Defendant: Episode 3
There is a huge difference between the idea of questioning everything or nothing. Jung-woo has become white noise, rendering his questions something to be ignored, with those around him taking his guilt for granted because they consider his case closed. His struggle to comprehend what he can’t remember is exhausting, but somewhere deep within, Jung-woo’s commitment to the truth still flickers.
It is somehow exhilarating to slowly discover the truth at the same time that Jung-woo does. That journey just became less lonely as Jung-woo has finally found an ally in public defender Seo Eun-hye, the one person who won’t ignore him. Unfortunately, Jung-woo’s situation looks like it’ll get worse before it gets any better.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Three days before the Wolhadong murder incident, Min-ho visits Sun-ho’s memorial. Min-ho sees his own name and photo behind the glass and whispers, “Hyung, rest in peace now.”
The chief prosecutor meets with his superior, who is anxious to close Min-ho’s suicide investigation, complaining that Jung-woo has made himself Chamyung Group’s worst enemy. He is shocked when a call alerts him about an arrest warrant and demands to know Jung-woo’s whereabouts.
Jung-woo avoids an incoming call from Chief Prosecutor CHOI DAE-HONG by throwing his phone into a bag, along with the phones of his entire team. He provides their excuse for missing Prosecutor Choi’s calls, “We’ve gone to the sauna today.”
As the team rides together in a van, Jung-woo shares his plan to arrest the Chamyung president. One of the team members, Investigator GO DONG-YOON, worries about the assistant prosecutor general’s reaction when he finds out. Jung-woo examines an ID card for the real Min-ho, noting a fingerprint on the back.
Min-ho tours a Chamyung paper plant with foreign visitors, enjoying his new role as president. A call alerts him to the arrest warrant based on fingerprint evidence, just as the investigative team arrives at the facility. Min-ho dismisses his visitors before running into a building, with Jung-woo and Investigator Go close behind him.
Min-ho eventually comes face to face with Jung-woo, who holds up the ID card that bears his fingerprint. A steam cloud briefly obscures Min-ho, who grabs onto a hot pipe, screaming as he sears his fingertips. He raises his bloody and burned fingers, laughing in delight as he tells a frustrated Jung-woo, “You’ll never be able to catch me.”
His hands covered in bandages, Min-ho later welcomes visitors to a Chamyung event at a hotel, explaining his injuries away as a factory accident. He notices Jung-woo observing him from a distance and invites him to talk. The two are alone outside when Min-ho steps closer to Jung-woo, whispering, “That’s right, I’m Cha Min-ho. Prove that I’m Cha Min-ho.”
Min-ho then laughs that he’s joking, claiming that he only said what Jung-woo wanted to hear. Jung-woo stops Min-ho from walking away, proceeding to shout, “I’m Cha Min-ho,” repeatedly. After he promises to make Min-ho shout those words himself, the imposter replies, “You do that,” before leaving. The prosecutor pulls a pen from his jacket that holds a recording of their exchange.
Jung-woo scheduled an early morning press conference, but he never appears. As the reporters wait, their phones start ringing with breaking news that Jung-woo murdered his wife and daughter. They view the online video of Jung-woo loading the suitcase into his van.
Eun-hye walks into Yang Seo police station looking for Detective OH JUNG-MIN. She questions him about Jung-woo’s case, and Detective Oh shares that the first thing Jung-woo said to him during questioning was, “I killed Ji-soo.”
Detective Oh is surprised when Eun-hye asks who he thinks killed Ji-soo. He cites adultery as motive and the considerable evidence that points to Jung-woo’s guilt. Eun-hye remains unconvinced about the adultery, as another man was never found.
Eun-hye asks for a copy of the crime scene video, but for some reason it’s in the possession of the prosecutor’s office. As she leaves, Detective Oh shouts after Eun-hye not to waste too much time on a closed case, but she gets a determined look on her face.
A friends slams a copy of the crime scene video onto a table, securing Eun-hye’s promise to keep her source a secret. Her friend learns that this case could be Eun-hye’s last if she loses. Eun-hye laments that she doesn’t have a father or uncle who can help her career like her friend does, another fact that her friend doesn’t want known.
In prison, Jung-woo studies the photo of Ji-soo, unwilling to believe that she could be involved with another man. He screams out, “No,” startling the other cell mates. The grinning inmate kicks Jung-woo, asking if he thinks he’s the only one in the room, while the oldest cell mate tries to calm him. The large cell mate threatens him with a beating if he can’t be quiet, but maknae Sung-kyu intervenes.
The large cell mate orders Sung-kyu to explain why no one beats Jung-woo. The grinning inmate complies, explaining that two types of prisoners escape beatings – rich offenders and death row inmates. Jung-woo grabs him by the collar, ordering him to shut up. Instead, he makes a comment about death row inmates who kill their family, earning him a beating from Jung-woo.
The inmate who seems to be the leader walks in just as the two men are pulled apart. He suggests that they introduce themselves to Jung-woo again, and starts with himself. He explains that he had gambling parlors – and the other inmates end up filling in the well-known details of his fancy life. Thanks to his connections, they get food brought in from the outside. The gambler was caught and sentenced to three years.
He calls on the old man next, who seems sheepish as he admits to killing two people. He has been in prison for many years and the cell mates are united in their desire to skip his sad story. They lighten the mood by teasing the old man that he is young looking. The grinning inmate, ROCKFISH, gets into an argument with the large cell mate as Jung-woo seems preoccupied with his case file.
The gambler calls on Jung-woo, who has to admit that he doesn’t remember anything. The inmates argue about whether or not he is telling the truth before turning toward Jung-woo expectantly. As he struggles with an introduction, their cell is called out.
The inmates assemble for a choir performance. As they listen to “Amazing Grace,” Rockfish makes a heart out of a bread roll to hold up for the choir, while the large inmate next to him cries. Sung-kyu is on the brink of tears himself, while next to him, Jung-woo openly weeps as he remembers Ji-soo beside him as they played with Ha-yeon as a toddler. Then he remembers the older Ha-yeon jumping on his bed to wake him, kissing his face before joining Ji-soo in a chorus of, “Please get up.”
Min-ho works to lead Chamyung Group toward a promising future. He and Yeon-hee sit for an interview, with Min-ho playing the dutiful son, reciting his commitment to follow in his father’s footsteps. The reporter gushes about his humility before continuing with the interview.
Min-ho has to field a question about Yeon-hee, Sun-ho’s college sweetheart at Harvard. He answers that his heart still flutters, but isn’t so sure about Yeon-hee. She ominously shares, “Sometimes I can’t believe he is my husband. He seems like a new man everyday.” The reporter takes that as a compliment before noting how much Eun-soo looks like his father. She inquires about plans for another child, causing Min-ho to cover for a speechless Yeon-hee.
After the interview, Min-ho stops at his office on his way to a meeting. He enters a secret room, the walls covered in photos and notes on Sun-ho’s business dealings. He locates the information that he needs to prepare for his meeting.
Jung-woo continues to study his file as the other inmates busy themselves. Rockfish argues that studying the file won’t bring back Jung-woo’s wife and daughter, asking why he killed them, earning him a kick from their gambler sunbae. Jung-woo wonders to himself if he really did kill them as he reads the details of the case.
Jung-woo remembers/imagines an argument with Ji-soo over the photo of her with another man. Jung-woo shakes Ji-soo, shouting, “Why did you do this to me? Why? Why?!” Then, with blood on his hands and face, Jung-woo walks away from Ji-soo, who is on the floor. He walks into Ha-yeon’s room where she is sleeping as the case file details are narrated, explaining that he suffocated his daughter and moved her body using a suitcase. Jung-woo loads a suitcase into his van, his face covered by a mask.
Tears stream down Jung-woo’s face as he closes the file, a tormented scream ringing out, again startling his cellmates. He softly insists, “I didn’t do that,” and tells himself that he has to straighten everything out.
Eun-hye walks through a hair salon that bears her name while her sister is with a client. In her room, she views the video file that shows Jung-woo being led to the crime scene, his face covered by a black mask and blocked by a hat. The prisoner is instructed to demonstrate how he stabbed Ji-soo, and Eun-hye’s eyes widen as the man in the video stabs at a mannequin with his left hand.
Min-ho walks into his apartment building just as a helmeted motorcyclist brushes past him on the way out. The desk attendant hands him an envelope that was just delivered. In the elevator, Min-ho checks the envelope’s contents, which contains a photo of him with Sun-ho.
Min-ho sits at his desk, wondering who sent the photo. He stares at his hands, remembering Jung-woo’s earlier words: “Did you think that you could escape if you can turn into Cha Sun-ho?” Min-ho recalls a confused Jung-woo forcibly brought before him at the prison, but wonders if his memory has returned.
Eun-hye visits Joon-hyuk, confirming that he is Jung-woo’s friend, while also being the prosecutor responsible for demanding the death sentence in his case. Joon-hyuk clarifies that he is a prosecutor first and foremost. Eun-hye presents the USB with video from the scene investigation, explaining her theory that the man in the video is not Jung-woo.
Eun-hye knows firsthand that Jung-woo is left-handed, having been on the receiving end of his slap when he once caught her stealing papers from the prosecutor’s office. She noticed that the man in the video only pretended to be left handed, forcing Joon-hyuk to admit that a stand-in was used because Jung-woo lost his memory the day of the re-enactment. As a friend of Ji-soo, Joon-hyuk believes that Jung-woo would understand the deception, but Eun-hye is doubtful.
Jung-woo lies awake in his cell, remembering Ha-yeon’s birthday. He took a Polaroid picture that day of Ji-soo and Ha-yeon after they smeared frosting on each other’s faces. That photo now sits in Ji-soo’s memorial, where a visiting Tae-soo apologizes to his sister, promising to soon reunite Ha-yeon with her mother.
Min-ho visits the prison, where the warden informs him that Inmate 3866 lost his memory again, just the day before. Eun-hye is also at the prison, practicing greetings as she prepares to meet with Jung-woo, unsure if he will recognize her.
Eun-hye is the one who has trouble recognizing the man before her. As she takes in Jung-woo’s changed appearance, he addresses Eun-hye by name. He returns the public defender agreement unsigned, along with her pen. She urges him to accept her help, as there is no one else.
Jung-woo instructs Eun-hye, “Go back.” She continues to argue that he needs help, but Jung-woo can only reply, “Then help me find my memory.” When she hesitates, Jung-woo shouts at her, “Can’t you do it?”
Eun-hye admits that she can’t promise that Jung-woo’s memory will return, but she believes that the trial preparation will most likely help him to remember something. Before he can leave, Eun-hye pleads with Jung-woo to avoid the death penalty. He admits to Eun-hye that if he is guilty, he would accept the death penalty thousands of times.
Jung-woo becomes overwrought as he questions Eun-hye, “What changes if I avoid the death penalty? What will be different?” He leaves for his cell as Eun-hye stares after him, tears falling.
Jung-woo waits to be searched before returning to his cell. Eun-hye tries to use her pen to sign out of the prison before realizing that the ink cartridge is missing. The cartridge is concealed in Jung-woo’s hand when the guards are alerted that he’s in possession of a dangerous object.
Jung-woo runs away, telling the guards that he has to go home. The warden walks out with Min-ho, promising to bring Jung-woo to him. A siren sounds in warning before Jung-woo throws himself at the warden’s group, knocking Min-ho to the ground, his glasses flying from his face.
Jung-woo grabs Min-ho and points the pen cartridge at him, begging to be released, promising to kill Min-ho if anyone comes any closer to them. Min-ho croaks that there has been a misunderstanding, but Jung-woo promises that nothing will happen to him.
Jung-woo shouts that he has to go home while the warden argues with the guards, no one wanting responsibility should Min-ho get hurt. A guard joins the scene, asking, “What is it,” and Jung-woo recognizes his brother-in-law, Tae-soo. He steps forward and, as Jung-woo asks why he’s there, Tae-soo realizes that he has lost his memory again.
Jung-woo begs to go home, but Tae-soo tells him, “There’s no longer a house with Noona and Ha-yeon waiting for you.” Jung-woo can’t believe those words, again begging to return home. With the cartridge still pointed at Min-ho, Tae-soo moves closer, grabbing Jung-woo’s arm.
The cartridge falls to the floor as Tae-soo spits out, “You’re the one who made it this way.” The warden tends to a shaken Min-ho as the guards drag Jung-woo away, who continues to insist to Tae-soo that his claim is untrue.
Jung-woo is thrown into solitary while Eun-hye tries to determine if he is all right. An announcement declares visiting hours over before she can get any information. She exits the prison beneath a banner that advertises, “True correction for a brighter future.”
Min-ho drives through a deserted facility to hand over the envelope and photo to his henchman, asking, “Find out who sent this.” Before driving off, he thinks back to his encounter with Jung-woo at the prison, asking himself, “Does he really not remember me?”
Jung-woo sits in the solitary cell, remembering happier times with Tae-soo. There was Tae-soo’s commission ceremony, attended by Ji-soo, her mother, and Ha-yeon, as well as a laugh-filled visit to a sauna, where they were like true brothers. His memories are disturbed by a guard demanding, “How long are you going to be like this?”
Jung-woo peers through the door’s grill to see Tae-soo glaring at him. He insists, “It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it.” Jung-woo insists to Tae-soo that he doesn’t remember anything. Tae-soo drops a photo of Ji-soo and Ha-yeon into the cell, telling Jung-woo, “You killed them both. You! Don’t ever forget.”
Tae-soo then demands that Jung-woo recall where Ha-yeon is before slamming his fist on the door and walking away. Jung-woo kneels on the floor as he drinks in the image of his wife and daughter before crumpling over.
Min-ho works on his golf swing at a driving range when he gets a call that makes him very happy. Tae-soo hears from another guard that Jung-woo decided to give up on his appeal, while Joon-hyuk also receives word about the dropped appeal. He drives to the prison, recalling the first day of Jung-woo’s trial.
A disoriented Jung-woo sat in the courtroom, his mother-in-law and Tae-soo in the gallery, as Joon-hyuk argued that as a former prosecutor and the head of a happy family, Jung-woo destroyed that family instead of protecting it. Jung-woo protested that he couldn’t remember anything.
Increasingly agitated, Jung-woo had to be restrained, utterly confused, while he listened in disbelief as his friend requested the death penalty. Jung-woo’s anguished cries to his friend went unanswered as Joon-hyuk turned away.
In the present, a guard checks to see if Jung-woo has calmed down. He opens the cell door and Jung-woo stoops to pick up the photo of Ji-soo and Ha-yeon. Jung-woo notices something on the floor, but he can’t linger as the guard is waiting for him.
The guard escorts Jung-woo to a room where Joon-hyuk waits for him with an appeal waiver. Just has Jung-woo is about to affix his thumbprint, he hesitates, asking, “Do you remember what I said before? Why I’m still alive.” He returns the document to Joon-hyuk without the required thumbprint, explaining, “I want to look into why I’m still alive.”
Jung-woo walks to his cell with a look of purpose on his face as he recalls seeing the name, Park Bong-gu, carved into the penalty cell’s floor. He knows that he carved that name, and wants to know why, as a flashback scene unfolds of Jung-woo on his hands and knees, carving the letters with his fingernails, bleeding in the process.
The guard escorts Jung-woo back to his regular cell. Jung-woo asks the eldest inmate if he was at the prison when he was brought in, not realizing that the old man has been there for twenty years. Jung-woo asks him about when he arrived at the prison, explaining that he can’t remember.
The old man produces a journal and offers it to Jung-woo. Inside is a makeshift calendar where the old man marked Jung-woo’s information in red, such as the date of his first trial and when he lost his memory. The old man explains that Jung-woo was in the penalty cell the week before his first trial. He adds that Jung-woo prepared for his trial, but the warden and head of security took everything away before sending him to that cell.
The next day, Jung-woo sits in the yard for recreation time, intent on returning to the penalty cell to see what he’d written there. He wanders over to a group of inmates, asking if they know who he is. One man calls him out for killing his wife and kid. Jung-woo punches him in the face, and the ensuing fight gets him sent back to solitary.
The cell that Jung-woo wants is already occupied, but Jung-woo asks for it anyway. His request for the end cell is shared with another guard. Jung-woo inspects the new cell, but finds nothing. He calls out to the prisoner in the end cell to ask for a favor, but the inmate, who turns out to be the gangster Chul-shik, insists on finishing his meal first.
The warden hears that Jung-woo requested the end cell, which explains why he caused trouble that day. Jung-woo, unaware that he’s talking to Chul-shik, asks him to read the words carved into the floor. After reading the name Park Bong-gu, Chul-shik claims that there is quite a bit more, but insists that he can’t read, at least not for “Prosecutor” Park Jung-woo. Realization dawns on Jung-woo’s face as he calls out Chul-shik’s name.
I think that I was holding my breath as Jung-woo was about to stamp his thumbprint on that appeal waiver. My mind was swirling with questions about the direction of the story once that document was completed. I was relieved that Jung-woo’s unanswered questions overcame his memory fog, engaging his mind enough to realize that things just don’t add up. What I find frightening is that no other lawyer, not even his so called friends, or investigators, asked the same questions, so quick were they to believe him capable of such atrocious murders. Jung-woo’s only hope is an inexperienced lawyer who is a bit compulsive about looking into every nook and cranny, one who seems to be a novice version of him.
Eun-hye promises to offer a fresh perspective in Jung-woo’s case, in her bumbling, unassuming, desperate kind of way. She questions everything, not content to accept something as fact until she has examined it herself. Eun-hye is unique in her ability to ignore those who criticize her ways in order to serve her client. She is also very unassuming, someone who blends into the background as she goes about her business, because no one takes her very seriously. Pairing her with Jung-woo, an impressive investigator diminished by his memory loss, promises a mutually beneficial relationship as he conducts his investigation through Eun-hye. I think that Yuri actually helps Eun-hye’s characterization with her lack of polish, making the public defender’s missteps believable.
Min-ho is sitting on top of the world, enjoying his victory tour as he steps into Sun-ho’s life. Some of the scenes reinforce his rise to the top, the driving range elevated him as well as his home office, although I don’t know how I feel about him wielding a golf club again. Chills. He relishes the power, authority, and respect that his brother commanded, something that he never enjoyed nor deserved. It remains to be seen how long he will be content to remain hidden, with few privy to his incredible accomplishment, committing the perfect murder. As much as Sun-ho’s life suits Min-ho, it still belongs to Sun-ho, all of it. Min-ho is only a pretender. How long will it take before he chafes from the burden, shouting out, “I’m Cha Min-ho,” just as Jung-woo promised?
For now, Min-ho’s commitment to escape discovery is scary. How crazy was he when he deliberately burned his fingertips to destroy his fingerprints? His delight in foiling Jung-woo’s investigation demonstrates that his duel with the prosecutor became quite personal. He wasn’t satisfied until he stripped everything from Jung-woo, who will ultimately pay with his life, unless he can prove his innocence.
Ji Sung continues to impress as Jung-woo. I actually find myself able to accept him as innocent or guilty, which is quite a feat. Jung-woo, as loving a he was with Ji-soo and Ha-yeon, demonstrates quite a frightening temper. That slap that he gave Eun-hye was harsh, and he just can’t seem to control himself around Rockfish. Even so, a short temper isn’t enough to lead to murder. At this point, I am ready for less ambiguous information, and I’m looking forward to more facts to fill in Jung-woo’s absent memories.
Having to watch Jung-woo deal with his possible guilt is gut-wrenching. Min-ho is currently riding high, while Jung-woo is constantly pulled down by his hopeless situation. Even so, cracks are starting to show in Min-ho’s newly perfect life. There’s the question about who sent that photo, not to mention a pen that holds an incriminating conversation.
- Defendant: Episode 2
- Defendant: Episode 1
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