Defendant: Episode 5
Prison life is hard, especially for a former prosecutor experiencing memory loss one week before his appeal. Even so, Jung-woo works hard to remember what he can in spite of his challenges. Eun-hye runs into problems as well, but she’s proving to be tireless in pursuit of the truth, while Min-ho must face just how different he is from Sun-ho as he tries to live convincingly as his brother. It turns out that he isn’t the only one struggling to step into someone else’s life.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
It’s the morning of the Wolha-dong murder, 12:30 a.m. on September 23rd, as Joon-hyuk parks his car. Ji-soo opens her door, surprised to see him, because he was out of town.
Ji-soo invites the gift-bearing Joon-hyuk inside. He takes in the family photos throughout the living room while Ji-soo is busy in the kitchen. She returns with two mugs, offering to wake Jung-woo, but Joon-hyuk stops her, explaining that he has to leave soon.
Jooh-hyuk thinks it unusual that Jung-woo is already asleep, prompting Ji-soo to mention his early meeting. Taking Ha-yeon’s birthday gift from its bag, a stuffed “Nemo” (from Finding Nemo) with a recorder inside, Ji-soo encourages a clueless Joon-hyuk to record a greeting. He plays along, speaking into the toy, “Ha-yeon, it’s me, Uncle Joon-hyuk. It’s already one in the morning. I’m so sorry that it’s one hour after your birthday.”
Joon-hyuk reminds Ji-soo that he won’t be around for Ha-yeon’s next birthday. Realizing that they will be away for two years because of Jung-woo’s appointment to a U.N. legal division, Ji-soo encourages Joon-hyuk to visit them in New York. Before leaving, Joon-hyuk checks in on the sleeping birthday girl, placing Nemo on Ha-yeon’s night stand.
That toy becomes evidence, which is immediately forwarded to the prosecutor’s office. Joon-hyuk speaks at a press conference, where he is asked why the case was immediately sent to the prosecutor’s office. He promises an announcement once the investigation is complete.
Joon-hyuk meets with the deputy chief, who presses him to wrap up the case. At Joon-hyuk’s hesitation, the deputy chief presents him with a document listing his assignment to the U.N. in place of Jung-woo, explaining, “For work at this level, this will be an adequate reward. Please help me out.”
Joon-hyuk hides the transfer document upon running into Prosecutor Choi, who informs him that the time of Ji-soo’s death was between 12:30 and 1:30 in the morning. Realizing that he was with Ji-soo during part of that window, Joon-hyuk starts to speak up, but Prosecutor Choi interrupts, “The person that went inside of Jung-woo’s house at that time is the criminal. There’s no way that Jung-woo would be the criminal, right?”
Prosecutor Choi then sends Joon-hyuk to check out the newly delivered evidence. He bursts into the evidence room, anxiously checking the evidence list to find the stuffed toy fish with his recording. He shouts out, “Wait,” upon hearing that the CCTV is about to be analyzed.
Calming himself, Joon-hyuk suggests a break, and stays behind when the others leave. Alone, he finds the Nemo toy and eyes the CCTV tapes. Later, Joon-hyuk is present when Prosecutor Choi receives the results of the CCTV analysis, which list Tae-soo as the last visitor.
Joon-hyuk looks on silently as Prosecutor Choi pores through the CCTV photos, unable to believe that Jung-woo is really guilty. Then, Joon-hyuk volunteers when Prosecutor Choi orders the black boxes of the cars in the garage checked. A scan of the evidence table shows that the stuffed Nemo is now missing.
Returning to the present, Joon-hyuk meets Jung-woo at the prison, informing him that he was mistaken about a late night visitor because his doorbell was broken. Besides that, the CCTV showed that no one entered their home. Confused, Jung-woo asks, “You’re saying I misheard it?” Joon-hyuk apologizes as Jung-woo struggles with the news.
Sung-kyu excitedly prepares to meet with his lawyer as Jung-woo returns to their cell. Sung-kyu is shocked to hear that he is being charged with a hit and run plus assaulting a police officer, asking, “When did I hit an officer?” Sung-kyu insists that he must get out of prison, but his lawyer can’t be bothered since his client doesn’t have enough money. In the end, he quits the case.
Jung-woo sits in his cell, trying to make sense of Joon-hyuk’s answers, “The doorbell was broken? That is not possible.” Sung-kyu returns to the cell, and the look on his face lets everyone know that his meeting didn’t go well. Mil-yang inquires about his sister who is very ill, which explains Sung-kyu’s desperation.
Jung-woo speaks up, “Can I take a look at your case record?” Sung-kyu explains that he got a call that his sister fainted. On his way to her, he got into an accident while driving through a yellow light.
Meanwhile, Eun-hye submits the completed public defender contract at the courthouse. She recalls her meeting with Jung-woo, who asked if she believed him. Eun-hye answered honestly, “No. You told me to not to believe clients. I just want to know the truth.” She bounces down the steps of the courthouse as she leaves.
Sung-kyu’s cell mates debate the details of his case, with the young prisoner conceding his wrongdoing in arguing with the police, though he protests that he doesn’t deserve prison. Jung-woo asks about the prosecutor, admitting that the man is his junior, and is known for making mistakes. Jung-woo promises a grateful Sung-kyu that he will review his case.
Jung-woo and his cell mates are working in the yard when he sees Chul-shik. He walks over to ask him what else was written on the penalty cell’s floor, but in return, Chul-shik requests one pack of cigarettes before assuring Jung-woo that he’ll be waiting.
The cell mates play volleyball minus Jung-woo, who sits on the sidelines, gaining the guards’ attention. Sung-kyu encourages him to join their game, giving Jung-woo a chance to ask Gangster Hyung how to get cigarettes. Gangster Hyung kicks the ball way out of bounds, giving him a chance to talk with Jung-woo, and he shares that a pack of cigarettes costs $500.
Unfortunately, the cost is the least of Jung-woo’s concerns, because the prisoner selling cigarettes is RACCOON, the man that Jung-woo beat up to get thrown back into solitary. Jung-woo observes a hostile-looking Raccoon, who is sporting two black eyes, while Gangster Hyung suggests that he should just quit smoking.
Back in their cell, the inmates are excited to receive their prison account books for review. Jung-woo’s account book shows several deposits made by OH JUNG-HEE, his mother-in-law. Mil-yang tells Jung-woo that she came several times to visit him, even though he never saw her.
Jung-woo’s mother-in-law is alone in her restaurant when Tae-soo walks in. As he eats a meal, his mother gently encourages her son to forgive Jung-woo, but Tae-soo admits that he wants to kill him. Mother Oh pleads with Tae-soo to remember the man that Jung-woo was: “Nobody treated Ji-soo, Ha-yeon, or me better than he did.”
Tae-soo stands, vowing to find Ha-yeon as he tells his mother that Jung-woo claims to remember. She looks away, and Tae-soo asks if she thinks that Ha-yeon is alive before accusing her of not wanting her granddaughter found.
Mother Oh calls after Tae-soo as he walks out, stopping to clutch her chest. Alone again, she imagines Jung-woo sitting at the table, happily chattering as he eats. Jung-woo is actually in his cell, staring at his account book, which has just enough money for a pack of cigarettes thanks to his mother-in-law.
Min-ho watches Yeon-hee read to Eun-soo, thinking back to an argument with his father over the news that she was going to marry his brother. Min-ho argued that he could agree to all of his father’s plans for Sun-ho except for Yeon-hee, the woman that he loved.
Chairman Cha had advanced on Min-ho as he ordered him to show what he could do, promising that he could have the company and his woman if he could prove himself worthy. He proceeded to beat Min-ho with a golf club before kicking him away and calling him, “Good for nothing.”
Min-ho turned to see Yeon-hee standing just outside of the door. He whispered, “Sorry,” only for her to turn and walk away. Min-ho is brought back to the present by a hug from Eun-soo. He encourages the boy to finish his story with Yeon-hee, vowing to himself, “Now I won’t have anything taken away from me again, Father.”
In the prison yard, Jung-woo approaches Raccoon to ask for cigarettes. Raccoon’s friends laugh at the idea, but Jung-woo pushes, insisting that an inmate caught with cigarettes claimed that they came from Raccoon.
Jung-woo promises to check with the warden, but Raccoon stops him, telling him that he will have to pay double. Jung-woo promises him something better while Chul-shik quietly cheers him on from a distance, pretending to smoke a cigarette.
Eun-hye celebrates her new assignment with her aunt over dinner before getting to work on Jung-woo’s case, starting an evidence wall in her room. The next day, she visits Investigator Go, approaching him with the news that she is now representing Jung-woo.
Investigator Go sits outside with Eun-hye, evading her questions with the explanation that his relationship with Jung-woo is in the past, something that he wants to forget. She shares that Jung-woo lost his memory again, which Investigator Go already knows.
Eun-hye finds it odd that Investigator Go shows up in the prison visitation logs if he’s trying to forget Jung-woo. She reminds him that they met many times during Jung-woo’s prosecutor days, even though she always lost.
Earnestly, she admits, “This time, I want to win.” Offering her card, Eun-hye asks Investigator Go to contact her with any information.
Min-ho poses for photos with championship fencer LEE CHAN-YUNG. He whispers, “Take it easy on me,” but Chan-yung just continues to smile for the photos. Wearing Sun-ho’s gear, Min-ho studies his reflection in a mirror, steeling himself to more fully assume his brother’s public identity.
Min-ho greets the assembled onlookers alongside Chan-yung, bowing to his father and Yeon-hee. Chairman Cha asks Yeon-hee about his son’s condition, calling him CEO Cha. He remembers when his sons fenced together, before Min-ho’s accident. Chairman Cha muses, “Today, I don’t know if he’ll do well.”
Investigator Go enters the room just at Min-ho dons his helmet. He remembers the day of Boss Kim’s funeral, when he and Jung-woo escaped with Chul-shik. Jung-woo had shared his plan to catch Cha Min-ho, promising to tell Investigator Go more the next day. Investigator Go laughed when he realized that Jung-woo had been investigating Min-ho all along.
The match begins, and Investigator Go has another flashback to that next day. Instead of learning about Min-ho’s investigation, he witnessed Jung-woo entering the building in the custody of the police. When Jung-woo saw Inspector Go in the crowd, he slowly shook his head side to side.
As the foils begin to find their marks, Investigator Go considers how a fear of sharp objects would make fencing impossible. Chan-yung connects with Min-ho’s face shield, leading to a pause in the match while Min-ho removes his helmet. Yeon-hee and Chairman Cha look on anxiously as Min-ho gulps for air and tells himself to hang on a bit longer.
Investigator Go gets a call and turns to leave the room just as Min-ho faces Chan-yung. Suddenly, Min-ho faints, falling to the ground in a heap. Investigator Go turns back to see Min-ho surrounded by concerned attendants. Amid calls for an ambulance, Min-ho watches his father walk away before losing consciousness.
Min-ho wakes up in a hospital room, with Yeon-hee close by. He asks about his father, who Yeon-hee expects was shocked to see Sun-ho faint during a match. With Min-ho awake, she excuses herself, reminding him that it’s Eun-soo’s birthday.
Min-ho asks Yeon-hee if she waited with him the whole time, but she cautions him not to misunderstand, since they are constantly being watched. As she turns to leave, Min-ho grasps her hand, only to have Yeon-hee pull it away.
Min-ho asks what would have happened if they had left together that day, six years earlier. Yeon-hee agrees that they would have been fine, observing, “Sun-ho wouldn’t have died.” After she leaves, Min-ho remembers his father’s disappointed face and jumps from his bed.
Min-ho is in front of the Chairman’s home, but his father isn’t home. He is told, “The Chairman ordered that you do not come see him for now.” Chairman Cha stands before the memorial for Min-ho, grieving, “I miss you, my son, Sun-ho.” Upon hearing that “Sun-ho” is awake, Chairman Cha mutters, “Dirty bastard.”
Min-ho enters a pojangmacha to find Chan-yung. The stand belongs to his mother, and he introduces Min-ho as his sponsor, CEO Cha Sun-ho. Min-ho explains that he wants a word with Chan-yung.
Alone, Min-ho asks, “Earlier, you didn’t understand what I said, right,” before slapping him and knocking the surprised athlete to the ground. Min-ho kicks Chan-yung viciously before crushing his right hand under his shoe, ignoring his screams.
Min-ho crouches before Chan-yung, telling him, “Now, you probably won’t be able to fence.” He promises to continue sponsoring him, urging him to open a store so that his mother won’t have to work so hard.
Returning to his car, Min-ho instructs his driver to take him to get a gift for Eun-soo. He’s paying for a toy when he gets a call from the boy. Distracted, he signs his real name, Cha Min-ho, but doesn’t catch it until he looks at the receipt.
Min-ho remembers doing the very same thing when he signed for Sun-ho’s body at the NFS doctor’s prompting. He dismisses his driver early, enabling Min-ho to drive off alone. Investigator Go, parked nearby, follows his car.
Min-ho parks outside of the NFS building to call the director, explaining that he needs to recover a document. He learns that the NFS is in the middle of an audit and is barring external personnel from entering the building.
Thwarted, Min-ho drives away while Investigator Go wonders what brought him to the NFS building. He makes a call to check the NFS visitation records, discovering that Cha Sun-ho appeared on the NFS logs on September 17th and 18th. Investigator Go asks, “Is it possible to check whom he met with?”
It’s another birthday celebration, this time in the Cha household. Min-ho, Yeon-hee, and Eun-soo all wear party hats as Min-ho plays the doting father. He gets a text informing him that the anonymously delivered photo and report were traced to Investigator Go, who once worked with Jung-woo.
Min-ho checks surveillance footage and discovers that Investigator Go has been following him. Meanwhile, Investigator Go reads an online article detailing the death of the NFS medical examiner in the dump truck accident. He picks up Eun-hye’s business card and starts to call her before changing his mind.
Jung-woo and his cellmates are walking to the yard when he is summoned by Raccoon and his goons. They take him to a secluded area where Raccoon beats Jung-woo for ten dollars a hit. Jung-woo allows Raccoon to continue, taking numerous kicks and punches until he earns the cigarettes.
Jung-woo manages to walk across the yard to Chul-shik and surreptitiously passes off the pack of cigarettes. Crouching, Chul-shik writes a clue in the dirt, “16K.” Chul-shik slides away, erasing his writing, as the warden and head of security talk about his relationship with Jung-woo.
The head of security has the guards search Chul-shik in the yard, discovering the pack of cigarettes. Jung-woo looks over at the warden and remembers Mil-yang’s warning that the warden and head of security hate him.
The head of security opens the box, only to find it stuffed with paper. He turns his attention to Jung-woo, ordering him searched as well, but the guards find nothing. The two inmates are ordered away and deposited onto a rooftop where they are given one week to chip the paint from the floor.
Chul-shik compliments Jung-woo on the trick he played on the guards. When they are called in, Chul-shik stretches, looks at the view, and wonders where he could escape. They guards don’t hear him because they are talking about Tae-soo, who has taken more time off to continue his search for Ha-yeon’s body.
Min-ho checks the NFS files pertaining to “Min-ho’s” death and learns that an investigator also checked them recently. Investigator Go glances at a yellow NFS folder dated September 2016, as he drives. It contains the document bearing Min-ho’s signature, causing Investigator Go to admit, “The prosecutor’s words were right.”
Eun-hye sits with Mother Oh and presents her card, explaining that she is in charge of Jung-woo’s appeal. She gets a call from Investigator Go asking to meet with her right away. Before she can arrange to meet him, she hears his car involved in an accident. Alarmed, Eun-hye shouts into the phone, but gets no answer.
With a barely conscious Investigator Go trapped in his flipped car, a man in black crouches before him holding his phone, ending the call with Eun-hye. He then reaches into the car to take the NFS folder, leaving the injured man behind. As he lies bleeding, Investigator Go thinks of one of his prison visits with Jung-woo.
Investigator Go had asked Jung-woo if he remembered who he was investigating before Ji-soo’s murder. Seeing that Jung-woo had no memory of the case, Investigator Go placed his palm on the partition, revealing the name written there: Cha Min-ho.
Reminding Jung-woo of his promise to catch that man, Investigator Go admitted, “I thought you were joking at first. But now that you’ve become like this, I think it may be his doing.” That’s when Jung-woo realized that his memory loss covered more than the period after Ha-yeon’s birthday.
Investigator Go urged Jung-woo to remember what he discovered so that Min-ho could be caught and Jung-woo’s innocence proven. Jung-woo reassured his friend that he would remember.
Back in the present, Investigator Go’s eyes close as sirens approach.
In his cell, Jung-woo stares at a notebook where he’s written his three clues: Park Bong-gu, doorbell, and 16K. He tries to understand what “16K” could mean.
Tae-soo stands in the woods in a hole he’s dug, surrounded by other holes he’s also dug, telling himself, “Lies. It was a lie this time too. It was a lie again. Lies.” Giving in to his anger, Tae-soo beats the bottom of the hole with his shovel, striking something buried.
Using his hands, he pushes away the dirt, revealing a blue suitcase. Crying, he frantically pushes away more dirt until the luggage tag is unearthed. Slowly he turns it over to read the name: Park Jung-woo.
Back in his cell, Jung-woo repeats, “16K,” squeezing his eyes tightly in concentration, and is rewarded when a memory comes to him. He had chased Ha-yeon at home before scooping her into his arms and stepping onto a scale, determining that she weighed 16 kilograms, which he whispered to Ji-soo.
In the present, Tae-soo kneels beside the recovered suitcase to unzip it. Jung-woo grips his notebook, remembering, “16 kilos. Ha-yeon.” Tae-soo opens the suitcase, shouting out, “Ha-yeon,” before closing it.
Laying his head on the suitcase, Tae-soo sobs loudly, calling out, “Ha-yeon!” Jung-woo clutches his chest at the memory of his daughter as he confidently utters, “It was Ha-yeon.”
There was considerable backstory provided this episode, focusing on Joon-hyuk and Min-ho. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that there was something more to Joon-hyuk’s motives than his supposed desire for justice. With Jung-woo suspected of murder, his career advancing appointment to the U.N. fell into Joon-hyuk’s lap, provided that he is willing to help the deputy chief.
Tempted by the appointment, Joon-hyuk scrambled to cover the fact that he was with Ji-soo the night of her murder, during the window established for her time of death. As a result, he tampered with the evidence, removing the CCTV tape and the stuffed Nemo that contained his recorded birthday message for Ha-yeon. Joon-hyuk even volunteered to collect black box evidence to further hide his presence that night. His actions not only removed critical evidence, they deterred Prosecutor Choi and anyone else who is trying to prove Jung-woo innocent.
It’s striking how much Joon-hyuk’s actions towards Jung-woo mirror Min-ho’s treatment of his brother, Sun-ho. Both find themselves living in the shadow of a more favored contemporary, both in personal and professional matters. Jung-woo and Sun-ho get the girls and the accolades, while Joon-hyuk and Min-ho find themselves distant seconds. Suddenly, with their rivals eliminated, Joon-hyuk and Min-ho are all too happy to step into the voids that they have had a hand in creating. They have both committed multiple serious crimes to tip the scales in their favor, so they are forced to make the best of their increasingly complicated situations.
Min-ho can’t quite live up to Sun-ho’s standards, as his failure to complete the fencing match proves. No matter how hard he tries, he just can’t escape his true nature. That scene where Min-ho looks at his reflection while wearing Sun-ho’s fencing uniform was so well done. We see Min-ho’s face reflected in that mirror, but the name on the back of the uniform is Sun-ho’s. In that one scene, the real Min-ho literally wears Sun-ho’s identity. However, Min-ho can’t maintain the illusion, and fainted in the middle of the match. Infuriated, Min-ho cruelly damaged Cha-yung’s hand, blaming the young champion rather than accepting his shortcomings, proving yet again that he is nothing like his brother.
Joon-hyuk can only hope to inherit Jung-woo’s professional accomplishments, since Ji-soo and Ha-yeon are both gone. I don’t exactly understand why Joon-hyuk is so determined that Jung-woo receive the death penalty, unless it’s to point to his success in a high profile case. Certainly, Jung-woo wouldn’t have accepted the U.N. position in the aftermath of Ji-soo’s death and Ha-yeon’s disappearance. Joon-hyuk would most likely have been selected as a replacement without having to resort to breaking the law. Because of his interference, Joon-hyuk has done all that he can to guarantee that Jung-woo dies in prison. In this way, his actions parallel Min-ho’s willingness to kill his brother to avoid punishment.
This episode was titled, “The Present,” and birthday presents certainly play their part in the story. That Nemo is damning for Joon-hyuk. Min-ho signed his real name buying a gift for Eun-soo, exposing him to discovery. I do wonder if the title refers to the present timeline, though. While the past is still largely a mystery, the present timeline is poised to take on a larger role as Jung-woo’s appeal looms. The sins of the past threaten to become known in the present, which can’t happen soon enough.