Player: Episode 8
With progress blocked on the main front of the investigation, the team goes for the next best option: lean on the lower-level players to open up pathways to the corrupt people at the top. Luckily for our team, the corruption spreads so far that there are many connections they can pursue.
EPISODE 8: “A lowly lawyer’s doing”
Our team and the prosecutors rush the fallen aide to the hospital. The team wonders how the thugs managed to track down Baek-seon’s henchman so quickly considering Byung-min only discovered his location minutes earlier, and Ha-ri stalks off to think about it.
Ha-ri stews outside, but suddenly seems to come to a realization, so he calls someone to come to the hospital immediately.
Inside, the surgeon comes out of the operating room and tells the group that the aide did not survive surgery. Another man who is stealthily watching the group from afar reports to someone else that the situation at the hospital has been taken care of.
In Lawyer Jin’s office, Candidate Kim’s wife arrives. She takes in her surroundings and insists that Lawyer Jin take her to a less dingy place so they can discuss their plans, clearly disgusted at being in such a lowly office.
Meanwhile, Ha-ri visits the defendant’s mother, and asks why the aide’s last call was to her. The mother explains that the aide promised to testify at the trial and clear her daughter’s name. She shares that the aide told her she was meeting with Lawyer Jin earlier that day, which arouses Ha-ri’s suspicions.
Now in a nicer location, Candidate Kim’s wife delivers Lawyer Jin’s payment for handing over the traitorous aide. She offers Lawyer Jin a higher position, but he declines and smiles that the only thing he cares about is money, not power.
The next day, the deputy chief chews out Prosecutor Jang for investigating Candidate Kim and bars him from digging further.
Once the deputy chief leaves, Ha-ri arrives and suggests that Prosecutor Jang should target instead Lawyer Jin. Ha-ri has been investigating the lawyer for years and presents the information he’s amassed thus far.
Lawyer Jin, it turns out, is the former chief prosecutor, and he was the person in charge who framed Ha-ri’s father as corrupt after his death. Afterwards, Lawyer Jin resigned from his position and built an image of a respectable lawyer.
Ha-ri notes, though, that recently Lawyer Jin started reporting a much lower income, and speculates it’s because he started to take on more sensitive cases where his clients would pay more money, and all under the table.
He estimates the total earnings of Lawyer Jin to be in the $50 million range, and that a large number of the prosecutor’s office is complicit in the fraud.
Ha-ri proposes that Prosecutor Jang can use the law to seize all of Lawyer Jin’s illegal earnings, while his own team will focus on the estimated $5 million that Lawyer Jin will be paid for the current case.
The con team begin their operation, as Ha-ri calls a newspaper reporter (cameo by Jo Jae-yoon) and blackmails him into covering Candidate Kim’s corruption and sexual harassment case.
Meanwhile, Ah-ryung and Jin-woong pose as detectives to uncover a large drug distribution operation, and the two low-level gangsters (one of whom was the man who yelled at Ah-ryung during her driving test in the first episode, ha) recognize Candidate Kim’s wife as a client, so Jin-woong drags them to the prosecutors to get their statements on record.
At the newspaper, the higher-ups debate whether to run the story Ha-ri commissioned, and Ha-ri, disguised as the writer with a silly wig, convinces them to post the story.
Ha-ri tells Byung-min to circulate the story as widely as possible, and Byung-min brags that he’s a master at manipulating the media like that since he did it all the time to push girl groups up the music charts. Pffft. Ha-ri just stares at him stone-faced without a word. Hahaha.
Byung-min sends the story of Candidate Kim’s bribes to mobile phones across the country, and when Candidate Kim’s wife finally discovers the story herself, she trembles with shock.
Ha-ri, visits Lawyer Jin’s office, still disguised as the reporter, and informs Lawyer Jin about the article. Ha-ri casually mentions that he heard the candidate’s wife was the one who accepted all the money. Ha-ri also tells Lawyer Jin that the prosecution thinks he might be involved, and cites Prosecutor Jang as his source.
In the middle of their conversation, Candidate Kim’s wife calls to cuss out Lawyer Jin for letting the story get out. After she finishes, Lawyer Jin presses Ha-ri for more details on what Prosecutor Jang said.
At the prosecutor’s office, the deputy chief scolds Prosecutor Jang for disregarding his orders, but Prosecutor Jang points out that he’s been investigating the two drug criminals that Jin-woong and Ah-ryung brought in.
Prosecutor Jang also quips that the deputy chief never said he couldn’t investigate the wife, and wonders how the deputy chief could even know she is involved when the drug criminals only just mentioned her a few minutes ago.
Just then, Lawyer Jin interrupts, so Prosecutor Jang brings his old sunbae to an interrogation room. Lawyer Jin tries to bring Prosecutor Jang over to their side, but he declines.
“I don’t resent myself for being here,” Prosecutor Jang says, “The more I think about how they get those amazing connections, and the jerks that support each other and have each others back while exchanging cash… The only thought that comes to mind is that putting all those scumbags away will be the only way I’ll be happy.”
Seeing that Prosecutor Jang won’t flip, Lawyer Jin instead accuses him of spreading false information, but Prosecutor Jang produces a copy of the records that Ha-ri gave him earlier on Lawyer Jin’s illegal dealings to show the accusation is supported by evidence.
Lawyer Jin proclaims that even with this, Prosecutor Jang will never be able to bring him to court, and he storms out furiously. The team observe Lawyer Jin as he exits the building, and tail him at a distance as he drives off. Eventually he leads them to a restaurant.
Elsewhere, Prosecutor Jang meets a former classmate for help in busting Lawyer Jin. He asks the classmate to set him up with a broker to find out who delivers the clients to Lawyer Jin. The classmate warns Prosecutor Jang that a lot of powerful people will be on Lawyer Jin’s side, but he remains resolute.
At the restaurant, the aforementioned powerful people meet with Lawyer Jin–including the current chief prosecutor.
Ah-ryung tries to slip into the room posed as a waitress, but Lawyer Jin doesn’t recognize her as a regular waitress and calls the manager. Surprisingly, the manager corroborates that Ah-ryung is in fact a waitress there. With Lawyer Jin’s suspicions pacified, Ah-ryung plants a bug in the room to record their conversation.
Outside, Ha-ri pays the manager a large sum for helping them out. Back in the car, Ha-ri mentions to the team that he has history with Lawyer Jin, though he doesn’t elaborate.
In the restaurant, the chief prosecutor receives a call that informs him that a warrant was issued for both Lawyer Jin and his wife’s arrest. The chief prosecutor races back to confront Prosecutor Jang, but the director intercedes to say that he issued the warrants.
The director plays the audio file of the recording from the restaurant, and though he knows it can’t be used in court, he threatens to send it to reporters, which would kill the current chief prosecutor’s chance of a promotion.
The director announces that Prosecutor Jang will conduct the full investigation into Lawyer Jin. On his way out the door, the director casually reminds the chief prosecutor that, 15 years ago, the director was also a part of Director Choi’s team with Prosecutor Jang.
Afterwards, Lawyer Jin’s calls to his allies go unanswered, but he does manage to get his money out of his house before the prosecutors show up.
Prosecutor Jang tells Chief Maeng to let Ha-ri’s team track down the money, and orders Chief Maeng to start searching a different location since searching Lawyer Jin’s house will be unfruitful.
In the con team office, they scour the CCTV footage and find a woman fleeing Lawyer Jin’s house with all the money. They discover the woman is a professor, and when Ha-ri calls, her assistant says she only stopped in at the school for a few minutes, so the team deduce that she dumped the money there.
Lawyer Jin visits Candidate Kim’s wife and pleads with her to visit the prosecution. The wife screams at Lawyer Jin that such a thing is beneath her, but Lawyer Jin snaps back at her, abandoning his normally polite persona to threaten her into compliance instead.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Jang gets a call from his classmate, who found the broker as requested and provides an address for Prosecutor Jang to meet with the man. As Prosecutor Jang rushes out to the meeting, however, Candidate Kim’s wife arrives to be questioned.
Prosecutor Jang texts Ha-ri the details of the meeting and asks him to go to the meeting instead. Ha-ri advises the rest of the team to get the money without him, and he heads out to find the broker alone.
Lawyer Jin, back in his office, meets with Prosecutor Jang’s classmate, who is actually a former associate of Lawyer Jin. The two conspired to take out Prosecutor Jang, and Lawyer Jin pays the classmate a handsome reward for his help.
The broker, meanwhile, calls Lawyer Jin to inform him that it is actually Ha-ri who showed up at the meeting instead, and Lawyer Jin recognizes the photo of Ha-ri as the reporter from earlier. A few seconds later he realizes he also saw Ha-ri before that.
A few months ago Ha-ri infiltrated a restaurant and recorded Lawyer Jin and his co-conspirators’ conversation. Afterwards, Ha-ri called the prosecution, but instead a group of thugs showed up and burst into his apartment with knives.
Ha-ri fought the thugs back valiantly, but eventually one of the men managed to stab him, and Ha-ri jumped off his balcony to escape. Lawyer Jin was also in the apartment that day, and ordered the thugs to chase after Ha-ri, though we know he eventually made it to Doctor Jo’s hospital.
Back in the present, Ha-ri enters a shadowy warehouse and when the broker reveals himself, he also reveals a large number of armed gangsters with him.
Ha-ri, recognizing it’s a trap, darts to the door, but instead of fleeing, Ha-ri shuts the gates and locks himself in with them. He turns to face them and with the utmost confidence declares, “It’d be uncharacteristic of me to not be able to escape this.”
Oh Ha-ri, why do you have to be so cool? The interesting thing about Ha-ri going forward though, is that the rest of the team seem to be catching on to the fact that he has some other motive for taking on these cases. This marks two consecutive times Ha-ri left them as they were on the way to the money, so that he could go take care of complications elsewhere. Obviously if his motives were purely financial gain, he wouldn’t do this, and although the team can joke that it must be because of a woman, Ha-ri is going to need to bring them into the loop at some point if he keeps this up.
More importantly, I worry about whether Ha-ri’s personal ties to the overall scheme at large are going to eventually become a problem for him. It’s almost as if Ha-ri cares too much about bringing these men to justice. So much so, that he will drop his other responsibilities so he can investigate his personal case further.
This can be dangerous though, as such a personal grudge could cloud Ha-ri’s judgment and cause him to take unnecessary risks for the sake of justice. Kind of like walking into a warehouse full of thugs with no backup. But as the stakes keep going up, the risk to Ha-ri if he bites off more than he can chew is going to be much greater. It’s yet another reason why he should be bringing the rest of the team, and even Prosecutor Jang into the loop so they can keep Ha-ri from getting into major trouble.
As for the prosecution, I still have no idea who can be trusted. The revelation that the white-haired director was a member of Director Choi’s team with Prosecutor Jang in the past does certainly lower my guard a little bit with regard to his motives, but I’m not necessarily willing to trust him yet, even if he backed Prosecutor Jang in this investigation. This is the problem with the entirety of the prosecution, and the only people I feel comfortable trusting are Prosecutor Jang, and maybe Chief Maeng (though I must admit I’m still not 100% sure he’s not the mole).
So maybe it’s actually fair for Ha-ri to not trust anyone after all, since I don’t even trust anyone. Though it does seem there is one person he does trust: whomever he called outside the hospital. I suspect that since the purpose of that call is still unresolved, that the person he called was Doctor Jo. I would guess that the aide is not actually dead and that Doctor Jo came to the hospital to keep an eye on the aide.
I can’t think of anyone else Ha-ri would call in that situation, and it does seem like their relationship, while murky, is personal enough that he might feel comfortable trusting her. And maybe with the aide’s help they’ll have all the evidence they need to actually take down Candidate Kim.