Special Affairs Team TEN: Episode 5
This is one sad case. Episode 5 is titled “The Forest Chaser,” but I think the episode could also have been called “The Good Samaritan.” This episode had a few more twists – one more heart wrenching than the last.
A woman, Jo Soo Young, runs through the forest, her hands bound in front of her. She trips and falls, but continues running up her path. Eventually she falls on her knees in despair, and that’s when she’s finally killed off by our unknown murderer. She’s discovered lying on some rocks, as if on an altar, with an arrow through her chest.
Baek Do Shik’s matchmaker signs him up for a singles’ hiking club in the hopes that he can finally get a girl. He goes toa department store and starts purchasing all these mountain gear and specially made jackets. The saleslady is so good in ripping him off too! It isn’t until he decides on a jacket that he realizes Min Ho is calling – they have a new homicide case and it’s in Mt. Duma. Well perfect! Do Shik’s already dressed for the occasion!
The M.E. is on site checking out the bloody body of Soo Young. Cause of death: excessive bleeding. It is very similar to a case two months ago where a man, Ha Tae Ho, was killed in a similar fashion. Ji Hoon notes that both bodies had their ear drums punctured; since that detail was never reported during police press conferences of Ho Tae’s death, it indicates that Soo Young wasn’t murdered by a copycat.
Min Ho discovers a slip of paper with a biblical phrase in Soo Young’s jacket pocket: Although you have eyes and ears, why don’t you see or hear?
When Do Shik finally arrives, he and Ji Hoon muse over why the victim’s hands were tied in the front; if the murderer wanted her in submission, he would have tied them behind her back. Ji Hoon also notes that this particular body was moved to the rocks, rather than having died there. They already have a team of officers searching the area, but Ji Hoon suggests they climb over one of the many hills.
They reach a small clearing where a lot of blood is found at the foot of a handmade scarecrow. Ji Hoon notes that Tae Ho’s body was found by a scarecrow too, so this must be where Soo Young actually died.
Meanwhile, Ye Ri is sent to speak with Soo Young’s sister. The sister is shocked by the news of Soo Young’s death, and Ye Ri takes the opportunity to explore the house. It’s a home of a neat freak, as there is not a single thing out of place and everything has been cleaned up. In Soo Young’s room, Ye Ri also discovers a few photos from church and gleans the fact that Soo Young must be a very devout Christian. One of those photos has Soo Young standing in front of a church with another guy.
For a very weird reason, Ye Ri recognizes Soo Young’s name, but can’t exactly place where she’s seen the girl before.
Back in the forest, Ji Hoon notices a cord wrapped around the scarecrow that’s had its knot snapped apart. He thinks something was hung around it, but it’s now gone. As for Do Shik, he notices that all the broken branches and bloody trail all seem to be aligned in a straight line. He shouts for all the officers to freeze, and has each of them tie a yellow tape on each of the blood splatter and broken branches. What results is a marked, straight path, and Do Shik finds it very curious that a captive ran in such a straight line despite being disoriented and having hands bound. The straight line led to the scarecrow.
If they were a little more careless about where they were going, the police could have tampered the evidence.
The M.E. continues her autopsy in her lab and determines that Soo Young was drugged before she was brought to the mountain. Though her body was found with rope tied around her eyes, the lack of bruising indicates that the murderer tied it after she was dead. As for Ji Hoon and Do Shik, they find that the rope tied around her legs was cut cleanly. It means that the murderer let her go running, and then hunted her down for fun.
Min Ho finds it odd that the murderer enjoyed the chase so much. The murderer not only took great pains to keep the hunt in a secluded part of the mountain, but he would then allow the bodies to be easily found. Tae Ho’s body was found a few meters away from where his cell phone with GPS was; Soo Young’s body was found on a rock where she’d be easily seen. Ji Hoon presumes that the murderer wanted his message to be heard, and it’s possible he did not pick these victims randomly.
Do Shik continues investigating at a rest stop on the mountain, where several vendors set up shop selling beverages. He purchases coffee from one, who has a cold, and learns that these sellers make a long trek from the parking lot up the mountain carrying all of their heavy supplies. That gives Do Shik an idea – does the parking lot have CCTV?
Ye Ri goes to the bank where Soo Young worked, and asks a colleague about her schedule. Soo Young lived a quiet life, always working or going to church. The colleague thinks Soo Young wasn’t always so quiet though, but because of an “incident” five years ago, she changed. Apparently Soo Young had put in an extra zero on a client’s bank account, and was subsequently transferred to another, smaller branch of the bank.
However, two years ago, Soo Young also received the Brave Citizens’ Award, and therefore was likely to get a promotion. During a bank robbery, Soo Young was able to intervene before the robber hurt a child in the process. A photo of the awards ceremony hangs on the wall, and when Ye Ri takes a closer look, she realizes that she was the one who handed Soo Young the bouquet of flowers!
That little fact puts her in a funk all day.
When everyone is back in the office researching, Do Shik goes over to Ye Ri for a little private chat, concerned about her well-being. It’s a beautiful moment out in the dark as we watch the two of them speak under a lamppost light, and only see their silhouettes. She admits to feeling lost and empty – she handed one woman an award, only to be investigating her death a couple years later. He can sympathize – he used to find it quite disturbing as well when he would see a victim, and wonder if the day before they knew they were going to die. His advice in getting over it? “Ask the stars….”
PFFT. What a way to ruin the somber moment! Thing is, Do Shik was serious!
The CCTV tapes from the mountain’s parking lot come in, but a banner hides the license plate of a suspicious car that most likely belongs to the murderer. NOT a coincidence of course. It just means that the murderer really knows his way around the mountain. Nevertheless, a really close look at the video shows part of the cab company’s name, so Do Shik orders Min Ho to find that cab company.
Min Ho, being the little kid that he can be, complains about having to do all the work. Do Shik tells him to leave Ye Ri alone, because she’s feeling terrible about her connection to Soo Young through the Brave Citizen Award. That rings a bell – turns out Tae Ho received the same award!
Three years ago, Tae Ho caught a sexual molester, while Soo Young had caught a robber. Min Ho wonders if the two offenders are the same person, and therefore are killing them out of revenge. Ye Ri pops in – she’s already done the research, and they’re not the same person. The robber, Kang Ji Hwan, was already released and now spends his time in a prayer house on a mountain. The sex offender is still in jail.
Ye Ri goes up to the prayer house and sees Ji Hwan praying in the church. He immediately gets defensive when he realizes she’s a detective, saying that he’s no longer a criminal and has become a devout Christian. If Ye Ri is investigating a robbery nearby, well, he’s definitely not the culprit.
But all she says instead is, “You know Jo Soo Young right?” He is numbed into silence, and when she adds that Soo Young is dead, his face contorts into grief. That’s a real expression of sadness in Ye Ri’s perceptive eyes, and so she determines that he can’t possibly be the murderer.
Ji Hwan tells her that even though Soo Young was the one who put him in jail, she was also the only one who visited him. Soo Young helped him restart his life, having him go to college and study theology. She had wanted him to become a good Samaritan to others. Apparently, several years ago, she had done something that she regretted terribly. Since then she has sworn to follow the Bible more faithfully, to do good unto others as she would want them to do unto her. Therefore, she has promised to be the good Samaritan to Ji Hwan in the hopes that he will be a good Samaritan to others.
Ye Ri realizes that this incident Ji Hwan is describing must have coincided with the incident Soo Young’s colleague at the bank was referring to. She orders Min Ho to go find out where Tae Ho and Soo Young were five years ago; they might have been together.
Ji Hoon continues puzzling over the case in his office, where he maps out the route Soo Young ran on his clear writing board. What he can’t understand is how Soo Young ran in one direction, straight, despite falling down a steep side of the mountain, and having been all disoriented. Do Shik also has the same thought as he hikes through Mt. Duma with a guide, where he is told that the corpse was found along a very difficult and rocky path.
That evening, Ji Hoon investigates the crime scene again and follows the path that Soo Young ran. Suddenly, he sees a light in the distance. He follows it, and ends up where the scarecrow was – where Do Shik is standing with the flashlight.
That’s it! That’s what Soo Young must have seen! A flashlight must have been tied onto the scarecrow, and was what led her to that site. For a helpless person to see a lig ht, it must have been their only source of hope. The victims must have run straight, and then fallen in despair when they saw that it was nothing that could help them. When they were at their most vulnerable point, that’s when the murderer killed them.
Min Ho’s searches lead to a location in Gangnam, where both Soo Young and Tae Ho were working near at the same time five years ago. His searches lead to a video uploaded to the web, where a murder took place in front of a bunch of bystanders and they all did nothing. A crazy man kept dragging a girl – Park Min Ji – around the courtyard in front of Soo Young’s bank, laughing maniacally. Min Ji was pleading for help, but everyone shied away.
Soo Young had been in that video, and when Min Ji had grabbed her hand, begging for help, Soo Young pulled away instead.
When Ye Ri visits Soo Young’s sister for a second time, she too finds out about the video, and the murder outside the bank. This strong guilt about not helping the girl in the video may have propelled her to become a better “Good Samaritan.” The sister also gives Ye Ri a bank book; she found it in her sister’s belongings.
Ye Ri returns to the office with more information for the boys; Min Ji has one father who survives her, Park Jong Suk. They all then get the call that another body was found in the mountains – a pro golfer. Ji Hoon rushes to replay the video; a golfer was also in the video, and he had just passed by the scene and put his golf bag in his car without lifting a finger to help Min Ji.
The suspect is now Park Jong Suk, and Ji Hoon orders for the officers to track down every single person in that video and provide protection. The father must be tracking them down as well and exacting revenge upon them.
The officers are all pretty smart in how they identify each person, using the barest of hints to figure out who must be whom. Eventually, they get to everyone, and have at least one officer protecting them all.
Meanwhile Do Shik listens to a tape recording that came from the pro golfer’s phone. He had accidentally pressed record on his phone right before he died, and managed to capture the killer’s voice. (Oh the coincidences of all coincidences!) Do Shik replays the recording over and over again, and picks up on the small cough that the killer makes before continuing his sentence. He’s heard that cough before – from the coffee vendor at the mountain.
Coffee Vendor = Park Jong Suk = killer. Deng!
With everyone protected, Min Ho and Ye Ri can finally take a small break. Min Ho muses that butterfly effects are far more powerful than it could ever have seemed. Because one person recorded the video, and caught the entire murder, three “innocent” people died five years later.
Ye Ri notes that when the video was first uploaded, the uploader got a lot of criticism, so he took it down. That’s when Ji Hoon has a revelation – they missed one more person! He quickly scans the video again in hopes of identifying the uploader; they need to still send a police officer to protect him. What’s worse is, the uploader was a waiter at a cafe across the street from the courtyard, and he was an absolute asshole. He was pissed off that a customer blocked his view and he couldn’t get a perfect shot of the actual murder.
That uploader/waiter Go Jung Joon is now a businessman, and he is in a cab, driven by Park Jong Suk by all people. When he hears that Jong Suk has seen the video that he originally posted, he proudly claims that he shot it. Jong Suk comments that if Min Ji’s parents had seen it, they would have collapsed. Go Jung Joon has no pity though, saying that Min Ji was simply unlucky. Like I said, asshole
Jong Suk says he would feel terrible, as he had a daughter as well. Because he was away from home so much, having been a seaman, his daughter was a troublemaker and dropped out of high school. He feels guilty for not having been a better father to her, especially now that she’s dead. Go Jung Joon’s reaction? His face reads, “Whatever.”
Do Shik goes back to Mt. Duma and asks the other vendors about Jong Suk’s whereabouts. They haven’t seen him in days, but presume that he’s back at his home in Shinchon. Do Shik heads to Shinchon and discovers that the video was reuploaded recently at a PC room in that area. When he calls to inform the rest of the team at the office, he finds out that the team is searching for Go Jung Joon.
Go’s phone turns on for a moment and GPS locates it to be in Bukhan Mountains. Do Shik overhears this and warns them not to go there – it would be a trap! He insists that Jong Suk would bring the body back to Mt. Duma, especially since he knows it best. Unfortunately, Do Shik’s phone turns off – no battery. Man – where’s a charger when you need one?! Now Do Shik is a lone wolf, searching for killer Jong Suk by himself.
Go Jung Joon wakes up from his drugged sleep and finds Jong Suk standing over him, axe in hand. He quickly scurries further away from his killer, and Jong Suk dares him to run.
Go runs off into the woods, with Jong Suk laughing and following, bow and arrows in hand. Just when he gets a chance for a shot, he gets tackled to the ground – by Do Shik! Do Shik gets Jong Suk in a choke hold, but struggles to handcuff him. In that moment, Jong Suk grabs a hidden knife and stabs Do Shik in the leg.
Poor guy just keeps getting hurt!
Jong Suk chases after Go, who is running towards the light – the light that is tied up to another scarecrow. When he realizes that there is no one to help him, or save him, he falls to his knees and wails in despair. Jong Suk appears behind him, arrows pointed at Go. “That child was my daughter!” he cries. “When she was dying in the streets, you all were standing around doing nothing.”
He inches closer, bow and arrow at the ready. Just when he’s about to shoot, the police arrive! Yay! Ji Hoon and company didn’t go to Bukhan Mountains! Jong Suk is fearless – he points his arrows right back at the other officers, while Ji Hoon, Ye Ri, and Min Ho all have their guns aimed at him. They were able to find the location easily because of the flashlight.
Ji Hoon knows that Jong Suk uploaded the video again as a way to raise attention to Min Ji’s death. He’s still angry and unforgiving towards the people who stood there and watched his daughter die; in some way, they are all murderers too.
Jong Suk aims his arrows at Go Jung Joon again and gets ready to shoot, but then an orange mountain hiking jacket flies through the air. Jong Suk shoots at it, but it only pierces through the jacket. At that moment, the police descend upon him and tackle him onto the ground.
A flashback to five year ago reveals a conversation Jong Suk had with his daughter via webcam. She had showed him a sonogram of her two-month old baby. Jong Suk was furious – how could a high school dropout with no steady job support a baby by herself? Min Ji was disappointed because she actually wanted this baby, but Jong Suk hung up on her.
That was the last time he ever spoke to her.
Ye Ri and Min Ho are handling the confession in the interrogation room. No matter what happened to Min Ji’s killer, Jong Suk could not forgive the bystanders. Being completely helpless in an area where one could have received so much help was much more frightening than any other possible situation.
Ye Ri hands the bank book she received from Soo Young’s sister. It was actually Min Ji’s, and she had opened a savings account for her father with Soo Young. Once she started earning money, she would have continually deposited a little bit for her father.
This was the account for which Soo Young had added an additional zero, and was subsequently transferred out of her branch. Because she felt so guilty for not helping Min Ji, she tried to repent for her mistakes by providing more money for the father than was actually in the account.
When Jong Suk opens the bank book, he sees the money that Min Ji and Soo Young had given him. He also finds a photo of Min Ji, smiling while holding up her sonogram picture. That’s enough to turn Jong Suk into a puddle of tears.
Ye Ri leaves the room and wonders if it was coincidence that two of the victims received the Brave Citizen Award after the incident. She can now understand why humans feel guilty. That feeling can determine people’s future actions; they can either feel like a coward for the rest of their life, or they can muster up the courage to help others when they are in danger.
We leave Do Shik again at the ambulance, getting treated for the wound on his leg. The team check up on him to see how he’s doing. He gloats in front of the team that Ji Hoon is starting to trust his gut instinct because that’s how they came to the right mountain, right? Ji Hoon merely smiles, and walks off. Min Ho is left to explain that they managed to track the GPS of the taxi cab that was parked there; Ji Hoon never trusted his gut instinct at all.
Heh. Oh well – it’s a start!
This episode was very much like the case of Kitty Genovese, the girl who was murdered and raped in Queens, NY. Apparently, despite her cries for help, no one rushed to her aid or called 911. It’s a case of bystander effect, where the burden of responsibility is diffused among all the other bystanders so that in the end, no one does anything because they think the other will do something.
It’s a sad story to see the girl be murdered, and everyone was just staring and watching. No one even dared to yell at the crazy maniac who killed her. This episode was a question of who’s really the murderer, and who’s really responsible. Sure the crazy maniac is the actual murderer, but he could have been stopped by the bystanders. In a way, though Soo Young, Tae Ho, and the golfer all died, they were also guilty for their part in Min Ji’s death. It leaves me wondering: should I be sad they died? Or should I feel like justice was somewhat served?
It also makes me wonder if Ji Hoon is indirectly involved in the murder of “his woman” – whether he was a “bystander” who could have done something to save her, or whether he actually did kill her and/or put her in danger.