Special Affairs Team TEN: Episode 2
Without a two-hour running time, this episode went by much more quickly and had less twists and turns. Oh my happy head – it wasn’t spinning! But we get a little more insight into Ji Hoon’s character, and hints to his past. He might be cold, but he’s so lovable as a hero.
Episode 2: The Visit from Strangers
A birthday party is held for a grandmother, Cho Bok Rae, who looks more freaked out by the presence of family and strangers singing “Happy Birthday” than enjoying it. Her son thanks the guests, and says he only wanted to hold a party for his hardy mother who now has Alzheimer’s.
Fast forward a few days later. The housemaid of that home makes her way over with a bag of groceries. All is happy and bright in the world… until she enters the home and finds bloody footprints all over the living room. Mrs. Cho’s son is slumped in the couch, lying in his own blood. She can barely make out a scream when suddenly, Mrs. Cho comes crawling out behind the couch, blood smeared all over her face.
“There’s nothing… There’s nothing…” she groans out, in an Exorcist-like voice. WTH?! Housemaid screams. About bloody time…
Though it’s not in his jurisdiction, Chief Jung arrives to check in on the case. Time of death? 11:45 pm, because the daughter had called 911 but was then disconnected. Any suspects? Well, housemaid Ahn Hyun Soo has an alibi, saying that the house was intact when she left, and she had arrived to find their dead bodies. Grandmother? Sent to the hospital and can’t remember a single thing.
The detective in charge also notes that this crime seems to have been done by a gang that used to attack all the wealthy families. A graffiti-ed saying on the wall, “Rich People are the Enemies of Everyone,” was the gang’s slogan, and there were several different types of footprints in blood. The detective then spots Ji Hoon at the doorway, and his expression turns dark. He knows Ji Hoon because he used to mentor the cold investigator, though you wouldn’t know it with the way Ji Hoon ignores the guy. To add salt to the wound, Chief Jung informs the detective that they’ll be taking over the case.
The detective is outraged of course, especially since his team did all the hard work of collecting the evidence. But Ji Hoon pipes up, “The DNA evidence will all be useless.” Because of the birthday party, there’s likely to still be a lot of irrelevant fingerprints lying around. Ji Hoon – with his ever sharp observation skills – also points out that gangsters tend to be more sloppy, but the writing indicates that the criminal is of higher education, was more calculated, and therefore more likely to be cautious.
Time to bring the case back to his team!
His team isn’t the most inspiring bunch for Chief Jung to put his faith into, especially since this unit is supposed to better the image of the Police Bureau. One is a former victims’ counselor who has little field experience and decorates her desk with colorful markers and photos of herself; one is a sergeant from the outskirts of town who fills his locker with dirty magazines and a booklet on matchmaking; and the other – well, he’s a noob and has escaped much scrutiny.
Our Outskirts Sergeant is actually on a blind date. He informs his date that he’s a detective and doesn’t do anything dangerous. But then he goes on to admit that he’s having a hard time paying rent in expensive Seoul, and suddenly his date shrieks. Turns out she’s actually the matchmaker, and he was never supposed to reveal that flaw all of a sudden! Then his phone rings (strike 2 with the matchmaker), and he hears about the case. “Family murder?” he cries. Strike 3 with the matchmaker, who cries, “You said your job isn’t dangerous!!”
It’s okay Do Shik, you already have your perfect match.
He arrives at the picturesque, but eerily quiet suburb where the murder took place. Meanwhile Min Ho arrives, dressed in a head-to-toe sterile suit. He’s so proud that he’s the first to arrive at the crime scene from his team, and begins to step gingerly into the house, skirting around the blood. That is… until he sees a body lying in the daughter’s bedroom. Weren’t the corpses taken away?!
He inches closer, and suddenly the body sits up and waves happily at him! It’s Ye Ri! Lying in the victim’s blood. Talk about being careful in a crime scene.
Ye Ri lies back down and thinks aloud. If one were about to be killed, wouldn’t she close her eyes from fear? However, the daughter’s body was found with her eyes open and her head tilted to the side. It means she saw something that shocked her even more than the killer. Ye Ri imitates the head position and looks out the window. Her eyes widen… at the sight of Do Shik walking past the window.
I love that he even peeks in for a closer look, as if to confirm that Ye Ri really is lying in the victim’s blood, and Ye Ri gives him a slight nod of acknowledgment. Heh.
Outside, Do Shik tries to figure out where the culprit came from in this idyllic suburb with CCTV cameras installed everywhere. He notices an empty road that runs along a dried riverbank. Tada! He spots a couple of kids running around in the muddy areas, warning each other not to get the big shoes stuck inside the mud. The shoes are much too big for them, so Do Shik asks where they got them.
They point to a black plastic bag stuck among the rocks, with a bunch of shoes for different people.
Meanwhile Ye Ri inspects each room, and notices that each family member had his/her own interests. They were never together, which made it easier for the culprit to kill them.
Ji Hoon heads straight for autopsy, where the M.E. tells him that each victim had one fatal stab wound, and then numerous others that were made after death. The daughter had two fatal stab wounds; after the first round of killing, she managed to survive and call 911, but then the killer caught her and killed her again.
The stab wounds weren’t completely random either. Ji Hoon notes that the different stab wounds reflect different people; one could have been done by a right-handed culprit, another by a left-handed culprit, another by a tall person, etc. It increases their range of suspects, until Do Shik arrives with the bag of shoes. Inside are the shoes of each family member.
Do Shik reasons that the culprits were trying to confuse them into thinking that the family members killed each other. Ji Hoon then shows the calculations he made based on the bloody footprints – the steps were evenly spaced and patterned. To him, it indicates that there was one killer trying to pretend that there were more than one.
Min Ho refuses to believe that one killer could have murdered all four members so easily, but Ye Ri assures that it’s possible with their separate lifestyles. Ji Hoon also has his team listen to the 911 call the daughter made. The background noise is of her father watching a soccer game. If there were more than one person in the house, it would have been impossible for the daughter’s death to have gone unnoticed.
But Do Shik points out that the daughter said, “There are people in my house.” People = plural. Ye Ri: “Right before she died, she saw someone outside the window” – thus there possibly having a witness to the entire crime. So! They’re looking for a suspect who knows each family member’s schedule and doesn’t mind being as invisible as a shadow, and for a witness to the entire crime.
Chapter 1: Unknown Factor X
Min Ho is feeling left out that Ji Hoon goes off investigating without telling him things. He needs to learn how to be resourceful – like Do Shik, who investigates Mrs. Cho’s assets. Turns out this senile grandmother was infamous Red Pants Cho Bok Rae during the 7s and 80s. She was a speculator around the Kangnam area, and since the redevelopment she’s now super rich with real estate. Guess who’s inheriting all of it now? Her second son, who actually beat up his own mother and was then given a restraining order.
They find second son Kim Bo Sung with his mother in the hospital, trying to feed her abalone porridge, but she resists. She only opens her mouth for the housekeeper’s foods. At first glance of the cops, he immediately says he gave in his alibi. You’re not wondering if the cops found your brother’s killer, eh?
Suddenly, Ji Hoon shows up out of nowhere and demands that Mrs. Cho come with him. He wants to jog her memory by bringing her back to the crime scene. She was the only survivor, and his team will need to figure out why she wasn’t killed. She is the variable factor in this case.
Do Shik questions Bo Sung since he’s got a motive in wanting to kill his brother; with his brother dead, he can get all the inheritance, right? Bo Sung insists he didn’t kill his brother, but he can’t help but be happy. He learned one thing from his ruthless mother: you can only live and watch out for yourself.
That’s not a really good reason to arrest Bo Sung for murder.
When Mrs. Cho returns to the house, she heads straight for the couch, and eyes the blood fearfully. Point blank, Ji Hoon says that this is where her son died, and the stains are her son’s blood. Good thing you’re not a doctor, Yeo Ji Hoon; you’d make the patients die from shock before they die from disease.
But his words do get through to her, and slowly, she breaks down, screaming in grief and terror, and then faints.
Hyun Soo tends to Mrs. Cho, who’s curled into a fetal position. Ye Ri observes that the position indicates mental stress. Ji Hoon observes that the position is defensive, and she could have something to hide. He reminds Ye Ri that she is no longer a victims’ counselor, but a criminal profiler. She should keep her emotions in check when dealing with potential suspects or victims.
Mrs. Cho finally somewhat calmed down, Hyun Soo informs Ji Hoon that she might not be able to take care of Mrs. Cho by herself, especially when she has a sick son at home. Ji Hoon: “Don’t worry – this detective (Ye Ri) will be with you all night.”
Min Ho goes through the call records and notices that in the past weeks, a phone call has been made several times to one number during the daytime. He and Do Shik track down the number to a gangster, Kang Pal Bok, who owns a junkyard. This guy used to work with Mrs. Cho and steal from the poor with their schemes. They parted ways years ago, but all of a sudden, Mrs. Cho started contacting him again. The detectives catch Pal Bok in the middle of “business” – torturing some guy and threatening to drop a junked car on top of him.
Yeah – totally perfect set up to get arrested and brought in for questioning.
Kang is a bit surprised that they’re interrogating him about Mrs. Cho, rather than what he was doing beating up a poor guy. He finds Mrs. Cho quite irritating, especially since she always babbles nonsense about her house being sold when she calls him. Speaking of the devil, Mrs. Cho calls Kang at that moment, and he offers the phone to Do Shik so that he can have a listen.
Mrs. Cho sounds almost lucid as she whispers angrily that she wants Kang to kill those people who want to take it away from her. Certainly, it looks like Mrs. Cho has motive to kill her eldest son and his family. Standing nearby to witness her madness is Ye Ri and Hyun Soo.
Chapter 2: Sweet Dream
Concerned, Do Shik heads over to Ji Hoon’s office to ask if he ever considered Mrs. Cho a suspect. Ji Hoon admits it’s a possibility, but he doesn’t regret leaving Ye Ri alone with the grandmother. In fact, he thinks the truth would just come out faster. Do Shik: “You mean, you don’t care about your team member for the sake of an investigation?” (No. Duh. Have you asked Min Ho how he really got beat up in the last episode?)
Do Shik calls up Ye Ri right away to warn her to keep her eyes open. Ye Ri promises to, especially since Mrs. Cho has moments of complete lucidity. Suddenly, she senses a presence behind her and turns around, nearly dropping her phone in shock. Do Shik: “Hello?! Ye Ri!”
It’s Mrs. Cho, muttering “There’s nothing…” again and looking around suspiciously. She then walks away. Whew – I thought she was going to raise a fireplace poker against Ye Ri for some reason.
Ye Ri questions Hyun Soo to see if she noticed anything strange with Mrs. Cho in general. Hyun Soo didn’t, noting that Mrs. Cho was always quiet with her around. However, she thinks Mrs. Cho only eats her food because she was afraid someone else was feeding her pills in her food.
A big teenager with a glazed look arrives at the front door – he’s Seung Ho, Hyun Soo’s autistic son. She sends him off to play in the daughter’s room. Ye Ri notes that it’s lucky he was able to find the house by himself. Did he come over very often? Hyun Soo: “Why would he come over? This is not our house.”
Oh really then? Then how does he know how to go to the daughter’s room if he doesn’t come by very often?
Ji Hoon sits in his office, staring intensely at his computer. Min Ho desperately wants to know what Ji Hoon is looking at, but doesn’t dare enter the office. Ji Hoon sees something he doesn’t like, and immediately races out of the office. Perfect! Now Min Ho can go find out if his boss is watching porn on his computer or not!
It’s not – Ji Hoon actually installed hidden cameras in the house and has been watching Ye Ri and everyone else the whole time. OK – so he’s not completely heartless. Min Ho and Do Shik rewind the video to figure out what Ji Hoon saw that made him run out so fast.
Ye Ri wanders through the rooms of the house and notices ants crawling in the kitchen towards the rice Hyun Soo made. It tastes oddly sweet. She heads back to the living room, where she sees Hyun Soo holding out morsels of food for Mrs. Cho to eat, like a baby being fed. Ye Ri then goes back into the daughter’s room, looking for Seung Ho. He’s nowhere to be found, but she notices that the tape outlining the corpse has been partially torn off. She slowly lies down and looks under the bed – and screams. It’s Seung Ho.
Now she knows why the daughter’s eyes were wide open when she died – she had seen Seung Ho hiding under her bed in her last moments, and had no idea what he was doing there. When Ye Ri backs out to the door, Hyun Soo is waiting, ready to explain that her son likes hiding in dark places.
It was witnessing Seung Ho crawling under the bed that made Ji Hoon race out of the office. Do Shik puts two and two together, and then pouts – Ji Hoon should have told him that he switched his suspicions from the grandmother to the housemaid for the crime.
Ye Ri heads over to Hyun Soo’s dilapidated home to investigate, while Ji Hoon asks around for information on Hyun Soo’s past. A long time ago, Hyun Soo’s husband had been scammed, and so they lost everything, including their only home. The family was going to commit suicide with carbon monoxide poisoning, but only she managed to survive. Her son – Seung Ho – was born soon after. She also received some complaints from her previous employers for rearranging the furniture without permission, as if it were her own home.
Ye Ri makes note of the small house, where everything is cramped. Photos of beautiful, spacious homes and delectable dishes fill the walls, and Ye Ri discovers that Hyun Soo is the woman behind a famous blog, “Home Sweet Home.” She has been parading Mrs. Cho’s house to the Internet world as her own.
A shadow passes by the window, and Ye Ri quickly shuts off the lights to remove any indication of someone being inside. She edges to the door and slowly opens it – no one’s there. She closes the door… and is slammed up against the wall. It’s Ji Hoon!
She explains that she decided to investigate Hyun Soo, and discovered the woman’s dreams. Ji Hoon smiles – looks like they solved the unknown factor X on why Mrs. Cho was saved. He gives the rare compliment: “Nam Ye Ri, you exceeded my expectations.”
Chapter 3: My Sweet Home
It’s late in the evening, and Ji Hoon arrives at Mrs. Cho’s home to see Hyun Soo cleaning up the blood. His real aim for visiting is to pay her, since she now has to go find a new job. The house will be sold, and Mrs. Cho would be sent to a nursing home. Hyun Soo is absolutely stunned, and refuses to believe that someone would purchase a home where a murder took place.
Ji Hoon: “They’ll tear it down and build a new one.” Next excuse from Hyun Soo: “But the grandmother can only eat the foods I make her.” Of course she would – if the food were laced with so much sugar, she’d eat it, and always favor it. Holding up a potted plant, Ji Hoon muses that Hyun Soo must have left the grandmother alive because Mrs. Cho is the only one that listens to her. Also, if she killed the family, she would then be able to stay in the beautiful house with her son. Hyun Soo denies it – and he drops the plant with a loud, messy crash. She freaks out – her beautiful clean floors!!
He picks up a golf club and starts smashing all the things in the house because it’s going to get destroyed anyways. Outside the house, his team is actually watching the events unfold through his hidden camera, waiting for Hyun Soo to completely snap.
Ji Hoon picks up a family photo that wasn’t there previously – it’s Hyun Soo’s family photo. “It clashes with the interior of this house,” he remarks, placing it back on the table, and aiming the golf club to destroy it. That’s the last straw – Hyun Soo screams for him to stop.
Hyun Soo admits it was very easy to kill the family, since they were very isolated in their own rooms. They never deserved to live in this beautiful house, while for her, this was her dream home. Everyday, when the family was away, Hyun Soo would spend many happy days with Mrs. Cho and her son, as if they were one happy family.
But after a while, things became more uncomfortable, because she would have to hide Seung Ho’s existence when the family members started coming home. She was furious that her own son would have to hide under the bed in the house that she was taking care of. Desperately, she tries to clean up the mess, but Ji Hoon calls her certifiably insane.
Hyun Soo picks up a small knife, and his team outside freak out. Shouldn’t they send in the police? Do Shik: “Relax. If he can’t deal with that woman, he should just quit his job.”
It’s an extension of her grief from years ago when she cries out why she can’t have a happy home. It’s all she’s ever wanted, but then her husband and daughter had to die. She demands an answer – why did her chance for happiness disappear? Ji Hoon says nothing, and she runs forth, driving the knife through his abdomen.
Now Do Shik runs for the house.
Ji Hoon holds Hyun Soo close, and tells her to find the answer on her own. No one answered him when he wondered why his happiness all disappeared at once too. “And from now on, no one will answer. Nobody answers… I know how you feel. I know enough.”
The police come in and arrest Hyun Soo, and pull her son out from under the bed. Ji Hoon dismisses his wound as a scratch. All that’s left is Mrs. Cho and the house she built.
Later that evening, Ye Ri reviews the tape from the hidden camera, and she watches Ji Hoon confess to having lost his happiness too. Hmm….
This episode is not as strong as the first, but then again, the first episode is a hard act to follow. It was predictable that the housemaid was the killer, and there was a weird tangent where Ye Ri blogs about the house as if it were her own. While we see the tie-in later in the episode, when she finds out about Hyun Soo being the blogger of “Home Sweet Home,” we don’t see any of the motivations on why Ye Ri would post photos of the house as if it were her own in the first place. It felt random.
What this episode really did was set up Ji Hoon as our protagonist, our unlikely hero. He’s now leading this diverse team and we need to know why he’s the way he is. He’s a tortured hero (of course), and now we need to know why. He’s loath to give out praise and information that has to do with the case, but he’s not completely heartless either. I think he doesn’t expect a whole lot from his team members, aside from them doing what he tells them to do, so when Ye Ri is quick on the uptake about Hyun Soo, it impresses him. Otherwise, he keeps a distance. My theory is that he was working on a case and lost someone close to him, someone who was probably his partner or a team member on the same case.
Of course, now Ye Ri has to be all curious about his past too. I hope she doesn’t fall in love with him. I would rather if Ji Hoon ends up being close to Do Shik, since they butt heads often enough in this episode. I like me some love/hate relationships and bromances…