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Forest of Secrets: Episode 6

Our prosecutor-lieutenant duo are well on their way to solidifying what seems to be a beautiful friendship. All throughout this murder case, and perhaps even his life, Shi-mok hasn’t faced one person without an ulterior motive of their own. At least with Yeo-jin, he can let go of some of his uncertainty and confide in someone. And after years of working alone, the thought of having someone by his side – someone on his side – must be a welcome relief.

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

Eun-soo tells Shi-mok the meaning behind her secret confrontation with CEO Park – she’d wanted him to reveal that he’d framed her father and that her father had never taken any bribes. She figured she could convince him since CEO Park had been in debt and would’ve had nothing to lose.

“But,” Eun-soo says, her expression hardening, “He belittled me.” She fumes at the memory with CEO Park, cursing him for only seeing her as a worthless female prosecutor. Even so, she claims that she didn’t kill him — she couldn’t have killed him when she needed his confession about her father.

Shi-mok looks up at her, saying she very well could have if it would’ve been beneficial for CEO Park’s death to become a hot topic. She finds the idea ridiculous, so he asks why she eavesdropped on his conversation with Deputy Chief Lee then.

Well, Eun-soo, argues, why did he pretend he didn’t know anything? Shi-mok says that he wants to know what she thinks he knows, and Eun-soo blurts out that the culprit is obviously Deputy Chief Lee, what with there being a strong motive (feeling threatened by the dirt CEO Park had on him). Shi-mok throws back that being rejected and belittled like she was is just as strong a motive.

On top of that, he adds that she was the last person who met with CEO Park before he died. And Shi-mok is sure that she wouldn’t have felt the need to admit that if he hadn’t already figured it out – so is she trying to “come clean” in order to place all the blame on the deputy chief?

Growing more agitated, Eun-soo then asks why she would hurt Min-ah (whose real name is Ga-young) if she didn’t know her. When Shi-mok has an answer even for that, Eun-soo seems tired of this back-and-forth game they’re playing. She sarcastically apologizes for not being able to lift a huge stack of papers when she so clearly was capable of tying an unconscious woman up to a faucet.

Shi-mok notes that since Ga-young was tied up for the whole world to see, why would Deputy Chief Lee do that when he’d want to dispose of her quietly? It seems he’s finally stumped Eun-soo, because she has no answer to that. She quickly tries to come up with another argument, but Shi-mok ends their discussion there and gets up to leave (since the cafeteria is closing soon, lol).

At Yongsan, the police discuss what they should do with Shi-mok, unwilling to just accept his statement about re-enacting CEO Park’s murder. They all decide that it doesn’t make any sense and that without a witness, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t bring him in.

As they start to file out, Yeo-jin thinks back to Shi-mok wielding the knife and realizes that now is the time to speak up. “I saw him!” she calls out, making everyone freeze and turn back to her. She explains that she’d seen him re-enact the murder the night they discovered that the black box footage of CEO Park was fake.

A smug Dong-jae saunters over to the floor, amazed at the ruckus the police caused when they’d had a witness right in front of them. When he suggests that their team should learn to communicate better, Yeo-jin suggests that he and his fellow prosecutors ought to do the same, since they only complicated matters.

Dong-jae starts to storm out, though he freezes by the door when Yeo-jin tells her team leader that CEO Park may have a deeper connection with Min-ah/Ga-young than they’d initially thought. Dong-jae stays just out of sight to eavesdrop, his eyes going wide as Yeo-jin reveals that CEO Park’s son, Kyung-wan, was Ga-young’s sunbae at school. She still doesn’t know if they knew each other, but she intends to find out.

Just then, Dong-jae’s phone starts ringing, blaring out a pop song and earning everyone’s attention. Ignoring their stares, he merely leaves and mumbles that this is a strange development.

News of Shi-mok becoming a suspect has spread at the prosecutor’s office, and Section Chief Kang thinks they should be taking it seriously – he orders one of his subordinates to do some investigating on Shi-mok.

Shi-mok finally hears back from the hotel he’d called and heads over to his office to watch the CCTV footage. He ends up in the same elevator as Dong-jae, and the two stand there stiffly, side-eyeing each other.

Shi-mok notes that Dong-jae smells of perfume and is hiding a mask in his pocket, meaning that he met with a women with his face covered.

At his home, Deputy Chief Lee asks his wife where his father-in-law (who we’ll now call Chairman Lee) went, and she answers that he went to “that place.” Recalling their conversation about Ga-young at dinner, Deputy Chief Lee worries that the chairman has already discovered his connection with her.

“Honey,” Yeon-jae says, her back to her husband. “If I weren’t a certain someone’s daughter, would you still be by my side?” He answers, like it’s obvious, that he would’ve left a long time ago if it meant leaving her father. As he moves to walk away, Yeon-jae says in the same sweet, creepy tone that he must be worried about the girl in the news (Ga-young).

Shi-mok plays through the hotel footage until he finds Ga-young. He sees that she’d only been in Deputy Chief Lee’s room for a short time, so he wonders if the deputy chief’s story was true. However, he takes a closer look when Ga-young starts talking to someone just out of frame. Shi-mok wonders if this person is another man who rang for “Bell.”

While driving out in the city, Yeo-jin spots Shi-mok walk by and right into… a makeup store? Confused, she follows him inside and watches him curiously as he smells several different perfumes. She thinks back to all the negative rumors surrounding him, her suspicion rising. She approaches him and says that he should at least eat dinner, and though he’s surprised to see her, he does follow her out.

Over dinner, Yeo-jin wonders how the late Kang Jin-sub would feel if he knew that the privileged were still getting away with things. Shi-mok simply states that he has neither power nor money, but Yeo-jin just stares at him and asks if he knew Ga-young beforehand.

Instead of answering, Shi-mok whips out his tablet and motions her over to show her the hotel footage. She almost freaks out when he and Ga-young walk into frame together, then relaxes a bit when she sees them go their separate ways.

Shi-mok fast-forwards to Ga-young’s mystery man in the hall, and Yeo-jin is rendered speechless when the man is pulled into frame – it’s Police Chief Kim. Shi-mok then lets her know that Chief Kim’s buddy, Deputy Chief Lee, was in the room Ga-young had entered.

As they walk back, Shi-mok suddenly accuses Yeo-jin of being the culprit (and she’s totally offended since she just took him out to eat, ha). He hypothesizes that if someone wanted to frame him, it would be her, since she was the only person who knew that he touched the knife.

Or, Yeo-jin speculates, someone else could’ve been watching them. But rather than frame him, they both believe that the culprit is trying to toy with Shi-mok.

They pass by a store playing TWICE’s “TT” and Shi-mok stops in his tracks, recognizing it as the song he heard when the supposed kidnapper answered Ga-young’s phone. In a hilarious attempt to figure out where the lyrics started, he sings the tune in a completely tone-deaf voice until Yeo-jin realizes that it’s exactly how Dong-jae’s ringtone sounded. With a new lead on their hands, they head back to the prosecutor’s office.

The two reach the office just as Dong-jae exits the building and strides toward his car. Shi-mok quickly pulls out his phone and dials Dong-jae’s number, and sure enough, the same song starts playing, just as Shi-mok remembers. We see in flashback that Dong-jae had picked up Ga-young’s phone when Shi-mok called, and that his own phone had started ringing in the background.

Dong-jae holds his phone up at Shi-mok in annoyance, but Shi-mok waves him off, lying that he must’ve called by accident. Once Dong-jae leaves, Shi-mok and Yeo-jin agree to go back and start at the beginning: the room salon.

Once in front of the room salon’s hostess, Shi-mok can tell by her perfume that she’s the woman Dong-jae met up with earlier. She takes Shi-mok and Yeo-jin into a private room to talk, only to be instantly hammered by their questions.

The hostess crosses her arms defensively as Shi-mok and Yeo-jin speculate that she’d been threatened by Dong-jae, so she’d given him Ga-young’s address in secret. Shi-mok says she must be great at keeping secrets since she still kept her mouth shut when one of her employees was stabbed, and Yeo-jin specifically asks if she really cared more about saving herself than another woman in danger.

Having had enough, the hostess does admit that she gave Dong-jae the address, adding that she believes that Dong-jae couldn’t have hurt Ga-young because he’s a prosecutor. “If we can’t trust prosecutors, then who in the world can we trust?” she asks. Shi-mok nods, saying she had to believe that in order to free herself from the blame. In fact, he continues, Dong-jae must’ve come earlier so that they could set their stories straight.

The hostess finds it unfair that they’re making her look bad when prosecutors can barely do anything about the men who beat bar girls. “So?” Shi-mok returns. “Are you saying you’ll join hands with those who stab and beat up girls?” The hostess doesn’t want to answer any more questions and orders them out if they’re not here to drink.

Before leaving, Yeo-jin steps closer to the hostess and asks if it would make her feel better to know that she wasn’t the only one that leaked Ga-young’s address, referring to the taxi driver. “But at least he reported to the police. What did you do?” Yeo-jin says, leaving the hostess shaken.

Once outside, Yeo-jin asks Shi-mok why he didn’t mention his suspicions about Dong-jae earlier. He answers that he hadn’t meant to keep them from her; it just happened that way.

Shi-mok also admits that he knew that Dong-jae didn’t exactly have the highest performance ratings at work, so he figured that he would’ve found Ga-young’s address before Dong-jae. Yeo-jin guesses that he must’ve felt superior to Dong-jae, which is why he underestimated him.

Realizing that she’s right, Shi-mok finds it interesting that that’s the only emotion he’s able to feel. Yeo-jin is curious as to why he makes it seem like he doesn’t feel other emotions. Taking in his silence, she pulls out her handy little notebook to make a crude sketch of his brain.

She draws out different compartments, pointing out that a decent chunk of his brain is his determination to solve the case, while a teeny part is for his feeling of superiority. Shi-mok points to the biggest compartment, and she explains that it contains his other emotions. “You may not show them, but they must be there,” she tells him.

As Yeo-jin drives Shi-mok home, they think over Dong-jae’s activities after the room salon, assuming he could’ve hired someone to kidnap Ga-young. Yeo-jin asks him about any other suspects he may have, and he tells her that Chief Kim is another suspect, since he could have just as many connections as Dong-jae.

Yeo-jin reminds Shi-mok that he’s still a suspect as well, then sighs that crime sure does bring in a lot of distrust between the two of them. “Between us two?” he repeats, clearly liking the sound of that. He looks out the window, an actual smile appearing on his face. (Omo!) However, Yeo-jin doesn’t seem to catch it.

After she drops him off, she takes out her notebook to add Chief Kim’s name to her chart of suspects. She taps over Shi-mok’s name before finally crossing it out completely.

But when she gets home sometime later, she’s surprised to find Kyung-wan waiting there for her.

CEO Park’s mom is ecstatic to have her grandson back, especially when he reveals that he left the army early to be with her.

Yeo-jin walks in on the two hugging and watches Kyung-wan carefully as she turns on the news about Ga-young. Kyung-wan does look up at the mention of Ga-young and his father, but only to ask Yeo-jin to shut it off.

Yeo-jin steps out to leave for work again and Kyung-wan follows her outside, asking when they can return to their old house since he doesn’t want to keep imposing on Yeo-jin.

Yeo-jin asks him about Ga-young, and while he says that he did know of her, he claims that they never exchanged words at school. Still, Yeo-jin would like him to come down to the station tomorrow for an interview. When he hesitantly agrees, Yeo-jin smiles and turns to leave.

As soon as Yeo-jin is out of sight, Kyung-wan quickly takes out his phone and goes through photos of Ga-young that were taken without her knowledge, deleting every one of them. He also deletes a chatroom with friends, though we see one message that implies he had a one-sided crush on her. Kyung-wan then returns inside, having not noticed that Yeo-jin was watching from the staircase.

Shi-mok is left with his thoughts in his apartment, focusing on Deputy Chief Lee’s firm claim that he didn’t kill anyone. He sits down to jot every suspect’s name down, including the deputy chief, Chairman Lee, Dong-jae, Eun-soo, Eun-soo’s father, and Chief Kim.

He circles every name that wanted CEO Park dead and every name that wanted Ga-young to disappear. Finally, he circles the one name that would want to punish Deputy Chief Lee: Eun-soo’s father, Young Il-jae.

Shi-mok flashes back to him meeting Young Il-jae by the river, where the older man had asked Shi-mok to protect Eun-soo at all costs. He’d said that his daughter was too young and naïve to face a world so cruel, not wanting her to end up like Ga-young.

“Who is the culprit?” Shi-mok had asked, taking Il-jae aback. He’d pointed out that Il-jae wasn’t worrying about Eun-soo doing her best to catch the culprit. Shi-mok goes on to say that if the culprit and the person who caused Il-jae’s downfall three years ago weren’t the same person, he wouldn’t have to worry about Eun-soo ending up like Ga-young. Plus, he wouldn’t have asked Shi-mok to protect her if the culprit wasn’t always near them.

Il-jae had shaken his head, saying there was no way Deputy Chief Lee was the culprit since he knew him and acted as his mentor for ten years. But Shi-mok had pointed out that Deputy Chief Lee disrespected all those years by betraying him. But Il-jae made it clear that he didn’t believe that Deputy Chief Lee was the type of person to kill someone.

Hands shaking, Il-jae had firmly stated that it was all that selfish Chairman Lee’s doing. Shi-mok had stood up then, saying that he couldn’t keep the promise of protecting Eun-soo. “If you tell me to get stabbed in her place, I can do it. But do you think it’s possible to control someone?” Shi-mok had asked.

Back in the present, Shi-mok sees that everyone is just blaming who they want to strike down. Dong-jae is targeting him, and Il-jae is targeting Chairman Lee. But what he can’t figure out is why he keeps coming back to Deputy Chief Lee.

On his way to work the next day, Shi-mok gets a call from Yeo-jin, who tells him that Dong-jae will be out interviewing Kyung-wan at the police station. And with Dong-jae out, Shi-mok can get inside his office and search for Ga-young’s phone.

However, Shi-mok isn’t sure how to get past the female clerk in Dong-jae’s office. It seems like a lost cause until an eager Eun-soo finds him, more than happy to be of help.

Eun-soo comes running into the office, telling the clerk that she’s missing some important files that Dong-jae gave her. She gets the clerk out and running to retrieve the papers, giving Shi-mok the opportunity to sneak in.

Eun-soo joins him moments later and helps him search the room for Ga-young’s phone. But before they get very far, they hear someone coming their way. They freeze as the footsteps get closer…

It’s the male clerk, there to deliver Dong-jae’s mail. But thankfully, Shi-mok and Eun-soo were quick enough to duck behind the desk, and Eun-soo seems much more keenly aware of their proximity than Shi-mok does, even as he covers her mouth with his hand. The clerk leaves the mail behind and leaves, much to their relief, but they jump at the sound of Shi-mok’s phone ringing. The clerk comes back in to investigate, his eyes landing on the desk.

But before they can get caught, Eun-soo jumps up to take the blame alone. She tells the clerk that she’d simply snuck in to find a missing file, and bats her eyelashes to get the clerk to promise not to tell Dong-jae. She pushes him out of the room, offering to buy him coffee in gratitude. Once the coast is clear, Shi-mok gives up his search and leaves as well.

Eun-soo later retreats to her own office, eventually connecting the missing dots between Deputy Chief Lee and Ga-young.

Shi-mok gets called to lunch by his middle school friend Jung-bon, though he’s clearly not buying the smile pasted on his friend’s face. Jung-bon brings up Ga-young’s case, speaking as if he already knows all the details. (One suspicious look from Shi-mok prompts him to claim that he saw it on the internet.)

Shi-mok then brings up Jung-bon’s presence amongst the mob of reporters outside CEO Park’s house the night Ga-young was found, finding it odd that they’ve run into each other so many times recently despite not seeing each other for twenty years. Jung-bon just smiles again, saying it must be fate.

Meanwhile, Section Chief Kang’s subordinate tracks down Shi-mok’s stepfather and tricks him into revealing everything concerning Shi-mok’s brain surgery.

The subordinate finds out that all of Shi-mok’s emotions — such as trust, empathy and guilt — might’ve been subdued or completely removed, and he relays all of this information to (who else?) Deputy Chief Lee. It all starts to make sense to the deputy chief now.

Deputy Chief Lee joins his father-in-law for a meeting of important-looking people, and on their way there, they discuss the Public Prosecutor General and his potential leave. Chairman Lee chides the deputy chief for missing the chance to take over the position, asking if he’s that unambitious or foolish.

However, Deputy Chief Lee cuts in to say that his goal wasn’t to become the next Public Prosecutor General. Chairman Lee finally looks at him with a bit of approval and tells him to go on and make his move, then.

Dong-jae returns to his office and immediately senses that something’s off. Upon seeing his belongings shifted around, he bursts out of the room and demands to know if anyone’s been in there. The female clerk lets it slip that Eun-soo had asked for a favor and sent her out of the office.

That’s all he needs to hear for him to go storming into Eun-soo’s office as he yells her name and drags her out by the wrist. Shi-mok goes after them and grabs Dong-jae, suggesting he let go of Eun-soo before he gets clocked for violence.

Dong-jae laughs dryly, assuming there’s something going on between Shi-mok and Eun-soo. But before he presses further, they all stop at the sight of Deputy Chief Lee entering the hall.

Section Chief Kang squeezes past to get to Deputy Chief Lee, having just heard the announcement – and then he calls him “Chief Prosecutor Lee.” Oh, damn.

This news has all the prosecutors filing out into the hall, where they immediately congratulate him for becoming the first chief prosecutor out of the Violent Crimes Unit in years.

When everyone bows to the new chief prosecutor, Shi-mok is the only one left standing upright. Chief Prosecutor Lee snaps his gaze in his direction, forcing Shi-mok to bow along with the others.

 
COMMENTS

Now that’s one big game changer. Deputy Chief – er, Chief Prosecutor – Lee has continuously presented himself as a villain still well-grounded in reality, having all the power and status while still wanting to stick to his roots. Despite where he is now, he’s made it clear that he believes a prosecutor is still a prosecutor, and no amount of corruption can change that. But now that Chief Prosecutor Lee is settling into a higher position, will he be taking those beliefs with him, or will he be leaving them at the doorstep? There must’ve been plenty of people who have been in his shoes, only to gradually forget their beliefs the higher they got on the food chain. Chairman Lee is a good example of that – all the big baddies gotta start somewhere.

I fear that Chief Prosecutor Lee will start losing that human side of him, but I also fear that this change in the office will only make things more complicated for Shi-mok. Just as Shi-mok thought, no matter how many people he suspects or how many theories he cooks up, he always comes circling back to Chief Prosecutor Lee. He’ll need to find the reason why if he wants to solve this case, but now he’s dealing with someone of much higher standing, meaning that he’ll have to be more careful than he already is (if that’s even possible).

It was nice to see Shi-mok get a lot more assistance this episode, specifically from Yeo-jin and Eun-soo. I still don’t trust Eun-soo or her extreme eagerness to help, but it’s safe to say that she doesn’t pose a serious threat. She’s the best asset that Shi-mok can get in the prosecutor’s office and it’s great to see them finally working together. Their scenes were cool and intense (especially with that confrontation in the opening), but I still found myself enjoying Shi-mok’s scenes with Yeo-jin just a teensy bit more.

They’re still keeping each other at arm’s length due to their lingering suspicions, but even they can see that the natural rapport they have going on is undeniable. I love that with Yeo-jin, Shi-mok doesn’t feel the need to explain things right away – he knows she’ll reach the right conclusion eventually. And in turn, Yeo-jin is able to push past the terrible things she hears about Shi-mok and see what others may not.

There is a tinge of sadness whenever we see Shi-mok alone in his office or alone in his apartment. He may not show any loneliness on the outside, but as Yeo-jin described in her adorable little sketch, his emotions must still be alive somewhere — it’s almost like they were muted rather than taken away. We see hints of emotion every now and then (like his happiness when Yeo-jin said “us”), so they’re definitely there. And seeing him discover that he still may have them almost makes him seem like a little boy experiencing something for the first time. But now that we know that those emotions may still be there, I’m worried about what may happen if they suddenly decide to spring up out of nowhere. Will Shi-mok be able to handle it?

 
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THAT SMILE

THAT SMILE

Also Yeo-jin's shut-down of Dong-jae I literally went "OHH sick burn". Though I wish Yeo-jin would just be a little more careful when she's sharing info. Like talk quieter or something.

I feel like Yeo-jin is slowly taming Shi-mok the way people forge relationships with stray cats. She gives him plenty of space, doesn't come with expectations, FEEDS him, and gives him care where he needs it most. YES YEO-JIN GOGO. At the same time I love how she is still lowkey investigating the family. She gives them a place to stay, which is a perfect way to observe and double-check alibis without being upfront about it. Contrary to what other people have been saying, I find Yeo-jin incredibly smart. She's not as hyper-focused on cases the way Shi-mok is, but every time he mentions his thought process to her, she catches on immediately and is able to continue it and find faults or alternatives.

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It was great to see Yeo Jin vouch for Shi Mok and she seems respected as no one really questioned her. They make a great team and she knows how to help him out, she feeds him, helped him with the "Twice" ring tone situation, and her drawing of his brain was the best.

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That smile was everything!! I had been having some doubts about ShiMok, since he freaked me out with the seemingly out of no where violence (shouting out Kang JinSeob's widow, choking the taxi driver). I'd been worried that this "procedure" he'd had done to him as a kid had taken away his ability to feel positive emotions-- and the constant negativity from his colleagues and the nature of his job certainly wasn't helpful.

But! Even though now we've got real evidence that ShiMok can feel at least 3 things (happy, angry, and superior), it makes me wonder what else he's got hiding behind that placid exterior? Hopefully, YeoJin and ShiMok will have more scenes together next week so we can start unravel what makes them both tick.

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Kudos to the actor and writer though. It's hard to make characters with such placid exteriors empathetic, but they both succeed with flying colors. A less seasoned or less talented actor would not be able to pull it off. And his voice is so warm, so calm, almost hypnotic.

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Yes!! Yes!! That smile. THAT SMILE!! In all my years of watching kdrama I had the most emotional response to that smile. For the first time I rewatched a scene just for the smile. I fell in love with Hwang Shi-mok just for the smile. It's been two aye since since watched the episode and it still gets me. Ok! Rant over.
Shi-mok seems more aware of Yeo-Jin's reactions to him. He reacts to her statements in his low-key way. For example, when they are walking out of the room salon one of the hostess (the one who pointed him to the taxi driver in ep5) says to Shi-mok something like "you come here a lot" and Yeo-jin just looks back at Shi-mok and he pauses a bit before following her. It's almost like he wants to explain but doesn't know what to do. Just shows he's very aware of her.
Also, I've always thought that he has emotions they are just very low-key, like muted matte colors instead of vibrant metallic colors. His interactions with Yeo-Jin show those beautiful matte colors.
I also am starting to move from like to love on Yeo-Jin. She is smart, calm, and warm. Her generosity to CEO Park's mom is genuine but that doesn't blind her to any suspicious of CEO Park's son. I love that she is able to give people chances without being naive.
This show is SO GREAT! I miss it so much during the week. I hope they keep up the quality.

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Yes, that was an interesting moment leaving the room salon. He doesn't seem to care or conditioned himself not to care what other people think of him, but it seems like he is starting to think a little about what she might think of him. She had already asked him before if he rang the "Bell" so the topic of his possible predilections was already out there.

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Honestly I was waiting to check off the inevitable "When She Smiles" trope for a while now, but that was some clutch execution. I'm impressed.

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Am loving the stray cat analogy ^^

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Stray cat is a good analogy. In episode 3, when she was escorting him out of the office with her hand on his arm and then his back, it seemed like she was adopting him.

It's an interesting contrast how Shim-mok has all these inner voiceovers while Yeo-jin doesn't seem to have an unspoken thought.

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Poor Shi Mok, can't eat his meals in peace lol

His subtle expression when Yeo Jin gave him a gift and her saying 'us' (he found his ally *yay*). These 2 are so endearing together and I look forward to their synergy

I feel the wife is the mastermind behind Ga young's case (she looks like the female figure visiting the hospital in the preview for the next ep.). She prob knows a lot of what's going on to keep her husband on a leash

I honestly cannot get a read on Jung Bon. He gives off a naive, inferior demeanour or of someone that you think can't do any harm but maybe that's a facade and he's actually insidious since it's really suspicious why he keeps running into Shi Mok and mentioning info. that he shouldn't know about? I need to know if he's really unemployed, is he someone's minion or is he working at his own accord (against shi mok) !?!

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My suspects of the person behind the Ga-young case:
- Chief Lee's wife
-Police Chief Kim
-Seo Dong-jae (perhaps through a contract killer?)
They all have a motive to kill her, but I feel like the answer that would help us gain more insight into this unknown mastermind is:
(1) whether the person behind Ga-young's case and Mr. Park's murder are one and the same?
(2) Is the culprit doing this to punish Chief Lee or to sniff out Shi-mok?

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Yeah, I also suspect Chief Lee's wife as the master mind of this case. But CEO Park's son also really suspicious in this episode. I don't think he only have crush on Ga Young, but kinda obsess with her seeing how much picture he had. Also with his father debt, I do think he have motif to kill CEO Park. What if, this is not one person doing it? Goodness, I can't wait for weekend to come.

Btw, Shi Mok sure wants to kill me. His smile in the car just make me "!!!" - so adorable, so sweet, yet so sad in the same times. Also love the scene where he walks to his apartment and Yeo Jin asked him to walks straight. Yeo Jin and Shi Mok is what I called opposite attract done right.

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I just suspect every single body in this show beside Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin.
why everyone just soo suspicious?

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Lol, me too. Everybody literally have something something in their hands, either motif or information. If only I can fast forward and see the spoiler (-_-)

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This is just a theory. I also think it's probable that the mastermind behind gayoung's case is deputy chief lee's wife. Though I'm not sure of her motive. On one hand maybe she misunderstood that he had an affair with gayoung and had her killed for it. Considering what dong Jae said in the previous episode ( that by leaving her alive but severely impaired the culprit may have wanted to give out a greater punishment) and how the killer slashed her, it sounds like something a psychotic jealous wife would do. And she might have done it to send out a message to deputy chief lee. She almost seemed to you with deputy chief lee with questions about gayoung. This would mean that gayoung's death is unrelated to CEO parks death and the killer unknowingly framed shi mok by using the knife.
Another motive for the wife could be that she wanted to help deputy chief by removing gayoung. Dong Jae said in the previous episode that someone seems to be helping deputy chief lee every time.
I'm not sure how dong Jae fits into this and how shi mok heard his ringtone when he called gayoung. I still can't reconcile dong Jae with twice's ringtone lol.

Another theory: deputy lee with his skewed sense of justice may be pulling strings so that shi mok can expose the corruption in the organisations. He seems to really want to believe in shi mok's goodness and seems disappointed whenever he thinks shi mok might not be as incorruptible as he thinks he is. I noticed that deputy chief lee seems really uncomfortable in chairman lee's presence who we all know is corrupt to the bone. I also wonder whether he is in cahoots with eunsoo's dad who we know that deputy chief lee respects. And eunsoo's dad came strongly in defence for deputy chief lee when he was talking with shi mok,

What say beanies?

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I meant to say that deputy chief lee's wife seemed to toy with him with her questions about gayoung.

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"...er, it sounds like something a psychotic jealous wife would do. " Gosh this made me laugh. Are we talking about something so 'normal' an act in dramaland or in real life??

As well, agree with Chief Lee and SM. Lee really likes him doesn't he! Lee and the disgraced in cahoots, not sure of he has that much of guts , Lee I mean, and the father well he pretty much is resigned. The plot is getting wound tighter and tighter I hope the writer director know how to pull it all off. It seems risky with every episode upping the stakes for the characters and for the viewer as well.

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Haha! In dramaland obviously. Though I'm pretty sure some women out there have thought similar scenarios in their heads ;)

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So, I was enjoying this show so far, but this episode pushed it over into love for me.

The way the writer set up the plot is pretty great, because with every reveal some questions get answered and some new questions come up which helps me not lose interest, because with a mystery drama that is always a risk and while the characters are not complete cypher's anymore there's still a lot unclear about them even if their motivations are obvious for the most part.

Speaking of characters, how amazing was that scene with Yeo-jin and Shi-mok. Yeo-jin must be one of the few people who can take him at face value without being either creeped out by his seeming non-reactions or odd and anti-social behaviour. And as you said Sailorjumun, Shi-mok knows he can at least trust her reasoning and knows she's smart enough to make most of the logic leaps herself without him explaining much to her.

I am honestly loving their rapport right now. I wonder how long it's been since Shi-mok smiled a smile that wasn't faked for someone else's benefit. Ah I can't wait to see where this goes.

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Shi Mok taking a spoonful of rice and the phone ringing.

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Shi Mok taking a spoonful of rice and the phone ringing.

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Thank you, SailorJumun, for the excellent recap! This show is such a perfect combination of writing, directing and acting (but really, I find the leads to be a fascinating watch......)

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Like you, the writing, directing, and acting stand out in the sea of Dramas this season. This work oozes the style of the writer Lee Soo-Youn.

If this is the standard of Soo-Youn's current work, her upcoming film (writing/directing) "Bluebeard" may be truely terrifying.

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Gaah, that smile was the cutest thing EVER!
Shi-mok's loneliness is so palpable, I just love seeing him gain an ally in Yeo-jin.

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I love how this show does such a great job of showing and not telling in its narrative. The perfect example is the scene in the car where Yeo-jin says "us" and Shi-mok repeats that and looks away with a tiny smile on his face. It does not need to be explicitly explained that Shi-mok has never before had an "us" before, and it is something that has been made visually explicit when we see him eat alone or get shunned by his co-workers.

Its a smarter way to tell stories when we are shown something on screen and allowed to make our own inferences. As mentioned in earlier reviews, it engages the audience with the story that way as we have to actively work to understand plot lines and character motives. And I for one absolutely love that about this show! I wish more shows would lead by example.

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How cute is that smile???? Shi Mok is so adorkzzz!!!! It's great that he's finally finding an ally in Yeo Jin. They make an awesome investigative/corruption-finding/mystery-solving pair *heart-eyes*

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Much like the other beanies, his smile made me squeal like it was ji chang wook kiss. It made me so happy. I am really loving the drama.

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I'm watching too many crimey, detectivey, mystery shows. Forest, Duel, Circle, Lookout, Lookout for the Duel in the Forest Circle, etc, etc.
Clues and complications cross-contaminate.
When the promotion to Chief Prosecutor was announced, I was like "Wait a minute, wasn't that going to whats-his-face from which-other-show?"
Next season I need to limit myself to just one of those shows and pad the rest of my week with a rom-com, an historical, an office drama, etc.

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hehe same here, though i'm not watching as many of them as you. but i feel ya.

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Lol

I feel ya! I do get confused with the side characters a lot, since many of them feature in two or more concurrently running shows.

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Yeap, being chief prosecutor seems to be a pinnacle in one's career of villainy!

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I always wonder though....what kind of perfume are these women wearing that even only standing in close proximity can make their scent travel over to another person, even to the extent of being smellable after some time has passed. (he needed to get back from the place they met after all, right?) I want that scent. I could make everything in a 10 kilometer radius around me smell good. lol

Also, if I would be some shady a*s prosecutor doing some shady a*s things like answering a call on a dead girls phone...I might change my ringtone if it inconveniently was ringing just in that moment. Or maybe not have the most recognizable pop song as a ringtone in the first place? Though I still see it somewhat in line with his character so I am not bashing the logic of the show with that.

What Deputy Chief answered to his wife's question about wether or not he would leave her if she wasn't her father's daughter I must have completely misunderstood or the subtitles were bad because I remember reading something like: "I would have left. If you weren't your father's daughter I would have left your father a long time ago." Which I thought he meant in a sweet way, like he would have left her father and his corruption cause he only stays for her? Lol the tragic misunderstandings brought by confusing subtitles.

And I think they might have been just a tad bit too harsh to that hostess but maybe that's just me....I kinda felt bad to her even though she clearly did something bad.

I love Shi Mok's little facial expressions as always. I laughed at his eye-roll when Dong Jae was insinuating that he and Eun Soo might be an item. lol I loved his little confusion and surprised when Yeo Jin suddenly appeared behind him and told him to not skip meals. I could see his bit of ? moment when she still went on about him maybe having had a night or two with that Bell girl. And of course I loved the whole picture brain scene and what she asked him: Do you believe in aliens? And his answer: Yes, Byul lives just next door to me.
...jk sorry ? But their moment there was really cute and meaningful. :) And the best part of this episode was his smile. ?
It made me smile. I haven't stopped since, not for a second....it has become a problem because people think I don't take them serious anymore......

..... No jk again ?? I will stop with my dumb jokes now but it definitely makes me smile whenever I think about it.

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I had the same understanding as you with regards to the interaction between Chief Lee and his wife. Now I'm confused as to which one is correct. I'm tending towards what I read in the subtitles based on his previous interactions with his wife. He seems to be (or pretending to be) a loving slightly cowed husband, so it would be uncharacteristic of him to say he would leave her.

I completely understand your reaction to the smile. I've been the same way since I saw it. I wrote a thesis on it further up in the comments on it. It was like the sun came out when he smiled! Oh no it's getting worse...

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I'm pretty sure the perfume was smelled on him cuz Dong-jae had sex with the madame. Dong-jae is established to be sleazy. Remember when Chief Prosecutor Lee told him he didn't assign the prostitute jobs to Dong-jae so he could "muck around with women all day"?

Too bad he's not more interesting. So far he's just the one-dimensional weasely bad guy. I was hoping for more moral grey area with Dong-jae as well.

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At first I also thought Dong-jae was a bit caricatured, but now I'm thinking he's deliberately written that way as the polar opposite of Shi-mok. Dumb, paranoid, lack of self control, driven by emotion and hormones and greed, without ideals, and thus easily manipulated, scorned, and discarded by those in power. No wonder Shi-mok feels superior.

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I think more depth is coming when it comes to Dong Jae's character.. We already discovered he has been underestimated by Shi Mok all along. But I do hope that this character will become more interesting throughout the drama.

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Ah, I thought he just talked with her about what story she is supposed to tell but you are right...he might as well could have slept with her I guess.

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We all know that dong Jae is not the most competent person. I think that's why he behaves rashly and violently.

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so i just got into this show in the past couple days, thanks to some beanie posts!!, and i am LOVING it. ?????? so much. that smile this ep was literally my favorite drama moment all week (the competition was fierce though ?). i can't keep track of all the names of the characters yet, so these recaps are my lifeline. but i'm so excited to see how everything plays out. thanks for getting me here, beanies!

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Loving the show so far - just about the only one this season that I am addicted to.

And one of the best things about it is that it is not full of the usual common and extremely over used tropes, such as every cop being lazy and stupid, the stupid slapstick sidekick that just gets annoying by the 2nd episode, and the constant filler conversations and lectures about "eating right". The conversations and interactions seem a lot more real and relatable.

(Seriously, some shows use various "food tropes" so much that it can take up 20% or more of the show).

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Well, she did say he should not skip meals this episode. ^^

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I love Yeo-jin so much.
She might not be the prettiest of the bunch or constantly in Tomb Raider's mode, but she's the only one till now who is unfazed by Shi-Mok's seemingly indifferent exterior and blunt remarks. Even when Shi-mok voices his suspicion of her she just laughs it off as if he was joking. I love their interactions so much because it feels like they are both at ease in each other's company. She reads him well and he trusts her like no other. Even when he says she's the only one who was with him at the crime scene when he was reenacting the murder, the way he speaks is very different than when he voices his suspicion toward other people. Less steely, less accusing, if you know what I mean. So far they have made the best comrades and companion I'm always hungry for more of their interactions as they work together toward the same goal. Friendship goal right there :) .

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Yep, agree with you. I love how Yeo Jin being written in this show, she is smart and warm, kinda naive but not in the stupid way. She just want to believe in humanity, I think. Eventhou she suspect Shi Mok, she didn't jump to the conclusion. Instead, she observe him, communicate and try to understand him better as human. This also probably because Bae Doona is the one act as Yeo Jin. In less competent writer or actress, Yeo Jin probably will become your typical naive female cop in k-drama land.

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Yeo Jin gives me such a warm unnie feel lol ^^
I love her too!!

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This not a romance drama, but I really hope she can live or be Shi Mok neighbor or something. Please brighten his place, Yeo Jin

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I find Shi-mok fascinating but I love my girl Yeo-jin. I love the calm and realistic way Bae Doo-na is portraying her.
I haven't seen this episode yet but was it ever revealed why she was on probation for?

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Isn't it because she was the one who told the press about the blood on the fence? Which means she basically acknowledge the fact that police and prosecutor make a mistake and arrest an innocent people (i.e. Kang Jin-sub).

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I'm loving the chemistry/rapport between Shi Mok and Yeo Jin. She actually made him smile and feel close to her with her "Waste of Space" analogy. Something I suspect Shi Mok hasn't felt since his operation. I fear that the doctors may have overestimated the effect of the operation as Shi Mok does feel things below the surface, he just doesn't express them as instantly or intensely as the average adult.

I hate seeing him so defeated when he's alone as if he's accepted the fact no one will ever love him or care for him. So to see him connect with someone, even if it is only friendship is heartwarming to me. I did notice that he has become a lot more protective of Eun Soo and he demonstrates it by the way he curled his arms over her when they were hiding in the office; or by the way he tried to free her from the other Prosecutor's grasp. I think these are the effects from his conversation with Yeo Jin. He's opening himself up more.

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even if it is only friendship
It's already so much in my opinion ^^

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My favourite bits from this episode :
⭐ when he told eunsoo he's going to cafeteria because it'll close soon but in the end he didn't get to eat at all
⭐Yeojin fed him and went fully offended because he accused her after she bought him meal?
⭐The whole "dissecting brain" conversation
⭐"among us two?" AND THAT SMILE ADAGSHSVAJSHSJ

Shi-mok is actually a puppy whenever he's with yeojin. I noticed of how carefree yeojin is with skinship, like in episode 2 (or 3) when he asked about CEO Park's Mom in her office, or in this episode when she grabbed his arm and dragged him along, and Shi-mok always looks so confused with this lol.

Yeojin is human goals. Why stick with cold and badass characters when you can have warm, loyal, empathetic AND totally badass character? She's smart, on the top of that. The way she figures things out is with warm approach, like with CEO Park's mom and son. I love when she left the son alone but she still observed him quietly. And when she talked back to Seo Dong Jae. And when she suggested to raid dong jae's office. Yeojin is my favourite character, and I hope we'll get to see her backstory later.

On the other hand, the Chief Lee's wife is shady af. That jung bon friend is suspicious. I can't wait for next episode help

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"yeojin is human goals" so well put. i love the same things about her---how warm, passionate, and genuine she is. she's not afraid to show what she's feeling---whether that is warmth, disdain, confusion, or sympathy. totally awesome.

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Reg human goals - indeed, YJ is so endearing. I really would like to her back story. Shee has been through the grind thats for sure but she comes off as so warm and caring yet no nonsense in attitude. Her becoming suddenly conscious when SM asked about her bf, touching her hair adjusting her coat oh dear cutie. Or her stretching out after she wakes up, adorable.

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Also could someone please help me understand something I can't seem to make sense of from the sub? It's during the phone conversation between CP Lee and the prosecutor who was sent to dig up information about Shi-Mok's brain surgery. When the prosecutor reported back to CP Lee about Shi-Mok's condition, CP Lee said something along the line of, 'It's him. It's not good.' Or that's the subbed version I watched says.

Now I don't understand what CP Lee was referring to as 'not good'. Did he mean Shi-Mok's condition was not good, or it wouldn't be in his favour that Shi-Mok has such condition?

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My take when he said it to his subordinate is Shi-mok's condition is not good for the prosecutor office in general, seeing as Shi-mok is in the eye of the public and it'll look bad if they found out he got a psychological problem. But he might be thinking to himself, "It's not good, I can't use him now", who knows *suspecting everybody* ^^

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I assumed it was the latter, as they're all in the manipulation business (cue Game of Thrones theme) and how can you manipulate someone who doesn't feel fear or greed, for example? It's like trying to bribe Commander Data.

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The comparison to Data is apt! I think I read a comparison to Spock too; Startrek references abound ?

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I actually thought judging from the context that CP Lee's saying it's not advantageous for him if Shi-mok had that condition because it could easily be turned into a moving backstory of turning his life around. That's why Dong-jae looked so frustrated, because he wanted to use the backstory against Shi-mok but CP Lee shot his idea down.

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Thanks guys for your insights :D. That line sure can be interpreted differently and each has its own merit. I think it's safe to say that Shi-Mok's condition is not good to CP Lee's overall speaking, whether it is regarding his own agenda or the prosecutor office because he's representing the PO in a way too, so its reputation would also be his concern.

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This episode was awesome! Yeo jin and shi mok investigating together is my favourite part! I feel like each one is conducting their own investigation with the information they have. So, it's like everyone knows one facet of a multifaceted situation. Right now, I have no idea who is behind these murders. I don't think its dong jae, he has nothing to gain by killing min ah (ga young). He loses the one leverage he could have used against lee chang joon. So, how did he get his hands on her mobile? By the picture young il jae portrayed of chang joon, it doesn't feel like he would have killed either (though that could be the drama manipulating us). So, right now it feels like his father-in-law is capable of all this. But, that would be the easiest explanation of all and I don't think this drama does easy.

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Still not sure about the scene of him having Ga-young's phone, is that a real thing or just a conjecture by Shi-mok & Yeo-jin? Guess I too have that smidgeon sense of superiority in my brain against Dong-jae, coz find it hard to believe he is the culprit in her murder.

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Shi-mok + Yeo-jin is the heart of the story, but am finding Eun-soo intriguing too; the show portrayed her as smart plus she seems to be familiar with how Shi-mok's brain works, like how he was testing whether she is capable of lifting Ga-young's body. Was surprised when her father asked Shi-mok to protect her, and Shi-mok said he can take a stab for her, huh, are they that close? Or maybe it's just a figure of speech coz the next thing he did is taking her snooping Dong-jae's office, haha.
That last scene was unreal, am almost expecting the Chief Prosecutor to yell "off with his head" over Shi-mok not bowing...

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Actually ES has been on SM's radar since ep 1. He is very aware of her and is affected by her, doesnt show it overtly. I cannot get over the way he admonishes her over her tongue click in ep 1. It bothered him so much when it was nothing.

I felt that LCJ expected SM to not bow. Hes the only one who challenges him and LCJ likes him for that, approves of it as well.

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YeoJin: Do you believe in aliens?
ShiMok: Yes.
YeoJin: Why?
ShiMok: Otherwise there is too much space to waste.
YeoJin: Exactly. That's why your feelings must be somewhere in here. *circles drawing of ShiMok's head.*

*snort-chuckle*

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It's such a sweet gesture when she picked his filebag and took him to the dinner.
He is always surprised by her actions.

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Can't get enough of these two! The BTS that I saw was just pure adorable!

The writer is really creating that Forest of Secrets because my speculations are everywhere!

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I did not like the smile drawing brain dissection scene one bit. The whole thing about SM not being able to feel enough when all through the series so far shows otherwise. Else he'd be a robot. Bugger, what a ridiculous premise.
So I watch the series not thinking about the medical nonsense spouted about SM's brain because the takeways are greater. He is a lead with his own behavioural takes thats it.
What I like,
1. The acting from all is super. Every character even minor marks his / her presence. The bar owner (who is this actress please?) , Sergeant Kim turning to a comedic role in ep 5 and 6 I almost forgot he also is a sleaze until he peers into this lady's dress while interrogating her. Liked how the camera moves to outside the room during this, its a public place and yet his sleaze is in full form.

2. LCJ, he actor who plays him is marvellous. A mix of villainy , yet there is this code of ethics he follows that peeps out. His discomfort with his family (loved the scene when he taps his wife to ask her if they were talking behind his back) , his respect for SM more than he cares to admit almost makes one feel sympathetic towards him. I liked how he comes back after his new role with a pensive look rather than being happy. He likes SM a lot and it shows. Its to the actor's credit that he is able to evoke such positive and negative feels about him in the viewer. Super.

3. LCJ's wife. She's good the actress. The wife has visited the hospital and its shown in one of the making of videos online. She wants protect her hubby or bring him down not sure yet.

4. Bae Doona's portrayal of her character seems easy as she gives a chilled out vibe but repeat viewings , to see her expressions and dialogue delivery, nah, its not. She is very good. When she walks back to her home and suddenly stops to see that grandson outside, her look was that sighting a criminal she has been after and who simply walks into her web. Her surprise was so well conveyed.

5. Really like Doona's senior. One of my favourite scenes is her talk with him after they catch the child molester. He clearly likes her zeal and her ethics and likes her as a well performing junior but he is helpless in this web of corruption. Like his performance in every scene. His make up also is made to be so plain, appropriate for his role.

Eun Soo, the actress has been taken clearly for her side stares and her look down stares. The latter reserved for SM. How come he readily covers her mouth when he doesnt like ppl touching him?? Really threw me out of that scene.
I dont know but Eun Soo will always work alone, will join sides to gain some knowledge so that she gets her father's name back. Unless she matures in her investigative thinking, which I dont see happening now. But what I do see is the chemistry between her and SM. They have to get together soon. Make out and get all messy. I think both need this.

7. The lead actor paying SM is good. Its chaos what the...

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Continued from above:

7. The lead actor paying SM is good. Its chaos what the writer intended about his character but his portrayal of SM makes me consider him as just a guy who cares less about what others think of him. Not that medical jumbo stuff. This is to the actors credit.

8. The direction sets such a melancholic mood - through the lighting and camera angles. Sigh. at times, the scenes give off a a romantic vibe..and this is a crime procedural.

There is more but for now, Ill stop. :)

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I actually think that is part of the point of the brain surgery plot line. Like you said, the show has shown that shi-mok is capable of small ranges of real emotion whether that be the tiny smile, his sense of superiority, or his will to catch criminals. He is not a emotional robot as is led to believe.
However, this is different than a person who would just have a natural lack of access to emotions and empathy, because shi-mok state was not his choice and not only has the surgery repressed his emotions (tho not removed completely) but so has the idea that he is no longer supposed feel effected his perception of his emotional experiences post-surgery.
And i think a major aspect of his characterization will be exploring his ability to experience and understand emotions especially in the fact he is our hero when being completely removed from those basic human emotions would usually make a character a killer.

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'And i think a major aspect of his characterization will be exploring his ability to experience and understand emotions ' -
This is happening since episode 1. He does experience and express emotions and understands them, for himself , for others ,trough language and action that we have seen through out.

'especially in the fact he is our hero when being completely removed from those basic human emotions would usually make a character a killer' -
Does this mean all normal people who have access to the basic emotions (I didnt understand this, what are basic emotions) are killers?

Please dont get offended , I seriously am not sure what the creator intended for SM's character to be different because of the lobotomy. Cheers.

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The bar owner (who is this actress please?)

yes please, we need this charismatic Lady's name!!

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I also rolled my eyes first when the show started with the lobotomy stuff....I guess I am okay with it now because we were never given such firm rules. They said his emotions could be limited or gone. And as we see it's the former: they are limited, not gone. I still think his behavior and emotional depth is so far off from the norm that it warrants some form of explanation. I guess from a medical perspective though we could probably assume that it's all kind of nonsense. *shrugs* Idk, the brain is mysterious. lol ? Whatever makes the fiction work I guess.

I also agree with you on the part with the mouth covering....that was just weird. She isn't some little kid after all, you could expect her to keep quiet on her own, she didn't give him any reason to think otherwise. And he didn't even press his hand firmly on her mouth so even if she let out a noise, his mouth covering business wouldn't have helped much anyways.

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This show........I like how the characters are written.
First of all, in most shows where we have an eccentric, emotionally distant, talented protagonist, every other person around them is made a bit slow and clueless on purpose to showcase their talents. One of the things that I hate in Sherlock is how people at Scotland Yard looks so incompetent all the time. But this isn't the case here.
Prosecutors are supposed to be smart and that is exactly the case here. Dong-Jae, Shi-Mok underestimated him based on his qualifications but turns out he was perhaps one step ahead of Shi-Mok in finding Min-Ah's home. Same goes for Eun Soo, she knew why Shi-Mok had asked her to lift that heavy load of papers right away. Dong Jae also noticed that his office was searched pretty fast. In crime thrillers only the main guy notices those tiny details and here everybody is hyper aware. No matter what shade the character is, they all are pretty smart and even if they are either guided by emotion, impulse, greed or survival instinct, none of them are needlessly painted to be utterly stupid just to make Shi-Mok look more intelligent. I find that refreshing. Because that means, the stakes are high and you need to be on your toes. Yeo Jin is by far shaping up to be my favorite drama heroine. Female leads who are in crime dramas are usually uptight, reticent or are too loud and irritating. The balance is usually missing. But Yeo Jin is both talented, true to her profession yet isn't loud or rash or too broody. She is calm, doesn't act foolishly, understands her situation, knows when to speak up and when to be quiet and she is also friendly and warm. Hats off to Bae Doona, she is effortlessly playing her role. I love the interactions with Shi-Mok and Yeo Jin. They are still working out how much they can rely each other and trust each other and it looks organic. The partnership and possible friendship we will get here, it doesn't look forced. Our lonely Gomsa even smiled. I think my theory regarding his brain surgery is correct. It didn't work completely. It muted his feelings but they aren't gone. They are there and he has more control over them. I am more sure of it because of his interactions with Eun Soo in episode 5, he was clearly frustrated when Dong Jae was assigned the case and Eun Soo bluntly told him why. Speaking of Eun Soo, she is still inexperienced and emotional. She technically can't trust or rely on anybody inside the office given her father's history with them so that puts her sort of in the same boat as Shi-Mok but not quite. She doesn't lack social skills so she can get along, play along. Like Shi-Mok noted to her father, his daughter isn't exactly listening to anybody and is a strong willed woman. I for once appreciated him being direct with the father. It was quite ridiculous favor to ask if he knows his daughter at all. But she is still green and needs guidance. She is quick at grasping the scenario but needs the extra push in the...

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continued...
right direction. I can see her helping Shi-Mok in the future. She is also pretty blunt and quite sassy with Shi-Mok which is surprising given he is her senior. She overlooks that boundary more often than not. I also enjoy their verbal battles. It feels like a mini trial between two opponents. Shi Mok disregards her words and her abilities and Eun Soo is in no mood to take that lying down and fights back. Their chemistry is good and quite tension filled. I cans see them becoming allies who keep each other at arms length.
Now about the chief Lee, his wife is creepy. She clearly knows a lot and isn't okay with all of the details he knows about her husband. Both the wife and the school mate of Shi-Mok is shady. Also, there's the chief of Police. For now, I don't think Eun Soo, her father, Dong Jae or Chief can be considered suspect. For now, that is. Who knows how the show will change their story.

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But I love Sherlock! I think there's a difference here compared to Sherlock since the side characters play an inportant role throughout the series. Sherlock on the other hand was a pure two man show. Like you said this series wouldn't have been nearly as good if the writer made the side characters look stupid in order to let the main guy look smart.

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I like Sherlock too but I do get frustrated at times by certain things. So, like you said its purely two man show and most shows follow that pattern which is why I like what they're doing here in Secret Forest.

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When SM's phone starts to ring in Dong-Jae's office , how come, when moments before when he was on his way to the office and Doona calls him up it just vibrates in silent mode.
It irked me because it became an easy plot lapse for ES ans SM to get together under the desk. For a show as this, this is a downer.
To appease myself, I thought it could be a reminder alarm. Was it?

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I'm leaning towards some type of alarm. SM did say that they put their phones on vibrate at work.

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I am commenting a lot. Damn. A frst for me. Anyway, what I have begun to find very amusing in this series is how one crime is committed and every protagonist thinks that this crime is meant for him/ her only to later find that they have been misled.

Park's murder has Shi Mok , Lee, Eun Soo each making it about them, that the murder was intended for them. But as they progess with the clues it offers a different take for each, changing always and the characters are slow to get this. Or get it later when the next mess has arrived. The motive is different and it could involve all or some of them but each thinks gosh, I am the one this crime has a message for.

So when Yeo Jin has a theory about even the tv repairman being a pawn and her understanding of the motive of the crime, and not the people involved, it makes SM brush it off immed. Only when she explains further he accepts thre could be more. Yet he always feels he is at the center of this whole thing which may not be as the second murder comes to show.

From what has been shown, this seems Seo Jong-Jae's idea to cripple that girl and keep her in the public eye, so that she doesnt open her mouth but people are always are of her , more so Lee who well has been her bar client. it is his way of getting back at Lee when he overhears he is to be thrown off. Initially he and Lee wanted to find her together so they can shut her up for good but he gets into panic mode and does this himself. Hence he says to lee that there could be some one else, with a bigger agenda , cripple her so that she doesnt tal, but isnt not forgotten about. It will haunt Lee. This murder was for Lee and is set in Park's house as a mislead by Seo.
SM well, he as usual thinks its about him which its not. I laughed at his self conceived importance as Yeo Jin rightly points out. She is the only one who can objectively analyse the case even if it involves people she knows and cares for.

This drama is so much fun to watch when each one is brought down from their own high pedestals, time and again.

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THAT SMILE :)))

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Jo Seung-woo is the man!! He's such a joy to watch, his voice is like honey (his dorky rendition of TT was so endearing), and when he finally smiled his first genuine smile in the car, I simultaneously squealed, swooned, and reached for the rewind button to see it once again. Sigh, I have such weaknesses for good musical actors (Jo Jung-seok is my other favourite).

Lee Kyung-yeung has so much charisma and screen presence that I'm excited to see what will happen when he shares a scene with Shi-mok. And finally, that last scene with all the underling prosecutors bowing to Chang-joon was goosebump-inducing, even though I can't be sure if I should be happy or not for him to obtain more power (Forest of Secrets: the show where literally everyone is shifty to a different degree). Things are going to get more complicated than they already are now but I welcome it because the writing, directing and acting in this drama are all SUPERB!!

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How funny is it that Shi-mok is tone-deaf when in fact, Jo Seung Woo is a musical actor. ?

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I laughed sooo damn hard when Shimok was trying to sing Twice's TT.
Not because of his deaf-toned tone, more to this certain Shimok, this certain cool-quiet-and-I-have-no-emotions-and-barely-smile Shimok tried to sing a pop song, like, a cute pop song by a bunch of cute girls.
I'm like TT for real over him???.

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I wish they would give dong jae some back story so he would stop being one-dimensional.
And more food tropes for shi mok and yeo jin. Shi mok is always starved at work, poor guy!

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Yeah, Feeling this as well. :)

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I am late to the party!

Am I the only one who thought the air crackled with sexual tension when Shi Mok and Eun Soo were huddled under the desk? It could be my imagination because I have been wondering about Shi Mok's ability to feel sexual desire. This question is irrelevant to the scene but I am curious. Was it affected by the lobotomy? I do not know if the show will explore this. It could be as simple as SM seeing Yeo Jin as more than just a close friend.

The show is quite a tease though. They show Eun Soo clearly affected by the proximity. Thankfully they didn't make too much fuss out of it. That would be so cliche.

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:). It is so relevant and this is what I was thinking of all the time as well.
I have been curious too about his sexual desire, feelings et al. Ha. This scene had to happen to bring this up, else how come his cell which was on silent moments ago when talking to Yeo Jin rings for them to duck down behind the desk. I want these two just go at it. :) I mean SM and ES.

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Since you are so encouraging, I might as well join in ?!

There's a purpose in this scene, right? It can't be simply there just to make me wonder things like how would Shi Mok's hand smell?

Eh...actually, I am curious about that too!

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hahaha. So true. Why did he get that hand there in the first place when he is so against being touchy feely :). I want to see some physical action, seriously. I dont know if I am being frank here by kdrama stds, I dont watch K dramas usually and commenting a lot here is my first but gosh, aren't these two ES and SM meant for that? Next episode has her at his place right?. Game Level 1 on.

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You know, partial lobotomy, I don't even know what they meant by that. Lobotomy is not practiced anymore with a few exceptions worldwide. There are other methods, non-surgical to control behavior related mental disorders and they are preferred. From what I understand from the little information we were given, Shi-Mok had extreme case of Hyperacusis which causes extreme reaction to everyday sounds that we hear but they don't perform surgeries to correct them, they use sound-therapies. So, I am going to just assume the whole partial-lobotomy part of the story was perhaps poorly researched. If we take what they have given us then partial lobotomy means some parts of his brain ( possibly temporal region which control auditory response and reception ) has been partially disconnected from the frontal lobe. Now, the thing is, we don't know to what extent they did that. So, there's no way to know for sure how much of his emotions are stunted due to the surgery. As for sexual arousal and desire, that is the tricky part. Different phases of sexual desire, arousal to the actual act of it are controlled by different parts in our brain and people still don't clearly know them. But limbic systems do play a part in arousal and frontal lobe integrate certain response from them so it is perhaps possible that some of his sexual desires may be affected that is if they had touched that part of his brain. But I don't still see why he cannot feel sexual desire like the rest of us. I do think, within the setup of the show, it is possible to explore all of that. It'd be interesting but I don't think they have enough episodes to do that.

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I think it's an interesting question. Shi-mok now has two women who are paying attention to him, and there's quite a contrast. Yeo-jin is confident and comfortable with him, not put off by his manners, treats him like a partner, and cares for him almost maternally (when she yells at him to stand up straight, I remember my Mom doing that). Eun Soo is insecure, sees him as a mentor or at least wants him to be, is resentful of his apparent indifference, is a bit unnerved by his presence but doesn't look like she wants to stay away.

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At this point, I don't think any of these women are interested in him. If Eun Soo is gradually shifting from resentful to admiration to something more, I can kinda see the progression. With Yeo Jin, I still can't see anything remotely romantic in nature. Sex, though doesn't need romance or love.

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I love meta like this! And while I agree that the writer/director are probably just going to keep teasing us with hints of romantic feelings, it would be awesome if they would at least try to address how ShiMok would handle being attracted to someone.

Since ShiMok has been (probably) an outcast his entire life, and didn't have anyone expressing interest in him romantically, he's had no reason to 'explore'. Also, is it possible that even while ShiMok registers things like physical attractiveness, he disregards it as unimportant? And instead focuses more on intangible things, like whether or not they can keep up with his thought processes?

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I thought of the desk scene in this way: If I were EunSoo and my mentor (handsome, not dismissive of my abilities like many other men probably are, a little odd but that just makes it interesting) was hiding behind me, the crush I'd been harboring on him would be making my heart beat nearly out of my chest.

On the flipside, I really felt as though I saw ShiMok thinking: "Why is this kid breathing so loud?"

So, is ShiMok aware of her? Yes, definitely. But I feel as though he's aware of her in the way that true mentors concerned that their mentees have perhaps committed murder should be? Meaning, he wants to steer her onto the right path, protect her from harm (ie any interactions with DongJae), and keep challenging her to improve herself and her skills.

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I love Yeo Jin but I think her character has more in common with Joan Watson from Elementary, the american version of Sherlock. She guides him and keeps him in line, genuinely cares for him but none of that is necessarily romantic. Joan Watson is also pretty sharp in Elementary. I honestly thought I would never watch another version of Sherlock post watching the BBC version but her character was one of the reasons to stick to the show. So, for Yeo Jin, the non-romantic partner through thick and thin works. I love their camaraderie but I don't see sexual tension there at all. At least not so far.
With Eun Soo, I don't know if the show intended but the tension is there. Shi Mok is both frustrated and at the same time aware of her presence. He disregards her competence which pricks her pride so she tries harder to fight back. For a sunbae-hoobae relation, the way she fights with him with him and the fact that he allows that is a bit puzzling. He doesn't enforce a line or set boundaries around her.
Maybe at the end of the day, each one of us view the show through our own preference, I won't say bias but our own lens. I think at least this part of leaving a lot of blanks to fill by viewers is deliberate and I say its working. TVN itself is promoting the haziness of it all. They seem to have figured out what draws the viewers to this show.

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"Also, is it possible that even while ShiMok registers things like physical attractiveness, he disregards it as [email protected] -
As in he supresses it (him getting attracted physically, sparks wise) ? How can one register being attracted but disregard the same?

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Hm. As a pretty broad example: Let's say there's tons of cute guys at my workplace. I register that they're cute, but if once I talk to them I find their interests/personalites/etc uninteresting to me, the fact they're physically pleasing to my eyes has no meaning anymore. I'm not interested- whether that interest is platonic or romantic.

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@naomi123: that means that the attraction has waned, fizzled off. Its different here with SM isnt it, it hasnt waned its always there. has been since ep 1 wrt ES, so not sure if he disregards it, it can be said that his work is of utmost importance hence this takes second but its there. Even for ES , shes affected but when she comes to her office she doesnt think @ the closeness under the desk but begins to connect the dots bcz of the cellphone.

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@naomi123: that means that the attraction has waned, fizzled off. Its different here with SM isnt it, it hasnt waned its always there. has been since ep 1 wrt ES, so not sure if he disregards it, it can be said that his work is of utmost importance hence this takes second but its there. Even for ES , shes affected but when she comes to her office she doesnt think @ the closeness under the desk but begins to connect the dots bcz of the cellphone

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It's definitely not your imagination, or at least not only yours: the sexual tension was real for me too and like you said the air literally crackled with it. To the point that the writer had to make them leave the room separately in order to allow them to compose themselves. That's not for me the kind of atmosphere that a one sided sexual attraction can create. Shi Mok clearly said that he doesn't see her as a kid and that she's not either a weak woman.
Plot wise, the entire idea to search Dong Jae's desk has zero value and sense. The writers added it to make them closer: it opened an opportunity to show her being very eager to help, and show him dismissing in one blink her father's plea and giving in into the temptation to make her work with him, on his side.
I really think he was affected: the camera focused a lot on the closeness of their bodies which he couldn't ignore as someone who doesn't like to be touched, let us see that he felt comfortable with keeping his hand on her shoulder while the danger seemed to have disappeared, showed us all the intense looks he gave her while she couldn't see his face, the way he carefully moved his body to circle her with arms, while keeping his hand next to her mouth. All his body language said that he wanted to be closer to her. Be it consciously or not, that point is indeed still not clear.
And the show did make a big fuss about it: what else would be the purpose of the scene where Dong Jae dragged Eun Soo to his office and Shi Mok came to protect her? This scene has a direct link to what happened in the desk and emphasizes through Dong Jae's words the change in the relationship, a classic way to force two people who are denying their attraction, though it's obvious to other people, to admit it.
Not only Dong Jae pointed with very direct words to the implicit change between them, but it happened publicly: in front of Shi Mok's secretaries which means the gossip is guaranteed, but also the new appointed chief prosecutor who gave Eun Soo a very meaningful look when he realized that she was the reason of the fights between his two top prosecutors.
I don't know however if the show will do more with it: maybe it was just to push Shi Mook's enemies in the office to believe that since he took an interest in Eun Soo, it means he wants to get revenge for her father and her family. A sort of declaration of war, which will push them to make more aggressive attacks against him.
As much as i'm ready to ship them because this relationship with all its flaws really hit the right spots for me, I don't have much hope that the show will deliver. The drama made a big deal of the treatment he got from both women and our leading lady is clearly favored: she has all the essential qualities that a man can dream of, and makes all the right things for him. Their blossoming relationship is written to look almost perfect, so i doubt it will stay at a friendship stage. I see Eun Soo and her family...

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I see Eun Soo and her family as way to keep a little conflict and angst between Shi Mok and Yeo Jin. I feel like there's a chance that his desire to find the truth mixed with his admiration and respect for Eun Soo's father and his new desire to protect his daughter and her feelings will make things more complicated between Yeo Jin and him.

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I agree, that behind-the-desk scene was a direct setup for the almost trope-parody wrist-grabbing-the-wrist-grabber threeway and Dong Jae misunderstanding but maybe not completely misunderstanding. I think it's also an example of how, like in the movie/book Being There, Shi Mok is sort of a blank slate that people project into. Like how Dong Jae is assuming a torrid affair's been going on (because that's what he would do, the guy is a hound), the deputy chief prosecutor earlier readily believed Shi Mok could be tempted by promotion, and when he went public, everyone was like he's a hero! No, he's a maniac! No, he's a good guy, again! While he impassively takes it in and goes to the cafeteria. Yeo Jin is the only one who takes him at face value, even without knowing his condition. I do wonder about his office assitants. They seem really loyal to him, for some reason.

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About the office assistants: I think that maybe they admire him for not being corrupt like all (I say all, but who knows how much shady stuff is going on in this particular verse) the other prosecutors in the office. If they've all been working together day in and day out for 8 years, they must have seen enough of him to realize that he's not a 'psycho', no matter what the news and their coworkers must think.

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I wonder is this theory of the blank slate, that seems really pertinent to describe what's happening to his image and the fact he lost control over it, applies to us, viewers too? Do we tend to project as much as the other characters and fictive audience of those media?

I think that for all the first examples you mentioned, the ones where others prosecutors were involved, there was however a truth in their assumptions: he said that the position of chief section wouldn't be enough and he wanted to be deputy chief (though he was certainly playing a long con), and he was taking interest to what was happening to Eun Soo as much as Dong Jae, so it wasn't far fetched for him to consider Shi Mok as a rival, no more than for us since the 3 of them had few scenes together, proving a sort of triangle was running in the background for a long time, with a reversed dynamic: Dong Jae being the one protecting and supporting Eun Soo while Shi Mok acted coldly to her promotion and how she managed her 1st trial.

Are the assistants that loyal to him? Maybe i wrong, but i remember deputy chief saying that he planted a mole right under his nose but couldn't gather anything against Shi Mok, and later i think i saw the male assistant talking to Dong Jae while Shi Mok was watching them from afar, looking suspicious.
But the two actors look indeed adorable cheering Shi Mok, so i hope the male assistant is just provinding useless info to his "bosses" while rooting secretly for real for Shi Mok.

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Good point about the male assistant, I forgot about that scene where he looked a bit shady. Even if he isn't nefarious, staffers at that level probably have to go along to get along.

About people projecting a bit of themselves onto Shi Mok, I have in mind the type of thing I just remembered where I interviewed at a company and stressed the importance of a good database in the product and was surprised to hear later the interviewer thought I was angling to be chief of databases (I actually hate dealing with databases), and then I heard even later that guy was a politically climbing backstabber.

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It was nice and fantastic thanks dramabeans for this wonderful update

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Seo Dong-Jae... Stylish, confident and manly! Then I heard his ringtone... TT I lost it LMAO

I don't believe this Chief Prosecutor Lee Chang-Joon... I also don't believe his Father in-law and I even don't believe his wife..

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I am so relieved that this drama actually has consequences for touching/moving evidence, and breaking and entering. I was basically yelling at my screen (directed at Shi Mok) to stop touching things or get warrants during episodes 1-4.

On another note, I outwardly said "Awww" when Shi Mok smiled!

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Yes, our police-prosecutor team is back in this episode and a lot of great moments to boot that made me squeeling ?? despite this is not a rom-com.

Chukahae Foresters (Is that even a word? ... hehe) for making the 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣➕ comments recap a possible feat for Forest of Secrets. ??

Thank you SailorJumum for the awesome back to back recaps. ??

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Such an awesome drama.I marathoned the 6 episodes, now I cant wait to see the next one.the main actor is sooo good. I can't remember in which episode exactly but his facial expressions really made me laugh, which I totally did not expect ..he is so good that you actually have to pay attention, I even paused the video because I felt like I needed to screenshot that particular scene..=))) his face seemed familar and I didn't know where I've seen him before...turns out he was in God's Gift..anyways..awesome drama, even though sometimes I kinda feel lost in all of the names and new information thrown at me..you really have to pay attention, but I don't mind it since i see it as a challange. :)

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It's a show about corruption, about the hollowness of the entire system and here I am, constantly waiting for romance between the leads. Their chemistry is no joke!

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I was getting worried they would take Yeo Jin out of Shik Mok, he gaves reasons to distrust and I think they should communicate better to avoid things like this. I could almost see her not saying she was with him.

This friendship, it's really nice to see how it grows. And she made him smile! Which I thought he couldn't do due to the surgery. I hope YJ's theory is true and his feelings and emotions are somewhere lost inside his brain and not lost for good.

This show is really good. Every ep is charged with plot development, and characters that keep you thinking. And to me Shik Mok is really amazing, sometimes I even think he's guilty of something.

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Hey I just got into this awesome show. TvN in my country is currently showing this show (I know, sooooooooooo late but hey it's better late than never :)) I just saw this episode but there's no TT song from the prosecutor's phone. It's another song but equally catchy. I'm having a hard time identifying the song. Aaaargh

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