Suits: Episode 11
Today’s episode lightens things up a bit, as Yeon-woo tackles his first solo case. He still has some important lessons to learn about when it’s appropriate to follow his heart, and this time he has a new teacher, who makes the effort to learn what makes him tick. This understanding may just be the key to Yeon-woo’s ethical dilemmas, as well as another, more personal lock on Yeon-woo’s heart.
EPISODE 11: “If you wish to swallow a demon, you must swallow its horns, too.”
A suited man lumbers slowly down a dark hallway, dragging a crowbar behind him. It’s Director Ham, dripping wet from the storm outside. Ha-yeon comes out of her office and asks him to calm down and give up the crowbar.
Advancing on her, he says, “Ah, I do have one last thing that I must give up on.” He gives a low, dark chuckle as Ha-yeon shakes in fear, then swings the crowbar at her with a roar.
Back in the present, Ha-yeon and Kang-seok attend Director Ham’s wife’s funeral. Ha-yeon asks if Director Ham is really returning. Kang-seok says that he didn’t flinch at embezzlement evidence, but that when Ha-yeon said she’d send his wife evidence of his affair… Ha-yeon finishes, “He tried to kill me.”
Kang-seok tells her that now that the “knife” pinning him down is gone, Director Ham will surely return. From inside the temple, Director Ham turns and sees them. He comes out to thank them for coming, but when Kang-seok wishes for his wife to rest in peace, Director Ham snaps that everything he says sounds like a lie.
Kang-seok says it was a lie when he said he was disappointed to see Director Ham kicked out. Director Ham sighs that it’s all in the past, but Ha-yeon asks if he’s telling them to forget what happened. She says she’ll remember, and Director Ham admits that he was out of his mind the night he attacked her.
In flashback, we see that before he’d swung at her, he’d growled, “If you wish to swallow a demon, you must swallow its horns, too.” Ha-yeon had stood her ground as he swung the crowbar and smashed the name “Ham” from the company logo on the wall behind her. Now he says he’s a different man, and that he’s actually thankful to have the two of them in his life.
Kang-seok asks if Director Ham wants to return to work, but he says he hasn’t thought about it yet. Once he’s gone, Kang-seok remarks that he sensed no sadness in Director Ham, and Ha-yeon agrees. Kang-seok offers to get rid of him before he ever sets foot in the building, in return asking for her okay to hire Prosecutor Kim.
While getting dressed for work, Yeon-woo finally puts on the shiny dress shoes he’s been avoiding. He shows up in Kang-seok’s office in the shoes and a much nicer suit than usual, with a defiant look on his face, and announces that he’s ready to become an attorney worthy of Kang & Ham.
Kang-seok asks if he’s over-confident, and Yeon-woo asks if that isn’t a good thing. Kang-seok asks why Yeon-woo always answers his questions with another question, and Yeon-woo asks why he always questions his answers. (Kang-seok: “Are you crazy?” Yeon-woo: “You question my answers.” LOL)
Kang-seok gives Yeon-woo a case where a woman claims that a best-selling book was her original idea. He says that it will seem like a threat if he talks to her, but merely a collision if Yeon-woo goes, and orders him to just focus on winning.
On his way out, Yeon-woo stops by Ji-na’s office to see how her studying is going. Taking in his snazzy suit, she wonders what’s up, so he explains about his first solo case. He says he’s taking her advice to be the kind of attorney that Kang-& Ham wants, saying that he should become a real attorney first.
He belatedly realizes his slip when Ji-na asks if he’s a fake attorney now. Luckily she’s only joking, and she tells Yeon-woo not to get too stressed, because it’s just work.
An agitated Da-ham tells Kang-seok that the office is in an uproar over the rumor that Director Ham is returning. Kang-seok assures her that he won’t let that happen, and she says that she trusts him, but she doesn’t trust Kang & Ham because everyone is still badmouthing Kang-seok for supposedly turning on his mentor.
Kang-seok has confidence in his own competence, but Da-ham reminds him that someone will catch onto Yeon-woo’s identity eventually. Yeon-woo will become a weakness then, and Kang-seok says they both just need to be careful. Da-ham mentions that something is going on between Yeon-woo and Ji-na, and he agrees that it’s a possibility that Yeon-woo will want to tell Ji-na the truth.
Yeon-woo psychs himself up to threaten the woman claiming that her book idea was stolen. Her name is Jung-in, and unfortunately for Yeon-woo, she seems very young and sweet. He introduces himself as the attorney representing the publisher and informs her that there’s no proof that there’s any copyright infringement, plus she signed away the rights to her stories and ideas to the publishing company.
She wants to go to trial, but Yeon-woo lets her know that’s a bad idea — she’ll almost certainly lose, and may even be counter-sued. He gets up to leave, and she calls after him that his parents must be proud, since he’s obviously rich and went to a good college. Yeon-woo tells her not to jump to conclusions about him.
But he pauses when she barks that he has no idea of her situation, clocking the desperate look on her face. He takes a breath and says it’s none of his business, but he again turns back when she retorts sarcastically that of course it’s not, since he represents the publishing company.
He invites her to tell him about her situation, joking that if she’s worried about talking to the opposition, she should see what he’ll have to deal with back at the office. Jung-in reveals that she showed her writings to the publishing company’s CEO two years ago, and was offered a job. One was a story synopsis which she’s claiming became the bestselling book.
As evidence, she says she has the email she sent to CEO Hong with the synopsis. Yeon-woo starts to mention the agreement she signed again, but stops and just asks what she wants. She says that she just wants CEO Hong to admit what he did and pay for it.
Kang-seok heads to Director Ham’s home, though neither is happy that he’s there. He tells Director Ham that he wants him to admit to embezzlement, which he’s gotten away with so far because Ha-yeon didn’t want to tarnish the company’s reputation. But now he’s been gone so long that disclosure would no longer harm the company.
Director Ham grumbles that it sounds like Kang-seok is telling him not to come back, and repeats that he’s had no such thoughts. But he continues that Kang-seok’s threat makes him want to go back, calling Kang-seok’s tactics weak. Kang-seok sees a family photo on the wall and remarks that Director Ham’s daughter takes after his late wife.
He says that he’s not here to tell Director Ham not to return, but warning him not to even think about it unless he wants his daughter to learn about his crooked past. He tells him that he won’t stop at embezzlement and fraud, but will reveal Director Ham’s affair in detail.
Kang-seok says firmly that he can chew and swallow things much worse than demon horns if it’s to protect the company, which will collapse if Director Ham returned. He leaves and calls Ha-yeon to inform her that Director Ham has been handled, and to collect on his end of the deal.
Ha-yeon calls Geun-shik, who scurries excitedly to her office. She orders him to make sure Prosecutor Kim gets her own office, and he wilts, having thought he was finally getting his own personal associate. He growls when he realizes that he’s still not being promoted to senior partner, but Ha-yeon tells him to be patient.
Yeon-woo reports back to Kang-seok that he’s working on getting Jung-in to drop her lawsuit. Kang-seok can tell that he didn’t threaten her like he swore he would, but Yeon-woo insists he can handle the case alone.
Geun-shik bursts in to complain about Prosecutor Kim being brought in as an associate. Kang-seok claims that Geun-shik is sooo interested in him and he’s never returned the favor, so he just chose an associate for him.
He starts to take back Prosecutor Kim’s file, but Geun-shik yanks so hard on it he nearly tips over, hee. Oddly, Geun-shik recorded their conversation, and he sits in his office re-playing the part where Kang-seok says he “felt sorry to a friend” as if it’s a major admission on Kang-seok’s part.
When Prosecutor Kim — now Attorney Kim — arrives for her first day at work, she smirks at her nameplate on her office door but is annoyed to find Geun-shik making himself comfortable at her desk. He introduces himself as the associate mentor, but she firmly informs him that she’s a senior associate with three years’ experience, not a junior associate fresh out of law school.
They bicker over whether he should be filing his nails at her desk, and Geun-shik invites her to make a report if she likes, since all complaints are reported to him. He advises Attorney Kim not to bother being competent, because if she does a bad job, then he can fire her.
Kang-seok tells Attorney Kim to ignore Geun-shik and his antics (calling them the reason he comes to work, ha). Then he dismisses her, saying that he’s played his welcoming role, and that they’ll carry out their “real deal” outside the office. Da-ham watches them from her desk, identifying the scent of a brat.
Ji-na finds Yeon-woo back in his old comfortable clothes, and he sighs that he learned it’s not about appearance. She sees him reading the book that was supposedly plagiarized, and when she says that she read it, he asks her to look over Jung-in’s original story. He watches Ji-na as she reads, letting himself go a little moony-eyed, and jumps adorably when she finally looks up at him.
She says that the characters and story line in Jung-in’s version are almost exactly the same as in the book, confirming his fears. She mentions that this must be troublesome for the publishing company, which is in the process of being taken over by a larger company. Coincidentally, or maybe not so, their firm is also handling that merger, and if the publishing company is found guilty, the merger could be canceled.
Hearing this, Yeon-woo quickly thanks Ji-na and rushes off, missing her weak, “Well, you could buy me dinner sometime…” But he comes back to agree to that dinner, making them both smile bashfully.
Yeon-woo meets with CEO Hong from the publishing company, who says that even if he did admit to taking Jung-in’s idea and giving it to another author, she signed her ideas over to the company. Yeon-woo thinks it would be fair for Jung-in to get some compensation in return for her promise to drop the suit.
He mentions that it would also avoid complicating the merger, and CEO Hong says he feels like he’s being threatened by his own lawyer. Yeon-woo advises him to settle this before it goes on much longer, so CEO Hong sighs and asks how much he should offer.
Yeon-woo takes the offer to Jung-in, who’s reluctant to take the money, thinking it unfair to let things end like this. She says she doesn’t want money, sobbing that Yeon-woo doesn’t understand what was really taken away from her.
Yeon-woo talks things over with Kang-seok, who says pessimistically that Jung-in probably started this case knowing that the pending merger would make complicate things. Yeon-woo says she doesn’t want money, and Kang-seok warns that he can’t trust Yeon-woo if he keeps siding with the opposition.
Yeon-woo says that he knows Kang-seok hired Attorney Kim because she knows his secret, and that he trusts him, too. He says that’s why he’s trying so hard to become the lawyer Kang-seok wants him to be, but Kang-seok says he just wants him to be a lawyer to protects his own client. He warns that if Yeon-woo focuses on the wounds of the past…
But Yeon-woo stops him, the phrase “wounds of the past” reminding him of Jung-in saying that an opportunity became nothing more than a permanent scar, and her mention of what was taken from her. He wonders if there’s a wound from her past that he doesn’t know about.
He leaves, stopping by Ji-na’s office, and takes her to meet Jung-in. When they hear Jung-in’s story, Yeon-woo apologizes sincerely. Ji-na gently asks if Jung-in has proof that her “wound from the past” was rape, so she shows them texts from CEO Hong expressing worry about her and apologizing over and over.
Jung-in says it happened the same day she signed on to be a writer for the publishing company. She sobs that she was scared that nobody would believe a lowly aspiring writer, but now she regrets not reporting the assault, though she’s not trying to make a belated rape claim.
She tells them that not only did CEO Hong never apologize for raping her, he also shamelessly stole her story idea without her permission. Later, Yeon-woo wants to report the assault and take Jung-in as a client, but Ji-na reminds him that it’s against the law to take a case brought on by an opposing party.
But she does praise Yeon-woo for caring about Jung-in’s side in the first place. She says that she’s confident he’ll find a way to help Jung-in, because he’s a competent lawyer, but Yeon-woo just says she doesn’t know him very well.
Over drinks after work, Kang-seok asks Attorney Kim how she figured out Yeon-woo’s secret. She says she was curious about Yeon-woo and used all her resources to look into him. She asks Kang-seok if he’s worried that she knows his weakness, and he objects to the idea that he only hired her because he was scared. He says he hired her because she’s someone the firm needs, but that’s all.
He warns that if Attorney Kim mentions anything about Yeon-woo from now on, she’ll fail to get what she wants in the future and lose everything she’s ever had. He says he’s not threatening her, just sharing weaknesses, and hands her an envelope. The papers inside are about an assault Attorney Kim’s brother committed while in the army, and Kang-seok warns that she won’t be able to protect her brother if he goes to prison. Attorney Kim gulps her drink, then accepts Kang-seok’s terms.
Ji-na mentions that they said once before that they don’t know much about each other, and admits that she wants to know more about him. Yeon-woo says he wants to know more about Ji-na, too, accidentally giving too much away when he says he worries about her.
Ji-na grins and teases him, making him stammer and blush until she takes pity and stops him with a kiss. Then she gets shy and says she has another rabbit to take care of now. She starts to walk away, but Yeon-woo yanks her back and plants a really good kiss on her in return. When they finally break apart, Ji-na asks if Yeon-woo wants ramyun, and he nods shyly, unsure if she means ramyun or “ramyun.”
She means dinner, of course, and as they eat, they tell each other their little likes and dislikes. Yeon-woo smiles happily when he talks about his grandmother, who raised him, and when Ji-na says her parents divorced when she was young, he murmurs that they both had hard times growing up.
But he suddenly realizes that after a while the hard times seem a lot less difficult. He brings up Jung-in and says that they just need to finish their job, and Jung-in can hire a different attorney from another firm to handle her assault case — it’s not something they need to worry about. He says they can just get over it with time, and Ji-na obviously likes the way Yeon-woo is thinking of them as a team.
Outside his grandmother’s hospital, Yeon-woo passes a group of protesters, demanding that the hospital hire more permanent employees. He goes in and asks Grandma if the protesters bothers her, but she’s understanding of their frustration since taking care of the elderly is a difficult job.
Yeon-woo teases her to get better soon so she can come home and cook for him. Grandma asks if he doesn’t have someone special he’d rather be with, and Yeon-woo admits that there’s someone, though she doesn’t know him well yet.
A young nurse comes to check Grandma’s blood pressure, forgetting that she already did it, and Yeon-woo sighs that he’s similarly confused at his job. Grandma tells him that people make a lot of mistakes on the way to becoming who they are, and that if things go well from the beginning, then he won’t learn good from bad.
In the morning, Yeon-woo tells Kang-seok that he can’t overlook that their client sexually assaulted Jung-in, and Kang-seok admits that Yeon-woo isn’t wrong. Yeon-woo says that he knows he can’t defend their opponent, but he can use the information to pressure his client to stop his plagiarism.
Kang-seok tells him that threatening their own client is a violation, but Yeon-woo argues that it’s an agreement, not a threat. Kang-seok insists that it’s a betrayal of his client, but Yeon-woo asks why he should be loyal to someone like CEO Hong. Reluctantly, Kang-seok agrees to let Yeon-woo handle this his way on one condition — that he ensures the merger still goes through smoothly.
In Ji-na’s office, both she and Yeon-woo are a bit awkward after last night. Eventually Yeon-woo stammers that he wants Ji-na’s help representing Jung-in. Ji-na agrees, but she second-guesses herself on the way, since she’s just a paralegal.
She hesitates, so Yeon-woo tells her that she’s the person who helped him climb the stairs when he couldn’t even step forward alone. He says that there’s no reason to be nervous, since this is the real deal, not a test, but Ji-na isn’t fooled.
They meet with Jung-in and CEO Hong, where Yeon-woo presents Jung-in with a document withdrawing her lawsuit for copyright infringement (she’ll still receive the settlement money), since her story ideas were not protected by copyright. CEO Hong smirks, until Yeon-woo hands him an agreement that agrees to recognize Jung-in’s original idea, in exchange for her withdrawal of her suit.
CEO Hong pitches a fit, so Ji-na informs him that he has no right to be angry after stealing Jung-in’s dream for profit. She outlines his assault of Jung-in in excruciating detail, including his incriminating apologetic texts the following day.
Looking so proud of Ji-na he could burst, Yeon-woo tells CEO Hong that Jung-in’s lawyers are prepared to report him to the police if he doesn’t sign the agreement. Without a word, CEO Hong signs, then offers Jung-in a sincere apology. Yeon-woo says that an apology is a start, but that after the merger, he hopes CEO Hong turns himself in. CEO Hong offers to turn himself in immediately if Jung-in can forgive him, but she says that what he needs is his own forgiveness.
Outside, Jung-in thanks Yeon-woo and hugs Ji-na, who’s a bit startled when Jung-in calls her “Attorney Kim.” She knows Ji-na isn’t a real lawyer, but she says she was the best lawyer to her today.
After Jung-in leaves, Yeon-woo tells Ji-na that she did great, joking that she needs to work on her temper. She grumbles good-naturedly, then says that she sees now that she was the one getting help from Yeon-woo. She noticed that he could have done this himself, but he brought her there to help her out.
Yeon-woo says that he’s not that much of a genius, ha, and trots off arrogantly. He leaves Ji-na muttering to herself that he’s worked his way into her heart, and may end up staying for good.
Yeon-woo presents his results to Kang-seok, proud enough to pop a button over his creative solution that settled the case and got CEO Hong punished for his wrongdoing. Kang-seok complains that he turned the case into something they can’t get paid for, but he also adds that they’ll drop CEO Hong as a client after the merger.
He gives Yeon-woo a gorgeous watch, telling him to stop wearing his broken watch. Yeon-woo reminds him that he wears the watch for personal reasons, but Kang-seok says that the gift is a remembrance for his first solo case. He moves to take the watch back, but Yeon-woo says that he’ll keep it since he did do very well, hee.
Yeon-woo admires the watch, grinning to himself, which makes Kang-seok smile despite his dissatisfaction at how Yeon-woo’s first case turned out. He gives Yeon-woo another playing card — the ten of hearts. Yeon-woo asks why it’s hearts, and Kang-seok says that it’s because he didn’t work the case alone, but got his girlfriend’s help.
Liking the sound of the word “girlfriend,” Yeon-woo asks how Kang-seok knew. Kang-seok says that he sees everything Yeon-woo does, and tells him that the firm forbids office romances. Yeon-woo objects to such an old-fashioned rule, then backs up and asks why Kang-seok thinks they’re dating.
But when Kang-seok asks, “Are you?” Yeon-woo almost yells, “Yes!” Kang-seok says that’s a good thing and asks why Yeon-woo is all twisted up, making Yeon-woo blink in confusion, hee.
Suddenly, Da-ham bursts in with bad news: Director Ham has called the firm to the lecture hall to announce that he’s back.
Director Ham is an interesting character, from what we know of him, and I have no doubt he’s about to turn Kang & Ham on its ear. From what I could gather, he was doing some pretty serious embezzlement before Ha-yeon threatened to tell his wife about his affair (not sure with whom). He lost it and attacked her, which got him kicked out, but now that his wife is gone and there’s nothing to keep him in line, he’s decided to go back to work. I’m fuzzy on some of the details and motivations, but I’m sure we’ll learn in time, and I’m actually looking forward to see the firm get a good shake-up… so long as everyone stays safe.
I’d really hoped that Kang-seok and Yeon-woo’s ethical slip-ups of last week would be addressed, because I see their recent behavior as being extremely problematic. I’d hoped that they were both behaving badly as a way for the show to point out what can happen when lawyers go astray, and that their hypocritical decisions would lead to some revelations, not just conveniently forgotten for storytelling purposes. But their professional life seems to have gone on as normal, so I’m worried that their bad choices will be swept under the rug. It doesn’t help that Kang & Ham itself keeps taking on shady cases that could create conflicts of interest (just handling a merger and a lawsuit involving the same company at the same time seems iffy to me). I’m counting on Attorney Kim, who knows very well that Yeon-woo is a fake and that Kang-seok is aware of it, to serve as a moral compass for them, to point out that they’re both behaving in opposition to their clients’ best interests.
It’s a strange feeling, to be wishing for our antagonists to be taken down a peg. But I really feel that Kang-seok’s hypocritical choices and illegal actions in handling the retrial, and Yeon-woo’s actively attempting to send his own client to jail, need to be addressed. These are not minor issues — they’re serious, illegal breaches of trust between lawyer and client, and both of them should be serving jail time for what they’ve done. It’s easy to say that the ends justify the means… as long as the bad guys go to prison, who cares how it happens? That’s exactly the attitude that Kang-seok claims made him quit being a prosecutor a decade ago, but even though he still acts like he’s above all that, he turns right around and does the exact same thing. And if I were Attorney Kim, I’d be watching Yeon-woo like a hawk — not just for practicing law without a license, but also for his tendency to get his clients to tell him their secrets then use those secrets against them.
And it sucks to have to say all this, because instinctively, I want to believe that it’s all okay so long as the bad guys are punished. But the law says that a lawyer must work in his client’s best interest, regardless of the truth. On the whole, it would be great if lawyers could be like Yeon-woo and look at both sides, then side with the person in the “right.” But there’s already a name for people who do that… judge. People have to be able to trust their lawyers and know that they won’t tell if they discover they’re guilty. Yeon-woo already broke that rule once, and even though he’s not a real lawyer, he’s got to learn that he can’t do that if he’s ever going to be one.
Luckily, Yeon-woo and Ji-na’s relationship is progressing right on time, because I think that Yeon-woo is going to need Ji-na’s ethical guidance. He knows the letter of the law, but Ji-na understands the spirit of the law, which is where Yeon-woo gets confused. He’s so hell-bent on always doing the right thing that he doesn’t stop to think whether the “right” thing is also the legal thing, but Ji-na is very clear on what a lawyer can and cannot do. She also knows that Yeon-woo is coming from a good, if naïve and inexperienced place, so she can help him use his idealism both legally and effectively. She inspired Yeon-woo to find a way to do the right thing while still properly representing his client, which is a lot more than Kang-seok has taught him. Now that they’ve figured out how they feel about each other I think they’ll make a pretty good team.