The Good Wife: Episode 8
Can someone just choose to become a “good” person, despite years of being anything but good? Or is goodness an innate quality one is born with, and any effort to change will reveal itself as pointless? Is “good” merely relative and in the eye of the beholder? So many questions, so few answers as our characters struggle through each of their personal journeys, trying to reconcile what their instinctive motivations and past actions, and if they can (or even want to) be “good.”
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Hye-kyung starts to drive-off from the parking garage, leaving Tae-joon behind. But when she sees that her children followed after them and are standing next to Tae-joon, watching her go, she decides to stay. She reassures her children that everything is fine between their father and her — they just had a little argument is all. She then answers Joong-won’s phone call, apologizing that she won’t be able to join him for dinner.
Tae-joon apologizes for his actions earlier, reassuring her that he has nothing to do with Dae-suk’s case — he’s not the type to help a murderer. He just asks that she wait until after the trial before she makes any decisions.
The next morning, Joon-ho is in full-on kiss-up mode as he delivers some reports to David Lee, who tells him that the decision to keep him or Hye-kyung will be made next week. Joong-won tells Hye-kyung the same thing when she stops by his office to apologize for bailing on him the night before. She requests that she only be judged on her work performance alone so far — and nothing else.
Dan has found some evidence that will make the carpet fiber evidence in Hyun-jung’s murder irrelevant. Hye-kyung is able to argue in court that the search-and-seizure warrant was issued after the police actually searched the car that was used to move her body, making any evidence found at the scene obtained illegally.
Hye-kyung requests that the court move to strike all the evidence associated with that search-and-seizure be ruled inadmissible, and despite Prosecutor Baek’s protests, the judge must follow the letter of the law and rule in agreement with Hye-kyung. Afterwards, a frustrated Prosecutor Baek asks if she’s willing to let a murderer go free that easily. But Hye-kyung warns him that he better not act so rashly to circumvent the law if he really wants to catch the killer.
Dae-suk thinks Hye-kyung is nothing less than an angel in the way she argued for him in court. Even though the carpet fiber evidence is thrown out of court, they still have to explain how Dae-suk was able to find out Hyun-jung’s carefully hidden identity.
He confesses that he found out her true identity in order to try and get her to help his case — even if he had to bribe her — because Guk-hyun had promised to pay him enough to help him open his own firm if they won the embezzlement trial. But he insists that he hasn’t received anything from Guk-hyun, and when Hye-kyung asks him if he has any ideas who else might have leaked the victim’s identity, he remembers that while Prosecutor Baek was in charge of the witness examinations, Prosecutor Park was the one who was the lead for the trial.
Back at the office, Hye-kyung discusses the case with Joong-won. He knows that she’s worried Tae-joon is somehow related to the murder, but he reminds her that the Hye-kyung he used to know would fearlessly tackle the case and deal with anything she discovered, whether she liked it or not. Besides, there’s still a chance that Tae-joon is innocent. Hye-kyung apologizes for using him to vent about her worries regarding the case, but Joong-won cheerfully reminds her that that’s what friends are for. And they’re friends. Yeah. Uh-huh. Friends.
Hye-kyung meets with Prosecutor Park to ask him what he remembers about Guk-hyun’s embezzlement trial. He sighs that he lost the case because the witness disappeared. Everyone except for Prosecutor Baek assumed that Hyun-jung had been bribed by Guk-hyun to stay away, while Prosecutor Baek did everything he could to try and find her.
He insists he only ever knew her by her alias and had no way of contacting the witness. But what about Tae-joon? After all, he was Chief Prosecutor — did he know her true identity? Prosecutor Park just smugly says that this must be the real reason she came to him, adding that Tae-joon was too busy back then to pay attention to details about the witness.
But as soon as Hye-kyung leaves, Prosecutor Park calls Tae-joon to let him know he told her exactly what Tae-joon asked him to. Then the prosecutor calls Chief Prosecutor Choi to report that Hye-kyung is suspicious of her husband, and they should try to summon Guk-hyun to figure out who leaked the name of the witness.
Tae-joon’s mother is still in the hospital, which makes it convenient for him to arrange meetings under the pretense of visiting her — this time with Joong-won. He has information about Dae-suk’s case that would be helpful for Hye-kyung, but considering how delicate things are with them right now, it would be easier for Joong-won to mention it to her.
He knows that Prosecutor Baek was in a relationship with the murdered witness Hyun-jung, which he only found out about after she disappeared and the prosecutor went crazy trying to find her. Handing over a file of information, he tells Joong-won to give it to Hye-kyung to help her win her case.
Joong-won suspiciously asks if he was the one who leaked the witness’ information to Guk-hyun, but Tae-joon denies it, repeating that he had nothing to do with that case and is therefore innocent. He then leans in, reminding Joong-won that by helping Hye-kyung win this case, he’ll also be helping her stay at the firm.
As Joong-won sits in his car, looking over the documents Tae-joon gave him, he sees Prosecutor Park enter the hospital. Prosecutor Park seems to be playing both sides as he reports that Chief Prosecutor Choi wants to bring in Guk-hyun and offer him reduced charges if he reveals Tae-joon’s connection.
But Tae-joon stops him from further discussing it when Joong-won enters the hospital, demanding to know if, despite the fact he wasn’t directly involved in the case,Tae-joon feels any guilt that someone died because he was defending Guk-hyun. But Tae-joon says regret is for the weak — by protecting Guk-hyun, he was able to save the lives of many others.
Joong-won wants to know if Hye-kyung agrees with that line as thinking, but as he walks away, Tae-joon calls after him, reminding him that he knows Joong-won is also notorious for doing everything it takes to win. So he should know that by winning, it only opens up other possibilities. He sits in his car, thinking about the fact that they will be deciding on whether to hire or fire Hye-kyung this week, and if she wins this case, it means they’ll likely keep her. Resolute, he drives to the courthouse where Hye-kyung is waiting for the trial to begin.
She reassures Dae-suk’s wife that they’re doing all they can to prove her husband’s innocence, then is surprised by Joong-won’s sudden appearance as he tells Dae-suk’s wife that they will definitely win. Oh, and he’s taking over as the trial lawyer on this case.
Before the trial officially commences, Joong-won informs the judge that he has evidence that Prosecutor Baek should be removed as the prosecutor due to personal connections. In his hand — thanks to Tae-joon — is a sworn affidavit from a staff member at the hotel where Prosecutor Baek and Hyun-jung repeatedly met.
Prosecutor Baek admits that the affidavit is correct, but it’s a personal matter. He demands to know how Joong-won got ahold of such information — was it Guk-hyn? But Joong-won smugly says that he’s bound by attorney-client privilege. The judge declares that having personal involvement with the victim doesn’t necessarily negate the prosecutor’s ability to do his job, but Joong-won begins to argue that her murder could have been a crime of passion — Prosecutor Baek could be the real killer.
In response to that, Prosecutor Baek grabs Joong-won by the lapels and then punches him in the face. Joong-won fights back and the guards have to separate the two lawyers tussling in the middle of the courtroom.
They’re left to cool down in one of jail cells, and Joong-won marvels over Prosecutor Baek’s ability to throw a punch. Prosecutor Baek says that even though he’s known of Joong-won’s notoriety to do whatever it takes to win, he hadn’t thought he would go this far. He asks Joong-won if it’s true that only accepts cases that are profitable and if he loans money to the fellow judges and lawyers on his baseball team.
Joong-won seems unaffected by these accusations until Prosecutor Baek says that the rumor is he only hired Hye-kyung is because he’s sleeping with her. As for him, he spent two years of his life searching for Hyun-jung, which is a level of devotion that Joong-won will never understand.
But Joong-won knows that Prosecutor Baek feels guilty for Hyun-jung’s death because she would have been alive if he hadn’t used her as a witness for Guk-hyun’s case, and now he’s desperate to find someone to blame. Prosecutor Baek tells him that he loved Hyun-jung and would have done anything to save her life. Since he can’t turn back time, that means he’s determined to find her killer.
While she waits for Joong-won to be released from the holding cell, Hye-kyung watches the news on the police station TV. Guk-hyun has been brought in to give a testimony about Tae-joon’s trial. Chief Prosecutor Choi is there to gloat about it — well, technically he’s there for Prosecutor Baek, but he can’t resist digging in the fact that her husband’s trial will now be doomed with Guk-hyun’s testimony. Hye-kyung refuses to show that she’s bothered by him, cooly informing him that she has her own work to do.
After Joong-won is released, she asks him if he provoked the fight on purpose — he knew Prosector Baek would react once Joong-won argued it was a crime of passion. He admits that it’s true, but he didn’t anticipate the prosecutor would react that fiercely.
Hye-kyung hesitates a moment, then admits that there’s something that she’s regretted all her life, wondering if she made the right decision. She flashes back to the moment after that car accident with Driver Kang years ago, when she decided to stay by Tae-joon’s side. But all she tells Joong-won is that she doesn’t want him to have regrets. Joong-won simply says that he just wanted to make sure they won because that’s the best for everyone.
Back at the office, Dan asks him about his bloody lip, and he says he got in a fight. He muses that when he was younger, he used to think he had to fight to get whatever he wanted. But now it seems like even though he wins, he doesn’t feel good about it — but he doesn’t like losing either. He sighs that he’s no different from Tae-joon, but Dan points out that the sheer fact he’s able to think about the costs of winning all the time differentiates him Tae-joon.
The next day, Prosecutor Baek and Hye-kyung meet before the judge in his office. Prosecutor Baek has submitted as evidence the GPS data of the car’s whereabouts the day Hyun-jung died, but Hye-kyung argues that because the judge dismissed any evidence related to the illegal search-and-seizure of the car, the GPS data should be thrown out. It all comes down to whether or not the judge believes the GPS is part of the car or just a digital information unrelated to it, and finally the judge accepts it as evidence.
Tae-joon visits his mother — and this time it seems like that’s the only reason he’s at the hospital. She’s worried about how Tae-joon is settling back in with his family, knowing how stubborn Hye-kyung can be. Hahaha, it turns out she was the one who was responsible for the pack of condoms in Hye-kyung’s dresser, and she bashfully explains how she hopes they’re sharing the same room again.
Hye-kyung meets with Dae-suk, informing him that it won’t be easy to weaken the GPS evidence, since it shows that the car was at Dae-suk’s firm on the day that Hyun-jung disappeared. He swears he had nothing to do with it, and he was away from the office playing baseball that day. The only other person who knew about Hyun-jung’s identity was his wife.
When he sees how interested Hye-kyung is in this fact, he stutters that there’s no way that his wife — who was his assistant at that time — could have had anything to do with Hyun-jung’s death. But Hye-kyung has to visit Yu-mi before the prosecution finds out. He begs her to leave his wife alone, even if it means him taking the full blame for Hyun-jung’s death.
Tae-joon meets with a congresswoman who pours on the flattery as she tries to find out more about him and whether or not he’ll win the trial. Afterwards, he waits for a phone call from a mysterious someone, where he tells them to proceed as planned.
Joong-won finds Guk-hyun waiting for him in his office, and the way Myung-hee glares at him from across the hallway from her office makes it clear that his presence is not wanted. Guk-hyun is sporting a bandage on his cheek from his tussle with Tae-joon a few nights ago, but what really matters is that he point-blank tells Joong-won that he found out Hyun-jung’s identity from Dae-suk’s wife.
He tells Joong-won to pass along the message that his men will be moving Yu-mi to a safe place — one that’s far away. He sets down a briefcase full of cash, adding that it seems like Joong-won needs money these days. Guk-hyun tells him to just turn a blind eye to everything for a few days, because Tae-joon will also be out of Joong-won’s hair once Guk-hyun testifies against him.
Joon-ho thanks Dan for her advice to stop acting so anxious to please because it’s awarded him the railway union case, but Dan just warns him that he’s being too obvious with how he’s been trying to suck up to all the other lawyers. She walks away from him to answer her phone — Hye-kyung is waiting outside Dae-suk’s office to meet with his wife, and she wants Dan to find out how much the prosecution know about her.
When she sees Yu-mi, she hurries out of her car to intercept her so quickly that she leaves her phone on the seat. The women go up to Dae-suk’s office that is under renovation, so they have to rely on the portable construction lights to see anything. Hidden behind one of the tarps is a strange man with a scar on his face and a knife in his hand.
Worried that he can’t reach Hye-kyung, Joong-won finds out from Dan that she’s meeting up with Yu-mi. As he rushes to Dae-suk’s office to find her, frantic that she’s not answering her phone, he calls Guk-hyun to ask if he sent one of his men to kill Yu-mi. But Guk-hyun says there’s no reason he needs to know, and instead focuses on his meeting with Prosecutor Park.
They’re in a private area of a club, and Guk-hyun assumes it has to do with the testimony he’s giving the prosecution’s office. When Tae-joon suddenly arrives, Guk-hyun stands up in surprise and worry — but there’s no way to escape thanks to Tae-joons burly guards blocking the door.
Hesitantly sitting back down, Guk-hyun listens as Tae-joon flips through information about Guk-hyun’s family and all the money he’s embezzled under their names. There’s no guarantee the prosecutor’s office will be able to protect him if all his crimes — including murder — were revealed, and Guk-hyun nervously laughs as he tries to bargain with Tae-joon, promising to not testify if Tae-joon promises to cover up his mess. But Tae-joon refuses.
Meanwhile, Yu-mi is crying as she confesses that she told Guk-hyun about the witness’ identity in exchange for money — Dae-suk was so desperate for funds to set up his new firm that Yu-mi thought she was helping. But she didn’t know it would end in Hyun-jung’s death.
Hye-kyung sees the shadow of the man with the knife, and she quietly tries to get Yu-mi to leave the office. But the man chases after them and they end up running down the stairs to escape, but the door leading outside won’t open. Hye-kyung tries to protect Yu-mi by swinging her purse at scary Scarface to keep him away, but he grabs her arm and holds the knife to her throat, ordering her to move out of the way.
She refuses, pleading with him as she promises she won’t call the police. But she freezes when Scarface asks if she’s acting like this because she’s supported by her husband.
Guk-hyun scoffs at the idea that Tae-joon would be trying to come clean and become like a new person, but Tae-joon says it’s none of his business — all he needs to know is if Guk-hyun will obey his orders or not. Just as it looks like Tae-joon is willing to use his burly men to help coerce Guk-hyun into agreement, Joong-won calls him.
Joong-won has reached Dae-suk’s office — it’s empty but he knows someone was there because Yu-mi’s purse is on the ground. He calls Tae-joon, furiously asking where Hye-kyung is, adding that if he’s hurt her, he’ll kill him. That’s enough for Tae-joon to realize that Guk-hyun’s men may have hurt her. Seeing that he now has the upper hand, Guk-hyun cockily says that if he wants to make sure his wife doesn’t get hurt, they could talk without the burly bodyguards.
In response, Tae-joon grabs a fork jams it deep into the back of Guk-hyunn’s hand. Ow, ow, ow. Writhing in pain as the blood-spattered Tae-joon calmly looks on, Guk-hyun calls off Scarface. The women gasp in shock after the would-be assassin leaves, and Joong-won rushes into the stairwell, relieved to find them alive as he hugs Hye-kyung and apologizes over and over.
At the police station, the women give their report of the incident just as Prosecutor Baek suddenly arrives. He accuses Joong-won for hearing about the attempted murder from Guk-hyun, desperately wondering why Joong-won refuses to tell him anything about who killed Hyun-jung when he’s broken attorney-client privilege before.
Before Joong-won can say anything else, Scarface arrives at the police station to confess that he was the one who killed Hyun-jung. Prosecutor Baek assumes that Guk-hyun put him up to it for a hefty sum of money, but Scarface just smiles as the prosecutor tries to hit him.
Sitting in his car, Joong-won attends to the cut on Hye-kyung’s wrist. She thanks him for coming to save her even though it breached the attorney-client privilege. She wonders what will happen to Guk-hyun, and Joong-won says he’ll be indicted but because one of his underlings is taking the blame for the murder, there’s not real way to pin it on Guk-hyun unless that attorney-client privilege is breached.
Just then a news report on the radio reveals that Guk-hyun committed suicide in the Han river. Even though his body hasn’t yet been found, there are plenty of witnesses who saw him driving his car straight into the river. This causes complications for Tae-joon’s trial since it’s implied that Tae-joon was responsible for the suicide. Chief Prosecutor Choi asks the judge for Tae-joon’s trial to rescind his right for bail.
Meanwhile, while preparing for a press conference, Tae-joon’s lawyer gets a call from the congresswoman, worried about the effects of this latest Guk-hyun rumor. It makes Tae-joon look bad after she already vouched for him to the rest of the political party.
Tae-joon is pleased to see Hye-kyung arrive at the press conference. Even though she said she would wait until after the trial, she asks him what really happened with Guk-hyun. He sort of glosses over the details, but just says that he realized he got in too deep with Guk-hyun before he realized it was too late. But now he has a chance to change and become a good person, and he needs her next to him for that to happen.
She honestly hopes that he’ll change and become a better person, but she’s not sure if she needs to be by his side. The press conference starts, and she watches from the hallway as her husband reveals the deeper corruption that have him falsely accused for taking bribes and his determination to reveal the truth of the matter regarding Guk-hyun.
Myung-hee barges into her brother’s office, asking if he’s seen the news about Guk-hyun. She’s worried about the reputation of their firm, but Joong-won at least reassures her that he got his fee upfront and in cash. He then wearily sighs — he thinks it’s impossible to become a good person. Every time he tries, it never seems to work out. He studies the decision die his father gave him, then calls Hye-kyung.
This is no business call — he wants to let her know, before he regrets it, that he nearly lost his mind with fear and worry when he thought Hye-kyung was hurt. He wants to become a good person for her. He’s tried to keep it hidden for both their sakes, but he can’t do it any more.
She tries to interrupt his confession, but he says that he needs to say it even if he’ll regret it later. She tells him what she reads right now are not confessions of love and romance, but a plan. She can’t live off her emotions — she has two children to care for and her husband’s scandal to deal with. It’s easy to say “I love you,” but if he wants to be with her, he has to let her know what he plans to do after that.
Tae-joon’s lawyer tells her that the press conference is nearly over and they’re ready for her to join her husband on stage, and she hangs up the phone. Tae-joon expectantly waits for her to walk out onto the stage, but she stands undecided when she sees that Joong-won is calling her back.
I don’t know if it’s too much to hope since the news report said no body was found and he seems like the wily type who would fake his death, but I do hope this is the last we’ve seen of Guk-chul. I feel like he’s worn out his welcome as a foil to our leads, and as Tae-joon (and the fork) revealed, he’s not the most terrifying one here anymore. Every week, Tae-joon seems more and more like bad news… but I find that gangster!Tae-joon makes for compelling television. So even though I want to yell at Hye-kyung to take the kids and run far, far away, I also can’t wait to see what intense scary thing he’ll do next (and may I just express my eternal gratitude for whomever decided he should always wear his shirts with the top two buttons undone?).
This does mean I’m finding myself more in the Joong-won camp, even though with all the repeated warnings about how ruthless he can be, he also makes me worry. Although, if he’s aware of the conflict between his desire to win at all costs and his desire to become a “good man,” then like Dan said, he’s already a step ahead of Tae-joon. I’m impatient to hear what his plan is for after the “I love you.” I want to know what Hye-kyung will say. I want just want fewer secret-longing glances and more kissing, really. That’s all.
It was only a minor part of the show this episode, but I’m intrigued by the hint that Tae-joon will be getting into politics. This makes me hope we’ll get our own version of Eli Gold, although I’m still bummed that the supported actors still haven’t had much to do and we’re already halfway through, so maybe it wouldn’t be wise to add in another interesting (and beloved from the original) character. I mean, you’d think I’d be tired of complaining that there’s not enough Myung-hee, but… there’s just not enough Myung-hee!
That said, this was a really, really great episode, and I enjoyed how it balanced the personal drama with an interesting case and wove the underlying scandal through it, too. Each moment was riveting and even though I’m conflicted over how I feel about the characters, I also know that I’m supposed to be conflicted. Everyone is painted in shades of grey and it only becomes more and more confusing as it’s gradually revealed what depths they’ll go to get what they want. Now the question remains whether or not Tae-joon and Joong-won can really become a “good person” — and if Hye-kyung will remain “the good wife.”