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Player: Episode 7

As the scale of our team’s investigation continues to grow, so do the stakes involved in taking down the key players. But with their opposition finally wising up, there are all kinds of traps set up to try to derail the team from making any real progress.

 
EPISODE 7: “Dirty deeds”

At a political rally, presidential candidate Kim Sung-jin espouses his progressive platform to voters. But later that night, a young woman flees a hotel room, and Candidate Kim, half-naked, chases after her.

The woman successfully escapes to her apartment, but a group of detectives are waiting at her door. One of the detectives plants drugs in the woman’s belongings, which they then use to arrest her. She realizes that Candidate Kim is responsible for the trumped up charge, and the detectives don’t even deny it.

At the con team headquarters, Prosecutor Jang arrives to brief the team on the recent investigation into Baek-seon. The prosecutors found a secret ledger belonging to Baek-seon, which showed a recent large payment to Candidate Kim.

Prosecutor Jang presents Candidate Kim as the team’s next target, but while most of the team agrees to take on the case, Ha-ri dissents, and tells the team to work hard without him for this one. Instead, it seems Ha-ri wants to focus on watching a series of law lectures from a famous lawyer.

The aforementioned lawyer, elsewhere, defends a solo protester from a group of harassing police officers, chasing the officers away with an impassioned argument that the woman has a right to protest peacefully.

Afterwards, the lawyer offers to help the woman with whatever she needs, and the woman pleads for his help. The lawyer, Jin Yong-joon, brings the woman to his shabby public defender’s office to hear her out.

The woman reveals herself to be the mother of the young woman that Candidate Kim framed for drug possession. Lawyer Jin assures the mom that he will help her with the case, and that she doesn’t need to worry about the cost of defending her daughter.

At the con team office, without Ha-ri’s help, the team struggle to track down leads on Candidate Kim. Byung-min tries to goad Ha-ri into assisting them, but Ha-ri instead proposes that if Byung-min can hack into Jin-woong’s phone before Ha-ri can, then Ha-ri will help them.

Byung-min accepts the challenge and prepares to put his expert hacking skills to the test. But Ha-ri just uses the fingerprint pattern on the phone to decipher the unlock pattern and opens the phone in seconds. Ha.

Ha-ri gloats in victory, so Jin-woong proclaims they have no other choice and physically grabs Ha-ri and forcibly carries him away with them, dragging him to the courtroom where the young woman who Candidate Kim framed is on trial.

At the trial, a witness perjures herself claiming the defendant had a significant drug problem. Ha-ri shows little interest in the trial until he sees that the defense lawyer is the same lawyer who he was studying earlier, and he suddenly starts paying very close attention.

Lawyer Jin argues that the defendant’s congenital heart condition would make it impossible for her to sustain a drug habit without dying, thus casting serious doubt on the claim that she used drugs.

The judges seem swayed by the argument, and schedules a new hearing to substantiate the veracity of the defendant’s condition.

The team debate whether or not to dig more into the case now that they’ve seen the trial. But with Ha-ri now keen to do it, and he reschedules the rest of the team’s responsibilities so they can take on the case in earnest.

Right away, Ha-ri meets with the defendant and he convinces her to share the specifics about what happened on the night she was arrested.

That night, she arrived at the hotel room to find Candidate Kim waiting for her in his half-naked state, and when he tried to get sexual favors from her, she stormed out.

Afterward, Candidate Kim’s wife called the defendant to threaten her and try to coerce her into not reporting Candidate Kim for sexual assault. When the defendant refused to bend, they framed her with the drug charges.

The tearful defendant wonders whether she should have just gone along with their demands, but Ha-ri assures her that she did the right thing, and promises to reveal the truth on her behalf.

Elsewhere, Byung-min and Jin-woong pose as reporters to pester the defendant’s employer for details on what happened, but they aren’t able to get anything of value.

Ah-ryung, on the other hand, tracks down the witness from the trial, but the woman just ignores Ah-ryung’s questions and drives off.

Ha-ri, though, tries a different strategy, and uses his charm to worm his way in with the witness. After a few drinks, the witness casually opens up to Ha-ri, and when she leans in for a kiss, Ha-ri nonchalantly steals her phone and excuses himself to copy it.

Ha-ri brings the phone back to the team, and they find evidence of the witness being paid to give false testimony. According to what the team discovered during their investigation, Candidate Kim’s wife is the one in charge of his illegal slush fund, but the team realizes they need more concrete evidence to go after her.

In the lawyer’s office, an aide to Candidate Kim’s wife hands over a secret recording of the wife, which shows that she is at the center of the conspiracy to frame the young woman on trial. The aide also submits a ledger which documents the slush fund that Candidate Kim’s wife operates.

When Lawyer Jin asks why the aide is turning on her boss, the aide reveals that she was close to Baek-seon and his main lackey, so when Candidate Kim’s wife ordered Baek-seon to be killed, the aide decided to become a mole.

The aide helped the lackey to evade capture by Candidate Kim’s wife’s thugs, and she is now working to stop Candidate Kim’s election from the inside of his organization.

Meanwhile, Candidate Kim and his wife enjoy dinner together, and he thanks his wife for taking care of his shady dealings for him so that he can keep his campaign on track.

She ruthlessly acknowledges her responsibility for taking out Candidate Kim’s opposition, and ominously notes that Baek-seon’s lackey will soon be dealt with.

At the con team office, Byung-min finally tracks down Baek-seon’s lackey, and the team head out in search of him to capture him before the opposition can.

In the prosecutor’s office, Prosecutor Jang continues to investigate Baek-seon’s ledger, but a call from Ha-ri incites him to drop everything and mobilize his team in order to secure Baek-seon’s lackey for testimony.

The lackey debates calling the prosecutors himself, but right as he is about to do so, the man who led one of the groups of thugs that the con team fought previously arrives. He incapacitates the lackey, and his thugs take the man away to dispose of him.

Ha-ri and company arrive at the lackey’s location a bit too late. When they happen upon the phone booth where the lackey was attacked, a woman informs them that the lackey was kidnapped not too long ago, and she points them in the direction the thugs went after taking him.

The thugs take the lackey to the top of a building, and Candidate Kim’s wife arrives to taunt the man before getting rid of him. After a thorough scolding, she orders her thugs to kill the lackey, and the aide who ratted the wife out watches in horror as she is powerless to stop the lackey from being killed.

The con team scour the area looking for any sign of the lackey, and they spot a fire burning in an abandoned building, so they decide to check it out.

Inside the building, Candidate Kim’s wife claims their work tonight remains unfinished, and calls someone to help expose a supposed rat in thei ranks.

She shows the person on the other end of the line the faces of several employees. When she finally gets to the aide who actually was the rat, the camera pans around to show Lawyer Jin on the other end of the line. He’s no crusader for justice, he was actually working with Candidate Kim’s wife the entire time.

Lawyer Jin confirms that the aide is the one who ratted on the wife to him, and the wife orders the thugs to take out the aide in the same way they disposed of Baek-seon’s lackey.

Ha-ri and team finally arrive on scene, and while Ha-ri waits for the prosecutors to arrive, the rest of the team race upstairs to try to find whoever is up there.

Meanwhile, the aide stirs, apparently surviving whatever drug cocktail she was given, but she slowly edges toward the ledge of the building to throw herself off and end her suffering.

Ah-ryung and the other two boys arrive on the roof right before the aide gets to the ledge, and they try to close the gap before she throws herself off. Unfortunately, they’re too late, and she tumbles freely to the ground below.

Below, Prosecutor Jang and his team finally arrive, and Ha-ri directs them inside to help with the search.

But just then the woman’s body lands directly on Prosecutor Jang’s car behind them, eerily reminiscent of the scene several years ago when Ha-ri’s father was thrown off the edge of the prosecutor’s office. Ha-ri, Prosecutor Jang, and Chief Maeng can only stare in disbelief at the woman’s crumpled body.

Meanwhile, Lawyer Jin laughs over the phone that their plan worked perfectly. All he had to do was claim to be an upright lawyer and all the rats revealed themselves to him. As he shreds all the incriminating documents, he ends the call, and we see that it’s the shadowy broker on the other end.

Back at the abandoned building, the entire team is at a loss for what to do, with both the lackey and the aide now dead. Ha-ri is left to consider his next move, knowing that he was too late this time.

 
COMMENTS

Even though Lawyer Jin was presented as a virtuous and genuine-seeming human rights lawyer, I find it completely unsurprising that he turned out to be working for the other side. This is mostly because Ha-ri’s interest in the lawyer was a pretty big red flag given Ha-ri’s main interests all stem from the overall investigation at large (well, that and hitting on women all the time). I’m curious how Lawyer Jin found his way onto Ha-ri’s radar even before the trial. Was he involved in the incident with Ha-ri’s father several years ago?

If so it seems borderline irresponsible of Ha-ri to be so cagey with details, and I can’t help but feel the aide’s death could have been avoided. Admittedly, though, there’s no way Ha-ri could know she was ratting to Lawyer Jin, so it’s not like he could have communicated with her to warn her about his duplicitous nature. Still, I’m not sure why Ha-ri would be this cagey with his own team, who should really be fully in the loop with all the details of the investigation at this point.

It’s worth noting, at this point, that we’re halfway through the series and we still don’t really know much of anything about the shadowy broker other than that he is complicit in every case so far. There’s no real indication of who he might be or how he can be identified by the team. I’m slightly worried that there won’t be enough time to properly dig into the character, and that he’ll remain a faceless entity for so long that the gravity of finally taking him down will feel too insignificant given how serious of a player he is.

On the less-serious side of things though, I still really can’t get enough of the investigative con team’s banter and camaraderie week-to-week. Despite the massive stakes involved at all times they manage to keep things light between them, and their relationships with each other can be really cute and fun. Whether it’s through constant bickering back and forth, or playfully trying to show each other up, they really seem to enjoy working together even with so much on the line.

Of course, it’s Ha-ri who ties them all together, and he seems to understand exactly how each member ticks. Well, I suppose he seems to know how every person in general ticks, but with the team specifically, he fosters such a great atmosphere. To me, it really is what makes the show fun to watch on a weekly basis, so hopefully it’s not stopping any time soon.

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Yay! Thanks for the recap~

Candidate kim's wife is evil. Lawyer Jin is evil too. Sad for the secretary, she just wanted to right some wrong huhuhu.

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Byung-min posing ala model while Jin-woong clicking his camera was so funny! The team camaraderie really elevates this from just another heist drama. It is so true that Ha-ri understands how his team members tick, but they also know how to tap his sense of injustice to get him rolling.
The aide's death is so sad, they were so close to saving her...

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I really thought Hari was going to sit this one out, especially after his phone breaking-in trick (which I'm going to try on the next Android phone I see). So glad Jinwoong just threw him over his shoulder and walked off with him.

After watching all of these con shows, I hope I'm never in a position where I have to depend on a prosecutor/lawyer/policeman to keep secrets, because now I don't trust anybody.

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Haha, I actually hit pause button and tried it immediately, unfortunately it isn't that easy after all who keep his screen that clean and don't touch it at all after unlocking.

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Lawyer Jin, in addition to working with the bad guys, is giving off this creepy, unsettling vibe.

And Ha-ri, why not give your team full details at this point? Going forward, I hope nothing terrible happens to any if the team members because Ha-ri decided to withhold important details.

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Thank you for your recap, @regals!

Episode 7 features a DR. JIN reunion between Song Seung-heon and funny man Jung Eun-pyo (the zither-playing eunuch in LOVE IN THE MOONLIGHT who channeled Jimi Hendrix). This time around, he plays a truly evil villain. If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Sheesh.

Ha-ri and Prosecutor Jang both experience deja-vu all over again when an informant falls off a building after another gets rubbed out by the baddies. Not one of their better weeks. Ha-ri seems off his game in this episode. I'm still loving the banter and camaraderie.

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I'm always behind & finding interesting comments after a series is over from you, @pakalanapikake. Did you mean MOON EMBRACING THE SUN when you referred to zither player? I remember him in this role but haven't gotten to MOONLIGHT yet. I want to go back to moment you mention, but can't seem to find it. Do you know exactly where it was by chance? if not, please don't bother looking. I'll chase it down when I have a chance.

BTW, i think PLAYER & Song Seung-heon are not given enough love. I even liked BLACK, but then grim reapers are big favorites of mine, as is Jo Jae-yoon, who so funny in anything! Dong Wook was my first grim reaper love & now I'll give anything with him or grim reapers a shot. Started TOUCH YOUR HEART, which looks to be diverting--not as serious, and seriously message-heavy, as LIFE, but fun, I hope.

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@isbjorn,

I realized after I posted that I'd confused the two shows. It is indeed MOON EMBRACING THE SUN that features Eunuch Hyung-sun's blistering gayageum solo, not LOVE IN THE MOONLIGHT. Alas, I don't recall when it was shown. It may be in the final episode.

Song Seung-heon was absolutely terrific in BLACK. Many of the live-watchers were tickled to bits that he'd encountered the perfect vehicle, screenwriter, and production team to inspire such a dandy dual performance from him. It was heartwarming to watch him in his element. (I say this as one whose first Kdrama was DR. JIN, which thankfully did not scare me away from Korean TV and movies.) Earlier, he'd also done a lovely job in SAIMDANG, LIGHT'S DIARY in the Joseon time line. As for PLAYER, it had some nice interludes of camaraderie and bromance.

ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE introduced me to Korean reapers. I thoroughly enjoyed that show's dramaverse and supernatural beings. Magistrate Eun-ho's eventual kindness to the disembodied was one of my favorite aspects of his work as a guardian of the law. It was quite different from the shenanigans in DEAD LIKE ME. ;-)

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