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Forest of Secrets: Episode 7

As always with this show, each episode brings new and stunning twists, and all I can do is ride each loop of this rollercoaster and try not to get whiplash. Shi-mok and Yeo-jin try their best to outsmart a culprit who seems to be ahead of them at every turn—and while they keep discovering new clues, there is always that darker, more secret force under the surface, moving events toward its own obscure purpose.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

As his subordinates bow, newly appointed Chief Prosecutor Lee thanks them and says that nothing will change—they just have to remember to be honest and treat everyone equally before the law.

He shakes their hands, making his way around to Shi-mok, who watches and thinks, “Justice. Ambition. Greed. Sin. What kind of hand would this be? If I could see what this hand has done…

The man who has been snooping into Shi-mok’s background and reporting back to the chief prosecutor arrives, and Chief Prosecutor Lee immediately lets go of Shi-mok’s hand as Section Chief Kang introduces him as YOON, adding that he went to school with him.

Back in her office, Eun-soo cradles her bruised arm from Dong-jae’s wrist grab, and in his, Dong-jae pulls a panel off the back of his air purifier and takes out Ga-young’s phone. He unwraps it from inside a black handkerchief and briefly turns it on, then off again. The time shows 1:30 p.m.

Re-wrapping it, he bangs it against the corner of a chair until it breaks, and then puts the wrapped bundle in his jacket pocket. He orders his staff to call every golf course in the country and ask if a reservation was made by someone named Kim Nam-jin two days ago.

Dong-jae leaves, passing Shi-mok’s office on his way, and Shi-mok immediately texts Yeo-jin. She’s waiting in her car in the parking garage and ducks down out of view as Dong-jae passes. He drives out, and she follows him.

In his old office, Chief Prosecutor Lee takes out a fancy wallet from his desk drawer and thinks to himself that it all started with that one meal. A flashback shows us a young Lee having lunch with a man who says his friend is stopping by. The friend, a gray-haired man, arrives and pays for their meal as well as their drinks later.

Chief Prosecutor Lee reflects that it wasn’t a bribe; they could naturally have taken turns paying each time, but that first meeting made it impossible to easily refuse another. We see the gray-haired man take note of young Prosecutor Lee eyeing an expensive wallet in a shop window, the one he has now in his hands.

Time moves forward in the flashback, and now we see Section Chief Lee Chang-joon working late. A file on a DUI hit-and-run for Park Moo-sung crosses his desk, and then he receives a call from Dong-jae. He narrates, “A new person becomes a connection and part of your network. When you’re in a low position, those connections give you power. But at a certain point, they turn into weaknesses, and as you climb, you want to hide them.”

Now, Chief Prosecutor Lee rips the wallet in half and tosses it the the garbage. He thinks to himself that you have to pull yourself out from such things from the beginning; if you do it at the end, there’s a price to pay.

He moves into his fancy new office and tells his secretary to bring him a full report on the financial records of everyone who is a section chief or higher, as well as the records of all prosecutors and investigators from the Tax Division—the real ones, not the ones reported to the ethics committee.

Over coffee, Yoon suggests to Section Chief Kang that Chief Prosecutor Lee’s promotion could be a chance for Kang to become deputy chief, but his friend says he’s not interested. He says that Chief Prosecutor Lee is capable and was held back only by his chaebol connections—he hopes that the man won’t be tempted now to toe the party line.

Section Chief Kang asks Yoon what he’s found out about Shi-mok, but he lies and says that he found nothing out of the ordinary.

Yeo-jin follows Dong-jae to CEO Park’s house and waits for him to go inside before sneaking in after him. Rookie Soon-chang is guarding the entrance, but she warns him not to give away her presence as she slips around the side of the house to look in a window.

She reports to Shi-mok that Dong-jae’s searching for something, but since he’s not doing so carefully, she assumes he must be looking for a large item. She sprints back to her car when she sees Dong-jae leaving, and Soon-chang wins my heart by pretending to tie his shoe in the entrance so that she has time to get away.

Noting that Dong-jae is empty-handed, she follows him again, but reverses out of sight immediately when she sees him being stopped by her corrupt colleague, Detective Soo-chan.

Yeo-jin is able to find him again, and tails him until he suddenly pulls over on a bridge. He pulls a black cloth bundle from his jacket pocket and is about to toss it over the railing when Yeo-jin calls out, “Freeze!”

He does, looking dismayed, and she tells him to put it on the ground and step back, reaching for her gun. She counts to three and is about to pull her sidearm when he suddenly complies and hands it over. She opens the bundle… to find only cigarettes and a lighter.

Dong-jae grins triumphantly and claims that he was just trying to quit smoking. He approaches her slowly, asking if she was following him. “Who put you up to this? Do I seem like a joke to you because I don’t have a gun? Answer me!” He punctuates each question with a shove harder than the last, and Yeo-jin nearly falls.

A passerby stops to ask if something is wrong, but Dong-jae sends him off with a flash of his badge. Yeo-jin bows her head and apologizes. He asks her if spending time with Shi-mok has made her reckless, and she raises her eyes at this. Offended that she dares to meet his gaze, he violently pushes her head to the side repeatedly as he yells at her. (What the hell?) Yeo-jin just keeps apologizing calmly.

Dong-jae holds his hand out for the bundle, then throws it hard at her, narrowly missing her face. “Pick it up,” he orders, but when she stoops down, he puts his shoe on the items before she can touch them, and then leaves. I am seriously boiling with rage right now.

Dong-jae drives a little further to a hidden shore of the Han River, and checking his surroundings, he takes out a cellphone. He’s about to pitch it into the water when he hears a man’s voice nearby. But when he sees no one, he throws the phone in.

Soon after, Shi-mok arrives at the riverside to find Yeo-jin and her colleague Gun fishing in the shallow water with nets. Shi-mok tells them it’s useless—he needed them to catch Dong-jae red-handed trying to get rid of evidence. If he’d just wanted the phone, there’d be no need for Gun to tail him as well.

Gun says it’s his fault, muttering that he should have punched that bastard. We see the scene from Gun’s perspective now: He was watching the confrontation between Dong-jae and Yeo-jin from a distance on the bridge, but when Dong-jae drove off, Gun missed the exit to the river and had to double back.

He was hiding in the reeds and called out involuntarily when he saw Dong-jae about to toss the phone in, but then he hid again, allowing the phone to be lost.

Now, he tells Shi-mok what Dong-jae did to Yeo-jin, saying that his blood would have boiled too if he’d seen it. Yeo-jin agrees that she had a hard time keeping her temper. Shi-mok looks worried and seems about to speak, but Yeo-jin tells Gun that Shi-mok doesn’t care about things like that. Shi-mok pouts slightly. (I’m dead, you guys. Revive me with smelling salts.)

Yeo-jin says that Ga-young’s phone was turned on for a few seconds at 1:30 p.m., but they couldn’t trace its location. Shi-mok tells them that was right after Dong-jae found out that they’d searched his office, and Yeo-jin speculates that he was trying to delete something damning.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, they find a cell phone and come out of the cold, smelly water with relief. Shi-mok says that there’s no guarantee that it’s the right phone, and begins to take off his shoes to go into the water. Yeo-jin sighs and grumbles, but she eventually joins him, sending Gun on ahead.

Yeo-jin drops next to Shi-mok as he hunches over to take off his socks, and she smacks him hard on the back, telling him to sit up straight. He rubs his back and glances sideways at her, and she asks in surprise if he’s mad. He denies it, but she crows, “You are! You’re mad, I can see it on your face.”

She keeps insisting and even draws one of her terrible sketches to show his scowling expression, bursting out in laughter as she shows him. (Hahaha!) She rips it out and stuffs this new “gift” in his pocket. This is my new favorite thing.

We see the events of the afternoon from Dong-jae’s perspective, and it turns out that he was aware not just of Yeo-jin following him, but of Gun on his tail too. Soo-chan reports to him that Ga-young’s cellphone was turned on for a few seconds earlier, but adds that they weren’t able to trace a location.

Barefoot and waterlogged, Shi-mok arrives home that evening to find Eun-soo ringing his doorbell. She follows him inside, insisting that she has to know something tonight. She thanks him for helping her earlier, and asks why he did it. He dismisses her, but she refuses to go and grabs his arm, which he throws off immediately.

Pointing out his aversion to her touch, she guesses that he protected her in order to let Dong-jae know that they’d searched his room, which he confirms. She asks if the phone was Ga-young’s, and whether Dong-jae tossed it in the river. Eun-soo says that Shi-mok’s hypothesis that the murderer placed Ga-young’s body as a warning for Chief Prosecutor Lee must be right.

She says that Dong-jae’s accomplice must be Chairman Lee, since Chief Prosecutor Lee and Dong-jae didn’t seem to be in that sort of relationship.

Shi-mok says that she’s being very persistent about this—if Dong-jae happened to find Ga-young’s phone by chance, the culprit would do anything to find out if he had witnessed anything. He adds that the culprit might even come to a man’s house alone at this hour, for example.

Eun-soo scoffs at this implied accusation and says that things that would embarrass her in front of other men aren’t a problem with Shi-mok, because he’s completely uninterested in whatever she might do.

“Why do you think that I wouldn’t know anything?” he asks. “Leave now.” Eun-soo asks if it’s selfish for her to be happy that he isn’t clueless, but leaves without waiting for an answer.

Shi-mok takes Yeo-jin’s drawing of him out of his coat pocket and compares it with her drawing of his brain on his desk.

He goes to the mirror with Angry Shi-mok and frowns at his reflection, comparing his expression to that of the picture. Bwahaha. Then he tries a super awkward smile. OMG SO CUTE.

Yongsan Police Station is deserted as Yeo-jin settles into her desk chair with a blanket. Suddenly, the lights turn off, and she gets up to turn them back on, uneasy.

Suddenly, Ga-young appears, advancing creepily fast, as though in a horror movie. Yeo-jin wakes up from her dream with a gasp.

At the ICU where Ga-young is, the night nurse goes on a bathroom break, and a mysterious woman in high heels enters Ga-young’s room. Unsettled by her dream, Yeo-jin calls the ICU, but a gloved hand takes the phone off the hook, and all she gets a busy signal.

The unknown woman, also wearing gloves, disconnects Ga-young’s oxygen tube and removes her mask, then presses a pillow down over her face. Alarms begin to blare and the nurse rushes back to hook her up again, assuming that Ga-young was having a seizure.

The nurse sees the high-heeled woman leaving and calls after her, but at that moment, the nurse’s phone rings and the woman leaves. (We only see her from the back, but she has the haircut and bearing of Yeon-jae, Chief Prosecutor Lee’s wife, though that may just be a red herring.)

Kyung-wan, CEO Park’s son, is walking home when he’s chased and arrested by Yeo-jin’s team, who were waiting for him. Having heard, Yeo-jin is waiting for them when they arrive at Yongsan Station with Kyung-wan. Gun asks her if he should go to inform the kid’s grandmother, but Yeo-jin says that she’ll do it.

Police Chief Kim is having drinks with Chief Prosecutor Lee and Yeon-jae at their home when Dong-jae suddenly calls to say that he’s outside. Yeon-jae coolly gives her husband permission to let him in, and the three men withdraw to the study.

He tells Chief Prosecutor Lee that they have nothing to worry about now, because he’s nailed down a suspect: Kyung-wan. Records showed that he was on base, but Dong-jae says the kid was away that day and overnight, with no alibi between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.

Chief Prosecutor Lee is doubtful that the army would alter records for a regular soldier, but Dong-jae says that the division commander ordered it. He reminds the two men that CEO Park used to brag that his son got into a good university for golf, and says that his official job of being a truck driver was a cover—Kyung-wan spent his time teaching golf.

Dong-jae says that he found no golf clubs in the family home, meaning that Kyung-wan took them to the army with him. On the afternoon of Ga-young’s attack, Division Commander Kim Nam-jin played golf and went for dinner at 9:00 p.m. and drank at the restaurant until 1:00 a.m.

Kyung-wan had dinner with them, but then went to wait in the car, and although a witness saw him around 10:00 p.m., he was alone until the party left. (In flashback, we see Kyung-wan exiting that night, getting in the car and then reclining the seat completely so that he’s invisible from outside.)

Chief Prosecutor Lee says that Kyung-wan should have been discharged earlier because of his financial situation, and that the commander only kept him on for golf. He says that the commander must have deleted his black box footage once the investigation started, and Dong-jae smiles to himself.

Chief Prosecutor Lee says that it’s all circumstantial evidence though, and they can’t go after a two-star commander on that alone. Chief Kim says that a story will emerge—the girl was pretty, after all.

Chief Prosecutor Lee warns that this could turn into all-out war with the military; they need a powerful spear. Dong-jae pulls out a cellphone from his apparently bottomless jacket pocket, calling it “a spear that will pierce any shield.”

Dong-jae holds a press conference and plays a recording into the microphone of the commander saying that he went to play golf that afternoon with Kyung-wan as their instructor, and that he didn’t see Kyung-wan during dinner. Dong-jae strongly condemns the military for taking advantage of the sacrifice of the country’s youth for personal gain.

Chief Kim reprimands Yeo-jin’s team leader for once again allowing the prosecution to show the police up and take credit for their work. The team leader promises to do what it takes to get a confession and close the case.

Shi-mok asks his chief clerk if it’s possible to unlock a phone remotely, and the clerk tells him that prosecutors have the authority to do it through a service center. Shi-mok wonders why Dong-jae would take the risk of turning Ga-young’s phone on.

Dong-jae enters the interrogation room where Kyung-wan is being held, sends his clerk out, and stops the cameras. He asks Kyung-wan if he had a crush on Ga-young, but the young man says that he never even spoke to her and asks Dong-jae to call a lawyer. Dong-jae drops his smile and snaps at him to call one himself, now that he’s a murder suspect.

Dong-jae sets the scene: Kyung-wan’s dad abandoned their family when Kyung-wan was a teenager; all CEO Park had was money, but he lost that and couldn’t support Kyung-wan’s expensive schooling anymore, and Kyung-wan had to join the army. If CEO Park was alive, Dong-jae continues, then Kyung-wan would be hounded by creditors for the rest of his life.

Furthermore, Dong-jae adds that Kyung-wan knew of the taxi parked across the street and the broken CCTV, and the murder weapon was a familiar item. Kyung-wan asks in disbelief if Dong-jae is accusing him of killing his father.

“In anger and resentment, you stabbed him brutally,” says Dong-jae dramatically, and declares that after that, Kyung-wan had to punish those who betrayed him. Kyung-wan loses his temper and says that it’s a lie—he was at the barracks then.

Dong-jae says that even his commander has been summoned, so no one will believe Kyung-wan. The young man protests that times have changed, since they can’t just threaten him and lock him up. But when Dong-jae asks him why he deleted Ga-young’s pictures from his phone, Kyung-wan can’t answer.

Chief Prosecutor Lee questions Commander Kim Nam-jin, saying that he’d better be careful because his testimony will determine a young man’s future. He asks the commander if he saw Kyung-wan during those hours, but the commander says that he has nothing to hide and that he’s already confessed to everything. Chief Prosecutor Lee asks him why he threw away his black box camera if that’s true.

Dong-jae pushes Kyung-wan’s head down and hisses into his ear:

“Your dad took Kim Ga-young to one of those bars. You were head over heels in for her. Then you found out what your father did to your first love, and you became gravely resentful. ‘Either all of you die, or I’ll go insane.’ You chose the former. You got rid of both of them.”

“No!” says Kyung-wan, but Dong-jae yells that everything fits perfectly in this heinous crime. He tells him not to believe that times have changed—Kyung-wan should think of his grandmother. At this, tears appear in Kyung-wan’s eyes.

Commander Kim Nam-jin tells Chief Prosecutor Lee that he’s not proud of his actions, but that Dong-jae cornered him about falsifying the logs for the day of the incident. Dong-jae asked for information about Kyung-wan’s movements that day, promising to keep it off the record, even though he secretly recorded him.

The commander warns Chief Prosecutor Lee to be wary of Dong-jae, who could stab him in the back at any time. Chief Prosecutor Lee ends the meeting, saying that the National Defense Minister called him, adding that this falls under the minister’s jurisdiction, after all. The commander smiles bitterly, understanding that he’s been had again.

Yeo-jin stands at the intercom of the commander’s home, asking his wife where she was the day before the incident, but she receives no answer. Yeo-jin goes to her car and asks the same question on her loudspeaker, promising to continue all night. The gate unlocks. Heh.

Later, she tells Shi-mok what she’s learned: The day of Ga-young’s abduction, Kyung-wan took the commander’s wife to a driving range for private lessons. They got done after 9:00 p.m., which wouldn’t have left enough time for him to get to Ga-young’s neighborhood. Yeo-jin says that if news gets out that his wife used Kyung-wan for lessons, things will look even worse for the commander.

She also tells him, when he asks, that Kyung-wan’s interview with the police ended at 1:00 p.m. the previous day. But that’s when Eun-soo arrives in Shi-mok’s office at his summons, clearly nervous.

Chief Prosecutor Lee calls Dong-jae into his office and tells him to let the commander go, but Dong-jae says he needs the man to prove Kyung-wan’s guilt. As he explains his plan, Chief Prosecutor Lee thinks of the risks and wonders why Dong-jae is so anxious to close the case.

Eun-soo hesitates to enter the elevator when she sees Dong-jae inside, but he pulls her roughly inside. He asks mockingly if she’s waiting to be rescued, adding that he hasn’t forgiven her. As they exit, she tells him to stop bothering her and ask Shi-mok what he wants to know—like why Shi-mok searched Dong-jae’s office, or why Shi-mok went into the water to get the phone.

Dong-jae stills: “He went into the water?” Eun-soo instantly looks contrite and says hesitantly, “Didn’t you know?” Once Dong-jae leaves, Eun-soo texts someone, looking satisfied. Ah, good, it was a setup.

Dong-jae calls Soo-chan and suggests that Kyung-wan must have turned on Ga-young’s phone right after his police interview before hiding it at his house. Soo-chan reluctantly agrees to meet Dong-jae there, which prompts a creepy smile.

Next, we see Soo-chan entering a room where Kyung-wan is being mercilessly beaten, all while being overseen by the team leader. Oh no.

Dong-jae sneaks into CEO Park’s house and takes Ga-young’s phone out of that same jacket pocket, wiping it carefully. He’s about to hide it under Kyung-wan’s mattress when he hears a door creak. He freezes and then turns to see Yeo-jin watching him from the closet, where she was hiding. Shi-mok enters from the hallway, recording everything on his phone.

Dong-jae stares at them in horror as they approach. Yeo-jin snatches the phone from his hands, reads him his rights, and cuffs him. “It’s not me!” screams Dong-jae. “It was the chief prosecutor! The chief prosecutor killed him. It was all his doing. I know.”

At his desk, Chief Prosecutor Lee systematically deletes files from his computer, including those about Ga-young and CEO Park.

 
COMMENTS

Where do I even begin? My head is spinning. Let’s start with Dong-jae. I knew he was scum from the way he manhandles women and talks down to them, but his habitual sexual harassment is apparently not the only type of the violence he inflicts on women. What he did to Eun-soo was bad enough, but I was burning with fury at his treatment of Yeo-jin on the bridge.

I wanted so badly for her to punch him in his smug face, though of course she kept her cool like the badass she is. His abuse of women is hard to watch, but it’s completely consistent with what we’ve seen of his character so far, since he seems to be without moral limits and uses whatever means are available to him to take advantage of people’s weaknesses, whether that’s power, money, or physical force.

On the other hand, I was shocked by the revelation of Dong-jae as an Iago figure who has masterfully ensnared everyone in his vicinity into his plot, with all his secret smiles and skillful arguments. It’s been clear since the beginning that subterfuge and manipulation are his preferred methods, but I underestimated him, maybe because of the statement by one of our characters that he’s just an average prosecutor buoyed by his powerful connections.

So I didn’t expect him to be crafty enough to create all these little pieces of “evidence” in advance, like timing his booting up of Ga-young’s phone to coincide with the end of Kyung-wan’s interview, or preparing a decoy “phone” in case he was followed. Nor did he fail to catch onto Shi-mok and Yeo-jin’s tricks until the very end of the episode, when they enlisted Eun-soo’s help as well, and finally got one up on him. (But really, all they needed was a way to access that magical breast pocket—it was starting to remind me of Hermione’s purse!)

Dong-jae also has a gift for finding people’s insecurities and poking them in exactly the most painful way, like the way he mocks Eun-soo for being a damsel, when it’s clear how desperate she is to prove her worth. Or his frankly brilliant (and chilling) psychological attack on poor Kyung-wan. Someone very powerful is clearly backing him (there’s no way he could have gotten that information about the golf-playing commander on his own), but he’s no slouch himself, and I love how it was revealed. (The writing in this show just kills me, it’s so good.) My money was on Yeon-jae as his shadowy accomplice, but then we got that last scene, and now I don’t know what to think.

On a lighter note, the interactions between Shi-mok and the two ladies in his life just keep getting more and more interesting. Yeo-jin is definitely his unofficial partner now, and it’s wonderful to see their complete trust in each other and the way their investigative styles are perfectly complementary. She catches him off guard with unexpected displays of affection, and while there’s nothing really romantic about it, it makes my heart so happy to see how much even her careless gestures and words affect him.

I delight in the way she completely ignores his “KEEP AWAY” signs and treats him like an old friend. And those drawings! It cracks me up and makes me squee that he not only saves these drawings, but that he’s using them to try to find his way around his newly discovered emotions. I think on some level, he recognizes that in this area, her intuitive way of moving through the world is more helpful than his analytic logic. (And it’s probably obvious by now, but I’m shipping these two to a ridiculous degree, considering that this is a thriller.)

Eun-soo’s dynamic with Shi-mok is completely different, but no less fascinating. She clearly admires and is attracted to him, and it’s brave of her to continue to challenge him the way she does in the face of his constant rejections. Still, I get the vibe of that impossible crush I know I’ve had on the brilliant older man who makes us want to impress him and make him notice us (which usually leads to some kind of bruising embarrassment—or disaster).

Shi-mok clearly sees at least some of this, and I think it makes him wary, on top of the fact that she’s lied to him in the past and that he doesn’t really trust her, even if they’re allies now. I do think he cares about her, but I can’t tell if it’s because of his relationship with her father, or on her own account. And it remains to be seen whether she’s also caught up in this web of lies and murder, if at all.

 
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As always my favorite part is from 00:00:00 from 01:11:51! :)

I am glad that they caught SDJ! I like that in this show, they don't wait till the end for the good guys to actually achieve something.

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And thanks for the recap Laica!

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I am impressed that by now, we have no idea who the culprit might be and it is not even frustating. The writer is really talented. Every episode, we come with new theories and new suspects and she still manage to surprise us.

Someone mentionned here that Lee Joon Hyuk's acting was lacking and that it was only visible because he has such excellent actors by his side and after watching this episode, I definitely agree. Of course, he is good but while others acting may appear--- extraordinary, his seems familiar.
Speaking about his character, he sure is evil but seeing that he got caught so early, I think it is safe to assume that he isn't the culprit. And now, Eun Soo and the Chief Prosecutor (eventually his wife) are back to be the main suspects.

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He is mainly interacting with veteran film actors. Our two leads, Park Jin-woo even Choi Byung-mo and Yoo Jae-myung (Chief Prosecutor) who is just as fantastic as Kim Eui-sung from (Train to Busan and W).
No matter how small of a role he is given like in (Hwarang and Strong Woman Bong-soon) he makes it count.

I am thrilled that Yoo is given more to do here and make use of his talent and experience.
I'm rooting for him to do the right thing now even though he may pay a heavy price for it.

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Wow you know them so well! I am impressed! I was obliged to go to Asianwiki in order to know which actors you're talking about. Lol

But I have less faith in him. He is the one I am suspecting the most right now.

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I just recognized most of them from their movies :).

Police Chief Kim seems to think highly of him and when Lee tossed that wallet in the trash it gave me hope that maybe he is starting over even though he is well aware of the consequences.
Better late than never!

He is definitely still a suspect and his father in law might still keep him under his control.
I'm hoping Shi-mok would be his right arm or the next deputy but that's a very long shot.

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Not only is he acting with veterans and excellent actors, I feel that these people are also acting differently in this drama. I guess it's got to do with script, characters and directing too. When given good lines, well written characters and good directing, the very good actors deliver top notch quality. On his own, Lee Joon Hyuk is good and may even stand out in an ordinary drama. I remember he stood out as the prosecutor in City Hunter. Here, he's just overshadowed by the excellent cast.

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Lee joon hyuk did well in ep 8; I was impressed. :) The guy was entertaining to watch.

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LOL. You just love the whole episode?

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Exactly!^^

Everything is just so perfect.

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Shi-mok ♥ Yeo-jin

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...Always and forever❤️

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*Sigh* why are you shipping them?.... I am not even on the same ship that my idol.
But it's true that they are adorable together. Yeo Jin has got to have the best personality here. Her character does match Shi Mok's.

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It's not exactly that I'm shipping them..but I'm not NOT shipping them.

I love their interactions together, they're super adorable and I'm glad Shi-mok has found a friend in Yeo-jin.
I would absolutely not mind if they just remain friends...but if SM is to be in a romantic relationship, I'd rather it be Yeo-jin.

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I'm a platonic lead shipper. Don't ruin it lol.

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It can turn either way and I'll not complain. Um, okay, my heart will break a little tiny bit if Shi Mok end up with another than Yeo Jin. But this show is so well set up for me that my head actually can accept if Shi Mok end up with Eun Soo (or not with both). The same for Yeo Jin who looks chummy with Gun.

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I agree :). Right now I'll ride the platonic train and see what happens.

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I'm completely happy with every possible pairing, whether they will end up in platonic or romantic relationship.

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Never in my life I squeal so much over someone face expression. Shi Mok really something else, more than any character I know, he's one I care most (definitely top three of best acted characters in my kdrama experience ). So in that sense, yeah, his journey to able to realize his emotion is more satisfying. If he able to find love, its definitely a bonus

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YESSSSS ♥

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Totally ship this!! I feel like every time Yeo-jin gives Shi-mok a drawing she is unlocking a bit of his emotions. I love how she reads him so effortlessly and how she treats him as a friend and how they work together seamlessly from the very beginning! Seriously the little details, like then both getting into the car and him handing her things and her just dropping them in the back with no question, or when they went to question the bar madam and he waited outside trusting her judgement and knowing she would get more out of questioning. These things just endear them to me!

Also as for Shi-mok being with anyone else, I think at this point it's safe to assume he might be a virgin when it comes to anything to do with women. As Eun soo implies when she goes to his place that she feels safe knowing he doesn't have those urges. She is still attracted to him but that is completely one sided at this point. I wonder though if Shi-mok has those feelings and just dosent recognize them. From what we have seen so far he does get angry or smile but he's not always aware of doing so.

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I'm always happy when I see I'm not the only one wishing for more. They're so adorable together

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i love literally everything about this show, and im definitely here for this, too now.

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Ahhhh! What a great episode, the writing and acting in this is phenomenal omg.

Thanks for the great recap and I totally ship Shi-mok and Yeo-jin as well. I love how she just takes him at (seemingly blank) face value without judgement or disgust. And is honestly the only person in this drama so far who seems to have him down perfectly. Eun-soo continues to be this weird cypher where I want to believe her innocence and interest in Shi-mok, but something about the way she behaves is just so off that I can't do it.

And omg that last scene. Dong-jae flipping out was amazing, and although my heart still hurts because part of me still sees him as Long Legs Ajusshi from City Hunter and him being a bad guy just doesn't want to compute completely, I have to give major props to Lee Joon Hyuk because this episode made me want to smash his face in.

I love how almost everyone in this show has layers upon layers upon layers and that we got to see things from the Chief Prosecutor's point of view as well, which doesn't really excuse anything he does, but makes it a lot more fascinating to follow along. The writing continues to be stellar and I can't wait to see what happens now.

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I completely forgot he was in City Hunter! I'll see him in a different light now. It's so strange to watch him having the same job but doing it in an entirely different manner.

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yes! i keep thinking the same thing

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I feel Eun soo is very manipulative when it comes to Shi-mok. She asks a lot of leading questions that directly poke at his inability to produce emotions, all the while playing the
damsel in distress. I don't trust her at all!

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i agree. i totally do not trust her. there is some deeper level that is troubling.

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I don't know how to put together a number of coherent words about this show, just.....❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Just let your profile picture speak on your behalf. LOL

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Where has Cho Seung Woo been all my life? I love his prosecutor Hwang!

The twists in this show are amazing. And the characters have so many layers of tarnish and evil, it's impossible to know who he and lieutenant han can trust, for any given value of trust, at any time.

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You should watch him in God's Gift - 14 Days. It's also really twisty and he's a very different character. He will never not be Captain Awesome after that show. Of course, there's the slight problem with the ending...

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I've been thinking about that one. Maybe I just skip the last episode and write my own ending? It seems to be pretty infamous. :-)

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I recall there's a fanfic that is more suitable as its ending back then. Just go ahead and avoid half of the last episode or pretend it never happen if you accidentally watch it.

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i am literally thinking about doing this.

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If you want to venture outside dramaland, he is well known for some of his films and especially on stage (his dream).
(Hedwig, Jekyll & Hyde are 2 of my favorites).

His very first film "Chunhyang" 17yrs ago was a sageuk directed by the acclaimed film maker Im Kwon-taek. One of my favorites beside "Marathon" and "The Classic." The "Go Go 70s" is pretty fun. The one film that my mom and I watch together. Definitely her kind of music (lol) and most are in English.

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Dude, I was so mad at Dog Jae for being a jerk to Yeo Ji. I'm so glad he got caught.

And how cute was Yeo Jin's drawing of Shi Mok, pretty soon he'll have a collection of her drawings.

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Dog Jae is right! He is a dog, but it seems like that's his character-- being cruel to women just cause he can.

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Ooh me too! I was gonna throw my phone because of him and I can't help but admiring Yeo-ji for holding back, how awesome of her.

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SEO DONG JAE IS CRAZY GUY!

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I think, I am the only one who enjoys seeing Shi-Mok/Eun-Soo interactions more than Shi-Mok/Ye-Jin. The first one is just so strange and tense, I always try to understand what one of them thinks, while second is like a brief of fresh ear which is nice but somewhat forgetful.

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Oh and applauds for Cho Seung Woo, for a character who is supposed to have little to no emotions he is quite expressive (even more than a lot of dramaland leads)

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Shi Mok/Eun Soo relationship is interesting but it also seems like she has an ulterior motive.

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I can't trust EunSoo at all. I can not.

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You are certainly not alone sweetheart! We are in this together!^^

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Nah, you're not alone. I like seeing both, though, because the feelings ShiMok expresses (if any) are so different when he's with either woman. I'm kind of looking forward to a scene where he's talking to both of them. I think his head might explode lol

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That would be awesome to watch

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I wouldn't say I like theirs more (probably equally), but they are really interesting to watch. There's an underlying tension about Eun-soo and Shi-mok that I don't quite understand... does he trust her? What is she planning, if anything? Is a betrayal coming? Are they gonna make out?? This is a drama that wants to keep viewers on their toes in ALL aspects I guess, haha.

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She's definitely planning something and he doesn't trust her. Everything else is up for grabs.

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I wish we had a glimpse into exactly what she's planning because it's making me so dang antsy!

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He does not trust her . I think he draws her close {to make her think he trusts her } in order to watch her actions more , to try and figure out what she is up to.

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This is one drama that I never expected to love and i'm always looking forward to watching the show on Netflix. The writing is flawless and Cho Seung Woo as Prosecutor Hwang is perfect for the role. I'm really confused About Eun-Soo's real motive.Yeo-Jin is the perfect match for him they complement each other.

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I am half-tempted to stop watching this drama, to wait until it's done so I can marathon it all in one go. But then I can't resist and even watched these most recent episodes first raw and then subbed (it's worth watching each episodes twice, they are rich enough for that).

Forest of Secrets, so good in every way and every other drama right now pales next to it. The writing is stellar, but also the acting. I confess, this why Forest of Secrets even beats Circle for me – which I loved plenty, but there it was YJG who shone so very brightly, while here the cast is strong across the aboard and the two leads are just wonderful.

"Yeo-jin is definitely his unofficial partner now, and it’s wonderful to see their complete trust in each other and the way their investigative styles are perfectly complementary."

They are just so yin and yang, intuitively drawn to each other. I just love how Yeo-jin treats Shi-mok, just fully accepting him how he is (I really liked their drinking scene in ep 8). I guess this is how she treats people in general, but he especially needs someone like that. And him, he is somehow moved by that. (When she said, "That man doesn't care about that", he so did care, though I'm sure he did not expect that himself!)

"Eun-soo’s ... clearly admires and is attracted to him"

Somehow, I can't help but see Eun-soo as a kid. Shi-mok strikes me more as a mentor or father figure for her (and he interacts with her like that – protecting her and teaching her, though still wary of her). They are not at the same level, which is why I can ship Shi-mok only with Yeo-jin. But also, I don't trust Eun-soo. She could be just an admirer and just wanting to become a good prosecutor, but it could also be a trick – hitting on him precisely because she knows that he's not interested. I'm not convinced she fully understands the unique person he is (I feel only Yeo-jin really does), so some part of her might think that this hitting on him might work to distract him somehow.

I rather like that he Shi-mok essentially reacted to Eun-soo invading his private space (I find her quite aggressive in that way) by... going to Yeo-jin's drawing – as if it provided him with comfort.

That said, I've occasionally also wondered if maybe the writers just want to pull the ultimate trick on us – that the culprit is that one single character that we all fully trust (that being Shi-mok himself). I don't want that of course... but with this sort of show you never really know.

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Actually, I trust Yeo Jin even more than him. She would be the one ultimate person I fully trust.....But I just can't imagine it o.O nor do I want to...

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I trust them both... a lot... to the point that if the writers do want to pull the ultimate trick, I want to be in denial.........

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Have to admit have some doubts about her just because she has this no-secret vibe, but would seriously cry if this happened. Show should spill something about her background story soon tho, so at least we can alleviate the suspicion. Or justify it, haha.

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You last paragraph about Shi-Mok maybe being the culprit has been floating on the edges of my mind. I've been refusing to acknowledge it and really hope the writers don't go there. But at this point its a very real possibility :0

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Shin HyeSun (playing EunSoo) did say that this drama would make our heads explode. But even so, I truly hope that they don't make them explode by pulling the rug out from underneath and have either YeoJin or ShiMok be the culprit. The prospect gives me the shivers. lol. Which I guess means I may be a little too invested.

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Am loving Shin Hye-sun so much! Have only watched her in ditzy, bubbly roles in She Was Pretty and Five Children; here's like the complete opposite and she's nailing it.

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I've gone there but I was thinking along the line of an alter ego or a multiple personality disorder as a side effect from his brain surgery.
Then I realized that I'm crazier than crazy so scratch that lol.

I much prefer @naomi123

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Will reserve my opinion to episode 8, but I now really suspect one of the characters. And if I'm right, that sure mind blowing in a sense (or I just too deep in my suspicion)

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We all need a YeoJin to pull us out if we get to invested. But yeah, I really get what you're saying, because I can't seem to make up mind about who I think could be a culprit in his case. I just love all the characters too much!!! (well not DogJae or JungBon)

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I love Shi Mok but I can sacrifice a character no matter how much I love them in the name of excellent story telling. I'd absolutely hate it though if the show resorts to this because they can't think of a bigger shock or twist. If they want to make Shi Mok the culprit, the writer had better make her story 100% airtight.

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That scene at the hospital reminded me so much of Pretty Little Liars and I instantly sat up in my seat. That's the point where my interest in the show grew exponentially.

I don't understand why there weren't officers outside the hospital door??? She almost died?? And her killer is still on the loose??

That scene where Shi Mok stares into the mirror stared off adorable but when he stopped smiling it hurt my heart. You could see the loneliness in his eyes and that was too much for me to handle ?

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That was what I was wondering about too. They appointed a staff member to keep her safe earlier but all of a sudden there was no one there to look after the victim and probably the only witness to the crime if she ever regains consciousness. Unless it is a deliberate move by the higher-up I find it a very careless thing to do on the part of the police. Is there actually a time limit, sort of, before a guard can be discharged from their duty to watch over a hospitalised victim?

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I don't know about a time-limit, but I can totally imagine a scenario where Chief Prosecutor's Lee's wife has some police officers in her "service" and had them arrange for Kim GaYoung's protection detail to be miraculously absent.

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It's like he really wants to try to smile but then he just gave up, it's so sad. That's why I like everytime he's with Yeo-jin because she chases that loneliness away and I swear I could feel that Shi-mok is secretly grateful for that, he just doesn't express it.

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TBH, I have no clue who is the real culprit but I definitely think the Chief Prosecutor's wife has something to do with it all...

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agree. but i will be suuuuper disappointed if it ends up being only about his relationship with the young girl in the hospital (sorry im the worst with names). im hoping for some deep-seated twisted plot relating to her father, not just an angry wife.

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This shoe is SOOO good that I watched it raw, then watched YouTube clips, and then behind the scenes, all without knowing a lick of Korean. The writing, the music, the cinematography, the acting - its just perfect.
This episode was interesting and difficult to watch. As Laica said, Dong-Jae manhandling Eun-soo and Yeo-Jin was very difficult to watch. Thought he was violent to both women he was especially harsh with Yeo-Jin which showed that there is a hierarchy between cops and prosecutors, with prosecutors being considered higher in the hierarchy.
It was interesting to see how Dong-Jae is smart and figured out quiet a bit of things in his own way. It reminded me of the discussion between Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin last week about Dong-Jae's abilities and the perception among the other prosecutors that he's not too smart. I was especially reminded of Yeo-Jin's comment "...he passed the same bar exam.." and hence should not be underestimated. It's as if the writers were reminding the audience not to underestimate anyone in this game. The show does seem like a elaborate game with multiple players, each of whom are desperate, have a hidden agenda, and their own strengths - connections, money, intelligence, or be it a bent moral code.
I love watching Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin interact. They make my heart melt with the effortless warmth in their relationship. I ship them hard which is very unusual for me.
This episode showed me something that other beanies had seen in the previous episodes about Eun-soo and Shi-Mok's interactions. She is direct about her interest in him and he is not unaware of her. I'm not sure if his aloofness with her is because he does not trust her or because he is not interested. Looking back he's always been a little more cold to her than anyone else in his workplace. There is definitely something there and I'm reluctantly looking forward to finding out what it is (mainly because I want him with Yeo-Jin).
Finally, I LOVE Yeo-Jin. She is smart, fearless, honest, and just so warm. She is just AWESOME!

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Same here?

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ha! glad im not the only one!!

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I feel like Eun-Soo is in a different show from everyone else :P She could be the heroine of a romantic legal drama where she's the green but brilliant upstart who challenges and melts the heart of her cold but righteous boss. When she's with Shi-mok the plot-line is super romantic drama to the point that it makes me laugh.

It's so different from when Yeo-jin and Shi-mok are together. They're partners in true sense of the word. They trust each other, share information, plan, and execute plans together. And of course Yeo- jin's taming of Shi-mok continues ? Not gonna lie when Eun-soo said "See? You don't like people touching you" I thought triumphantly to episode 6 where Yeo-jin casually lead Shi-mok by the arm and he followed along meekly. You can be as romantic as you want Eun-soo but you can't beat the power of True Partnership(TM).

That being said, I don't trust Eun-soo completely. I've been influenced by Shi-mok to maintain an inkling of doubt towards everyone that isn't him or Yeo-jin.

I find that this episode is mostly set-up for the next. Lots of things happened but their consequences don't come into light until the next one so I'll save the rest of my feedback for then.

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Your 1st paragraph rings very true to me.
But i'm not sure if this is intentional from the writer or if it's just that the intense chemistry between Jo Seung Woo and Shin Hye Sun which has taken over the plot, making their relationship more centrale than it was planned to be originally...

I don't get why people dismiss this ship on the base of the age and experience, as if it does happen everyday in real life to see people engaged in unbalanced relationships. Life would be a lot of different if attraction was based only in finding the partner which match us perfectly and makes us feel equal.

Yeo Jin is a good friend for him, but so far ( it will probably change), i see no romantic interest or sexual spark in their interactions, while each time Shi Mok met with Eun Soo, i wonder if they will dare to show this hot kiss that they were teasing from ep1 (the attention he paid to her tongue said it all).

I trust Eun Soo completely: at this stage the show has spent enough time on her, herpast, psychology and detailing her body language when she's alone to prove that the girl is honest in her desire to bring down the bad guys and that she wouldn't risk anyone life in danger to do so, contrary to Shi Mok ( see ep8).

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TBH I wouldn't mind either way if they wanted to keep Eun- soo and Shi-mok's relationship the same or take that delicious tension further. I trust the writers and PD enough to go wherever they take me. Same with Shi-mok and Yeo-jin's relationship. I think right now I just particularly enjoy the fact that, finally, Shi-mok gets a friend. He needs it so much and it warms my heart whenever he relaxes ever so slightly in her presence.

Actually, just thinking about romance, I think it would be a lot harder for it to ignite between him and Yeo-jin. Yeo-jin is a supremely guarded person, perhaps even more than him. He just goes along with what people think he is while she is outwardly chill and friendly but doesn't let people into her inner life. This could be an effect of the writing and directing- we don't follow Yeo-jin on her days as closely as Shi-mok, nor do we get any of her voiceovers. Either way, it appears that Yeo-jin is great at putting people at ease, but much more reluctant to let them into her heart. I feel this the most about her co-workers constantly inviting her out to eat/drink and her refusing - always with a good excuse.

Comparatively, Eun-soo (if we are to take her at face value) wears her heart on her sleeves. She's very intelligent and lies effortlessly, but finds it much harder to hide her emotions. For someone like Shi-mok a relationship will probably never happen unless someone as forward as Eun-soo forces him to confront both his and their emotions.

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Love your comment @Bambi, especially the last two paragraphs. Your analysis differ from I am used to read so I am glad that you're talking about it, because it enables me to see things differently. Thanks!

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Your analysis of Yeo-Jin's character is very interesting and I think accurate. I was thinking about these two characters and I realized that both Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin are lonely people. While Shi-Anil's loneliness is made apparent, Yeo-Jin's is more subtle and deeper. Though Shi-Mok is a loner at work it seems more a choice, if he were to make even a little effort, I think there are many people who are willing to connect and interact with him. Plus he's a prosecutor from a good school which comes with it own connections and privileges. This was shown in the scene where Chief Kang asked Shi-Mok is going to miss the next alumni get together. Even with Eun-Soo we see this eagerness from the first episode.
Yeo-Jin's isolation at work is probably made due to her gender and more importantly her strong moral code. She is clearly not completely part of the team though she jokes with them and seems to have a positive relationship with Gun and the newbie cop. She is aware that there is a line which is what makes her such a wonderful character. She is not naive in her idealism. Plus she is warm to everyone even though she has good reason to be cynical which takes strength.
The similarities between Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin and how equal they are is what makes me ship them. In most Kdramas (or for that most dramas) there is an imbalance between couple and we spend most of the drama watching them trying to become equals. It might be interesting and refreshing to see how to evenly matched in a relationship.
At this point though I'm not sure about anything in this drama except that it is crazy good and I'm along for the ride.

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About Yeo Jin being guarded and not exactly letting people in while making it easy for others to let her in, it is absolute on point. I think she has the same effect on us viewers while we doubt every living soul in the show, she is the only person about whom we can all agree on. But we know next to nothing about her. Although she makes a good partner to Shi Mok and perhaps a wonderful friend, I think it'll be much harder for her to fall for a guy like Shi Mok. Eun Soo on the other hand is tenacious. She'll possibly hammer her way in if she feels there's even one ounce of feeling on Shi Mok's part. She is an emotional being and she likes to make her own way if blocked by obstacles. And I do feel there is some effect, he is extremely hard on her for no reason at times. I don't get why he puts in extra effort to be on guard and to be harsh towards her. Its not like his regular self is exactly friendly in any way, he is distant by nature. And it doesn't even work, Eun Soo disregards all of that with ease anyway. Does that mean she is at the point of the show trustworthy, hell no. I can't talk more without talking about episode 8 but I'll say this there dynamic as of now is intriguing.

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I'd love to see Eun Soo get drunk then accidentally call or kiss Shi Mok. There's something sizzling about their subtle interactions and looks that I can't help but fangirl over.

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Your second paragraph rings true to me. Lol
But really, I love everything you said. I'm just sceptical when you're saying that she wouldn't risk anyone life in danger to do so but I can't comment on it because I'll need to talk about things that happened in the next epi!
Also, I wonder if she really wants to bring down the bad guys or just to bring down the chief prosecutor and his father in law.

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This show consistently delivers. It's so good my dad got hooked from just this episode alone. He came in the room to see what I was watching and never left. This morning he kept asking when the new episode will be available. Haha.

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Lol I'm so jealous you've found a FoS watching buddy in your dad. My dad would probably like this show too but he is not used to reading subs. My mom LOVES Korean dramas but she's mostly into period dramas, family or melo so I'm pretty much alone with my own watching habits XD

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Thankfully my dad doesn't mind subs at all. I was able to introduce foreign films to him a while ago so Kdramas aren't that far of a reach. I wish I could get my mom hooked, but she is too busy to watch any tv at all.

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Uh I could totally see my dad watching this, if only I could get my parents to subscribe to tvN *sobs*

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You're so lucky! I am in the case where I avoid talking about dramas because people would take me for an alien. Lol

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I've resigned myself to being an alien. ??

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Now you know how I feel ?

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Haha don't get mad but everytime I see your profile picture and your username, I think to alien. Last time while writing my comment, I was going to call you alien for fun but I though it would be rude so I just went along with @outofthisworld!

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No, no, I am not really out of this world. I am just greener than most, with an egg-shaped head. If I bother with my BB cream, I'll look a lot better ?

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I just resigned myself from being an alien too. Now I have one friend who is watching this drama as well.

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Lucky you!!

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Try showing someone signal! Its the show that converted my friend into a kdrama fan. Now she's a fanatic like me lol.

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But the problem is I myself I don't like Signal. Strange for some people I guess but I am not usually into legal shows so I didn't feel like watching it. Seeing all the good reviews, I was tempted so I tried but I couldn't get past the first episode lol.
Besides my best friend is someone whose taste won't change easily so... Anyway I am used to it now. Since kid, I've always been a bit different.^^

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If you want to convince someone you need to show them the right drama depending on their taste. I couldn't finish Signal too. Not for the same reason (it just happened to air when I was a bit depressed and the drama depressed me even more) so I should pick it up. I tried to introduce my friend to a drama and recommended Master's Sun, she enjoyed the first episode but never finished it anyway

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Signal isn't a legal drama though... maybe you should have given it more time! As far as FOS goes; I'm as fanatical as you seem to be!!

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I tried watching Signal , but for some reason at that time the victims' suffering got to me and I couldn't deal with watching , it made me sad/angry/depressed at the injustice .

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We should just create the alien club then. But I am afraid it will have to much members. Lol

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I understand your feeling because I tend to do the same but actually a lot of people watch dramas. More and more people do but I'm always surprised when I learn that one of my acquaintance watch dramas

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So, for the first time watching this show, I started to get antsy because the narrative is moving away from the tight focus on our two main leads. Up until this point we have only know what the two main leads know. This got me worried that the show is losing its confidence in itself. I was especially worried when we started getting inside the head of the (now) Chief Prosecutor. But then...that ending...despite seeing so many POVs this episode we still really only know as much Shi-mok and Yeo-jin. And this show still knows exactly what it is doing. WOW! This is some of the best writing I have seen in a long time!

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yes! the writing on this show is next level!!

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No spoiler, but episode 8 ending was super awesome to the point that I want to scream to the whole world how awesome Forest of Secret is.

Of course this episode is good too. Love the twist and turn of this episode, especially I love how smart Dong Jae is (no matter how much I want to slap him in bridge scene). Its rare in Kdrama land where the supposed smart prosecutor and police are smart. Usually to make sure there's enough conflict, they dumb down another character to the point I can't believe how come those people pass those examination. Here, in Forest of Secret, everybody is smart and tricky, even Dong Jae.

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hehehehe same here. waiting for the recap like "refresh refresh refresh"

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The end of ep 8 makes me incredibly happy for some reason.

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We all clearly has underestimated Seo Dong Jae. This whole episode proves that while he's true to his personality, he's not as one dimensional as everybody suspected. It's kinda fascinates to watch him crafted the faking of evidence destruction, and how he handled interrogation with Kyung wan. The way he used emotional pressure and attacked the sore spot, well I guess he's pretty manipulative in his own way.

Chief Prosecutor Lee continues to puzzle me. Sometimes he looks like an good person turned bad because of his surroundings and office pressure, and I wanted to believe that he's in the good side. Most of the times, though, he looks wayyyy more evil than anyone and he's still my prime suspect for now. (that last scene! I wonder why?)

It's an interesting contrast regarding Shi mok's relationship with both Yeojin and Eunsoo. SM-YJ : warm and comfortable. SM-ES : dark and intimidating. So I completely get it when people say SM-YJ is more like friendship and SM-ES is filled with sexual tension, props to ES's visible interest and her attempt to get close to him.

Well, I dont expect any romance when I jumped into this show and it will be nice if SM and YJ continues to have strong friendship and partner-relation but really if I have to choose I will choose YJ for SM solely because she triggered his emotion to show.

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Honestly, the show's writing's so good that I have nothing to say about it. It constantly made me doubt someone and take someone else's side (Chief Prosecutor, Seo Dongjae, Eunsoo). But Dongjae is totally disgusting on what he did to Yeojin. @laica took the word out of my mouth with the shipping. Giving how this show is a full on legal thriller I was totally NOT ready to ship anybody, BUT YOU CAN'T NOT NOTICE THE TWO LEAD'S CHEMISTRY. Oh my god. I really love the idea that he's learning that he's supposed to have this thing called emotion which he has no idea about and he learns about it from her. And she constantly gave the touch of humanity and emotion to his analysis, it's a very classic drama thing usually called as "they complete each other"

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PS. Am i the only one who notices that this Yoon guy shows up on screen more than he deserves? Like I've got a feeling he's gonna play a bigger role. And why did he lie about shimok........?

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I'm so curious about this Yoon character as well. Even more so, after he lied to the Section Chief about Shi-mok and told the truth to Chief Prosecutor Lee WHEN it was the Section Chief who asked about the information in the first place (as far as we know)

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True! Also can we just take a moment to appreciate the fine casting they did with him? As in how FINE this man is? Whenever he's on screen I swoon a little.

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We have a lot of fine men in suits in this show. One of the perks of recapping drama after drama about prosecutors ;)

(Downside: I feel like I'll be taken away one of these days because of my google search history.)

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YES! Not only he looks handsomely mysterious(is this even a thing?) but he also looks like a softie. Okay if he ended up being the culprit I put my swoony eyes on wrong guy

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Finally I have time to marathon the first 6 eps and I think I'm in love with this drama. It's such a smart, well-made, assured, and ellegant (I can't believe I used this word to describe a legal thriller drama) show.

I still couldn't read Eun-soo properly. For now, I don't think she is our big baddie. But she definitely knows more and not sharing. And while she did seem to be genuinely grateful for Shi-mok trying to protect her from Dong-jae, I do think she was mostly trying to find out how much Shi-mok knows about this particular case. She did seem uncomfortable though, for barging to his house late at night, though I'm not sure why. Because she openly suspect her direct superior? Or because they're man and woman, alone in that house?

It's also interesting that Eun-soo understand well that Shi-mok can certainly feel emotions eventhough it's very muted. And she enjoyed poking at his placid facade to see what lays underneath and what would ruffle his feather. Whether it's purely out of curiosity and some form of attraction, or for a much more nefarious reason.

It's also doubly interesting to see the contrasting reaction Shi-mok gave to the 2 women in his life. He is very aware of Eun-soo's each and every actions and telltale signs but never let go of his emotionless mask. (And sparks did fly in his house.) While Yeo-jin perplexed and puzzled him to no end, but he always unknowingly shows his feelings freely around her.

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"It's also doubly interesting to see the contrasting reaction Shi-mok gave to the 2 women in his life. He is very aware of Eun-soo's each and every actions and telltale signs but never let go of his emotionless mask. (And sparks did fly in his house.) While Yeo-jin perplexed and puzzled him to no end, but he always unknowingly shows his feelings freely around her."

This! I couldn't have expressed it better.

I am pleasantly surprised that we have an interesting second lead like Eun Soo. Actually, second lead doesn't seem to be an appropriate description. This drama don't seem to work the conventional way. Back to Eun Soo, I am mostly curious how far is she willing to go to achieve her agenda.

I can't really tell if she's showing her true self as a younger woman crushing on her boss or if she has more sinister motives in working her way with him.

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I can't quite decide on Eun Soo, I know I don't trust her. Then again, I don't know even if Shi Mok is completely trustworthy as a view point in this drama either. We are solely not doubting him based on his inability to be driven by emotion or greed or ambitions but we also know the surgery didn't completely destroy his emotional abilities. For now, I enjoy their dynamic. They seem a bit alike at times but one is extremely emotional while the other seems to be the opposite. What I can't overlook is the energy that they share. They are both hard on each other and blunt in their interactions. Its quite amusing to watch them.

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Yayyy thank you for the recap! I resisted watching EP 8 until I could read this first. Hehe :)

My head was spinning from this episode too. I was impressed that Dong Jae was more clever than I thought. I kinda wrote him off as a typical bad guy who was going to be more desperate after learning that he was replaceable on Chief Prosecutor Lee's side.

Yeo Jin's drawing of Shi Mok was so cute! Really love their interactions. More please! Loved that they caught Dong Jae at that crucial moment too.

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Haven't watched the episode yet (just about to) but I wanted to skim the recapper reactions to see if I was in for another treat (of course I am). That's all beside the point, though--mainly I just wanted to express how absolutely killed I am by that smile at the end of the recap. That smile!! Can't wait!!

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Oh cozybooks is also here ??

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There is another smile even prettier than that one waiting for you though (I hope this doesn't sound like I am luring you into something bad LOL)

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I love this Show. When writing, acting, and directing match Forest of Secrets is the show you get from writers, and the show viewers deserve. Just wonderful, I might say it is the best drama in the last couple years. I still love many of the other dramas, but they had little or even big issues, but this drama is letter perfect. Ahhhh!!!!

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Shi-mok's expression at the river bank, when he's hearing Yeo-jin has been harrased by Dong-jae is priceless ? I think he wants to show some sympathy but long he has been expressionless make him the way he look.
Hwang Shi-mok, he don't have the foot in the mouth syndrom, but his inappropiate expression sure is, wrong time, wrong expression, right emotion, still wrong expression. Lol. He's killing me ??

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*doesn't

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At first I thought his gesture means he's gonna smack Yeo-jin or something for making him worry ?

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??? "My head is spinning." This would be an understatement for me, mine exploded and darn, it feels so good. For the first time, a show that's completely ahead of its viewers but doesn't lose us entirely. The revelations come fast only to be replaced by more questions.

I had expected that Dong Jae wouldn't be that easily caught when Yeo Jin pulled over at the bridge. What I didn't expect was she had her colleague follow him. Neither did I expect Dong Jae to throw them off again when he used a fake phone. @laica is right, I too had underestimated Dong Jae. I love it when characters like him are not just annoying, they are smart too. This is another characteristic of a well written drama. Details are not just doled out on the main characters, the side characters and even the minor ones are given attention. Does anyone recall that there is a spy in Shi Mok's office? It's that curly hair ahjussi assistant who looks innocent and is quite funny.

Shi Mok and Yeo Jin are such a delight to watch even if they are just platonic. I don't even know why I am squeeing from all their interactions and reactions towards each other when they aren't romantic at all. At the same time, I can't help but be intrigued by Eun Soo and Shi Mok. Who turns up at her boss' house at such hour and there's more to come. I am not betting on the show to make something out of this pair but I'll be very curious if they do go down this path even if it's a one time thing.

Another conclusion which I've arrived at: I need to move to another time zone. First, the subs come out just before I lose my last battle with the Zzz monster. Then the recaps is up and everyone's having a party while I am in slumberland. NOT FAIR.

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The head spinning comment is apt! The reveal that another detective is following, and then the reveal that Dong-jae KNOWS also O_o
Gotta say, he sure got a lot of them phones laying around...

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Dong Jae is in between as someone who is smart but can be careless and not very meticulous. A quite realistic character imo. lol.

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I so agree with your time zone comment!

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Aaaw, that last screencap just melts me, thanks for that, @laica!
All of the running around for a phone, wow, just made me out of breath. I didn't realize Despicable Dong-jae was setting false trail on Kyung-wan when he turned on the phone for a bit, huwah. Plus, still not sure why he went to Park's house in the first place; was he really searching for something or was he just stalling to recognize who tailed him? Well, he is smart, but he got outsmarted in the end. That last scene, Yeo-jin appearance! If I were Dong-jae, I'd be having nightmares... And even more funny that Eun-soo summed all that has happened in a few concise sentences, gah, loved that she is so smart!
Can't believe they actually hit Kyung-wan into confession, is this like the cold war or something? That these people in power actually feel no remorse in killing an innocent youth's future, it's the worst for me. They really have lost their moral.

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Eun-soo gives me the vibe of the damsel in distress who instigates the case in a noir detective story, to be revealed as the main culprit in the end ><
She definitely got some serious hero worship on Shi-mok, maybe because her dad thinks highly of Shi-mok. Her + Shi-mok are deliciously tenseful, while Yeo-jin + Shi-mok are comfortable; am shipping all over the place now.
Would even ship cutie maknae Soon-chang with Yeo-jin, he seem to starting his own hero worship there ^^ But then again, his appearance timing is somewhat suspicious too, wah wah.

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The rookie detective Soo-chang is definitely suspicious (on top of everyone else).
I haven't forgotten about that incident when Kim Ga-young's tube was disconnected from the oxygen and Soo-chang JUST HAPPENED to be the one who was guarding her. He was super shady.

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Or he could be set-up to take the blame, hehe, could go either way. Am thinking he could be sent by somebody to spy Yeo-jin, or he is a true innocent who will be a victim later on. But adversely hope he's good and he won't die, coz he's cute, hihi.

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Great episode again! Plus I watched ep 8 already but will refrain from commenting about it.

An interesting question the drama and beanies haven't posed/addressed yet is Why Shi Mok is only starting to manifest these emotions recently. They are subtle and muted, but are, nevertheless, still there. So far the story tells us that after the surgery so many years ago, he somewhat lost his emotions, but why are these emotions suddenly sprouting now? Why only now, after all these years? There must be some untold trigger the drama hasn't revealed yet. Or it must've always been there after the surgery, but Shi mok is only starting to RECOGNIZE them (especially after he met Yeo jin) now.

In any case, the writer has yet to reveal the full content of that convo between Shi mok and Park myung in Shi mok's car (at ep 1). I believe there's more to it than the last few episodes have revealed (or did I miss something?). And if this is true, this makes Shi mok an unreliable POV, keeping us viewers in the dark. The viewers' doubt over his character is therefore warranted.

Anyways, I don't trust the minor characters either - Yoon and his friend (those two are always gossiping to themselves!), Gun, and the newbie police maknae. So good job to the scriptwriter.

Can't wait for ep 8 recap. :)

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I used to think Shin Hye Sun is meh, especially after watching her in Five Children. But now after LOTBS and this drama, I can see she has potential. I am not sure I like her character or not, but all characters are mystery in this drama. We don't know their motives.

I am all in for Shi Mok - Yeo Jin platonic relationship. These two looks like they are better without any romantic feeling. About Shi Mok - Eun Soo, I don't see there will be more in their relationship. For now I see Eun Soo seems to have a crush on him, but he is just suspicious about her. I don't want their relationship to involve in romantic, I am just reluctant to give Shi Mok to anyone lol. Let Eun Soo - Dong Jae (if he is not the culprit) have the relationship instead lol.

For now Eun Soo to have a richer character compared In Yeo Jin, but I won't believe the writer won't give Yeo Jin's any back story or just make her character quite plain. We can't afford to have another second lead take over main lead's place, what more the main lead is experienced and way better actress. I am reserving my opinion on this regard, for now I have my fully trust on this writernim. So far, she manages to balance all characters and all of them are intriguing on their own.

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I was startled when GaYoung reached for YeoJin. Gosh. I thought she's already dead and her spirit wandering around or something.

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Another well written episode. I continue to enjoy how small, little insignificant moments are neatly tied to each other in a meaningful way by the end. And thank god, the cops are smart(cough, Do Bong Soon, cough), the prosecutors are smart and nobody is running around looking like idiots in the drama. Everybody has their own goal that they are desperately trying to reach. So far the only character solely driven by ideal and sense of duty seems to be Yeo Jin which makes me wonder if the writers are setting up for some big twist in terms of her purpose. I hope not. Shi Mok continues to be the heart of the show and his interactions with Yeo Jin are so warm and so adorable that it makes me happy. I like how she tries to make him acknowledge that he feels what others feel but maybe the extent is less than others. I like how bad-ass and efficient she is in terms of taking action. Shi Mok clearly trusts her enough to let his guard down around her. I like their Sherlock-John dynamic. I don't see anything romantic yet in their interaction but their growing friendship is precious to me.
SDJ is an asshole. What he did to Eun Soo in the beginning, to Yeo Jin in the bridge and to Eun Soo again by the end was horrendous. Assault is assault. I wanted to beat the crap out of him. But I liked how intelligent he is. He isn't made to looks stupid. He is well aware and he should be. With shifting alliance and two murder mysteries connected directly to him that can potentially ruin him, he should be on edge an hyper aware. Now, to Eun Soo, I know she is desperate for revenge and I feel she doesn't have anybody else to rely on. Her scenes with Shi Mok are again tension filled. I love how she catches up pretty quickly to why Shi Mok does what he does. She isn't delusional in terms of the gestures Shi Mok extends to her and is well aware that Shi Mok is mostly unnerved by her presence. But I don't think he is completely immune to her pushing his limits and testing his response. She does deliberately bulldoze the formal boundaries they have and for a guy who mostly doesn't feel a thing or feels very little it seems like he wants to avoid that at all possible cost. I don't know if their interactions that seem to have this push and pull characteristics with strong sexual tension is done intentionally by the writers and directors or is that a by-product of Shin Hye Sun and Cho Seung Woo's undeniable chemistry. Whatever it is, I know Eun Soo is smart, ruthless and master manipulator and I am glad as I've stated before that she took on the role. Well written, complex roles for women who aren't driven by love is hard to come by. For now, I don't trust anybody other than our main duo. But who knows what the show has in store for us.

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SDJ's behavior made the payoff at the end so satisfying, when he realizes she's there and it's like a reenactment of their bridge encounter except now she has the upper hand, and his smug bullying is now replaced by his exuding sheer desperation while getting arrested.

Great point about how smart everyone is (I'm with you on Do Bong Soon--I actually couldn't finish the series because of that). In fact, everyone is smarter than they initially appear to be. They may be corrupt, but they're not incompetent.

I love how Yeo Jin looks and dresses. She is completely believable as a cop, and her warmth and quirks (bad artist) just. add dimension.

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yeah I covet yeo Jin's wardrobe. Love the jeans with frayed hems

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The current suspects in my mind right now is Yeo Jin, Shi Mok, Prosecutor's wife, the lawyer and Eun Soo. However, we still dont know anything about the lawyer and the wife's backstory, so it is hard to judge who is the killer. Besides that, there are a lot of questions remain.
1) Is the murderer in the first case and the second case the same person?
2) There are too much coincidences in both cases!! Which one is coincidence and which one is not?
3) Which side is Shi Mok belong to? The murderer used him as a tool for revenge or trying to frame him to be a murderer?
4) What is the murderer's motives? Is it only revenge? Who is his target?
etc...

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I never felt like this before about other dramas and I even don't know what it is. Maybe it's like Devil's Snare the plant from Harry Potter, more you move deeper you stuck. I think I will know more if I watch one more episode and one more and there are no more episodes for week and I go back and watch previous episodes and think why am I watching it again why

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I need to type this down before I forget. I find the detective who was asked to back Yeo-jin up when she was following Dong-Jae around suspicious one minute and not so in another. When they were scoring the riverbed for the phone, Yeo-jin complained that there wouldn't be much that one could do if the phone was underwater for long, then when she got the phone out of the water it was him to grab it and dip it in the river a tiny bit longer in the pretense (?) of cleansing it of the mud. The camera then focused on his action (dipping the phone in the water to wash away the mud), inviting attention to that particular move. Then I don't know why he let out a scream when Dong Jae was about to throw the phone away. There are two possible meanings to that scream: (1) it was to alert Dong-Jae of possible tailing so he would swap out the real phone for a fake one, and make him throw away the fake one instead, to divert the investigation or interfere with it as much as someone else wanted; (2) it was also to alert Dong-Jae so that he would swap out the real phone, but just so that the real phone could be preserved and discovered later by Shi-Mok and Yeo-jin. I don't know if I even make sense but in the first scenario the backup detective is accomplice to someone else who wants to cover up the crime. In the second scenario he's Yeo-jin and Shi-mok's true ally.

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*scouring the riverbed
Sorry for the typo XD

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LOL everyone is so suspicious in this drama ? This show made us trust ➡ distrust ➡trust again lmao. I love how this drama made us utilize our detective instinct in every second.

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I'm also thinking that Detective Jang may not be as trustworthy as YeoJin's hoping. If he's been a detective for any length of time, wouldn't he know better than to nearly get out of his car during a stakeout-- thus attracting DogJae's attention on the bridge. Also! Wouldn't he know better than to draw attention to himself by yelling, of all things, while he's tailing someone?!
Either he's dumb (unlikely) or he's in bed with DogJae. Which kind of makes sense. There's no way DogJae has been a prosecutor for so many years without making connections within the police force. Now whether he's coordinating with DogJae of his own will is a different question.

Because I agree with you, Detective Jang seems trustworthy one minute and then not the next. Perhaps the reason for that is because he's being coerced by their Police Chief into helping DogJae?

Or maybe the phone was just muddy and he figured that the another quick dip wouldn't be the end of a phone that already been in water for a while. :P

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This is one of the best written, performed and directed dramas I have ever seen. I love it.

I especially love Bae Doo-na's tough as nails, heart of gold cop. She is doing a great job. Cho Seung-Woo maintains a perfect balance of emotional detachment and emotional discovery. Pretty boy Lee Joon-hyuk's desperation and cunning are amazing to watch unfold. Lee Kyoung-Young gives me chills as the chaebol father-in-law. I could go on about many of the performances.

There really isn't a bad performance in this drama. All of the performances are really note worthy. No one seems to overplay their part. No one seems to tip their hand. Although, I have my suspicion of the culprit's identity. We shall see.

I will definitely watch this again just to enjoy the writing and performances.

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Bae Doo-na is my favorite. She is as natural as can be. So effortless, every moment is believable.

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If the same culprit is behind both CEO Park and Gayoung's case I don't see how Yeo Jin could be considered as a suspect. I can't see her being that cruel to someone like Gayoung. But of course, there is a possibility we are dealing with two culprits.

Sorry for doubting you Shi Mok even if it was for a second. I thought Dong Jae was one step ahead of you this episode when you were always two steps ahead of him!

And I love this show so much!! Like others have said, everything else on air at the moment pales in comparison. Have had to put Lookout on hold. As much as I like Lee Si Young ( such a badass.. with a great wardrobe) everything else is just not upto par compared to this drama. And this is probably the only time ive been reading each and every comment on the recaps. Glad to see so many beanies enjoying this drama and the comments increasing every week.

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I actually enjoy Eun-soo and Si-mok interactions a lot, if only I could trust her, I would be all over that ship.

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Is it just me or why do I feel like Chief Prosecutor Lee is going to come to regret messing with the military commander Kim Nam-jin? I love the actor playing Commander Kim Nam-jin and I want to see more of him!!!

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Whenever new episode airs I have to go back n rewatch all episodes.

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aaaaaaah pretty sure i need this show to never end. these are the characters i am going to miss forever when it's over.

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That's an interesting idea, now that you mention it, the dream sequence was really singular (I can usually spot a dream sequence when it's happening, but they really startled me with this one), and the show is so intricate and efficiently plotted, it seems it must mean something.