Suits: Episode 14
Da-ham’s mistake could very well cause Kang-seok to lose everything, and he’s scrambling for a way to salvage the situation. It’s only a matter of time before Kang-seok’s famous cold facade cracks and his emotions get the better of him. With even his most trusted people seeming to turn on him, Kang-seok may not be able to talk his way out of this one.
EPISODE 14: “The best way to keep a secret is not telling it to anyone.”
Ji-na chases Yeon-woo down in the lobby, distraught. She yells loudly, “What’s wrong with you? Did you have to take it that far? Why did you do that?!” But he doesn’t answer…
We backtrack to Da-ham’s dismissal as Kang-seok follows her to the lobby. Yeon-woo and Ji-na are watching from a short distance as Da-ham looks at Kang-seok tearfully for a moment, then turns to go.
Instead of returning to his empty office, Kang-seok sits in a conference room and has a drink. Later he shows up at Yeon-woo’s apartment, and when Yeon-woo asks if he’s drunk, he declares that he’s never been drunk in his life. Yeon-woo says that Da-ham knows his secret, and Kang-seok tells him that AK also knows.
Yeon-woo asks why Kang-seok didn’t protect Da-ham, but Kang-seok snaps that if he’d been forced to resign, or sent to prison, he couldn’t have protected her anyway. He wishes out loud that she’d told him about the fake memo when she first found it, and Yeon-woo is all, “Fake memo?”
Kang-seok explains that the quality control manager didn’t write the memo, it wasn’t officially sent, and Da-ham didn’t receive it. He concludes that it was put in evidence to trap him, and Yeon-woo takes a second to process this, then realizes that Da-ham must have destroyed the memo before they could prove it was forged.
Yeon-woo asks gently why he’s not doing something, but Kang-seok just says, “Tomorrow… tomorrow I’m going to work like nothing is wrong, and have a normal workday. I’ll try to find a way to resolve this. But if this goes wrong, you’ll have to find another job. You can now discern things and make the choice yourself.”
David Kim sends an updated agreement to Kang & Ham, this one saying that they’ll ignore the destruction of evidence if Kang-seok is fired and his law license revoked. If not, they’ll hold the entire firm responsible and disclose the situation to the media. DH advises Ha-yeon to take the deal, but Ha-yeon defends Kang-seok.
DH tells her that Da-ham’s mistake is Kang-seok’s mistake, so they have to do this before the partners find out that Kang-seok endangered the firm. Ha-yeon sneers that DH has finally revealed the true reason he returned, and he asks how it feels to be in his shoes.
Yeon-woo decides to talk to Kang Ah-young, the daughter of the man whose family was killed in the by the faulty wheel. She tells him that her family was having financial problems when her mother and brother were killed in the accident. When her father died, she nearly gave up on life, but then she was promised an insane amount of compensation money.
She asks Yeon-woo what he would have done in her place, then scoffs that he has no idea how she feels. He just says that she should be compensated, because the wheel was faulty, but he promises that the attorney defending the company didn’t know.
Ah-young remembers Kang-seok as a handsome man in a slick suit, and she recalls how she cried when he blamed her father for the accident in court. She says she doesn’t care if he knew about the faulty wheel or not, because Kang-seok’s tongue was the problem.
She stands to find Kang-seok nearby, and she asks him angrily if he’s here to ask her to drop the suit. Kang-seok says that Yuno Motors is planning to compensate her for damages, but that if she files another suit against him and his firm, it’s double indemnity (being compensated twice for the same incident). He adds that he truly didn’t know of the faulty wheel, and if this goes to court, the prosecutor will have to prove that he did know.
Instead of answering him, Ah-young pulls out her phone and calls someone (David?) to tell them that Kang-seok came to see her just like he said she would. She asks what to do, then walks away, shoulder-slamming Kang-seok as she passes.
Kang-seok tells DH and Ha-yeon that he’s going to take the case to court. DH is skeptical that the memo Da-ham found was fake, and when Kang-seok insists she didn’t know it was fake, DH accuses him of blaming his secretary or the firm for his mistake.
Kang-seok reminds Ha-yeon that she once said he speaks for her and the firm, but she recalls also saying that senior partners can’t afford to make mistakes. DH interrupts that he doesn’t care if Kang-seok goes to prison, but since this also affects the firm, he’s making the decisions.
Ha-yeon stops Kang-seok when he snaps that the firm belongs to Ha-yeon, not DH. She tells DH to continue pursuing a settlement, but on one condition — David Kim will have to prove that Kang-seok made a mistake.
DH nods and saunters out, and Kang-seok tells Ha-yeon that DH is trying to get rid of him so he can take Ha-yeon’s place. Ha-yeon just yells that Kang-seok shouldn’t have fallen for DH’s trap, so now he has to face the consequences.
On his way back to his office, AK pulls Kang-seok aside and plays him the tape from Geun-shik’s bug, guessing that that’s how DH found out about the lawsuit against the firm. This time Kang-seok waits in Geun-shik’s office, and when the rat returns, Kang-seok shoves him into a wall and grabs the recorder from his pocket.
Geun-shik has the nerve to claim that he’s trying to help Kang-seok, though another shove has him confessing. He thinks that Kang-seok has told Ha-yeon about this, but Kang-seok says he’s not like Geun-shik. He vows to have Geun-shik’s law license revoked if he keeps behaving this way, before storming out.
He’s still furious when he gets back to his own office, and he sweeps everything off his desk in a fit of anger. It’s still a mess when Yeon-woo arrives to ask what Kang-seok plans to do, but Kang-seok asks if he’s just worried for himself.
He says he’ll take the case to court once he proves the misunderstandings, and Yeon-woo voices the same fear as DH — that the firm will lose their clients’ trust. But Kang-seok just says that Yeon-woo needs to decide what to do about his own future.
Ji-na finds Yeon-woo brooding and tells him that Da-ham isn’t answering her calls. Yeon-woo asks what she thinks of him, and when she says he’s a good person, he asks, “What if I’m not a good person like you think I am? If I’m a conman full of lies, will you still consider me a good person?” Thinking a moment, Ji-na says that all he needs to ask is if she likes him.
She says he’s making it too complicated and that her answers is yes, dropping to banmal herself to say simply that she likes him. He asks why, and she says it’s just because he’s himself. Suddenly she stops, frowning, and asks if he caused trouble again. He starts to say no, but then he decides that maybe he should cause some trouble. He tells Ji-na that if he gets into real trouble, he’ll tell her everything.
He visits security to get the CCTV footage from the archives. After several hours of watching the video, he sees something that makes him frown in confusion. He finds DH in his office and asks to talk, and for some reason DH mentions that the native Americans considered Columbus a viper.
Yeon-woo points out that Columbus didn’t actually discover America, but was saved by America when he was lost. Remembering that Kang-seok called DH a viper that eats its own mother, Yeon-woo asks if DH believes that he saved Kang-seok (when he discovered his mentor suppressing evidence), only for Kang-seok to drive him out.
DH says he’s half right — he did save Kang-seok, but he stepped down because of his own mistake. Yeon-woo says that if Kang-seok steps down, it will be because of his mistake, and DH says that now he knows why Kang-seok hired Yeon-woo. He wishes they’d met sooner, but Yeon-woo argues that it’s good they met now.
He says that you shouldn’t stop just because your horse is tired, and DH asks if he’s ready to change horses. Yeon-woo replies with a grin, “No, but I’m ready to ride a tiger.” DH warns that the tiger may bite his neck, but Yeon-woo just nods.
David Kim arrives at the firm to discuss an agreement. Kang-seok asks where he got the forged memo, and David reveals that it was sent to him anonymously. Ha-yeon tells David that the person responsible for destroying the memo was fired immediately, and that she called him here to come to an agreement she can accept.
David mentions his original deal: that Yuno Motors will pay Kang Ah-young five billion won in return for Kang-seok’s disbarment. He raises the offer to ten billion won, but Kang-seok says he’ll just take it to court. Ha-yeon snaps at them both to stop when their comments start to get personal, but David continues, smirking that after firing Da-ham didn’t work, Kang-seok is now hiding behind “mommy.”
He says that he sees Kang-seok’s true self despite his flashy exterior, aware that he grew up with no mother and a gambler for a father. Kang-seok punches him, but David gets right back in his face to snarl that this is the real Kang-seok, and ends the negotiations.
Having witnessed the punch, Yeon-woo speaks privately with Ha-yeon to say he understands why she wanted to settle, but that he also knows she doesn’t want to let Kang-seok go. He thinks she can give Kang-seok one last chance to prove in advance that he can win the case against the firm in court with a mock trial.
He says that if Kang-seok loses the mock trial, he’s likely to lose in court, so they’ll agree to settle on David’s terms. But if Kang-seok wins the mock trial, they have reason to trust that he’ll be found innocent. Ha-yeon worries that DH won’t accept this plan, but Yeon-woo argues that he’ll be motivated to see Kang-seok kicked out and her position questioned.
When she takes the idea to DH, Ha-yeon offers DH the chance to prove that the memo was real and that Kang-seok knew about it through the mock trial, and in the process prove that he himself wasn’t involved. She sweetens the deal by offering to resign as managing partner if Kang-seok loses the mock trial, and DH chuckles gleefully.
Ha-yeon does have one condition, which was Yeon-woo’s idea — that Yeon-woo plays the prosecutor. Ha-yeon doubted that DH would agree, so Yeon-woo promises to convince him. She takes the plan to Kang-seok, and they agree that they need to convince Da-ham to testify for this to work.
Meanwhile, Yeon-woo approaches DH about playing prosecutor in the mock trial. He vows to win and get Kang-seok kicked out with a testimony about Kang-seok destroying evidence. DH asks why he’d do it the hard way, so Yeon-woo says that he owes it to Kang-seok to give him a chance.
But he promises DH that he’ll win and prove that he’s worthy to be on his side by enacting his revenge so that nobody knows. DH agrees to the mock trial, but he tells Ha-yeon that he also has a condition: that the senior partners serve as the jury, and that Geun-shik plays prosecutor instead of Yeon-woo.
When everything is agreed upon, Yeon-woo tells Kang-seok, who asks what Yeon-woo’s game is. In answer, Yeon-woo hands Kang-seok a file and says they need to take a risk to discover who’s behind this. He asks if Kang-seok trusts him, but Kang-seok says he doesn’t — from this moment forward they’re a prosecutor and the accused.
Yeon-woo finds Geun-shik practicing his statements in the restroom. Geun-shik tells him to get lost, but Yeon-woo reminds him that they’re partners and assures him that he’s on DH’s side now.
DH admits to Ha-yeon that he agreed to the mock trial because he has nothing to lose either way. He tells her that she can keep her position even if Kang-seok loses, assuming that she wants Yeon-woo to be the prosecutor to assure herself a win. Instead of correcting him, she asks what happens if she wins, and DH says they’ll take the case to court.
Yeon-woo visits Da-ham, who says she won’t testify in the mock trial. He says he’s partly responsible because he gave her a chance to tell Kang-seok about the memo herself, and she asks why Kang-seok can ask this of her. Yeon-woo says that she made the mistake, but it’s Kang-seok who may be disbarred or even imprisoned.
Da-ham sighs that there’s nothing she can do and invites Yeon-woo to speak to her lawyer. Yeon-woo huffs incredulously, then says that if she’s already made a decision, then he’ll stop caring about her, too, but he warns that she’ll regret this for the rest of her life. She points out that he’s the one doing something he’ll regret, telling him to go back where he belongs.
Kang-seok and Ha-yeon discuss the fact that both of their futures depend on the results of the mock trial. Ha-yeon doesn’t tell Kang-seok that DH offered to let her keep her position — instead she tells Kang-seok that he had better win.
The mock trial begins, and Geun-shik starts by questioning Kang-seok. Kang-seok testifies that he considers himself honest, so Geun-shik asks him about a time when Geun-shik was Kang-seok’s associate, and Kang-seok hid a file from him. A flashback shows that Kang-seok was merely playing a prank, which he testifies to now.
Geun-shik asks if that makes it okay and if Kang-seok ever apologized, and Kang-seok says no to both questions. He denies that anything else like that ever happened, but Geun-shik states that there were many incidents. He says that Kang-seok has no conscience, and Ha-yeon finally objects that all of this is irrelevant.
But Geun-shik claims that it’s relevant because due to Kang-seok’s inability to admit fault, two people died and the accident survivor ended up killing himself. DH (who is acting as judge) calls an hour-long recess, and Geun-shik offers Kang-seok an insincere apology.
During the break, AK tells DH that Yeon-woo is lying about being a lawyer, and that she got this job because she threatened Kang-seok. She adds that she’s here to prove to DH that she wants to be on his side.
Meanwhile, Geun-shik brags about how awesome he was, thanking Yeon-woo for writing his script. Yeon-woo says it will be fine as long as Da-ham also follows the script. Geun-shik says that first, DH wants to make sure Yeon-woo is really with them, and sends him into DH’s office.
DH says that he heard Yeon-woo is the reason Kang-seok hired AK, and AK tells Yeon-woo that DH knows his secret. DH wants to know why Kang-seok chose Yeon-woo as his associate, and AK asks why he’s now betraying Kang-seok to side with them.
Ha-yeon paces in her office, concerned that the partners will turn their backs on her. Kang-seok asks if she’s worried about him, or her position, reminding her of who he is. He promises that he’ll disappear quietly if they lose and asks her to do her best.
Yeon-woo says that he knows why DH decided to make the mock trial into a jury vote — because out of thirty-eight senior partners, he and Ha-yeon each have the guaranteed loyalty of fifteen. That leaves eight uncertain votes, but since the case against the firm will look bad if it goes to court, DH is counting on those partners voting against it.
Those eight voters will also come to trust DH more, since he’s the one who doesn’t want this to go to court, tipping things in his favor. Yeon-woo says that Kang-seok hired him because he’s capable of quickly reading a room, and that’s also why he’s on DH’s side now — he trusts numbers, not humans, and DH is practically guaranteed to come out on top.
Yeon-woo leaves DH’s office, and DH also dismisses Geun-shik, leaving him alone with AK. He says the Kang-seok he knows wouldn’t let his opponent use his weakness as a threat, but would instead use the opponent’s weakness to make an agreement, concluding that AK must have a weakness.
When the mock trial resumes, Ha-yeon questions Kang-seok. He testifies that his first job for Ha-yeon was to fire people, and that he once told Ha-yeon that he resented her for it. She corrects that he actually said he wanted to spit in her face, and that for a year after that, he would only take public interest cases or threaten to resign, and he admits sheepishly that he was immature.
Ha-yeon addresses the audience, mentioning the toast truck outside the building every morning. She says that it used to be a shabby snack cart, but now it’s a nice food truck run by the former owner’s son. She reveals that Kang-seok actually owns that food truck, and Kang-seok looks uncomfortable.
Another flashback shows Kang-seok frequenting the old snack cart, but one day the cart was gone and the owner’s son was sitting dejectedly on the curb. Kang-seok had asked about his mother, and soon, instead of the old cart, a fancy new food truck was in its place.
Kang-seok had told the man that if anyone ever wanted to buy the truck, to have them call his lawyer. The man asked why (he bought him the new truck), in sign language. Kang-seok simply said, “Because it’s delicious.”
Ha-yeon says that Kang-seok is the same person now as he was when he said he wanted to spit in her face — a man with a kind heart, whether it’s towards a client or an opponent, though he doesn’t want people to know. She speculates that it’s because having a warm heart means you have a lot to protect.
Kang-seok breaks in to snap that it also means you have a lot of weaknesses, which you can’t afford if you want to last at Kang & Ham. Ha-yeon adds that it’s not luck that makes him a lawyer with a clean record. She says he’s always won and never created controversy, and Geun-shik asks when she’s going to make an actual argument. Ha-yeon says simply, “There is no argument.”
Later, DH sneers to Yeon-woo that Ha-yeon and Kang-seok are playing for the sympathy vote. Yeon-woo says he’ll have to attack Kang-seok’s weakness, and when the trial resumes, he looks ready to do just that. He calls Da-ham as a witness, and she enters the room to testify.
Yeon-woo asks her if Kang-seok ordered her to destroy the memo, or if she did it on her own after he told her not to, but after each question she simply says, “I refuse to testify.” Yeon-woo asks if she would do something illegal if Kang-seok asked her to, but she says he would never ask, so Yeon-woo asks if there’s a reason she’s not answering the actual question.
With a glance towards Kang-seok, Yeon-woo asks Da-ham if she’s in love with Kang-seok. Kang-seok looks very interested in her answer, and Ha-yeon objects that it’s irrelevant, but Yeon-woo says it’s relevant because if she loves him, she might do something wrong for her loved one.
Ha-yeon objects again, saying that how Da-ham feels doesn’t matter. But Yeon-woo says it also doesn’t matter whether Kang-seok has a kind heart or not. He asks again if she loves Kang-seok, and Da-ham remembers the times she’s acted on her own in Kang-seok’s best interest, like handing in her list of the times Deputy Chief Prosecutor Oh suppressed evidence.
Kang-seok orders Yeon-woo to stop, but he asks again, “Do you love him?!” Da-ham stammers tearfully, and when Yeon-woo pushes for an answer, Kang-seok bellows, “I’ll say I ordered her to do it, so stop!!” Da-ham gets up and runs from the room, and DH ends the mock trial.
Kang-seok follows Da-ham and catches up to her in the lobby, but he doesn’t call out to her. Instead he goes back to confront Yeon-woo, who says that he taught him that to turn a trial around, you have to shake someone up. Kang-seok barks that he destroyed Da-ham today, not him, but Yeon-woo just says that if Kang-seok wanted to protect her, he shouldn’t have let her get fired.
He adds that Kang-seok shouldn’t have weaknesses or enemies either, because Da-ham and Ha-yeon are doing all this to protect him. Kang-seok murmurs that Yeon-woo really means what he said, and Yeon-woo reminds him that he had to make his own choice.
He leaves, running into DH, who smiles with satisfaction and pride. They go to DH’s office, where Yeon-woo says that Ha-yeon’s statements made the jury see Kang-seok’s character in a different light, so they need to do something else to win the mock trial (and thus make Kang-seok resign). His suggestion is to convince CEO Seo from Yuno Motors settle the case, which would make it look like Kang-seok threatened him. DH agrees so Yeon-woo leaves to talk with CEO Seo, but Geun-shik looks unsettled.
Ji-na has been watching the mock trial, and she catches Yeon-woo before he leaves. Upset, she asks why he attacked Da-ham, and if he really plans to put an end to Da-ham and Kang-seok this way. She calls him cruel, and his eyes only betray the slightest flicker before he turns to walk away from her.
As he goes, he thinks to himself, “The best way to keep a secret is not telling it to anyone.”
I wasn’t sure before, but now I’m 100% convinced that Kang-seok loves Da-ham. His mantra has always been to win at any cost, but he’s willing to throw everything away — his career, his good name, the respect of his peers — to save Da-ham. I didn’t think this was a show that could make me cry, but the moment when he offered to confess to stop Da-ham from crying got me right here.
I had a feeling the whole mock trial issue would come up again, after the show took such pains to have Yeon-woo fail spectacularly the first time. I’m confident that Yeon-woo is playing both sides and not truly trying to oust Kang-seok from the firm, but I’m worried about what his plan actually is. He’s in a good position to lose purposely, ensuring that the case goes to trial, which is what Kang-seok wants because it puts the burden on the opposition to show that he knowingly suppressed evidence (David Kim will be forced to prove that Kang-seok knew about the original memo, but since the original memo never existed, it will be impossible). But Yeon-woo seems to be torpedoing every good relationship he has in order to help Kang-seok, and I don’t really know why. Yes he respects Kang-seok, but their relationship isn’t exactly a good one, so why is Yeon-woo willing to sacrifice everything for him?
That being said, I’m confused as to why Kang-seok is still being held responsible for the destruction of the fake evidence after Da-ham’s dismissal. She was fired to show that the firm took her mistake very seriously, and doesn’t tolerate that kind of disregard for the law. And Kang-seok didn’t even know about the memo until after it was gone, so there’s no way anyone can say he’s as guilty as Da-ham, and yet they’re saying exactly that. Maybe it’s the same cultural opinion that says that family members can be held responsible when someone breaks the law, but I don’t really understand that opinion, either.
I’m also very confused by a lot that happened during the mock trial — to be fair, everything I know about the law comes from American television, but so much about the mock trial seemed very wrong to me. First of all, Geun-shik was obviously using his position as prosecutor to air his own personal grievances against Kang-seok, and at the very least, if he felt his experiences were relevant, Yeon-woo should have questioned Geun-shik as a witness. But he was allowed to stand up there and state negative personal opinions about Kang-seok, which rubbed me the wrong way. Second, why was DH allowed to be the judge? He’s much too biased against Kang-seok, so they should have found someone truly neutral. Also, Geun-shik claimed that Kang-seok’s unwillingness to admit fault caused two deaths, but that makes no sense… the man’s wife and son were already dead when the accident trial took place two years ago. It was CEO Seo’s cover-up of the faulty wheel that caused the deaths, before the trial. Even Ha-yeon was allowed to tell a story instead of questioning Kang-seok, and to make assumptions about his character, which I can’t imagine would be allowed in a true courtroom, mock or not.
That said, I’m glad we got to learn that Kang-seok does have weaknesses, and very humanitarian ones, at that. He’s shown a marked disregard for people’s circumstances in the past, even when doing his job means making their circumstances worse. I don’t really buy Ha-yeon’s assertion that he’s a big softie, but I can believe that Kang-seok compartmentalizes — puts his feelings away when he’s working so that his emotions don’t influence his actions. He knows that he has the ability to care too much, so he just shuts that side of himself down completely. It would explain why Yeon-woo has been described as “exactly like Kang-seok, but completely different,” and it’s true — they both care a lot about people, but Kang-seok is afraid to let himself feel those things while Yeon-woo lets his emotions guide him. But now Yeon-woo is learning to hide his real feelings in order to win, and Kang-seok is letting his emotions get in the way of his convictions, and I’m not sure it’s a good look on either of them.