jin lifts her notebook as if to smack Ga-young, and the mother immediately covers her daughter’s head protectively. Yeo-jin tells Ga-young to look at what her mother is doing despite how rude she’s being to her. She says that Ga-young is incredibly lucky to be alive after her ordeal—she’d better reassess how she’s using this second chance.

Yeo-jin and Gun join Jung-bon and Shi-mok’s clerks to celebrate Jung-bon’s new job at a big law firm. They wonder what Shi-mok is doing, but soon catch him on TV, being interviewed on the talk show he appeared on two months ago. The host remarks that Shi-mok has kept his promise of catching the culprit, with only a few days to go on his self-imposed time limit. Shi-mok agrees, but says that he’s here today to say something.

Shi-mok says that the evidence left by Lee Chang-joon had not been collected as insurance against the betrayal of his co-conspirators, as had been officially announced according to Lee’s final wishes. The host is surprised to find out that Lee was willing to disgrace his name in order to give the evidence more weight, and Shi-mok’s friends murmur in sudden sympathy. The host wonders if one should look at Lee as a criminal or a righteous man.

“He was a monster,” says Shi-mok. He says that Lee killed someone thinking it was a sacrifice for the greater good, but no life is less valuable than another, adding that Lee deluded himself into thinking that he had the right to mete out punishment, and was a monster created by these times.

Shi-mok quotes Yeo-jin’s words after Kyung-wan was beaten, about people being able to do corrupt things because they can get away with them, and says that if people keep their eyes open and speak up, things will change. That’s the prosecutors’ job, points out the host.

At that, we see Chief Prosecutor Kang watching from his office, as does Young Il-jae from his home.

Shi-mok acknowledges that they’ve failed as prosecutors by bending the law for the wealthy and powerful and by protecting criminals instead of ordinary citizens. He says that Lee Chang-jun was the accumulation of those failures and the prosecutors were his accomplices. Shi-mok bows his head to apologize as he says that he still feels they have a chance, and quotes his mentor’s words that their most powerful weapon is the constitution.

Shi-mok: “The prosecution will no longer
be swayed by those with power, and rise again to fight. We’ll exercise our rights on indictment accurately. We’ll remember that the people are the ones who truly hold the power to appoint us, and devote ourselves to you. We’ll take responsibility. We’ll strive to become fairer and more honest. We’ll do our best to make sure another such monster will never emerge from our ranks.”

Smiles and nods spread through the studio audience as he speaks, and when Shi-mok ends his speech with a bow, he’s greeted with applause.

Jung-bon says he can understand Yoon a little for losing his young child so horribly and then watching the criminals get away scot-free. Gun says that’s no excuse to take the law into his own hands, though, especially when there are still people like Shi-mok and and Yeo-jin, and even Gun.

Clerk Kim is just happy to see Shi-mok being awesome on TV and predicts that he’ll get promoted to section chief this time, and does a cute dance. Clerk Choi reminds him that Shi-mok is probably going to the U.S., and the mood instantly deflates. Yeo-jin looks disappointed.

Dong-jae catches Shi-mok outside his home, saying that he watched the show and he wants to honor Chief Secretary Lee’s last words. “Believe in me this once, Shi-mok,” he says. He takes Shi-mok’s hand and pleads for one last chance.

Chairman Lee arrives for his trial in a wheelchair, and he claims over and over to the reporters mobbing him that he’s ill.

Jung-bon takes Kyung-wan with him to see Yoon, whom his law firm will represent, on the young man’s request. Kyung-wan asks Yoon, “Did killing my father make you feel better? I heard you lost your son in an accident. I lost my father at your hands.” He asks if Yoon is satisfied, if things went the way he wanted. Yoon just cries, unable to speak.

Kyung-wan waits for a bit, but when he gets no response, he gets up to leave. “I’m sorry,” Yoon finally says to Kyung-wan’s turned back. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Kyung-wan closes his eyes, gives a shaky nod, and leaves without looking back.

Outside the prison, Kyung-wan thanks Jung-bon, and tells him that he got a job at a golf course. Jung-bon congratulates him.

Shi-mok tells Chief Prosecutor Kang that Secretary Woo is still insisting that he acted alone, and they have no proof that Chairman Lee ordered Eun-soo’s murder. Kang tells him to go after the Hanjo corruption charges first.

Kang reflects that they’re nearing the end now—they’ve investigated nearly everything in the files. He tells Shi-mok that his U.S. trip has been canceled; he’s being transferred to Namhae (on the southern coast). Kang reveals that Chief Secretary Lee was the one who brought both of them here and gave them the power to investigate this case, even though they’d both been in unfavorable positions.

Shi-mok recalls something Lee said to him before he died: that he searched for someone to give his burden to for a long time. “I thought he made me into the chief prosecutor to appease me, but he was actually looking for someone to support you.”

Kang grumbles that they should really be giving Shi-mok an award, and apologizes. Shi-mok says that it’s okay. “You did support me,” he says, and thanks him with a bow and a faint smile. Aww. I love these two together.

As he walks out, Shi-mok remembers Chief Secretary Lee’s final moments, and now we see a part of the conversation we weren’t shown before. In the building, Lee had told him that he believed in Shi-mok’s integrity and knew he wouldn’t be swayed, but would unflinchingly chase the criminals to the end. He’d contemplated for a long time who he should give this burden to, and Shi-mok was the only answer.

Shi-mok called him sunbae-nim, as we saw before, and Lee smiled to hear it. Now, Shi-mok remembers all the moments Lee promoted him and singled him out for attention; he remembers Lee’s vow never to stand before him as a defendant. And then those final steps backward, asking Shi-mok to approach more slowly… Shi-mok closes his eyes, then looks up for a moment as though trying to stop tears.

Yeo-jin arrives at the police station to applause and ribbing from her teammates, who ask to meet her boyfriend so they can check him out. She finds a bouquet on her desk, with a note from Jung-bon congratulating her on her promotion.

Yeo-jin dismisses it as a friendly gesture, but Gun says that he got promoted too, and he didn’t get anything—Jung-bon is clearly making a play. Yeo-jin finds lipstick as well, which leads to more giggles from her colleagues. She tells them to stop being ridiculous and get back to work, but she goes to the bathroom later and puts it on. She’s admiring herself when she gets a text from Clerk Choi, telling her about Shi-mok’s transfer.

Yeo-jin meets Shi-mok at a pojangmacha that evening, and she notes fondly that he’s even drinking alone now. He grumbles mildly that she’s late, and she tells him not to be so stiff, or else he’ll end up alone in Namhae.

She asks what he’ll do with his apartment, and when he says he’ll lease it, she tilts her head at him and tells him to rent it to her for a reduced price. He flatly says he’s already listed it for much higher, haha.

Yeo-jin tells him to sleep on her porch when he comes to Seoul, though the wind might freeze his face, and he says that he will. He pours her a drink and congratulates her on her promotion, and Yeo-jin says with regret that her promotion ceremony is tomorrow, at the same time he’s leaving. Shi-mok asks why that matters, and she rolls her eyes and tells him to forget it. Dear Lord, this man.

Yeo-jin asks if he’s done with his work, and Shi-mok says that he is, except for Dong-jae, whom he’s left to Chief Prosecutor Kang. She asks why Shi-mok didn’t arrest Dong-jae, and Shi-mok replies that he never trusted Eun-soo, even though she begged him to so many times. So he’s not going to believe in Dong-jae either, but he’ll watch him.

Yeo-jin takes out her notebook and gives him a drawing she made of him, telling him laughingly to look at her gift and practice smiling. He makes a face, but puts it in his breast pocket. (On the left, next to his heart. Just saying.)

Yeo-jin asks why they’re sending him to Namhae, and Shi-mok tells her that a lot of the higher-ups have been arrested, but they’ll probably soon be released on special pardons.

Yeo-jin lifts her glass. “Goodbye, though I won’t be able to see you off.” Shi-mok lifts his. “Good luck in your new position, though I won’t be able to watch the ceremony.” She smiles, and they clink glasses and drink.

The pojangmacha owner brings Shi-mok his noodles, and Yeo-jin complains that he only got one bowl—besides, wasn’t the soup here too salty? He whispers that the owner has changed, which makes her laugh. Shi-mok asks what happened to her lips (she’s still wearing the lipstick), and she laughs again while touching them, asking if it’s pretty. He tells her it looks strange. Can I just watch these two doing this forever?

Yeo-jin and Gun are given special awards for their hard work in catching the two murderers, and are both promoted one rank. They salute their colleagues in the audience, and their team members give them a standing ovation.

Meanwhile, Shi-mok says goodbye to his clerks, thanking them for everything, and they thank him as well and tell him to take care of himself. He shakes their hands and smiles at them, and they sadly watch him drive away.

Clerk Choi and Clerk Kim return dispiritedly to their office, only to find out that Dong-jae is their new superior. As he settles in to Shi-mok’s old office, he receives a phone call that makes him go shifty-eyed. He closes his blinds before reclining in his chair and schmoozing like nothing at all has changed. Oh, Dong-jae.

Yeon-jae visits her husband’s grave. “You should have told me,” she says tearfully. She asks him if he’s at peace where he is now, and cries as she apologizes.

Next, we see her entering her father’s old office; she’s now the CEO of Hanjo Group, and her secretary (Chief Secretary Lee’s former assistant) calls someone to let the chairman know that they’re working on getting his arrest suspended.

Ten months later. Shi-mok drives along the southern coast, changing channels on the radio, when he stops on a song that reminds him of a trial he watched as a young man. Then-Section Chief Lee Chang-joon had played the song for the judge, saying that the song was banned in 1968 for showing Japanese influence. He read from the original poem, which describes a homeland that has been corrupted by lies, its people turned to slaves, who must endure pain and humiliation.

Lee apologized to the poet, who had been fired from his teaching position back then, and thanks him for his wisdom. Shi-mok’s fellow students had clapped along with the rest of the audience, whispering that it would be amazing to serve such a great section chief.

In the present, the radio switches over to the news: The prime minister is being criticized for abusing his power, and of course, he denies all charges.

Shi-mok arrives at work soon after and receives a call from Chief Prosecutor Kang, who asks him to return to Seoul. The National Assembly has unanimously chosen Shi-mok to lead a special investigation into the prime minister’s corruption scandal. Kang tells him to be there in two days—and to do something about Dong-jae when he comes too, because the man hasn’t changed a bit. Shi-mok agrees.

Shi-mok gazes at the picture from that fateful dinner party at Yeo-jin’s, which he has framed and sitting on his filing cabinet. He returns to his desk and is about to return to work when he looks up at his computer screen, where he’s clipped Yeo-jin’s gift. Shi-mok smiles—a warm, real smile.

 
COMMENTS

Waaaah, it’s over! What an epic, moving, incredible finale. I can’t discuss everything I loved about this show, because then this would be a thesis (the dialogue in this episode alone was so good that I had to restrain myself from quoting every line). This episode was all about Lee Chang-joon, who is truly the most complex, sympathetic, realistic villain I have ever seen in a drama. His path to corruption was both relatable and tragic, because he started his career with so much idealism and heart, inspiring his hoobaes to be good men. Shi-mok modeled his own moral code as a prosecutor after Lee’s, and I think that’s why he was so harsh on him in his speech on TV—the disappointment was that much greater when Shi-mok found out the true depth of his superior’s corruption. And yet he still genuinely grieved for him.

The two men always had such a fraught, tense relationship, locked as they were in a cold war since the beginning of the drama. Yet even as they were challenging each other openly and undercutting one another secretly, there was always a sense of mutual respect and admiration for the other’s abilities. Their history was unspoken, but it was there (and the same echoes of a broken past relationship were present in every scene between Lee Chang-joon and Young Il-jae).

In the end, even though Lee chose Shi-mok as his warrior, the one to carry out the fight he’d been preparing for for so long, his redemption was incomplete. Lee was brave enough to secretly collect all the information needed to take down Hanjo and its associates, but he lacked the courage to live and pay for his crimes—in the end, he took both his own life and the lives of CEO Park and Ga-young far too lightly. As Shi-mok said, Lee deluded himself into thinking that he had the right to make judgments about the value of a human life, which no person has.

Besides, the real work is not done by one dramatic gesture, nor by a succession of blood sacrifices as Lee wrote in his suicide note. Shi-mok refuses to subscribe to the notion that more people must die in order to fix the rotten ways of the world. Shi-mok sees his duty in conducting every part of his job as a prosecutor with integrity and courage, refusing to back down on the “small” things, because closing one’s eyes to even those will lead to more corruption down the line. I love that Shi-mok quoted Yeo-jin about this in his interview, because she’s the one who taught him that it’s not worth sacrificing one’s morals in the present in the hopes of a bigger victory in the future—which is exactly what Lee Chang-joon did, and what led to his eventual transformation into the monster that Shi-mok described.

It was wonderful to see all of our characters get satisfying endings, even if some of the baddies didn’t exactly get their just desserts. It’s fitting that a show with the heartbreaking realism of Forest of Secrets would leave us with a system still riddled with corruption, where the powerful and the slimy are up to their old tricks, but our team members are still fighting their hardest to catch them.

This show has never given us the slightest whiff of preachy-ness, but it leaves us with a timely and surprisingly encouraging message: The fight against evil is not a sprint, but a marathon. We win if we continue to fight; the ones who have lost are those who lose themselves to temptation, to greed, to revenge and arrogance. The system is undoubtedly flawed, but it serves the people—and the authority to mete out justice is vested in the power the citizens have given to law enforcement, and not the prerogative of any one person.

And finally, Yeo-jin and Shi-mok! I was disappointed when Shi-mok was transferred so far away, but I’m not mad. It gave us that lovely farewell scene in the pojangmacha, with Yeo-jin laughing and teasing Shi-mok, and him watching her with quiet enjoyment as he answered all her questions with a comfort and openness that belies the stiff, uncommunicative prosecutor we met at the start of this show.

And that picture! I was giggling like a giddy teenager at the entire exchange. He grumbles every time she gives him a drawing, but I love that he keeps them all safe, and I think it’s very logical to assume that she has a special place in his heart considering that he looked at her picture every day for ten months, and smiles at the thought of seeing her again. (Also her asking if she looks pretty in that lipstick? My ship has sailed, I don’t care what anyone says.)

The show has left us with that perfect ending that we get so rarely: It’s superbly positioned for a second season, but the story feels complete, and it gave us excellent resolutions for all its plot lines and characters. So while I’d love another season because Shi-mok, Yeo-jin, and their motley gang have grown so dear to me (and because I will watch anything this writer does, from now until I die), I’m okay with leaving it here, too. I can imagine all these characters continuing on their adventures, forever changed by this one investigation that brought them together and shook up their world.

 
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Lee Chang-joon is a magnificent bastard and the mastermind of 2017. I love this show from episode 1 to the very last and it's going into my very small list of perfect shows I will recommend to everyone.

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one of the best villains in any drama—or any work overall—period.

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Idiot Ceo of Ms. Temper tried to become a calculative Anti-Hero and failed. He is the the type of character that even outshines Hero.
Shi-Mok and Chang-Joon took this drama to another level. The scriptwriter deserves An award + bonus from TVN.

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I may be a bit new to dramaland, but I can honestly say that this is one of the greatest dramas I have ever watched, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. And Lee Chang-joon is one of the most complexly and interestingly written villains I've ever encountered

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Yours is not an understatement. This is easily one of the most well crafted and executed drama I have ever seen. It was superbly writen with complex characters, none of which felt like cookie cutters or broad archetypes. This show currently rests in the perfect drama category shared with Misaeng. Bravo show, bravo...

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And now I really gotta watch Misaeng, if it's on par with FoS like you say, @umbrellaman.

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Oh, it is. Totally different in style and substance but oh so good.

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I agree! His character is so unique that you can't help but love to hate him. He was well-written and well-acted.

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It's actually different for me...it's like, I both hate that I love him and love that I can't hate him-- because of his story and what society reduced him to...it just tears me apart that much.

He really was a monster created by his time. Every time the show replayed his "walk towards me a little slower" line before he jumped, I felt such despair. That flashback at the end, in particular, highlighted a time when he clearly had such a respect for all human life. But, after witnessing such an access of loss in the face of greed, with no power to stop it, it's like he had that core value challenged to such a degree that eventually the ends began to justify the means for him. Such futility and helplessness could cause anyone to lose sight of what sacrifices should and shouldn't be made to put a stop to mass injustice.

It's just tragic that it had to be a man with such potential for true greatness.

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One word :😍

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What a perfect ending to cap off an amazing drama.

We got our sweet victories from Yeo-jin and Geon's promotion, Jung-bon and Kyung-wan's new and better job, and Chief Kim's imprisonment and remorse.

We got a (much needed) cute epilogue from Yeo-jin and Shi-mok's easy friendship and Jung-bon being all sweet to Yeo-jin.

But we also got a bitter ending from Yoon, Chief Lee, and Eun-soo.

And they didn't forget the tinge of realism that layered the whole drama in the form of how easy it was for those high-ranking people to evade punishment, Shi-mok practically being thrown away after all his achievement, Ga-young bouncing back to her healthy, audacious, ungrateful self, and Dong-jae with his his same old slimy, smarmy way.

It seems like they work really hard to uproot those corruptions only to find it growing abundantly again in the span of several months. But the important thing is that they will always be there to fight together for justice. And it's all not for naught, since we can see Yoon's remorse and genuine apology to Kyung-wan, or Team Leader Choi trying to reconnect with Soo-chan after he basically threw him under the bus, or Chief Kang still doing his best to maintain a right and just office, or the prosecutors unanimously appointing Shi-mok to lead another fight against corruption.

Like what Yeo-jin wisely said: "If one person keeps his or her eyes wide open and speaks up, this can change." Keep fighting, special investigation team. I will be here, earnestly praying for season 2.

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I thought back to what Yeo-jin says. Part of me thinks that one person really ended up being Lee Chang Jun. He seemed to be the first who noticed the level of corruption and how it was increasing. And then he went and did something about it (though he went about it with unethical methods).

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That smile lead me to this drama! I came into this not expecting anything and who would have thought I found a precious gem?

What I love about FoS, aside from everything, is that every character felt human. None of them were straight out hero, who saves the day, or a villain that always gets in the way. No cliches or if there was one I never noticed it.

Thank you @sailorjumun and @laica for the recaps! And to the beanies for your wonderful inputs, you never cease to amaze me guys. Till we meet again in another drama beanies 😍

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I started watching this show because of the Beanies. You're all the BEST! <3

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me too!
I read about FoS in the "What we're watching" section and commented in the "Open Thread" about what to watch next, and it's a kind & excited Beanie who recommended it.
I am IN LOVE with the show (and its awesome recaps and comments!) !!

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Saw the gif of Shi-mok's smile in the fan wall, got curios, hooked and never turned back.

Fan wall is one of the best things in DB, no, let me correct that. Everything in DB is just THE BEST!

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Shipping Shi Mok's hair and the wind.

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His hair is a work of art

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I never thought I can find someone who will rival my love for Dr. McDreamy's hair but now I'm all torn.

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You should totally check out Jo Seung-woo's hair here MAYGAHD https://twitter.com/dmtroll/status/891351983969271808 COMPLETELY HAIR ENVY

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Thanks for this! I'll pick him over Gong Yoo anytime of the day <3

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they're soooo cute!!! lol @ tussling their hair!

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ShiMok's hair in recent episodes just chaotically in place.

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Most shows do clothes - this show did hair

Shout out for the hair and makeup all series. The stylists and character designers have nailed it all season.

Shi-mok's hair is perfection
Yeo-jin with that kinked long bob. Scruffled yet no fuss womanly
Chief Lee - Control and power but his eye makeup was par excellence
Yoon - Tight, brooding, & razor sharp

It was more than every character having character hair style. Each was so sharp and filmed lusciously.

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I'll follow the PD and the writer wherever they will take me 😍

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Btw, I love that Dong-Jae's character was consistent. We would have thought that after hearing Chief Lee's final wish for him he would change, but nah, still the same. 😂

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When Dong Jae closed his blinds and acted all shifty i had to laugh, silly me for believing him.

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I was really annoyed at first and then I laughed.

Of course! So Dong Jae. His methods have worked very well for him.

And then I felt a little sad. That dude will probably screw over some poor person.

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My exact same reaction, @asianromance. Replace sad with so disappointed and kinda pissed. T_T But I also appreciated that he didn't get redeemed in the end because it'd be true to character that he'd never change.

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Aaah, Seo Dong-jae! That was sad and hilarious.
I guess him and douchebaggery is the real deal. Till death do them apart

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Oh Dong Jae, how consistent art thou? He hasn't even sat down on his new chair before it's business as usual! 😂

Poor Clerks Kim and Choi. It's a downgrade for them to be working for their new boss! 😕

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"Poor Clerks Kim and Choi. It's a downgrade for them to be working for their new boss!"

I knooooooow!!! :-(

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But we can expect Shi-mok to recruit them again for his next special investigation team, right? RIGHT? That's why he smiles at the end of eps, he smiles at the thought of meeting them again (and sleeping on Yeo-jin's porch *coughs*). Please excuse my delusional thoughts haha..

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why is dong-jae so unintentionally funny?? i was actually a little disappointed that the drama was going to give him something of a redemption arc, but was instantly relieved and amused that nope, he really is still the same.

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I thought he has finally turned over a new leaf after hearing Chang-jun's last words, but no. I guess leopards never do change their spots. He's both consistently pretty (thank you, stylist) and exasperatingly sly, although on second thought he's more like a cockroach with an elite level of survival instinct. Such a fun character to hate.

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But he seemed so shaken by LCJ's death, I really expected some shift in him. But that would need more screen time, I get it.

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I thought it was to save the actor. He looked out of his league in comparison to what everyone else was doing when the character was still being floated as the possible "culprit." He had some good moments, but the facial expressions and clinched fists bordered on camp. The writer kept giving him saves by having other characters point out he wasn't as smart, good at his job, or as sneaky as he thought. Misunderstanding the clues he was hearing in the later episodes--that just worked to make his acting seem like it was supposed to be extra. It reminds me of how they wrote in jokes about Suzy's character being like a robot in Dream High.

That his character's actions and not his acting is the joke is a testament to the skill of the writer and not the actor.

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urgh, he's sooo rotten!
here to hoping that Shi-Mok fiiiinally arrests him... in the season 2 that we're all hoping for! lol
I have to admit that, as @laica said, this ending was soooo perfect in that I am both HUGELY satisfied with the way it ended and yet, I also want a 2nd season because... HOW GOOOOOD would it be for the gang to team up again??!?!

#AllGoodThingsMustComeToAnEnd

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Have you seen the trailer to her last movie. :0

You may not sleep after now you have seen her ability here...

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Yes, so looking forward to Bluebeard, plus it has the awesome Jo Jin Woong ;)

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Not yet. I will get into it. Thanks for the heads up!

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This writer is capable of directing her own shows (films). She probably had a say in the direction also. It's much harder to do both in dramas or she could've done both.

Hopefully she'll do another cable drama (write or direct) either one.

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I'll watch EVERY drama this writer will ever write GAH WHAT BRILLIANCE

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i can't say it any better than the recap does. 😍😍😍this was such a awesome show—excellent in literally every way. im going to miss these guys so much. esp our lead couple (my ship has sailed too!). and i'm here for whatever this writer does next—including dare i hope a second season.

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Most perfect, poignant ending ever. And everything else you said in your comments - Amen. Thank you, thank the writer, the cast, the crew, etc. If they are able to pen another perfect drama (season two) go for it. Otherwise, leave perfection alone.

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+1 on "Otherwise, leave perfection alone"

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You took the words straight from my mouth. I was thinking about this too "Most perfect, poignant ending ever." as I thought about it this morning on my way to office. And I also realized that Chief Prosecutor Kang calling Shi-mok to form another special investigation team is a perfect way to shape a second season. But I'll be satisfied enough even if there'll be no second season. In my mind the gang members are still living their life awesomely.

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I really loved the ending. I'm still not getting ~season two vibes, but something along the lines of this may be the end, but there is still work to be done. And just knowing that we have capable people (as seen in the photo!) to do that work is satisfying enough for me. Corruption is not fixed by taking down a few big bads here and there!

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Aw, the end is here, and it was absolutely BRILLIANT, a bittersweet masterpiece about the human condition.

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Brilliant! That's the word for it!

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Goodbye My Love...you will be missed T_T

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@laica Loved the perfect finishing to this very grand finale. 😊 Your word choices do magic for my silent shipper heart, lol:
-- ''she laughs again while touching them, asking if it’s pretty. He tells her it looks strange. Can I just watch these two doing this forever?''
Or this : ''I think it’s very logical to assume that she has a special place in his heart considering that he looked at her picture every day for ten months, and smiles at the thought of seeing her again. (Also her asking if she looks pretty in that lipstick? My ship has sailed, I don’t care what anyone says.)''
I am not sure if I consider chief Lee as a monster or not, one thing I feel that he really was able to make things known. But yes end don't justify the means, so his way of dealing things was wrong. He didn't think it through. Regardless I still think it's very much plausible since as humans we have our limitations, so something must have triggered him wrongly to take this path. I want season 2 anyway, that's all I have to say hehe. With sense 8 only returning for a two hours extension, maybe one can hope for a SF season 2? 😪 Also agree about the dialogues being phenomenal.. I have at least 10 screenshots saved from the whole episode since the message totally got me lol.

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I love that the drama gave us the other side of the story... Too often ppl like Chief secretary Lee and Yoon are considered revolutionaries and martyrs who sacrificed their good name and lives to remove corruption no matter the means ( there ever have been so many shows who glorify such behaviour).. so I'm soo glad this show made it a point to have Shi mok publicly announce that the means matter and lives matter and one can't play God and pass judgement for the "greater good"!

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Exactly! The end doesn't justify the means. And committing suicide in that case is like evading justice, that's just too easy

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This drama is daebak, I love the fact that it was such a happy ending while being realistic, with ga young still being a brat, and dong jae still being so slimy despite the death bed advice. Now I remember that the two prosecutors who refused the prostitutes must have been shi mok and Lee chang joon.
I'm honestly just so grateful that this masterpiece of a drama was produced, And still very surprised that this was her first drama. Can't wait for season2 hopefully, I read somewhere bae doo na was saying if they want season2 so much, they should send letters to the company. Thank you to the recappers and the other wonderful people here who gave so many interesting opinions and allowed me to enjoy my favorite Korean drama ever

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He smiled.

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pretty much sums it all up. :')

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The smile that can be interpreted in many ways (Mok-nalisa smile? don't kill me):
1. This guy is pretty cute, and Yeo-jin said it's drawn after me so I must be pretty cute myself *smirk*
2. Oh yay! I'm going to be housemate with Yeo-jin soon!!

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"Oh yay! I'm going to be housemate with Yeo-jin soon!!"
ha ha ha ha ha
that's a biiiit of a stretch but yes! why not!

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When I watched the episode for the second time, I realized he must have followed Yeo-jin's advice of practicing his smiling with it, bc it was pretty much longer than all the other ones.

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The writer beautifully brought this fictional world back to the real South Korea with the banned song "Camellia Girl" court scene

TumTumTum over at S**mp! noted this song was banned when Park Geun Hye's (recently ousted president) father was president.

Until I read TumTumTum's post, I thought this scene was just a longing look at lost potential of Chief Lee. It was so much more...This battle never ends, young warriors grow old and sometimes loose their way.

The subtle writing was evident until the very end.

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Thank you for this 😊

I had the same thought until I read this recap and your post. All these just makes me admire the writing even more.

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Usually, in shows that deal with corruption, by the end the protagonists must learn to corrupt their own ideals to further their own ends. That's what happened to Lee Chang-joon--in a different show, perhaps, he could even be the main character, and not the villain. But what I love about this show is how uncompromising our leads were, in a way that was never cheesy or unjustified. To me, that seems just as rare as the masterful writing that is rampant throughout the rest of the series.

I was sad to see this show end, but what an end it was! It had me feeling so many different emotions all at the same time--so many heartwarming moments interspersed with more melancholy ones, but they were all tangled up together, so the contrast was never jarring. I feel satisfied with this ending. The story has been told, and while I don't feel that it needs a season two to be complete, there's just enough of an opening for me to hope that someday Shi-mok and Yeo-jin will be back on our screens

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Thank you for the wonderful recap.

Lee Chang Joon’s death shocked me in more than one ways. Although alarm bells were ringing when I saw him standing in that under construction/half demolished building, I was still shocked when his body hit the debris. This director is a genius to pull it off even when we were already expecting it. More importantly, I was surprised that he would take his life.

Frankly, I wasn’t very convinced at first. Thankfully, things became clearer towards the end of the episode when Shi Mok had a flashback of his younger days as a prosecutor. He was sitting on the backbench, watching in awe of Lee Chang Joon in action. To understand how far a man has fallen, we must know the heights he once reached.

Lee Chang Joon was not only the rising star of the prosecutor office, he was a man with a great sense of righteousness and justice. Although his father in law became the phantom which he must destroy, there were bigger demons he was facing. He must have hated and blamed the system for what he had become. I love that the show through Shi Mok corrected whatever erroneous idea we might have of Lee Chang Joon’s crime. When Shi Mok conveyed LCJ’s last wish to the audience, Clerk Kim called the dead man righteous. It does seem that he sacrificed his life to bring the villains to justice and wipe out corruption. But SM went on and called LCJ a monster.

I wonder if it was necessary for LCJ to kickstart his plan by getting Yoon to kill CEO Park and hurting Ga Young. He was a highly intelligent man with tremendous power vested in his hands. Did he kill CEO Park because he saw him as the person who set off the chain of events and changed everything in his life? Did he despise Ga Young who led many men to their downfalls? As Shi Mok aptly put, LCJ deluded himself into thinking he had the right to punish the sinners. Instead of using the constitutional law, he abused his power. His cause was admirable but his methods can never be justified.
LCJ’s suicide was a sad ending to a man who could have been great. He was a coward who could not take his punishment like any other law-breaking citizen would.

This drama addresses an ill that is omnipresent in the Korean society – corruption. Think no further than the Sewol tragedy which led to hundreds of lives lost and the ousted President. It starts with small things which one would easily dismiss as not so important or as Yeo Jin said, things which you think you can get away with. However, it’s a journey that is easy to embark but almost impossible to get off. I like that the drama kept it realistic to the very end. Corruption always exists but we need people like Shi Mok and Yeo Jin who would continuously fight it by keeping their eyes open.

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Lee Chang-joon suicide was probably not a surprise to Korean viewers. Most high executives in big companies and high officials that were involved in scandals and corruptions would rather commit suicide to spare their family and the shame of being drag into jail.

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Beyond the real life likelihood of a man in his position choosing suicide, I just kept thinking that how fitting it was since the plan had been for the "culprit" to commit suicide.

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I love that courtroom scene when Shi-mok and Chang-jun met for the first time. I swear I could see stars in Shi-mok's eyes after Chang-jun did his closing statement, even though he's supposed to be emotionless. How did Jo Seung-woo do it?

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<Think no further than the Sewol tragedy which led to hundreds of lives lost and the ousted President.

This is why I like the show's very realistic ending so much. They don't pretend that it's all good now – one big case was resolved, but corruption hasn't been eradicated forever and not everyone (e.g. Dong jae) has changed for the better. Which very much reflects Korea – the president has been ousted and some progress has been made with the Sewol tragedy (the ferry finally having been lifted), but it's still not the time to sit back and relax, just because there is a new president now as the corruption is deep in the system.

As some of my Korean friends (who have been active with Sewol protests since the ferry sank) say, it's easy to protest when everyone is protesting, but the fight is needed continuously – not just by lonely heroes like Shi Mok & Yeo Jin.

Sidenote: I actually wondered if the writer's choice to use a bus accident with a dozen kids dying for Yoon's son's death wasn't some sort indirect reference to the Sewol, where of course mostly school children died.

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"Sidenote: I actually wondered if the writer's choice to use a bus accident with a dozen kids dying for Yoon's son's death wasn't some sort indirect reference to the Sewol, where of course mostly school children died."

I don't know but it did immediately reminded me of Sewol. LCJ is right in that corruption is not just about power, politics and money, it takes away lives. I am sure if we look into countries with high corruption, there will be plenty of cases where innocent lives are lost - building collapse, fire and so forth. And nothing makes it more tragic then when children are the victims.

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Youth symbolizes the future so the moment they do something that will affect the youth, they're killing the future of their country.

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I'm rewatching and in episode 3, Shi Mok says to an IT person at the office (who discarded video recordings after 15 days instead of the 60 days they are supposed to keep them), "If you ignore such rules because there have been no problems, one day you'll have to deal with a sinking ship or a collapsing building".

That's pretty direct – Sewol PLUS Sampoong Department Store collapse.

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I am trying not to start rewatching so soon but it's so tempting.

This just makes me wonder why the ratings didn't go any higher? Sure there's a lot of dramas which featured corruption but this is a rare one which depicted it realistically without needing to spice it up with melodrama.

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After reading your comment I spent the better part of an hour looking up those disasters. His concern is justified. How heartbreaking it is to read about preventable disasters

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For me, it wasn't (the fact that) that Lee killed himself, it was how brilliantly the director filmed that scene. I jumped out of my skin.

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I'll rewatch the whole thing this weekend. (while caring for three abandoned kittens, what else would I do?)

This grabbed my attention more than anything I've seen in a long time, in any language, and while I think the writing and direction were excellent, it's the acting that made this exceptional.

Cho Seung Woo and Bae Doona, I will follow you forever. Yoo Jae Myung is my new age appropriate crush.

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as soon as I finished Ep16, I searched the internet and found Doona Bae on Instagram. Not only was she superb in FoS but she's also suuuuch a badass in the recently cancelled 'Sense8' #netflix

I will follow her to the end of the world and back!

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Sense8 is un-cancelled!! And yes, DooNa is such a wonderful actress. This show would've been much different without her playing YeoJin.

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@naomi123 for reeeeeeeal??????

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I searched for her and Cho Seung Woo... Have you seen his Hedwig? As in Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Whoa, that man is talented! As is Bae Doona. I just adore her.

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BEST KDRAMA OF 2017. period.

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I'm going to miss this wonderful show, and I cannot wait for the writer to come up with a new drama for me to watch!
But I'll miss the chemistry between Shi Mok and Yeo Jin the most! Kudos to Seung Woo and Doona for their acting and chemistry! I need these two together in a drama again ASAP! (and Lee Chang Joon's actor as well - he was so, so good as a villain!)

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I wanted to send some love to SailorJumun and Laica for their recaps. Also to Beanies who filled the comments with thoughtful conversations that often opened my eyes and many post made me cry with their deeply personal reflections on loss.

It really stood out how many people returned to add to multiple threads, read new posts and keep the conversations friendly.

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They did an awesome job with the recaps! Thank you, Laica and Sailorjumun!

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I join you in thanking @sailorjumun and @laica for their recaps. Although I'd like to have them as soon as the episode finishes, they were well worth the wait. They answered my questions on things I've missed in the show, filled with wonderful insights and were obviously written with love.

I have wondered how difficult it must be to recap a show where there were so many things to observe, catch and analyse. But if I am a recapper, I'd take this anything over a show which didn't make sense all the time or less rewarding.

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Aw, thank you all, and to everyone for your kind words! And thanks to everyone who commented for the wonderful theories and analysis. It was great to see the comments slowly grow as more Beanies fell in love with this incredible show. ❤️

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Honestly, I wasn't even going to watch this show at first because I'm a sucker for rom-coms but I am so glad I have it a chance. This has to be the best show I've seen in years. There wasn't a single character that was just there for plot movement and everyone had their own dimensions like how people are in real life. Even though this was such a tight and well written plot, the writer had so many surprises in store that related so well with each step this story took. I just KNEW that Lee Chang Joon wouldn't just be evil but I couldn't believe it when he commited suicide. He couldn't have been a better villain (who is a real person underneath) if he tried. I'm so sad this show ended and I feel like I'm not done seeing Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin- I actually cried- but it does feel complete like you said. I even thought the little scene with Dong Jae was important because it shows that people don't change overnight even when tragedy strikes. I wish I could thank everyone involved in the production of this show because it's perfect in my eyes

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This show was not in my radar too. I just watched the first episode because I had nothing else to watch and then it caught my attention. After a long time, a crime thriller had me hooked.

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Same here. I didn't intend to watch this as it seemed too dark and heavy, and I've never been a fan of legal thriller (I guess I just haven't watched one as well made as this). But the assured direction and movie-level acting captured my attention in the first episode, and by the second episode I was truly immersed in the writing (webs of secrets woven by someone who knows exactly what they want to achieve instead of going by the flow). I knew this was going to be something great and was so excited that it just got better every episode.

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Me too! I usually watch romance dramas but I was bored so I decided to give this drama a go, didn't regret my decision especially because of Shi Mok's beautiful smile :)

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What an amazing farewell to an amazing show! All the little moments were just awesome! Also, Laica, beautiful analysis! ❤. And,

On the left, next to his heart. Just saying.

Lol, thanks for pointing that out. Didn't notice it.

I just felt a little guilty for suspecting Yeon jae though. Because of how she acted like an adorable teenager every time Chang Joon said something loving last episode, It feels like she just wanted to live with her husband happily.

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< It feels like she just wanted to live with her husband happily

She isn't quite so innocent though – she's willing to be part of that corruption as we see at the end, when she's replaced her father in his office and is working to get him out of prison.

So, live happily but at the cost of others. I do feel a little bit sorry for her, because what her husband did was also very cruel to her – shipping her off and killing himself was cowardly. But she had a choice to start life from scratch, but like Dong-jae, she just wanted her comfortable life.

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S2 - if dad does get out of prison I'm not sure he's going to last long living with a vengeful Yeon-Jae, just saying! That wardrobe full of drugs is unlikely to be there for nothing!

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Ahhh it ends *sad face*.

I think Lee Chang Joon is the same like Jang Do Han from Lookout (God, even their death is the same). The right way to stop all the wrong things doesn't work for them (lee chang joon and jang do han), so they must become corrupted too to put ends to it. I had this feel like Lee Chang Joon is preparing his final show in episode 15, it almost feel like a forever goodbye. And when Lee Chang Joon and Shi Mok meeting place turns out to be an abandoned building, and they meet at the highest floor, and how Chang Joon's standing on the edge of the building, at that I know how Chang Joon's gonna end.

Kyaaa and that bouquet Jung Bon sends to Yeo Jin.. I love how her colleagues teasing her about 'boyfriend' (hei shi mok, you look like you've got some competition here)

Finally, shi mok learns how to enjoy a drink alone! He even tells a joke now, and also Shi Mok, Yeo Jin sure looks pretty in red lipstick. Kyaa, keeps on giving presents to Shi Mok and he will soon open an art gallery full of Yeo Jin's drawings. Aghh these two, I can't get enough of them <3

I love how Shi Mok frames their group picture (even including the murderer, Yoon). If I were him, I would probable just cut off Yoon's part, haha good guy Shi Mok. And finally, his smile (swoon)!

Aghh, I always hate to say goodbye to amazing dramas. Thank you to the writer who wrote this amazing 16 episodes, and too all the casts and crews who did their job brilliantly. I think the ending makes it possible for a season 2 (but if there isn't, I'm happy with the way they end it now).

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<Kyaaa and that bouquet Jung Bon sends to Yeo Jin.. I love how her colleagues teasing her about 'boyfriend' (hei shi mok, you look like you've got some competition here)

I don't actually think he's competition. My conclusion after 16 episodes is that Jung Bon is one that brings people together – he seemed suspicious, but ultimately he never held it against Shi Mok what he did to him in childhood, but always called him his "friend". He also orchestrated the reconciliatory meeting between Yoon and Kyung-wan (this has been done in real life – it's a difficult thing and doesn't always work, but here I have hope that it brings peace for both Yoon and Kyung-wan). So in this spirit, I'm tempted to think that maybe Jung Bon gave that gift to Yeo Jin, knowing that Shi Mok was due to leave & to give Yeo Jin a little push. Because he knew the two would meet up before Shi Mok's departure. Am I making sense? I don't want to say he was playing matchmaker, just giving a subtle push because he wished the best for Shi Mok and saw how well suited Yeo Jin and Shi Mok are for each other.

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I think the flowers and gift were definitely a show of romantic interest. Jung Bon has always shown an interest in Yeo-Jin. The first time the investigation team are together and Yeo-Jin introduces herself, Jung-Bon stares at her so long that Gun actually protectively steps in front of her. In addition, Jung Bon thinks that Shi-Mok was seeing Eun-Soo. So he wouldn't be thinking about getting Yeo-Jin and Shi-Mok together.

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I'm going with Jung Bon giving Yeo Jin a little push as he wished the best for Shi Mok, in partial atonement for his nasty parting shot that Shi Mok will end up being alone, when Shi Mok refused to drink with him at the pojangmacha in one of the earlier episodes. Now's a good time for Jung Bon to to work it that Shi Mok doesn't end up being alone, ever again. :-D

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BEST DRAMA OF THE YEAR!
BEST VILLAIN OF THE YEAR
BEST HEROINE OF THE YEAR
BEST THRILLER DRAMA OF THE YEAR
BEST WRITING OF THE YEAR

YEAH THAT'S FOREST OF SECRETS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! *CLAPS

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BEST DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTORS OF THE YEAR!
BEST HERO OF THE YEAR
AND FINALLY, BEST COUPLE (PARTNERS) OF THE YEAR.

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Oh yeah best couple (partners) of the year. Heck Shi Mok and Yeo Jin don't have any loveline but their bond is as strong as romantic partners. Chemistry A++!
I'd pay to see Bae Doona & Jo Seung Wook reunite as lovers.

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I'll pay whoever it is that needs to be paid so I can see them reunite as lovers. Can't get over their chemistry! :-)

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I was far more moved by their "non romance" than I was by dozens of other romances in dozens of lesser (every show now is lesser) dramas.

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I'd watch a drama of them just talking at the pojangmacha stand over soju and udon and bickering at one another!!!

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The thing is that with them you don't see dramatic fireworks and sparks, but you see the reality of 10, 15, 20 years down the line of a relationship.

Because the romances of grand gestures which we get fed in kdramas is short-lived, but watching SM and YJ you just know they'll work out in the long run because they just get each other (so well, they don't need to express it words, they can read each other without saying everything) and bring out the best in each other, even in ordinary every day life.

The writer left it for viewers to decide how it ends up for them, but gave us enough to pair them together too – and, personally, I'm taking the full liberty to interpret Yeo Jin's invitation to sleep at her place (on the porch, but essentially since it's too cold there inside) literally. :-D

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I've said it before and I'll say it again, Yeo Jin just GETS him. No words needed. That's what I love about them. And by the end of the show, she's the first person Shi Mok turns to. Uri Shi Mok's all grown up now. Well, almost. Still has to learn to ask a girl for a proper date. 😄

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I'd pay to see ShiMok properly ask YeoJin out on a date!!! He's so clueless, just thinking about it makes me giddy!

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I bet Yeo-jin would be the one to ask him out instead.

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@yuyuu I'm literally laughing out loud at your words because I can totally see it in my head. She'd be too frustrated waiting for him to ask her out LOL

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. BEST OST AND BGM, TOO.

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The BMG is amazingly lovely. I wish they would put out a CD of just the bmg.

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Objectively speaking, Forest of Secrets should really win all the awards. When's Baeksang going to roll around? Can't wait to see FoS slay and do a cleansweep of all categories. The judges shouldn't bother putting up nominations, the whole cast and crew can just show up and be like "Gimme my trophies"

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lol @ "gimme my trophies"

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My heart ached every minute of this finale.
Such a masterpiece.

I just simply love the way all the characters in this show are written. Even the ultimate villain Chairman Lee is not gratingly overly dramatic, but cunningly confident, calculating, and collected. Many have written about LCJ so I will just be nodding along because I agree with all of the comments. If I write more about him this will surely turn into a thesis.

But that letter and his last analogy with the himself as the solder dying on the battlefield though; they show how desperate he was in persuading himself and the world that he was the one fighting for justice. In a sense I agree with Shi-mok that he'd been deluding himself into believing that he could mete out punishment, especially when it comes to taking human lives and he should be condemned for that. However I believe a part of him is still human as he claimed to be. It's a sad story for LCJ, because while he was distancing himself from those he considered too corrupted for him to take, he couldn't side with the righteous ones by going down that path himself. In the end he just made himself and Yoon the outcast of both sides.

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This was a magnificent final episode, and I usually find kdrama final (and often initial) episodes lackluster. I often have a new favorite kdrama, but this might be my all-time favorite. It's as close to technically perfect as I've seen, compelling, suspenseful, absorbing, social relevant, with almost all of the characters sympathetic at some level. Whatever relationship is between Shi Mok and Yeo Jin is as good as any full-blown kdrama romance. I've rewatched the episodes while waiting for new ones and noticed something new each time. Now that I know the full story, time to make another pass...

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I really adore this show. It served the right amount of heart and realism. The ending leaves a lot for interpretation. Since the high and mighty will still do their darnest to wiggle away scot free. I still like to think that they will get their comeuppance as long as there are people like Shimok, Yeojin and crew who will fight for justice in accordance to the law.

I rolled my eyes when Chairman Lee pulled the sympathy card to get away from his misdeeds. Like really why do they always pull that stunt?!

Lastly, This show will be forever be among my faves. More success to the writer, director, cast and crew.

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I like that it is consistent with his character. When thinking about LCJ's death, he said to himself something to the effect of, 'What's better about dying a lion than living a dog?'
Then he reduced himself to just that. At least he's true to his words (about himself)

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LOL'ed at Chairman Lee pretending to be ill because it was so true to life. If you see Korean News whenever a massive corruption scandal broke out, it's always the exact same scene, of a chaebol/high ranking official in a wheelchair being surrounded by reporters, going into the prosecutor office. They always pull this card out, and I guess the writer dared to poke fun at this practice and presented it as black humour. "We know what you're trying to pull here, you ain't fooling anyone"

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It's not just Korea but the politicians in my country also pulls this stunt when faced with corruption scandal.

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Same same. You should see politicians from the Philippines being put to hospital arrest because suddenly, they're sick and weak. Sheesh.

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I couldn't have said better myself, Laica (and SailorJumun) thanks for the wonderful words and recaps.

I can't help but feeling sympathetic and sometimes sad for Lee Chang-jun, he followed a path that he thought he couldn't turn back and his last words to Dong Jae reflected his regret about his actions, a pity i think. But this character really shined at the last two episodes, and even though he was the bad guy of the show (together with his father in law) i don't consider him pure evil nor good, it's difficult to put into words.

Shi Mok and Yeo Jin ♥ his smile while looking at the picture says it all.

This final episode feels complete, like you said... but i'm hoping for a second season lol, but if that doesn't happen I'm satisfied with the story.

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Definitely the best drama I've seen in 2017. I honestly don't know if I totally buy LCJ pushing someone into cold blooded murder while he is somehow still pursuing justice. That was a bit of a bridge too far for me to buy, but it dealt with everything else so darn well, I don't care so much. I especially liked them showing how corruption has a domino effect and can spread insidiously.

Congrats to everyone involved, and now I just need to see who the writer is and make sure I check out whatever they do next.

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here's the way I see it: LCJ didn't PUSH Prosecutor Yoon into cold-blooded murder. If you remember the scene where LCJ caught a distraught Yoon clutching a knife at night in EP15, he stopped him and
"“Killing just that one dog,” Lee had said, “will make you nothing more than a butcher.” He’d told Yoon that if he was determined to see CEO Park bleed, he needed to hear him out first." [quoting @sailorjumun from ep15]

A normal person would have told Yoon to forget his need for a bloody revenge. Instead, LCJ helped him come up with a "better" plan. So yes, LCJ did instigate murder. in the name of justice. what a twisted guy.

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It's over 😭 Lee Chang Jun is my fav villain of this year. I don't justify his actions, but we could understand where he comes from.. He lived with monster (his FIL) for so many years, so he must also thought in order to fight the monster, he must be the monster too because human can't fight monster.

This drama is easily has become one of my fav show and I'll definitely recommend to it to everyone. I like that the ending is realistic, the corruptions are still not ended and the fight will continue. Dong Jae 😂 I truly have a love-hate relationship with him.

There are many things I want to say, but the most important is season 2 pls! Of course with the similar casts (and additional casts). I will miss Shi Mok & Yeo Jin😘 Thank you show for being so amazing from the beginning until the ending.

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Goodbye Shi-mok and Yeo-jin! We'll miss you 😢

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😭

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I need a fanfic where Shi Mok start to discover his feeling for Yeo Jin. It could start with him crashing Yeo Jin's place because he has no apartment. Then, because of all the interaction throughout the day, casual skin ship, and more flirting form Yeo Jin, Shi Mok begins to feel something, he just doesn't know what it is...but he likes it. Then, there is a scene in the bathroom where both of them are trying to brush their teeth but they are so close to each other that they happened to face each other, almost to close, and Yeo Jiin semi touches his cheek almost to the point of kissing it....his heart start beating really fast and he doesn't know what to do so he leaves....

Mostly, I was Yeo Jin to be the lead in this relationship :P

Okay. I'm done. I need coffee now. Too early for having these thoughts lol.

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Why don't you write it? Sounds like a good scenario to me!

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@TM I wish I could write it!!! that's all I have. I need some one to execute it! :p I'm not a good writer. I have ideas but not the writing skills T_T Believe me. I knew how to write I would be writing fan fics for myself all the time.

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Arf too bad but I think with practice over time you'll get better at it no? No one write a masterpiece on their first try you know. Anyway if one day you write such a fanfiction let me know I'll definitely read it!

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😍
I spent my morning "coffee me" time imagining this and got all giggly. A great way to start Friday!

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I legit been imagining all type of scenarios with these fall in love and consummate their love! <3 <3<3

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Yeo-jin is soooo going to have to take the bull by the metaphorical horns (ahem) in this one! But man would I so enjoy watching Shi-mok get all flustered and confused by his feelings.

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"Sometimes we are angry, and we have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give us the right to be cruel." Such a relevant tweet from Paulo Coelho. Did he watch this show too? Lol.

In true Secret Forest fashion, the finale was so darn good. Like, dat ending! I love how Shi Mok firmly reminded us that Yoon and son-in-law Lee were bad people despite their motivations. Maybe because he's more logical than emotional, or his moral compass is possibly higher-level (like the rest of him lol), but it also felt like it was the show's way of shaking us back to reality after we cried and hurt for the flawed villains. I even love how they tied in the lipstick PPL to the story.

I came for Bae Doona (loved her in Cloud Atlas) but stayed for literally every aspect of this show. This show is my Kdrama The One. Maybe I'm still on a high after finishing it and thus am prone to exaggerating, but really, I've never been fully satisfied with a Kdrama. Not until Secret Forest. Even with the shows I loved, I could list some things I was dissatisfied with, even as I was watching them. That never really happened here! I'm shookt. Pleasantly shookt, if you will. Even the lack of Yeo Jin's backstory was never an issue. As it stands, it's refreshing in a world where the leads have to have some sort of tragic/cliché history or something.

But questions remain. Are we just to believe Mr. Woo killed Eun Soo of his own accord? It seems like it, but I can't believe his loyalty to Chairman Lee would go so far for him to do that. And is it safe to assume Yoon purposefully left Ga-Young's phone on the road when he kidnapped her, knowing Dong-jae would recognize it as hers (how, though) and keep it with him? Lastly, back in ep8 "Chairman Lee tells his son-in-law to pause their plan to frame Shi-mok for the whole thing, since it would look strange at this point for the culprit to commit suicide." W A T? In the finale his son-in-law committed suicide but of course he didn't know yet he was the true culprit. But why would he assume the culprit would commit suicide?

Anyway, I'll miss this show. I binge-watched it and it'll be tough to move on from this one. I even delayed watching the latest GoT ep so I can focus on it and I stopped watching Bride of the Water God because of this show's quality. I do wonder if I should have paced myself more (binge-watching has its advantages but maybe the breaks in between would've given me more time to mull things over?). This'll be a hard one to beat; I really love you, show! Then again, who doesn't? Maybe only those who haven't watched it yet lol.

P.S. I'm kicking myself for only now remembering the last person CEO Park called was "LCJ".

(Ok, that's it for my novel of a comment. I had to! I've been lurking but I commented for the very first time in the previous episode. Secret Forest made me do it.)

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As I understood it, it was Chairman Lee's plan to frame Shi Mok before killing him and making it look like he committed suicide. It wasn't that Chairman Lee knew what a culprit would do consequent to the culprit's crimes. Killing Shi Mok was one way of stopping him for good. Making it look like suicide would be in line with what Kang did after being framed for Park's murder.

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Ohhhh okay! Thanks for clarifying this for me :)

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You are not alone. I have not been into a show, nor hated to see it end, this much for a long time. I think the last time I really got into total rabid fandom this much was for the k-drama "Secret" http://www.koreandrama.today/review/review-secret-love/
It is still worth a watch, but apparently only available on Kocowa now. When it ended I fell into the same drama funk that Forest has left me with.

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Hmmm, I haven't watched "Secret", so maybe...

Got stuck somewhere on "Signal" (ep 6) too, so maybe I do still have things to watch. Although I do not expect these shows to surpass this one. It's going to be like with "Misaeng", 3 long years (there some good stuff in between, but nothing stellar, and too much dropped very early on that could have easily been much better).

But I don't mind, I'd rather have dramas like this one set the bar incredibly high, because then people realise what can be done and that it *is* done when there's an excellent team on board.

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Thanks for a great recap Laica!

So good! Wonderful to the last drop.
So rich, with characters so real-to-life, as if they are people I'd meet. Now I look at people differently... lol... behind those ordinary smiles what might lurk, or what great good might they do? :)

I had some questions about how did Yoon know that the killer was Woo … but you say that LCJ had informed him. So I guess LCJ must have put tabs on his father-in-law's secretary as well to know that he had run off to Taiwan, and had informed Yoon of all of this. Besides this minor plothole, everything was great!!

My eyes rolled and tongue clicked when "Chairman Lee goes there and opens up the safety deposit box, but finds only a blank sheet of paper, …" Good grief, is there no privacy or individual rights in the face of money? He can even force a bank to open up someone else's safe deposit box? I find that just too much, especially if this really happens.

It's so true to life that the rich can get away with so much evil and that the good guys don't necessarily get rewarded. There was also so much truth in what was said and the questions that Park Moo Sung's son asked of Yoon. In fact I agree that this is one of the best scripts ever for getting at the heart of so many things and speaking out truths without fear.

I played in my mind the thoughts that Yeo Jin might have had when Eun Soo died… I guessed that she might think she inadvertently paved the way for her death by inviting her to her house. It was so heart-warming that even Shi Mok knew he could have blamed himself for inviting a murderer to the team … such a human mistake. And yet, he did not just blame himself but moved on to right the mistake. Anyway, I felt the relief for both Shi Mok and Yeo Jin when the murder took place because Eun Soo had seen Woo and not because of what either one of them had done.

It might be a relief to Young Il Jae also to know that in the end, the USB was not the reason for his daughter's death. Her death seemed to have been so unnecessary, just because she happened to do a good deed to leave the letters at Shi Mok's apartment at the wrong time.

Anyway, that really is life. Things don't always happen as we think they do… cause A did not lead to effect B after all. It's so easy to misunderstand and misrepresent the truth. Kudos to this show which has got us to think so much. To analyze with greater care and to remember the many shades of grey in all of us. The difference is what we choose to do to keep to what is good and right.

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I think when the 'Woo' guy told Lee Yunboem that he had to kill her is because he happened to meet her at her house (he went there to get the USB). It's not refer to the time that Eunsoo went to Shimok's apartment.

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Thanks Por. Oh dear, if that's the reason she was killed then her poor father will suffer mental anguish.

However, in the subtitles, Woo said that he bumped into Eun Soo outside Hwang's apartment unexpectedly. That sounded like the 'excuse' he gave for killing her.

It's true though that when he went to retrieve the USB, she also happened to be home. So either way, she'd have been the victim to be silenced. :(

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OMG, Shi-mok keeps a framed copy of the group pic in his office! AND Yeo-jin's drawing.

Forest of Secrets is one of those rare dramas that get about as close to perfect as a drama can get.

I have so many thoughts and feelings, mostly about LCJ. I keep wonderinig if there was any realistic way for LCJ to expose the corruption and garner the amount of attention he did without having to resort to what he did. It's a sad fact that no one really cares or wants to fight for a positive change in the world unless a shocking death is involved. Sometimes, even when lives are lost, people still don't care. And even after being shocked, people often just revert back to how they were after some time.

Shi-mok's speech on tv. I don't want to say that LCJ was a monster, but using a blood sacrifice was monstrous. And SM was right that the prosecutors were his accomplices. It's a sad situation all around.

And when Gun said that there was no excuse for Yoon to take the law into his own hands because there are still principled people like them around, I can't help but think that Yoon didn't know there were people fighting the good fight. And to be fair, no one, maybe except Shi-mok, could have imagined the level of corruption within their own ranks. They didn't realize what this war was until they dug into CEO Park's murder and Ga Young's almost-murder.

Just my initial thoughts. Like Laica says, if I were to discuss all my thoughts, it would really be a thesis.

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I agree, it's a bit conflicted in that the moral of the story is that you can't take the law into your own hands, but there would be no story if LCJ hadn't done what he did.

Gun is not wrong, but he is being somewhat self-righteous considering he caved in pretty easily to his chief in passing him evidence and if I recall correctly he knew about the beating of CEO Park's son and didn't do or say anything about it. So he's not corrupt but he's not entirely reliable, either.

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Thank you FoS and 😍😍😍😍😍

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Now I'm going to sing 'How do I live?' until the next masterpiece makes its grand entrance into my kdrama watching life.

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I think we can form a choir with the number of fans here 😜

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I'm tonedeaf but I'd sing with you!!!

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Me too! I believe this will only make our situation more tragic and will infuriate the writer into writing something just to shut us up XD.

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Thank you to Laica for an incredible recap and final comments. <3
I love that Shi-mok exists as a kdrama character. I empathized with him so much which is strange I know for a guy with a partial lobotomy that makes it so that he has emotions but is unable/finds it difficult to convey those emotions physically/outwardly in socially acceptable ways. There are lots of people, myself included, who have trouble with social cues and umm polite expressions of their ideas. It can be difficult to express friendliness for some of us but it doesn't mean we don't like you. The show is fantastic at showing such a different personality is a sympathetic way.
It's actually part of the reason I love Yeo-Jin. She is so incredibly warm. I want a Yeo-Jin! Someone who can navigate all your prickliness and not take offense. She's encouraging, inviting and not pushy.
Wait I was talking about the last episode
Highlights:
*Yoon and Yeo-Jin jail visit. With her explaining how he and others who seek revenge inflict the same damage and pain that they have onto others and how that is WRONG.
*Shi-mok quoting Yeo-Jin on t.v.
*Yoon and Kyung-man visit in jail. Yoon's apology had me in all the tears. I know some people wouldn't want this apology in real life but as someone who never receive an apology for this level of pain inflicted on my family...look you can't take back what you did and you should receive the punishment of the court but at least be human? Take into account the magnitude of what you did....Be a little partial bit human and say you're sorry. I'm really thankful the show included this scene.
*Yeo-jin/Shi-mok lipstick/drawing scene. Their dynamic is magnificent. These actors are true artists.
*Yeo-jin's award ceremony. I was so PROUD of her.
*That amazing "A Camellia Of A Girl " song
*Shi-mok smile exercisesssssssss <3 <3

WISHES
*I may have been wishing for Shi-mok to have a second season where he trains a bit in the US and where Yeo-jin face-times him all the time before he's brought back to fight corruption in Korea once again.
*Shi-mok dealing with the cowboy hats of Texas C'MON GUYS???
*I want all the FAN FIC!

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toramona

Thank you for a beautiful comment.

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Thanks Tom!
It was a great show and I'm super grateful for it.

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Upon watching the last episode, I just want 2nd season... without no doubt. But then reality hit me, Jo seung wo and Bae Do Na is not that active in dramaland. It must be hard for them to make 2nd season. Anyway superb acting in this drama, each of character had serious and cold character but each emotion is rightfully delivered. every eye stares and slight face movement show all the different emotion the character feels. This drama will be the drama that i keep rewatch.

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The leads will have lots of time for movies while writer-nim is working on a new plot. Any story line good enough to not be a huge disappointment will take a loooong time to write.

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It ends! Ends with smile. Its perfect ending, but....... I am having same feeling when I finished BBC's North & South (2004)drama. Its perfect ending still you don't want to say goodbye to such awesome drama. There is so much left for our imagination like Shimok going back to Seoul and assembling the team again, taking down bad guys with style and smile. Discovering more emotions and gifts from Yeojin. His friends will be celebrating his birthday. Finally able finish his meals, Maybe getting jealous of his lawyer schoolmate's attention towards Yeojin , this time he may break his legs (at least in his imagination version). I had a dream after 15th episode that Shimok is with Yeojin at her rooftop and together they are talking and laughing. Best dream and hoping for more dreams like this ☺

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Ok first off that rooftop scene. The bag sitting there so ominously - what's in it, why is it there? And it ends up being all the work and evidence LCJ collected to bring all the corruption down. Did he lead Shi Mok there to kill him? No, he meant to die there as a seeming sacrifice so justice could prevail. And when Lee Chang Soon said I wish you'd come more slowly (or something like that) when Shimok started walking towards him, it made me start sobbing cause I realized what he was about to do. The closer Shimok came, he knew he needed to move closer to his own death. Ugh, that totally killed me. Though I know he was the villain, my heart grieved for the guy. Truly so many conflicting emotions throughout this ep!

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" The closer Shimok came, he knew he needed to move closer to his own death"

Darn! Now that you've pointed it out, it is even sadder!

The writer has done a fantastic job with Lee Chang Soon to create such conflicting emotions in the viewers.

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guys, what are the odds that the abandoned building is the same one as in "LOOKOUT", which ended a few weeks ago?

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I had the same thought!!

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