Voice: Episode 9
We finally learn a little more about Hyun-ho and his background, although the truth of it may surprise you — or at least it will surprise the rest of the Golden Time Team. It just goes to show that nothing can be taken for granted and everyone is worthy of suspicion until proven innocent. On the other hand, this is probably the least violent and gory episode yet. Has OCN taken heed of their controversial censorship review, or is this just the calm before the storm?
Hyun-ho shows Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk the information he’s gathered on the killer. He’s researched the Bible verse that was on the wall and determined that the killer considers himself to be an executioner, like God who punished those in the corrupt city of Sodom.
These are the words of a crazy person, and Hyun-ho further elaborates that the mirror placed in front of Chun-ok’s crucified body was a hint that his next victim would be whomever looks into it — in this case, Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk.
Tae-gu soaks in his bath and languidly answers the phone when his father calls. He explains that the reason he didn’t answer the phone earlier was because he was asleep. After his bath, he stops and intently stares at the TV when he sees a news report about the Golden Time Team’s recent successes. Are those bloody locks of hair Tae-gu has just lying around in plastic baggies? The blurry censoring makes it unclear, but there’s definitely something disturbing he’s keeping on his desk.
Tae-Fu’s father CEO Mo is also listening to the news report, which names Sang-tae as the culprit. CEO Mo orders his driver to find Sang-tae and then tell Commissioner Bae that they need to meet.
Hyun-ho returns to the call center, where Eun-soo asks why Kwon-joo wanted more information that the Violent Crimes Unit wouldn’t have. Hyun-ho doesn’t know for sure, and he sighs that he could find out so much more if he could use social media. Eun-soo thinks it’s dangerous to post too much personal information online, but Hyun-ho loves the freedom and communication that comes from it.
He also loves abbreviations, and rattles off a bunch of examples that he uses. He then reminds her to stop by and watching him DJ later. As he’s packing up his belongings, Eun-soo spots a bottle of pills in his bag.
Kwon-joo returns to the quiet sanctuary of her apartment, but there’s no chance to rest when there’s a killer chasing after them just like they are chasing after him.
In the morning, she meets with Young-woon where she tries to gently tell him that he won’t be able to see his sister for a while. But his childlike mind refuses to comprehend because his sister promised she’d come back for him. As he starts to scream for Chun-ok, the other cops try to hold him down, but it’s Kwon-joo with a bottle of Chun-ok’s homemade rice drink that manages to soothe him.
But of course the poor man doesn’t understand the full truth of the situation, and Kwon-joo feels the weight of Chun-ok’s death on her shoulders. She vows to arrest the killer, no matter what it takes.
Later, Hyun-ho and Eun-soo leave the station together after their shift. Or, rather, Hyun-ho follows her out, offering her a ride. She declines, since she has to go help her grandmother at the restaurant.
Hyun-ho is distracted by a cute puppy, and Eun-soo pragmatically informs him that the dog was likely abandoned, and places that have a higher rate of abandoned dogs also have a higher rate of crime. Well, it certainly would describe this neighborhood. But Hyun-ho, a giant puppy himself, happily takes selfies with the dog, knowing his social media followers will like it.
Jin-hyuk stays late at the station, pouring over all the files he can find about Chun-ok’s case. His son calls him, sad that his father won’t be able to visit him tonight. Jin-hyuk promises that he’ll be there tomorrow, and cutely cheers his son on over the phone as he takes his medicine. Then it’s back to studying the file on Sung-tae. Since he doesn’t think Sung-tae is the killer, he wonders why Sung-tae confessed to killing his wife.
Commissioner Bae meets with CEO Mo, who tells him to take care of the Bok-soon/Chun-ok case as soon as possible. Commissioner Bae politely says that he would like to, but there are complications — such as the forensics guys finding Sang-tae’s fingerprints. CEO Mo sighs that Sang-tae is just as cruel his father, whom the CEO owes a debt. Which means he can’t have Sang-tae end up in jail and instead will make plans to send him away to Japan.
CEO Mo’s leaves him with a reminder that he’s the one with the power who calls the shots, which is something Commissioner Bae ought to keep in mind when he starts to think he’s on the side of justice.
The weary Violent Crimes detectives stagger into the station the next morning, complaining about how little they were able to sleep that night. Jin-hyuk appears to have gotten some sleep, although it was done at his desk, where he’s spent all night researching the files.
Dae-shik pulls him aside to let him know that he’s still keeping an eye on Chief Jang, and overheard a phone call where the chief was telling someone about Jin-hyuk catching onto something, and that he doesn’t know what he’ll do if Jin-hyuk finds out about Fantasia, the elite hostess club.
In a deserted restaurant at the docks, Sang-tae meets with CEO Mo who tells him that he’ll send Sang-tae overseas to run one of their paper companies (that is, a company on paper only). Sang-tae doesn’t seem all that willing to leave, but CEO Mo reminds him that it’s his fault that they’re in this mess.
He gives Sang-tae two days to take care of business before leaving the country, and then hands over a suitcase filled with money and a passport. Sang-tae says that he’ll disappear on one condition — he kills Jin-hyuk before he goes. He’s hired a hitman to go to Jin-yuk’s son’s hospital room. CEO Mo thinks he’s crazy for attacking his enemy’s son, knowing it will only end badly for him. But Sang-tae, crazy or not, has nothing left to lose.
At the station, Kwon-joo studies her report on possible weapons the killer used, recalling Kyung-il’s description of an iron ball with a handle on it and wondering where the killer would have found such an item. What, they don’t have Crossfit in Korea?
In the call center, Eun-soo is annoyed that she keeps getting calls from a pervert. One of her gossipy coworkers stops to talk with her, pointing out that it seems so quiet in the call center since chatty Hyun-ho isn’t there today. Just then, another coworker reveals that an anonymous note was left on the department’s electronic forum.
It’s about Hyun-ho, and it declares that when he lived in the States as a teenager, Hyun-ho was involved in a gang and bullied other students, even causing one to commit suicide after Hyun-ho hacked his account. According to the note, Hyun-ho was also addicted to drugs.
That reminds Eun-soo of the pills she saw in Hyun-ho’s bag, and she looks up the drug Scopolamine. The primary use is for helping with motion sickness, but one of the more popular side effects is that it’s an hallucinogen.
Hyun-ho arrives at the club where he’s DJing. It’s a trendy club that he was only able to book a gig due to a last-minute substitution. He’s adorably excited to introduce himself to the famous DJ there, but as he’s hurrying into the club, he gets a message on social media from one of his fans telling him that he looks great — his fingers are so pretty, she wants to hang them on her wall. Er, creepy much?
He tries to introduce himself to the famous DJ, but a fangirl barges into the dressing room instead and cutely requests an autograph from her. Hyun-ho finally has his chance to introduce himself as DJ Black, letting her know that he’s also her fan and excited to share the stage with her tonight. She just dismisses him, annoyed that any no-name DJ is being invited to play at the club.
As the manager leads her away, he points out the coffee on the table that has Hyun-ho’s name on it. He takes a sip, managing to spill some of it down his shirt. But when he goes to bathroom to tidy up, he realizes that he’s not just unsteady because of his nerves — there was something in that drink. As he staggers to get his bearings, a woman steps into the bathroom.
The club is going full swing when it’s time for “DJ Black” to take the stage, but as he sways his way to the center of the room, he pulls out a knife and swings wildly until the party goers give him a wide berth. He takes one of the women hostage as he brandishes his knife. The manager of the club calls the emergency center letting them know that they’ve got a hostage situation, and that the DJ looks like he must be on drugs.
The call center gets multiple reports from the club goers about what’s going on, and they even get a copy of video that shows Hyun-ho stumbling around with his hostage and knife at the ready. The rest of the call center is shocked that it’s Hyun-ho, but Eun-soo tells Kwon-joo that she knows Hyun-ho was going to be DJing at the club that night.
Kwon-joo declares it “code zero” as she starts the Golden Time clock, dispatching Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik. Jin-hyuk can’t believe that Hyun-ho is at the middle of this, but Kwon-joo tells them about the anonymous posting and the other evidence they have. The detectives head out, and Kwon-joo warns them that it might just be a misunderstanding so Jin-hyuk should try and talk to him first.
Eun-soo reports her findings about the pills she saw in Hyun-ho’s bag, as well as a report she got just now by calling the cops in America. It states that a high schooler committed suicide and that a “Michael Oh” was considered to be a person of interest. Kwon-joo thanks her for her information, but warns her not to jump to any conclusions just yet.
She passes this information on to Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik, who wonder how Hyun-ho could have become a police officer with that on his record. Apparently he’s the son of someone with a lot of money and connections, so his record was wiped clean.
They finally arrive at the club, where Hyun-ho threatens the club goers not to move or else he’ll kill the girl he’s holding hostage. Dae-shik pulls out his gun and aims it Hyun-ho, ordering him to drop the knife or else. Jin-hyuk attempts to reason with him, but it doesn’t work. Hyun-ho yells at them to leave him alone, telling them repeatedly that the knife is a “high color laser.”
As she listens in, Kwon-joo tells them shat she knows Hyun-ho must be drugged because of the way he’s stumbling around, but Jin-hyuk tells there that it’s obvious he’s drugged just by looking at him. Ha.
Hyun-ho continues to babble about his “high color laser” and that he’s giving them a clue and if they don’t do anything, this place will turn into a sea of fire. Jin-hyuk’s understandably bewildered, but he reports back about the “high color laser.” When Eun-soo searches for it, all she can find are laser jet color printers. Remembering Hyun-ho’s love of acronyms, she wonders if “high color laser” is his way of saying HCL, or hydrochloric acid.
While he tries to get more information out of Hyun-ho, Jin-hyuk orders Dae-shik to look for someone that might have threatened Hyun-ho. Glancing around, Jin-hyuk notices a few bottles of HCL perched near the ceiling. He tries to tell Hyun-ho where they are without tipping off whomever threatened Hyun-ho by saying he knows that it’s hard working “under” Kwon-joo, cluing them in that there’s a bottle of HCL just above Hyun-ho.
Dae-shik finds someone hiding behind the bar with a controller, presumably to make the HCL bottles fall from the ceiling. Jin-hyuk tells Hyun-ho that on the count of “three” he should drop the knife and they’ll go, but it’s also to let Dae-shik know to get the person hiding behind the bar. Except that person hits the button before Jin-hyuk reaches “three” and the bottles slowly teeter towards the edge, and Jin-hyuk barely saves Hyun-ho from an acid attack.
The detectives then race after the woman who had the controller, and Dae-shik grumbles that this woman is ridiculously fast. Jin-hyuk manages to cut her off via an alleyway and trip her, sending her to the ground. But as he’s arresting her and reading her rights, he stops short when he realizes that the woman is actually a man. That doesn’t mean they still won’t arrest him (or her) as their prime suspect in the acid attack, fifteen minutes after the first call came in.
As the police cars arrive at the station to the horde of reporters waiting outside, Kwon-joo watches and listens as Hyun-ho insists it wasn’t him, but the cross-dressing man politely apologizes to everyone.
Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk get Hyun-ho’s statement, where he insists that this was the work of one of his social media stalkers, who he only knows by her screen name “Love8080.”
He reveals that when he was struggling to pull himself together in the bathroom, the cross-dressing man appeared with a knife, telling him that Love8080 sent him and that if he doesn’t do what Love8080 tells him, she’ll release the HCL. Oh, and she was the one who drugged his drink, but she won’t kill him if he does as she’s told.
Hyun-ho is convinced, based on all the pop culture references on her social media accounts, that it must be a woman in her 40’s. He doesn’t know what she looks like though because she only sends him photos with her face covered by a parasol. When Jin-hyuk asks why a computer genius hacker like Hyun-ho hasn’t bothered hunting down Love8080’s IP address, Hyun-ho reminds him that it’s illegal unless he’s doing it for police business. Ha! Besides, he’s sure she’s masking her IP address, anyway.
He also explains that he was never part of a gang in high school, in fact, he was terrified of the “Black” gang, and the only reason he calls himself DJ Black is because it sounds cool. A boy at his school did die — but in a car accident, and Michael Oh was questioned about it, but he’s not Michael Oh. He pleads with them to catch Love8080 before she drives him totally crazy.
Dae-shik is interrogating their cross-dressing culprit Yang Ho-shik, or “Surprise” as he’s known online. Jin-hyuk is convinced that he must also be Love8080, but Ho-shik insists that he only did what Love8080 told him to — he has the chat records to prove it. They met on a “revenge exchange” site, where you can read about other people’s stories of revenge. He admits that he was happy to befriend her because the photo she sent — with her face covered by a parasol — made her look pretty.
Their friendship was further cemented when they agreed to exchange revenge requests. He needed someone to punish his boss for not giving him the back pay he was owed, and Love8080 wanted to seek revenge on an old lover. Ho-shik never met Love8080 in person — he just found the costume and props waiting for him at a meeting place. He was told that the HCL was water that he was supposed to pretend was acid.
He’s convinced that Love8080 only ended up using him because, as an electrician working at the club, he had access to the ceiling. Dae-shik tells Jin-hyuk that they’ve looked into the IP addresses on the revenge web site, and Ho-shik and Love8080’s IP addresses are different. Even though everything seems on the up-and-up about Ho-shik, he orders Dae-shik to continue to watch the suspect after he’s released.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Bae yells at Kwon-joo for making a fool of the police department. He’s considering dismantling the Golden Time Team. After all, they’ve gotten their own team members into dangerous trouble multiple times. He’s handing off Bok-soon/Chun-ok’s case to the Violent Crimes team, and if he hears Kwon-joo is still investigating, he’ll have her fired. She’s just intrigued by the realization that Commissioner Bae is getting more nervous the closer they get to the real criminal.
The Cyber Crimes Unit reveal that Love8080 is a screen name for a forty-three-year-old woman Kang Mi-sook, who’s previously had lots of warnings against her from younger men. They also have proof that she recently purchased a large amount of acid. The only odd thing is that the IP address they traced her account to belongs to a PC room.
Dressed in borrowed clothes, Ho-shik politely thanks the cops for everything they’ve done, as well as repeatedly apologizing. But just as he’s about to leave, an odd smile flashes across his face. He finds Hyun-ho in a nearby interrogation room, and shyly enters, yet again apologizing. Hyun-ho tells him it wasn’t his fault — after all, he was persuaded by a psycho.
Ho-shik’s smile falters for a moment, then returns as bright as ever as he tells Hyun-ho that he’s so handsome. But Hyun-ho is more relieved that the police are finally tracking down the woman that’s been a thorn in his side for so long. He continues to rant about how disturbing it is to have someone cyber stalk him like that, adding that he can’t wait until she’s locked up.
Ho-shik points out that she only did it because she likes Hyun-ho, but Hyun-ho recoils at the thought. If she really liked him, why would she make his life a living hell?
Eun-soo arrives just then to talk to Hyun-ho in private, and after Hyun-ho explains that they can’t talk about police cases in front of civilians, Ho-shik hurries to leave the room. But the piercing glare he gives Eun-soo makes me shiver, and he lingers outside to eavesdrop on their conversation.
Eun-soo wants to know if Hyun-ho believes that Kang Mi-sook is really the woman behind Love8080. She believes that Love8080 is suffering from erotomania, which is a delusional disorder centered around the belief that someone famous or of a higher status is in love with the person suffering from the disorder. Eun-soo finds it suspect that Mi-sook seems to be unrelated to the usual afflictions of someone suffering from this disorder, and decides to look into past cases involving acid attacks.
She leaves a laptop with Hyun-ho (along with the all-important Subway sandwich), and he delightedly starts to look into the IP address mystery himself. Meanwhile, Eun-soo looks around in the archives, but is surprised when she finds an empty evidence box.
Kwon-joo also reflects on the odd way that Ho-shik’s inflection changed when he entered the building. It sounded more like someone saying “sorry” in a prideful way, as though being complimented. Meanwhile, Hyun-ho manages to hack into Love8080’s documents, and discovers that the IP address isn’t the PC room, but an electrician’s repair shop. He tries to remember where he’s seen that name before, and pulls out the business card Ho-shik had handed him.
He desperately tells Kwon-joo that Mi-sook isn’t the one who threatened him, but it was Ho-shik all along. He’s now concerned for Eun-soo, since he remembers the way Ho-shik looked at her. Except Eun-soo isn’t answering her phone, and Hyun-ho runs out of the room to find her just as Kwon-joo orders Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik to return to the station. Eun-soo is in danger!
Ahhhhh, is no one on the Golden Time Team safe? They’re either suspected killers or about to be killed themselves. Even if Commissioner Bae wasn’t a crooked cop out to protect only himself, I could see why he’d be considering shutting down the Golden Time Team — if only for their own safety.
I am relieved that Hyun-ho truly seems like the adorable puppy he’s always been. Maybe he should learn to keep more things to himself instead of being a constant chatterbox, but I’ve never thought of him as particularly evil, so it was hard to embrace the idea that he’d suddenly hold an entire club hostage for no reason. I also thought it was kind of awkward to suddenly let us know how much he loves acronyms and then to create a strange “acronym” for HCL. I get what they were trying to do, but it just seemed a little forced. However, it was refreshing to have a case that didn’t rely on Kwon-joo’s super-hearing. Anything she could hear was also obvious to everyone else through different means, so while her unique skill is useful, it’s nice to know that the team can solve the mysteries through standard detective work.
Also, if you’re going to have a plot about a creepy stalker-fan, I suppose it only makes sense to give it to the idol actor in the show. I’m sure Yesung has seen his share of sasaengs, those stalker fans that know no boundaries — whatever it takes to get them closer to their oppa. It makes me wonder if his outraged words about how someone could say they like him even as they terrorize him are ones he’s wanted to say to certain “fans” in real life.
At any rate, the cyber stalker acid attack is a good enough case that I did make me pretty much forget about the Kettlebell Killer for a moment, which is also a relief because I’ve been unsure how the show was going to handle the reveal now that there’s still nearly half the show to go. I won’t have too many complaints if the show just keeps dragging it out, bit by bit, each episode while continuing to focus on other cases. After all, the call center never stops taking calls, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to tease the purpose of the original killings each week while focusing on other cases until the final resolution.
Although, if the drama is going to do that, then I have to insist that should they show Kim Jae-wook in a bathtub again, they’d better give me some actual abs or something. Why be so cruel to tease me like that and then not show the goods? Oooooh, but does that make me into a creepy sasaeng if I insist on more brooding baths? Am I no better than Love8080, suffering under delusions of erotomania? Well, at least I haven’t threatened anyone with acid. Yet.