Suits: Episode 10
I thought that our lawyer duo would be learning some lessons this week, but unfortunately, they’re not the lessons I was hoping they’d learn. Nothing goes right for them these days, and they’re at each other’s throats over conflicting ideas of the “right” thing to do. Still, they manage to ride out the storm, at least for now.
EPISODE 10: “You can prove your worth by showing the kind of risk you’re willing to take.”
After the start of Seok-hyun’s retrial, Kang-seok notices that Geun-shik came to watch. He says the other partners are concerned, but Kang-seok snaps that Geun-shik is the one getting them worked up. Geun-shik says that if the prosecution is making such ridiculous claims, then this retrial isn’t about winning or losing — it’s about teaching Kang-seok a lesson.
Kang-seok goes to speak to Seok-hyun, who’s scared he’s about to be blamed for something he didn’t do, again. Seok-hyun screams that he agreed to this retrial, but now they’re claiming he forcefully drugged Min-joo as well as killed her.
Kang-seok says the prosecution is just trying to scare them because they’re not confident they’ll win. Seok-hyun asks Yeon-woo his opinion, and Yeon-woo says that he trusts Kang-seok. Seok-hyun asks if Yeon-woo would risk his life for this retrial, and Yeon-woo replies earnestly, “I bet the rest of my life on Attorney Choi. I trust him.”
They return to the courtroom where Kang-seok says his client wants to continue the retrial, and that he thinks the court should take into consideration that the prosecution is pressuring the plaintiff with baseless accusations. The judge agrees to begin the retrial tomorrow, and Kang-seok promises Prosecutor Heo a great show.
Afterward, Kang-seok heads to the police station to speak Detective park, who originally arrested Seok-hyun. Detective Park insists that all he did was arrest the guy Kang-seok told him was guilty. He says he won’t go down alone for evidence tampering, and that Deputy Chief Prosecutor Oh threatened him twelve years ago.
He says that Deputy Chief Prosecutor Oh said he had to be badder than the bad guys he catches, and that if he refused, he’d make sure he lost everything. He snaps at Kang-seok to just threaten him the same way, and stalks off.
Back at his office, Da-ham says that if Kang-seok’s uneasy about firing her, she can just quit. She says she’s not having a hard time, but she thinks he is. Kang-seok grumbles that he never said he’s firing her, but he won’t stop her from quitting.
Yeon-woo invites Ji-na for a beer on the catwalk. He’s worried that if he asks the hit-and-run victim’s family to settle, he’s no better than the attorney who approached him after his parents’ deaths. But Ji-na says he’s different because he’s feeling tortured.
She says she knows what kind of guy Yeon-woo is because you can tell what a person values by the kind of risks they take. She adds that she supports him, but she also reminds him that he once said he didn’t want to ruin his job by being too emotional.
Yeon-woo goes to see the victim’s family the following day. Sung-hwa’s sister tells him that her parents came to Korea recently to earn money. Yeon-woo says that he and the driver of the car are sorry about the accident, and that Sung-hwa’s death can’t be converted into money.
Sung-hwa’s sister says that the family knows the circumstances of the accident (he was running to avoid being caught painting graffiti). She says her brother was a good student and artist back in China, but after going to school here, he had trouble finding a job to pay off his student loan.
She says they only need enough money to pay off that loan, naming a figure only one-tenth of what Yeon-woo is authorized to offer. Yeon-woo sighs, aware that he could save his client a lot of money, then tells them the full amount he’s authorized to offer and asks them to request it.
Meanwhile, Kang-seok informs Ha-yeon that he believes that the real killer is either Han Sun-tae, Kim Jin-gyu, or both (the original witnesses against Seok-hyun). He points out the blood on the packet of weed as evidence, and although Ha-yeon says he doesn’t have a sample to match it against, he tells her not to worry.
Changing the subject, she tells Kang-seok to forgive Da-ham and move on. She concedes that it’s hard for him since he trusted Da-ham so much, but she says it also makes it easier. She tells him to imagine a day, a month, a year without Da-ham just outside his office, and he goes a little pale.
He has a moment of worry when he gets back to his office and Da-ham’s desk is empty, until she pops up behind him and he actually stammers at her. So cute. He says he’s going to trial later, and Da-ham says breezily that she knows because of the watch he’s wearing.
He casually mentions something they always do before he goes to trial, but Da-ham suggests it’s inappropriate since they’re trying to decide if she’s fired or quitting.
Kang-seok caves and says contritely, “Please keep your place.” Da-ham coyly asks if he’s apologizing and what exactly he’s apologizing for (I’m dying here), and Kang-seok says that’s enough, lol. They quickly go to his office do their “thing,” which we don’t get to see, dang it.
On their way into the courtroom, Kang-seok and Yeon-wooik run into Sun-tae and Jin-gyu, the witnesses in the original murder case. Kang-seok says it’s time they told the truth, and Yeon-woo reminds them that they first told police that they weren’t near the victim’s house, but later testified that they saw Seok-hyun running from her apartment.
Sun-tae sneers that he heard Kang-seok made lots of mistakes as a prosecutor. He passes along a message from his assemblyman father: “If you realized you made mistakes, lay low quietly if you don’t want to lose everything.”
As they saunter away, Kang-seok tells Yeon-woo that he’s convinced they’re the real killers, and that whatever evidence is presented, they won’t confess. He says that they were young and there was no evidence then, but that murder and perjury (lying under oath in court) are different. Yeon-woo thinks that murder is a much worse crime, but Kang-seok says it’s easier to commit murder because nobody is watching.
Sun-tae testifies that the murder victim, Min-joo, told him that she only dated Seok-hyun for a month. He says that he originally testified that they weren’t dating because didn’t want to cast insult on his friend for being fooled by a drug dealer who lied that he was a student.
Incensed, Seok-hyun yells that he never said that. Sun-tae continues that Min-joo broke up with Seok-hyun but he wouldn’t accept it, so he started stalking her. He claims that the love letter was written two weeks before her death, and that she broke up with Seok-hyun a week later.
As for the stalking, Sun-tae says Seok-hyun called Min-joo and showed up at her home frequently, but Kang-seok argues that in the original trial, there was no record of any phone calls. He wonders if that means there was actually no stalking, or if someone got rid of the call records.
Next he asks about Sun-tae’s arrest for drug use seven years ago. Prosecutor Heo objects that that’s unrelated, but Kang-seok argues that Seok-hyun’s drug dealing history was part of the reason he was a suspect twelve years ago, so the judge orders Sun-tae to answer. He says he was arrested but never used marijuana.
Kang-seok repeats that on the day of the murder, Sun-tae claimed to see a bloody Seok-hyun running from Min-joo’s apartment, but that he didn’t go inside, so of course any blood found on the scene wouldn’t be his. Sun-tae agrees, so Kang-seok says that he should have no problem submitting to a DNA test.
Kang-seok calls Detective Park as a witness, bringing up the blood on the baggie of marijuana, which was proven to be from neither Min-joo nor Seok-hyun. He asks why it was never compared to the blood of the other suspects, and Detective Park says there was already enough evidence to prove that Seok-hyun was guilty.
When Kang-seok asks what he means by “enough,” Detective Park snaps that it was enough for the prosecutor to ask for, and get, the maximum sentence. Ouch. Kang-seok requests a DNA test be run on the blood, but Prosecutor Heo objects that the original case was won with tainted evidence, so the blood could be tainted. Kang-seok retorts that there was no tampering with evidence, only that crucial evidence was hidden.
The judge calls the lawyers into his quarters and tells Kang-seok that defiled evidence was the reason he got this retrial, so it makes no sense to introduce that same evidence now. Kang-seok says that he wants to compare the blood to Sun-tae and Jin-gyu’s DNA, but the judge refuses to let him turn witnesses into suspects.
Kang-seok waits for Detective Park outside the courtroom to ask if he feels ashamed in front of his daughter. Detective Park does look ashamed, but he says he could lose everything he’s worked for. Although Kang-seok agrees that his career could be damaged, he says that at least he wouldn’t feel ashamed to face his child.
He tells Yeon-woo that they’ll need to take a “detour” to prove that the DNA is Sun-tae’s. Yeon-woo asks how they’ll get Sun-tae’s DNA, and Kang-seok quotes his old mentor: “To catch a bad guy, you have to become a worse one.”
At a private club, Sun-tae asks Jin-gyu why he wanted to meet, but Jin-gyu is confused, since he says Sun-tae contacted him. It was Kang-seok and Yeon-woo, of course, who let themselves in and accuse them of killing their friend and framing her boyfriend for the murder.
Jin-gyu insists they’re innocent, and Sun-tae threatens Kang-seok to stop before he gets hurt. Kang-seok says that a loyal friendship isn’t protecting one another, and Yeon-woo adds that a true friendship means correcting your friend’s mistakes.
The two quickly leave, leaving behind their drink glasses with their DNA conveniently on the rims. Kang-seok says that this is bad, but what comes next is even worse.
Da-ham enters Geun-shik’s office, surprising him. She says she has a favor to ask, praising his intuition when he guesses it’s a favor for Kang-seok. She says she needs help from his cousin, who works in a DNA lab.
He already knows why and refuses. Da-ham offers herself as his secretary for one week, but he still declines, even resisting when she offers the ballet and a date at a fancy bar afterward.
Da-ham flounces off, chirping that Ha-yeon wants to see him. Ha-yeon orders him to call his cousin immediately. He argues that this is for Kang-seok, not him, but Ha-yeon corrects him: It’s for her.
Geun-shik suggests that she break her rule of never giving him a chance, interpreting her actions as telling him that he’ll never be promoted, and will be kept at the bottom of the firm until he quits.
He asks her to take note of his worth and sincerity, saying fervently that soon Kang-seok will be gone, and he’ll be the one left doing Kang-seok’s job. Ha-yeon just nods calmly and replies that he’s threatening her, using Kang-seok as a hostage.
She asks what he wants, so he demands to be promoted to senior partner immediately. Ha-yeon states that she’s the one who makes the threats around here, so unless he wants to ensure that he never makes senior partner, he’ll call his cousin. Geun-shik folds like a cheap suit and makes the call.
Yeon-woo takes the accident settlement paperwork to Joon-gyu, who feels badly that he’s only getting a suspended sentence for killing a man. Yeon-woo says he’s right to regret what happened, telling him to live diligently from now on. Joon-gyu says he couldn’t even do that before because of all the medication he’s on for depression.
Yeon-woo asks warily if he was on any medications the day of the accident. Joon-gyu says he wasn’t because of his birthday party, so he wasn’t feeling depressed. He says innocently that all he took was ketamine (which can cause frightening side effects like hallucinations and memory loss). Yikes.
Horrified, Yeon-woo asks why Joon-gyu didn’t disclose this when he asked if he were intoxicated, and Joon-gyu says he told the truth that he didn’t drink. He says it doesn’t affect him much anyway, and that nobody can tell when he’s on drugs. He’s confused that Yeon-woo’s upset, but Yeon-woo says it’s not over yet.
He takes this information to Kang-seok, who tells him not to do anything because that was a private conversation, and Yeon-woo’s obligated to keep his client’s secret. He reveals that he knows Yeon-woo offered ten times what the victim’s family asked for, adding that no good will come of them knowing the full truth.
Yeon-woo says the good would be that he’d have tried his best to set things right. He goes to Prosecutor Kim and offers to help her get a job at Kang & Ham in return for her help revealing the truth, and tells her that Joon-gyu was high on ketamine when the accident happened.
When the case is brought to court, Prosecutor Kim speaks privately to the judge. The judge announces that since it’s Joon-gyu’s first offense and a settlement has been reached, he’s sentenced to a year in prison commuted to two years of probation, volunteer work, and driving classes.
Incredulous, Yeon-woo asks Prosecutor Kim later why she’s allowing such a light sentence. She says that if he’s going to help her get a job at Kang & Ham, she can’t let it be known that he broke confidentiality. She admits she’s not okay with the sentence, but that there’s no way to prove Joon-gyu was on ketamine the day of the accident.
She asks Yeon-woo if he’s sure he’s an attorney, because his recent actions could get him and Kang-seok in deep trouble. He asks if she’s ashamed of herself, and she asks in return why he’s backstabbing his own client.
Yeon-woo says that even if Sung-hwa did partially cause the accident, so did Joon-gyu, and he was on drugs. Prosecutor Kim asks condescendingly if he’s upset to be defending someone who broke the law, reminding him that it’s also against the law to break confidentiality. She tells him to think about who should be ashamed right now.
Back at the office, Kang-seok admits that he contacted Prosecutor Kim. He tells Yeon-woo that if he did something shady, he did it to protect Yeon-woo from being sued and investigated. Yeon-woo argues that setting things right is the most important thing, so Kang-seok tells him he’d better quit now before his identity is revealed.
He asks if he should just fire him, since Yeon-woo is a weakness to him with the way he’s acting. He asks if Yeon-woo’s life improved or worsened after being chosen, and Yeon-woo says it’s both. Kang-seok tells him to focus on the positive parts, “Because if I have to cross a line to protect you again, I’ll fire you without hesitation.”
That evening, Yeon-woo finds Lawyer Yoon’s office, the man who came to his parents’ funeral to offer a settlement. Yeon-woo removes his father’s broken watch and says he was drinking and driving last night. He lies that he hit a couple with his car and ran away, and that he thinks the couple must be dead.
Lawyer Yoon says he can’t take the case, calling it a matter of conscience. They’re the exact opposite of the words he said about Yeon-woo’s parents: “It’s not a matter of conscience, it’s about settlement.” Yeon-woo sneers that he thought Lawyer Yoon was a settlement expert.
He says he remembers Lawyer Yoon’s shiny shoes, his voice, and everything about him from ten years ago. He mentions the date, October 23, 2001, and his parents names, who were killed in a hit-and-run. Lawyer Yoon says he doesn’t remember, so Yeon-woo reminds him that he came to the funeral and threatened that he and his grandmother wouldn’t get any money if they didn’t settle immediately.
Lawyer Yoon apologizes, saying that that sort of thing happened so often that he doesn’t remember specifics. Yeon-woo shows him the bar code tattoo on his wrist, explaining that he never forgets anything he sees, but that in case he forgets because of old age or head injury, the bar code will remind him of that day.
Lawyer Yoon says he can apologize if Yeon-woo wants, but he was just doing his job. Yeon-woo sighs that it doesn’t matter what shoes or watch he wears, because they’re completely different. He tells Lawyer Yoon to remember the name of his parents and all the other victims he’s forgotten, “Or I’ll show you what regret is.”
He goes to see Joon-gyu the next day, but when Joon-gyu thanks him, he snaps, “A person died. ‘Thank you’ for what?” Joon-gyu says that he feels bad, and Yeon-woo says that he should feel bad, because he didn’t fairly pay for his crime.
Joon-gyu asks why he’s doing this, but Yeon-woo just hands Joon-gyu an envelope and says he can keep the freedom and the guilt, or right the wrong. He concludes, “Your worth depends on the kind of risks you take.”
Kang-seok takes the results of the illicit DNA test to Prosecutor Heo. He says that he’s going to get Seok-hyun released, and he expects Prosecutor Heo to put Sun-tae, the actual murderer, in jail.
But Prosecutor Heo says that until the real killer turns himself in, or a new eyewitness appears, Sun-tae won’t be charged. Kang-seok says that he thought Prosecutor Heo was a human being, but Prosecutor Heo counters that it’s not important what Kang-seok thinks of him, only what the prosecutors’ office thinks of Kang-seok.
Later, Yeon-woo tells Kang-seok that he’s decided to just not think until he becomes a real lawyer. He can tell by Kang-seok’s non-response that Prosecutor Heo wasn’t impressed by the DNA test results. But Kang-seok also sent the results to Detective Park, who calls him, and Kang-seok smiles and agrees to handle this “the old-fashioned way.”
Soon, Jin-gyu gets a text with a photo of himself talking to Detective Park and correctly guesses that Sun-tae has also seen it. Sun-tae says that Detective Park told him that only his DNA was found, and that Jin-gyu said he was relieved. He asks if Jin-gyu forgot what kind of person he is, warning that if he tries anything, he’ll shatter his head.
Outside the club, Jin-gyu finds himself faced with Kang-seok, Detective Park, and Yeon-woo. Detective Park expresses surprise that Sun-tae didn’t squish him after finding out they talked, and Kang-seok warns that crimes are easier to commit a second time. Detective Park whines that he can’t just follow Jin-gyu around all day to guarantee his safety, ha.
Jin-gyu asks if they mean Sun-tae will kill him, but Yeon-woo says he’s capable of much worse — after all, he’s already framed one innocent man for murder. He advises the terrified Jin-gyu to tell the truth, because they already know that Sun-tae is the killer and Jin-gyu only abetted the murder.
He says that Jin-gyu will only get five years, but that makes Jin-gyu panic. Kang-seok reminds him that a man spent twelve years in prison for something he didn’t even do. Jin-gyu crumples and tells them that Sun-tae killed Min-joo in front of him.
We see him that night, as he’s splattered with Min-joo’s blood while Sun-tae stabs her. Sun-tae turns crazed eyes on him, pats his face affectionately, then drops the bag of marijuana near Min-joo’s lifeless body. As Sun-tae peels off his rubber gloves, a drop of blood from his own injured finger falls on the baggie.
Jin-gyu runs out of the apartment and right past Seok-hyun, with Sun-tae hot on his heels. Seok-hyun sees the blood and Min-joo’s open front door, and runs to find that the woman he loves is dead.
In the present, Yeon-woo asks Jin-gyu why Sun-tae killed Min-joo. Jin-gyu says that Sun-tae wouldn’t date Min-joo because they were of different classes, but that at the same time, it angered him that he couldn’t have her.
As Detective Park leads him away, Kang-seok sighs that some are born bad, and some turn bad because of their family. Yeon-woo says they’re probably in there somewhere, and Kang-seok says breezily, “I don’t know about you, but not me.” Pfft. Yeon-woo asks what Kang-seok would do if Sun-tae asked him to take his case and there was no conflict of interest. Kang-seok says he’d take it if the money was right.
Yeon-woo mutters that he reminds him of a certain American lawyer, but Kang-seok protests that he’s nothing like David Kim. He says they have different minds, and take different risks for different reasons, the same way Yeon-woo is different from Lawyer Yoon.
Seok-hyun is released from prison, and he finds Kang-seok and Yeon-woo waiting for him. Kang-seok asks if he still wants to kill him, and Seok-hyun says not to worry since he won.
Yeon-woo silently hands him some tofu (traditional first meal for those getting out of prison). Seok-hyun takes a grateful bite, thanking them through tears.
Joon-gyu goes to the police station and stands looking at the building for a long time.
At the office, Ha-yeon gives Kang-seok a bracelet as a way of asking him to forget about his past and be her ace again. He quips that he’s always the best, heh. He takes a call from Prosecutor Kim, who asks cheekily when he’ll keep his end of the bargain and hire her.
In a hospital room, several people crowd around a bed, wailing and crying for “Mom.” Only one man is calm, and he makes a call to say that Mom passed away. Seemingly simultaneously, nearly everyone at Kang & Ham get text messages, and they all react with alarm.
Kang-seok doesn’t see the message, as he’s still on the phone with Prosecutor Kim. But Ha-yeon stands bolt upright and tells him, “It looks like Director Ham is coming back.”
Kang-seok misses something that Prosecutor Kim says, and when she gets his attention again, she asks if he’s okay with her revealing Yeon-woo’s true identity.
Whoa, that is a lot of shit hitting a lot of fans all at once. I would not want to be Kang-seok or Yeon-woo right now, because Director Ham looks terrifying. Next week is going to be one wild ride.
I’m conflicted about Yeon-woo offering the victim’s family ten times what they asked for, just because he’d been approved for it. I love that he wants to help people, and his idealism and big heart truly are wonderful, but this isn’t what I meant when I said that he’s in a good position to help those who need it. By offering the family the full amount and telling them to lie that they asked for it, he sided with the opposition. He could have compromised and offered them a lot less, still helping them but also working in the interest of his client. But what he did abused his position and betrayed his client, which shows that he’s still thinking entirely with his heart and not with his head.
So for that reason, I’m glad he got a slap upside the head with the ketamine discovery, and Prosecutor Kim’s refusal to reveal it. She was right that his actions could get him in a heap of trouble, both during the settlement negotiations and because he broke confidentiality. Yeon-woo can read all the books he wants, but he doesn’t truly understand how the law works in practice. Sometimes it’s not fair, and often people twist things to their own best interest. It’s what Kang-seok has been trying to tell him all along, and he’d do well to attempt to understand it before he begins bucking the system. Yeon-woo is breaking the law every day and claiming moral superiority, so he’s really got no right to his high horse.
(Side note: I noticed that this all seems to be taking place in the year 2011, based on the date of Yeon-woo’s parents’ accident and the fact that the events in the drama happen ten years later. I hope this means we get a time skip, and will be able to see Yeon-woo as a real lawyer.)
Kang-seok and Da-ham are straight-up killing me. I loved the focus on their relationship in this episode. They know each other so well that even the little things — like Da-ham knowing Kang-seok’s plans for the day just by the watch he’s wearing — show how long they’ve been together and how in tune they are. They have so much professional respect for each other, and a personal connection as well, one that I think runs deeper than either of them has ever admitted. I didn’t feel it was a romantic link until Da-ham’s advice to Ji-na about how difficult it is to start and maintain a relationship in their line of work, but now it seems very possible that Da-ham loves Kang-seok, and probably has for years. It must be so painful to love a man who locks his emotions away so carefully. But I think that he’s about to become very acquainted with his emotions very soon, and if Da-ham can be there for him in just the way he needs, she may find herself richly rewarded.
Until now I’ve been fine with Geun-shik’s role as comic relief, but I find myself wishing he were more of a real obstacle to Kang-seok and Yeon-woo. Not in the sense of exposing their lie about Yeon-woo’s credentials, but in the sense of just being a decent lawyer, so that his threats to ruin Kang-seok might actually feel threatening. He’s a partner, yet we’ve seen nothing about how he got there, and he constantly whines that Ha-yeon doesn’t see his worth. But he wouldn’t be a partner if he weren’t a good lawyer — I just want to see it. I would feel more concern about his threats to discover Yeon-woo’s secret if he were actually a respected part of the firm, instead of the office joke.
As for Kang-seok, his morals are so shaky I don’t even know what to think. He claims conflict of interest in representing Sun-tae, yet he just defended a man he put in prison for murder… it’s the exact same scenario. He says he’s no different than David Kim, but that he would take a client he knows is guilty of murder for enough money. And he told Yeon-woo to pretend he didn’t know about information that completely changed his hit-and-run case, right after saying repeatedly that when one makes a mistake, he should do whatever it takes to make it right. It’s no wonder that poor Yeon-woo is having trouble understanding what’s the right thing to do, when the “right thing” seems to change according to Kang-seok’s mood that particular day. I was really hoping this retrial would bring Kang-seok some enlightenment about the way he practices law, but every time he takes a step forward, he seems to take ten steps back.