Wanted: Episode 16 (Final)
It’s the final episode of our show within the show, and suddenly everything about the broadcast has changed. Our team has found a new motivator to finish what they started, and it’s now up to them to find a way to expose crimes more heinous than any of them could have imagined when they started on this project only ten days ago. But will the truth triumph when falsehood has so much power on its side?
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
As Hye-in confronts Joon-gu at UCN, Seung-in finishes watching the tape of Detective Kim. He reflects on the revelation that his sunbae left him out of his investigation seven years ago in order to protect him, yet he was willing to risk his own life, because he was a detective and that’s what a detective does.
Hye-in takes out her phone, but Joon-gu asks her to wait. He hadn’t intended to hurt anyone at first, he says, and he still has something left to do. She calls Seung-in and tells him to make sure he catches Joon-gu, but if Joon-gu is trying to do one last thing, she hopes he’s able to do it. She, too, is planning to finish the tenth episode as planned. She hangs up and tells Joon-gu to make sure she never regrets this moment.
In the dressing room, Seung-in asks Hye-in if she will be okay as Hyun-woo sleeps on her lap. She confesses that she’s afraid, but she has to do this. Seung-in protests that it’s not her fault, but she says that ever since she got pregnant with Hyun-woo, she’s been running scared. “I can’t run away now. If I run, I feel like I’ll never escape this.” He replies that there are some things one can’t escape from without getting hurt.
He promises to catch Joon-gu, and offers to help her with anything she needs. Hye-in tells him about Han Ji-yeon, the victim that came to her house, and her report about the doctor whose body was recently discovered. She asks him to look into it; if SG had him killed, it could be very harmful to their image to have that revealed.
Seung-in heads to the meeting room where Dong-wook and Detective Park are watching the footage from Joon-gu’s hospital room from the previous day, when he told Dong-wook about the doctor. Seung-in asks if Joon-gu said anything else off camera—if he’s escaped in order to find evidence, he might be in danger from SG—but Dong-wook says there was nothing.
Seung-in and Mi-ok examine the facts: The doctor had been treating both Han Ji-yeon’s daughter and Joon-gu’s wife, but he’s been missing for seven years. He must have been on the run from SG and contacted Joon-gu when he saw the Wanted broadcast. Since he’d also been contacting victims, he must have gotten exposed somehow.
Young-gwan brings them the contact information for all the families of those that were being treated at the same time as Han Ji-yeon’s daughter, but says that all but one are unwilling to meet with them, scared by the doctor’s death.
Dong-wook tells Writer Yeon and Bo-yeon they should do a tenth episode. Writer Yeon asks why he wants to do it. He says it’s partly because of Joon-gu, but that’s not the whole reason. Writer Yeon agrees that they should do it; Joon-gu’s methods were wrong, but if they don’t expose the danger of the humidifier disinfectant now, it will get covered up again.
Bo-yeon is on board too, saying that they have a responsibility to do it, considering the kind of horrible things they’ve shown on the program so far. If they stop now that Hyun-woo’s been found, then it really becomes just a manipulation of the viewers. Hye-in joins them and informs them of her intention to do the tenth episode as well.
Hye-in says they must bring Ham Tae-seob onto the show to prove he conspired to murder and to get him to admit the company’s wrongdoings, but it’s going to be difficult. Writer Yeon says this time they’ll make a different show for themselves.
Dong-wook plays the videotape Joon-gu gave him. It’s of his wife during her last days, struggling to breathe, with Joon-gu speaking from behind the camera. In the video, Joon-gu tells his wife that the only thing he can do is film what’s happening to her, even though he doesn’t understand it. But he tearfully promises to find out what’s wrong with her, and that he’ll save both her and the baby.
Dong-wook tells the team that she went into premature labor, and both she and the baby died almost right away. Everyone is moved, but Hye-in says she doesn’t want to do a last episode just to tell Joon-gu’s story. Dong-wook says he doesn’t either, and they won’t air this footage. But this episode will be different—he’s going to tell the story the way Joon-gu wanted to originally.
Hye-in says that won’t be enough, though; she still needs Dong-wook’s style. Writer Yeon agrees, saying that they have to get people’s attention in order to convince them. They also need the show to be unexpected and clever in order to trap Ham Tae-seob in his lies.
Bo-yeon meets Joon-gu in a parking garage and helps him clone a cell phone. It contains a text conversation with someone listed as “Myungjin Hospice LEE JUNG-HEE.” He thanks her, and she pleads with him to turn himself in. He says he has nothing left to protect now, and insists he must finish things, since he’s even put the team in danger. He apologizes to her.
The production team discusses how to get Ham Tae-seob on the show. Mi-ok says there’s a chance they can do it; judging from last night’s show, he seems assured of his ability to control and manipulate the public. She suggests they use that confidence against him—if they attack his image badly enough, he’ll want to resolve it personally.
Hye-in alights on the perfect issue to stir up the public and draw him out: She reveals that she has an audio file of a conversation between her late husband and his brother. It’s on the USB she found in the baby shoes yesterday, which the team now listens to.
In flashback, we see Tae-young try to convince Tae-seob to do a proper investigation and compensate the victims, but Tae-seob says SG will lose too much money. He won’t harm his little brother, but he threatens that Na Jae-hyun will die if Tae-young keeps this up. The younger man warns Tae-seob to leave the boy alone. Hyung angrily yells at his brother to not tell him what to do; he’s the successor to SG Group, and he’s the one that gives the orders.
The team uses this audio recording as the preview for the tenth episode, causing the expected public outcry. SG releases a statement apologizing for Wanted, and says there will be no more episodes. Protestors gather, demanding a police investigation.
Seung-in meets with the only family member of a victim that is willing to talk. The man tells him that when the doctor, KIM BONG-JOON, called him, he got angry at him for calling when everyone was already dead. He recalls getting another call later from someone named Lee Jung-hee, who said she was also related to a victim and worked at Myungjin Hospice.
Black-suited men search said medical facility and threaten the staff. One nurse runs and they give chase, but Joon-gu suddenly appears and pulls her into a room, covering her mouth. Seung-in arrives, and when he asks about Lee Jung-hee, he’s told she was just chased off by some men.
Those men move through the patient rooms, searching the beds. They’re about to leave when they turn to look back. Underneath one of the beds, Joon-gu and Lee Jung-hee cower in fright as the leader of the men slowly walks toward them. He suddenly bends and grabs her; Joon-gu points a gun at him and tells him to let her go, but they disarm him, and demand to know where “it” is. Lee Jung-hee says she doesn’t know.
Seung-in bursts in and tackles the men. Joong-gu and Lee Jung-hee escape in the confusion, and Seung-in handcuffs a couple of the thugs to the beds and sprints after them. The lead thug catches up to Joon-gu and the nurse, and corners and stabs Lee Jung-hee. He moves towards Joon-gu with the knife, but Seung-in finds them and tosses a flowerpot at the thug’s head, and then disarms and subdues him in about ten seconds. (So. Badass.)
It’s enough time, however, for Joon-gu to grab the injured woman and drive off with her.
Ham Tae-seob’s secretary reports the failure to his boss, saying the evidence is either with Lee Jung-hee or Joon-gu; the fact that the two men came to the hospice looking for her is an indication that the proof indeed exists. Ham Tae-seob tells him to watch the production team to see if they find the evidence, and to do whatever it takes to stop the show from happening.
Reporter Jang interviews Ham Tae-seob’s former driver, who left his job seven years ago. The reporter asks why he suddenly quit such a cushy job, but the man replies that he signed a nondisclosure agreement and he can’t say. He’s about to leave, but Reporter Jang keeps pushing—what did he see seven years ago?
Reporter Jang comes into Hye-in’s dressing room, asking her to let him interview Hyun-woo about what happened the week he was kidnapped. She understandably tells him to get lost. He offers his help to get Ham Tae-seob on the show in exchange, but she again tells him to go. He wonders out loud if he should go tell SG first. Hye-in tells him he can have an exclusive interview an hour after the show ends.
Dong-wook gets a call from Joon-gu, who tells him who Lee Jung-hee is and that she has the evidence that Dr. Kim left behind. He tells him she’s been stabbed by SG’s people and that he’s dropped her off at a hospital. Dong-wook tells Writer Yeon they’ve got a witness, and rushes over.
The ER staff have of course reported Lee Jung-hee’s stab wound to the police, but unfortunately, Ham Tae-seob’s secretary has hacked into the police scanners. He calls his dirty detective to tell him where Lee Jung-hee is, telling him to “take care of it properly.”
Dong-wook has just arrived at Lee Jung-hee’s bedside when said detective shows up with his partner, telling him to leave so they can ask her some questions. Dong-wook protests, saying his “friend” needs to be treated first, and the cop tells him not to interfere with procedure.
Just then Seung-in arrives and asks the detective what he’s doing here; why has the Violent Crimes Unit shown up on a local police job? The detective says someone asked for a favor. Dong-wook immediately turns on his camera and starts filming. Seung-in tells them the lady is a witness for one of his cases and they should leave. He doesn’t care that they’re his sunbaes, he says; he’s going to officially investigate why they got involved in this case. Unless they think SG can protect them from that, they’d better back off.
Dong-wook asks Seung-in how he knew to come; he says Writer Yeon called him. The two men escort Lee Jung-hee out of there, along with the evidence on a USB drive. While Mi-ok gets Lee Ji-eun to recount every detail of her kidnapping by Ham Tae-seob, the production team goes over Dr. Kim’s research. He had consulted with Dr. Ha on the results he’d found showing that the disinfectant was harmful, but Dr. Ha denied the truth and falsified the cause of death. All these years, while being on the run, he’d been researching with foreign doctors and gathering evidence. Dong-wook tells Writer Yeon to incorporate all this into the script.
A couple of victims come in with their families, saying they want to do what they can as witnesses. They start to tell their stories, when Writer Yeon approaches them and asks if they’re willing to do something else to help.
Hye-in asks Jung-ho for a divorce. She says they should have done it a long time ago, “I haven’t been good to you either,” she says. “All I’ve done is use you. But… one last time, let’s use each other.” She asks him to help with today’s show by giving her the weakness he holds over Ham Tae-seob. She’ll give him all her UCN stock in return. Jung-ho asks if she’s confident she’ll win, and when she says she doesn’t know, he tells her to make sure she destroys SG completely. She says she’ll try, and he agrees to her terms. “This is the best end we can have,” she says to him.
Dong-wook addresses the team as the show is about to start. He acknowledges that they all started the show for different reasons, and they’re doing this final episode for different reasons. They all reflect over their impetus for joining the program, and we see a montage of the moments each team member came on board. Dong-wook continues that he still has the same motivation—to see how this show will influence people, and how far it can go. Now that they’ve found Hyun-woo, the show has one thing left to expose.
Dong-wook: “The truth that people lost their family members in such a painful way, that they kidnapped and murdered in order to expose it. That there are people who died from a humidifier disinfectant. That people are sick and dying without even knowing the reason. Once we do the show we want, how will people react? How much strength does a TV show have? I’m curious about that. Let’s see if we can all achieve what we want—let’s do our best.”
Hye-in walks with Hyun-woo towards the studio, remembering when she read a particular passage of the Chronicles of Narnia to him. One of the characters had told another that they would know if they could defeat their enemy only if they fought against him. The victims and their families, as well as Lee Ji-eun, all wait in the dressing room. Captain Jung sends his detectives to a few possible locations to search for Joon-gu.
Hye-in introduces the final episode, saying that they’ve been doing this show at the request of the kidnapper, but today they will reveal a shocking truth. Footage of her reunion with Hyun-woo plays behind her as she tearfully reveals that he was found last night.
Manager Kwon packs his things and empties his room at Hye-in’s home, leaving behind an envelope and his keys. He looks at her picture one last time.
Hye-in tells the audience that after the preview went out today, Ham Tae-seob contacted them and requested to explain the situation himself. He comes on set in a wheelchair, causing outrage among the victims watching from backstage. He begins his denials and apologies.
From the control room, Mi-ok tells Hye-in not to challenge anything Ham Tae-seob says. They’re simply going to create a situation he can’t control. Hye-in turns to him and says she takes his words to mean that he denies the accusation that he conspired to murder Na Jae-hyun and Ham Tae-young. He nods.
Hye-in announces that they have a witness who says she was kidnapped by Ham Tae-seob, and Lee Ji-eun comes onstage. She pours coffee on his lap as she passes him, and he jumps up in dismay, perfectly able to use his legs. He awkwardly sits back down.
Dong-wook replays the clip of the man jumping up from the wheelchair, to emphasize his deception. Hye-in asks about the kidnapping two nights ago, and Ji-eun tells the audience about a man who came in and asked her where Hyun-woo was, ordering her to be beaten when she didn’t answer. She identifies that man as Ham Tae-seob, and says she’s willing to testify to it in court. He just laughs and says they haven’t revealed any evidence, and are simply repeating the claims of criminals.
Reporter Jang arrives in the dressing room with said evidence: Ham Tae-seob’s former driver. A flashback reveals that, prodded by his conscience, he gave a car’s black box footage to Reporter Jang, who passed it on to Dong-wook. Dong-wook asked him why he didn’t publish such a scoop and instead brought it to him. The reporter showed him the already-written outline of the book he’s writing about the case, saying that he wanted to be an essential part of the story.
Captain Jung now comes onstage and says that Lee Ji-eun is currently in custody and will be fully investigated for her crimes. But at the same time, the police will investigate her kidnapping, and Hye-in assures the audience that the Wanted team will announce the results of the investigation.
As Ji-eun leaves the stage, she addresses Ham Tae-seob: “I’m going to pay for the crimes I committed now. I’m going to atone for my whole life. That, alone, makes me a better person than you.”
Enter Ham Tae-seob’s old driver, whose former employer freezes at the sight of him. Dong-wook gives the command to play the black box footage. It’s from Ham Tae-young’s car on the night he died, and we hear his conversation with Na Jae-hyun, who asks him why he’s changed his mind after telling Joon-gu he was going to give up.
Ham Tae-young says if he doesn’t do it, no one will, and it’ll turn into a long fight in which many people will die. Nah Jae-hyun asks about his wife and baby, but before he can answer, a car forces them to the side of the road, and out comes Jo Nam-cheol, swinging a baseball bat.
Hye-in cries as she witnesses the moment of her husband’s death for the first time. Ham Tae-seob, too, has finally lost his composure. Dong-wook reminds Hye-in through her earpiece that she mustn’t forget their goal—she has to make Ham Tae-seob admit to the murders, because that means he admits to the toxic humidifier cover-up too. Hye-in turns to him and asks him outright if he hired someone to kill Ham Tae-young and Na Jae-hyun. He denies it.
A recording begins to play of a phone conversation between Han Tae-seob and Jo Nam-cheol the day of the murders. The hired killer says they killed Na Jae-hyun as ordered and were only going to scare Ham Tae-young, but he tried to save the boy, so they killed him too. Ham Tae-seob’s voice coolly orders the man to make it look like an accident and never call again, as the present Ham Tae-seob stands up from his wheelchair in a panic.
We see how they got the audio recording: Jo Nam-cheol’s partner brought his “insurance” to Jung-ho. This is the leverage Hye-in asked Jung-ho for in exchange for her shares.
In the present, Ham Tae-seob’s secretary bursts into Jung-ho’s office and tells him to pull the plug if he doesn’t want to get fired. Jung-ho says he has nothing that’ll get enough ratings to replace this show with. It’s about to get really good now, he tells him. Ha.
Hye-in tells the viewers that the conversation they just heard was between Ham Tae-seob and Jo Nam-cheol, and is enough to get the former arrested for murder. But first they must address the reason for that murder: the humidifier disinfectant issue. They will now, she says, give him a chance to acknowledge his wrongdoings and apologize in front of the victims.
The victims and their families arrive onstage. Hye-in introduces them and asks Ham Tae-seob if he will sincerely apologize to them. He gets up again from his wheelchair (why he’s still sitting in that thing, I have no clue) and says, “You have gone out of your way to fabricate this evidence against me.” He denies everything and says he doesn’t know why they are attacking him and SG group.
Shock silences the studio for a moment, then the victims begin to shout at him in outrage, and everyone in the studio stares at him in disgust.
Seung-in and Young-gwan, watching from the meeting room, speculate on where Joon-gu might be now. Seung-in says they must find him before the show ends, because once everything is over, he might kill himself. Young-gwan says he’d probably want to be nearby, since the broadcast team is finally doing the show he wanted to do. Seung-in tells Young-gwan to go to the studio; the younger man protests that Seung-in should be there, but he tells him it’s okay.
Seung-in runs to the rooftop, where Joon-gu is watching Wanted on a giant screen. As Ham Tae-seob denies everything, Joon-gu smiles bitterly and gets up on the wall, ready to jump. Seung-in calls his name, and he turns to look at him.
Seung-in tells him to come down. Joon-gu replies, “In the end, it turned out like this. Nothing I did worked. I killed all those people, did things to them I shouldn’t have done. I did something awful to little Hyun-woo.” Crying, Joon-gu says he’d been planning to visit his wife and baby’s graves once this was done—now he won’t get the chance. He doesn’t know what he’ll say to them once he meets them in the afterlife.
“You can still go,” says Seung-in. “Let’s go now.” Joon-gu says he’s sorry, but he’ll go to hell and pay for his crimes. He turns to jump.
Young-gwan goes to Ham Tae-seob and tells him he’s under arrest for conspiracy to murder Ham Tae-young and Na Jae-hyun. Ham Tae-seob asks how a young kid like him will handle the consequences if he arrests him in front of the whole nation. Mutterings of disgust fill the studio. Young-gwan silently cuffs a smiling Ham Tae-seob and leads him out.
Hye-in turns to the victims and their families, and tells them that for a long time, she wondered why it was her child that was kidnapped. There was never a mission for her to reveal her own crimes, but she has definitely committed some. She tells them how she stopped her husband from pursuing the investigation seven years ago. Though she hadn’t known the specifics, she says, “I knew that SG chemical had done something wrong, that people were getting hurt or dying, and that SG was trying to cover it up. But I was more concerned about my husband getting hurt. I was worried about myself and my baby.”
She tells them about her ultimatum, and that her husband had given up on the investigation because of her. She bows to them and tearfully apologizes for thinking of only her own child and family as precious, and for turning her back on the pain of others. “To you all who were so severely wronged, I apologize. I am so very sorry.”
Seung-in pulls Joon-gu back up over the ledge and handcuffs him. “Don’t die,” he tells him. “Don’t die, and don’t run away. Live. Don’t go to hell, but pay for what you’ve done here.” Joon-gu begins to cry. Seung-in tells him it’s not true that nothing has changed—at least people know now. He tells him to stay alive in prison and watch closely over SG to see what they do now.
Turning toward the screen where they can see the victims, Seung-in adds that he has to watch over those people, and see how they stand back up again. He tells him to watch the kind of choices people in society make.
“And for people like Sang-shik Sunbae, who sacrificed their lives to help you. Na Soo-hyun, although he went about it wrong, wanted to see this end. You have a responsibility to them.” Joon-gu falls to his knees and sobs.
Hye-in turns back to the camera, but before she starts to speak, Han Ji-yeon leaves. Hye-in proceeds to tell viewers everything they know about the SG chemical humidifier disinfectant. Han Ji-yeon stops in the lobby, struggling to breathe, and Seung-in runs to her to ask if she’s okay.
She says she feels strange. Once everyone knew the truth and the culprit was caught, she thought she’d feel good. She asks if he thinks things will change now. Will they get a proper apology? Seung-in says Ham Tae-seob will probably escape legal responsibility, and SG might not admit its wrongdoing. “But,” he says, “we’ll keep doing what we can do. What we must do.” She nods.
As Hye-in wraps up her narration, Writer Yeon tells Dong-wook that she’s not going to work with him again. She says their styles don’t match—now, rather than doing well, she cares about doing things right. Dong-wook says he wants to work with her though, and she asks if he’s going to do a new show on this issue. She tells him she’ll think about it.
As the camera zooms out over Seoul, Hye-in’s voiceover says that the government still has a lot of work left to do. She asks that anyone who has been using the SG product call into the broadcast station.
That was a pretty epic conclusion! It was so satisfying to see the pieces slowly fitting into place as the team finally put the entire puzzle together and formulated their plan for the tenth episode. Each member of the broadcast team came to the last episode with different motivations, whether it was Hye-in’s guilt, Dong-wook’s curiosity to see what would happen and his sympathy for Joon-gu, or Writer Yeon and Bo-yeon’s wish to help the victims by doing a final episode that reversed some of the damage caused by the show during its run. Everything came to a head in this last hour, bringing together the threads the team has been slowly gathering all along and crafting one final strategy to outsmart and expose the bad guys. It was nice to see everyone working together as well, with the rivalries between the detectives abandoned and the conflicts between members of the production team completely overlooked in pursuit of the greater goal: to finally expose Ham Tae-seob and SG and bring them to justice.
I found the treatment of Joon-gu’s character very interesting, because at first it seemed to me that the show was giving him a little too much sympathy, especially from Dong-wook, and even Bo-yeon. Both of them helped him secretly without reporting him to the police, and I felt conflicted about that despite his tragic backstory—he kidnapped poor Hyun-woo and caused so many deaths, after all. I do think that by the end of the hour, however, this was clarified a little, in that Joon-gu was seen to be a victim, and his cause worthwhile, while still not letting him off the hook for his heinous crimes. Seung-in’s words to him at the end were perfect: He doesn’t get to use death as an escape, but must stay and face the consequences of what he’s done, finish what he started in the right way, and witness the bravery of those who suffered like him, but who didn’t resort to evil and injustice in order to fight their battle.
Hye-in was impressive in this episode, and projected the perfect balance of fierceness, anger, and remorse as she worked through her realizations of what really happened seven years ago and her unfortunate part in it. Props to Kim Ah-joong for a powerful performance; I haven’t had the issues that some have with her acting in this show, but I think she really stepped it up in the finale week. She brought out the emotion and the weight in her acting that I’ve sensed under the surface all along.
The character of Hye-in, too, had a satisfying arc; she started the show as a mother willing to sacrifice her career and her home to devote her life to her son, which seemed to be the epitome of selflessness. And yet she ends the show with the realization that she has harmed others with her selfish desire to protect what is hers even at the expense of others’ lives. She has come to a true understanding of what it means to sacrifice for others, something her husband had already known, and a lesson he has taught her years after his death.
And then we have Cha Seung-in. What can I say about this man? Ji Hyun-woo’s objective prettiness aside, Seung-in was such a beautiful character. From the beginning we saw his nobility, his willingness to go all out in order to protect and help those who have been wronged or abused, often at his own expense. I loved his journey of discovery and healing throughout the course of the drama. He started out with the unhealed wound of Detective Kim’s death driving him, and as he found out why he was killed and embarked on solving what ended up being a much larger case and one that touched so many lives, he reached a kind of resolution.
I really liked how Detective Kim’s and Seung-in’s words bookended this episode: that the work of chasing criminals and fighting for justice is difficult and dangerous, but that is what they do. Because they are detectives. You could see the moment those words hit home for Seung-in as he watched the tape of his mentor at the start of the hour, and it was lovely to see him pass those words on to Han Ji-yeon at the end. An imperfect hope, perhaps, but one that endures. One our characters can believe in.
Lastly, thank you all for being lovely and kind to me on my first ever recapping project, and thanks to my fellow recapper TeriYaki, for being an awesome partner in crime (drama)!