Tell Me What You Saw: Episode 1
Tell Me What You Saw, OCN’s new thriller about a police officer with a photographic memory teaming up with a reclusive ex-profiler to bring justice to high-profile criminals in the region. When the serial killer who ruined our top profiler’s life reemerges after five years, the exceptional memory of an otherwise normal rural cop may turn out to be the key to tracking down the killer.
Note: This is only a first episode recap.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
In the year 2000, a young girl walks home from school in a torrential downpour sharing her friend’s umbrella. The girl’s mother spots her from across the street, and tries to signal her to come take her own umbrella, but she ignores her mother and speeds away.
The mother gives chase across the intersection, but runs directly into the path of a car, which plows into her and throws her flying into the air. She crashes to the ground in a heap and her young daughter turns just in time to see the car speeding away as mom’s body goes limp.
Later, at the hospital, the girl’s father arrives just as the surgical team come out to reveal that the mom did not survive her injuries. The detective who was watching over the girl at the hospital casually starts to leave and says he’ll be in touch later to follow up.
But in that brief moment, time seems to stand still for the young girl, and she calls out to say that she clearly remembers the accident, stopping the detective in his tracks. She rattles off the license plate of the car and the details of the occupants, a man and a young boy.
The cop calls the details in for investigation, and the young girl narrates, “that was when I realized for the first time that I could remember exactly what I saw.”
Fast-forward to 2020, the young girl is now a policewoman herself, Officer CHA SOO-YOUNG (Sooyoung), stationed at a small rural precinct. It doesn’t seem like a particularly busy area for police, and Soo-young spends a good chunk of time handling complaints from locals, like helping to catch a runaway baby goat.
After work, Soo-young returns home to enjoy a meal with her father. He asks if she put in for a transfer to the city, but Soo-young laments that since there are not many cases in this area it’s hard for her to stand out enough to be approved.
Soo-young returns to work for the night, and a call comes in from a man who discovered a suspicious suitcase that was thrown away, so she heads out to investigate in the heavy rain.
Upon arrival, Soo-young notices a hand poking out of the bag, and calls for backup. She realizes the rain is going to destroy the evidence, so she starts taking pictures of everything she can see, but accidentally slips down the hill and knocks the bag open, horrifyingly revealing a dismembered corpse inside.
When the police arrive in full force on scene, the same detective who was at the hospital 20 years ago, now Section Chief Bang, arrives and berates Soo-young for disturbing the scene. To make matters worse, Soo-young’s phone broke when she fell, so they can’t access the photos she took.
In the middle of the berating, one of the forensics team members interrupts Section Chief Bang to show him a piece of candy stuck in the victim’s mouth, likely a signature from the killer.
The next morning, Soo-young is still at the scene trying to keep a crowd of onlookers at bay when Team Leader HWANG HWA-YOUNG (Jin Seo-yeon) arrives from the prestigious Regional Investigation Unit to inspect the scene.
She takes one look at the candy and determines that she has seen enough. Hwa-young beelines straight for Soo-young and also chastise her for making a mess of the scene.
Hwa-young heads back to the precinct to meet with the chief of the station, who speculates that the RIU only sent someone because of the candy, but notes that the killer with that M.O. supposedly died five years prior.
Meanwhile, Soo-young struggles to write her report on the scene, and accidentally knocks her pen under the conference room table. As she goes to retrieve it, Hwa-young and the higher-up police officers arrive and start openly discussing the details, unaware of Soo-young’s presence.
Hwa-young continues to seethe over the failure to preserve the scene, and the police chief slams the desk and yells at his subordinates for their incompetence, which causes Soo-young to bang her head and accidentally reveal herself.
As Soo-young takes her leave, she mentions that she can fully remember the details of the scene for them, but Section Chief Bang dismisses her for spouting nonsense.
Hwa-young, however, asks to hear what Soo-young remembers, so she diagrams everything down to the most minute detail. The rest of the officers refuse to acknowledge that she could possibly remember so clearly and dismiss her.
Just then, however, another officer arrives with the restored photos from Soo-young’s phone, and they match Soo-young’s description exactly. Hwa-young announces that the RIU will take the case and leaves with a sideways glance at Soo-young, looking impressed.
As Hwa-young drives back to the city, she calls a mysterious man in a dark room to inform him about the new case, and he takes interest on hearing about the candy and the method of disposal.
Meanwhile, Soo-young learns that she is being summoned to the city. She hopes that she might be rewarded for her work, but her captain shoots her down, and tells her to simply go there and beg that she did nothing wrong when disturbing the scene.
Soo-young shows up at the office of the RIU just as a group of criminals are filtering in to give statements to the team. One of the detectives mistakes her for a suspect, and gets offended when she claims to be a cop, even laughing at the quality of her ID badge being so close to the real thing.
Hwa-young spots Soo-young being interrogated and pulls her away from the detective’s questioning, leaving him baffled that Soo-young was telling the truth. Ha.
Soo-young profusely apologizes for what she did, but Hwa-young cuts her off to ask more about her memory. Soo-young explains that whenever she feels anxious, she is able to perfectly snapshot her surroundings and recall them.
Upon hearing this, Hwa-young immediately takes Soo-young to her car, and they drive to a remote warehouse. Hwa-young tells Soo-young that she will meet someone, but mysteriously says that she can never tell anybody about the man.
Soo-young wanders through the building and is let into a secure room with nobody in site. The mysterious man, former detective OH HYUN-JAE (Jang Hyuk) calls out over a speaker and tasks Soo-young with describing in detail everything that she saw since Hwa-young dropped her at the building.
Soo-young is able to describe details about a security guard and his family, as well as the specifics of the hallway leading to the room, despite only getting a quick glance at everything.
Satisfied with her ability, Hyun-jae asks her to recall the details of the suitcase incident, and Soo-young can only pull the image of one peculiar man holding a leash that she did not recognize as a local.
Hyun-jae then wheels himself into the room in a wheelchair, and admits he is disappointed with Soo-young’s memory as she only remembers irrelevant details. He concludes that working as a cop in a rural area is a perfect spot for her, even though she wants to escape it.
Soo-young bites back that Hyun-jae is rude and inconsiderate himself, but he simply laughs her off and dismisses her, boasting that he never expects to see her again.
The next day, the RIU have tracked down the likely killer based on phone records, so they head to the suspect’s apartment to question him. Unfortunately nobody appears to be home, and the suspect flees unnoticed when the team are distracted by another occupant.
Hwa-young leads the RIU team into the apartment, where they find a collage of pictures of the victim posted on the window of his apartment.
In the meantime, the suspect (who happens to be the same man Soo-young pointed out to Hyun-jae) walks into the RIU building and proclaims that he is there to confess to being the Candy Killer, and reveals his clothes are covered in blood.
Soo-young, now back in her hometown, immediately recognizes the suspect on the news report after he turned himself in. Soo-young’s boss was an officer on scene five years ago at the fire that apparently killed the original Candy Killer, and notes that Hyun-jae was also severely injured and lost his fiance in the fire.
Soo-young puts the pieces together and realizes Hyun-jae was the mysterious man she met. She watches an old video of Hyun-jae profiling the Candy Killer, but reads that since that case wrapped up, Hyun-jae disappeared completely.
At the same time, Hwa-young interrogates the suspect, but secretly lets Hyun-jae eavesdrop on the conversation. The suspect insists he is the original Candy Killer, but when pressed to reveal more victims he coyly refuses to answer.
Afterwards, Superintendent CHOI HYUNG-PIL (Jang Hyun-sung) blasts Hwa-young for not finishing up the case given the suspect’s confession, but Hwa-young thinks he is still hiding something so she wants to investigate further.
Back at the scene of the discovery of the body, Soo-young searches for any other clues she might have missed. Upon further investigation she realizes that there was also a strange taxi waiting nearby that morning.
Meanwhile, Hyun-jae reveals to Hwa-young that he believes the suspect is not the Candy Killer, and also notes that Soo-young will not be much help to them at this point.
At the same time, Superintendent Choi promises his bosses that he will wrap up this case without it being tied to the Candy Killer. He checks in with a younger member of the RIU team, who appears to be an informant for him, and asks for help in cleaning things up smoothly.
Soo-young heads back to the warehouse to try to meet Hyun-jae again. Hyun-jae refuses to acknowledge her, so she blurts through the speaker that she now realizes the suspect in custody isn’t important, and that she remembers seeing a taxi there that same day, a much more crucial detail.
As she finishes reporting this, the door to the warehouse swings upon letting her in. Hyun-jae wheels out behind her and removes his sunglasses engaging in an intense stare-down with Soo-young.
Let’s start with the positives here. I think Sooyoung does a really good job portraying a relatively normal person, in this case gifted with exceptional memory, sure, but otherwise there’s not really anything special about her. She’s just a regular rural police officer doing her job and that’s a solid enough foundation that I feel confident in her ability to perform the role. Which kind of undersells how I feel about her as an actress generally, because among the idol-turned-actress crowd she’s one of the better option in my opinion. My point is more that I like this casting because I think Sooyoung can do an excellent job playing the grounded professional type, and I think she’ll make a really good foil for Jang Hyuk.
Speaking of Jang Hyuk, I feel like every time he gets cast in a cop show, it involves him partnering with someone with a almost supernatural ability. Recently there was his super-hearing partner in Voice, and now he gets another go with Soo-young’s flawless memory. We don’t really know that much about his character except that he used to be a top profiler, and now is a weird, eccentric recluse. Has he spent the entire last five years cooped up in that dimly lit warehouse where literally the only decor is a reptile tank? I mean to each their own I guess? But I think casting Jang Hyuk as an eccentric weirdo is actually pretty smart. I find I get a bit distracted by him in general so building that into the character itself is probably going to let me continue to suspend disbelief with him, which I can’t complain about.
That said, I feel like there’s a pretty severe lack of emotional attachment to these characters. Maybe they’re still building it up at this point, but I just don’t feel invested in Hyun-jae or Hwa-young as characters yet. Even Soo-young doesn’t really have a big emotional tie to anything yet. Sure, we watched her lose her mother, but that was twenty years ago, and as far as we can tell right now, there’s not really any connection between that and anything else that is happening in the present. I mean, sure, the kid in the back seat is probably going to end up being revealed to be the young RIU officer eventually, but at this point it kind of looks like even Soo-young has moved on, given she couldn’t even remember her mom’s birthday (pfft, I thought she had a good memory).
Which is to say that overall I’m pretty disappointed thus far. Couple the lack of attachment with some sub-par choices in cinematography (the camera-facing interrogations look so, so weird, for instance) and I’m left feeling like I’ve set myself up to end up hate-watching another Jang Hyuk police drama. So I’m slightly regretting signing up for it, despite OCN’s generally solid track record with this kind of show. Maybe the weirdness of Hyun-jae can bring some entertainment but with what we’ve been given here, I’m not exactly optimistic.