Defendant: Episode 15
Jung-woo has his hopes set on winning a retrial, but there are always surprises where Min-ho is concerned. There seems to be no limit to what Min-ho will do to protect himself, but Jung-woo isn’t the only one who poses a threat. He doesn’t realize it yet, but there is a challenge to his authority being planned by someone close to him. For now, Min-ho is confident that he can’t be stopped, and he becomes bolder with each passing day.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Prosecutor Choi holds a press conference to answer questions about Jung-woo turning himself in. He can only verify Ha-yeon’s identity and say that the case is under investigation. Meanwhile, Jung-woo sits in an interrogation room, happily recalling his last visit with Ha-yeon.
Stroking Ha-yeon’s face, Jung-woo tried to sing her to sleep, but she only wanted to look at him, stroking his face as well. She then became sad because Ji-soo couldn’t be with them and they both cried softly for her. Ha-yeon comforted Jung-woo, sharing that Sung-kyu explained that he wasn’t the one who hurt her mother.
After hearing how much Ha-yeon misses Sung-kyu, Jung-woo suggested that they visit him together. He explained that they both need courage and that having her by his side made him brave. Ha-yeon hugged Jung-woo tightly, telling him how much she missed him.
Jung-woo smiles at his memory just as Joon-hyuk enters the room. Aware that there are witnesses behind the mirror, he proceeds to question Jung-woo, who explains that he turned himself in to clear his name, because he didn’t kill Ji-soo.
Jung-woo explains that he abandoned his final appeal after he discovered that Ha-yeon was alive. A question comes from one of the many prosecutors behind the mirror, asking why Jung-woo falsely confessed. He finally reveals what happened that night – Ha-yeon was kidnapped and he was ordered to take responsibility for Ji-soo’s murder in order to keep his daughter alive.
Jung-woo admits that he fabricated all of the evidence and then confessed. Asked if he can prove his claim, Jung-woo shares that he has the real knife that was used to stab his wife. The prosecutor behind the mirror asks for the identity of the real killer, but Jung-woo answers that Joon-hyuk already knows who it is.
Joon-hyuk meets with the his superiors, pretending that he doesn’t know why Jung-woo thinks he knows who killed Ji-soo. The head prosecutor criticizes the investigation, prompting the deputy chief, DEPUTY GENERAL JUNG, to defend their handling of the case.
The secretary general calls just then, essentially ending the meeting. The top prosecutor orders Deputy General Jung to investigate the case properly this time. After everyone exits the room, Deputy General Jung cautions Joon-hyuk, “It’s not the end yet.”
Min-ho watches a broadcast about Jung-woo’s surrender, wondering what he will do if he can’t clear his name. Driver Kim enters to return Min-ho to the prosecutor’s office for more questioning. As he leaves, Min-ho recalls his father’s insistence, “Chamyung must never be shaken,” as well as Yeon-hee’s request, “Abandon your father, just like he abandoned you.”
Joon-hyuk returns to see Jung-woo. Turning off the microphone, he asks Jung-woo what he expected him to say regarding the killer’s identity. Jung-woo hoped for the truth. Joon-hyuk states that all of the evidence points to him, plus, he confessed. Telling Joon-hyuk that Ha-yeon misses him, Jung-woo appeals to his friend, telling him that he can still turn things around and that they can return to the way they were before.
As he’s escorted from the interrogation room, Jung-woo encounters Min-ho, who feigns concern for Ha-yeon before asking Jung-woo why he escaped. When Jung-woo answers that he has someone to catch, Min-ho wishes him luck.
Before walking away, Min-ho asks what will happen if he can’t catch that person and then answers his own question: Jung-woo will be separated from Ha-yeon, forced to spend the rest of his life in prison. Jung-woo stares after Min-ho’s retreating figure, promising, “Wait just a little longer.”
Ha-yeon sits with Tae-soo and Eun-hye in a child interrogation room, assuring her uncle that she wants to help her father. Sung-kyu watches television in his hospital room and learns that Jung-woo turned himself in, relieved to see that Ha-yeon is safe.
Sung-kyu remembers that Jung-woo visited him in the hospital before he recovered Ha-yeon. Sung-kyu explained that he was being set up to take the blame for Ji-soo’s murder unless he blamed Jung-woo for his stabbing. In spite of his protests, Jung-woo urged Sung-kyu to do as he was ordered, asking him to take care of himself. In the present, Sung-kyu apologizes for having to blame his friend.
Joon-hyuk hesitates outside of Prosecutor Choi’s office door, but is called away by Min-ho before he can enter. They meet on the roof, Min-ho hardly bothered by the turn of events. Joon-hyuk tries to end his involvement and walk away from Min-ho.
Min-ho pulls out a pen-recorder that caught Joon-hyuk’s promise to find and destroy the knife that killed Ji-soo, warning him that there is no going back. Min-ho promises to get rid of the knife evidence so that they can proceed as if nothing happened.
Eun-hye shows Tae-soo the envelope that contains Jung-woo’s retrial request. She admits that Jung-woo prepared everything, but she will submit the request as his attorney. Tae-soo expresses his thanks for Eun-hye believing in Jung-woo when no one else would, but Eun-hye asks that he hold that thanks until after the retrial.
Chairman Cha watches a news report about Jung-woo’s expected retrial and a pending audit of Woljung Prison, a result of the escapes. Investigator Go also watches news about Jung-woo’s case while a nurse comments that he’s looking better.
As the warden worries about the upcoming audit, Mong-chi returns to Woljung prison. The warden speculates that Tae-soo may have helped Jung-woo, but Sang-tae covers for him, continuing to hide that the escapees went out through the guard tower while he was on duty.
The warden gets a call and orders Mong-chi sent to his office. As Mong-chi changes into his prison uniform, the warden orders him to say that he never left the prison. The warden asks Mong-chi how they escaped, but after a warning look from Sang-tae, he focuses on how they used the warden’s office, which is the last thing the warden wants to hear.
With a somber face, Mong-chi enters his cell and is met with questions from the remaining cellmates. They think that he didn’t get his money, but he finally smiles when he announces that he’ll receive $1.37 million. The cellmates jump in happiness, Mong-chi finally able to celebrate his win.
Rockfish pampers Mong-chi and negotiates a $10,000 payout. Mong-chi promises to keep Gangster Hyung and Mil-yang supplied with charcoal. Gangster Hyung is surprised to hear that he will leave the prison in three days, but Mong-chi explains that the warden doesn’t want the auditors to know that he escaped.
Mil-yang asks for an update on the other two escapees. Everyone heard that Jung-woo found his daughter and is requesting a retrial, but they wonder about Chul-shik. He’s pulled over on the side of a road, lamenting his situation as he downs some ramen, admitting that he misses Rockfish. But then, something catches Chul-shik’s eye as he sits in his car.
In a cell, Jung-woo recalls Eun-hye informing him that the retrial request was submitted. Memories of his time in prison and his desperate escape to reunite with Ha-yeon come to him. He remembers Ji-soo happily celebrating Ha-yeon’s birthday and grieves alone.
A voice calls his name, and Jung-woo looks up at Joon-hyuk, who heard about the retrial request. Learning that Joon-hyuk will be handling the case, Jung-woo asks what that will mean.
Min-ho comes home and learns that Eun-soo was in a playground fight, prompting encouragement from his father to get along with his friends. Yeon-hee notes that Min-ho’s questioning will continue the next day, asking if he thought about her advice to abandon his father, calling it the only way to save himself.
As Min-ho sits in his office, Joon-hyuk calls to inform him that there will be a hearing soon to consider Jung-woo’s retrial. Min-ho still hasn’t found the knife, and Joon-hyuk warns him that it will be made public at the hearing.
Back in prison garb, Jung-woo meets with Eun-hye before his hearing, anxious for an update on Ha-yeon, who is being cared for by Mother Oh and Tae-soo. She presents him with a sweet video from Ha-yeon, asking her dad to come home soon. Eun-hye then asks about Prosecutor Choi.
Prosecutor Choi walks up the courthouse steps, remembering when Jung-woo entrusted him with the knife that Min-ho used to stab Ji-soo, explaining how he cut his hand when he stabbed her, leaving behind his own blood. Before the hearing, he delivers the knife to Eun-hye in the courtroom.
During Jung-woo’s hearing, Joon-hyuk looks worried when Eun-hye submits the knife as new evidence. As the prosecutor’s office prepares to submit it for immediate analysis, Prosecutor Choi asks if he can help transfer the evidence. As he escorts the knife from the courthouse, Joon-hyuk makes a call.
Prosecutor Choi drives the investigator with the evidence while Seok follows them in the dump truck of doom. He gets his orders over the phone about how to proceed and steps on the gas. As his truck closes in on Prosecutor Choi’s car, another truck maneuvers itself in between them, the driver declaring, “I’m Optimus Shin Chul-shik!”
As Chul-shik blocks Seok’s truck, he remembers meeting with Jung-woo the night before he turned himself in. Jung-woo was confident that the knife would clear him, but Chul-shik was worried about Seok, thinking him the one responsible for killing his boss.
Chul-shik enjoys getting the best of Seok, managing to keep his dump truck from getting near Prosecutor Choi’s car. Seok fails his mission and has to call Min-ho with the bad news. After the knife is safely delivered to the NFS facility, Joon-hyuk runs into the building, stopping when he sees Prosecutor Choi sitting outside the lab. The doctor tries to dismiss Prosecutor Choi, but he insists on waiting for the results.
Min-ho fumes in his office after Joon-hyuk updates him about the knife. He smashes Sun-ho’s nameplate to the floor in frustration and then remembers how his fingerprint evidence was covered up, realizing that his father was behind it.
Entering his father’s office, Min-ho kneels before him, pleading, “Father, save me.” He knows his father is aware of his real identity because he switched the fingerprint report after Sun-ho died. Min-ho begs his father to save him one more time, promising to take the blame for the slush fund in return.
Min-ho admits to his father that his blood is on that knife and the results will be ready soon, using concern for his mother to convince him. Chairman Cha yells at Min-ho, finally using his real name, as his son begs for help. Min-ho then walks out of his father’s office, a satisfied smile spreading across his face.
Sung-kyu leaves the hospital, sitting alone on the steps to think. A doctor gives Prosecutor Choi the test results on the knife while Jung-woo waits in an interrogation room. Joon-hyuk walks in with the results, informing Jung-woo that he won’t be getting a retrial. Jung-woo reads the test results, jumps over the table, and pins Joon-hyuk to the wall, demanding, “What did you do?”
Joon-hyuk claims that he did nothing, informing Jun-woo that Prosecutor Choi waited for the results himself. Jung-woo declares the report impossible, demanding, “Kang Joon-hyuk, you call yourself a friend?” Officers pull Jung-woo away from Joon-hyuk, who orders him taken away.
Eun-hye meets with Jung-woo, who suggests having the knife tested elsewhere, but Prosecutor Choi is already working on that. She cautions him that they may not get the results they were hoping for.
Min-ho sits in his office, laughing to himself, “I won this time, too, Prosecutor Park Jung-woo.” Marveling that there’s nothing his father can’t do, he wonders why he hasn’t stopped the prosecutor’s investigation into the slush fund.
Prosecutor Choi visits Jung-woo at the jail, apologizing for being too lax with the evidence. Jung-woo tries to fight through his disappointment, telling himself, “There will be a way.”
Sung-kyu enjoys a lunch that reminds him of Ha-yeon, while a television broadcasts an update on Jung-woo’s case, outlining the difficulty in winning a retrial.
After being contacted by Chamyung, the prosecutor has prepared a statement for Min-ho, assigning all responsibility for the slush fund to him. Min-ho denies agreeing to sign the statement, directing the prosecutor to check with Chamyung again.
Chairman Cha meets with his wife and apologizes, telling her that it looks as if they will lose both of their sons. He suffers a chest pain just as he gets a call informing him of Min-ho’s change of heart.
Min-ho visits his brother’s memorial, admitting that it isn’t easy to live as Sun-ho. Confessing that Chairman Cha doesn’t treat him like Sun-ho and wants to get rid of him, Min-ho decides to abandon his father.
Yeon-hee is waiting when a very drunk Min-ho comes home. He tells her that she must live as his wife from now on, asking how much longer he must wait. As she turns to walks away, Min-ho admits that he’s taking her advice and abandoning his father, and he asks Yeon-hee what he needs to do.
Jung-woo sits in his cell and goes over his conversation with Prosecutor Choi. Jung-woo’s confession, plus the perfect evidence that he fabricated, makes a retrial unlikely and possible only if the knife hasn’t been tampered with. Jung-woo strengthens himself with thoughts of Ha-yeon.
As Jung-woo prepares for another hearing, Eun-hye informs him that the test results on the knife were the same. That day’s hearing will only deal with Ha-yeon, but Eun-hye vows to look into other ways to win a retrial. But then she gets a call and informs Jung-woo that Sung-kyu turned himself in.
Under questioning, Sung-kyu reverses his claim that Jung-woo stabbed him. The investigator confirms that Sung-kyu was a suspect in the Wolha-dong murder, concluding that he stabbed Ji-soo and kidnapped Ha-yeon. Sung-kyu admits that he took Ha-yeon, but claims that someone else stabbed Ji-soo. The investigator asks Sung-kyu to name his accomplice.
Yeon-hee presents Min-ho with documents on the slush fund which prove his father’s involvement. She doesn’t answer when asked how she got the information, but Min-ho thanks her anyway. Just then, he takes a call that clearly disturbs him, but Min-ho pretends that it’s nothing.
Prosecutor Choi hosts another press conference, detailing that Sung-kyu confessed his part in the Wolha-dong incident and identified his accomplice as CEO Cha Sun-ho of Chamyung Group. Reporters question Min-ho as he walks to his car, but he depicts Sung-kyu as resentful over the death of his sister after surgery provided by the Chamyung Foundation.
Jung-woo asks Prosecutor Choi for a meeting with Sung-kyu, and his request is granted. The two men argue over the best way to catch Min-ho, but Sung-kyu insists that Jung-woo must be released to be successful, and he believes that turning himself in is the best way to accomplish that.
Sung-kyu asks Jung-woo go along with his plan, which will return him to Ha-yeon’s side. Prosecutor Choi returns for Jung-woo, telling him that they must leave right away. Jung-woo tells Sung-kyu that he’ll look for another way, but is told that this is the only way.
Sung-kyu shares his story with an investigator: Min-ho (as Sun-ho) obtained the apartment across from Jung-woo and had him move into it to avoid being caught on CCTV. He confesses to taking Ha-yeon to his apartment, as ordered, and thinks that another of Min-ho’s accomplices killed Ji-soo. Joon-hyuk watches the confession from behind the mirror as Sung-kyu claims that he can prove his story.
Joon-hyuk calls Min-ho, giving him details about Sung-kyu’s confession, even sharing that he has proof. Min-ho wonders what evidence Sung-kyu can be hiding and calls Seok about the newest development.
Joon-hyuk listens to a recording of Jung-woo’s conversation with Ha-yeon, including Sung-kyu’s order that he confess to save her. He then watches CCTV footage of Sung-kyu leaving the apartment building while carrying Ha-yeon. Joon-hyuk calls Min-ho, telling him that he needs more evidence to prove that Sung-kyu acted alone. Min-ho assures him that everything will be resolved by the next morning.
With Sung-kyu in the adjoining cell, Jung-woo promises to find another way to catch Min-ho. Sung-kyu admits that he shouldn’t have helped Min-ho, but he needed money for his sister’s surgery, sharing that Ha-yeon reminds him of her.
Sung-kyu confesses how hard it was when he was on the run with Ha-yeon, admitting, “But now, I feel at peace.” Jung-woo doesn’t want him assuming the blame for everything for his sake, but Sung-kyu tells him that he trusts him.
Sung-kyu asks Jung-woo, “When this is all over, let me see Ha-yeon just one more time.” He pleads with Jung-woo to be sure to get out, “No matter what.”
That night, the guard is called away and the CCTV camera stops blinking. Someone enters from another gate, wearing a jacket with a prosecution patch. Sung-kyu is sleeping when the intruder unlocks his cell and enters.
Sung-kyu opens his eyes just as a cloth is placed over his mouth. He struggles with the intruder, who turns out to be Seok, before going still. Seok stands and stretches a length of rope between his hands before moving towards Sung-kyu. Noooooo!!
An ambulance is sent to the jail and the commotion wakes up Jung-woo, who’s told that an inmate committed suicide. Jung-woo frantically calls for Sung-kyu as a body is removed from the adjoining cell. As the gurney passes by, an arm clothed in Sung-kyu’s jacket falls from under the sheet. Jung-woo calls out for Sung-kyu as the body is taken away.
I think my heart just broke into a million pieces. I had a sense of foreboding during Sung-kyu’s final conversation with Jung-woo, especially when he said that he felt at peace. You could just hear the weariness in his voice. That was a tough goodbye to get through, and it was one of the most moving scenes thus far. For such a young man, Sung-kyu suffered through so many trials and he was so tired that he was ready to return to prison and pay for his crimes so that Jung-woo could go free and return to Ha-yeon. I was hoping that Jung-woo would help him to get a fair trial and that he could look forward to a new life after his sentence. Sung-kyu deserved so much better than a final encounter with Seok, and I don’t think that there’s any hope that he survived Seok’s attack.
It was apparent how much Sung-kyu meant to Ha-yeon, and how much she meant to him. He managed to keep her alive, his way of making up for the part that he played in Ji-soo’s murder, but Sung-kyu really loved Ha-yeon and wanted to see her happy with her father by her side. There is something about the love of a child that inspires an adult to want to be worthy of that love, and Sung-kyu certainly wanted to be a better man for Ha-yeon’s sake. He was willing to see clearly what Jung-woo could not, or would not: that a retrial was unlikely. Sung-kyu put himself on the line so that Jung-woo could go free and be better able to catch Min-ho once he was out of prison. In the end, Sung-kyu was courageous, contrasting sharply with Joon-hyuk’s cowardly moves. Joon-hyuk responds to Min-ho’s threats by becoming an accomplice, complicit in every crime that he commits, even the murder of Sung-kyu. Joon-hyuk will never know peace again, nor should he.
Sung-kyu’s confession should result in Jung-woo’s immediate release, and suddenly the knife and a retrial are no longer in play. This drama still manages to surprise, even as it approaches its conclusion. As hard as Jung-woo has worked to expose Min-ho’s true identity, it wouldn’t surprise me if the truth actually comes from Chairman Cha or Yeon-hee. Min-ho is about to betray his father after he saved him from the results of the knife’s blood analysis. If Chairman Cha withdraws his help, what will happen to Min-ho? Yeon-hee is also working to topple Chamyung, and is sure to take Min-ho down in the process. The ground is slipping out from under Min-ho, he just doesn’t realize it yet. In the meantime, he continues to kill the people who threaten his new life as Sun-ho.
While Chul-shik was successful in saving Prosecutor Choi, as alter ego Optimus SHin Chul-shik, no one could anticipate that someone would break into a jail to commit murder disguised as suicide. If I have one criticism, it’s that Jung-woo refused to listen to Sung-kyu’s reasoning, insisting that there was another way to catch Min-ho that would spare his friend. He could have accepted his plan and worked to help Sung-kyu from outside of prison, where he would have the freedom to pursue Min-ho for his many crimes. By refusing to accept Sung-kyu’s plan, Jung-woo wasn’t able to develop a strategy that would keep his friend safe from Min-ho’s attacks. Now that Sung-kyu is gone, Jung-woo needs to make sure that his friend’s life wasn’t lost in vain.
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