The Good Wife: Episode 14
Reputations are everything. They can make or break a career; build up or tear down relationships; spur a nation to love you or scorn you. Hye-kyung’s image of integrity and loyalty has been the saving grace for her husband, her children, and her career. But reputations do not necessarily represent who we truly are inside, and she will have to decide if she wants to forge her own way in pursuit of happiness or continue down the respectable path as “the good wife.”
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Tae-joon gets a call from the congresswoman essentially warning him that they’re looking into his personal life and that it would be beneficial if he and Hye-kyung stay together — or at least not do anything that would diminish his chances to proceed in politics. Tae-joon reassures her that he’s taking care of it.
The Seo siblings and Hye-kyung watch in pained horror of footage of an office worker hanging himself in his cubicle. He was one of their clients in a case about a large company unethically laying off some of its workers, but he committed suicide a week before the trial date.
Hye-kyung suggests using the office worker’s wife as their first witness — her testimony, coupled with the footage of her husband taking his life, means that they’re guaranteed to get plenty of press and discredit the company’s reputation.
In doing so, the company will be more likely to settle in their favor. Joong-won isn’t so sure it’s a good idea to show her the video of her husband’s death, but Hye-kyung is firm as she tells him that she’ll convince the woman to agree.
Her phone rings, and this time her ringtone is a cute kid telling her to answer the phone. Hye-kyung steps out to take the call since she knows that it’s one of her kids, leaving Myung-hee and Joong-won to discuss Hye-kyung’s recent ruthless, take-charge attitude.
During a meeting at the Prosecutor’s Office, Joon-ho reveals that in his research into M&J, he’s discovered that the judges on Joong-won’s baseball team have all ruled in favor of M&J in their court cases. It sounds suspicious, but Prosecutor Park reminds them they can’t just charge someone without specific evidence of bribery. Not to mention that the wrong step on their end could mean ending up on the judges’ bad side. But Tae-joon tells Joon-ho to continue his investigation.
Myung-hee’s on the phone with Joong-won, updating him on their office workers settlement case. He’s in the middle of lunch with Hye-kyung (room service at a hotel, and don’t think I don’t see that unmade bed in the corner). She puts him on speaker when Dan arrives to let her know that the lawyer for the company is none other than everyone’s favorite, Lawyer Son.
Hye-kyung’s phone rings and she scrambles to silence her distinctive ringtone, but it’s too late. Both Dan and Myung-hee heard it and know exactly who Joong-won is with right now. Busted!
Seo-yeon is calling to ask permission to go to her friend’s birthday party today, and Hye-kyung agrees. She then gets a call from Myung-hee, who demands to know where she is. Hye-kyung simply says that she’s having lunch with Joong-won, which is the truth (just not the whole truth). She orders Hye-kyung to return to the office ASAP.
Back at the firm, Hye-kyung strategically waits until she sees Lawyer Son arrive before she turns on the footage of the worker committing suicide. When he enters the conference room, she leaps up to greet him, explaining she was just reviewing the case. But Lawyer Son is unfazed, telling her that she won’t win that way. He does seem genuinely pleased to see her again, though.
Myung-hee is ready to discuss settlement amounts, but Lawyer Son says that the voluntary lay-off terms were completely legal. Hye-kyung points out that the workers who chose to stay were essentially bullied into taking the severance package. Plus, the high-ranking people responsible for the company losing so much in profit (and therefore having to lay-off so many people in the first place) still have their jobs. So it seems only fair that they at least pay a generous settlement.
Lawyer Son believes that lawyers should be above such moral judgement, and lays out the settlement he’s willing to offer. It’s not enough for Myung-hee, and they agree to go to trial. Hahahaha! The judge is none other than the same judge who oversaw the pharmaceutical jury trial.
Sighing, he waves Hye-kyung and Lawyer Son over to the bench. Even thought it’s his misfortune to see them again, he asks that they at least behave themselves. Lawyer Son smoothly tells him that he only agreed to take this case because he know such a “fair and just” judge was presiding, and Hye-kyung quickly agrees. Haha, he’s even more alarmed by their attempt to butter him up.
The suicide footage is shown in court and the widow is put on the stand. She reveals that her husband hated his work environment, but he couldn’t quit because the severance package wouldn’t be enough to pay for their on-going debt. She starts to cry as she confesses that she was the one who told him to try and keep his job. She had no idea he was struggling so much.
Lawyer Son’s cross-examination reveals that her husband regularly went to a psychiatrist due to the depression caused by his work environment. Except Lawyer Son tries to argue that the depression could have been caused by any number of factors, and his suicide may not have been directly related to his job. Instead, his decision to take his life could have come from a side effect of one the drugs he took to manage his depression.
That drug is the same drug from the pharmaceutical case, where Lawyer Son once argued had no side effects. Hye-kyung springs up to object, and the judge just sighs.
Tae-joon meets with Myung-hee in her office. They’re pleasantly professional as they make small talk, and Tae-joon says that he thought about becoming a lawyer for the money, but decided to become a prosecutor because he hated watching criminals get away with their crimes.
He’s here to warn Myung-hee about the investigation they’re doing into M&J — specifically Joong-won’s potential bribes via his baseball team. He doesn’t think she is personally involved, and if Joong-won confesses and reveals the names of the judges he bribed, Tae-joon promises to cut him a deal. And if he’s wrong? Well, then, he’ll just apologize. Well, gee, that sounds fair, even though M&J might not recover from any negative publicity related to the case.
Back in the courtroom, Hye-kyung is insisting that it’s wrong for Lawyer Son to use the very same arguments she made against him during the pharmaceutical case, even up to the footage of the rats she had found. The judge is just like, “I know, I know — I was there, too.” But Lawyer Son doesn’t see an ethical problem with it since he no longer represents the pharmaceutical company, and the judge accepts the drug side-effects as evidence.
After the court recesses for the day, Joong-won and Hye-kyung try to think of other tactics they can use to make it clear the company’s work environment was directly related to the suicide. Lawyer Son stops to tell Hye-kyung that he was disappointed that a nice lawyer such as her would make the widow watch her husband’s death, just to try and win a case.
Hye-kyung defensively asks him why she can’t use the same tactics he does, but Joong-won intervenes, informing Lawyer Son that she was just following his orders. Later, he tells Hye-kyung that a lawyer’s reputation is everything to them, and it’s important for Hye-kyung to maintain her image. But everyone knows he’d pull a stunt like that if it meant winning the case, so it won’t hurt him.
Myung-hee drags Joong-won out of a very important PPL meeting to let him know that Tae-joon is investigating him. He reassures her that he hasn’t done anything wrong, but Myung-hee orders him to stop seeing Hye-kyung. She knows that Tae-joon is only being this ruthless in looking into their firm because of Hye-kyung.
She doesn’t care that Joong-won says they’re actually getting serious. Joong-won is just another high-priced lawyer — Tae-joon is the nation’s beloved prosecutor. She’s fought too hard to protect this law firm and its image — she’s not about to let Joong-won throw it all away.
Dan offers to investigate Tae-joon to see if his threat is real or not. She meets up with Joon-ho, and she first asks if he can get her more CCTV footage of the day the office worker died. In return, he asks if she’ll try to get him copies of the internal files from cases he’s worked on. She agrees, but only if he gives her a specific list.
He came prepared and hands over a list of the cases (and judges) he’s looking for. That was easy. A little too easy, perhaps.
Hye-kyung’s headed out for the day, and when she tells Joong-won that she’s going home to have dinner with her kids, he asks if he can join her. He still hasn’t really had a chance to meet her children and thinks it would be good to get to know them over dinner. She says that now isn’t the best time, though, and vaguely suggests trying again later.
Seo-yeon continues to beg her mother to go visit her friend’s brother who lives far away. She swears he’s a good guy — he even recently got his cosmetology license! Hye-kyung is concerned that her daughter hasn’t tried to make local friends at her new school, but she relents and tells her to call if she’s going to be late or if there’s any sign of trouble.
Dan gives Joong-won the list of cases that the prosecutors think Joong-won bribed his way to winning. But it’s not just to let him know what specific cases the prosecutors are investigating — it’s also to ask him for copies of the files. That was what she agreed to hand over in return for the CCTV footage. She tells him it’ll be easier this way.
Joon-ho and Dan meet to make the exchange, and he suspiciously asks if she altered anything in the files. She tells him he’s one to talk — he’s already tried fooling her once before. He insists that he was just following orders. She tells him to call her if he wants to make any more deals.
Ji-hoon is busy fixing his mother’s computer when Joong-won pops into her office, introducing himself. He’s coming on awfully strong as the “friendly ajusshi” and Ji-hoon politely but awkwardly excuses himself once Hye-kyung’s computer is ready. Aw, it’s okay Joong-won. At least you tried.
After going through the CCTV footage, Dan finds another employee who had decided to stay on and endure the harassment. She’s the only one who didn’t join in to sue the company, despite the firm’s efforts to include her. In fact, she won’t take their calls at all.
Dan manages to trick her into a face-to-face meeting, and asks her if she knew that her coworker who committed suicide was taking antidepressants. She did, but she also knows he wasn’t taking the specific drug Lawyer Son is arguing causes side effects that led to her coworker’s death.
But when Dan asks if she’ll testify, the woman refuses, insisting there’s no way she can be part of the trial. Dan finds it strange that she’s able to afford a new car despite being unemployed, and with the threat of getting the Prosecutor’s Office involved, the woman finally reveals that she was paid-off to hide the fraud she found while going through the company’s accounts.
This puts M&J in a bit of a quandary. If they use the coworker’s testimony, they’ll risk revealing the fraud and putting the company out of business, making it impossible for their clients to be paid their settlement. Myung-hee leaves it up to Hye-kyung to decide what they should do — seek justice or make sure their clients are paid.
Hye-kyung chooses to use witness, and when she reveals this in the courtroom, Lawyer Son leaps up to object and ask for a short recess. He says that since it’s a last-minute addition to the witness list, they haven’t had a chance to prepare.
But the judge sardonically points out it’ll be easy to question the witness after she’s already testified, which makes Lawyer Son request a recess to discuss a settlement with M&J. Hah! Hye-kyung’s gloating smile is a thing of beauty.
Joong-won confronts Tae-joon at the courthouse, asking if his investigation is really going to change things. He insists that he did nothing wrong — Tae-joon’s the guilty one. Oh, we’re not talking about bribes anymore, are we?
He tells Tae-joon that Hye-kyung would have had a happier life if she hadn’t been with Tae-joon. But Tae-joon scoffs at the idea that her life would have been so much better with Joong-won. Finally Joong-won just tells Tae-joon to go ahead and hit him, if it means Tae-joon will stop wasting everyone’s time on this investigation. But Tae-joon says that if Joong-won bribed a judge, he should go to jail. Yeah, but who’s the one that’s actually been to jail, hmm?
Lawyer Son knows that M&J is in a difficult place between revealing the fraud and losing the money, or keeping quiet and allowing the company to use their funds to pay their clients. But Myung-hee and Hye-kyung point out that they really have nothing to lose if Lawyer Son doesn’t agree to their settlement. Either way, they won’t get the money, but at least if they go to trial they can take down a corrupt business.
That’s the last thing Lawyer Son’s clients want, and they all know it, so he agrees to M&J terms. Once again, Hye-kyung walks him to the elevator, and he once again chuckles when Hye-kyung tells him not to be disappointed that he lost. Oh, his clients may have ended up paying more than they wanted, but they still have a company, which is all he cares about.
He’s really enjoyed going to trial again with her, though, and offers to give her a job at his firm for twice what she’s making at M&J. Hye-kyung points out that he doesn’t even know what she makes, but he doesn’t care — he knows she has the potential to become a truly great lawyer, but she won’t be able to achieve that at M&J.
Returning to her office, Hye-kyung sees that she’s had some missed calls from Seo-yeon, as well as a voicemail, but the the voicemail is just static. She calls Ji-hoon to check if Seo-yeon has returned home, but he hasn’t seen her. Hye-kyung decides to not be too concerned yet and agrees to go to lunch with Joong-won in celebration of winning their case. Myung-hee, frowning, watches them leave the office together.
Jong-won’s first stop is a batting cage — he needs some practice before his team’s game next week. They make a friendly bet about who will pay for dinner, and then enjoy their afternoon at the batting cage and playing whack-a-mole.
They’re ridiculously adorable as they happily play around, and Hye-kyung confesses that just like how Joong-won wants to be a better person whenever he’s around her, she feels like she’s her true self when she’s around him. Aw, my heart.
Over lunch, Hye-kyung keeps obsessively checking her phone, waiting for her daughter to call or text. As they drive back to the office, Hye-kyung requests Joong-won to stop at her daughter’s school. Seo-yeon’s classmates tell Hye-kyung that they saw her leave with an older guy on a motorcycle — they just assumed that it was her brother.
Hye-kyung calls Tae-joon in worried concern, telling him about the mysterious motorcycle man and the fact she hasn’t been able to contact Seo-yeon, wondering if she’s called him. She hasn’t, and he immediately orders Prosecutor Park to use their connections to trace her phone and the numbers of any recent calls his daughter has made.
Joong-won offers to help Hye-kyung look for Seo-yeon, but she tells him that she just wants to wait at home instead. After Hye-kyung leaves, he puts in a call to Dan, asking her to find Seo-yeon. Dan calls in favors to track Seo-yeon’s phone and find out where exactly it was last used.
In the meantime, Prosecutor Park has discovered that one of Seo-yeon’s recent contacts was a boy that Tae-joon had previously sentenced to juvie, and who was recently released for a night as a reward for his good behavior.
Tae-joon arrives at Hye-kyung’s apartment, where she eagerly greets him in hopes he’s heard something. He reassures her he has his people looking for her. But when he reaches out to comfort her, she turns away.
Dan’s tracked the cell phone to an old abandoned building. She cautiously makes her way down the stairwell and discovers that there’s no cell service in the basement. Truncheon at the ready, she bursts into the room, only to find a young man in the midst of giving Seo-yeon and her friend a perm.
As Dan drives her home, Seo-yeon explains that she must have accidentally pocket-dialed her mother. She didn’t mean to make anyone worry — her friend’s brother was just perming their hair for her friend’s birthday party. Once they arrive back at Seo-yeon’s home, she begs Dan to come with her to explain what happened, but Dan tells her to let her mother know she came back by herself and not mention that Dan did anything.
Hye-kyung, Tae-joon, and Ji-hoon are relieved to see Seo-yeon, and as they pull each other into a tight family hug, Joong-won watches from his car across the street. He drives off, but Hye-kyung recognizes his car as it goes by.
Joong-won and Dan are in subdued spirits as they nurse their drinks. He asks her what she thinks about marriage. It’s something other people do, but she doesn’t think it’s for people like them. He admits that he’s jealous of Hye-kyung’s family, wondering what it would be like to have someone care that much for him, or to want to be with someone more than anything else in the world.
Dan tells him he could get married if he wanted to, but it depends on if he just wants to be married or if he wants to be married to someone in particular. He admits that he’d want to be with Hye-kyung specifically, but wonders if it’s too complicated, because he also has to worry about the effect it has on his sister and the firm — is it worth fighting Tae-joon?
He wonders if he’s being a coward or just practical. Dan asks if he knows what Hye-kyung wants, and advises him to ask her.
Hye-kyung walks Tae-joon to the elevator, thanking him for his help today. He then brings up the possibility of reconciliation — “just for the kids.” But she sighs, telling him it’s not the time or place to try and push his agenda.
She then gets a call from Myung-hee, asking to meet her nearby at a coffee shop. It may be outside the office, but Myung-hee is all business as she tells Hye-kyung about Tae-joon’s investigation into Joong-won and the effect it will have on the firm. She wants to respect Hye-kyung’s private life, and without saying it directly, she essentially warns her that continuing to see Joong-won will only cause trouble for the frm.
Hye-kyung walks home, lost in thought. In the morning, she surprises Tae-joon by showing up at his office. She tells him she left him something on his desk.
When she arrives at M&J, her first stop is Joong-won’s office. She tells him that she spent all night thinking of all the reasons that they should break up. She has her family, husband, and career to worry about. But then she realized that she wasn’t thinking about what she really wanted, and she doesn’t want to lie to herself anymore.
She tells him that she wants to be with him, if that’s okay with him. By way of an answer, he gently pulls her into a hug. Awwww. Meanwhile, Tae-joon opens up the envelope Hye-kyung left for him. He is not pleased to discover that it contains signed divorce papers.
I want so dearly to believe that this is the start of a “happily ever after” for Hye-kyung (who totally deserves some happiness in her life after all the sacrifices she’s made), but the intense violins and Tae-joon’s silent fury at the end makes me think we’re still in for a world of trouble. His entire future is dependent on her continuing to play the devoted wife and mother, and if she’s decided that’s no longer the role she wants to play, well, then, he doesn’t have much to lose. We’ve already seen the lengths Tae-joon will go to manipulate situations to his advantage, yet somehow I get the feeling we’ve only scratched the surface of what he’s capable. We just hadn’t made the bear angry enough yet.
But I really do love that Hye-kyung has made a decision, and I hope she isn’t somehow persuaded to go back on it. This clearly wasn’t a decision she came to on a whim. She knows that there will be consequences, but she’s willing to risk it all for the chance of true love and happiness. Hopefully Joong-won is on the same wave length, because even when everything comes crashing down, provided they are working together, side-by-side, I have faith that they could build a new life together.
He makes me nervous, though. I know he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win in court, but will he do whatever it takes to win in love, especially when there’s more to it than fun luncheon romps? Just because she’s decided to choose him — or rather, choose her own happiness — doesn’t mean she’s necessarily forgotten that she still needs a plan. Although I do appreciate that he’s trying to show he’s serious and wants to be a part of her kids’ lives. He’s really awkward and terrible at it, but he’s trying! Despite his eagerness, I also respect that he tries to honor her boundaries when it comes to her kids. Joong-won is not perfect (then again, who is on this show?), but I love that he really respects her boundaries and never tries to push her when she’s made it clear something is off limits. He may not think he’s the marriage type, but he’s already got a step up on her actual husband when it comes to not pressing the issue.
Maybe it’s a good thing that there are only two episodes left, because it means that whatever destruction Tae-joon will try to bring down can’t last for too long. I hope. I’m not even sure that I’m totally convinced Joong-won is all that innocent in his bribery cases, but I also don’t know if I could handle Hye-kyung being hurt again by someone she loves lying to her, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. “Innocent until proven guilty,” right?
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