Bad Guys: Episode 2
I’m back for another round of Bad Guys this week, as Team Crazy Dogs tackle their first case together in a hunt for a serial killer at large. And while each of our jailbirds get a chance to shine in this episode, it’s really Tae-soo’s arc that has my attention—who knew that the hitman would have people he wants to protect?
As our team digs deeper into the case, they quickly find out that everything is not as it seems, and the answers that await them are even more alarming than any one of them could have anticipated.
SONG OF THE DAY
Toxic – “시간 (Time)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 2: Outlaw
We open with Tae-soo hobbling along a street, clutching his bleeding side. Well, you certainly have my attention. Just as he slumps to the ground, he’s discovered by a kind young woman, who he gets a brief glimpse of when he comes to at the hospital.
The memory is but a dream, however, as Tae-soo wakes in the church. He mentions to Jung-moon that they were once detained in the same prison before, which he considers interesting. Jung-moon, on the other hand, doesn’t share that same sentiment—only time will tell whether their ties are ill-fated or not.
“You’ll die by my hands if it is,” Tae-soo muses to himself. Awoken by the doors slamming behind Jung-moon, a grumpy Woong-chul tells his neighbor to keep it down so he can sleep.
Meanwhile, Goo-tak arrives at the crime scene where the ninth victim has been discovered. Seeing a young cop brings back memories of Detective Nam’s first day, when Goo-tak had told the rookie to stay alive. Throwing down his cigarette, Goo-tak growls, directing his words to the killer at large out there: “Having fun, you bastard?”
Mi-young and our trio of criminals are on their way over when Tae-soo suddenly tells her to stop the van. He’s recognized the neighborhood, but doesn’t say that outright; instead, he makes the simple, yet earnest request for a little time away, assuring her that it won’t take long.
With Goo-tak’s permission, Tae-soo heads over to the same house on the hill from his memories. He’s looking for the young woman from the top of the hour, Park Sun-jung, and is puzzled when a different woman answers the door. So he asks to borrow his police escort’s cellphone, effectively knocking him out when the answer is no. Ha.
Back in the waiting van below, Woong-chul tries his luck to score some liberty time for himself. His attempt at mimicking Tae-soo’s earlier request is hilariously awful: “It won’t take long, agasshi–I mean, inspector.” Mi-young: “You’ve never been punched in the solar plexus by a woman, have you? Shall we make this your first time?” LOL.
She gets a ping on Tae-soo’s location, but just as she notes how he’s moving too quickly on foot do we see Tae-soo drive past them in another vehicle. Ha. Woong-chul takes the wheel and takes off after him.
In the other car, Tae-soo thinks back to a prison visit from an older gentleman who had asked, “Is that woman that important to you?” She saved his life, whereas he tried to kill him, Tae-soo had pointed out.
He’d been asked why he turned himself in to try and atone for his sins rather than remaining to protect that woman, a topic that’s still a sore spot for Tae-soo. “In order to lessen your own burdens, you abandoned that woman.”
Then it’s back to our car chase, where Woong-chul stays hot on Tae-soo’s tail down the narrow streets. Unfortunately for them, though, they eventually lose him, and Woong-chul blames the van itself.
As for Tae-soo, he heads straight to a pawn shop to meet that same older gentlemen we saw earlier. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that he and the man are referring to Sun-jung when they mention “that woman,” and to Tae-soo’s rotten luck, the older man doesn’t know where she is either, since all he does is wire money to her.
Dissatisfied with that answer, Tae-soo reminds the old man that his life depends on his ability to take good care of that woman. “Don’t you trust me?” the man asks. Grabbing him, Tae-soo tells him to find out if Sun-jung and that little girl are alive and well, and that no one’s bothering them wherever they are now.
On that note, the sound of approaching sirens cut their conversation short. As Tae-soo takes his leave, the old man tells him, “You protect her. Don’t hide because you’re afraid.” Tae-soo chuckles at that—he’d like to do that, too.
Goo-tak is waiting for him outside, albeit unhappy that this is how his trust in Tae-soo is treated. Tae-soo’s still in a sour mood, and his cheek earns him a punch from Goo-tak. Yikes, is this how you’re planning to keep your hunting dogs in line?
Mi-young meets with Commissioner Nam, who deeply sighs at the news of the latest victim. Noticing the pouring rain, he muses that his late son must be crying, asking them to hurry and find that serial killer.
Mi-young changes the topic and asks after Goo-tak’s connection to the three criminals they’ve brought onboard, citing the eerie sequence of events in their pasts. Despite being aware that Goo-tak knows much about Jung-moon already, Commissioner Nam tells her to entrust the job to Goo-tak anyway.
Speaking of whom, Goo-tak begins the hunt, giving his hunting dogs to find something on their serial killer within the day. He tells them that the residents have a hard-knock life here, something that they as criminals can relate to. “Now it’s his turn… to find out how dirty and scary life is. Make him feel that it’s better for him to bite his own tongue and die rather than getting bit by you who have taken life to the extreme.”
Jung-moon envisions the latest victim’s crime scene and concludes, “This isn’t your first time, is it?” Tae-soo happens to catch those words and doesn’t let Jung-moon leave without getting an explanation out of him first. Jung-moon frostily warns him that he’ll kill him if he isn’t careful, words which Tae-soo returns in kind.
Whereas Tae-soo knows himself pretty well, Jung-moon can’t say the same for himself. Although he can’t remember how he killed all those people, he does mention one benefit: “There’s no guilt.” Does Tae-soo feel the same?
He doesn’t, because he flashes back to a time when he stopped by a man’s wake and saw the wife sobbing in grief. Is that… Sun-jung?
Then it’s time for our crazy dogs to get to work, and each have their own individual style in handling this case. Woong-chul beats down (or rather, slaps down, heh) the local gangster boss to gather his boys and find someone. Tae-soo examines a collection of knives to identify the murder weapon, then imagines himself as the observer, analyzer, and instigator of the incident.
A neat eye-trick takes us to that rainy night, where there were no CCTVs or witnesses. Tae-soo concludes that the perp knows the area quite well, and given the anatomical location of the stabbing, the killer is shorter than the victim.
Either that’s as far as any of our criminal consultants can conclude at this point or they just won’t share with the class, much to Mi-young and Goo-tak’s disappointment. Such is the case for Woong-chul, who won’t share how he’ll catch the killer in three days with his rivals still present.
Tae-soo brings up how Goo-tak wasn’t looking for teamwork, anyway—it doesn’t matter how many lives will be lost before they catch the killer, since he’s ultimately here to get a reduced jail sentence out of the deal. At that, Goo-tak opens the question to the floor—do all of them feel this way?
Then Jung-moon finally breaks his silence by asking, “What might the killer’s motive for murder be?” The smell of blood, he answers. The reason why he attacks on rainy days is because the smell of blood is much stronger on such days, thus harder to contain the impulse.
There have been other incidents apart from this string of murders, Jung-moon concludes. Goo-tak asks why he thinks that is, to which Jung-moon explains that the method is too clean—all the victims died with one stab to the lung. He believes the serial killer had a lot of practice by killing other people until the method was perfected.
Jung-moon advises the detectives to look into cases in the past year of unskilled, clumsy murders that took place in rainy conditions with that same motive: “Find the murder the culprit is hiding in.”
At the same time, we see our mysterious murderer sniff the blood from his raincoat. Looks like someone’s on the right track.
So Goo-tak sifts through the numerous casefile boxes at home, sighing, “You sure killed a lot of people.” A while later, Goo-tak smirks to himself. “Found it—the murder you’re hiding in.”
At the abandoned church, Goo-tak explains a batch of murders where the killer broke into the victims’ homes and killed them with a wrench, leaving behind messy crime scenes. Mi-young points out that isn’t enough of a differentiator, but Goo-tak isn’t done yet: these victims all have puncture wounds, because the killer extracted their blood post-mortem with a syringe.
But none of the other nine victims possessed that kind of wound. That’s what makes their serial killer even scarier, Goo-tak argues, because he had to find an easier and faster method to feed his impulse.
When asked why the other detectives in charge of these murder cases didn’t notice, Goo-tak barks that different precincts would never share intel with one another, not when they’re all competing to nab the culprit.
There was a ten-day gap between the first string of murders and the next, he explains, and that’s when the murderer changed his method. Among the fifteen “practice” incidents, two of those victims survived.
Meanwhile, Woong-chul tells his new gangster minion Chul-joo about how the killer can easily break into people’s houses without a trace. Spotting a hardware store nearby, he interrupts Chul-joo’s story to ask where people turn to when their locks are broken.
When Chul-joo can’t put two and two together, Woong-chul has to slap the answer into him: a locksmith. Everyone heads over there if something in their house is broken and people trust who works there, which is why they’re never under suspicion. Smart thinking.
For a good minute it seems like Woong-chul’s on the right track when the locksmith answers yes to all of his questions, even to committing murder. But it’s never that easy, is it? So when Woong-chul drags the owner outside, Goo-tak arrives in time to literally punch the sense into him.
Goo-tak is accompanied by Tae-soo, who admits that he wants to get out of jail soon in order to protect someone. So imagine Tae-soo’s surprise when he finds out that the first surviving victim is none other than Sun-jung. And though he recognizes her, she doesn’t.
Once inside, she explains how her husband passed away a few years ago. Suffice it to say that Tae-soo’s a nervous klutz around her, spilling coffee all over himself. Thankfully Goo-tak smooths the situation over.
With some encouragement, Sun-jung recounts how a hooded figure broke into her apartment last summer. She and her daughter woke just in time, and while she fought the perpetrator, her little girl ran for help. He’d disappeared and it was too dark to see his face.
Elsewhere, Mi-young and Jung-moon meet with the other surviving victim, who shares how she pretended to be asleep while her sister was being murdered beside her. She feared that she’d be next, and then the killer had leaned in to whisper that he had to kill a lot of people in one go in order to “beat him.”
She didn’t see his face either, and then Jung-moon remarks, “You’re lucky.” Er, that’s not particularly consoling, but the resident serial killer’s never going to get a gold star in empathy, is he?
Needless to say she’s floored by his remark, then reveals the brutal scars on the side of her face. Aha, so the killer had left her for dead, but she’d survived. Then Jung-moon offers some more words: “Live in the light. Don’t die in the darkness.”
Tae-soo hangs back to ask Sun-jung why she’s living in such shabby conditions—is she too poor? She’s offended by his question, wondering if he thinks that it’s a given these unfortunate events would happen to poor folk like herself.
He wrestles with himself for an answer, so she set him straight, telling him no one is poor because they want to be. Thinking that he’s also a detective, she advises him to open his eyes to how the poor often fall victim to accidents, suicide, and murders.
Staring at the locked front door, Tae-soo promises to find the killer. Just around the corner, we see Goo-tak has overheard the conversation.
Then it’s back to our case on hand, as Mi-young has figured out the one their serial killer is seeking to beat: Jo Dong-soo, who killed twenty-three people in the same rainy weather conditions with the motive that he loved the smell of blood before he was captured.
Jung-moon believes their serial killer will try to kill at least twice more in order to beat Jo’s record (since 13 by wrench plus 9 by knife = 22). When Goo-tak wonders if their killer wanted bragging rights at being the one who’s killed the most, Jung-moon matter-of-factly replies, “Isn’t it a given for the one in second place to want to beat the one in first?”
Another box of case files arrives, and Mi-young shows Goo-tak of an incident where the intent was murder but the victim survived. So if their serial killer wants a perfect kill record, he’ll go back to finish the job for the two victims who are still alive.
And just as Goo-tak comes to that realization, it starts raining.
As Team Crazy Dogs heads out, Woong-chul and the other gangsters station themselves around the area. Woong-chul bumps into someone when he heads inside a store, then notices the blood on his hand from when they brushed past one another.
He confronts the man, though the latter remains masked under an umbrella. Woong-chul gives chase when he starts running, and the team separates into different directions upon arrival.
Tae-soo bursts into Sun-jung’s apartment to find no one at home, and Goo-tak knocks down a gangster, only to find out that they’re on the same side. He loses sight of the culprit, much to his annoyance.
Woong-chul stops to take a closer look at a darkened space when someone attacks him from behind. Ack, it’s the serial killer! It initially seems like Woong-chul’s been stabbed, but the camera cuts to show that he caught the knife in his hand. Accckk!
The killer is pinned against a car before he pulls the knife out of Woong-chul’s hand, and then slices him across the head. Jung-moon finds Woong-chul on the ground and bleeding, and instead of going after the killer, he offers Woong-chul a hand.
As for the serial killer, he arrives home where he cleans off his bloody raincoat. His knife turns out to be a twist-off, and he pours the blood inside into a vial and places it with the others.
Naturally, there’s another victim found by morning. Tae-soo pauses before opening up the body bag, afraid that Sun-jung might be inside. But it’s the other surviving victim—the one who heard her sister being murdered. To his relief, Sun-jung is standing nearby with her daughter.
Back at the church, Jung-moon is skeptical that forensics will discover anything. If there hasn’t been any trace of evidence before, there won’t be one now or in the future. Just then Goo-tak receives a call and relays to the others that the murderer’s fingerprints have been found.
It’s Woong-chul’s gangster minion who’s arrested by the police, to Woong-chul’s confusion. Mi-young finds it odd how the incriminating evidence turned up so quickly, but Goo-tak says what’s important is that they’ve found the culprit.
However, Jung-moon thinks differently: “He isn’t the culprit.” If he were, then the murderer would be angry at being robbed of an assured victory by one kill, rather than looking frightened on TV.
Remember when Tae-soo concluded the killer’s approximate height to be shorter than his previous victim (170 cm)? The gangster they arrested exceeds that, which means that they’ve got the wrong guy.
And then like clockwork, it’s raining again.
Tae-soo takes off, realizing that Sun-jung is next on the hit list. Sure enough, we see her being followed by a hooded figure. She quickens her pace, frightened, but the figure walks past her.
Moments later, Sun-jung runs into the locksmith who helps pick up her spilled groceries. She initially declines his offer to escort her home, but he’s creepily persistent. Next thing we know, he runs at her with a wrench and drags her along the street by the hair.
He throws her against a car and switches out his wrench for his knife. Now things will turn fun, he tells her, and pulls back for the kill… but then notices something in the reflection. It’s Tae-soo, who punches the locksmith/serial killer.
Tae-soo tells him to beg for forgiveness, and the killer’s sobs turns to derisive laughter. Concluding that he’s no better than a beast, Tae-soo will treat him like one. Punching him repeatedly, Tae-soo tells him to beg for his life like his victims did.
The killer mumbles for Tae-soo to spare him, but now Tae-soo has no intentions to let him live. He grabs the knife. Ahh, don’t do it, Tae-soo!
But just when he raises it, Goo-tak calls him off from a distance. It takes Tae-soo a minute to figure it out, but he’s stupefied all the same—did Goo-tak set up this trap to catch the murderer?
When Goo-tak doesn’t answer, Tae-soo turns to kill, only to be shot by Goo-tak’s gun. The police arrive to take him and the serial killer away. Commissioner Nam orders Goo-tak to put his hunting dogs behind bars until they become useful again next time.
Mi-young asks Goo-tak why he lied about discovering incriminating evidence when none was found. Goo-tak replies that the true murderer would be enraged to see someone else take the credit for his work. So he waited for the serial killer to attack next.
When Mi-young laughs at his cruel methods at catching criminals, Goo-tak immediately sets her straight.
Jung-moon leads the interrogation, demanding to know why there was only twenty-two vials of blood instead of twenty-three to match his killings. The serial killer has no idea what he’s talking about—he only killed twenty-two people.
So Jung-moon throws down the pictures of all the victims, telling the murderer to point out who he didn’t kill.
Just outside, Tae-soo barges inside and grabs Goo-tak in a chokehold. Why did he use Sun-jung as bait? Goo-tak reminds Tae-soo of his own words—all he cared about was his jail sentence, not the lives at risk.
Goo-tak might not know how precious Sun-jung is to Tae-soo, but if Tae-soo considers everyone’s lives as valuable as hers, then he’ll never speak so carelessly about people’s lives.
With that, Tae-soo lets him go, but it isn’t long before Woong-chul joins them and punches Goo-tak. And then in the interrogation room, the serial killer points out the one woman he didn’t kill. He’d followed her three months ago, but then gave up because he thought he heard someone nearby.
Just then, the police file in to collect the bad guys… our trio of criminals. Goo-tak doesn’t say anything until after they’re taken away—once the hunt’s over, it’s time to capture the hunting dogs.
It’s only been two episodes, but I’d already gotten so used to our crazy dogs on the case that I hadn’t even considered what would happen to them between cases. It makes sense since all three of our bad guys are still imprisoned men, and yet this initial separation comes at the worst time—when both Woong-chul and Tae-soo are angry with Goo-tak and his methods in capturing even worse criminals. Not that I expected smooth sailing when it comes to three tough jailbirds and an even tougher detective, but I hope Goo-tak has a plan when he pays them a prison visit.
I like how we spent some time on Tae-soo this week, seeing as his backstory was pretty bare-boned compared to the other two criminals. He’s indebted to the woman who saved his life, and I’d even venture to say that his concern for Sun-jung goes beyond that gratitude. Seeing him at her husband’s wake, along with that ever-present guilt he carries has me wondering that he might’ve been hired to take her husband out. His relationship with the older gentleman is even more of a mystery, and currently he’s the only character who knows more about Tae-soo’s past. And tried to have him killed.
Even if we’ve only dealt with one case thus far, I like how the show is handling each of our criminal’s strengths and weaknesses in the field. Woong-chul might be strong, but he isn’t the smartest tool in the shed, though I have to give him credit for figuring out that the killer would be someone people trust most and don’t suspect. I thought it’d be too easy to have the hardware store/locksmith be the serial killer they’d been looking for, but it turned out to be one and the same. Now that the wrench/knife serial killer is caught, I hope this means we can move onto a different case where I won’t have to worry about a certain Seoul neighborhood turning into a permanent flood-warning area due to heavy rain.
I also hope that this means we get a chapter about Woong-chul as well, whose backstory out of the three we’ve yet to explore in more depth. Despite his fretting, we see he does have a deep sense of loyalty to those he cares about. As for Jung-moon, his serial killer profiling certainly came in handy for this case, even if I’m pretty disturbed at how a man collected people’s blood through the murder weapon.
To be honest, I found this week’s episode to be a bit confusing with so many case files and dates to keep track of. Add in the dates of our three criminal’s crimes, imprisonment, and Goo-tak’s past, and now I’m thinking that a timeline would be pretty helpful. I’m counting on the show to keep reminding us of these dates because as more cases file in, I’m afraid that the important ones might fall to the obscure wayside compared to the ones we only have to worry about on a temporary basis. Apart from that, there isn’t much more I can ask for from a solid show—well, except the hope that our criminals will be back out on the field soon. Because that tailored suit is far better than the blue uniform.