Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 16
This week is all about teamwork as our neighborhood lawyer and his cohorts slowly close in on Chairman Jung. Our bad guys are starting to turn against each other and it seems like Deul-ho finally has everyone coming to his side, but he’s discovering that his White Whale may be just a puppet after all.
Remember, an enemy of your enemy is a friend, until you can no longer tell between your friends and enemies.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Deul-ho has traded in his favorite brown suit for doctor duds as he breezes through the hospital. Grabbing a chart from a passing nurse, he uses her as a cover to get past security and then charms her into telling him where the VIP floor is.
In Chairman Jung’s room, Chief Prosecutor Shin removes the oxygen mask from the apparently unconscious chairman… who smiles and complains that the mask was stuffy.
Flashback to the day before the chairman’s summons, Prosecutor Shin met with Chairman Jung and advised him to collapse on the way to the prosecutor’s office. The two hatched a plan to use a faked heart surgery to avoid the investigation, buying them some time for the media frenzy to die down.
After the collapse, the plan was for the chairman to make a recovery so they could quietly handle the legalities. Prosecutor Shin reassured Chairman Jung that even if he were found guilty, he could use his illness as an excuse to stay in a hospital on sick bail instead of going to jail.
In the present, the two chuckle over their successful strategy and Prosecutor Shin reminds the chairman to keep faking for a while so he can take care of everything from his end.
Chairman Jung wonders if Deul-ho will use the ledger to cause further problems, but Prosecutor Shin points out that while the chairman is “recovering,” all investigations will be suspended, so it doesn’t matter. Chairman Jung grins and apologizes for suspecting Shin’s motives before.
Prosecutor Shin leaves after counseling the chairman not to reveal the truth to anyone, even family. The chairman promises that he will only trust in Prosecutor Shin.
Doctor Deul-ho arrives at the VIP ward just in time to see the chief prosecutor walking away. He makes his way to Chairman Jung’s room, but the heavy security prevents him from doing more than glance through the door window.
Giving up for now, Deul-ho heads out of the hospital. He passes by a television as a news report broadcasts that Geum San intends to take legal action against Deul-ho for his cruel pursuit of their client [Chairman Jung] which resulted in his recent heart failure.
At Geum San, Attorney Jang instructs Attorney Kim to report Deul-ho to the prosecutor’s office for criminal defamation against the chairman. Hae-kyung argues back that there is no need now that they’ve finally separated themselves from Dae Hwa and Chairman Jung, but her father states that they’ve decided to get back in business with them after all.
Hae-kyung can’t understand why, and proposes instead that they use the ledger to reveal Chairman Jung’s slush fund. Attorney Jang, who knows that Geum San will be implicated if the ledger is revealed, shuts down the idea. He barks that he’s doing all this to protect the company and dismisses his daughter.
Alone in his office, Attorney Jang thinks back to his meeting with Chairman Jung the other night. The chairman had informed him that he and Chief Prosecutor Shin had put together a plan, and asked if Attorney Jang would also return to his side.
The chairman warned Attorney Jang not to trust the Chief Prosecutor too much, as he’s someone who can turn his back at any moment. Chairman Jung asked after the stock shares that belong to Prosecutor Shin, which Jang has been managing under false names. He warned Jang to guard them well: they are Prosecutor Shin’s leash.
At the prosecutor’s office, Ji-wook asks his father about Chairman Jung’s condition, but Prosecutor Shin continues with the façade that the chairman is still in a coma. He asks about the Power King investigation and Ji-wook reports that the suspects have all confessed to receiving money from Dae Hwa, but he’s stalled until he can question the chairman directly.
Ji-wook alerts his father to Geum San’s defamation accusation against Deul-ho. Prosecutor Shin seems surprised, but tells Ji-wook he’ll leave it in his hands.
After Ji-wook leaves, Prosecutor Shin calls Attorney Jang. The prosecutor and attorney meet at Geum San to discuss Chairman Jung’s trial and Deul-ho’s supposed possession of the slush fund ledger.
Prosecutor Shin asks after his shares – the ones that Chairman Jung had advised Attorney Jang to guard well. Shin subtly hints that during the upcoming investigation those shares could prove problematic for Geum San, but Attorney Jang argues back that the having the shares under false names would be incriminating against Prosecutor Shin as well.
Dancing around the topic, Prosecutor Shin asks for Attorney Jang’s help should he ever choose to sell those stocks. Jang agrees, in return for the chief prosecutor’s promise to help if Geum San faces any problems with Chairman Jung’s upcoming investigation.
Attorney Jang warns Prosecutor Shin that if he doesn’t keep that promise, then he’ll reveal the borrowed stocks. Shin accepts the threat with a smile, but when he’s by himself in the elevator, he scoffs at Attorney Jang’s nerve.
At Neighborhood Lawyer Headquarters, the gang – Dae-soo in particular – are up in arms about all the news reports siding against Deul-ho. It seems public sentiment has swung back to Chairman Jung now that he is “sick,” and the Power King suit is at risk of being forgotten.
While everyone is bemoaning the injustice, Deul-ho points out that something seems off about the chairman’s condition. He wonders how someone who was playing golf just a few days ago suddenly suffered a heart attack after getting a few eggs thrown at him.
He instructs Deul-ho and Ae-ra to go find out the truth about the chairman’s health. Dae-soo gets excited about the idea of Ae-ra wearing a nurse’s uniform, and Eun-jo gapes as Ae-ra flirts right back. The two run off to plan their
date mission when Deul-ho gets a phone call from Ji-wook.
Deul-ho heads over to the prosecutor’s office where Ji-wook notifies him of the criminal defamation charges against him. Deul-ho starts winding up to argue that these charges are ridiculous, but Ji-wook cuts in to say he agrees. It seems he only used it as an excuse to bring Deul-ho in.
Ji-wook informs Deul-ho that he plans to catch Chairman Jung and everyone connected to him, no matter who. Deul-ho asks if he can really do that, since it will mean having to arrest his own father. That seems to take the wind out of Ji-wook’s sails, and he just stares at Deul-ho who goes on to say that he’s going to uncover everything, whether Ji-wook helps him or not.
Deul-ho hands over the recording of the government officials’ lunch conversation, suggesting that Ji-wook make his decision after listening to it. He gets up to leave, telling Ji-wook to summon him whenever he needs him – he won’t fake a cardiac arrest like some people.
After leaving Ji-wook’s office, Deul-ho charges into Chief Prosecutor Shin’s office next, demanding to know if Chairman Jung is really in a coma. He knows that the chairman brings out that wheelchair every time he goes to court, so was the heart attack a new suggestion from Prosecutor Shin?
Deul-ho admits that he used to believe that Chairman Jung was a sponsor to the chief prosecutor, but now he’s thinking that the chairman is the puppet and Prosecutor Shin pulls the strings. Shin warns that there is a limit to his patience, but Deul-ho is unfazed, instructing Prosecutor Shin to pass on a message to the chairman: his acting was terrible.
Patient Dae-soo and Janitor Ae-ra are busy with their undercover operation when they spy none other than Michael Jung. The prodigal brat has returned to the country after hearing of his father’s collapse.
Both Ae-ra and Dae-soo rush to call Deul-ho and inform him of the chairman’s son’s return. Deul-ho warns them not to lose sight of him.
Michael Jung saunters past security, then switches into concerned son mode once he’s in his father’s room. His worry does look genuine, except he doesn’t seem to care that his father could die, but rather that he might die without finalizing a will.
He grabs at his father’s prone body and yells that if he’s going to die, he should wake up temporarily to put everything in order before he goes. Chairman Jung, who has heard every word while faking unconsciousness, finally can’t take anymore and lunges up to grab his son, calling him a bastard while beating him.
But Michael, idiot that he is, can only shout in joy at his father’s miraculous recovery, relieved that he doesn’t have to worry about losing all his inheritance. Honestly, these two deserve each other.
Michael heads to the bathroom where he makes a phone call to tell someone he came back for nothing since his father is just fine. After he leaves, Patient Dae-soo exits the stall, having recorded his whole conversation.
The dynamic duo hurries back to play the recording for Deul-ho. Ae-ra adds that there has also been a lot of leftover food coming out of the room – at one point she even found lobster shells in the trash. Apparently the chairman enjoyed solo lobster dinners in his hospital room, something difficult for a man in a coma to do.
Late at night, Chief Prosecutor Shin is in his office. He unlocks a desk drawer to pull out a ledger of his own. A flashback from four years ago shows us it’s a file on a paper company created by Chairman Jung to avoid taxes.
Prosecutor Shin had given it to Attorney Jang, showing him that the chairman had listed Hae-kyung as the president of the fictional company without her or her father’s knowledge. The chairman had been facing a large scale investigation for corporate tax evasions, and Jang’s daughter was being set up to take the fall.
Attorney Jang started to get nervous, but Prosecutor Shin assured him that he’d already taken that file out of the investigation, saving it from review. Jang had promised not to forget this kindness.
Back in the present, Chief Prosecutor Shin remembers Attorney Jang’s threat to reveal his borrowed stock shares.
Dae-soo, Ae-ra, and Eun-jo, all dressed as orderlies, sneak into Chairman Jung’s room while he’s sleeping. They wheel him into a surgery room where he awakens to find himself tied to the hospital bed.
As the chairman demands to know what’s going on, a fourth figure in scrubs strolls up to the bed, pulling down his mask to reveal that it’s Deul-ho. He says he was bored waiting for Chairman Jung to wake up so he thought he’d perform surgery on him.
He gives instructions to the others on how to best slice open the chairman, suggesting they use those “iron looking things” to sear the skin open. Well, that’s one use for defibrillators that probably isn’t in the manual.
Chairman Jung screams as they all descend upon him… then wakes up shouting, safe in his hospital bed.
Chief Prosecutor Shin visits his son to ask how the investigation is coming along, but Ji-wook isn’t having any luck since everyone is denying everything while the chairman is unconscious.
His father advises him to look into Geum San, suggesting that he make a deal with them as they would know the most about their own client, Chairman Jung. Shin hands him the file on Chairman Jung’s paper company – the one that lists Hae-kyung as the president.
Ji-wook’s eyes grow wide as he reads through it. Prosecutor Shin tells him to use the file either to make a deal or to arrest Hae-kyung.
Hae-kyung, bearing coffee, visits Deul-ho in his office. She confides that daughter Soo-bin told her she wanted to become a lawyer like her father, but not her mother. Hae-kyung feels ashamed, and wants to let go of all the things keeping her from becoming the lawyer and mother Soo-bin can be proud of.
Deul-ho promises to help her and Hae-kyung smiles, saying she’s reassured now that Superman will help her. Awww.
Because of the trouble surrounding Geum San right now, Deul-ho recommends Hae-kyung take Soo-bin and go somewhere out of contact for a while.
Team Deul-ho assembles to discuss Deul-ho’s latest plan: snatching Chairman Jung out of the hospital and bringing him to the prosecutor’s office. The group protests that it’s impossible to get through the VIP security, but Deul-ho likens the situation to catching a mole: wait till he peeks out of his hole, then hit him over the head.
They begin Project Whack-a-Mole, infiltrating the hospital by donning patient/nurse/doctor disguises. Giant Loan Shark gets the ball rolling by setting off the fire alarm at noon. Nurse Ae-ra uses the alarm (and some hilarious acting) to get the security guards away from the chairman’s room.
As the hospital evacuates, the group uses the ensuing chaos to wheel a gurney into the VIP ward where Chairman Jung is still faking his coma. Their antics are caught on the CCTV cameras and a gang of men in black suits head over to intercept them.
Dae-soo, Ae-ra, and Eun-jo burst into the chairman’s room, yelling that they’re all about to burn to death. Eun-jo asks if they should save this patient, pointing at Chairman Jung, but Dae-soo just hops on the gurney and says they can’t touch him, as he’s a VIP.
The ladies wheel him out while apologizing to the “unconscious” chairman, telling him to try and stay alive. As soon as they leave, Chairman Jung pops his head up from bed. Looks like their acting was pretty convincing.
Back in the hallway, the security cameras catch them wheeling a covered body out of the chairman’s room. The security team assumes that the three are abducting the chairman and give chase, leaving the floor completely open for Deul-ho to waltz his way into Chairman Jung’s room.
Chairman Jung is just starting to worry, when suddenly Deul-ho appears in the room with a camera phone already recording the chairman’s magical recovery. Chairman Jung tries to grab the phone, but Deul-ho dances out of the way while asking if the cardiac arrest was all a lie.
Deul-ho uses his footage of the chairman to strong arm him into agreeing to go to the prosecutor’s office with him. Chairman Jung, after threatening not to let Deul-ho get away with this, agrees to go.
Meanwhile, the security team pounces on Team Deul-ho as they emerge from the elevator, only for Dae-soo to sit up from under the blankets and ask if the fire has been put out yet. Heh.
A crowd of reporters gathers at the prosecutor’s office, waiting for the arrival of Chairman Jung. When the ambulance drives up, Deul-ho cheerfully pulls the chairman out and informs the press that the heroic Chairman Jung just awoke from his coma and has insisted — of his own free will — to come face the investigation against him.
As the chairman is taken away, Deul-ho meets the gaze of Prosecutor Shin, which launches him into a flashback of when he’d rebuffed Il-gu all those years ago.
Afterwards, Prosecutor Shin had taken him away to have a private word, advising him to never be ashamed of where he came from or to turn away the kids he calls family.
It seems like honest and caring advice, until a few years later when Deul-ho started to go after Chairman Jung. Prosecutor Shin had yelled at Deul-ho for risking everything, asking why he was trying to save that kid when he and the rest of the orphanage children were just holding him back.
Hurt by the harsh words, Deul-ho confessed that he always saw Prosecutor Shin as a hyungnim (respected older brother), but now wonders how Shin sees him. Is he nothing more than a disposable pawn? He then warned Prosecutor Shin to watch as this pawn overthrows the whole chess board.
Back in the present, Deul-ho breaks the stare and walks away.
In the interrogation room, Chairman Jung greets Ji-wook with an expectant smile. He tells him to go get his father, but Ji-wook isn’t having it. He looms over the chairman and spells it out for him: He’s under investigation for bribery, tax evasion, and embezzlement, and he can’t treat the nation’s prosecutors as his personal employees.
He leaves the chairman looking stunned and worried.
Attorney Jang is watching the news when Attorney Kim informs him that Hae-kyung has been subpoenaed. Jang doesn’t understand until Attorney Kim explains that all of the chairman’s paper companies are being investigated and Hae-kyung is listed as the president of one of them.
Attorney Jang realizes that Chief Prosecutor Shin has betrayed him and tells Attorney Kim to contact Hae-kyung right away. Kim answers that he’s tried, but no one can reach her.
It seems Hae-kyung took Deul-ho’s advice, and she and Soo-bin have gone into hiding at the orphanage where Deul-ho grew up. She watches her daughter play with the other children, smiling peacefully.
Deul-ho arrives bearing gifts for the kids, and the family spends the afternoon playing games with the orphanage priest and the children.
When night falls, Deul-ho, Soo-bin, and Hae-kyung sit together on a blanket, looking up at the night sky. Father and daughter persuade Hae-kyung to lie down with them, and Soo-bin sings “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” before falling asleep nestled between her parents.
As their daughter sleeps, Deul-ho and Hae-kyung joke that Hae-kyung is now a fugitive, but the mood turns serious when he reminds her of the press conference they have scheduled for tomorrow.
Hae-kyung apologizes for never coming to the orphanage before now. She didn’t understand what it meant to him and wishes she’d visited sooner. Deul-ho smiles and says he’s glad she’s here now.
Chief Prosecutor Shin finally deigns to visit Chairman Jung, who is feeling rather betrayed at the moment. Prosecutor Shin calmly states that it seems the chairman will have to pay for his sins after all.
Chairman Jung can’t believe that after the hospital show they put on earlier, Prosecutor Shin is now telling him to admit everything, but Shin just sighs that the chairman should have managed Deul-ho better. There’s nothing he can do now.
The chairman cuts right through the excuses, asking if Prosecutor Shin is merely waiting for Attorney Jang to liquidate his borrowed stocks. He guesses that the reason Shin suggested putting him in the hospital was just to buy himself time to get his money.
Chairman Jung warns that he’s been in this business for over 40 years and won’t go down so easily, but Shin argues back that even the strongest of companies can go broke in the blink of an eye. He says that for them (prosecutors), sending an unethical tycoon to jail is a piece of cake.
Chief Prosecutor Shin: “Do you know why people like us are scary? It’s because we have the backing of the law. And it’s because we know how to command that law. Why don’t you take advantage of this opportunity to personally experience how scary the law can be?”
He grins and leaves the chairman alone.
The next morning Deul-ho and Hae-kyung drive back to the city so Hae-kyung can release a statement to the press. In Dae-soo’s/Deul-ho’s office, Ae-ra and Dae-soo have assembled a gaggle of reporters, promising that they’ll have a very big scoop for them any minute now.
Hae-kyung and Deul-ho arrive outside the office and Deul-ho holds her hand as the two start to head up together.
Suddenly, Ji-wook calls out her name from behind them. He marches forward to place Hae-kyung under arrest for tax evasion and embezzlement.
Ji-wook pulls her hand out of Deul-ho’s, but before he can put the handcuffs on her, Deul-ho grabs his arm away. He demands to know what Ji-wook is doing, and both men face off, Hae-kyung momentarily forgotten.
Oh come on, Ji-wook! Don’t be the rock – you know you wanna be an egg!
I’m not really sure what to make of Ji-wook as he’s constantly oscillating between doing the right thing, and following his father’s orders. I wish for his sake it didn’t have to be one or the other, but since Chief Prosecutor Shin is shaping up to be a potentially bigger bad than Chairman Jung, Ji-wook is going to have to pick a side real soon.
I still can’t believe what a sleeper agent Prosecutor Shin turned out to be! I kept thinking during Episode 15 that he was slowly coming back to Deul-ho and pulling away from the chairman, but apparently all that moody silence was just his evil genius thinking up a way out. He really was the puppet master for this week, manipulating everyone from the chairman to his own son, all the while making his own plans. I have to say that this is brilliant on the show’s part, since I was really starting to get tired of Chairman Jung’s tantrums. It was a very smooth way to bring in a new big bad who’s been right in front of us the whole time.
I also just loved his speech at the end about the strength of lawyers because they have the law behind them. It’s the same “power source” that Deul-ho has been using this whole time, but now it’s going to aide Prosecutor Shin instead. It was a nice reminder that the law is not inherently good or bad: it’s fair. It’s a neutral tool that can be used by either side, and it looks like we have a worthy foe rising up to confront the Neighborhood Lawyer with his own brand of law.
As much as I love the characters of this show, I do wish the plot would straighten out a little. I know that we’ve got good guys coming together and baddies pulling apart so it’s complicated right now, but if they start one more investigation, I might have to get my own lawyer to sort through them all! Seriously, there was the investigation against Chairman Jung, the investigation against Hae-kyung, the investigation against Deul-ho (for defamation), and I’m pretty sure there was one more but I can’t remember it. I know — let’s start an investigation to figure it out!
One great thing about all the sides breaking their alliances and/or coming together, is that we can see how our main characters are directly affected by the people supporting them. In the beginning, Chairman Jung was undefeatable because of the people backing him. Now that they’re all starting to pull away and protect themselves, he’s lost the leverage that he once had. It’s almost laughable how little power he has now that Attorney Jang and Prosecutor Shin are ignoring him to fight with each other.
In contrast, Deul-ho has been steadily gaining more and more support. Whether it’s his team or his family, he really does owe most of his success to them. Not to belittle his own abilities as he is an incredible lawyer/ex-prosecutor, but it’s undeniable that he was never strong enough to fight against Chairman Jung on his own. It wasn’t until he found people to stand by him that he became the force he is today.
And now that he has Hae-kyung and Soo-bin by his side, nothing can stop him… hopefully.
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 15
- Park Shin-yang turns down Jo Deul-ho extension, KBS keeps trying
- KBS in talks to extend Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 14
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 13
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 12
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 11
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 10
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 9
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 8
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 7
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 6
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 5
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 4
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 3
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 2
- Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho: Episode 1