Suits: Episode 15
Yeon-woo has a lot to explain after winning the trial and destroying Da-ham in the process. Of course he had a plan, and it doesn’t end there, but his plans do have the unfortunate side effect of angering someone no matter what he does. He’ll have to stay on his toes as his enemies get closer to discovering his deep, dark secret, but he may also find some friends in unexpected places.
EPISODE 15: “When you lose your destination, look back on the path you’ve walked thus far.”
Kang-seok stalks down the hallway at Kang & Ham, a grim look on his face. Yeon-woo breathlessly tries to stop him, but Kang-seok just glares at him furiously.
Earlier, Yeon-woo had gone to speak to CEO Seo of Yuno Motors. He called Director Ham then handed over the phone, and Director Ham told CEO Seo to answer Yeon-woo’s questions honestly.
At the firm, the partners vote on whether to allow Kang-seok to take the case against him to trial. Before that vote, Director Ham wants to vote on promoting Geun-shik to senior partner. He claims that their clients are concerned that the firm was sued and has made enemies with the prosecutor’s office, so he wants to keep talented personnel from leaving.
The vote is almost declared a tie, except Ha-yeon notices that Kang-seok hasn’t voted. In his office, Geun-shik is going batty with waiting, even promising his goldfish that he’ll release her to a large river if he’s promoted. He gets a call with the vote results, and apologizes to his fish for not being able to free her — then he cackles that he was just joking. What is Kang-seok thinking??
Geun-shik saunters to the conference room to take his place as a senior partner, sending a saucy wink in Kang-seok’s direction. Ha-yeon starts the vote regarding Kang-seok’s case, and Director Ham announces that she promised to resign from her position if the vote goes against Kang-seok.
Kang-seok says that Director Ham talks like something illegal went on at the firm, and he asks for proof. In walks Yeon-woo, and Director Ham asks smugly what Kang-seok will do if he does have proof. Kang-seok says he’ll pay the price, and Director Ham offers a counter-deal — if Kang-seok wins, Director Ham will resign.
After a long look at Kang-seok, Yeon-woo plays a recording of his conversation with CEO Seo. CEO Seo says that after the quality control manager told him of the problem with the fault steering wheel, he met with Director Ham. He claims that Director Ham asked for all the details about the defect, and that it was Director Ham who wrote up the fake memo.
Kang-seok accuses Director Ham of hiding the truth about the faulty wheel. With CEO Seo’s written statement projected over Director Ham’s head, Kang-seok demands his resignation. Yeon-woo adds that David Kim had one copy of the memo that Director Ham wrote — the other was found in the archives. He says that Director Ham placed it there after coming back to the firm.
Director Ham denies ever going near the archives, Kang-seok agrees that they checked the CCTV footage, and discovered that Geun-shik placed the fake memo in the archives. Geun-shik splutters a denial, but Yeon-woo says that when Geun-shik replaced the files he used to brief Director Ham after his return to the firm, there was an extra file. Geun-shik sits down with a thump, realizing that he was used.
Kang-seok and Yeon-woo explain the timeline: Director Ham made it look like Da-ham signed the fake memo two years ago, and gave a copy to David Kim. David wasn’t aware it was fake, he only cared that it was a way to take down Kang-seok. But Kang-seok adds that David wouldn’t want to become an accomplice to a criminal act.
Kang-seok reminds Director Ham that he called him a snake, and says that Director Ham should have known the snake could bite him. He says that he and Yeon-woo were willing to risk everything before starting this fight, but he guesses that Director Ham wasn’t.
Ha-yeon starts the vote, but she states that the defendant is now Director Ham, not Kang-seok. She calls for a show of hands voting to find him guilty, and every hand in the room goes up, including a sheepish but angry Geun-shik’s. Ha-yeon declares Director Ham guilty by unanimous vote.
Director Ham is furious at Yeon-woo for betraying him, and Yeon-woo points out that he expected him to betray Kang-seok. Kang-seok says it’s all over, though Director Ham growls that it’s not over for him. Ha-yeon asks Kang-seok how he did all this, but Kang-seok tells her to ask the guy who planned it. Yeon-woo shyly admits that this was all his idea, and she tells him he did well.
When Director Ham comes to her office, Ha-yeon says that David Kim was disqualified as a senior partner at his new firm, and the case against Kang-seok was closed. She tells Director Ham that if he promises not to do or say anything, she’ll continue giving him a paycheck. He snarls that one day, this same thing will happen to her or Kang-seok, but she says that even if it does, he won’t be there.
Director Ham has a grip on Ha-yeon’s heavy nameplate, as if he’s going to fly into a rage the way he did the last time Ha-yeon made him leave the company. But this time he sets the nameplate down and leaves her office without a word.
In Kang-seok’s office, Yeon-woo apologizes for betraying Kang-seok and joining Director Ham’s side in the mock trial. Kang-seok says that he understands that Yeon-woo had to fool everyone, but that he went a bit too far when he questioned Da-ham. Yeon-woo confesses that he really wanted to win, and Kang-seok says that means Yeon-woo wanted to win against him. Kang-seok looks proud, and tells Yeon-woo that he won this time.
Yeon-woo hopefully holds out a fist for a bump. Kang-seok raises his fist…then places his hand over Yeon-woo’s and pushes it down. With a sigh, Yeon-woo agrees that his win didn’t feel that great.
Da-ham arrives home later to find two very contrite men on her porch. She mutters that she knew Kang-seok was bad, but she had no idea Yeon-woo was so nasty. Yeon-woo meekly apologizes, and she tells him sarcastically not to be, since she broke the law.
Kang-seok offers Da-ham the plane tickets she left behind, telling to take another week off then come back to work. He reveals that Yeon-woo discovered that she’s innocent, and that Director Ham set her up. Stunned by the realization that Yeon-woo was the one who saved her, Da-ham slams a knee into his leg, while Kang-seok slooowly backs out of range, LOL.
She calms down, and Kang-seok confirms that both of them have been cleared of wrongdoing. Yeon-woo apologizes again, and she thanks him and gives him a hug (Kang-seok backs up again, just in case, hee). Yeon-woo wisely gets the heck out of there, leaving Da-ham and Kang-seok — who looks a little scared — to talk alone.
Kang-seok starts to say something, but Da-ham stops him, knowing that he’s bad at mushy stuff. She holds out a hand for her tickets, and Kang-seok hands them over and thanks her. He suddenly wants to know how long she’s had feelings for him, and she tries to knee him, too. He nimbly side-steps and saunters away.
Geun-shik is moping in his office when AK comes to see him, teasing that his motto has always been that other people must perform badly to make him look good. He grumbles that this time, he was those other people, and that he only got promoted to senior partner so that Director Ham could use him for his vote.
AK tells Geun-shik that it was Kang-seok’s vote that got him the promotion. He runs to Director Ham’s office to ask if it’s true, and to confront him about tricking him into putting that fake memo in the archives. Director Ham denies any involvement and tells Geun-shik to just do as he’s told. Geun-shik laughs and says it’s the other way around — he’ll mentor Director Ham, then Director Ham will do as he says.
When he can’t find Ji-na in her office, Yeon-woo goes to visit Grandma, and he finds Ji-na there visiting her. Grandma tells him that “our Ji-na” brought her grapes, and the ladies tease Yeon-woo when he’s surprised at how close they are.
Later, Ji-na tells Yeon-woo that she hoped she’d see him if she visited Grandma, whom she missed anyway. She says she knows why he was so hard on Da-ham, but she wants to know why he hid it from her, since they’re “special,” so he explains that he had to in order to keep his plan a secret from Director Ham.
She forgives him, and says it will be a long time before she learns what kind of person he really is. He agrees there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him, and she asks what it was he wanted to tell her about himself. But Yeon-woo just suggests they study law together again, and asks Ji-na when an act is legally considered fraud.
Ji-na defines fraud as an act of actively deceiving someone on an issue that should be disclosed, to gain financial profit. She asks if he deceived her, and he says he was wondering if he took anything from her. Ji-na says he took a lot, all the times that he made her angry or worried, and he apologizes.
He tries to confess his deceit, but Ji-na just takes his hand and says sweetly, “I’ll wait. There are things we sometimes can’t say even if we want to. I’ll just wait until you’re ready to tell me.”
Director Ham goes over AK’s resume and says she’s competent, but everyone has a weakness. He says that he knows her brother committed assault when he was in the army, but that somehow, she pulled some strings so that the victim took the blame. AK isn’t smiling anymore, and Director Ham demands to know why Kang-seok really hired her.
The following morning, Yeon-woo joins Kang-seok on his way in to work, looking smug from his win over a Harvard law graduate. Kang-seok says he let him win, so Yeon-woo asks for an admission that he protected Kang-seok, and instead of calling him crazy like usual, Kang-seok grumbles, “It’s me, I’m the crazy one.”
Da-ham is back, and she unpacks her desk while the guys play trash can basketball in Kang-seok’s office (Yeon-woo’s Happy Dance of Victory is everything). Unfortunately, they have time on their hands due to a sudden drop in caseload.
A woman lets herself into Ji-na’s office, and Ji-na stammers nervously until the woman says she’s here as CEO Jo of Kim & Jo law firm, not as Ji-na’s mother. Oooooh. She notices that Ji-na is studying law again and says it takes courage to admit one’s limits, but Ji-na says that she’s determined to overcome her limits lately.
Her mother just says that she did well lowering her voice when speaking to a stronger opponent. Wow. She says it’s been a while since they spoke, and Ji-na clarifies that she’s been choosing not to see her mother.
Yeon-woo bursts in, and he’s contrite when he sees she has a visitor. Ji-na says it’s okay since her visitor is leaving, and CEO asks his name. She sneers that he doesn’t seem very bright, leaving Yeon-woo wondering what just happened.
Ji-na explains to Yeon-woo that the lovely woman who insulted him is her mother, and the CEO of Kim & Jo. He sighs that he has a lot to learn about her, too, which makes her sensitive that she doesn’t seem like much next to her big-shot mom. But actually, Yeon-woo says that he’s nowhere near her league.
CEO Jo makes her way to Ha-yeon’s office, and she tells Ha-yeon that many of Kang & Ham’s clients are switching to her firm. She suggests a merger of the two firms, and both Ha-yeon and Kang-seok look uncomfortable. CEO Jo says that that if they kick out Director Ham again, he’ll try to destroy them, but either way things will get very difficult.
She says that people know what happened after Director Ham returned, and their clients are leaving, but Kang-seok says it’s not that bad. He snaps that CEO Jo isn’t trying to save them, but just trying to take over when she has a chance, and she grins that it’s both.
Director Ham calls Yeon-woo to his office to show him a pro bono case about recruitment corruption, but he says that a fake lawyer who was recruited illegally probably shouldn’t take such a case. He shows Yeon-woo his discovery that Yeon-woo dropped out of high school, and orders him to tell Kang-seok that they need to come to an agreement.
After CEO Jo leaves, Ha-yeon says that she wasn’t wrong about how everyone knows Kang-seok turned on the prosecution, and what Director Ham did, and they’re losing both clients and partners. She sighs that she shouldn’t have shown her weakness, and when Kang-seok asks what it is, she says, “I trusted you.” Ouch.
He ask if she thinks this is all his fault. She says that’s partially true, but Kang-seok says that it looks like Ha-yeon is the one breaking down, not the firm. He reminds her of how they got here, and says he never wants to see Kim & Jo’s name on their sign.
On his way out, he runs into Geun-shik, who says that he works here too, and Kang-seok is their ace. He wants to know Kang-seok’s plan, but Kang-seok doesn’t say a word.
Yeon-woo goes to Kang-seok and learns about the merge offer. Kang-seok says they have to stop the merge no matter what, and Yeon-woo worries that if they merge, background checks will be done on everyone and his secret will be revealed.
Kang-seok denies that he’s opposing the merger to protect Yeon-woo, but Yeon-woo says that they’ll discover that he’s Kang-seok’s weakness. He tells Kang-seok that Director Ham knows he’s a fake, and Kang-seok actually looks scared.
He finds Director Ham at his martial arts studio and asks what Director Ham wants. Director Ham says he simply wants his law firm back. Kang-seok spits that it was never his law firm, and that he still has all the evidence of Director Ham’s illegal acts.
Director Ham reminds Kang-seok that he has evidence, too, of Yeon-woo’s deceit. He says that Ha-yeon will probably agree to the merger, and that Kang-seok will be kicked out. Kang-seok accuses him of trying to get between them, and tells him to just be blunt.
Director Ham growls, “Kang & Ham is mine. If she wants to merge, get me back on the papers as managing partner.” He says that if that doesn’t happen, he’ll tell Ha-yeon and the police about Yeon-woo.
Kang-seok says this isn’t an agreement — it’s a cheap threat, and revenge. Director Ham says it’s a game, and a bet where the loser loses everything. Kang-seok says he’s up for a fight, but he warns Director Ham to stick to the agreement.
Yeon-woo is waiting, and Kang-seok tells him that Director Ham could have reported him to the police, or accused Kang-seok of fraud, but that he won’t do anything to harm the firm because he wants his position back. Yeon-woo guesses that Director Ham wants his share of the profit from the merger, but Kang-seok thinks there’s something else going on, too.
Ha-yeon meets with one of the firm’s partners and assures him that the firm is doing fine. He’s not convinced, but Ha-yeon reveals that they’re in the process of a merger, and that everything will go back to normal once that’s done.
Kang-seok arrives as the partner is leaving, and he promises Ha-yeon that he’ll find a way to stop the merger by tomorrow. She says that several more partners are threatening to leave, and at this rate, the firm might really go bankrupt. Kang-seok promises to do what he can to protect her and the firm, and he asks her to trust him one more time.
Kang-seok shakes Geun-shik out of an epic sulk to recruit his help in stopping the merger. Geun-shik tries to ignore him, but the idea of being included is more than he can resist.
Later, Geun-shik brings Yeon-woo a box of files and meekly offers to help look for a way to stop the merger. After Yeon-woo recovers from the shock, he grins and they get to work.
Ha-yeon is furious at Director Ham, but he says they should work together to stop the firm from being destroyed. He says he knows Kang-seok is trying to stop the merger, but he thinks it’s better to go ahead with the merger, keeping their clients and saving the company.
Skeptical, Ha-yeon asks if Director Ham is trying to help her. He says it’s not about her — he’s trying to save the firm so he can take it back. After he leaves, Ha-yeon calls CEO Jo.
Yeon-woo brings Kang-seok a proposal for how to run the firm under its current financial status. He tells Kang-seok to worry about saving the firm first and they can talk about his situation later. He goes back to his desk and finds the illegal recruitment pro bono case, and starts reading it.
Meanwhile, Kang-seok calls a meeting to discuss the financial plan, which involves a temporary pay cut. The senior partners push back, and Ha-yeon wearily tells Kang-seok that CEO Jo’s offer lets them keep all their associates without having to cut anyone’s pay.
Kang-seok is suspicious as to why CEO Jo’s firm would give them such a great deal when they don’t have a(n obvious) weakness. She says they’re lucky because they’re the ones with the weakness, and that Kim & Jo even offered to change the name to “Jo & Kang.” He can tell by her expression that she talked to Director Ham, even though she insists that she made the decision.
He goes back to his office in frustration, and tells Yeon-woo that he thinks he’ll lose this time. Yeon-woo replies that it’s not Kang-seok who lost, but himself. He says he read the recruitment case, and that the company is represented by Taeyang Law Firm (David Kim’s firm), but the victims have no representation.
Kang-seok tells him that in fact, Kim & Jo represents the company in that case. Yeon-woo is sure it’s Taeyang, but Kang-seok asks why Kim & Jo would let Taeyang take their client. He’s reminded of himself telling Ha-yeon that they have no weakness, and he realizes, “What if they’re more desperate than us?”
He outlines that at first, CEO Jo wanted to take them over completely, then she suddenly offered an amicable merger. They conclude that Kim & Jo are either equally desperate, or they never had the ability to perform a complete takeover.
Yeon-woo thinks the merger may be a trap, making Kang-seok recall Director Ham vowing that the firm would become “Jo & Kang” before Ha-yeon ever discussed the name with CEO Jo, and he wonders if CEO Jo built the trap alone.
Of course she didn’t — she meets with Director Ham to thank him for sending Kang & Ham a fake financial report on her firm. He says that by the time Ha-yeon discovers the truth, it will be too late. But he says that she’ll accept the situation — it’s Kang-seok who might be a problem.
CEO Jo gives him an envelope and wishes him a good life in Los Angeles. He leaves, satisfied that he got what he wanted for helping save CEO Jo’s firm.
Kang-seok meets with David Kim, and David says he heard about the possible merger. As he hands Kang-seok a USB file, he says he’s paying Kang-seok back for not turning him in about the fake memo. He turns down Kang-seok’s offer to pay him back further later, and he leaves, suggesting they never see each other again.
Kang-seok takes the USB to Yeon-woo and tells him that if they stop the merger and Director Ham discloses Yeon-woo’s background, he’ll lose everyone’s approval. Yeon-woo says that when Director Ham threatened him, he looked back at his life, and the only thing he’d done well was work at Kang & Ham.
He looks wistfully at the large “Kang & Ham” sign at the end of the hallway and says he never wanted anyone’s approval: “I just wanted to help the firm.”
Kang-seok calls Ha-yeon and Geun-shik to his office to tell them that the merger is a trap. He says that Director Ham and CEO Jo are working together, and that Director Ham made a bet with him that Ha-yeon would abandon him and turn the firm into Jo & Kang.
Just then, Geun-shik receives a text of Director Ham’s discovery that Yeon-woo dropped out of school. He blurts out, “Go Yeon-woo is a high school drop-out and a fake lawyer who isn’t certified??” The text has gone out to every lawyer at the firm, and Kang-seok storms out of his office.
Yeon-woo is on his way out when he gets a call, and he listens for a moment as his face goes pale. He turns and runs at top speed back to the office, and he arrives just as Kang-seok reaches Director Ham’s office. He yells to Kang-seok not to do it, and Kang-seok turns to him slowly, pure rage in his eyes.
I thought Yeon-woo was finally going to get his fistbump in this episode, but thinking back, I think I understand why Kang-seok didn’t do it. I felt like, by pushing Yeon-woo’s fist down instead, Kang-seok was saying that yes, Yeon-woo won the mock trial and he’s proud of him for that, but he’s not proud of the way Yeon-woo won. He won by betraying his mentor and badgering Da-ham until she cried and Kang-seok confessed to something he didn’t do. Yeon-woo’s win wasn’t something to congratulate, because he didn’t uphold the truth, which was that both Da-ham and Kang-seok are innocent of knowingly destroying evidence. So it’s good that he didn’t get a fistbump for that.
I think it’s sweet that Ji-na knows that Yeon-woo has something to tell her, something that will probably upset her, but that she’s willing to wait until he’s ready to tell her. She’s come a long way from the impatient, angry Ji-na we first met — that Ji-na would have demanded an immediate explanation, then been so furious she’d probably never have spoken to Yeon-woo again. Now I’m not so afraid of her reaction when she learns the truth, because even by the legal definition, Yeon-woo didn’t defraud her maliciously or for personal gain, she just got caught up in his lie about being a lawyer. I still think she’ll be upset, but I’m not so scared anymore that it’s something that will destroy their growing relationship.
I will confess that half the time, I have no idea what’s going on in this show. If I have any complaints, it’s that the show often contradicts itself and doesn’t explain the characters’ motives and behaviors. A lot of the law stuff is confusing, but mostly it’s the things the people do and say. For example, wasn’t there a big meeting in a recent episode where AK told Director Ham that she got this job because she knew about Yeon-woo’s secret, and Director Ham even confronted Yeon-woo about it? So why did Director Ham and Yeon-woo act like Director Ham just learned about it from AK in this episode? I also don’t quite understand what made Ha-yeon lose her faith in Kang-seok… he was proven innocent of evidence-tampering, so I can’t figure out why she’s suddenly angry with him and reluctant to trust him. He didn’t do anything untrustworthy.
But I do understand why she’s desperate enough to consider a merger with another firm, since innocent or not, Kang-seok’s reputation (and the firm by extension) has taken a huge hit and their clients are seeking new counsel. A merger would lose Ha-yeon a lot of her authority, but it would keep Kang & Ham from going bankrupt. But I don’t get why Ha-yeon listened to Director Ham even for a moment – I mean, come on, this is the man who embezzled from your clients, attacked you with a golf club, then came back and committed several illegal acts in order to take back control. Forget trusting him… why is he not in jail?? Yes, Director Ham’s behavior would reflect badly on Kang & Ham, but it will be a thousand times worse if it’s discovered that they hid his illegal actions. And all of the senior partners know what he did, so that “secret” is going to get out sooner or later. Ha-yeon doesn’t even have Kang-seok’s excuse for working with Director Ham, because she doesn’t know about Yeon-woo’s secret. The smart thing to do would be to report Director Ham to the police, make a public statement that his actions were not sanctioned by Kang & Ham and that they have taken steps to remove him from the firm entirely and forever.
It’s the show’s strength that, despite being confused a lot of the time, I’m still interested by the cases and the conflict, and I still want to know how it all ends. What will happen with the merger? Will Director Ham get his way or will Kang-seok uncover Kim & Jo’s weakness and save the firm? Will Yeon-woo’s secret be revealed, and how will the firm, and more importantly, Ji-na, react? Was that scene at the beginning of the show a foreshadowing of Yeon-woo’s downfall, or will it end up being another trick to save them all? Will be ever become a real lawyer? And will he ever get that fistbump from Kang-seok?