Defendant: Episode 4
New revelations mean that Jung-woo has to reassess who’s on his side and who he can trust, and he struggles to find clues to jog even the smallest pieces of his lost memories as time begins to run out before his next court date. While Jung-woo gathers his resources on the inside, Eun-hye tries to figure out how she can help him from the outside—but first, she has to find a way to convince Jung-woo that he needs her by his side.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
We go back to one week before the first trial. Jung-woo works on his case notes while the others in the cell read or play cards, although Sung-kyu is absent. The eldest prisoner, MIL-YANG, asks Jung-woo if he’s recovered his memory at all, and Jung-woo says he’s recovered a little of it, but there are many aspects of the case that seem suspicious, so he’ll have to keep doing research until the trial.
In his office, the warden speaks with someone on the phone about the upcoming trial, and that person suggests something which makes the warden smile as he agrees before making another phone call.
During their rounds, one of the guards finds cigarettes in Jung-woo’s cubicle; he swears they aren’t his, but they drag him out anyway. Tae-soo watches silently from the hallway as Jung-woo protests that his trial is coming up, and begs to be allowed to take his notebook with him. The officers ignore his pleas and throw him into solitary confinement, and the head of security gives Jung-woo’s notes to the warden, who smiles smugly.
The warden has lunch with Min-ho and passes Jung-woo’s notebook to him. When the warden asks why Min-ho is going so far, he says it’s because he blames Jung-woo for his brother’s suicide. He says he’s heard the man lost his memory a few times, and that it would be nice if he could lose it again before the trial. The warden assures him that even if Jung-woo doesn’t get amnesia again, there’s no way he can prepare for the trial now.
In solitary, Jung-woo bangs on the door in despair, asking to be let out. “You can’t get out,” comes Tae-soo’s voice from outside. Jung-woo explains that the cigarettes weren’t his, but Tae-soo already knows and says that for some reason the warden and head of security hate Jung-woo as much as he does. Jung-woo pleads for his help, saying he doesn’t remember anything while promising that he’ll find out who did it and prove it in court. Tae-soo just shakes his head.
“If I did it, I’ll pay for my sins,” Jung-woo promises. “But to do that, I need those notes. Help me, Tae-soo.” The younger man replies that last time, he only got out of solitary because he lost his memory, and it’ll likely be that way this time too.
One day before the first trial. Min-ho calls the warden to ask if Jung-woo’s amnesia has recurred yet, and the warden grumbles that it’s not like he has any control over Jung-woo’s memory loss. The head of security reports that Jung-woo is still the same, and the warden says in frustration that it’d be easier if Min-ho asked them to kill him instead. Well then.
In his cell, Jung-woo crawls over to the side of the floor where some light falls, looking at the word carved into the wood: Mother. He carves more letters onto the floor until his fingertips are all bloody, and pretends to sleep whenever the guard check on him. He curls his fingers in pain and asks himself, “What if I don’t recognize them?” He keeps at it until we see, bloody but complete on the floor: Park Bong-gu.
Back to the present. In solitary, gangster Shin Chul-shik has recognized Jung-woo and refuses to help him due to his anger over being wrongly convicted for the murder of his boss (that we now know was a casualty of the collision that killed the NFS doctor). Jung-woo pleads with the man to tell him what the writing says as the warden approaches, having heard about Jung-woo’s request to be put in the end cell.
Arriving, the guards search Chul-shik’s cell, but they find nothing. Jung-woo sighs in relief, but then the warden asks the gangster if he saw anything, promising him his own cell. “Oh, that,” says Chul-shik, and everyone tenses. “I saw three blowflies,” he says, which earns him a punch and a return to lockup. Once the guards are gone, Jung-woo asks why he did that, and Chul-shik says that now he’s the only one who knows.
At Sun-ho’s apartment, Grandma and Grandpa are over for a family meal. Chairman Cha mentions Eun-soo’s resemblance to his father, and Yeon-hee glances uneasily at Min-ho. The twins’ mother asks why Min-ho is taking such a long trip; she looks straight into Min-ho’s eyes and asks, “Are you keeping in touch with him, Sun-ho?” She tells him that when Min-ho comes back, he should tell him to settle down. (Clearly she has dementia, since she doesn’t know that one of the sons has died.)
Chairman Cha tells Min-ho that an athlete Sun-ho has been helping Chamyung sponsor got a medal in his last championship. Flustered for a moment, Min-ho eyes his brother’s fencing uniform in the corner and says he knows about it. Chairman Cha tells him to arrange a victory party, and suggests a celebratory fencing match between Min-ho and the athlete.
When Min-ho hesitates, his father asks if he’s afraid. Min-ho says no, adding that he’ll do it. After his father leaves, the warden calls and tells Min-ho that Jung-woo hasn’t given up on an appeal after all. Min-ho knocks Sun-ho’s fencing uniform to the ground and mutters, “Why is everyone doing this to me?”
Joon-hyuk arrives in his office to find Eun-hye, who asks him what’s going on with Jung-woo. She says she wants to help, but Joon-hyuk says Jung-woo will be better than her at preparing for the trial and arguing his case. Eun-hye asks if he subjected an amnesiac Jung-woo to the first trial as a prosecutor or as his friend, and whether, if Jung-woo loses his memory again, Joon-hyuk is planning to take him to court again without postponing his trial.
“What if Jung-woo didn’t lose his memory?” Joon-hyuk asks. He recounts how it happened four times: on the day of the on-site inspection, then one month later, then on the day of the first trial, and then the day after Jung-woo confessed that he was guilty. Joon-hyuk asks her how many times he should believe in Jung-woo, when he only loses his memory on conveniently important days.
However, Eun-hye asks what Jung-woo has gained if that’s the case; after all, he’s become a death row convict. Joon-hyuk replies that only Jung-woo knows the answer. As Eun-hye walks out, she remembers Jung-woo telling her that she shouldn’t have trusted her client, and wonders if he really lost his memories. In his office, Joon-hyuk recalls his friend breaking down in tears and wonders the same thing.
He takes out a photo of himself with Jung-woo and Ji-soo from the day the two men became prosecutors, and remembers how they all went to Ji-soo’s place to drink afterwards. Her mother came to sit with them, asking who would want to marry a strange girl like her, and both of her friends teased that she was just okay, measuring how much they liked her with their fingers (though Joon-hyuk’s measurement was a little larger).
Ji-soo poured a big glass of soju and said the one to drink the whole thing would become her husband. Jung-woo grabbed for the glass a tiny bit faster than Joon-hyuk and downed it in one shot, leaving his friend looking crushed. When Mom and Jung-woo laughingly referred to each other as in-laws, Ji-soo looked embarrassed but happy, and Joon-hyuk had quickly smiled to cover his disappointment.
At the prison, Chul-shik tells Jung-woo to help him get out of solitary confinement if he wants to know what’s written in his cell, mocking Jung-woo when he says he can’t do it. Jung-woo gets angry, saying they’re in the same situation, but Chul-shik yells that he’s been framed, and since it’s Jung-woo’s fault, he better think of a way to help him.
At work, Min-ho returns from the bathroom and notices that his office door is ajar. He finds an envelope on his desk that contains a medical certificate and rushes out, pursuing an unknown man into the stairwell and down the stairs.
When Min-ho exits to the lobby, he yells for everyone to freeze, and approaches a man who has stopped on his way out the doors. Before he gets to him, Chairman Cha appears and asks what’s wrong. Min-ho bows and says it’s nothing, and when he looks back at the doors, the man is gone. Min-ho asks the security team to show him the surveillance footage, but they remind him that he (well, Sun-ho) asked them to turn off the cameras on his floor.
Min-ho goes back to his office and rips the medical certificate up. Thinking of Jung-woo on his last visit to the jail, he decides it can’t be him, and goes into his secret lair of cheat sheets. He studies the team of prosecutors, whose faces he has pinned up on the wall in a creepy echo of an evidence board as he tries to figure out who it is.
Investigator Go arrives at the prosecutor’s office with food for his coworkers, and among them is the friend that passed Eun-hye the investigation video. Investigator Go goes to his desk and stealthily takes out a file that includes a medical certificate, with a note indicating Min-ho’s fear of needles. He thinks back to Jung-woo’s advice that when an investigation reaches a wall, you have to shake your opponent to get them to show their weakness.
Still in solitary, Jung-woo comes to a decision and tells Chul-shik that he’d better keep his promise. The next mealtime, Jung-woo asks the prisoner giving out food for a favor, though we don’t get to hear what it is. A little while later, Tae-soo releases Chul-shik and sends him back to the regular cells. Tae-soo opens Jung-woo’s cell next, and asks if it’s true that he remembers where Ha-yeon is.
“Yes. I remembered,” says Jung-woo, clenching his trembling hand, “where I… buried Ha-yeon.” Tae-soo says that if he’s lying again, he doesn’t know what he’ll do to him. Jung-woo says Tae-soo’s name, then hugs him. “Hyung is really sorry,” he says. Tae-soo orders the other guards to take him away.
The head of security slaps Tae-soo when he finds out about Jung-woo’s release, asking if it’s because they’re brothers-in-law. Tae-soo says that relationship no longer exists but won’t say why he did it, arousing his superior’s suspicion.
In the communal cell, Sung-kyu offers Jung-woo soy milk in lieu of tofu, and the gangster hyung, who is in for gambling, tells him to drink up. MONG-CHI comments that Gangster Hyung sure cares a lot about Jung-woo, and the older man says he wants his son to be a prosecutor when he grows up.
Rockfish mocks Jung-woo again, saying it’s done him no good to be a prosecutor since he killed his wife and daughter, but the others tell Jung-woo not to take him seriously, as he really cares for Jung-woo and even used to give him his medicine before. (Seriously, way too many people are feeding Jung-woo things.) As his cellmates go back to bickering, Jung-woo thinks about Tae-soo’s warning.
Yeon-hee has lunch with her friends, one of whom is getting divorced, though she’s matter-of-fact about it; another friend remarks that none of them married for love anyway. One of them says mockingly that at least Yeon-hee has no regrets, since she’s with an identical man—she dated the younger brother and married the heir, after all.
The others say she had to save her father’s company, and besides, if she’d married Min-ho, imagine what she’d been going through now. But the catty friend says that he wouldn’t have ended up dying if Yeon-hee hadn’t dumped him. Yeon-hee grabs her arm and says, “Do you really know what kind of decision I made?”
She leaves, remembering when she arrived at Min-ho’s—really Sun-ho’s—funeral to pay her respects, and how people whispered when she stood in front of his memorial. Min-ho said her name affectionately, and she closed her eyes as if to steel herself for the firing squad before telling Eun-soo to greet his uncle. She then glared tearfully at Min-ho and walked out.
In the prison yard, Chul-shik tells Jung-woo that one of the words is “doorbell,” although he says he’s erased them all, so Jung-woo will just have to believe him. Jung-woo chokes him, furious, but Chul-shik swears he’s telling the truth. He says he’ll reveal the words one at a time—and he’ll let Jung-woo know the next time he needs something. Jung-woo repeats the word to himself over and over, trying to figure out what it means.
Min-ho stands in front of a mirror, fencing saber in his shaking hand. He flinches as he remembers his injury, and recalls having his eye unwrapped at the hospital after it healed. The doctor said he’d have permanent blurred vision, and Sun-ho broke down in tears and apologies. Chairman Cha told Sun-ho that as the future leader of Chamyung Group, it was pathetic for him to make a big deal out of something this minor. When their mother tried to comfort Min-ho, he pushed her away.
Taking a deep breath and staring into the mirror, Min-ho says spitefully, “Father, the Cha Sun-ho you liked so much is gone now. Because I killed him.” He practices into the night.
The next morning, Eun-hye’s aunt asks if she’ll be able to continue as a public defender. When she finds out Eun-hye didn’t get the form of appointment, Aunt asks her why the client even met her if he wasn’t going to sign. She tells her to apply to a law firm instead, but Eun-hye is struck by her earlier words and rushes off to the prison.
When she sees Jung-woo, he asks her how long she keeps planning to come see him. She says she has a question: Can he remember which hand he used to stab his wife? Ji-soo was stabbed by someone left-handed—did Jung-woo really stab her? She stands and keeps pushing him to try to remember. Jung-woo springs up angrily. “That’s right! I stabbed her! The case file and crime scene photos say I stabbed her. I can’t find any proof that I didn’t do it! So what?”
“It’s true that you lost your memory,” says Eun-hye quietly, sitting down. She says she had thought it possible that he didn’t. Jung-woo tells her she can stop coming now that she’s confirmed it. But she asks her real question now: Why, when he had no intention of letting her take his case, did he meet her every time she came to see him? Didn’t he have some hope that she might bring information that he didn’t know about? Even today, she says, he still came to meet her.
He tells her to stop it, but she presses on. “You know what kind of attorney I am. I’m not a logical person, but you know that I’m the only person who can help you now.” She points out that now that he’s decided to continue with the appeal despite not regaining his memory, he’ll need someone to help him from outside. “Let me be that person,” she pleads.
He stares at her, tears in his eyes, so she says gently that she’ll answer on his behalf: “Help me, Lawyer Seo Eun-hye.” He’s still speechless, so she wipes away a tear and asks brightly how she can help, since he asked. His mouth twitches in a tiny smile, and she happily extends her hand, which he shakes reluctantly. This time, when she asks what she can do, he says he’ll see her next week.
That night, Jung-woo dreams again about his last night with his family, but this time, as Dream Jung-woo falls asleep, the doorbell rings in their apartment. Jung-woo sits up in shock at the realization that someone came to his home that night.
When Joon-hyuk hears that Jung-woo wants to see him, he has Jung-woo escorted to the prosecutor’s office. When his friend arrives, Joon-hyuk has his restraints removed and orders some food and soju. He says he wanted to have a drink with Jung-woo, since they might not get another chance. Jung-woo tells him what he’s remembered; Joon-hyuk says there was nothing about it in the investigation record, but he’ll look into it, and Jung-woo thanks him.
As Jung-woo leaves, Joon-hyuk’s investigator asks if he should look into who came to the house that night, but Joon-hyuk says he’ll do it himself.
We flash back again to the night of the murder, Jung-woo asleep in his bed and Ji-soo reading, when the doorbell rings. It’s 12:45 a.m., and she wonders who it is at this hour, and when she opens the door, there stands Joon-hyuk.
In the present, Joon-hyuk broods at his desk, and Jung-woo sits glaring into the dark.
Uh oh. Something tells me not to hold out much hope for bromance in this show. Last episode’s revelation that Joon-hyuk faked the on-site investigation was a pretty big red flag, but now I’m sure that if Joon-hyuk didn’t have anything to do with the murder, he at least hasn’t been sincerely helping his friend. Not only does the fact that he was secretly in love with Ji-soo give Joon-hyuk a motive, I find it hard to buy his explanations to Eun-hye about why he’s been acting the way he has during the investigation. At the very least, he’s a corrupt prosecutor who has falsified the investigation to satisfy personal revenge. If Joon-hyuk is the murderer and Jung-woo was not framed by Min-ho—because at this point I really do think that Jung-woo was framed—I wonder if that bit about an affair is a red herring that actually has basis in truth. Perhaps the man she was meeting was Joon-hyuk, and maybe he made advances toward her and was rejected, leading to a crime of passion that Jung-woo ended up taking the fall for. Joon-hyuk clearly knew that his friend trusted him implicitly, and wouldn’t question his ethics in conducting the investigation.
Jung-woo continues to be a complex hero, and one who has interesting and sometimes disturbing aspects to his character. He’s shown himself to be harsh in meting out judgement with a rather stern definition of mercy, but I was shocked when he slapped Eun-hye across the face for stealing evidence in the previous episode, and in this hour, it’s clear that he can be hot-tempered and ruthless. It remains to be seen whether that harshness in his personality is the type to lend itself to criminal violence, or if it’s the kind that demands the severest of ethical behavior, both from himself and others, even when most people might choose mercy.
Perhaps working on this case with Eun-hye will teach him that sometimes a little bit of compassion is more important than being rigidly fair. I liked the scene between them at the end of the episode, when they finally connected as people, and he accepted for the first time that she might have something to offer him. Eun-hye has said that logic isn’t her strong suit, but so far she’s shown herself to be pretty observant in picking up clues that Jung-woo wasn’t aware of, both because of his amnesia and his complete trust in Joon-hyuk (though I imagine that’s come to an end now).
It’s possible that Jung-woo is being drugged somehow in order to induce his amnesia, and although I didn’t think that was true at first, the camera was really dropping anvil-sized hints in this episode. We had close-ups of the prison food, the soy milk given to him by Sung-kyu, and the mention that Rockfish used to give him his medicine before. Any one of them could be on someone’s payroll; the warden and his men are certainly corrupt enough to look the other way, although the warden at least has no idea about it if the amnesia is indeed drug-induced, judging from his conversations with Min-ho.
Speaking of Min-ho, he is emerging as the kind of narcissist who interprets any questioning of his actions as an insult that must be returned exponentially, and each revelation we get about his past makes it increasingly clear how a man with that kind of vindictive victim mentality might turn into a murderer. The girl Min-ho killed in the first episode mistook him for his rich brother, and was disappointed to find out it was him; Yeon-hee left him for Sun-ho because he couldn’t provide the same wealth to bail out her family, a wealth that came to Sun-ho only because he was born first. Chairman Cha certainly did a number on his sons, which probably made a boy who was already prone to violence even more ruthless in going after what he felt had been denied to him. I’m certain after this episode that Eun-soo is actually Min-ho’s son, which gives a new layer of meaning to Yeon-hee’s tortured looks—she’s finally with the man she loved back then, and her son can call his real father “Dad,” but she’s found out that he was a monster all along.
One piece of the puzzle we’re still missing is Ha-yeon. I’ve found it odd since the beginning that even before he lost his memory the first time, Jung-woo was continually asking where Ha-yeon was and insisting that he needed to go find her. I wonder if the fact that no one has found her body means that she’s actually still alive, and merely kidnapped rather than murdered. Eun-hye is on the case now, as well as loyal puppy Investigator Go, so maybe some new clues will be revealed soon. Fingers crossed, because our hero certainly needs some good news right now.
- Defendant: Episode 3
- Defendant: Episode 2
- Defendant: Episode 1
- Ji Sung to fight back from behind bars in SBS’s Defendant
- Bloody knives and violent crimes in Defendant’s new teaser
- Ji Sung is the best dad ever in new Defendant stills
- Ji Sung’s imprisoned mind and body in first teaser for Defendant
- Legal drama Defendant finds leading lady in SNSD’s Yuri
- Eom Ki-joon and others recruited for SBS’s Defendant
- Han Ye-seul up to play spirited lawyer in new drama Defendant
- Ji Sung considers MBC’s Rebel Hong Gil-dong, SBS’s Defendant