Falsify: Episodes 5-6
Falsify is starting to take shape, and I appreciate that the characters are already showing signs of change and development — plus, the fast-paced nature of revelations and subplot resolutions is refreshing. We’re already seeing great performances by our two male leads as we navigate the world of bonafide reporting/trash journalism with them, but it’s Moo-young who proves himself willing to use the media to shine some light on the darkest corners of society.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Despite having confessed to the murder of the women found hidden inside his warehouse walls, Boss Park is cleared because the statute of limitations on their cases has expired. So-ra goes to her superior to insist upon continuing to pursue the case, but he’s already been corrupted by Chief Gu and shuts her down.
She follows him to the men’s restroom to argue her case. “This is a disgrace for the prosecution, I didn’t become a prosecutor to embarrass myself like this!” she says, unapologetically leaning over the stall wall to look down on him on the toilet (ha), but he eventually gets security guards to drag her out.
Receiving the contact info for Patriot news from her subordinate, So-ra calls Moo-young without knowing that she handled his doping case years ago. She informs him that she intends on continuing to pursue the case, and that she needs the original copy of the video that Patriot News provided to Reporter Na, because she’s planning to indict Boss Park again.
“Let’s say you indict him again. What’s going to change?” Moo-young says, adding that he doesn’t believe her because he lost his faith in prosecutors when So-ra herself turned her back on him for the drug doping case. He tells her to just watch, because he plans on getting Boss Park via his own methods.
Moo-young has a conversation with his boss at Patriot News, Chief Yang, who tries to convince him to stop with Boss Park’s case because he thinks they’re playing in dangerous waters with fish much larger than themselves. But then, Moo-young reminds Chief Yang of what he told him before: “Helping the weak has nothing to do with justice to a journalist. It’s just common sense.”
Faced with his own words, Chief Yang can’t help but acquiesce, and he ends up agreeing and supporting Moo-young because Patriot News is already at rock bottom and has nowhere else to fall.
Meanwhile, So-ra interrogates Boss Park on the last day before he’s released, and she vows to catch him. However, he tells her that putting him in jail won’t bring back any of the women he killed, which causes her to all but leap across the table, grab him by the collar, and push him out of his chair in a rage.
He smirks as he’s led out, and the next day, when he’s released, he smiles despite all the eggs being thrown at him from the angry mob outside.
He’s chauffeured away by a driver he doesn’t know, but that doesn’t concern him too much until he wakes up from his nap and realizes that he’s been driven to the middle of a bridge. Worse, his car is blocking traffic, and the driver has disappeared with the keys. We see later that the driver was the bespectacled Yong-shik from Patriot News, and that this is all a part of Moo-young’s plans for Boss Park.
The people that have now gathered on the bridge (because they’re blocked by the car) realize who Boss Park is, and they begin taking pictures that quickly become the number one news search item on the internet. He’s upset to find that articles have already been published with headlines like “Murder Suspect Released.”
Left with no choice, Boss Park has to leave on foot, and the Patriot News van, who have been uploading every photo as they’re taken instantaneously, quickly follows him in pursuit.
When So-ra hears the news of Boss Park’s impromptu news headlines, she realizes that one of the pieces of evidence show the same tattoo symbol that Moo-young was looking for. As pictures of Boss Park spread like wildfire over the internet, Seok-min confirms with Reporter Na that it was Moo-young who gave him that video.
The families of the victims of Boss Park end up tracking him down via all the people capturing pictures of his every move, since everyone on the street can recognize him now. The family members try to confront Boss Park, but instead of apologizing, he goes the other direction: He starts brutally kicking and hitting the family members, which results in more outrage from the mob.
He escapes to a rooftop, barricading the door behind him. Moo-young calls him just then, watching him from another rooftop, and when Boss Park proclaims that he’s free in the eyes of the law, Moo-young candidly replies, “I know that nothing will change. You had the right to be forgiven, didn’t you? Then don’t you think you should give others the right to despise you, at least? Park Eung-mo. You’ll lead a life in which buying a pack of gum will be a challenge for you. I’m going to give people the opportunity to never forgive you. That’s my job.”
We hear the familiar clicking of the lighter as the mob breaks through the door, and Boss Park sees the mysterious figure with the lighter. Terrified now, he begins telling Moo-young that he’ll tell him everything he wants: “I know everything about the man you’re looking for. Those men are—…” But he doesn’t get a chance to finish, because in his terror to back away from the lighter-wielding mystery man, he ends up falling backward over the roof and dies as a result.
Having seen the man fall straight onto the van she arrived in, So-ra picks up Boss Park’s cell phone, which is still connected to Moo-young. Talking to Moo-young over the dead man’s cell phone, she finally figures out who Moo-young is, but he disappears into Chief Yang’s van. As they talk, the lighter-wielding man with the globe-shaped tattoo tells someone over the phone, “It’s been taken care of.”
So-ra relentlessly calls Moo-young from Boss Park’s phone until he picks up, berating him for what he’s done. Though he tries to defend his actions by saying that he just wrote an article, she fires back that things are different now that someone has died. “There are only two things you can do in these types of situations,” he argues back. “You can stay still and let it go, or you do something about it. You seemed to be doing a good job staying still, so I had to do something.”
This only makes So-ra angrier as she argues that he crossed a line, adding, “You should feel guilty about what happened today. It all happened because of you. Don’t think a reporter’s job is to instigate people. In my eyes, you’re just a clown who obscured the point of this case.” After Moo-young hangs up, a nervous Chief Yang tells everyone that they should lie low for a while, and that they shouldn’t feel guilty. Moo-young’s eyes fill with tears as he registers the shock of what just happened: “A person just died because of what I did.”
Yoo-kyung and Reporter Na are out on a field assignment for a story together. He thinks she doesn’t like him, but she just tells him to be an honest reporter, and to keep his integrity.
Meanwhile, an intern at Daehan is conflicted on whether she should report something when Reporter Na calls her.
Moo-young is tormented by Boss Park’s last words that indicated that there might be evidence out there to implicate his brother’s killer. In a heart-to-heart conversation, Chief Yang tells him to lay low and endure this hardship, and to wait until the situation changes in their favor.
Afterward, Moo-young listens to one of his brother’s last voicemails, and is encouraged to continue his quest.
Chief Yang relaxes at a bathhouse, alarmed when Seok-min suddenly sidles up beside him. Despite not having had direct contact with Moo-young for years, Seok-min has been keeping tabs on him via Chief Yang, since he’s been worried about his dead hoobae’s (Chul-ho’s) little brother. Chief Yang tells him to forget about dissuading Moo-young from his quest to find his brother’s killer, because he believes in Moo-young too: Chul-ho’s death was not an accident, but a homicide.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Moo-young goes to the local convenience store and buys out all the soju in the fridge. Seok-min watches him from afar, and thinks about the last time he saw Moo-young. After Moo-young leaves, Seok-min enters the convenience store to ask about Moo-young, and the store manager tells him Moo-young is fondly nicknamed the “Instant Man” because all he buys are unhealthy instant foods and processed snacks. Seok-min shakes his head in disappointment and worry.
We find Moo-young on the roof drinking and thinking about what Boss Park said right before he died. Boss Park had referred to “those men” as opposed to the one tattooed killer. Just as Moo-young is on the cusp of realizing that there may be a larger scheme, the store manager barges in with a large bundle of fresh groceries.
When he asks why she’s giving him free healthy food when they’ve always had a very money-conscious relationship, she accidentally lets it slip that she just did as she was asked (aww, Seok-min bought them for him).
Seok-min visits Chul-ho’s remains, and calls up Yoo-kyung. He tells her that he’s feeling embarrassed and guilty for abandoning Moo-young all those years ago, and for not listening to what he said about Chul-ho’s suspicious death.
A coworker asks Reporter Na whether the Patriot News video was really fabricated, and he denies it vehemently. The Daehan intern from before comes to find him then, and asks whether she should choose between a scoop or her conscience. He tells her he’d take a scoop over his conscience any day, and takes the tape recording, containing some incriminating evidence, from her hands.
As he listens, we flash back to six hours ago, when the intern arrived at the prosecutor’s office. So-ra’s boss was frantically panicking about Boss Park wandering the streets on foot without any protection from the mobs that wanted him in bars.
He ordered her to take immediate action, but So-ra told her subordinate that she wanted to wait ten minutes before pursuing Boss Park. Knowing that Boss Park would go free even after she tried to pursue his case again because of the corrupt higher-ups, So-ra was knowingly giving that much time for the citizens to to deliver their brand of vigilante justice.
After Reporter Na listens to the tape, he remembers what Yoo-kyung told him about being an honest and moral reporter. He tells the intern that maybe they should deliberate more before breaking the story. For a moment, she thinks he wants to take the scoop for himself, but he somehow turns the argument around and rebukes her for disrespecting him, her sunbae.
So-ra looks up an old news article about Moo-young’s athlete days. She remembers when he first came to her to report the match fixing that was happening in his judo team. She still thinks that he was guilty of doping himself, although she remembers how she was first moved by his sincere admission of the reason he wanted to report what was going on.
He had told her that he didn’t think it was fair for aspiring athletes who wanted to compete fairly to be held up to standards achieved by cheating, and he didn’t want to be the type of person who turned a blind eye to appease the higher-ups, either.
He also mentioned that though he was offered a medal (for what would be presumably a fixed match), he refused it, even though he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. “The reason I chose this path was because I wanted to win fair and square in a match. I didn’t choose this path to become someone’s pet,” Moo-young had added thoughtfully.
Remembering this conversation leads So-ra to make a decision to oppose her boss on this matter. He wanted her to prosecute all the citizens who were on the rooftop where Boss Park fell for murder. Despite his yelling and threats to fire her, So-ra stands firm and says that she’s ready to reveal to the press all the pressure he put on her to cover up Boss Park’s human trafficking crimes before striding out of his office.
This makes So-ra’s boss nervous, and he uses his hotline to Chief Gu to tell him that he needs help calming down the public and the negative media attention. Chief Gu tells him to wait out the public’s disfavor, and that it’ll only be a moment until the next big scandal takes their attention away. Chief Gu does, however, get the name of the prosecutor who was suspicious of Boss Park’s murder charge coverup: Kwon So-ra.
Moo-young and the rest of the Patriot News Team (except for Chief Yang) hit the road to go back and investigate Boss Park’s office. Having listened to his final conversation with Boss Park, Moo-young suspects that Boss Park might have been referring to an organization when he said “those men” and that he might have had some sort of blackmail weapon against them to use when push came to shove.
When they reach the warehouse, Yong-shik is terrified to enter the premises, and they discover nothing at first.
But we see that the killer has been there earlier, flicking his lighter as usual. Meanwhile, So-ra ruminates about what Moo-young might be looking for as she looks at the tattoo symbols she’s gathered side by side.
From just the ashes of a cigarette in an empty room, Moo-young deduces that maybe someone was there before, because cops wouldn’t be as meticulous to take the butt of the cigarette with them (which may contain DNA evidence from saliva). Fellow colleague Na-rae remembers that they took a video of the place earlier when everything was still in place.
Watching the video footage, Moo-young realizes that a calendar on the wall is missing. Finding it fishy, Moo-young tells Sang-ho to find out which company sponsored the calendar, and Sang-ho sighs, knowing that it’s a needle-in-a-haystack job.
When he finds the calendar company later that night, he calls Moo-young, bragging that he should be a part of the CSI team. He tells him that it’s from a large successful law firm called “Noah.”
So Moo-young searches his brother’s articles for anything about that firm. He finds a case where a coast guard member was murdered; the defendant was defended by Noah Law Firm pro bono, but he ended up getting a guilty sentence anyway.
There are other cases by Noah that may be related, so the next morning, Moo-young tells his team to split them up and start looking for clues by asking both the Noah lawyers and the convicted defendants about it.
Seok-min goes to find the fiancée of the man who confessed his guilt in Chul-ho’s car accident. She works as a florist and looks bright-natured initially, but when Seok-min brings up the topic of her dead fiancé, who supposedly committed suicide in prison due to his guilt, she gets nervous, checks outside, and whispers for him to meet her later at the bus stop.
Moo-young and his Patriot News team are hard at work trying to uncover more about the coast guard case, when he finally calls someone who might know something. He asks if there is any new evidence, and the lady on the other end bluntly states her situation.
“Will you pay me for an interview? I was recently fired. I have lots of credit card debt. And I may have something interesting for you.” She promptly hangs up the phone, and Moo-young thinks she might be the real deal.
Seok-min gets on the bus and sits next to the fiancée. Nervously, she tells him that her fiancé couldn’t have hit Chul-ho with his car, because at the time of the murder, her fiancé was with her. However, she adds that a couple days before the trial, he received money that he needed for his mother’s surgery in exchange for confessing his guilt.
Frustratedly, she tells Seok-min that she already sent all the evidence to Daehan Daily that might have shown that her fiancée didn’t commit suicide but was murdered because of what he knew, but no one ever called her back. Confused, Seok-min asks who she sent the evidence to, which is when the scene cuts to Chief Gu.
Chief Gu is in a meeting with his department heads, and he pushes for more budget to be allocated to the investigative reporting team. However, he tells them not to follow the footsteps of the Splash Team.
Meanwhile, we find Moo-young driving with all his information on the coast guard case, as Seok-min leaves the bus with other documents from the fiancée in hand.
Another mystery to solve, and it looks like we’ll have a cameo from Lee Joo-seung as the defendant in the coast guard case. He just had an extended cameo performance in OCN’s thriller Voice as a chilling criminal, so it’s not too far of a stretch for him. Seeing as how Noah Law Firm, which according to Moo-young is an impressive and highly successful group of lawyers, ended up losing the case, I’m suspecting a similar situation to the dead fiancé: Perhaps Lee Joo-seung’s character was willingly framed.
From the beginning, Falsify has been about the weak fighting against the strong, but so far, we only have one corrupt strong character to contend with: Chief Gu. So maybe Noah Law Firm will also have a similar elder who is part of the secret powerful group employing the tattooed killer. It’s maybe masochistic, but I actually look forward to seeing the killer onscreen, because his lighter clicking gives me goosebumps.
However, I think that the three characters I most enjoy watching onscreen are Chief Yang, Seok-min, and Yong-shik. Namgoong Min is delivering his role as the rebel trash reporter who’s deeply turmoiled, but I like comedy, and any of scenes with Yong-shik, Chief Yang, or even between Chief Yang and Seok-min always contain comedic highlights that make me smile. Although with Seok-min, I can tell there’s an underlying gravitas underneath his joking exterior.
I like the idea of So-ra, the righteous justice-defending prosecutor, who has fallen due to the corrupted system. But for the first few episodes, she’s seemed impotent when it comes to the happenings around her. For instance, she didn’t get to even interrogate the deputy prosecutor, who was tipped off by his corrupt network. She couldn’t manage to keep Boss Park in jail, and had to let him go because the statute of limitations magically changed overnight. And now, both Seok-min and Moo-young have leads to pursue, (dead fiancé for Seok-min, and coast guard case for Moo-young), but So-ra is doing nothing but trying to catch the wrong person: Moo-young.
I’m hoping for more from the other female characters in this show as well. Yoo-kyung hasn’t had much of a significant role to play other than being Seok-min’s sounding board as he bounces his feelings and ideas regarding Moo-young and Chul-ho off her. It’s unfortunate, because I think that Jeon Hye-bin is being wasted. Where are the strong women? I want Yeon-soo to come back. Even though ultimately, she was unable to stop So-ra’s downfall or take down the deputy prosecutor, she had gumption, a point of view, and leadership style that indicated strategy instead of bulling through things like So-ra. Here’s hoping that as the mysteries grow, so will our female characters.
- Falsify: Episodes 1-2
- The news and the law come together for Falsify
- Righteous prosecutor and journalists challenge the corrupt in Falsify’s first teaser
- SBS’s Falsify finds its female lead in Eom Ji-won
- Two more actresses decline SBS’s Falsify, show still without leading lady
- Search for Falsify’s female lead narrows in on Kim Ok-bin
- Namgoong Min offered spot on Jeon Hye-bin’s Falsify team
- Jeon Hye-bin up to join SBS’s Falsify as photojournalist
- Chun Woo-hee, Yoo Joon-sang consider new SBS legal thriller Falsify