Suspicious Partner: Episodes 19-20
A new murder case brings up a lot of personal issues and insecurities, causing arguments and hurt feelings that are going to take a while to untangle. Is it ever acceptable to lie for another person’s well-being, and what gives someone the right to make that decision for someone else? It can be possible to lie to someone for the right reasons, but that won’t stop them from feeling betrayed when they discover the truth.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Ji-wook tells Bong-hee to bring Hyun-soo to dinner, then he tells Chief Bang that they need to take this chance to sound out Hyun-soo. And when Yoo-jung shows up unexpectedly, she’s invited to join them. As soon as they start eating, Ji-wook asks Hyun-soo if he heard that forensic investigator Chan-ho has disappeared and is under suspicion for the chef’s murder. All innocence, Hyun-soo says that he doesn’t know the guy.
Yoo-jung decides to announce that she’s re-opening Hee-joon’s murder case. She says that the killer could be in this very house—little does she know how right she is, yet how very wrong.
Everyone ignores her, and Chief Bang brings up Chan-ho again. Hyun-soo still looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, but a flashback shows us that when Chan-ho had pulled himself from the river, Hyun-soo was waiting for him. Laughing, Hyun-soo joked that Chan-hoo looked like he was about to die, and Chan-ho froze in terror. Oh no…
Ji-wook tells his guests that he was supposed to meet with Chan-ho before he disappeared, but that Chan-ho canceled the meeting abruptly. He tells Yoo-jung to check all of the CCTV footage between the park where they were supposed to meet, to the spot where his car was found.
Ji-wook and Chief Bang exchange a look that says that this isn’t working, because Hyun-soo isn’t responding as they’d hoped. Ji-wook remembers the one time he saw Hyun-soo shaken up—when he’d talked about witnessing someone he loved being hurt. Ji-wook says casually that they should see if Chan-ho has a record involving violence towards a woman, and he watches Hyun-soo’s reaction.
Later Eun-hyuk gives Hyun-soo a ride home, apologizing for talking shop throughout dinner. Hyun-soo tells him that he got a new job as a motorcycle messenger, and Eun-hyuk offers to use his services as often as possible.
Eun-hyuk asks why Hyun-soo hired Bong-hee as his lawyer, and Hyun-soo gives his usual answer, that his case was so similar to hers. Eun-hyuk reveals that a lot of guilty people approach Bong-hee for the same reason, and that he was trying to feel Hyun-soo out to see if he’d done the same.
As she drives home, Yoo-jung thinks about the end of the dinner. She’d hung back to ask if Bong-hee was going home soon, which is when she learned that Bong-hee is living in the same house as Ji-wook. Although Bong-hee had tried to explain that room and board is part of her pay, Ji-wook said yes, they’re living together, like it’s no big thing.
Once everyone has left, Bong-hee joins Ji-wook to help clean up. He couldn’t be happier to have her all to himself, and the simple act of washing dishes turns into an excuse for Ji-wook to stare adoringly at Bong-hee. She asks if the house feels empty now that it’s just the two of them, but Ji-wook says that he likes the quiet. Bong-hee sees him giving her the eyes and orders him to knock it off, but he leans closer, all But this is just my face.
Across town, a woman sits next to the body of her husband, a knife sticking out of his chest. She calls her lawyer, Eun-hyuk, and tells him calmly that her husband is dead. He rushes to her house, and when he asks what happened, she asks if he’s obligated to keep her secrets. He says that’s true, but he also can’t make false statements.
The wife reveals that she didn’t kill her husband, but that she plans to confess to his murder. As Eun-hyuk watches her being taken away in handcuffs, his voice narrates that a lawyer has two important obligations: to keep a client’s secrets, and to tell the truth. He wonders which is the correct choice when those two obligations conflict with each other.
Ji-wook makes Bong-hee a cup of the tea she bought him for his insomnia, and they sit to talk. He asks if something about Hyun-soo is bothering her, and after a brief hesitation, she asks what would happen if it turns out that she’d asked him to defend a murderer.
Ji-wook reminds her about presumption of innocence, and says that the only thing bothering him is that Hyun-soo lied about his alibi. He tells Bong-hee that he doesn’t suspect Hyun-soo of murder, which is a baldfaced lie, but he sticks to his story even when Bong-hee makes him promise not to keep anything from her.
Ji-wook does ask Bong-hee not to see Hyun-soo alone anymore, adding that he wants her to stay where he can see her twenty-four hours a day. He sounds like a typical jealous boyfriend, ha. Bong-hee has a little fun with him, pouting that twenty-four hours is a bit much, so he asks if twenty hours is okay. She sips the tea and gags from the bitter taste, and he bitterly tells her that he drinks this every day. Because she bought it for him. Cute.
Ji-wook discusses Hyun-soo with Chief Bang, noting that Hyun-soo has only reacted to two things: when he was in jail and Ji-wook asked about the assault incident, and when Ji-wook asked Chief Bang to research whether Chan-ho had problems with women.
Ji-wook asks Chief Bang to speak with the women who were assaulted by the chef. He also asks Chief Bang to keep all of this a secret between them, saying that he’ll tell Bong-hee if and when they discover that they freed a man guilty of murder, because he wants to tell her in a way that will hurt her least.
When Yoo-jung questions the wife about her murder confession, Eun-hyuk explains that she wasn’t in her right mind due to years of abuse from her husband. Forensic evidence shows that her husband died of a skull fracture, so Yoo-jung deduces that the wife pushed him down during a fight, the fall killed him, then she stabbed him after he was dead.
Afterward, Yoo-jung asks Eun-hyuk if he thinks Bong-hee is innocent of Hee-joon’s murder. He says that it never matters whether or not he believes his clients, since he defends them anyway. But he adds that he did believe Bong-hee, though he doesn’t know why. As he turns to go, Yoo-jung asks hopefully if they can share a meal sometime, but he leaves without answering.
Eun-hyuk tells his team the manufactured story that his client’s husband came home early, they fought and she pushed him, and he fractured his skull. Looking at the evidence, Ji-wook says that there were no marks of abuse on the wife’s body the day her husband died. Eun-hyuk explains this away, quickly moving on to say that the couple’s son has given a statement that he believes his mother killed his father in self-defense.
Eun-hyuk says that this is a simple case he can handle alone, but Ji-wook offers to helping him anyway. He even volunteers Bong-hee to join them, saying that she can learn a lot, so Eun-hyuk tries to get rid of Ji-wook by accepting Bong-hee’s help alone. The two men bicker like children, Eun-hyuk repeatedly trying to refuse Ji-wook’s offer and Ji-wook insisting simply because Eun-hyuk doesn’t want him to, ha.
Hyun-soo makes a delivery of more evidence documents to Ji-wook’s office. Ji-wook tells Hyun-soo that they’re working on another murder case, but that this one is different from his, pointedly mentioning that you can get a lighter sentence for turning yourself in.
Ji-wook invites Bong-hee to join him as he goes over the evidence, and she asks why he’s so determined to help Eun-hyuk with this case. Ji-wook says it’s because Eun-hyuk is acting weird about it, but Bong-hee disagrees, saying that Eun-hyuk is always weird. Ha, she’s got a point.
Ji-wook can’t figure out why this case seems off to him, and he thinks a spilled bag of fresh groceries at the scene seems to indicate that the wife was expecting company. Bong-hee thinks it’s strange that the wife would stab her husband after he was already dead—it seems needlessly violent.
Ji-wook pats Bong-hee on the head proudly, crooning that she’s improved a lot. Grinning, she wonders if the person they were expecting was their son, then mentions that he’s downstairs with Eun-hyuk right now.
Ji-wook listens in while Eun-hyuk preps the son for his testimony. The son says that his father abused his mother for as long as he could remember. Ji-wook interrupts to ask if his father also abused him, and why he moved out of his parents’ house.
Eun-hyuk tries to stop him, but Ji-wook says that they need to be fully prepared for anything, including unexpected questions. He asks the son if he ever imagined fighting his father once he became an adult. He says that he knows someone like that, thinking of Hyun-soo and how he used to dream of growing up and getting revenge on those who hurt someone he loved. Eun-hyuk ends the conversation before the son answers.
After the son leaves, Eun-hyuk confronts Ji-wook about his interference. Ji-wook orders Eun-hyuk to look him in the eyes and tell the truth, asking if the son is the one who killed his father, and when Eun-hyuk can’t meet his gaze, he assumes he’s onto something.
Eun-hyuk tells Ji-wook that the wife had come back from buying groceries to find her husband dead from a head wound. She immediately assumed that her son had been there and they’d fought. She cleaned up any possible evidence and decided to take the blame.
Eun-hyuk reminds Ji-wook that he’s bound by confidentiality, but Ji-wook cites the law stating that a lawyer can’t make a false statement. He can’t understand why Eun-hyuk is willing to let an innocent person go to prison while the real culprit walks, and Eun-hyuk says that he’s trying his best to convince the wife to tell the truth.
But Ji-wook says that Eun-hyuk is failing, because all he has is a false confession and a trial looming closer. Eun-hyuk declares that if he can’t convince the wife, then he’ll honor her wishes, but Ji-wook reminds him that that means letting the real murderer go free.
EPISODE 20 RECAP
Soon the husband-wife murder trial date arrives, and the son watches tearfully as his mother faces imprisonment for a murder she didn’t commit. Ji-wook joins Bong-hee in the courtroom, saying that he’s not here to cause a scene, though he refuses to meet Eun-hyuk’s gaze. Bong-hee watches as the mother gives her crying son a smile as if to say, “I’ll be okay.”
Later at the office, Bong-hee asks Chief Bang to get her everything on the murder case. She works around the clock, studying the evidence and growing more and more disheveled. The guys watch her warily, and Ji-wook explains that when Bong-hee is working on something challenging, she forgets everything, including showers.
She scares ten years off Ji-wook’s life when she comes upstairs to talk to him, looking like a ghost with her wild hair. She tells him that she’s met with everyone involved in the case, and even went to the crime scene. Ji-wook is all, That’s fantastic, but your hair… He looks a bit horrified that she’s been going out like this.
Bong-hee tells him that she didn’t find anything new, but that something still bothers her. She says that when she was on trial, the thing she hated most was when her mother worried about her, so they both acted like everything was fine. She’d noticed that during the trial, the mother and her son were doing the same thing, “I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” to each other with their eyes. She can’t understand why a son who loves his mother that much would let her take the blame for a murder he committed.
We see what really happened that day—the son fought with his father over the way he treats him and his mother, and his father yelled that he should beat him to teach the son a lesson. The son said that his father should disappear, then he stormed out of the house.
That much Bong-hee learned from the son, and she knows that the wife came home to find her husband dead and assumed that her son did it. Bong-hee says that what they need to discover is what happened between the time the son left his father alive, and when the wife found him dead. She tells Ji-wook that she talked to the man’s doctor, who had him on medication for possible cerebral hemorrhage. She tells Ji-wook to request a new autopsy, guessing that he died spontaneously of an aneurysm.
Ji-wook couldn’t be any prouder, though the way Bong-hee keeps scratching her dirty head gives him the heebies. He pulls her in for a big hug anyway, telling her that it’s just a hug from boss to employee, though he also admits that that’s an excuse, hee. Smelling her dirty hair, he repeats his comment from several years ago: “You’re dirty, but you’re pretty.” Awww.
The second autopsy proves Bong-hee’s theory correct, so Yoo-jung drops the murder charges. They thank her, though she tells them to stop since she knows they don’t mean it.
Bong-hee is less than thrilled to see Ji-hae in the courthouse hallway, suspicious of her old nemesis when she acts friendly. Ji-hae fishes for information, asking when her relationship with Ji-wook started, and Bong-hee snarls at her.
Ji-hae asks if it started the night at the hotel, but by mentioning the hotel, she tips her own cheating hand. Bong-hee realizes that the only way Ji-hae would have known that is if she were the girl who went to the hotel with Hee-joon. Busted.
Bong-hee says it’s all water under the bridge now. But then she snatches Ji-hae up by the shirt, saying that what bothered her was being bullied and called unethical. They end up in an all-out, hair-pulling brawl, which Ji-wook rushes to break up when he finds them.
Ji-hae says nastily that he and Bong-hee seem close, and Bong-hee tries to lunge at her again. The guys and Yoo-jung follow Ji-hae and Bong-hee to the elevator, and when the door opens, Ji-wook leads Bong-hee inside and shuts the door in everyone’s face, making Eun-hyuk laugh at how cute they are.
Ji-wook attempts to fix Bong-hee’s tangled hair, but she pulls away to do it herself, saying that she can afford to lose a few strands. Ji-wook pouts that he doesn’t like that, and Bong-hee warns him not to flirt. With an impish glint in his eye, Ji-wook asks if it’s working.
Bong-hee lies that it’s not, so Ji-wook steps forward, backing her into the wall and asking huskily what he has to do to make it work. RAWR. He peers at her stunned face closely and reminds her to breathe, and when she waves him away, he says with awe that it’s working.
He follows Bong-hee into the parking garage, smirking happily. She talks about mothers and how they’re willing to sacrifice themselves for their children, and something sad moves across Ji-wook’s face as he agrees.
Bong-hee says that she likes him but she wants to see her mother more today, and of course he latches onto the “I like you” part like a dog with a bone. He likes her idea, so he decides to visit his mom, too.
The moms are currently arguing over whose child is better, so when Bong-hee arrives to surprise her mother, Ji-wook’s mom frowns jealously. Ji-wook also shows up to see his mother… at a mausoleum. Wait, what?
He stops before one cubicle, which contains an urn and a photo of himself as a child, with his father and his mother—but not the mother we know. This is the woman who gave birth to him, and Ji-wook cries as he apologizes for not visiting more often.
Hyun-soo gets an upsetting phone call, and he calls Ji-wook to meet him. He tells Ji-wook that he heard from the woman that he protected in his assault case, who told him that someone was asking her about him. Ji-wook cringes and apologizes, and Hyun-soo asks why he still doubts him.
Ji-wook says that it’s because Hyun-soo lied about his alibi, and Hyun-soo laughs and says that everyone lies. Ji-wook counters that there are different kinds of lies, and many different reasons to lie, and Hyun-soo points out that Ji-wook doesn’t know his reason.
The tension grows until they both laugh, and Ji-wook says that being suspicious of everything is a habit leftover from his days as a prosecutor. He admits looking into Hyun-soo, but says that he didn’t find anything, and he promises it won’t happen again.
Hyun-soo thinks about it, then he says that he thinks Ji-wook is lying. The two guys joke about his quick wit, then he says they should meet up again soon, with Bong-hee. Ji-wook grows wary and says that he’d like to, but he’s very busy these days.
Ji-wook is still unsettled when he arrives home, but he fibs to Bong-hee that everything is fine. He doesn’t look happy about lying to her, and he thinks that sometimes, to hide a big lie, it helps to reveal a small truth. So he sits Bong-hee down to tell her about his family.
Ji-wook reveals that he has two mothers—the woman who raised him, and his birth mother, who had been best friends. His father was killed in a fire when Ji-wook was little, and his birth mother had been taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and died soon after. Her best friend took Ji-wook in and raised him as her own.
He’d visited Mom today for lunch, missing Bong-hee by mere seconds. They were joined by CEO Byun, who turns out to be Mom’s husband and Ji-wook’s stepfather. This explains so much! I love it.
Bong-hee takes this in, then makes a confession of her own—she has two fathers. She says that she’ll tell Ji-wook her story later.
He asks if she wants to go to bed, which Bong-hee takes the wrong way, and they stare at each other, wide-eyed. Ji-wook tries to stammer an explanation and just ends up calling Bong-hee crazy for thinking he meant that, and they both stand to storm off indignantly.
It backfires when they nearly crash into one another, and the sudden closeness (not to mention that they’re now both thinking of that), creates a moment that Ji-wook can’t resist. He stares at Bong-hee’s lips and leans in to kiss her… but their coffee mugs collide, making a loud CLACK that snaps them out of it.
Bong-hee heads to her bedroom, then doubles back to tell Ji-wook nervously that if he can’t sleep, he should just imagine her next to him. She rushes to her room, and Ji-wook asks through her door, “Can’t you just stay beside me?” Her indignant “No!” makes him grin.
He’s still smiling when he goes to bed, and he falls asleep thinking about how adorable Bong-hee is. But his sleep is disturbed by the recurring nightmare of the fire that killed his parents, and the mysterious man who walked through the fire towards him as he screamed.
Bong-hee also goes to bed smiling, but before she sleeps, she opens her scrapbook to look through her family pictures. She touches the face of her father in one photo to wish him a good night. It’s the same man from Ji-wook’s nightmare, who was there the day his parents died.
Upstairs, Ji-wook wakes from his nightmare in a cold sweat, gasping for air.
Bong-hee plays with a coin, deciding that if it comes up heads, she’ll accept Ji-wook’s feelings. But no matter how many times she spins it, the coin always comes up tails. Eventually Ji-wook comes over, complaining that she’s been making noise all day, and he tosses the coin before stomping off. This time it lands on heads, and Bong-hee squeals with excitement.
Wow, I’d almost forgotten that one almost throwaway comment in an early episode by Ji-wook, when he’d seen a picture of Bong-hee as a child and thought she’d looked familiar. But it seems as though they have met before, a long time ago, because that was Bong-hee’s father in Ji-wook’s dream (at least, it’s the father in her photo album—we don’t know anything about her other father yet). It’s not really surprising that their families would be connected, with one of their fathers having been a prosecutor and one who seems to have been wrongfully accused of a crime, according to Bong-hee’s mother. I’m guessing that Ji-wook’s father’s downfall (as mentioned by District Attorney Jang) is all tied up with Bong-hee’s father’s misfortune, and once we learn more about Bong-hee’s past we’ll have some more clues to try to fit together.
I find Ji-wook’s fascination with Hyun-soo really interesting, in large part because he seems to actually enjoy their little confrontational power plays. He senses that there’s something off about Hyun-soo, but all he knows for sure is that Hyun-soo lied about his alibi. It doesn’t necessarily follow that Hyun-soo is the killer, and while Ji-wook is pretty certain that he is, the truth is that we don’t know for sure. We do know that Hyun-soo was on the roof disposing of a body when he thought Bong-hee saw him, but we didn’t actually see him kill Hee-joon. He was there at the chef’s house shortly after the murder, but it was Chan-ho who was holding the murder weapon. This drama has proven several times that even hard facts can be very misleading, making innocent people appear guilty and vice versa. Until we see Hyun-soo actually murdering someone, there’s always the chance that he hasn’t really killed anyone.
Here is where I admit that I find Hyun-soo endlessly fascinating. We know he’s a scary guy with a troubled past, that he’s working through some sort of revenge plan where he’s systematically getting rid of seven people (whether or not he’s doing the killing himself, it does seem to be Hyun-woo’s plan), and that he very well may have done something terrible to Chan-ho. But something about him is extremely compelling, making me want to learn more about what makes him tick, and not just his motive for the murders. I want to know how his mind works, how he’s justifying these killings, and why he’s staying so close to Ji-wook and Bong-hee. It’s actually a brilliant strategy, because this way Hyun-soo can manipulate how they see him—for example, when he figured out that they were getting suspicious of the honesty of his alibi, he was able to turn that to his favor by confessing that it was a lie.
It was an effective way to keep himself in their circle, because now Hyun-soo can say that he’s being honest with them, and it’s even true. I have a feeling that despite his humble jobs and low profile, Hyun-soo is actually pretty damned brilliant. His whole conversation with Ji-wook in this episode seemed heavy with innuendo and hidden meaning, but they’re both so good at it. Their banter was a true meeting of equal minds, and for that reason, if nothing else, I hope that Hyun-soo’s true intentions aren’t uncovered too soon. I could watch him trade barbs with Ji-wook for hours and never get bored.
Of course I want to know Hyun-soo’s motive too, because the few bits of information we have tell a very dark and sad story. We can put the puzzle pieces together, and though there are still more gaps than information, it seems as though the teenage girl Hyun-soo imagined in the park (a sister, maybe?) was assaulted, possibly even killed, and it’s likely that the seven people on his hit list all had something to do with it. Given that we know that at least one of Hyun-soo’s victims had a habit of assaulting women, it’s a safe assumption. But since Hyun-soo seems to have included Chan-ho in the seven people he needed to make “disappear,” it worries me to think that Chan-ho was involved, because I want him to be better than that.
Onto a different subject—as hard as it was to watch, I’m actually glad that Eun-hyuk and Ji-wook finally had a fight. No matter how hard Eun-hyuk has tried for years to get back into Ji-wook’s good graces, there’s still a huge wall between them that’s not going to come down until they both decide to do something about it. And as cute as Eun-hyuk’s devotion to Ji-wook is, a sunny disposition and loud, adorable declarations of love aren’t going to get the job done. I still think that their main problem isn’t even about Yoo-jung—it’s about Eun-hyuk’s betrayal of Ji-wook’s trust. Ji-wook still has all of that bottled up inside, so this fight about a client hopefully released a bit of that tension, and will make it easier for them to have the fight they really need to have. It’s going to be a doozy, but they’re never going to repair their friendship until they get brutally honest.
I’m worried about the lying that Ji-wook is doing to Bong-hee lately, and how it’s going to affect their budding romance when she discovers that he hasn’t been honest with her. I believe that he’s withholding his suspicions about Hyun-soo to protect her, not wanting to upset her with the knowledge that she helped a killer go free until he’s absolutely sure. But Bong-hee isn’t going to see it that way, and I’m scared that when she finds out, it will create a rift between them that they may not be able to repair. Hopefully Ji-wook finds a way to help her understand that he really is thinking of her feelings when he lies to her.
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