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.
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?
- Forest of Secrets: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: Forest of Secrets
- Jo Seung-woo and Bae Doo-na search for truth in the Forest of Secrets
- It’s a concrete jungle of intrigue in new Forest of Secrets poster
- Everyone is a suspect in Forest of Secrets
- Corruption and dark mystery in new Forest of Secrets teaser
- Guns loaded in Forest of Secrets teasers
- A tape-recorded warning teases thriller Forest of Secrets
- From behind the scenes and the script reading of tvN’s Forest of Secrets
- tvN thriller Forest of Secrets confirms leads, adds Lee Jun-hyuk