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Forest of Secrets: Episode 5

The good news: Our hero is still one of the smartest, if not the smartest cookie in the prosecution pantry. The bad news: There’s only so much he can do with those smarts when he’s being backed into a corner. Shi-mok keeps circling around his theories, always thinking he’s this close to falling in step with the culprit, only to realize he’s been deliberately kept one step behind the entire time by a thread of corruption that runs deeper than even he can comprehend. And there’s only more danger waiting to catch up with him.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

The front of CEO Park’s home is flooded with reporters, with one announcing that the group of high schoolers who’d snuck in had discovered a body in the bathroom. The news of it erupted when the teens uploaded a picture of the body online instead of actually reporting it.

Shi-mok squeezes past the clamoring reporters – ignoring every one of their questions – and joins the police and forensic team inside to get a look at Min-ah’s body. He notes that she was left in her undergarments, yet none of her clothes or belongings are in sight.

Upon closer inspection, he deduces that it would’ve been difficult for the killer to have tied her arms up. He imagines himself as the killer struggling to do just that, and imagines himself slashing her stomach — though, in his scenario, blood would have spattered on the wall. He wonders how the killer must have stabbed her to avoid doing the same.

As a forensic officer takes another picture of Min-ah’s body, she suddenly gasps for air and stirs awake. (HOLY SHIT, SHE’S ALIVE.)

The forensic officer stumbles backward in shock and announces that she’s still alive, which immediately sends everyone to her side as they desperately try to cut her down. Once she’s loose, Officer Jang Gun and Yeo-jin carry her out and past Shi-mok, just as he notices a wound on her neck that must’ve been inflicted by a taser.

Officer Soo-chan jumps right into questioning Min-ah, but Yeo-jin shoves him aside, saying, “She opened her eyes to live, not to catch the culprit for us!” She then orders the other officers to call the paramedics. Shi-mok remains in the bathroom, wondering why the culprit left Min-ah alive instead of finishing her off — and in CEO Park’s home, of all places.

After the officers cover her body and face, Min-ah is taken on a gurney to the ambulance outside so that she can be rushed to the hospital, with Yeo-jin keeping the literal sea of hungry reporters at bay. Shi-mok watches the remaining evidence get packed up as he realizes that the knife used on Min-ah was the same knife he used when he was re-enacting CEO Park’s murder. Uh oh.

When Soo-chan and Gun come back in, Shi-mok gives them the information they don’t know: Min-ah’s name and address.

Shi-mok starts to leave, but Soo-chan chases after him, asking how he knew the victim. Calm as ever, Shi-mok explains that she’d worked at the establishment that his office had busted for prostitution. Soo-chan still doesn’t understand why an escort would be found here, and Shi-mok answers that he has every intention to find out.

He makes his way past the reporters again, though he stops when he sees a familiar face in the crowd: his middle school “friend,” Jung-bon. But the image is so fleeting that when Shi-mok turns back to get a second look, Jung-bon’s disappeared. By the look on his face, Shi-mok isn’t sure just what he’s seen.

As Min-ah is rushed to the operating room, Yeo-jin tells the doctor to make sure she survives since she’s the only witness to a serial killer. The doctor nods, saying that he should do his best whether she’s a witness or not.

Yeo-jin steps back with understanding, sending her thoughts to Min-ah: “Live. Don’t lose to a bastard like that. You were terrified. It was horrible. Don’t let that be your final memory of this world.”

From behind, a menacing figure slowly starts to approach Yeo-jin. However, the man ducks around the corner when Yeo-jin’s team leader and new coworker Soon-chang get to her first.

As they fill her in on what Shi-mok had told Soo-chan, we pan over to see that the man who hid himself is none other than Dong-jae, and he’s clearly alarmed to hear that Shi-mok knows about Min-ah. He seems frustrated when Yeo-jin orders Soon-chang to guard Min-ah, leaving him with no choice but to hurry out.

Deputy Chief Lee looks over the gruesome picture the high school kids had uploaded along with the comments, and thinks back to Min-ah’s smiling face when she’d come up to his hotel room. But he quickly shuts his computer off when his wife, Yeon-jae, comes in.

Soo-chan climbs through the window to Min-ah’s apartment, followed by Shi-mok. As Soo-chan evaluates the messy room and calls in the forensic team, Shi-mok stuns him into silence by revealing the school uniform hanging in the closet.

Shi-mok is gone by the time Yeo-jin arrives on scene, though she does question why he and Soo-chan came through the window – if this was a kidnapping scene as Soo-chan had suspected, then the door should’ve been unlocked, unless the kidnapper was incredibly polite (ha). Flustered, Soo-chan quickly changes the subject, making Yeo-jin roll her eyes.

Yeo-jin walks out of the apartment to find Shi-mok close by, crouching down by a manhole and observing something: the red fingernail that had come off Min-ah’s hand when she struggled to free herself from her abductor. Shi-mok states that he was one step behind once again, and thinking he’s blaming himself, Yeo-jin assures him that it’s not his fault.

But that’s not what he had implied; he says that he finally figured out that everything was planned. He lists off the clues that were purposely left behind: the laptop in CEO Park’s house, the blood on the metal bars, and the buried dog. He stands up, wondering if all of that was a message specifically meant for him.

While Yeo-jin admits that she did have her suspicions about the clues, she doesn’t understand why they would be left for Shi-mok. He tells her that he was late in catching CEO Park’s killer, so she concludes that someone knew he would come. And if that someone keeps hurting the people around him, they must be holding a major grudge against him to try and frame him.

She suddenly turns to Shi-mok and asks if CEO Park had offered him Min-ah as a bribe, thinking that would explain how he knows her and why someone would be after him. (Ha, Shi-mok almost looks disappointed that she would assume this of him.)

He quickly shuts her theory down and shows her the picture of Min-ah’s school uniform. According to her official records, Min-ah was born in 1993, meaning the uniform could’ve been kept as a costume to satisfy men with that kind of fetish.

But if it isn’t a costume and Min-ah isn’t as old as she claimed to be, it would explain why she poses a very serious threat. But Yeo-jin doesn’t think that’s the case – if the culprit wanted to shut her up, they would’ve done it quietly, not announce it to the whole country.

Yeo-jin shakes her head, wanting to stop this talk and just get to looking for the culprit. She says she’ll look into the uniform, letting Shi-mok take his leave. As she wonders why someone would be targeting him, he walks away, leaving her with an ominous, “Who, and why?”

The story is all over the news the next day, and now that there’s a potential serial killer on their hands, there’s a lot of pressure hanging over the police. Their competency starts getting questioned as news reporters question how many lives it will take for Korea to become safe.

Yeo-jin visits Min-ah’s mother to inform her that Min-ah is in the hospital. However, according to her mother, there’s no way she could be in the hospital when she’s supposed to be in Japan. Confused, Yeo-jin pulls out Min-ah’s picture, but her mother takes one look at it and sighs relievedly, “No, this girl isn’t my daughter.”

Shi-mok and Eun-soo are brought into a meeting held by their section chief, where they learn that Dong-jae was put in charge of Min-ah’s case. Both Shi-mok and Eun-soo feel uneasy about this, but Section Chief Kang fumes that they have no right to complain — especially Shi-mok, since Kang Jin-sub’s family is now pressing charges against them. He tells Shi-mok to accept the blame, which he obediently does.

Dong-jae walks in on Yeo-jin’s team leader looking over the evidence board, curious if they’ve gotten any leads. He then overhears her team leader get a call from Yeo-jin confirming that Min-ah was using a fake identity, not looking one bit surprised.

He asks the team leader who’s watching Min-ah at the hospital, confirming that there’s only one officer standing guard. He seems awfully concerned with her guard duty, doesn’t he?

Eun-soo follows Shi-mok out of their meeting, saying that Dong-jae must’ve been assigned to the case since he has much higher standing. Shi-mok stops in his tracks to ask if she’s trying to comfort him or annoy him, and Eun-soo points out that she can’t rub salt into a wound when he’s incapable of having a wound. Ouch. He didn’t feel that, but I sure did.

After Eun-soo leaves, Shi-mok notices Dong-jae heading into Deputy Chief Lee’s office. With a knowing look, he slips into the conference room next door.

Dong-jae informs the deputy chief that Min-ah was using a fake name, but that’s the last thing Deputy Chief Lee is thinking about. He asks why Min-ah just so happened to get hurt on the very same night Dong-jae happened to be looking for her. Dong-jae’s eyes widen and he asks if this is an accusation. In turn, Deputy Chief Lee coldly asks if he’s overreacting because he feels guilty… or because someone followed him that night.

Dong-jae reveals that Shi-mok did follow him, and that he even found Min-ah’s home. He brings up the fact that CEO Park died under Shi-mok’s watch, and that the same happened with this case – certainly that wasn’t a coincidence. Deputy Chief Lee just asks how Shi-mok could find Min-ah’s home when Dong-jae couldn’t, and Dong-jae silently scoffs, frustrated.

Adamant on finishing his argument, Dong-jae thinks the real question is why someone would target Min-ah. “It’s almost as if an invisible hand appears to help whenever you might get in trouble,” he says. Seeing that he’s now gaining the upper hand, Dong-jae continues that the culprit probably didn’t finish her off because they didn’t expect the high school kids to sneak in and find her.

Deputy Chief Lee agrees, though he thinks the culprit would’ve known the kids frequented the house as a hangout if that culprit was truly familiar with the scene.

Dong-jae stares him down and states – as if they’re still casually discussing theories – that the culprit is someone else. Or the culprit could’ve wanted a heavier punishment by making Min-ah unable to function even if she woke up. Dong-jae smiles at Deputy Chief Lee’s glare before making his exit.

In the meeting room next door, Shi-mok thinks over everything he just heard, ending with Deputy Chief Lee’s question of whether or not someone followed Dong-jae. “Did they follow me?” Shi-mok thinks. “Or did I lead them there?”

Shi-mok places himself back to last night, back to when he’d forced Min-ah’s address out of the taxi driver. Now in the culprit’s shoes, he walks past himself (in the past) and gets in a separate car, thinking that the culprit could’ve heard the driver say the address and left first. He imagines himself tasing Min-ah as she runs out of her apartment, but stops.

Sensing that something’s not right, he starts again. Since it took him forty-six minutes to reach the apartment, the culprit had to have arrived at least forty minutes after Min-ah did. But Min-ah obviously wouldn’t have wasted forty minutes at home, so Shi-mok deduces that the culprit must’ve take a different route, meaning it could’ve been someone she knew.

But then he thinks that if Min-ah had known she was going to meet this person, they would’ve had no need for a taser. Satisfied with this theory, Shi-mok believes the culprit had truly been waiting for her all along — but, the culprit must have also known that Shi-mok would’ve been able to track her down.

Shi-mok concludes that the culprit must’ve been waiting to get Min-ah on the right stage for them, which is why the culprit picked CEO Park’s house. Still, he can’t help but wonder how the culprit knew that he tracked her down. Convinced it must be someone within or related to the prosecutor’s office, he checks the CCTV footage to see who left the building that day.

One by one, he sees Dong-jae, Dong-jae’s investigator, Deputy Chief Lee, and himself leave the building. But his eyes narrow as he notices a fifth person emerge on camera. It’s hard to tell, but I could almost swear that it’s Eun-soo.

Back at Yongsan Police Station, some interesting fingerprints were found on the weapon. Soo-chan seems pretty darn confused, though we don’t get to see why. Moments later, he receives a phone call from a timid caller who hesitantly admits that he might’ve seen the culprit.

Deputy Chief Lee then gets a phone call and storms over to Shi-mok’s office to speak in private. Shi-mok’s clerk quietly slinks out while Eun-soo sneaks back inside for a listen. Deputy Chief Lee directly asks Shi-mok if he was the one who wielded the knife and stabbed Min-ah. Uh-oh.

Shi-mok denies this, though he does admit that he touched the knife. Overcome with rage, Deputy Chief Lee demands to know if Shi-mok joined forces with someone to prevent his promotion – how else could he explain his fingerprints all over the weapon and all over the victim’s home? And, he adds, how could he explain the new witness who just claimed that Shi-mok was the culprit?

“All the evidence is perfectly pointing to me,” Shi-mok notes blankly. “So, why aren’t you suspecting me? I used to be called a psycho, and all of the evidence is perfect. Is the reason you don’t suspect me… perhaps because you know who the culprit is?”

Shi-mok asks Deputy Chief Lee if he’s the one who hurt Min-ah, making Eun-soo gasp from her hiding spot outside. Deputy Chief Lee fumes that those who feel cornered should still know their boundaries, but sensing that the deputy chief is the one who feels cornered, Shi-mok lays out his theory:

CEO Park sent Deputy Chief Lee an underaged girl. CEO Park then blackmailed him for it when he refused a favor. As a result, CEO Park was silenced forever, and the girl Deputy Chief Lee had so desperately searched for almost met the same fate.

Now looking completely cornered, Deputy Chief Lee insists over and over that nothing happened. According to him, he’d thought an already ruined CEO Park had followed him to his hotel to cause a scene, so he’d opened the door. Instead, he’d found Min-ah standing there.

Deputy Chief Lee believes that no one would’ve been able to guess she was a minor. And, sure, he admits that he was tempted by her, but he swears that he sent her away because he knew it was a trap. But this only strengthens Shi-mok’s suspicions toward him; he asks if Min-ah then blackmailed Deputy Chief Lee for money, knowing everyone would believe her over him when it came to what happened in that hotel room.

Instead of answering, Deputy Chief Lee reveals that CEO Park’s nickname for Min-ah was “Bell,” because she always responded when someone rang for her. He asks Shi-mok if he really believes CEO Park only used that bell against him.

Deputy Chief Lee: “We’re prosecutors. Sometimes we accept bribes, and sometimes it becomes a problem. Sometimes we give people special treatment and overlook certain cases. That’s what happens when people who did nothing but study suddenly gain power and honor and overconfidence. But we’re prosecutors. We became prosecutors to protect the law, to protect justice. I believe that there are two different types of people in this building – guardians and criminals. A prosecutor’s robe, and a prisoner’s uniform.”

So despite what Shi-mok might think, Deputy Chief Lee insists that he firmly believes that they are different from the people they need to punish. He’s offended that Shi-mok would even accuse him of going so low, but Shi-mok merely sighs and says that that wasn’t an answer to his question.

Having had enough, Deputy Chief Lee flings a pile of papers at Shi-mok and states that he didn’t kill anyone. Finally expressing some surprise (while giving a brief look toward the window, where Eun-soo is hiding outside — does he know?), Shi-mok immediately bows and apologizes for crossing the line.

Soo-chan comes knocking at the door just then – it’s his turn to start questioning Shi-mok. Shi-mok gets to the point and admits that he touched the knife used on Min-ah a while back to re-enact the CEO Park’s murder. But with no evidence to prove this, Soo-chan won’t be convinced.

Soo-chan presses further, bringing up the witness, and Shi-mok correctly guesses that it was the taxi driver who’d called, since he must have assumed the worst when Shi-mok had violently confronted him. He explains everything he can to Soo-chan, but with everything pointing ever-so-neatly at him, he’s already a suspect.

Deputy Chief Lee strides out, telling Soo-chan to bring firmer evidence if he wants to take Shi-mok away. Soo-chan then follows him out, staring at Shi-mok as he wonders what could be firmer evidence than fingerprints.

As Soo-chan gets into the elevator, Dong-jae slides through with a devious smile on his face as he tells Soo-chan that what he needs is evidence that is truly definitive.

After finally discovering the origins of the school uniform, Yeo-jin visits Yanggang High School to talk to Min-ah’s teacher. The teacher does recognize Min-ah’s photo, but she tells Yeo-jin that her real name is Kim Ga-young and that she was born in 1998.

The teacher is horrified to learn what happened to Min-ah, especially since it happened in the same place as “Kyung-wan’s incident.” Yeo-jin starts to ask who Kyung-wan is when she suddenly remembers CEO Park’s son.

Meanwhile, Soo-chan interrogates the hostess from Min-ah’s workplace, though he doesn’t get much out of her.

At the hospital, newbie Soon-chang learns that Min-ah could wake up with brain damage due to her injuries. He heads over to Min-ah’s hospital bed, only to get a strange feeling. He yanks the curtain back, surprising the nurse taking care of Min-ah.

Soon-chang stutters an apology, but he doesn’t notice that the tube to Min-ah’s oxygen supply has been undone. The nurse quickly reattaches it before he notices. Though that makes her look suspicious, she leaves wondering why the tube had been disconnected in the first place, which means that she wasn’t the one to do it.

After discovering Min-ah’s true identity, Yeo-jin was able to track down her real mother and escort her to the hospital. Her mother breaks down in tears to see Min-ah lying unconscious.

Shi-mok ponders over Deputy Chief Lee’s last words to him about them being prosecutors, until he springs up and calls the hotel they’d stayed at. He asks about their CCTV footage, hoping to obtain certain footage from the tenth floor hallway.

At the Lee household, Yeon-jae prepares dinner as her father and husband discuss Shi-mok’s latest demise. Her father finds it interesting that Shi-mok willingly walked over to the stage they laid out for him – in fact, it all fits almost too perfectly. Upon hearing this, Yeon-jae’s ears perk up in the kitchen.

Still, Deputy Chief Lee thinks that if the same person went after CEO Park and Min-ah, then that person has a goal and could strike again. He worries that if Shi-mok is arrested as a scapegoat only to have more murders occur, they could be in even deeper water.

But Deputy Chief Lee’s father-in-law doesn’t care so long as they distance themselves from CEO Park. He merely suggests that Deputy Chief Lee make his move before everyone finds out how CEO Park truly died.

The officers at Yongsan – along with Dong-jae – listen to the recording of the taxi driver’s phone call, finding the taxi driver awful for not even contacting Min-ah when he knew some man had forced her address out of him.

Yeo-jin walks into the station, demanding to know who “the man” in question is. But when her team leader utters Shi-mok’s name, she can hardly believe it. Before she can defend Shi-mok, her eyes land on something on the evidence board.

Back at the prosecutor’s office, Shi-mok gets a surprise visit from Eun-soo. She approaches his desk and, finally deciding to come clean, reveals that she was the one who met with CEO Park the night before he died. “I did this on my own,” she says.

Yeo-jin takes the picture of Min-ah’s uniform off the evidence board – the very same picture that Shi-mok presented to her. It’s only now that she questions how Shi-mok was able to take these photos, realizing he must have had them before the incident occurred.

She thinks back to what Shi-mok had said about Min-ah’s high school uniform and how dangerous it made her to certain men, and now, she can’t help but wonder if Shi-mok had been referring to himself.

 
COMMENTS

How does this show manage to cram so much information into every episode, yet still make us viewers feel as if we’ve learned almost nothing at all? Nevertheless, this show truly is jam-packed with so much goodness – If I look away for one second, I have the terrible urge to rewatch the entire scene just to see if I missed something important. It’s definitely the type of crime show that requires all of your attention, while at the same time, I want to give it my full attention. And now that we’re well into the story, I’m finding myself most invested when Shi-mok tries to put himself in the mindset of the criminal he’s pursuing.

At first, I was just as surprised and disturbed as Yeo-jin was when she witnessed Shi-mok re-enacting CEO Park’s murder. From her point of view, it’s a scary sight, and to be quite honest, a highly suspicious one, which is why I can understand her wavering trust with him. But when we get to experience Shi-mok’s re-enactments with him, it changes everything. Those scenes are directed and acted so well that it almost starts to feel like a trippy VR experience. Shi-mok has always been all logic and no nonsense, so when we get a peek at that brilliant mind of his, it allows us to get somewhat of a bird’s-eye view of this dark forest and piece together its mystery without the influence of our other characters.

Because, let’s face it, every word that comes out of these characters’ mouths just adds another thread to this already complicated web forest of secrets. And with so many secrets piling on top of each other, it’s starting to become even harder to see anything clearly. I believe Deputy Chief Lee’s story regarding Min-ah’s visit to his hotel room, and I think I even believe his claim that he didn’t kill anyone. His speech about prosecutors seemed much too personal and passionate to be a tactic to keep Shi-mok’s mouth shut. If it was a tactic, then he’s one good liar. But for now, I’d like to believe that we finally got our first big confession out of him.

There were some big revelations, such as the unraveling of Min-ah (or should I say Ga-young?) and her past with CEO Park. Now that we know that she was classmates, and maybe even friends, with CEO Park’s son, it puts her in a different light. I’m beginning to wonder if we started with CEO Park’s death for good reason. He seems to be in the very middle of this web – the source of all the tragedy that’s happened and all the tragedy that’s bound to happen in the future. And just as Shi-mok suspected, the culprit has strategically planned every step of the way, with CEO Park right at the starting line. It’s like a twisted game to this person, leaving behind obvious clues for Shi-mok to pick up on and leading him to the next stop on the board, whether that be Min-ah or whoever the next victim is.

Let’s just hope that Shi-mok finds a quick shortcut out of this game before there is a next victim. He’s already got himself in a tight place now that he’s a prime suspect, but I have no doubt in my mind that Yeo-jin will do whatever she can to help get him out. She may suspect him just the same as her coworkers now, but much like Shi-mok, she’ll always find a way to let her own logic win over the lies.

 
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I really like this drama. Its on top of my list right now. Other shows dont hold my interest for long, the quality has been up and down. But this show has always been good. I like the feeling as its a movie, the directing and writing are excellent

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<At first, I was just as surprised and disturbed as Yeo-jin was when she witnessed Shi-mok re-enacting CEO Park’s murder. From her point of view, it’s a scary sight, and to be quite honest, a highly suspicious one, which is why I can understand her wavering trust with him.

Hmm, I didn't ever think it was scary or suspicious – rather, it struck me as a very logical way of thinking aloud. You know, like people are different learners, like some are visual, some are aural and he's essentially physical (kinesthetic). Not only of course, as he's a thinker as well.

What I find more striking is that he imagines himself as the culprit when going through the scenes in his mind. I think most people just couldn'dt do that, it would freak them out. It's obviously something that he is able to do because of the control he has over his emotions, while at the same time its a technique within the drama – the director/writer are presenting him as if the culprit, which sows doubts. Which is perfect for a drama of twists and turns and with no one to be trusted, including the prosecutor & main point of view. (Mind you, I don't think he's committed any of this crimes, but I know the director/writer are toying with us.)

Incidentally, Yeo-jin has her own way of thinking with her sketching.

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Didn't we see his own point-of-view first before we get to see Yeo-jin's? It was only scary because we felt the "misunderstanding" forming in her mind, we already "knew" what he was doing.

And, yes, this would be a perfect set-up for the reveal of him not actually reenacting the crimes but reliving them ...

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No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness. He is brilliant but a little freaky when he effortlessly imagine himself inside the mind of the criminal.
It may not be a new method to detectives but Shi-mok goes in deep without missing any small detail.
I don't even think he has nightmares at night from it.

His character drives me nuts but in a good way.

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Thank you for the recap!

" It’s definitely the type of crime show that requires all of your attention, while at the same time, I want to give it my full attention."
This! I lost count of the number of times I backtracked just to make sure I caught this tiny detail, got that name right etc etc.

I have not seen this level of writing in my years of watching kdramas. Added to this, the directing and acting are all so superb. I don't know if I am overly praising the show but it feels as if I am watching a masterpiece.

I know Shi Mok is crazy smart but it's equally delightful that the other characters are not like thousands of leagues behind him. I've said so many good things about Shi Mok but Yeo Jin is fast becoming my favorite female detective. She may not have Shi Mok's intellect but she's good at what she does and intuitive too. They make a great pair.

My only complain - I can't get enough of this show. Suddenly, all other shows feel like fillers of the week to help me get to the weekend.

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Same here. Here I am wondering why it's only Tuesday :)

Some of the info takes quite some time for me to digest too. Take Shi-mok's calculating the time it took for the culprit to reach Min-Ah's house ahead of him. I only see the whole picture when reading the recap. I was puzzled at that point while watching the drama. Obviously I must be dumb to miss to connect that with the conversation between Chief Lee and Dong-Jae XD.

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Some of the clues go way over my head which makes me think if the show is too smart for me or if I'm mistaking all the confusion for smartness. I hope the writer manages to wrap up the show with a logical conclusion. Otherwise I'd be so disappointed.

I've not felt this excited for a show since signal. The directing, acting and cinematography are top notch as it was there. And does anyone else think of a giant soft teddy bear when you see cho seung woo in some shots ?

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"Some of the clues go way over my head which makes me think if the show is too smart for me or if I'm mistaking all the confusion for smartness. I hope the writer manages to wrap up the show with a logical conclusion. Otherwise I'd be so disappointed."

I don't always enjoy shows which make me think. I am lazy, hahaha. Very occasionally you get a good one which turn the wheels in your head and even more rare, one that rewards you for doing so. There's nothing I dislike more than a show which tries to be smart, trips itself and leads to nowhere. Some of these shows hang upon the great reveal and really, the ending makes a world of difference. I am hoping this show to pull a feat like no one has before. One where the picture looks increasingly clearer as the story unfolds but has enough twists to jolt us and finally end with a bang. Too tall an order? Let's see.

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How can you translate my thoughs so accurately? I agree with you on just averything! Every single thing! This show is just perfect! I feel like I am some blessed and lucky person who found a gem.

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"I have not seen this level of writing in my years of watching kdramas. Added to this, the directing and acting are all so superb. I don't know if I am overly praising the show but it feels as if I am watching a masterpiece."

I actually had not even made an account before this overwhelming urge upvote and nod like a madwoman in agreement with all that has been said by you and the other posters. The above paragraph is exactly what I came to say as well. Unbelievably good! I don't think it's your imagination at all. Was at first really checking it out for the actors, thinking it just another big gov corruption/ coverup thing (slightly boring) but am slightly stunned by how glued to the screen I become - every look, word, gesture - so much packed suspense into each smart episode. I literally hold my breathe listening/watching sometimes.

And now to continue the maniacal upvoting of more comments!!

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So much information to process. I'm glad Shi Mok knows that he is being set up but luckily Yeo Jin is on his side.

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But is he being set up? Nobody except himself and Yeo Jin knew about his reenactment and his prints on the knife, as far as I know. If somebody set him up, it's either Yeo Jin or himself.

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He could be, but we don't know yet. There could have been someone hiding in the house. Or at least some people who work with him at the prosecutor's office will know that this is how he does his thinking (since he will have "enacted" scenes before). If it is indeed someone from within the office, and they are really setting this up, they could have used this knowledge to set a trap. I do think if that's the case, it would likely only beone or two people who possess this knowledge about him, possibly even from earlier days (e.g. university?) – so maybe someone like his former classmate knows that too.

But, we'll have to wait and see...

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That would be a long shot within the story, but almost impossible from a meta angle. There are simply no hints and no characters available for that.

It's even less likely than the Fight Club solution ...

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I think the corrupt higher ups are orchestrating his downfall like they did to Young Il-jae (Eun-joo's father) especially now that the case went public.
Maybe they are underestimating him and it will be their corruptions that would be exposed to the whole nation this time.

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It seems much more personal. "I'm smarter than you" sort of vengence. All the intricate planning to set up the game and anticipate how the players will move around. You might take someone out in a showy way with dirty money, but silencing someone with murder would be done quietly.

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I don't think Shi Mok is that high up the food chain that the corrupt higher ups are targeting him. More likely that he's a spanner in the works or they were presented an opportunity to use him. Maybe not all set ups are real ones, some or the first could be a coincidence.

Whatever it is, I hope it will be believable. I dislike setups where the mastermind is god like, vested with unlimited power and remain invincible until the very end.

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I think I get what you are saying and it makes sense.

Korean prosecutors have been known in the past for their contributions in successfully bringing down corrupt high ranked officials and even the president of the country.

I think Shi-mok is a big threat especially. He is a brilliant investigator and seems to be immune to all sort of bribes.

There must be some kind of plan if the bad guys are comfortable putting him in a position where he could expose them.

Maybe you are right that they are using him instead of targeting him.

We have 10 more episodes and I still don't have a solid grip on the story for some reason.

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Yeo-jin and Shi-mok's questions pretty much sum it up what still leaves me puzzled about the show: Who? And why?

Dong-jae might have a hand in the matter but I think (or rather am made to believe) that he's been stirred to action only recently and is related to Min-Ah's case after he eavesdropped on Shi-mok and DC Lee's conversation. Then there is the possibility that the ex-convict in the first case was murdered but it hasn't been revisited yet.

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I agree, this show has ruined me for all the others I had been watching currently. They can't match the quality. And I have never studied an actors face so closely for clues to his thoughts/emotions-ever.

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Aaah it's finally here! I was desperately waiting for this so thanks a lot @sailorjumun! I just started it two days ago but I am almost regretting it because I can't get enough of it. I want to talk about it all time.
You know, there was a time when I was busy so I had to stop watching but while working I had that feeling (I can't explain it well but): of enjoyment, excitment etc knowing that in a few hours I would be able to face this show again. And the weird thing is that I only knew that I was missing this feeling when I actually felt it! I realised I was only "contenting" myself with others shows that I am currently watching.
It is just so goood to watch a show without having to worry about the acting, the editing, the directing or whatever it is. Here saying the acting is top notch may sound like an euphemism. I enjoy every minute of the show because it is THAT good and find myself pausing the video and worrying that I am reaching the end.
Well I can spend hours writing about FOS but I will just give a summary by seing that I have totally and completely fallen for this drama.

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I know, I already wrote a lot but I really have to add that I really love Shin Hye Sun in this and the weird thing is I don't even know why: just seeing her on the poster made me support her and she was one of the reason why I started watching it... but I will proudly say now that she is definitely not the only reason that keep me watching.

I have come to respect and admire veterans actos like Cho Seung Wo and Bae Doo Na when I didn't care about them in the past. Now I'm feeling ashamed because I remember when I saw news on this drama and that I didn't bother to read and did'nt even take them seriously. Certainly because it didn't have my usual young oppas who would make my heart flutter (even though, now I am finding Cho Seung Wo so hot!! Damn it, coming from me, it is a first!). But I take all of this like a lesson from life.

But for my defense, it wasn't the only resaon that kept me away from this drama. I don't usually watch a crime procedural show and the fact that there was tons of them in the first half of the year made me pissed of.

Finally... I ship Eun So-Shi Mok! I have finally said it! With such a cerebral show which have this great plot, I am feeling guilty when I am shipping them but I can't help. I definitely don't want grand romantics gestures because I do think it will ruin the show but I still want them to have feelings for each other and to acknowledge them. So fellow beanies am I the only one who feel this way?

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I like their chemistry, she is feisty and sassy, a bit rash and he is cool as a cucumber in every situation. I am low-key shipping them but with how this show has everybody wearing double, triple layers of mask.......who knows what's in store for Eun Soo.........I wouldn't mind if they start trusting each other to begin with and that grows into something but I do not want any grand, conspicuous gestures..........just keep it real given who Shi Mok is if, if they go there..........For the time being I am happy with Yeo Jin and Shi Mok being Sherlock and Jane Watson and their budding friendship/partnership.

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Your "who knows what's in store for Eun Soo" clearly express my thoughts on this part. I mean, whatever the show is trying to tell us, I have faith in Shi Mok and Yeo Jin but everyone else is a suspect to me and till the end.

I am also liking the fact that the relationship between Shi Mok and Yeo Jin is now more like Sherlock and Watson's.. and the character Yeo Jin in general. She is such a warm person and I love that the fact she is so capable and smart. Bae Doo Na is particuraly doing a great job with her. I like that she is never exagerrating. It is really refreshing.

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Lol I thought I was only one who enjoyed SM and ES's scenes together immensely. It does make me feel a bit shallow though. But I can't help it. They're too good.

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You made my day! Thank you!

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Eun So seems too young to me (to ship her with Shi-Mok). But also, I can only ship him with Yeo-jin, because they seem so Yin & Yang, I feel she totally gets him and he actually trusts her (sharing with her what he wouldn't with anyone else). With Eun So, she seems like he's too much for her, she is at a total loss with him at times (she doesn't get him at all, though she does try) and they don't feel like a "balanced" pairing to me. Just my impression of of course.

I googled Cho Seung Wo and was surprised he was born in 1980. Somehow I thought he was in his mid to late 40's... But I like it, it's like he's a rare Korean on TV that looks his age (since the actors always seem to look younger). Bae Doona looks younger than him to me, but is a few months older in fact. (Not that it matters – it's just that kdramas are usually so overly prettified that it distorts reality. But here, they look like actual real people, like the Koreans I know in real life.)

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Don't worry, it is your opinion and I respect that. Just glad that you took the time to reply.
And I kind of get why you're saying this, I just doesn't feel the same way.

I had the same impression on Cho Seung Wo. I was also suprised when I saw he was "just" 37 years old and so does Bae Doo Na. I though he was much older and that she was much younger. Lol

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I was just thinking about how he looks much older than his age and correcting myself because this is not our usual Kdrama....
Regardless I find him incredibly hot, its crazy.
Personally and for the first time ever, I want Shi Mok to, just, have friends. That'd be so cool. Not coworkers but real friendships.

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I think he looks older because of Hwang Shi-mok character (This is the sign of good actor, no?) I watch him in his other project, he looks certainly his age. He looks even hotter when he sings. Lol

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It's not a romance drama but I don't think you need to feel guilty for shipping characters in it. I personally ship Shi Mok and Yeo Jin but I can see what you mean with Eun So, especially in the next episode.
I think we can ship who we want but shouldn't really expect that something will also actually happen cause the probability of that is pretty slim.
I think we are going to see some friendship though or at least I hope so. :)

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Lol I am starting to think that I am in some minority. *pout*
It's really slim indeed but with the next ep I am almost sure we'll see some friendship so it kind of makes me relieved.

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I don't really expect much romance between Shi-mok and anybody. Remember, his surgery is supposed to have messed up his ability to feel emotions.

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Yeah, I don't think that surgery worked completely. He still suffers serious episodes of pain in his ear when emotionally stressed. I think it has been suppressed along with his ability to emote and feel. His illness might resurface to further complicate things at a later point along with the violent tendencies. Just my hunch.

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Dont be guilty! I I find their chemistry quite tension filled. I definitely want them to get together , not in a relationship, atleast now, but in a physical way. They way they argue its only matter of time to make out sleep together. There are sparks there.

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This show is so intricate that I get more confused with each episode.. it's like a large tree (hah) diagram that throws out more possibilities with every clue that is dropped. Honestly, I've given up trying to figure out who the mastermind could be and am just going along with whatever the writers are trying to bait me with.

And thank you very much for the recap and your thoughts! They encapsulate whatever my brain is trying (but failing) to express.

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I sort of knew the knife might get him in trouble. But Yeo Jin was there so he isn't worried. She can be his proof. But the scene where Shi-Mok was enacting how the killer tied up Min-Ah and stabbed her was scary. The details, its been a while when I've seen a show that both uses detailed writing and cinematography to its advantage like this show does. I too think Chief Lee hasn't killed Min-Ah or CEO Park. That speech was a bit too personal to be an act. I have a bad feeling about his wife though. Something about her demeanor is a alarming. I also love how Yeo Jin is continuously proven to be a smart cop. I like how layered and detailed each character is. Good, bad or in between, each one of the characters have a well-written motive driving their actions. It has been a while since I've seen a show where every character has had that sort of writing. No complaints whatsoever.
Also, I went ahead and watched The Classic again just to see Jo Cheung Woo smiling and ended up bawling like a baby. Not a good idea.

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I agree with you about the wife. She seems shady. I don't think that the writer would introduce her to us just to show us how a perfect wife she is. And the fact that we will see her around next ep don't help me clear my suspicions. She is clearly smart and resourful. Now I am eager to find how she fits in the murder case.

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The writer may have introduced her to throw us off. Everyone in the show is presented as suspicious.

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Also, I went ahead and watched The Classic again just to see Jo Cheung Woo smiling and ended up bawling like a baby. Not a good idea. - hahahahaha,
Classic is a movie for keeps. Its a cozy film.

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i love this show, and yes - every episode leaves me feeling like i still know nothing!

but seriously, can he please stop touching things without gloves?? that's the only thing that is so stupidly irritating to me...

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Touching things without gloves is the king of kind that can put me off but I was able to forgive the show when Shi Mok became a suspect because of the knife. It felt realistic to me... and let's say deserved.

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Oh my God, somebody else noticed the gloves. I was screaming at Hwang Gomsa, Nooo, where's the gloves, your contaminating evidence. How can you pick the nail up without any gloves or touch the knife without a handkerchief at the least? Its one tiny little flaw in an otherwise perfect show.

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Maybe he doesn't wear gloves in Park's house because he thinks the crime scene investigation has been done and finished. How long a crime scene has to be kept sterile until people can use the place again? I have zero knowledge about this, perhaps someone can explain to me. :)
Then he doesn't use gloves in the girl's apartment is because he concludes that the apartment is not the crime scene where she was kidnapped and tortured? Hmmm.....

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this show is gooodd...we've gone this far and i still have zero ideas on who the killer is what his/her motivation is....everybody seems to have a secret and they are all linked somehow..the question now is whether our killer is the one with the biggest secret of all..or whether he is the one dropping hints on where the secrets are and leaving shi-mok and his team to do the rest of the untangling....as of now...i have no clue...d only thing am sure of is...if shi-mok cant solve this then no one else can and its nice that he has yeo jin by his side...jo seung woo is now one of my top 5 favorite ajhussis and i keep rooting for him anytime i see him.

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I can't say how much I'm loving this show. My favorite scenes are when he's actually sharing some of his findings with her. I'm waiting for him to have one of his seizures in front of her or someone else. Also, why is he allowed to drive if they are recurring?

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Yeah they keep focusing on her I'm just like yeoo what's going on? During all the scenes of Deputy Chief Lee at home t's like he's the soft, weak lamb while she is a serpent biding its time.

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Love your reference (and definitely the Detective Conan profile picture). You summarize the whole thing.

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Chief Lee's wife is definitely on my radar too. Not that I trust anybody in this show except Yeo-jin. Shi-mok as well, but to a lesser extent...I question his motivations every now and then.

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Omg, this show!
Now, THIS is a high-quality mystery-thriller. I don't even know which part to praise, bc everything about it is amazing. I only started it last week, but this is on the top of my list now. Idk about everyone here else, but I feel like I'm watching something rare. Everything is so in sync...the writing, the acting, the directing (!!) Wow

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There is one aspect I'm not thrilled about, and that is the sound track. It tries to keep up the tension all the time, even if the actual stuff on screen would need a more focused score. I find it distracting when I'm trying to collect the clues. It's great when tension is in order, though.

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It's the contrary for me. I don't know how but I am so focused on the history that I forgot that there is a soundtrack. If the OSTs weren't played at the end of the episode, I would'nt notice it.

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I love whenever Shi-mok and Yeo- jin are together. Shi-mok's loneliness is So palpable that whenever they can have space to work together, trust each other, and care for one another just makes me so happy. I want to give both of them big ol' hugs, especially Shi-mok!

I'm also digging the ambiguity and intrigue that they're introducing with Deputy Chief Lee. I'm now open to both the possibility of him being less coldhearted and more stuck between a rock and a hard place. His family dynamic is so stifling, it's so great to watch.

When Shi-mok said that this is all a plot to get him, I feel like it's too far fetched. At the same time, both his and Yeo-jin's reasonings made a lot of sense. Honestly though I feel like the most reasonable explanation is that these are separate crimes committed by different people. Someone plans a grand scheme and as soon as it's set into motion someone else sees an opportunity to take advantage of the situation and it snowballs.

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They're so many things I love about this show. I helps a lot that there are no characters that I hate or even dislike really.
1. I love watching SM do the most mundane things. This is what's usually missing from many kdrama crime series, the groundwork. We're given lots of it here and I love every minute of it.
2. SM and ES on screen together is so good.
3. CJ and his father-in-law whose always underestimating him. I love the actor who plays the FIL. He's always able to pull off those rich and morally bankrupt characters so well. He has this luxurious fell to him. But also their relationships also humanizes CJ. Same with his wive.
4. SM an YJ partnership. I really like her character. More of than not, the emotionally sensitive characters in K-crime shows tend to be very frustrating and unlikable. Fortunately, she's very likable.
5.Director for his snazzy shots and writer for her skillful writing.

The only slight grumble I have is with the way the DJ character is being acted. It's not bad but very typical. I was hoping that Lee Jun Hyuk would interpret the character with more charm.

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I love the mountains of papers in the prosecutors' office. I think they've never shown enough of it in other dramas. It's further amplified by how Shi Mok is always carrying the plastic bag of papers home. I was so dense that I had mistaken it for food at first, I was like "why is he carrying all these white boxes of takeaway?

Sadly, I agree with you on Lee Jun Hyuk. He's far from bad but you are right that his portrayal is very typical of what we are used to in kdramas. It stands out when everyone else ups their game.

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I made the same mistake about the pink bojagi :-)

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I'm actually starting to like chief lee.. maybe because we get to see how he warms up when he's with his wife (I'm suspicious of his wife btw!)

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I like how the actor plays him. And I sorta cheered when he said to the detective that he's not gonna be taking one of his men without concrete evidence.

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Agree :)

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I love this drama. Both Shi-mok and Yeo-jin are such wonderful characters. The actors are playing them just perfectly. Yeo-jin is a perfect foil for Shi-mok. She does not react negatively to Shi-mok's unemotional way of doing things. She is as calm as he is but has emotional IQ too. They both seem very grounded and also have similar moral compasses. I love watching them interact. The actor playing Shi-mok is perfect. He's somehow managing to make the character both aloof and sympathetic.
The story is also very interesting. I was surprised by Chief Lee's speech. I was sure he was just a regular corrupt prosecutor but he seems to have a skewed sense of justice too. My hunch is that Seo Dong-Jae also rang Min-ah's bell!

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This show... I literally can't believe anyone. Now my suspicion falls to the deputy chief lee's wife and shi mok's childhood friend.

But who knows what will happen next, it can do whatever it want to do and all of them will believable to me.

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Just got on board a few days ago and now I'm watching their YouTube videos to fill the void while waiting for Friday.

Everyone in the cast is certainly not wasted in this drama. The high school classmate? I will not trust him. I'm only trusting SM and YJ and no one else.

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Yeah, I don't trust him, either!

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How did the killer know Shi mok used that knife?! It's like he has a camera on all of them! Always one step ahead! Thanks for the recap, SailorJumun!

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I don't think the killer is trying to even frame Shi mok, so he/she honestly did not care, it was Shi-mok self incriminating himself. The killer's stage was the house and that was the important detail to be noted... the girl and CEO park were related and she was his bell so he/she killed her at his house.

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Are we not gonna talk about how literally no one checked whether the girl was alive or not? Wouldn't that be the first thing to do under standard procedure. I was really irked by that.
But I love the show so I can overlook it.

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yeah, that's a critical flaw, but I'm just thinking that taser guns could also stop the heart/breathing momentarily. it's highly unlikely but still a possibility.

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When she regained consciousness, an officer did say, "But she had no pulse," in the background. So they did check, but it certainly was peculiar. I'm thinking it was either for shock value or for the show to reference back to later? We shall see!

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rookie:
I think they did, she was given initial treatment by the paramedics on the scene. Hence the doctor asks Bae Doona the same at the hospital, whether she was and what she was given before wheeling her off.

This is one drama where the subs are really different that the dialogues. I see it because the subs from netflix and other sources are different so much! And at times recaps here convey different meaning of a scene..

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Yes, the different subtitles make it difficult to pin point the meaning of what is said sometimes. :/

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Thanks for this. No wonder why I keep missing details. In the subbed version I watched, the doctor asked Yeo-jin whether the girl underwent shock, which didn't make much sense to me. I thought it was some kind of specialised medical term so I just let it slide.

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Critical death, maybe, or some other name under which this condition is called? I wouldn't believe it myself had it not happened to one of my neighbours. My parents said he was announced death and his family even buried him. Granted, it was back in the day where people weren't buried deep in the ground. His family was too poor to afford a proper coffin. Somehow the man came to and dug his own grave and crawled back home that night. Everyone thought he was a ghost and didn't let him in although it was raining heavily. They only believed it the next morning when he was still outside that he was indeed alive.

Then I also heard more recent stories of people knocking on their coffin during their own funeral for others to let them out, because they were announced death but for some reason came back to life.

Maybe, just maybe, the same thing happened to Min-Ah.

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I mean *clinical death. Obviously I couldn't type, lol.

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This show is awesome on so many levels. I'm super in love with Shi-Mok. I honestly think that his character is the best thing about this show.

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I may stop watching this series if the mumbo jumbo around SM's emotions and all that continues. The writer, creator of this character is taking me, the viewer, for a ride.
What is it about? His lack of emotions that he doesn't feel emotions, post the lobotomy as a teen? What??
All through this time, six episodes in this man is experiencing emotions , feelings and emoting the same although in a very muted way. Even if he shows them muted his emotions are strong and intense. His feelings of frustration, happiness , loneliness are expressed in what has come to be known as his micro expressions , physically, and also in the language he uses , verbally. He also knows his emotions, the others' , he has them, expresses them, through his language. So what exactly is the writer, creator conveying when they say that he cannot experience them? What, Utter, b. In Ep 6, when Bae Doona's character rightly says that his brain contrarily has a chunk that processes emotions, good and bad, and he just doesnt hsow them, he says he doesnt know about this. What an eye roll.
In effect he comes across a man who is very calm and in ontrol of what and how he expresses, his feelings and emotions. Thats it. The medical shenanigan is not working and the writer has brought this is just for some added drama colours. A typically sense defying drama trope.
Now since thats off my chest,
If I take SM's character removing all that medical nonsense, ep 5 and 6 really attracted me for his relationship with Eun Soo. There is a cat and mouse game here in that the verbal duel esp from ES side (she is so crisp and rude, always inciting him) that it seems to be a kind of flirting ritual going on. From not liking to anyone touching him, to he readily covering ES's mouth (was that necessary?) when they are hiding, he is very aware of her, has been always. I really woudnt mind or rather would like to see them get together, not as a relationship but just because of the heat of the moment. Its that kind of a duel these two are at. I want to see that.
Bae Doona he likes, more so, he respects and is very curious about in his own way that she naturally aligns with him. As a partner he never had. She is more curious about him, as a colleague and as a man that he is about her as a woman. But relationship, may be, in the later future. For now the sparks between him and Eun Soo are so irresistible, I just want to see them go at it. Seriously. :)

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I also think that sometimes the emotions he shows are faked (or the intensity is faked). Example: ep2 I believe when he gets "angry" at the suspect's wife. He found a good way to get information from him by faking his emotions. I thought Cho Jeung Woo really played that well.
Also I just think the intensity of his emotions is highly inhibited, it makes absolutely sense with the surgery they are talking about (inhibition can definitely be altered in the brain).

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Its not about whether he fakes them or not. That wife episode is a tactic used, even could have been used by a normal prosecutor.
The thing is he knows what anger is to use it at his disposal or to express them when he feels it.
He is very alert and knowing of his emotions , if anything, they are magnified and his expressing them is tempered, which is fine. It is normal. Hence he is good at his job, because he can control his emotions, doesn't show them much as Doona says. Strangely she gets it right through the writer though which makes it all the more w.t.hery a premise.

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The openning scene outside the murder house was spectacular. The time and effort that went into just a few minutes of film puts this drama on another level. Unusual to see so many extras in this type of scene and the high, moving camera shots were effective.

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I've noticed that too! I was thinking this is the first time I find such scenes realistic. I usually let them slip because they don't matter much but when done right, it does add to the overall quality.

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Im so glad I wasn't the only one gasping at this opening scene ! Especially the camera work around Shi Mok!!

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I find it so refreshing that this show is confidently able to present the genius of its hero while still having him be outmaneuvered or a few crucial steps behind. With most crime shows, if there is a genus detective he is not only smarter than everyone (and makes sure people know it and often belittles them) but even if the audience thought the hero was fooled, he actually knew what was coming all along.
But shi-mok has made mistakes. The biggest being that while his skill allowed him to act and make discoveries quickly, they also put the wrong man in jail. He also left figureprints on that smaller kitchen knife as well as at house because he did did not they would cause later harm. He may react or attempt to fix these mistakes better than most but he still is cabable of error.
I don't think (and I doubt anyone else does) less of of shi-mok's intelligence because of these mistakes. Instead it elevates the drama by making the hero and the antagonist so much more compelling.

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Yes!

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Shi-mok is so delightful! I keep feeling that this is a spin-off of Mystery Queen coz Shi-mok reminds me so much of Inspector Woo with his super brain and awkward demeanor...
The way he turned the table and suddenly be the one who interrogates Deputy Chief is just coldly brilliant.
Min-ah being alive shocked the hell out of me. Am super curious as to know whether this is on purpose or a murderer's mistake, seems a lot of things hinge on this. Is it a murder to keep things quiet, or a show to uncover the dirty people?
If Shi-mok is known for his investigation MO plus being a straight guy, maybe whoever the big bad is throwing crumbs for him to follow instead of trying to frame him, like making him a hunting dog of sort. Had a feeling this have something to do with the missing money, coz usually that's where the evil comes from...

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Is these characters hairstyle sujjest something ? Just observation, good guys part their hair left side and bad guys right side. What about Eun Soo' s mother.... she seems innocent, quite but is she?

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I found myself nodding in agreement at many instances while going through the recap. Thanks SailorJumum for the thorough analysis. ??

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Rewatching this series on Viu in preparation for season 2.

Just noticed that around 5:25, there's a bunch of high-stimuli shots (super close up, loud shutter sounds, bright flashes) of Min-Ah's body. And then we move to Shimok closing his eyes, and the intensity turns out, as if he's dialing all the stimuli down to focus on his mental reconstruction of the scene. This show really amazes me.

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Turns out...? what in the world am I saying?

Meant: turns DOWN.

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