Suspicious Partner: Episodes 39-40 (Final)
It’s time to say goodbye to our favorite grumpy prosecutor and feisty lawyer. With real life setting in, they’ll face their biggest challenge yet — learning how to deal with the everyday, mundane annoyances that all normal couples have to tolerate. As finales go, this one does a great job wrapping up everyone’s story while leaving us with the feeling that they’re heading into their futures older and wiser, and with more love in their lives.
EPISODE 39 RECAP
Bong-hee cowers on Ji-hae’s couch for an entire weekend after kissing Ji-wook in the courtroom. She tells Ji-hae that while they were kissing, she suddenly remembered the morning that he backed away from her kiss in horror.
She’d run away from him, worried that their relationship was too messy to start over. Ji-hae doesn’t really care, more concerned that her couch will get stinky if Bong-hee doesn’t take a shower, ha.
The doorbell rings, and Ji-hae lets in a very nervous-looking Ji-wook (Ji-hae: “Please get that girl off my couch!”), much to Bong-hee’s dismay. She hides her face, screeching that she hasn’t washed her hair, but Ji-wook protests that he’s seen her that way before, ha. He wails, “I told you you’re pretty even when you’re dirty!” making Ji-hae bark out a disbelieving laugh.
He drags Bong-hee outside in her pajamas, her hair a rat’s nest, and demands to know why she’s avoiding his calls. Bong-hee tries to deny it at first, but eventually she admits that she’s scared because every time they get close, something bad happens.
Ji-wook sighs and says that he understands, but then he grouches, “Let’s date anyway.” Bong-hee complains that he’s not listening, but Ji-wook refuses to pretend nothing happened. He demands to know why she was climbing all over him in the courtroom and whether she intends to take responsibility for his feelings, HA.
Bong-hee asks if he’s not afraid something bad will happen again, but Ji-wook doesn’t care. He admits that breaking up is scarier to him, which is just the sweetest thing ever. Bong-hee is completely disarmed, so she agrees to date again.
She runs back to Ji-hae’s to get showered and dressed, but Ji-hae can’t understand why Bong-hee is so nervous to go on a date with the guy she’s already lived with and was in a relationship with. Bong-hee explains that they never got to go on many actual dates and only slept together once, making Ji-hae yelp that she doesn’t need details.
Ji-hae refuses to let Bong-hee leave, insisting on fixing her makeup. She applies a massive amount of blush to Bong-hee’s cheeks, which makes Ji-wook stare when she rejoins him outside, but he wisely just says that she looks pretty. Bong-hee suggests they go for drinks, and even though it’s still morning, Ji-wook takes her hand and they skip off to their date (that’s right, I said skip).
When the time comes for former District Attorney Jang’s trial, he readily confesses to all of his misdeeds over the years. However, he denies any intent to kill Hyun-soo with the knife he brought for their confrontation, saying that it was only for self-defense. The attempted murder charge is dropped and he’s given probation, and afterward, Ji-wook tells former District Attorney Jang that he hopes he feels some shame.
CEO Byun grumbles that he feels bad for former District Attorney Jang, which earns him some major side-eye from Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee. Eun-hyuk complains that he has to support the two of them now that Ji-wook and Chief Bang went back to work in the prosecutor’s office. They both grin at him and promise to work hard, and he rolls his eyes again.
When the time comes for Hyun-soo’s final trial and sentencing, he looks like a completely different man, quiet and docile. He’s convicted and sentenced to life in prison, and the last time Ji-wook sees Hyun-soo, the life has gone out of his eyes.
For Bong-hee, it means that she’s finally exonerated of Hee-joon’s murder, and on their way out of the courtroom, Ji-wook gives her a proud congratulations and squeezes her hand.
Bong-hee goes to see her mom, who hugs her daughter tightly as they both cry. Over coffee, Bong-hee says that it would be nice to prove her father’s innocence too, but Ji-wook has already said it’s impossible since her father was never charged. But her mother tells her that what’s important is that those still alive are happy, and that her father would agree.
Bong-hee has to go since she has another date with Ji-wook, who is currently climbing out of his skin, anxious for Chief Bang to wrap up with their last client so he can see Bong-hee. But Chief Bang stops him and points to a tall stack of cases they’ve been assigned, and Ji-wook looks like he could cry.
He tells Chief Bang to hurry up and call the clients in, then texts Bong-hee that he’ll be late. Bong-hee texts back that she’ll wait, and after a while (and a little PPL), she spots Ji-hae and Yoo-jung on their way to dinner. She hops up and joins them, to their hilarious annoyance.
The ladies get thoroughly drunk, and Yoo-jung lets Bong-hee in on some secrets regarding dating a prosecutor. Bong-hee asks incredulously if Yoo-jung is advising her as Ji-wook’s ex-girlfriend, and Ji-hae laughs that this is like something out of a makjang drama. Bong-hee reminds Ji-hae that she stole Bong-hee’s boyfriend back in school, shutting Ji-hae right up.
Yoo-jung suddenly gets all belligerent at Ji-hae, accusing her of being interested in Eun-hyuk, and Ji-hae doesn’t deny it. Bong-hee asks why Ji-hae always falls for guys that are taken, but Ji-hae protests that she didn’t know he liked someone else. Yoo-jung demands to know who it is, and the other two gape at how obnoxious she is, saluting each other across the table in solidarity, HAHA.
Ji-wook and Eun-hyuk show up at the restaurant at the same time, and they’re dismayed to find all three ladies completely sloshed. Eun-hyuk is in a bit of trouble as Ji-hae asks if he used her, and Yoo-jung insists he tell her if he’s dating someone, hee.
Ji-wook grabs a very cheerful Bong-hee and starts to go, but Eun-hyuk begs him not to leave him with the other two. Ji-wook just tells him to behave himself, abandoning Eun-hyuk to deal with Yoo-jung and Ji-hae (who are now shooting finger hearts and making kissy lips at him).
It’s hard to say who enjoys the piggyback ride home more, Ji-wook or Bong-hee. Bong-hee keeps pretending she’s going to throw up on Ji-wook just to freak him out, hee.
Eun-hyuk drops off Ji-hae first, then takes Yoo-jung up to her apartment. He sends her in to bed, but she stumbles and he reflexively catches her, causing them both to freeze at the sudden closeness. After a long moment, Eun-hyuk lets go and starts to leave, but Yoo-jung grabs his hand and stops him.
She instantly apologizes, blaming the alcohol, then Eun-hyuk leans in and kisses her. He backs up and says he’s sorry, but Yoo-jung clutches his lapels and pulls him down for another kiss. And oh boy, is it a thorough kiss.
The next morning, Bong-hee wakes up in Ji-wook’s bed. At first she just smiles at him sleepily, then she jerks awake and asks if anything happened. Ji-wook frowns down at her, offended that she doesn’t remember, and all he’ll say is that he’s not some kind of saint. After he leaves the room in a huff, Bong-hee grins to herself that of course she remembers it.
EPISODE 40 RECAP
Ji-wook and Bong-hee continue dating, talking on the phone late into the night like teenagers. Every morning, she shows up at his downstairs office for work and sends him off to the prosecutor’s office with a kiss.
Ji-wook asks Bong-hee to come back to his house like before, but she says there would be no romantic tension that way. They spend their evenings listening to music and watching movies, and occasionally falling asleep in each other’s arms.
One day, Eun-hyuk runs into Yoo-jung, who seems to feel awkward after their kiss. Eun-hyuk asks her to talk to him about it, and she apologizes and asks him to just think of it as a drunken mistake. Eun-hyuk says that it wasn’t a mistake for him because even though he’s tried to fight it, he’s had feelings for her since their college days.
He says that he doesn’t care if it was a mistake, and he openly asks her to like him back. Yoo-jung tells him honestly that she really likes him as a friend, but she’s unsure if she likes him as a man. Eun-hyuk accepts that for now, saying that it’s more than he feels he deserves from her.
Bong-hee takes on a new client, a woman who hit her husband in the head with a baseball bat because he cheated on her. Bong-hee accompanies the client when she meets with Ji-wook to discuss the case, but unfortunately, he tells them that it’s a felony that means one to ten years in prison.
Bong-hee argues that since the husband recovered and even made a statement that he doesn’t want his wife punished, she should be able to get probation. Ji-wook makes the mistake of telling Bong-hee condescendingly, “That’s my decision.” Uh-oh.
After work, Ji-wook and Bong-hee argue about the case, particularly the fact that the affair happened thirty years ago, heh. Ji-wook says the woman should have divorced her husband or dealt with the situation then, but Bong-hee argues that maybe she was stuck for financial reasons, or for her children.
The fight escalates, with Bong-hee sympathizing with the client’s hurt and anger after thirty years, and Ji-wook insisting that she shouldn’t still be holding a grudge. Finally, Ji-wook says that this argument has nothing to do with them because they don’t hold grudges, but Bong-hee says that’s not true.
She reminds him of the time he refused to kiss her, and though she says she understands how he felt at the time, she admits that it still upsets her. She stomps off, grumbling that Ji-wook better watch his head thirty years from now, PWAHAHA.
Poor Ji-wook is thoroughly flummoxed, and later, as he walks in the park with CEO Byun, Eun-hyuk, and Chief Bang, they figure out that he and Bong-hee must have had a fight. CEO Byun asks what Ji-wook did wrong (ha, I love that he just assumes it’s Ji-wook’s fault), and Ji-wook says plaintively that he knows what he did, but he doesn’t understand it.
CEO Byun declares himself the expert on how to live with a woman, having been married for over thirty years. He tells the guys that when their woman is in a bad mood, the only thing to do is to agree with her and apologize.
And then we switch scenes to see him failing miserably with this tactic, as Ji-wook’s mom demands to know exactly what he’s sorry for. He has no clue until she wails that he didn’t even tell her that Ji-wook was stabbed.
Bong-hee complains to Ji-hae and Yoo-jung that she and Ji-wook had their first fight (uh, the first, really?). She says that she doesn’t understand why they’re fighting over something so ridiculous after going through so much together, and Ji-hae says wisely that it’s because the mundane is terrifying.
She explains that hardship brings a couple together, but that most couples notice each other’s flaws when life goes back to normal. Bong-hee just throws a pillow at her.
When Bong-hee goes to work the next morning, she and Ji-wook just stand there awkwardly, and their morning kiss is just as cringe-worthy. Subconsciously shielding himself with his briefcase, Ji-wook says that he’s sorry, and when Bong-hee asks what he’s sorry for, he looks like a deer in the headlights. He mumbles, “I’m sorry for everything. I don’t know,” and hightails it out of there. LOL.
Ji-wook slides into the room babbling with excitement when Bong-hee shows up later with all of her belongings in tow. He assumes that she’s moving back in because she missed him so much, but she informs him that she has an interview about her innocence in Hee-joon’s murder later today and just brought her clothes to change into.
Ji-wook declares every outfit she tries on to be pretty, but Bong-hee knows he’s lying. He smartens up and critiques the next outfit honestly, only for Bong-hee to pout that this was her favorite. Poor guy can’t catch a break.
One year later.
Ji-wook is buried in new cases, having been named the “worst prosecutor” again this year. He screams in frustration, knowing that this means missing his dinner date with Bong-hee. As we see her meeting with a parade of new clients, she narrates that they fight about little things all the time.
She doesn’t call or text Ji-wook for three days, until he blows up in frustration at Chief Bang. She walks into his office in the middle of his rant, saying that she’s here for jjajangmyun, and he hilariously stops and waves at her with a big innocent smile.
Eun-hyuk and Yoo-jung go to lunch again, and Eun-hyuk realizes that Yoo-jung isn’t eating, and is instead just glaring at him. She fusses at him for going out drinking and not picking up her calls, so he explains that it was a business dinner that ran late.
He apologizes and teases her into a smile, and at the next table, Ji-hae sighs, annoyed. At home, she asks Bong-hee if she still falls in love with Ji-wook over and over again, and she sighs again when Bong-hee says that she does.
One day, Ji-wook and Bong-hee find themselves facing each other in court over a client accused of flashing someone. Bong-hee makes a convincing case, at least until her client starts stripping right there in the courtroom.
Bong-hee and Ji-wook bicker later over whether she should have taken the case. They both snap that the other was too tough in court, and finally Bong-hee says, “Let’s break up.” She starts to storm off, but Ji-wook grabs her and complains that she always says that after a trial, ha. In voiceover, Ji-wook says that he hopes their ordinary days continue.
Eun-hyuk heads the meetings now, and they hold one to discuss hiring a few new lawyers, with Ji-wook and Yoo-jung there too, though nobody can explain why, ha. Ji-wook snarls when Bong-hee is accused of favoring the handsome candidates, and when CEO Byun derails the discussion, Eun-hyuk throws a Ji-wook-worthy tantrum. CEO Byun starts to tell a long, boring story, and the others all sneak out. Some things should never change.
Ji-wook and Bong-hee go for a walk, and they end up in the same spot where Bong-hee once broke up with Ji-wook. He stops, but this time, he has something much happier to say: “Bong-hee, I love you.” Smiling, she says she loves him, too.
Taking her hand, Ji-wook slips a small diamond ring onto Bong-hee’s finger. He says that he’ll love her forever, and when she gets over her shock, she asks if he’s proposing. He nods, and Bong-hee asks why he doesn’t have a song to sing for her.
Enjoying his adorable fluster, Bong-hee plants a sweet little kiss on him. She says, “Even without a song, my answer is yes.” Ji-wook looks happy and relieved, and gives himself a little victory fist-pump. She adds that she’ll love him forever, too.
As they walk hand in hand, Ji-wook starts to sing. Together, they narrate, “I’m so happy that I met you. You, my love.”
Awww, I got exactly what I wanted, a finale that was mostly fluff with no major conflict. No, I really mean that! This drama has put me through the emotional wringer, and while I wouldn’t have minded one last conversation with Hyun-soo to see how he was holding up after the revelation of his involvement in So-young’s assault, I was glad to just have a solid hour of our characters being hilarious and awkward and adorable together. Suspicious Partner wasn’t a perfect show (are they ever?), but I felt like it did so much right, and I love that we’re leaving with a feeling that everyone is moving forward into their futures having found happiness and having grown as people.
I do have a few complaints, though they are very few. My primary issue with the show involves the legal inconsistencies, which is something I would usually overlook, but in this case, they could be so glaringly wrong that they took me out of the story. The best (worst?) example is that there’s no way Ji-wook would be allowed to prosecute the man whom he once defended, the same man who later tried to kill him, because he would be irreparably biased in that situation. Other, smaller issues bothered me, such as multiple times when Ji-wook and/or Bong-hee were involved in a confrontation with Hyun-soo but were never brought in to make an official statement, either as legal professionals or victims.
Another quibble I have with the show isn’t so much a criticism, as a wish. I wish that the three girls had been allowed to develop their frenemy circle a lot sooner, because watching them get drunk together was one of the highlights of the finale, in my opinion. I would have loved to see Bong-hee and Yoo-jung’s initial liking for each other turn to hate (which it did), then gradually evolve into a grudging respect much earlier in the show. Just think how much fun it would have been to see them bickering and getting sloppy drunk all the time! I feel like Yoo-jung had all of her character growth in this last episode, and I can’t help but wish we’d gotten it sooner and had a chance to get to like her more. Plus, the three actresses had some great comedic chemistry together, and I’m sad that we only got to see it twice. Such a missed opportunity.
But there were so many things to love about Suspicious Partner, and they greatly overshadowed the few inconsistencies. The characters, the avenging murderer storyline, the evolving relationship between Ji-wook and Bong-hee (okay really, Ji-wook and everyone) were all just completely on point. One thing that really made me silly-happy is how, even when Ji-wook and Chief Bang went back to the prosecutor’s office, the others continued to run their law firm from Ji-wook’s house. I particularly love that it was such a non-issue, as if there was never any consideration otherwise, because of course they would stay. And it was so cute how Eun-hyuk became the boss and even took on Ji-wook’s mannerisms — his impression of Ji-wook’s exploding tantrum was dead-on. He even looked great in the glasses!
With a cast this talented, it’s easy to gush over how great everyone was as their characters. Ji Chang-wook, Nam Ji-hyun, and Choi Tae-joon turned in their usual solid, beautifully nuanced performances, and I have nothing but great things to say about them here. But I have to mention one last time the obvious and surprising standout — Dong-ha as Hyun-soo. It takes a real gift to steal scenes from a charismatic actor like Ji Chang-wook, but Dong-ha managed to do it over and over again, wrenching my emotions and making my heart fall in love with a killer despite my head telling me that he was evil.
A lot of the draw of Hyun-soo was due to the writer, who has a habit of creating sympathetic villains that we can’t help but adore. But it wouldn’t work without the perfect actor playing the role, and I feel confident in saying that Dong-ha was perfect as Hyun-soo. Even as I hated him for trying to kill our favorite lawyer and his sidekick, I still cheered for Hyun-soo and his twisted idea of vigilante justice. I’ll never forget the terrified look in his eyes as he realized that he was one of the guilty boys he dedicated his life to punishing, and how, when we saw his empty eyes as he was sentenced, my heart still cracked for his broken spirit. I can’t wait to see what Dong-ha does next.
I always feel like I’ve said everything there is to be said by the time I get to a final episode recap, but I haven’t really talked about how much I love the way the writer, Kwon Ki-young, played with the idea of memories, and how tragedy and other traumatic events can change a person’s perception of the truth. Two years ago, I Remember You touched on these issues as well, though it dealt with the premise of remembrance in a more personal way. In the case of Suspicious Partner, we were shown how the mind can so completely reject a torturous memory that it removes it entirely, replacing it with something the person can accept as real.
From Ji-wook’s brainwashing that caused him to believe his parents were murdered by Bong-hee’s father, to Hyun-soo’s self-inflicted amnesia due to his guilt and anguish over doing nothing while the girl he liked was viciously brutalized, I found the show’s exploration of memory and reality to be infinitely fascinating and compelling. I’ve had an interest in psychology for years, so to watch a drama that explores the tricks a person’s brain will perform to avoid a reality it can’t handle has been extremely entertaining for me. I love the way Kwon Ki-young creates characters that we can relate to because they’re flawed and human, and even the villains are sympathetic and somehow manage to tear our hearts out. I hope this is a trend that continues, and that the writer’s future projects are every bit as thought-provoking and enjoyable.
- Premiere Watch: Individualist Ji-young, Ruler, Suspicious Partner
- Subway misunderstandings and drunken frustrations in Suspicious Partner
- Shockingly suspicious and insanely lovable Suspicious Partners
- The Lonely Shining Suspicious Partner
- Rock the vote with Suspicious Partner
- Snuggly hugs on the set of poster shoots for SBS’s Suspicious Partner
- Stranger danger and high kicks on the set of Suspicious Partner
- Buoyant atmosphere at Suspicious Partner script read
- SBS’s Suspicious Partner gets a new client in Dongha