Witch’s Court: Episode 2
It’s always hard to adjust to change, and Yi-deum’s prickly personality doesn’t make things any easier. Navigating a new department with new coworkers and a new boss is further complicated by the arrival of a case that may not be all that it seems. Our heroes have vastly different methods when it comes to problem-solving and this is the first test of their teamwork. Will they rise to the challenge?
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Yi-deum marches reluctantly down a hallway, a box with her nameplate and desk supplies in tow. Coming to a stop in front of the Crimes Against Children Unit, she lets out a depressed sigh just as Jin-wook steps up behind her, carrying his own box of things.
Ignoring his pleasant greeting, Yi-deum asks if he’s also been reassigned. Smiling, he affirms this but she walks off before he can say anything else. Catching up to her, Jin-wook tries again to introduce himself properly but Yi-deum curtly replies that she doesn’t wish to be involved with him and ignores his attempt at a handshake. To this, Jin-wook cheekily points at the plaque in front of her new office which bears both of their names, hehe.
Office manager Mi-young greets them, and before Jin-wook can ask Yi-deum which desk she’d prefer, she slams her things down and struts out of the room. Following Yi-deum out into the hall, Jin-wook earnestly asks why she hates their new unit. Taken aback by his genuine curiosity towards something she finds so obvious, Yi-deum points out that immediately after messing with Prosecutor Oh, they were both reassigned to a department that nobody wanted, which only promises all-nighters.
Jin-wook disagrees that this is his punishment and in disbelief, Yi-deum dares him to convince her otherwise, promising to call him “oppa” if he can. Without missing a beat, Jin-wook informs her that he volunteered for the position, quickly adding that he doesn’t like it when women call him “oppa,” so she needn’t bother. Clapping in mock appreciation, Yi-deum congratulates him on willingly working in the department nobody wants… just as their new boss Prosecutor Min walks up. Oops.
We cut over to a woman on video call with her two young sons as she searches frantically through piles of paperwork. This is Prosecutor JANG EUN-JUNG, and she grows increasingly frazzled until she finally threatens to take her sons’ toys away unless they hang up. Looking up, she notices her team members, Prosecutor SEO YOO-RI and investigator GU SEOK-CHAN, and laughs awkwardly.
Everyone convenes in a conference room for a briefing and Prosecutor Min warns them that these cases require a lot of work, and their department was created to expedite the process so that victims of these devastating crimes didn’t have to relive their trauma more than absolutely necessary. She ends by saying that the more they suffer, the less the victims have to. Yi-deum waits anxiously as everyone gets their assignments, but when it’s her turn, Prosecutor Min asks to speak with her privately.
Alone in Prosecutor Min’s office, Yi-deum quickly apologizes for her earlier comments, explaining that she had actually applied to a different department. Prosecutor Min wonders why Yi-deum hadn’t expected this result after humiliating Chief Prosecutor Oh, and when Yi-deum starts to defend herself, Prosecutor Min cuts her off by saying she’s heard rumors about the way Yi-deum manipulates the media to garner attention.
Prosecutor Min goes on to say that this unit was created to protect rape victims, so Yi-deum won’t have the opportunity to boast about her victories in front of cameras, and that if she doesn’t like it, she can always resign. Yi-deum quickly backpedals, announcing that her dream is to retire as a prosector, and promises to work hard.
Out in the hall, though, Yi-deum scoffs and grumbles that when her two years here are up, Prosecutor Min will be begging her to stay. She bumps into Prosecutor Jang, who asks if Yi-deum received a special case from Prosecutor Min. She didn’t, but she doesn’t deny it.
Extending her hand, Prosecutor Jang says she hopes to get along, commenting that she’d never expected to work with the “infamous” Yi-deum. Ignoring Prosecutor Jang’s outstretched hand, Yi-deum excuses herself and stalks off, canceling a call from an unknown number as she goes.
At a graduation ceremony, a female professor hands out best thesis awards while a young man watches from the hallway with a menacing glare. Afterwards, he storms into her office and demands to know why his thesis wasn’t accepted. She coldly tells him that it was below the standard and though he begs her to look at it again, she’s firm that her decision is final.
When he refuses to leave, she gets up to go but he blocks her path. She calls him a disappointment and he shoves her, causing her to fall back on the couch. Her tone fierce, she demands to know what he’s doing but grows nervous as his eyes trail down her body to her skirt… and everything freezes as we switch to Mi-young briefing Jin-wook and Yi-deum on the attempted rape case.
Playing a CCTV clip, Mi-young explains that the act was interrupted by the arrival of a female student returning the professor’s laptop, and in the video we see a girl open the professor’s door seconds before the young man (which we now know is the professor’s TA) comes running out. Jin-wook asks if they have any more evidence and Mi-young admits that they haven’t inspected the young man for DNA yet, so all they have are the tape and the witness testimony.
At the university hospital, Yi-deum sits down with the victim, Professor Sun, to record her testimony. Quietly, Professor Sun tells them that the TA came to her office reeking of alcohol and with a crazed look in his eyes. It was almost time for the building to be closed from the outside and fearing being locked in with him, she had decided to leave.
In a flashback, she had told him they’d talk tomorrow, but he’d blocked her path, saying that she couldn’t just leave. She had gently repeated they’d talk when he was sober but he had pushed her back on the couch, causing her skirt to rise up. He had then held her wrists down with one hand, and in the present, she lets her words trail off.
Crying, Professor Sun admits that she was ashamed, but her expression suddenly grows hard as she recounts the words he’d said to her: “Women born to wealthy parents will never get over themselves until they are taught a lesson.” After that, she had told him to stop, threatening to sue him, but he had responded by choking her.
The scene cuts to the distraught TA, Nam Woo-sung, vehemently denying the accusations to Jin-wook in an interrogation room. Calmly, Jin-wook tells him that being emotional won’t help and that instead, he should explain his side of the story. Shakily, Woo-sung admits that he’s in debt from tuition and the past two years had been a struggle. He desperately needs to graduate and we see in his flashback that Professor Sun had called him and his thesis worthless.
Enraged, Woo-sung had shoved her against a bookshelf and strangled her. Admitting to the assault, Woo-sung denies that there was any sexual contact and Jin-wook exchanges a glance with Mi-young, who pushes her laptop forward. Jin-wook pulls up the CCTV footage that shows Woo-sung running out of the professor’s office. Woo-sung grows visibly nervous as Jin-wook wonders why his shirt was open if no sexual interaction had occurred, but he remains adamant that he’s innocent.
Back in their office, Jin-wook mulls over the case. When Yi-deum arrives, he greets her and she responds by dropping a stack of papers on his desk with an order to complete paperwork for their case by tomorrow morning. At Jin-wook’s confusion, Yi-deum explains that she’s technically his senior, so they should divide their work accordingly. Somewhat amused, Jin-wook agrees but puts the papers back on her desk, stating they still need to investigate further.
Yi-deum argues that while the assailant’s testimony is spotty, the victim is persuasive, not to mention that there was a witness. However, Jin-wook points out that the professor is in charge of Woo-sung’s thesis, so it’s unlikely that he would try to rape someone with the power to determine his future. Additionally, Jin-wook feels there’s something different with Woo-sung, but Yi-deum cuts him off and demands hard evidence. She tells him that he may have previously been a psychiatrist, but in the courtroom, evidence is what matters.
Before Jin-wook can argue, Yi-deum’s phone rings and her friend tells her she’s about to be evicted. Apparently, those calls she’d been ignoring were from her new landlord… whoops. Yi-deum runs out, promising to be back in an hour.
Jin-wook reviews the CCTV clip, looking thoughtful as he watches Woo-sung run out of the office, drop his phone, and then step back to retrieve it. His own phone rings and Jin-wook tells the person on the other end that he’ll be there right away.
Cut to: Yi-deum sitting across from Jin-wook in the realtor’s office, having just learned that they’re landlord and tenant. She asks about the apartment she’d seen him go in the first time they met and he cheerfully tells her that one belongs to his mother and Yi-deum’s apartment belongs to him. She thinks to herself that he’s showing off that he owns two apartments.
Jin-wook continues that his mother had suggested he collect rent since prosecutors don’t make much. Looking thoughtfully at Yi-deum, Jin-wook whispers something in the realtor’s ear, who then informs Yi-deum that Jin-wook has offered to lower the price for her. Unfortunately, despite his best intentions, Yi-deum finds his offer outrageously overpriced.
Walking out together, Jin-wook tells her to let him know when she decides on her move-out date. She looks over at him pathetically, then takes a deep breath and shoves him up against the wall. As he rubs his jarred elbow, Yi-deum laughs and says she hadn’t wanted to seem petty, but she’d barely been able to get her deposit by taking a high interest loan from the bank. Additionally, she still owes student loans, and skimps on clothes, cosmetics, and meals.
Grabbing and shaking him by the collar, Yi-deum cries that she’s barely surviving and asks if he can’t cut her a better deal. Jin-wook sheepishly argues that he’s already giving her a great deal and as her yells suddenly deepen into a monstrous howl… she snaps back to reality, having imagined the whole thing.
Yi-deum says that since her landlord wants her out, she needs to find a new place instead of returning to the office… but the anger is completely lost on Jin-wook, who agrees that’s probably a good idea. He starts to leave but suddenly turns back and Yi-deum smiles pleasantly, hoping he’s reconsidered, but Jin-wook asks her to look at something strange he saw on the CCTV footage.
Back at work, Jin-wook replays the clip for Yi-deum and he wonders aloud why, after just being caught attempting rape, Woo-sung didn’t grab his dropped phone and run, but stood and stared at the screen for two full seconds. Uninterested, Yi-deum guesses he had cracked the screen but Jin-wook asks her to think again and something in his tone gives her pause. As they both stare at the monitor, she realizes that either Woo-sung’s phone had just rung, or he was in the middle of a call.
As it turns out, Woo-sung’s call records show he was talking to someone when the attempted rape occurred and Jin-wook and Yi-deum run off to pay the caller a visit. Having assumed it was Woo-sung’s girlfriend, the two are surprised to discover the caller is a man. He tells them that Woo-sung has a bad habit of leaving his phone on after a call and they had still been connected that night.
The man confirms that Woo-sung is not the assailant, but the victim of the rape, and that he’d recorded the call proving it. Yi-deum asks if Woo-sung was aware there was a recording proving his innocence, why he had chosen not to share it. The man twitches his fingers nervously and Jin-wook notices the ring on his hand—the same ring Woo-sung wears—and correctly guesses they’re dating.
Woo-sung’s boyfriend explains that Professor Sun would surely look for the person that submitted the tape, discovering Woo-sung’s sexuality and destroying his career. Jin-wook promises to try and convince Woo-sung, but Yi-deum cuts him off, pointing out that the phone is now evidence and she can just get a warrant—unless he wants to hand it over now.
In the interrogation room, Woo-sung listens to the recording with Yi-deum and Jin-wook, clenching his fists as we now hear Professor Sun hitting on him while he begged her to stop. Yi-deum stops the tape and tells Woo-sung that his charges will be dropped and Professor Sun investigated, but he refuses. He tells them that he’ll be forever branded as a weak man who was assaulted by a woman, or worse, outed as a homosexual.
Yi-deum starts to argue but Jin-wook speaks up and says that the reason rape victims come forward is because they want the perpetrator to be prosecuted and suffer even a fraction of what they did. He then says that he had suspected Woo-sung of being the true victim from the start, because he had seen a trait shared by all rape victims: self blame. Then we see flashes of Professor Sun touching his leg and hair, kissing him, pushing him down on the couch and ripping open his shirt, all the while smiling.
Jin-wook:“From the moment it happened until now, you were probably blaming yourself. Because I’m gay, because I’m a student, because I’m not manly enough. But Nam Woo-sung, you didn’t do anything wrong at all. It was Professor Sun’s fault.”
Breaking down in tears, Woo-sung says that even with his testimony, there’s no guarantee Professor Sun will face punishment, but Jin-wook promises to do his best to find evidence, starting with his testimony.
Investigator Gu rummages through a clothing disposal bin and finds the shirt and pants Woo-sung had worn the night of the assault, from which they pull Professor Sun’s fingerprints. Jin-wook also tells Prosecutor Min that the eye witness testimony was proven to be false. Confused, Yi-deum wonders why they’re taking the long way around when they have the recording evidence. When Prosecutor Min says that would risk exposing the victim’s sexuality, Yi-deum asks why that matters.
Reminding her that Woo-sung was willing to be framed for rape in order to keep his sexuality hidden, Jin-wook asks what Yi-deum plans to do if she tries to use the recording and he refuses to testify. Quickly jumping in to prevent further argument, Prosecutor Min suggests they use the evidence they’ve collected so far to get Professor Sun to confess.
Professor Sun sits in the interrogation room across from Yi-deum and Jin-wook. Yi-deum shows her the fingerprint evidence from Woo-sung’s clothes and questions how it’s possible when Professor Sun had claimed Woo-sung had held her wrists to prevent her from fighting back. Jin-wook adds that the witness testimony had also been falsified.
Changing tactics, Professor Sun asks if they’re accusing her of attacking a healthy young man but neither prosecutor is budging and they urge her to confess for a lighter sentence. Suddenly, she drops the weak victim act and menacingly asks if they really expect her to become a female rapist. She stands and informs them she’ll be getting a lawyer.
Elsewhere, former Chief of Police Jo Gap-soo has returned to being a lawyer, and after winning his most recent case, announces that he’ll be running for mayor. Back at his law firm, a young female lawyer, HEO YOON-KYUNG (Kim Min-seo), informs him they just received Professor Sun’s case and he’s surprised that she’s the assailant and not the victim. He’s tickled further to discover that the prosecutors on the case are from Prosecutor Min’s division and suggests that Lawyer Heo take charge.
In a meeting with the judge, Jin-wook requests a closed trial in order to minimize damage to the victim. Lawyer Heo pipes up that her client is the one suffering, because she’s already been branded on the internet as a female rapist. Jin-wook points out that his argument supports a closed trial, and the judge agrees, but Professor Sun says that the scandal has already lost her her job and her children. Tearfully, she asserts that the only way to recover her family is to prove her innocence in a public trial, but Yi-deum scoffs that being found guilty in front of everyone should be a bigger concern.
With neither party willing to bend, the judge decides to carry on with an open trial. Out in the hall, Professor Sun drops the victim act and storms up to Woo-sung, slapping him across the face. She vows to destroy him for all the crap she’s going through before spinning on her heel and walking away.
Lawyer Heo catches Woo-sung, asking loudly if he’s okay before leaning in to whisper, “Why do you want to win against a weak woman? You should stop here before something bad happens.” Yi-deum calls her on trying to threaten him, but Lawyer Heo says she was merely giving him advice.
The trial begins and Jo Gap-soo smiles at Prosecutor Min from his vantage point as the judge announces the case. Jin-wook makes his opening case and Laywer Heo has to remind Professor Sun to look like a victim because she’s glaring daggers. As soon as Jin-wook finishes, Lawyer Heo denies the charges. She argues that it’s ridiculous for a middle-aged woman to sexually assault a healthy young man and that he not fight back.
They move on to the fingerprint evidence and Jin-wook points out that the residue left behind shows that there was great force used, but Lawyer Heo submits a reenactment tape where the “victim” is fighting the “assailant,” resulting in roughly the same residue levels. Jin-wook is annoyed, and although Professor Sun smiles to herself, Yi-deum seems strangely unperturbed.
Next, Woo-sung takes the stand and Yi-deum questions him. She plays devil’s advocate, asking why he went to Professor Sun’s office late that night rather than waiting until the next morning (he was anxious and final decisions on thesis were due by morning). He says that he had asked why his thesis failed and Professor Sun had offered to show him the corrections she’d made, but while he was looking through them, she began to touch his thigh. Yi-deum argues that it could’ve been unintentional, but Woo-sung clarifies that she had been squeezing his thigh.
When asked, Woo-sung answers that he was not aroused and continues that Professor Sun had then begun kissing him. Yi-deum asks if he had enjoyed it and when Woo-sung replies that he hated it, she asks why he let it continue instead of pushing her away. Pushing, she asks if he saw the professor as a woman, since he allowed her to even remove his clothing despite claiming to hate it.
Growing angry, Woo-sung points out that his thesis was on the line, but Yi-deum wonders if it’s really more important than his pride as a man. He asks her if she knows how much his tuition costs, and how many hours he needs to study to achieve his doctorate, asking what he was supposed to do if he upset his professor and got kicked out. Unrelenting, Yi-deum argues that if his degree was so important, he should’ve endured until the end.
Finally, Woo-sung breaks and says he should’ve done just that. If only he had allowed it to happen, his thesis would’ve been accepted and he wouldn’t have to be in court. “I… was wrong,” he says, struggling to hold back tears.
When Lawyer Heo takes her turn, she tries to play on the idea of revenge. She asks how he felt after his thesis was rejected and pulls up some comments he’d made on social media complaining about Professor Sun. He argues that they’re taken out of context and the judge agrees, but Lawyer Heo has a different goal. She points out that he only messaged one person and asserts that the young man who received his messages is actually his boyfriend of three years and that he’s gay.
She feigns a technical mistake and flashes a picture of Woo-sung and his boyfriend kissing before pulling it down with a quick apology. Furious, Jin-wook calls her out on invading his client’s privacy, but before the judge can even say anything, Lawyer Heo continues that while a straight man would’ve either enjoyed the sexual advances or fended them off, a homosexual, who doesn’t like women, could only have plotted to frame an innocent woman for rape. Enraged, Woo-sung lunges at Lawyer Heo and begins to choke her, and has to be dragged away.
Lawyer Heo is satisfied, but oddly, Jin-wook also catches Yi-deum smiling. Professor Sun is next to take the stand and she cites her privilege and prestige, asking what she could possibly gain from raping a student. When it’s Yi-deum’s turn to ask questions, to Jin-wook’s horror, she presents the phone call recording. There’s nothing he can do, even as Yi-deum explains that despite initially opting against using the tape out of respect for the victim, the defense’s invasion of his privacy has already exposed the matter of his sexuality, and therefore there’s no reason to withhold the recording any longer.
As Yi-deum speaks, Lawyer Heo thinks back to the day before when she’d noticed a phone on the bathroom sink in the courthouse, and witnessed a series of messages from Jin-wook to Yi-deum advising that they have Woo-sung seal his social media accounts to hide his connection with his boyfriend. At the same time, Jin-wook comes to the same conclusion as he remembers Yi-deum asking to borrow his phone before running off to the bathroom, and then her odd smile when Lawyer Heo had exposed Woo-sung’s sexuality.
Jo Gap-soo watches with amusement, and Prosecutor Min with disappointment, as Professor Sun shakes with rage and terror while the recording plays. She declares it a fabrication and shrieks that she’s being framed as Lawyer Heo glares daggers at Yi-deum. Jin-wook looks to the victim, who sits in hollow defeat, a single tear tracing down his face. The only happy face among them is Yi-deum’s.
Court dismissed, Jin-wook rounds on Yi-deum for her betrayal, accusing her of leaking Woo-sung’s sexuality. She doesn’t deny it, saying that regardless, they won. Jin-wook repeats her words with disgust and demands to know whether she even cares how Woo-sung felt. Looking him in the eye, she asks why she should: “I’m a prosecutor, not a lawyer.”
And with that, Yi-deum struts out of the courtroom to face the waiting reporters.
Wow! What an episode.
This show covers such delicate material but it’s done so tastefully. I love the twist in this episode where the actual aggressor was a woman against a male victim, because this is a very real problem that often goes undiscussed due to gender biases. As ridiculous as Lawyer Heo’s argument was, it is a sad truth that people do tend to think that men cannot be sexually victimized, especially by a woman. The added layer of Woo-sung’s sexuality only made the ordeal more heartbreaking because of the lengths he was willing to go to in order to keep his secret safe, and the way it was used against him, both by the defense and the prosecution.
Professor Sun, on the other hand, made a fantastic villain. She was cold and calculating, playing up the image of a weak woman to her favor. Wealthy and entitled, she felt that she could get away with anything and although the method was wrong, it was so satisfying to see her exposed.
Some may disagree, but I adore Yi-deum. She definitely made mistakes in this episode and I fully expect her to pay for them, but despite her flaws, I admire her spunk. She’s not afraid to call others on their crap and despite her sassy exterior, she has her fears and insecurities. She feels like a real person with a twisted ideology on justice and a moral compass that doesn’t point due north. I’m excited to watch her heal and grow. On the flip side, Jin-wook is too pure for this world and I’m looking forward to him guiding Yi-deum back on the right track.
It’s only the first week, but so far, I really do like this show. Here’s to hoping it keeps up the good momentum!
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