Mad Dog: Episode 2
It’s time to dive deep into our hero’s tragic past and find out what drove him to become the Mad Dog that he is today. His loyal band of supporters will follow him to the ends of the Earth, but will the mysterious intrusion into their group provide them with a new ally, or is there more to his story than meets the eye?
EPISODE 2: “Family”
In the Mad Dog office, mysterious insurance investigator Min-joon wants to collect his prize for proving Mad Dog team leader Kang-woo wrong about the building collapse and asks for the agency. When Kang-woo won’t budge, Min-joon offers a new bet, this time with their families on the line.
We rewind to two years prior, as Kang-woo and his family shop for shoes while he gripes about not needing to shop just for a quick vacation. The store doesn’t have the shoes Kang-woo’s son wants in the right size, so they decide to wait until next time, and his son leaves disappointed.
Elsewhere, a police officer interrogates a young man who is parked illegally. The man, Park Jae-soo, says he is a claims examiner for Taeyang Insurance, and Kang-woo arrives to defuse the situation, forcing his younger colleague to bow respectfully to the cop.
Kang-woo’s coworker Manager Park (who is just an assistant manager at the time) arrives soon after and he laments over having to keep the young investigators in line. Kang-woo stops him with an impassioned speech about a manager’s job being about teaching the new kids how to be proper investigators, and Manager Park relents.
When Jae-soo arrives back on the scene, Kang-woo swings his arm around Manager Park and tells Jae-soo to take a picture of them together, but it’s all a setup to get a picture of a couple biking together in the background.
Back at the Taeyang office, Kang-woo’s faithful team member Ha-ri introduces the team to the man in the photo, Go Jin-chul, who doesn’t seem to be defrauding the company at first glance.
Manager Park points out, however, that Go Jin-chul’s scheme involves making himself the beneficiary in his girlfriends’ policies. Ha-ri explains that each of the women who applied for said policies mysteriously died in car accidents, leaving Go Jin-chul to collect a fortune in benefits. The group speculates that the woman Go Jin-chul biked with earlier is his next target, and they brainstorm ways to intercede.
They detail Go Jin-chul’s scheme, which involves first taking out insurance on himself, which pays out a relatively small amount to his would-be victims after he sets up a minor accident for himself, earning their trust. Swayed by the payout, the women then sign themselves up for insurance and name Go Jin-chul as the beneficiary.
Knowing his scheme, the team readies for a thorough investigation, and Ha-ri adds one more wrinkle, noting that all of the policies Go Jin-chul applied for were granted by the same insurance planner, a Taeyang employee who is highly regarded for her work. They’re doubtful that she would be an accomplice, but agree to look into it.
As the rest of the team heads out to investigate, Kang-woo receives a text calling him to the 20th floor to meet with Chairman Cha. When Kang-woo arrives, the chairman offers him an envelope of money as a bonus, and though Kang-woo initially rejects it, he eventually caves at Chairman Cha’s insistence.
Elsewhere, Kang-woo shows the file on Go Jin-chul’s scheme to his policeman buddy Detective Jo, and asks him to investigate the previous victims again.
Back at Taeyang, rookie investigator Jae-soo notices that one of the victims was three months pregnant when she died, and this triggers a flash of anger in his eyes.
Meanwhile, Kang-woo returns home with a shopping bag from the shoe store he visited earlier, but finds Go Jin-chul’s possible accomplice at his house, going over a new policy with his wife.
Just as Kang-woo is about to ask about Go Jin-chul, he gets an urgent call from Ha-ri—their rookie is currently tailing Go Jin-chul and his new girlfriend without backup.
Kang-woo holds the call for a moment to ask the planner if Go Jin-chul signed up for any new policies today, but she quickly denies it, looking a little shifty as she answers.
Kang-woo tells Ha-ri to forward him Jae-soo’s location and rushes out to track him down. Ha-ri and Manager Park, meanwhile, are stuck in traffic, so Ha-ri shifts the car into park and switches seats with him so she can take over the driving. She proceeds to ignore all traffic laws, as usual.
Jae-soo follows Go Jin-chul to a service station and watches from afar. Inside, Go Jin-chul grabs a soda and covertly pours some kind of drug into the bottle.
In the car, Jae-soo finally picks up his phone and tells Kang-woo about one of Go Jin-chul’s victims being pregnant when he killed her, saying that he had to do something.
Rather than tell him to back out, Kang-woo warns Jae-soo to just follow Go Jin-chul from behind and keep a safe distance, and tells him that the rest of the team is also on the way. Kang-woo offers one last warning, “Just do one thing. Be careful.”
Inside the station, Go Jin-chul spots Jae-soo tailing him as he receives a text from Taeyang informing him that his life insurance contract is now official. Immediately afterwards, he gets a call from someone (presumably his accomplice, the insurance planner) and sighs that the investigators shouldn’t be working on a holiday.
Go Jin-chul forebodingly tells his accomplice not to worry and hangs up just as his next victim catches up to him, and he offers her the drugged soda as they leave together.
Not long after, as Go Jin-chul drives along a winding road, he clocks Jae-soo following him in the rear-view mirror. His victim is unconscious in the passenger seat, and he chillingly sings to her as they drive along.
As Jae-soo struggles to keep up, he fumbles for his phone to take Manager Park’s call. He takes his eyes off the road to figure out his current location so the rest of the team can find him, but when he looks back up again, Go Jin-chul’s car is stopped in the middle of the road, and quickly turns his car right into Jae-soo’s path.
Jae-soo’s car flips right over the top of Go Jin-chul’s and comes crashing down on the other side. Ha-ri and Manager Park arrive on the scene to find all three inhabitants unconscious in their vehicles, and they hurry to call an ambulance to the scene.
Later, Kang-woo joins the rest of the team at the hospital, and they wait outside the operating room for the results. A distraught and heavily pregnant young woman arrives soon after, and Kang-woo realizes it must be Jae-soo’s wife, and that his overzealous chase of Go Jin-chul after learning about the pregnant victim stemmed from his own wife being pregnant herself.
Sometime later, the surgeons emerge from the operating room and inform everyone that the surgery went well. Kang-woo calls Chairman Cha to report on Jae-soo’s successful surgery, and when Chairman Cha hangs up, he makes a call to someone named Hong-joo.
In the hospital room, Jae-soo regains consciousness to find Kang-woo watching over him. His first concern after waking up, though, is Kang-woo’s trip to Jeju, not wanting him to miss his family vacation. Kang-woo gratefully tells Jae-soo he’ll scold him later for his recklessness.
As Kang-woo leaves the hospital, he notices Jae-soo’s wife worrying about the hospital fees at the front desk, and uses most of the bonus money Chairman Cha gave him earlier to pay the bill for her. He hands some of his own cash to her as well so she and her baby won’t starve, and she tearfully thanks him.
Just then, Kang-woo recognizes another young woman nearby, and pulls her aside for a private conversation. She is Chairman Cha’s daughter, DIRECTOR CHA HONG-JOO (Hong Soo-hyun), and she informs Kang-woo that the company will be closing their investigation of Go Jin-chul for the time being, at Chairman Cha’s request.
Hong-joo urges Kang-woo to go catch his flight to Jeju and calls his wife to say she already sent a car for her to meet Kang-woo at the airport. (Hong-joo is very familiar with both of them and calls him “sunbae” and his wife “unni.”) Since Chairman Cha is also visiting Jeju right now, she says, if Kang-woo really wants to raise a stink about Go Jin-chul, then he can do it in person when he gets there.
Kang-woo finally arrives to check in for his flight, but he just missed the final check-in deadline, so he has to take the next flight out instead. His wife and son, however, are still taking the original flight, and he catches up to them waiting at their gate.
Kang-woo tries to cheer up his son, who grumpily starts to leave, trudging away in the new shoes his dad bought for him (in the way-too-big size mom insisted on). Kang-woo stops him to tighten the shoes for him, and teases that he’ll soon be even taller than his dad.
Kang-woo continues to playfully tease his son, and his mood lightens as his dad swings him around and kisses him on the cheek affectionately. Kang-woo hands over his bonus money to his wife as she prepares to board their flight, and they wave goodbye to Kang-woo, who assures them he’ll follow them soon.
The flight crew prepares for takeoff, and the pilot downs a tranquilizer pill, unbeknownst to his co-pilot. Mom and son take in the sights from the plane, but after flying for a short while, the pilot suddenly drops the plane into a full-on dive.
The co-pilot tries to stop him, but the pilot rams him with a fire extinguisher, knocking him out cold. With a manic, determined look on his face, he continues the descent of the plane at an alarming speed. Oxygen masks come down, and Kang-woo’s wife and son clutch each other tightly.
At the Jeju airport, air traffic control tries to get the pilot to pull up, but he steadfastly pushes the plane forward into nose-dive, an unreadable expression on his face. At the very last second, the pilot closes his eyes and lets go. Air traffic control watches in horror as the plane slams down on the tarmac, splitting in two giant halves and lighting up in a fiery explosion.
Back at the airport, the airline begins boarding for Kang-woo’s flight, but suddenly all flights switch to standby. As confused travelers look on, a breaking news report reveals the crash of Flight 801 to Jeju.
Kang-woo flashes back to watching his wife and son wave goodbye as they boarded that flight while he tries to comprehend the news report. He manages some confused gasps before the full realization hits him, and he wails in despair as he finally registers the truth.
Elsewhere, Manager Park and Ha-ri watch the news report together, and Ha-ri learns that while Kang-woo missed the flight, his wife and son were onboard, and they reel in shock.
Meanwhile, Hong-joo watches the report from her car, face full of tears. Her companion, Juhan Airlines’ Vice President JOO HYUN-GI (Choi Won-young), ridicules her for being too soft-hearted. He coldly tells Hong-joo to pay out a large insurance settlement as compensation for the victims’ trouble.
Hong-joo is upset, though, because she was the one who put Kang-woo’s family on that plane, so she feels partially responsible. But Hyun-gi advises her to pull herself together and take care of everything with money.
Hyun-gi even complains about how unlucky he is that he has to go on camera to apologize on behalf of the airline.
At the airport, Hyun-gi and the rest of the airline’s investigative committee arrive to give their press conference, and a shell-shocked Kang-woo stands in the back of the room as all the other families of the victims clamor to hear from the airline.
Just as the conference starts with Hyun-gi’s bow of apology (while scowling to himself), news breaks that the first body was recovered, and everyone rushes out of the room to find out more.
Outside, Kang-woo checks his text messages to see if his wife or son responded to his desperate attempts to contact them. A medical worker pensively approaches and calls Kang-woo inside.
He leads Kang-woo through the crisis center to a covered gurney, and Kang-woo can’t bring himself to accept what must lie under that sheet, refusing to go near it. He wails, “I missed the flight! I couldn’t go with them!” Another doctor removes the sheet, and there lies Kang-woo’s wife and son, holding each other in their arms.
Kang-woo completely breaks down in tears, sobbing beside their gurney in disbelief, asking them both to wake up so he can take them home. He spots his son’s too-big shoe dangling off his foot, and this triggers another set of flashbacks for Kang-woo, repeatedly promising his son that he’ll grow tall in no time. He clutches his little boy’s hand, overcome with grief.
A few days later, Kang-woo mourns at their funeral service, seeming a shell of a man, and all of his colleagues stop by to support him. Afterwards, Kang-woo wanders aimlessly through the streets, and when he passes the shoe store, a man bumps into him and apologizes brightly.
He looks up and comes face-to-face with himself in the past, happy and busily on his way after shopping with his family. Kang-woo turns back in the other direction to see his wife and son waving at him from the doorway, and it prompts a new wail of grief from him as he collapses in the street.
One month later, Ha-ri still can’t get a hold of Kang-woo, who does nothing but lie on his couch in despair. In the office, she inquires about the ongoing airline investigation with Manager Park, who is on the investigation team.
Manager Park is cagey with his answers, but does cryptically mention the accomplice in the Go Jin-chul case before launching into a tirade over the newbie ruining their case by going after Go Jin-chul himself.
Ha-ri reminds Manager Park that the newbie is going through his final surgery today. Manager Park admits that he has been so busy with work that he forgot about it, and finally asks if Jae-soo is okay, which earns a scolding from Ha-ri for not leading with that.
Just then, Ha-ri gets a call from Jae-soo, though we don’t see why. Back at home, Kang-woo dismissively ignores his text messages, but bolts upright when he gets another one.
Kang-woo finds Ha-ri at the funeral hall, and she explains that there was a blood clot from the initial accident, and during the final surgery, Jae-soo went into shock and died.
Kang-woo remembers the concern Jae-soo had over Kang-woo missing his family vacation because of him, and Kang-woo angrily tells Ha-ri to bring him Go Jin-chul’s phone number.
Kang-woo heads to a phone store and storms into the back room to find future Mad Dog hacker Noo-ri hacking away. Calling him “Pentium,” he pleads for Noo-ri to find the location of Go Jin-chul’s phone, and Noo-ri tells him there’s no need to ask for favors because he’ll always do what Kang-woo asks of him.
Elsewhere, several candidates interview for a nursing position. Among them is future Mad Dog member Soon-jung, who argues that it’s discrimination to only hire young and pretty nurses. But his phone rings in the middle of the interview, and he leaves abruptly to collect “his kids” for Kang-woo.
Noo-ri leads Kang-woo through the airport to find Go Jin-chul. Meanwhile, Soon-jung has already caught up to Go Jin-chul (who happens to be with a new woman, unfortunately for her), and the collection of thugs surround him.
Kang-woo barges past everyone and kicks Go Jin-chul square in the chest, knocking him to the ground. He climbs on top and delivers a well-deserved beating, muttering that since Jae-soo died, Go Jin-chul should die too.
Security finally pulls Kang-woo off, but Soon-jung, who was watching Kang-woo’s outburst in disbelief, runs in to take Kang-woo’s place and spouts, “I don’t know what’s going on, but die first!” as he delivers more blows.
More security officers pull Soon-jung off as Ha-ri arrives on the scene to pandemonium. She heads to the police station to testify on their behalf.
In their holding cell, Soon-jung offers to kill Go Jin-chul for Kang-woo, but Kang-woo insists on doing it himself. Soon-jung won’t budge though, and argues, “I’m an ex-convict with a record. You should abide the law like you always have.” To hammer home his point, Soon-jung adds, “Don’t change. If you do, it’ll break your wife and son’s hearts.”
Ha-ri gets a call from Taeyang and surmises that Go Jin-chul must have called the company to sue Kang-woo. Kang-woo yells at her not to get involved and dismisses her.
Just then, a news bulletin airs regarding the plane crash, and Kang-woo jumps out of his seat to hear it. The report claims that the pilot intentionally crashed the plane to commit suicide for insurance money.
Worse, the 3.4-billion-won policy he took out was through the same Taeyang broker who was Go Jin-chul’s accomplice, and that she killed herself not long after the crash.
Enraged, Kang-woo heads straight to Chairman Cha after his release, and hands in his resignation from Taeyang. Chairman Cha tries to pacify him with details about the ongoing airline investigation.
But Kang-woo’s only question is whether Taeyang plans to pay out the pilot’s insurance policy. Kang-woo knows the plan covers suicide as well, so the pilot’s brother will get that 3.4 billion in exchange for all of those lives.
Kang-woo affirms his decision to resign, and when Chairman Cha asks him what he plans to do next, Kang-woo answers, “I’ll continue to play with mad men like a mad dog.”
Back in the present, Min-joon’s bet offer irks Kang-woo, and he asks who Min-joon really is. Min-joon laughs and insists that he gave his real name, but the Mad Dog group dismisses him and begins to leave.
But Min-joon catches Kang-woo’s attention when he claims, “Two years ago, we almost met. Don’t you remember?”
We flash back again to the press conference at the Jeju airport, and this time we see that Min-joon was also there, standing behind Kang-woo looking just as lost and confused.
Min-joon had wandered the halls behind the crisis center, and overheard someone talking about how the pilot crashed the plane on purpose, and Min-joon stumbled at this revelation.
In the morgue, Min-joon confirmed his brother’s remains, and we see that it was in fact Min-joon’s brother who was the pilot that caused the crash.
Police held back an angry crowd of people as Min-joon was alone in the morgue with his brother’s body, but Kang-woo slipped past and tried to slam through the locked door to get to Min-joon and his brother, before police finally pulled him back away.
Back in the present, Min-joon reveals who he really is: the man who took the 3.4-billion-won insurance payout and fled to Germany. He steps away from Kang-woo to finish his solemn introduction: “Nice to meet you. I’m Kim Min-joon, the younger brother of Kim Beom-joon, pilot of Juhan Air Flight 801.”
Well that complicates things. I’m still not exactly sure what Min-joon is plotting at this point, and I can’t imagine Kang-woo will be too eager to entertain Min-joon’s machinations at the moment. There’s not really any reason for any of the Mad Dog team to trust Min-joon right now, so for him to come out after completely fooling them in the building collapse case and say, “Oh, also, my brother was responsible for the deaths of your loved ones and I took all the insurance money from that” is, well, let’s call it bold.
But the fact that he is taking such a bold approach, I think, makes his own motives even more intriguing. If this is how he feels he needs to act to provoke Mad Dog into joining whatever his cause may be, it probably has to be a pretty significant undertaking. I doubt he’s trying to clear his brother’s name completely, but perhaps there was more to the crash than a simple suicide.
It’s certainly suspicious that the broker who helped Go Jin-chul secure insurance payouts for all the women he murdered also happened to issue the policy to Min-joon’s brother. Not only that, but she signed up Kang-woo’s wife for insurance the day before the plane crash. I’ve got a bad feeling that’s not a coincidence, and it will be interesting to see how deep this goes.
The person I’m most worried might be involved is Manager Park. Curiously, in the past he seemed very friendly with Kang-woo, and showed a great deal of respect for him (though that definitely wasn’t the case for his juniors). In the present, though, their relationship seems more antagonistic, which is odd because they both ostensibly have the same goal of weeding out fraud, albeit with different methods. Still, there shouldn’t be enough there for Manager Park to turn so fiercely against his former colleagues, so I’m worried that his work on the airline crash investigation team led him to some nefarious decisions in order to advance his career.
Whatever Min-joon’s goal may be, he needs to build trust with the rest of the team first, and he’s on thin ice right now, so he’ll need to do something to prove his righteousness. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between Kang-woo and Min-joon, the former commanding absolute loyalty from the Mad Dog crew (Soon-jung beating up Go Jin-chul just because Kang-woo was doing the same is a perfect example of this), while the latter garners almost loathsome reactions from them. Hopefully he manages to gain their trust quickly, because I want nothing more than to watch them all get back to fighting the fraudulent criminals out there.
If the first two episodes are any indication, we’re in for some heart-pumping action throughout. The pace of these first two hours was absolutely torrid, with hardly any breaks in the action to compose your thoughts and process what happened, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Take me on a prolonged adrenaline-fueled ride, show, and I’ll be happy wherever we end up. And if they happen to also pull off the smart caper-y side of it too, then we’ve got a recipe for gold.
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