Suspicious Partner: Episodes 11-12
This episode proves that getting the answers you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily solve the mystery, and those same answers can often make the truth even harder to ferret out. Bong-hee finds herself at odds wth Ji-wook as she defends her first murder case, but Ji-wook’s instincts from his many years as a prosecutor are telling him that something isn’t adding up. Their first case together may end up being their last if they can’t find a way to work together.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
When Ji-wook comes home after his and Eun-hyuk’s losing fight against the students, Bong-hee corners him to doctor up his injuries. She watches over him after he falls asleep, enjoying the chance to admire him all she wants.
Some time later, Ji-wook wakes to find that Bong-hee has nodded off, and it’s his turn to settle in for a good long look. When Bong-hee’s head starts to topple off her hand, Ji-wook reaches out reflexively to catch her face in his palm.
He’s mesmerized as Bong-hee nestles her face into his hand and smiles in her sleep. He narrates that this is a beginning, the first step of a circumstance or an emotion.
It’s a sweet moment, but Ji-wook then faces the problem of what to do when his arm starts to get tired. He tries to readjust his position, but at the exact moment that he’s holding Bong-hee’s face in both hands, she wakes up.
Ji-wook drops his hands and tells Bong-hee not to get the wrong idea. She teases him, asking him to clarify what he’s telling her not to do while enjoying his inability to think of a response. When he realizes she’s pulling his leg, he pulls rank, reminding her that he’s her boss. Bong-hee apologizes for her misbehavior, but when Ji-wook heads to his room, she impishly tells him to lock his door or she might accidentally come in, earning herself a withering look. HA.
Ji-wook calls his new employees together for their first official meeting. CEO Byun opens the meeting by asking if they’re going to fire Bong-hee. Chief Bang (though he’s not a section chief anymore, we’ll continue to ceremoniously call him Chief Bang) says that they need a secretary, to which CEO Byun says they already have one in Bong-hee. Uh-oh.
Bong-hee informs him that she’s a licensed attorney, but CEO Byun argues that she should also perform secretarial duties, since her reputation will bring the new firm down. Laughing his awkward laugh, Eun-hyuk says he’ll bring in plenty of profit and requests to be made partner. Ji-wook’s “Don’t push your luck” glare is hysterical.
CEO Byun wants to talk about Ji-wook and Eun-hyuk’s battle wounds, so they tell him about their fight. CEO Byun has to one-up them, saying that he once fought thirty-seven guys all by himself, and when Bong-hee scoffs, he launches into a long, embellished story. Ji-wook finally explodes, screaming for them to get to work.
Later, CEO Byun joins Ji-wook in the kitchen to ask about his relationship with Bong-hee. He’d seen her exiting the guest bedroom and asks if they’re living together, but Ji-wook says he’s just helping her out. CEO Byun doesn’t believe him for one second.
Bong-hee runs into Eun-hyuk outside, where he guesses that she knows what happened between him and Ji-wook. Bong-hee says that she does, having put the clues together.
They sit at a covered table, where Eun-hyuk tells Bong-hee that thanks to her, Ji-wook called him for the first time in years (to take her murder case). He asks her not to hate him too much, and she admits that she can’t stand cheaters.
Eun-hyuk keeps laughing that odd, forced laugh of his, so Bong-hee asks why he’s always so happy and smiling. Eun-hyuk says that he wouldn’t be able to be around Ji-wook if he didn’t laugh, leaving the “or else I would have to cry” part unsaid.
Above them on the balcony, Ji-wook watches them, talking and laughing easily now. Chief Bang joins him, mischievously noting that they seem awfully close and asking if Ji-wook is jealous. Ji-wook denies it a bit too much, wondering what’s wrong with everyone today. He can say he’s not jealous all day long, but after Chief Bang leaves, Ji-wook turns the hose on Eun-hyuk. PWAHAHA.
Bong-hee’s mom shows up for her first day of work at the pizza place, still unaware that her new boss is the massage client she fought with at her old salon. She reflexively curses when she sees Ji-wook’s mother smirking at her, then pretends not to have a clue who she is.
Ji-wook’s mom mocks Bong-hee’s mom, then informs her that she’s out for revenge. Bong-hee’s mom nearly quits on the spot, but she remembers that she needs this job and sucks it up with the thinnest veneer of dignity. They trade barbs, neither willing to back down.
A flashback shows Chan-ho holding a large knife as he stands over the murdered celebrity chef’s bloody corpse. We hear Bong-hee asking him why someone would murder another person, and Chan-ho’s answer that each killer has their own reasons.
At the house, Chan-ho picks up a television remote and turns on the TV, then sits down comfortably. As he watches the TV, he mutters to himself, “A woman’s revenge. A reasonable punishment.”
Later, a woman comes home and finds the body, and she lets out a bloodcurdling scream. She starts to call the police, but something makes her stop. She grabs the TV remote that Chan-ho handled to turn off the television.
She realizes that a life-sized photo of the chef has been written on in his blood, referencing the Bible passage Deuteronomy 22:25. The woman frantically tries to clean the blood away as Chan-ho’s voice reads the passage for us: “But if a man meets a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, then only the man who has done this shall die.”
Unable to clean off the blood, the woman decides to make the murder look like a robbery. She begins to ransack the room, then looks for something expensive to hide.
Soon after, a young man named Jung Hyun-soo is arrested for the chef’s murder. Yoo-jung is assigned to prosecute him, and she asks if it’s true that he’s claiming innocence. She tells him that a witness saw him at the house on the day of the murder, recognizing him because of his frequent visits there as a courier.
She goes over the evidence, all of which points to Hyun-soo. Hyun-soo stays silent throughout all of this, and when she’s finished, all he says is that she wouldn’t believe him no matter what he said. Looking lost and frustrated, he asks softly if there’s anyone who will believe him.
Bong-hee visits her mother at work, where they vent about their annoying coworkers, CEO Byun and Ji-wook’s mom. Ji-wook’s mom overhears them and stops to make nasty comments about Bong-hee, still angry that Bong-hee’s mom once inadvertently insulted her son.
Fighting back, Bong-hee cites cases about workplace harassment, until she gets a call from Ji-wook. She irritates him by pretending it’s a very important work call and even talks down to him so that she looks good in front of her mother’s snarky boss.
She hurries back to work, where she learns that Hyun-soo has requested her as his defense lawyer. It dawns on her that it’s because she escaped murder charges herself, which doesn’t make her happy, but the others argue that a high-profile case like this will help their new firm.
Later, Bong-hee asks Ji-wook if she has to visit Hyun-soo by herself, hoping that he’ll offer to go with her. He haughtily informs her that he started his own firm so that others could do all the work, so Eun-hyuk cheerfully volunteers to go with Bong-hee.
Cut to: Bong-hee and Ji-wook on the way to the courthouse. HAHA. They run into one of Ji-wook’s old colleagues on the way in, so Bong-hee goes inside alone, only to find herself facing Yoo-jung. Yoo-jung asks if Bong-hee and Ji-wook are really dating, asserting that she has the right to know. Bong-hee grins, noting that Yoo-jung always says that when she’s at a disadvantage.
Ji-hae spies on them from around the corner as both ladies admit that they liked each other when they met, and that they’re both annoyed that the other is involved with Ji-wook. Intent on an answer, Yoo-jung asks again if Bong-hee is dating Ji-wook. Tossing her head, Bong-hee says that she is, but her eyes slide to the side and give away her lie. Yoo-jung smirks, saying, “With me around, Ji-wook…”
But Ji-wook arrives to interrupt and say that yes, she’s around, but he chose Bong-hee. He even puts an arm around Bong-hee, which is so awkward that it’s actually hard to watch, then he leads her to safety.
As soon as they’re alone, Ji-wook notices that Bong-hee isn’t breathing. He fusses at her, which makes Bong-hee pout that he’s giving her a hard time for acting like his girlfriend. Ji-wook just mumbles that he can’t let his employee be thought of as a liar. Suuure.
They finally get a chance to talk with Hyun-soo, and Bong-hee asks him why he chose her instead of a more successful lawyer. She warns him that he’d better not be expecting tips regarding lack of evidence, and Hyun-soo barks this odd little laugh. But then his lip quivers as he says, “I killed him.”
Bong-hee and Ji-wook stare, but Hyun-soo just asks if that’s what they’re expecting to hear. He wants to know if there’s another option besides pleading guilty and going for a plea bargain.
Hyun-soo is very mild and soft-spoken, the last person you’d expect to be a murderer. He tells Bong-hee that he thought she might be his best hope, and his words remind Ji-wook of Bong-hee in jail, saying almost the exact same thing to him.
Hyun-soo tells them that as a courier, he’s been to the chef’s house so many times he’s lost count. He gets upset as he says that he doesn’t understand why the prosecutor considers that evidence of his guilt. He admits that he’s lonely and scared, which tugs at Bong-hee’s heartstrings, since she knows exactly how he feels.
Confused, Yoo-jung goes to Ji-hae to ask her about Bong-hee. She doesn’t think that Bong-hee seems like a murderer, but Ji-hae says that she’s met a lot of murderers and in her opinion, anyone can kill given the right circumstances.
So Ji-hae says that yes, she believes that Bong-hee killed Hee-joon, and she vows to catch her one day. Something Ji-hae says gives Yoo-jung an idea “for an excuse,” but she doesn’t explain what she means.
Hyun-soo is asked to describe his activities on the day of the murder. He says that he went to the park, then decided to see a movie but changed his mind when the showtimes didn’t work for him. He had ddukbokki and coffee from a street cart for lunch, then went to a bar he frequents, adding that there was a birthday party going on while he was there.
Though Hyun-soo seems very sweet and gentle, something about the way Ji-wook studies him makes me nervous.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to back up Hyun-soo’s story, but Bong-hee argues that there was no evidence proving her innocence either, because of the blackout. Ji-wook warns her against over-sympathizing with the defendant, grumbling that this is why he hates defense lawyers.
Upset, Bong-hee asks why he became one, and Ji-wook snaps, “Because of you!” They freeze for a moment, feeling uncomfortable, then Ji-wook says again that she can’t empathize with all murderers. They pick up their fight right where they left off, with Bong-hee saying that she only empathizes with people who are wrongly accused and Ji-wook firing back that there’s no evidence that Hyun-soo is wrongly accused.
They circle right back around to Ji-wook hating attorneys, then he yells at Bong-hee for making him repeat himself. Their bickering is the best.
That evening, Yoo-jung ambushes Eun-hyuk, practically in tears over the way he and Ji-wook are ignoring her. He doesn’t speak as she says that she knows they hate her, but that he was just as wrong as she was. When she finally talks herself out, Eun-hyuk gently says that she should go now, then walks away.
Hee-joon’s father, District Attorney Jang, visits a cake shop since today would have been Hee-joon’s birthday. He spots Bong-hee just outside the shop smiling at her phone, and he follows her until he can corner her in a dark area. He snarls at her for smiling on today of all days, when he’s buying a birthday cake that his son will never eat.
Bong-hee starts to say something, but District Attorney Jang strikes out, grabbing her by the throat. He spits that he should have been someone who didn’t follow the law, because then he could just snap her neck and be done with her.
He squeezes Bong-hee’s throat, cutting off her airway, but he lets go just before he does any permanent damage. He starts to walk away, but Bong-hee gasps after him, “I really didn’t do it,” and he turns around. She says that she can’t make him believe her, but she also can’t admit to something she never did.
District Attorney Jang booms at her, “Prove it! If it’s not you, bring me the real culprit. Until then, you’re the culprit.”
Bong-hee returns to Ji-wook’s house, once again sunny and cheerful, shoving her phone at Ji-wook and crowing that she found Hyun-soo’s alibi. She went to the bar where Hyun-soo claims to have gone on the day of the murder, and on their wall she found a photo of the birthday party he mentioned seeing.
Ji-wook says that it’s not proof that Hyun-soo was there, but Bong-hee is just happy to have reasonable grounds to believe his story. She heads to her room, but something about her demeanor makes Ji-wook concerned enough to follow her.
She’s taken off the scarf she’s wearing to reveal a growing bruise on her throat, which Ji-wook sees immediately. He pulls her hands away from her neck and softly asks what happened, adding that she can trust him when she shakes her head.
For a moment it looks like she’s going to tell him, but Bong-hee just says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Respecting her wishes, Ji-wook just asks if she’ll be okay, then he leaves her alone.
The following morning, the team gets together to discuss Hyun-soo’s case. Ji-wook decides that they need to get rid of the elderly witness who says she saw Hyun-soo leaving the murdered chef’s house. They have Bong-hee walk back and forth wearing a baseball cap, trying to figure out if an older person with weak eyesight could reliably identify someone at that distance.
Ji-wook wonders why the older woman was looking out her window at the neighbor’s house, but Eun-hyuk knows why — loneliness, the desire to connect with other people.
Ji-wook can feel that something is off about this murder, but he can’t quite pin down the problem. Chief Bang wonders why a thief would stab someone so many times, and Ji-wook confirms that the murder weapon still hasn’t been found.
He and Bong-hee visit the victim’s restaurant, but interestingly, none of the employees will speak to them. They have trouble finding their car again in the maze of alleyways, and while they’re searching, they get caught in a sudden downpour.
Ji-wook latches onto Bong-hee’s wrist, and they run through the sunlit rain until they find an underpass to take refuge in. Ji-wook smiles a tiny smile at Bong-hee’s complaints about her wet hair, and they settle in to wait out the shower.
They crouch companionably, letting the rain fall on their outstretched hands and just enjoying the calm moment. Ji-wook watches Bong-hee when she’s not looking, appreciating how pretty and carefree she looks.
On the first day of Hyun-soo’s trial, Ji-wook and Bong-hee run into District Attorney Jang, and Ji-wook notices Bong-hee’s hand move up to her throat. Instantly guessing the truth, Ji-wook takes Bong-hee’s hand to lead her inside, throwing District Attorney Jang a filthy look in the process.
Ji-hae arrives at her office to find Yoo-jung looking pale and weak, but Yoo-jung insists on going to the trial with her, where they formally charge Hyun-soo with murder connected to a robbery. Ji-wook pleads not guilty, but Ji-hae argues that this sort of murder needs no particular motive. Ji-wook counters that it does need proof, and there’s none connecting Hyun-soo to the chef’s murder.
The law states that before someone can be convicted of murder connected with a robbery, the robbery must first be confirmed. But the supposedly stolen items have never been found, nor is Hyun-soo in possession of any unexplained money, so Ji-wook asserts that there was never a robbery to begin with.
He continues that there’s no evidence that Hyun-soo committed the murder either, and there’s something disturbing about the way Hyun-soo stifles a triumphant smile. When Ji-wook sits after making his statement, he sees Yoo-jung staring at him intently, and Bong-hee notices how uncomfortable this makes Ji-wook.
Later, Eun-hyuk arrives in the parking lot just as Ji-wook, Bong-hee, and Yoo-jung are all heading to their cars. He sees that Yoo-jung looks dazed and unsteady and starts to go to her, but he’s beaten by Ji-wook. With both Bong-hee and Eun-hyuk watching, Ji-wook offers Yoo-jung a ride home, sending Bong-hee an apologetic look before driving off.
Eun-hyuk drives Bong-hee home, and on the way she pouts that she sometimes envies girls who get sick. Eun-hyuk starts to laugh his forced laugh, but he drops it mid-chuckle when Bong-hee says he doesn’t have to do that. When he arrives home later, Eun-hyuk is crying.
Ji-wook takes Yoo-jung only as far as her building, then turns to go. She stops him with a hand on his arm and invites him in, but he gently pulls himself free. Yoo-jung says that she loved him too much, so his love never felt like enough and left her thirsty for more. But now she thinks that even if she’s thirsty, it would be worth it to have him back.
Bong-hee spends the evening haunting Ji-wook’s empty house, growing increasingly worried the later it gets. She ends up pacing outside the gate, almost frantic until she finally sees Ji-wook round the corner.
He also relaxes just a tiny bit when he sees her. Bong-hee runs and flings herself into his arms, gasping that she was scared he might not come home. Ji-wook stands stock-still, stunned, as Bong-hee whispers, “I like you.”
His hand comes up as if to return her hug, but at the last second, Ji-wook lets it fall back to his side. In a voice filled with regret, he tells Bong-hee, “Don’t like me.” His voice narrates that not all beginnings lead to something — some things stop as soon as they begin, because the beginnings are so frightening.
Oof, poor Bong-hee! It’s hard enough to confess your feelings, even when they aren’t exactly a secret, but to be so thoroughly rejected is the most painful thing in the world. I do understand why Ji-wook is scared to open himself up to love, because he’s been so terribly hurt in the past, and he has the right to decide that he doesn’t want to go through that again. It’s a miracle that he acknowledges his feelings at all. But Bong-hee has done nothing to earn his distrust, and it’s too late anyway, since he’s already falling for her. He’s going to regret those words.
He can deny his feelings, but they’re so obvious that everyone can see them, and he can’t help but respond when Bong-hee needs him. I particularly loved when Ji-wook saw the bruises on Bong-hee’s throat and was instantly worried for her, but when she said she didn’t want to talk about it, he actually respected her wishes. He didn’t yell or push her, but he let her know that he was concerned and that he’s there if she changes her mind. I even thought it was sensitive of him to approach her softly and quietly — he probably knew that she’d been attacked, so coming at her with anger or aggression (even if he was feeling it towards her attacker and not her) would only scare her even more. For a guy who doesn’t know much about women, he certainly has great instincts when it comes to dealing with Bong-hee. Mostly it’s just wonderful how much he notices about her, and the way he responds to her unconscious cues without a second thought.
On the flip side of that, my positive first impression of Yoo-jung is taking a decided nosedive now that she’s showing this selfish, manipulative side. Her sense of entitlement to Ji-wook’s feelings is annoying, particularly when he’s made it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. I find her persistence very different from the way Eun-hyuk behaves around Ji-wook. Yoo-jung bailed when she screwed things up, then just reappeared when she decided she wanted Ji-wook back. She even has the nerve to imply that her cheating is his fault for not loving her enough, and if I didn’t already dislike her for hurting him, that right there sealed it.
On the other hand, Eun-hyuk stuck around, accepting Ji-wook’s hatred and anger as his rightful punishment for his betrayal. And Eun-hyuk waited for Ji-wook too call him first, only increasing his pursuit to rekindle their friendship after Ji-wook made the first move. To my mind, Eun-hyuk has consistently been more concerned with Ji-wook’s feelings than his own, taking full responsibility for what he did, while Yoo-jung is all about blaming others and is focused on what she wants. And I don’t believe for a moment that she’s sick, either — something Ji-hae said gave her “an idea for an excuse,” which just sounds like more manipulation to me.
I’m having a lot of mixed feelings about accused murderer Hyun-soo right now, because although he seems perfectly mild and innocent, there’s something about him that sets off every self-preservation siren I possess. I can’t describe what it is about him that makes me think he’s not what he seems — maybe it’s that he’s a bit too perfect? His voice is slightly too gentle and his smile is just a bit too sweet. His alibi for the day of the murder is sprinkled with a few too many tiny details (girls in the park playing with balloons, whipped cream on his coffee, candles on a birthday cake), which seem like an indication that he’s lying.
I have a theory about Hyun-soo that’s pretty wild, but the more I think about it, the more it fits with everything we’ve seen so far. (Stop reading now if you don’t want to know!) It’s obvious that Chan-ho is involved with the murders, both of Hee-joon and of the recently deceased chef. But I don’t think Chan-ho is the actual killer. Promos of the show told us that the killer has amnesia, and Chan-ho seems too sharp to be suffering from any memory loss. Conversely, Hyun-soo appeared way too happy, almost surprised, whenever he recalled a detail from the day of the murder. It’s as if remembering those details isn’t normal for him.
So my theory is that Hyun-soo is the murderer with the memory problems, and that Chan-ho, for whatever mysterious reason, is a sort of “cleaner” who goes behind Hyun-soo, hiding any evidence he may have left behind using his knowledge of forensics. It would explain the keychain that was left in Bong-hee’s office that Chan-ho picked up and that let him into the chef’s home. I think that Hyun-soo may have been the masked man in Bong-hee’s office that night, and that Chan-ho arranged to examine the office so that he could pick up the dropped keychain that he needed to get into the house to arrange the murder scene. The only things that don’t fit are the Bible verse about rapists deserving death, and why the woman who found the body freaked out and tampered with the murder scene. Like I said, it’s a crazy theory, but it’s the best I’ve got right now.
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