Mad Dog: Episode 12
When our bad guys come after one of the Mad Dog family, what measures will they take to enact revenge? With one of their own out of commission for the time being, they’ll need to stay sharp to avoid the various landmines set up for them as they try to find some way to crack the conspiracy wide open.
EPISODE 12: “Poison”
After Noo-ri casually teases that he might start calling Min-joon “hyung,” a flustered Min-joon retreats toward the restaurant. Lawyer Lee emerges from the shadows and heads straight toward Min-joon, who doesn’t notice the attacker’s approach.
Noo-ri recognizes the scarf Lawyer Lee is holding as the same one that was tied around Min-joon’s neck when they found him in the Mad Dog office, and realizes that Min-joon is in danger.
Noo-ri rushes forward and jumps in front of his hyung to protect him, and the knife meant for Min-joon plunges into Noo-ri instead. Noo-ri falls to ground in a heap, covered in blood as Min-joon cries out for help and phones Ha-ri in his distress.
The team desperately rushes Noo-ri to the hospital, and Kang-woo arrives soon after to find Ha-ri and Soon-jung there waiting to fill him in on Noo-ri’s condition.
Noticing that Min-joon isn’t with them, Kang-woo searches the hospital for him, and eventually finds Min-joon alone in a bathroom trying to wash the blood off his hands.
Kang-woo tries to comfort Min-joon, but as soon as Kang-woo touches him, Min-joon bristles. He tells Kang-woo not to touch him, and Kang-woo tells Min-joon to come out as soon as he finishes cleaning himself up.
Back outside the operating room, Kang-woo grills Min-joon to recall what happened during the stabbing, but Min-joon can’t remember anything.
Min-joon shoulders all of the blame for what happened to Noo-ri, and tearfully compares himself to Chairman Cha and Hyun-gi for his actions. He laments, “I’m no different from them. I dragged people in, put them in danger, and got them killed.”
Kang-woo sternly reminds Min-joon that nobody got killed yet, but admits that Noo-ri’s stabbing is Min-joon’s fault. Kang-woo admits too, though, that he also put innocent people in danger himself.
Kang-woo tells Min-joon that he should be afraid of what he’s gotten himself into. But Kang-woo offers one piece of advice for Min-joon, “Be hurt on the inside. Don’t curl up and tremble with fear like a fool. That’s what the people who came after you and hurt us want.”
After the surgery concludes, Nurse Oh brings the team to Noo-ri’s room and reveals the extent of the damage, and confesses they don’t know when Noo-ri will regain consciousness because he lost so much blood.
Min-joon looks sick at this news and heads out for some air, but as he does a group of doctors arrives and informs the Mad Dog team that Noo-ri is being moved to a VIP room at Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s request. Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s men insist that they leave, so Kang-woo leads them away.
Back at Mad Dog HQ, the team goes over everything they know about Lawyer Lee. They find that Lawyer Lee shares Chairman Cha’s hometown, and that Chairman Cha sponsored Lawyer Lee through college.
Min-joon casually notes that Lawyer Lee’s current obsession seems to be following him around to try to kill him, and Ha-ri warns Min-joon to forget whatever plan he must be thinking of to use himself as bait.
Min-joon promises he isn’t planning to do that, and after reassuring the rest of the team, he heads back to his apartment to wash up. Inside, Min-joon can’t help but reminisce about Noo-ri saving him, and the tears well up in his eyes again.
Kang-woo sneaks into the apartment as Min-joon washes up, and after startling Min-joon with his appearance, proceeds to show him the Flight 801 blackbox recording. The recording confirms that Beom-joon didn’t crash the plane intentionally, and Min-joon’s tears flow again as he listens.
Kang-woo offers Min-joon a beer, but this just spurs Min-joon to remember all the times his brother asked to share a drink with him, which Min-joon now regrets always turning down. He notes that he’s already had many drinks with Kang-woo.
Min-joon confesses that he’s scared of how he will remember this day in the future, and how he’ll come to cry thinking of these memories.
Kang-woo is sympathetic, and offers to help Min-joon take down Taeyang and JH Group together, just the two of them, so nobody else will get hurt on their behalf.
But just then, Ha-ri and Soon-jung barge in and chastise Kang-woo and Min-joon for excluding them from the plan.
Kang-woo explains that he would suffer if either of his teammates got hurt, but Ha-ri dishes it right back, asking how Kang-woo thinks they would feel if he or Min-joon got hurt because Kang-woo excluded them.
Ha-ri and Soon-jung both affirm their commitment to stick to the case, and Kang-woo proudly smiles at their resolve.
At JH Group, Chairman Cha visits Hyun-gi, who berates Chairman Cha for how poorly he handled Kang-woo. Chairman Cha is resolute, and tells Hyun-gi to meet with Chief Prosecutor Ohn so they can get the blackbox back.
Chairman Cha suggests that Hyun-gi admit to ordering Lawyer Lee to stab Noo-ri. Since Lawyer Lee officially works for JH Group, Chairman Cha theorizes, nobody will believe Chairman Cha is the man Lawyer Lee really works for.
Hyun-gi is amazed by Chairman Cha’s audacity and how willing he is to throw Lawyer Lee under the bus to protect himself, but Chairman Cha confesses that Lawyer Lee was the one to propose that Chairman Cha should discard him.
Later, in Noo-ri’s hospital room, Hyun-gi meets with Chief Prosecutor Ohn and bows graciously in apology. But Chief Prosecutor Ohn knows all about the relationship between Chairman Cha and Lawyer Lee, so he knows Chairman Cha is the one who really ordered the attack.
Chief Prosecutor Ohn lays out his proposal to Hyun-gi. They share a common purpose now, Chief Prosecutor Ohn says, since Chairman Cha came after his family.
He reminds Hyun-gi of his father’s collapse in Chairman Cha’s office two years ago, and says that Chairman Cha stopped Hyun-gi’s father from using his inhaler to stop an asthma attack, effectively killing him.
Rage engulfs Hyun-gi’s eyes as he hears this, and he thanks Chief Prosecutor Ohn for reporting the details to him.
Meanwhile, Chairman Cha works in his greenhouse when Hong-joo interrupts to apologize for handing over the blackbox to Kang-woo. Chairman Cha isn’t interested in her apology, and orders her to resign from the company.
When Hong-joo informs her dad that Hyun-gi and Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s meeting didn’t seem to go as he planned, Chairman Cha changes his tune. Hong-joo entices him further by promising to take down Hyun-gi without harming Taeyang, and asks for Lawyer Lee so she can carry out her plan.
At JH Group, Lawyer Lee resigns from his position, and Hyun-gi chides him for bending to Chairman Cha’s will so easily. He warns Lawyer Lee not to trust Chairman Cha, and adds, “That old man doesn’t have a heart. If you start doing everything for him, he will end up asking for your heart too.”
Mad Dog finds out about Lawyer Lee’s resignation and speculate that he intends to take them on now that he is no longer shackled to JH Group.
As they ponder the news, their intruder alarm goes off. They take up defensive positions waiting for some kind of confrontation, but the intruder turns out to be Nurse Oh.
They greet Nurse Oh warmly, though Min-joon’s excessive flattery irks Soon-jung, and Nurse Oh just plays along as they both toy with Soon-jung.
Nurse Oh reports on Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s secret meetings in Noo-ri’s hospital room, which he is essentially using as his own private office while his son recovers.
Given the number of high profile people, including Hyun-gi, who seem to be visiting Chief Prosecutor Ohn, Mad Dog decides that they should plant a bug in the room to eavesdrop.
Kang-woo asks Nurse Oh to help them, and argues that even though Chief Prosecutor Ohn is Noo-ri’s family, they can’t let him just continue to use his son’s attack for personal gain. Nurse Oh believes what Chief Prosecutor Ohn is doing disqualifies him from being called family, and she agrees to help.
Her only condition is that Mad Dog erases all personal medical data from the recordings, since this would violate Nurse Oh’s code of ethics, and Kang-woo gratefully accepts.
Soon-jung also asks Nurse Oh to plant Noo-ri’s cell phone under his hospital bed in case he wakes up and needs to get a hold of the team.
Soon-jung wraps the phone in some old triangle kimbap wrappings, and explains that he would always steal Noo-ri’s kimbap and hide the wrappers under his mattress, so Noo-ri will know what the wrappings mean when he finds the phone.
At the hospital, Nurse Oh enters Noo-ri’s room while Chief Prosecutor Ohn is out, and swiftly plants the bug and Noo-ri’s phone inside. Chief Prosecutor Ohn passes her in the hallway outside but she escapes undetected.
At Mad Dog HQ, the team now scours their file on Chief Prosecutor Ohn. They detail his career, from upstart prosecutor until he failed to become superintendent. His career took a nosedive until early this year when someone got him the chief prosecutor position in Seoul.
They speculate that Chairman Cha was the one responsible for Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s resurgence, and realize that now Chief Prosecutor Ohn desires even more power.
Mad Dog’s bug picks up a conversation between Chief Prosecutor Ohn and another official, who urges him to find a big case so he can make a strong impression on the citizens and use the boost in his reputation for a potential run for president.
Min-joon realizes the big case Chief Prosecutor Ohn wants is Flight 801, and Kang-woo decides that they should give the blackbox recording to Chief Prosecutor Ohn so he can pursue the case. Just then, Kang-woo’s phone rings, and it’s Chief Prosecutor Ohn on the other end.
Kang-woo meets with Chief Prosecutor Ohn at a restaurant, and Kang-woo quickly flashes the blackbox to get his attention. Kang-woo questions whether Chief Prosecutor Ohn will really reinvestigate the case, and Chief Prosecutor Ohn swears he will fulfill his duty as a prosecutor to uphold the law.
This satisfies Kang-woo, and he hands over the blackbox without any further questions. Kang-woo sees Chief Prosecutor Ohn off, but Soon-jung tails him to see where he takes the newly acquired blackbox.
Min-joon and Ha-ri track Soon-jung’s movements and discover that Chief Prosecutor Ohn is heading back to the hospital. Meanwhile, Hyun-gi arrives at the hospital himself, and Nurse Oh informs the crew of his arrival.
Hearing this, Kang-woo immediately starts to question whether Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s motives are pure.
In Noo-ri’s room, Chief Prosecutor Ohn places the blackbox in front of Hyun-gi, though he says it’s only so that Hyun-gi knows that he can cut his throat with it.
Hyun-gi doesn’t bite though, and tells Chief Prosecutor Ohn to just reinvestigate. Hyun-gi explains that even if Chief Prosecutor Ohn were to solve the case, the public wouldn’t care. Hyun-gi posits, “Most people aren’t related to those 190 victims. To them, it’s just an incident worth a line on SNS.”
Chief Ohn realizes his bluff isn’t going to work, and remarks that Hyun-gi is smarter than he thought. But Hyun-gi isn’t done, and he reveals that he found an incriminating text on his father’s phone after the funeral.
The text was from Chief Prosecutor Ohn to Hyun-gi’s father, and it revealed that the government decided to allow Juhan Airlines to offer a new route to Jeju, so the old, dysfunctional plane that was about to be discarded would need to be brought back into service for that route.
If only the government weren’t pressured into allowing the new route, Hyun-gi laments, then that plane wouldn’t have crashed two years ago.
With the tables now turned on Chief Prosecutor Ohn, Hyun-gi taunts him by suggesting that he should still reinvestigate. Suddenly, Hyun-gi snaps at Chief Prosecutor Ohn, bringing his teaspoon to his own throat and lashing out at the prosecutor for trying to control him.
The team listens to their conversation at the Mad Dog office, and Kang-woo’s face falls when he realizes that Chief Prosecutor Ohn won’t follow through on his promise to reinvestigate.
Min-joon summarizes the many layers now visible to them, “The prosecutors put pressure. The government gave authorization. The insurance company connived. The airline flew an old aircraft. Then they framed my brother for it.”
But Min-joon smiles and concedes that things aren’t all bad, since what they gave to Chief Prosecutor Ohn wasn’t the original blackbox, but just a copy.
We flash back to the call Kang-woo received from Chief Prosecutor Ohn, and though Kang-woo wanted to believe he was sincere, he still felt too wary to give up the original, so he got Min-joon to make a copy.
Soon-jung teased that Min-joon was nowhere near the tech whiz Noo-ri was, but Min-joon called himself the Christiano Ronaldo to Noo-ri’s Messi when it came to computers. Pffft.
Back in the present, the Mad Dog team resolves to make sure they expose the truth if Chief Prosecutor Ohn won’t. Ha-ri suggests that they hold a press conference and play the unaltered blackbox recording for the press.
Kang-woo likes this idea, and Min-joon plans to get even more attention by pointing out Taeyang and JH Group’s attempts to silence the family of the pilot they’re trying to pin the blame on.
To do that, they’ll need to draw out Lawyer Lee, and Min-joon volunteers to be the bait once more. Ha-ri and Soon-jung protest that Min-joon shouldn’t put himself in danger, but Min-joon fires back that he’d only be in danger if he did this alone, “But I’m not alone.”
Elsewhere, Lawyer Lee dines alone only for Min-joon to approach his table and strike up a conversation. Min-joon dives into the questions he wants to ask Lawyer Lee, like why a successful lawyer would murder so many people.
Lawyer Lee laughs at Min-joon’s question, but Min-joon asserts that Lawyer Lee killed Go Jin-chul and tried to kill Min-joon twice, and openly wonders if Lawyer Lee is a psychopath.
Lawyer Lee argues that even if he did kill people, he’d be more of a sociopath than a psychopath, but he denies that he ever murdered anyone.
Min-joon jokes that he won’t have to worry about Lawyer Lee killing him then, though Lawyer Lee suggests that if he were actually a sociopath then Min-joon’s antics right now would be incredibly foolish.
Min-joon just brushes him off and leaves Lawyer Lee to stew over his taunts. Outside, Ha-ri keeps watch on Min-joon as he leaves the restaurant, as Soon-jung and Kang-woo watch the events from Mad Dog HQ with their spy camera in Min-joon’s glasses.
Lawyer Lee leaves the restaurant soon after, fuming, and watches Min-joon getting into his car nearby. Ha-ri speculates that Lawyer Lee seems to be taking Min-joon’s bait, and Min-joon makes Ha-ri promise to keep him safe.
Min-joon drives away and sure enough, Lawyer Lee follows right behind him. Ha-ri tails Lawyer Lee from a safe distance herself as Min-joon leads them all to a closed marketplace.
Kang-woo starts to head to the site himself to back them up, but Min-joon urges Kang-woo to trust him and Ha-ri to get the job done. Kang-woo seems placated, but secretly sends Soon-jung to the site instead.
Upon arriving, Min-joon exits his car and walks through the empty marketplace with Lawyer Lee right behind him looking murderous. Ha-ri follows hot on Lawyer Lee’s heels herself as Kang-woo nervously watches live footage from Min-joon and Ha-ri’s hidden cameras.
Soon-jung reports that he is also near the scene, and Min-joon grumbles that Kang-woo couldn’t trust them after all. Kang-woo tells Min-joon he’s just being considerate as Min-joon continues to wind his way through alleyways trying to draw Lawyer Lee to him.
Kang-woo notices that the lighting is different in the two hidden camera shots that he’s viewing, with Min-joon twisting through alleys, but Ha-ri just following steadily behind Lawyer Lee.
Alarmed, Kang-woo directs Min-joon to turn around to make sure Lawyer Lee is still following him, but Lawyer Lee is nowhere in his sight.
Lawyer Lee suddenly stops moving and turns around to face Ha-ri. They’re alone, and the team only now realizes that he stopped following Min-joon and has led Ha-ri to a secluded alleyway.
The team shouts at Ha-ri to run, and she takes off as fast as she can in the other direction as Lawyer Lee sprints after her. Min-joon and Soon-jung rush to find her location first.
Ha-ri runs to a dead end and Lawyer Lee quickly catches up to her, ogling her menacingly from the other end of the alley. Ha-ri steels herself and tells the others it’s okay—she will be the bait now.
Lawyer Lee slowly approaches her, and Ha-ri doesn’t back down, matching his pace as she heads toward him as well, unafraid. As Lawyer Lee gets within reach, Min-joon tears around the corner and tries to tackle Lawyer Lee from behind.
Lawyer Lee throws Min-joon up against the wall and threatens to kill him on the spot, but Min-joon tells him to do it, and flicks his glasses to indicate that they’re recording him.
Lawyer Lee backs off as Soon-jung turns the corner with his phone in hand, and Soon-jung reports to the police that there’s an assault and attempted murder case they need to attend to. Lawyer Lee just sighs, cornered.
At the station, a detective interrogates Lawyer Lee, but he refuses to talk, and instead gives a curious smile to Min-joon who is watching with the rest of Mad Dog nearby.
Ha-ri jokes with Min-joon over how popular he seems to be, but Min-joon tells her that he’s mad at her for using herself as bait and says she shouldn’t talk to him.
Kang-woo reiterates Min-joon’s sentiments, and admonishes Ha-ri for her fearlessness. Soon-jung states his agreement with the other men and admits that he cried while he ran to find her.
The boys all stalk off to leave Ha-ri befuddled by herself, but she lets out a smile knowing that they were so worried about her. Lawyer Lee has witnessed this entire exchange though, and smirks at Ha-ri as she leaves.
Outside, Ha-ri gets called back to Mad Dog HQ, but Min-joon trudges past her so she chases after him to ask where he’s going.
Min-joon says he’s going for a walk, arguing that he feels so suffocated by their work recently that he needs to take this opportunity to clear his head, and darts off ahead of Ha-ri.
Ha-ri rushes to catch up but Min-joon suddenly turns around to face her and warns, “Jang Ha-ri, don’t ever put yourself in danger in my place.” Ha-ri argues that she couldn’t help it, but Min-joon tells her to stay out of trouble regardless.
Min-joon admits that he finally understands why Kang-woo always jumps into danger himself and leaves the others out of it: “Being left behind alone is painful.”
Min-joon says that Ha-ri still has Kang-woo and the others around her, so she’ll be fine if Min-joon is not there anymore. Ha-ri doesn’t know what to say in response.
Instead, Min-joon teases her that he feels cold, and uses this as an excuse to steal her scarf, taking it from her before she can comprehend what he’s doing.
She looks completely bewildered as Min-joon struts off, but he soon returns and wraps his jacket around her before pulling her close and giving her a cheeky smile. He marches off again and Ha-ri is officially flustered.
At the hospital, Noo-ri finally wakes up and quickly finds his phone thanks to Soon-jung’s kimbap wrappers. Meanwhile, Mad Dog browses the internet for reaction to the news about Lawyer Lee’s arrest, satisfied that the public is starting to doubt the story behind Flight 801.
Min-joon prepares for his press conference, and the Mad Dog team joyfully heads off together to watch it unfold. Meanwhile, Hong-joo arrives at Noo-ri’s hospital room to meet Chief Prosecutor Ohn, and Noo-ri pretends to be unconscious so he can eavesdrop.
Chief Prosecutor Ohn gets straight to the point and inquires about Lawyer Lee assaulting Min-joon, but Hong-joo reveals that Lawyer Lee is actually working with her, and that they planned everything to discredit Min-joon’s character.
Lawyer Lee recorded the conversation with Min-joon in the restaurant, spinning a tale that Min-joon was delusional and stalking Lawyer Lee because he thought the lawyer was responsible for his brother’s death.
Hong-joo plans to use this tale to completely tank Min-joon’s credibility, causing him to now be seen as a lunatic. Chief Prosecutor Ohn doubts this plan will be enough to sink Min-joon, but Hong-joo admits that this isn’t the full plan.
She reveals that she knows Chief Prosecutor Ohn pressured the government to allow Juhan Air the additional flight path, and offers to erase that record for him in exchange for the blackbox.
Chief Prosecutor Ohn admits that the blackbox he got was actually a copy, but Hong-joo already knows, and wants to use this to claim the recordings are fake too. All this taken together would point to Kang-woo going out of his way to falsely brigade against Taeyang and JH Group.
Behind the curtains of his bed, Noo-ri scrambles to contact the team to call off their press conference and avoid Hong-joo’s trap, but his father pulls back the curtain in time to catch him in the act.
At the press conference, Kang-woo nods his approval for Min-joon to begin, and Min-joon introduces himself as Beom-joon’s younger brother to the crowd of reporters looking on.
The most striking part of this episode to me was Kang-woo’s extremely blunt handling of Min-joon in the immediate aftermath of Noo-ri’s stabbing. Poor Min-joon was there blaming himself for everything and Kang-woo just unrelentingly rubbed salt in Min-joon’s wounds. Can’t we give the guy a break for a bit? Min-joon finally integrated himself into the group and opened himself up to them emotionally and the first thing that happens is Noo-ri valiantly takes the figurative bullet for him while Min-joon is powerless to stop it.
So why can’t Kang-woo give Min-joon a little time to process everything before yelling at him? He was clearly struggling to process it when Kang-woo found him in the bathroom, and it seemed almost spiteful to attack Min-joon when his emotions were still so raw. What Min-joon really needed was just a little bit of comfort so he could stop beating himself up over what happened. You can still let Min-joon feel guilty for putting Noo-ri in that position, but you don’t have to crush his soul in the process.
And who better to comfort Min-joon than Ha-ri? Min-joon just completely toys with her whenever he gets a chance and it’s adorable. It’s like everything he says to her when they’re alone flusters her to no end and she always comes out of their encounters scratching her head in bewilderment. She can’t even seem to form sentences in his presence anymore, which just adds to their cuteness together. Hurry up and get closer to each other for everyone’s sake!
The knot of bad guys at the center of this conspiracy continues to become more and more of a tangled mess despite how close we are to the end of the show. Everyone is out for themselves, sure, but what’s most impressive is how they each manage to stay afloat in the constant battle of one-upsmanship they’re all participating in. And their complicated schemes allow the suspense to permeate through every pore of the show as we and the Mad Dog team try to keep up with them. It’ll be interesting to see which string Mad Dog can find to finally unravel everything.
My hope is that the string comes from Hyun-gi, though not necessarily because I think he deserves the harshest treatment of all the baddies. Rather, he’s so captivating to watch that I find myself wanting to see him onscreen more and more. Min-joon called Lawyer Lee the sociopath, but I think Hyun-gi fits the bill a lot better. Hyun-gi’s presence seems to engulf the entire room wherever he is, commanding attention in every scene. Importantly, he doesn’t come across as cartoonish, because the character certainly could be portrayed that way by a lesser actor (I mean seriously, look at how he wears those ties!), but Choi Won-young manages to pull it off with aplomb.
But even though Mad Dog keeps running themselves into the traps their opponents keep laying, it really is only a matter of time before things come crashing down for JH Group and Taeyang. I wonder how much their fall can actually damage Chief Prosecutor Ohn, because while his pressuring of the government to benefit JH Group is obviously corruption and probably means an end to his political aspirations if exposed, his contribution to this conspiracy is definitely not on the same level as knowingly operating a dangerous aircraft or fabricating the evidence to make it appear the crash was suicide. But with everybody intent to sell out everyone else involved if necessary, I doubt he, or anyone else, can escape completely unscathed.
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