Mad Dog: Episode 14
The ever-shifting allegiances of those caught up in the Flight 801 conspiracy continue to give Mad Dog opportunities to find some sort of crack in the foundation of their lies. And with so much deception constantly at work, it’s only a matter of time before one of our baddies steps into a trap they can’t wriggle themselves out of.
EPISODE 14: “The time between dog and wolf”
As Ha-ri and Min-joon stake out Hong-joo’s meeting with the government officials, Ha-ri scolds Min-joon for rolling down his window despite the cold night air.
Min-joon senses that Ha-ri is actually mad about him taking another woman up to his room while he was undercover, though Ha-ri denies that she cares about that.
She starts to tell Min-joon that she knows what happens when a man and a woman head into a room together arm-in-arm, but abruptly stops herself when she realizes that her words are showing how much she really does care.
Min-joon, however, catches Ha-ri’s slip, and teases her about being so curious about what he was doing with another woman. Ha-ri tries to get them to refocus on their stakeout and that’s when Min-joon realizes that the rest of the team can hear everything they’re saying back at the Mad Dog office.
Ha-ri and Min-joon wilt in embarrassment as Soon-jung teases them both, but Noo-ri notes that he checked the CCTV footage from that night and that woman left as soon as she arrived, so Ha-ri can rest easy.
Just then, Hong-joo and the two government workers exit the restaurant, and the team notes the suspicious envelopes the government workers are now holding. Min-joon surmises that since the workers didn’t enter the meeting with the envelopes, Hong-joo must have used them as some sort of threat to the workers.
Soon-jung speculates that given the state of Chairman Cha, whatever is in the envelopes must be a big deal, so the rest of the team quickly agree to prioritize finding out the contents.
Later, at the Mad Dog office, the team goes over the details of the two government workers Hong-joo met with: Park Dong-chul, who fabricated the safety inspection report for Flight 801, and Jo Sung-ho, who allowed Juhan Air’s extra flight request to be granted.
Since both men work for the same department, the team looks up who the head of the department is, and Noo-ri recoils when he sees it is Lee Sang-myun, his father’s high school friend.
Noo-ri recalls the conversation he overheard in his hospital room between Chief Prosecutor Ohn and Hong-joo and realizes his dad must have asked Lee Sang-myun to make sure Juhan Air got their new flight approved.
Noo-ri acknowledges his father’s responsibility for the crash, and tearfully apologizes to both Kang-woo and Min-joon for what happened to their families.
Min-joon can’t stop himself from getting emotional at Noo-ri’s apology, and when Noo-ri calls out to him, Min-joon reveals that he felt what Noo-ri is feeling right now for the past two years.
People constantly throw insults at Min-joon, he says, because of what they think his brother did, and all Min-joon can do is apologize over and over. But Min-joon admits to wondering why he should apologize when he wasn’t the one who did something wrong, which made him feel even guiltier for thinking that way. That guilt specifically was much harder to deal with, he says.
Min-joon thoughtfully turns to Noo-ri and tells him, “If someone told me this back then, it would’ve been great: ‘You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault.'” Min-joon deliberately drops his speech to a friendly level and tells Noo-ri exactly that, as every eye in the room floods with tears at Min-joon’s tender words.
In Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s office, Lee Sang-myun visits to discuss the pressure Hong-joo is putting on the two of them. Chief Prosecutor Ohn reminds Lee Sang-myun that they are not responsible for Flight 801 since they didn’t fly the plane themselves, and assures him that he will take care of Taeyang and JH Group in due time.
Meanwhile, Chairman Cha refuses to answer any of the prosecution’s questions, and instead asks to meet directly with Chief Prosecutor Ohn. But the prosecutor refuses to budge, and relays Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s upright stance that all suspects should be investigated fairly regardless of status.
Chairman Cha realizes now that Chief Prosecutor Ohn is no longer on his side, and after the interrogation concludes for the day, he and Hong-joo brainstorm how to get out of their mess in Chairman Cha’s hospital room.
Chairman Cha worries that just cornering the government officials won’t be enough, so he tells Hong-joo to hide away while Hyun-gi comes to visit later so they can corner him instead.
When Hyun-gi does arrive, Chairman Cha reveals Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s plan to take both of them down together using the illegal succession of JH Group that Chairman Cha facilitated with laundered money.
Hyun-gi, though, is already one step ahead, and reminds Chairman Cha that the final shares that Taeyang bought still have not been transferred to Hyun-gi because the shareholders’ meeting keeps getting postponed.
Further, Hyun-gi decided to cancel the meeting altogether himself so all the illegally acquired shares would still belong to Chairman Cha, effectively acquitting Hyun-gi of any possible damage from the shares.
For the first time, Chairman Cha is impressed by Hyun-gi’s actions. “I thought you were helpless scum who didn’t care about his own parents,” Chairman Cha taunts, “You’re stupid, but maybe this time you spun your brain hard to take revenge for your father.”
But Chairman Cha questions the efficacy of Hyun-gi’s plan. After all, he’ll likely only get a few years in prison and a quick pardon afterwards, he says, before taunting Hyun-gi that his father would’ve really liked this tea, named for its “killer scent.”
Chairman Cha’s snipes enrage Hyun-gi, who slams his teacup down on the table, shattering it into pieces and slicing open his own hand in the process. Chairman Cha grins wickedly at his fury.
Afterwards, Hong-joo wonders why Chairman Cha would rile Hyun-gi up so much when Hyun-gi holds all the evidence that could destroy them, but Chairman Cha notes that if they can push Hyun-gi to self-destruct then they can take out Chief Prosecutor Ohn at the same time, killing two birds with one stone.
Hyun-gi returns home and digs the original insurance files and blackbox out of his safe. As he storms out of the room, he considers Chairman Cha’s taunts again, and recalls briefly seeing Hong-joo’s face hiding behind a curtain during the meeting.
The physical blood on his hand makes him realize that metaphorically, Chairman Cha wanted Hyun-gi to get blood on his own hands to save Hong-joo, so he turns back and calms himself down, unwilling to fall into the trap Chairman Cha set.
Back at Mad Dog, Soon-jung takes Noo-ri’s normal position and leads the rest of the team through a new operation as Ha-ri and Min-joon return to their previous guises to meet once more with Park Dong-chul and Jo Sung-ho.
Meanwhile, Kang-woo meets Hong-joo, and Lawyer Lee searches Kang-woo to make sure he isn’t wearing any recording devices. Kang-woo reveals that he knows Hong-joo met with Chief Prosecutor Ohn in Noo-ri’s hospital room, and he plays her the recording to prove it.
In particular, Hong-joo’s promise to erase the record of Chief Prosecutor Ohn’s tampering to allow the new flight would be incredibly damaging to her if the recording were to somehow become public, Kang-woo warns.
Hong-joo fires back that nobody will believe the words of Kang-woo and his lackeys over the word of Taeyang, plus Chief Prosecutor Ohn will just arrest Kang-woo if he releases the recording himself.
Kang-woo admits that that may be the case, but he asks Hong-joo how Chief Prosecutor Ohn will react if his own son is the one who exposes the recording instead of Kang-woo.
Noo-ri, we see now, is in his father’s office at that very moment playing the same recording for his father to hear the evidence. Chief Prosecutor Ohn is irate with Noo-ri for his interference, but Noo-ri furiously snaps back at his father for being involved in the deaths of so many people.
Chief Prosecutor Ohn dismisses Noo-ri’s words at first and calls to get Noo-ri taken back to the mental hospital. To his surprise, Noo-ri doesn’t resist, and instead threatens that the recording will be revealed automatically if he doesn’t return to stop it.
Noo-ri concludes that his father never viewed him as a son, instead considering him a tool to take down Taeyang. Noo-ri stands in defiance of his father now, and since Chief Prosecutor Ohn will be ruined by the recording coming to light, he is left with no choice but to let Noo-ri go back to Mad Dog.
Back in Hong-joo’s office, Chief Prosecutor Ohn tries desperately to get a hold of Hong-joo, so she kicks Kang-woo out to take the call. Outside, Kang-woo tells the rest of the team that Hong-joo will move soon, so they should keep their respective targets distracted so Hong-joo can’t reach them herself.
Min-joon makes sure Jo Sung-ho stays focused on the woman he is chatting up by ordering expensive drinks for them to share. Meanwhile Ha-ri makes sure Park Dong-chul is kept in check by keeping him occupied with their date.
When Hong-joo finally does get a hold of Park Dong-chul, Ha-ri eavesdrops on their conversation and finds that they plan to meet at the same restaurant Hong-joo met them at last time.
Kang-woo races off to get to the restaurant beforehand, and Soon-jung arranges to get their bugging equipment set up at the restaurant as soon as possible. Min-joon alerts Jo Sung-ho to Hong-joo’s call so the trap can be fully set.
Meanwhile Lawyer Lee advises Hong-joo that meeting the government officials could be too risky, but she argues that they need the officials on their side immediately if they want to stop Chairman Cha’s arrest warrant.
Hong-joo speculates that Chief Prosecutor Ohn knows about Chairman Cha’s other illegal political dealings too, and wants to take down Taeyang completely in one fell swoop.
At the restaurant, Soon-jung arrives pretending to be a deliveryman. He spots a reservation under Lawyer Lee’s name and quickly gets to work installing recording devices in the reserved room.
Kang-woo watches from outside the restaurant as Hong-joo and Lawyer Lee arrive together, while elsewhere Ha-ri and Min-joon trail their respective targets who are nearly at the restaurant.
Lawyer Lee heads inside first, but Soon-jung is still trying to install the bug in the room and finally manages to place it and slip out of the room moments before Lawyer Lee can catch him.
Lawyer Lee scans the room to make sure it’s secure, and quickly discovers the bug Soon-jung just planted. Hong-joo calls Lawyer Lee and notes that Kang-woo is outside the restaurant, plainly visible, and must be tailing them.
Hong-joo abandons the plan to meet there, and tells Lawyer Lee to make the government officials go to her office instead since it’s the only place they know is safe. Lawyer Lee hurries out and drives Hong-joo right past Kang-woo as they share an intense staredown.
As Soon-jung exits the building, Kang-woo reveals that he made sure he was visible to Hong-joo. Kang-woo asks Min-joon and Ha-ri if the government officials changed course, and sure enough, they both make U-turns immediately and head towards Taeyang.
Kang-woo confesses that he knew Hong-joo would revert them to her office because she made sure to search Kang-woo when they met earlier, but not the rest of the room, which meant they already knew the rest of the room was clear.
But it turns out that Kang-woo’s real purpose for meeting Hong-joo earlier was to hide a bug in the room while Hong-joo and Lawyer Lee were distracted with the recording, and that bug is now set up to record Hong-joo’s meeting.
In the office, Hong-joo asks Jo Sung-ho and Park Dong-chul if they decided to side with her, but both men turn her down. They cite the reports that they wrote which Hong-joo gave them at the restaurant, and note that there is nothing implicating either of them for any wrongdoing.
However, Hong-joo isn’t finished, and she grabs two more reports from her desk to show the men. These reports, she indicates, were the original reports each men filed regarding Flight 801, in which both men originally refused to approve the flight.
Not only was Juhan Air’s financial situation not good enough to support paying for a new flight path, but also the plane’s engines were found to be far too old, and they stated in the report that the most likely scenario for anyone trying to fly these planes would be engine malfunction resulting in a crash.
The Mad Dog team reels in shock at the conversation they are listening in on, now faced with incontrovertible evidence of the real story behind Flight 801’s crash.
Min-joon can’t handle hearing the truth, and Kang-woo tries to shake him back to his senses while fighting back tears of his own. But Min-joon just cries in stunned disbelief that everyone was allowed to board the plane despite the obvious safety concerns and Kang-woo affirms how horrifying that revelation is.
Back inside, Hong-joo grills the men further, and gets them to admit that their boss Lee Sang-myun ordered them to change the reports. Not only that, but they have a recording of the call when he made the order.
However, neither man is sure they can trust Hong-joo to erase their own misdeeds in exchange for handing over the recording, so they still don’t want to commit to joining her side.
Hong-joo smirks and asks if they are curious how she got her hands on the original reports in the first place. She reveals, “Two years ago, when Juhan Air was renewing its insurance, I took these reports just in case. Just in case the plane would crash.” Wow.
Ha-ri joins the boys as they all listen in to Hong-joo’s confession, horrified. “It’s all thanks to me that you two have been able to protect your positions,” Hong-joo adds, “We were in on this together from the beginning. We are all responsible for this.”
Kang-woo recalls Hong-joo’s concern for him over his obsession with Flight 801 and realizes now that she was only concerned for herself. She knew all along what the truth was.
Kang-woo turns to Min-joon and tells him that they should give up this scheme. They’re not big enough to take on Taeyang by themselves in one night, Kang-woo argues.
But Min-joon thinks there is a way. “What if it’s not just us?” he asks, “What if everyone in the country is curious about the bait?”
Min-joon asks Noo-ri how long it would take to upload the recording of Hong-joo’s confession all over the internet, and when Noo-ri replies that it would only take five minutes, Kang-woo orders him to upload it.
An hour later the recording is news all over the country, and various news programs report on the scandalous conversation between Hong-joo and her co-conspirators as it quickly becomes the top story on all the portal sites.
Meanwhile, Hong-joo sees the online reaction from her office, and weeps as she recognizes that she is completely finished now. Hyun-gi watches the news from his own home and notes sadly that he could have stopped Mad Dog if Hong-joo was willing to trust him.
Chairman Cha watches the news from the hospital, and Lawyer Lee apologizes for not protecting Hong-joo. Chairman Cha, though, admits it was his own fault his daughter got cornered.
Just then, Hyun-gi arrives to speak with Chairman Cha. “You got blood on your daughter’s hands while trying to sabotage me,” Hyun-gi sneers, “How does it feel?”
Chairman Cha is in no mood for Hyun-gi’s heckling, so he directly asks what Hyun-gi wants from him. Hyun-gi offers only one thing in response, “Take responsibility for what you daughter has done.”
Afterwards, Chairman Cha thanks Lawyer Lee for all of his services over the years, and asks for one more favor from him: to eliminate someone.
Min-joon retreats to his apartment only for Noo-ri, Soon-jung, and Ha-ri to hack their way inside again, and he finds them all drinking together in his living room.
They invite Min-joon to join them, though Ha-ri accidentally lets slip that she’ll be the one having a hard time if Min-joon gets drunk again. The three guys have no idea what she is referring to and question her on it, but she doesn’t want to say anything more so she starts downing an entire bottle of soju instead.
Min-joon grabs the bottle from her hands to stop her and softly wipes the excess alcohol off her chin while warning her to be careful. He teases, “You might get hurt,” and gives her a playful pat on her nose as Soon-jung and Noo-ri exchange a knowing glance.
Ha-ri stares up at Min-joon dumbfounded until Min-joon tells her that he was talking about the alcohol. Ha-ri blusters that she obviously wasn’t taking his warning some other way.
Min-joon casually ignores her protests and heads out to grab Kang-woo to join them while Noo-ri and Soon-jung reenact the scene they just watched. Ha.
Downstairs, Kang-woo apologizes sincerely for how he treated Min-joon all this time, not trusting him. Min-joon thinks that what he did was worse, running away to Germany with all the insurance money.
Min-joon confesses that the reason he even made it to where he is today was because of Kang-woo’s relentless pursuit on behalf of his lost family. Seeing Kang-woo working so desperately for his family made Min-joon realize how little he did for his own brother.
That, Min-joon says, is what drove him to find Mad Dog and search for the truth, and he sincerely thanks Kang-woo for dragging him in. Kang-woo returns the favor and thanks Min-joon for coming to him.
What they don’t know is that Lawyer Lee is lurking in the shadows, and he eyes Kang-woo as he pulls out his trusty strangling scarf. However, as he is about to enter the building, the rest of the Mad Dog team come rushing downstairs.
Noo-ri hastily brings up a live press conference on the screen, and Hyun-gi stands before the reporters to announce JH Group’s position on the newly revealed information about Flight 801.
Hyun-gi brazenly lies that he did not know anything about the reports until now, and shifts all of the blame onto his own father and Chairman Cha for causing the crash and covering up the truth.
Hyun-gi offers an apology to all the victims and their families for what happened, and promises that not only will JH Group reinvestigate the crash, but Hyun-gi will also step down from his position in the company.
Hyun-gi gives a deep bow to everyone gathered, contorting his face in discomfort as he does so. The Mad Dog team looks on in astonishment as Hyun-gi wraps up his press conference, seeming to have saved himself from the backlash.
Obviously Hyun-gi isn’t completely innocent of any wrongdoing. After all, he still helped cover up the true nature of the crash and used it to secure his position in JH Group. But while he is not a saint, his point that the people responsible for the crash itself are those who conspired to create the new flight path despite unsafe conditions, namely his father and Chairman Cha, is, I think, fair. His role in the cover-up is a lot less morally reprehensible than actively creating a situation where dozens of people lost their lives.
I do think Hyun-gi’s motivations are pretty intriguing though. It seems to me that his primary goal is to win over Hong-joo, who he may manage to save from scrutiny by throwing Chairman Cha willingly under the bus at the press conference. His lingering attachment to her might be the exact thing the Mad Dog team needs in order to finally get to Hyun-gi, although so far Hyun-gi seems pretty aware of how his affection for Hong-joo can be used against him and guards himself fairly well against it.
What was really shocking to me was the revelation that Hong-joo was very much aware of everything regarding Flight 801, even two years ago. I was convinced that her confusion was genuine whenever seemingly new information found its way to her, so when she so coldly acknowledged just how deep into the conspiracy she was all along, I was as stunned as Mad Dog was. She seemed to be like a poor lost soldier just following her dad’s orders not aware of where that path would take her.
So now that we know that Hong-joo was well aware of everything even before the crash, it throws every decision we’ve seen her make into a new light. She specifically booked tickets for Kang-woo and his family on the plane she knew was faulty, manipulated Kang-woo into avoiding digging deeper into the case, and then only revealed her true colors when she thought it was completely safe for her to do so.
Given how well she managed to hide, it’s kind of surprising that she would fall into Mad Dog’s trap so easily just because she was too panicked to be careful, but it speaks to how precarious the situation is for everyone involved that just one misstep leads to complete disaster for her. It’s tough to believe she’ll manage to completely recover her position now that her conversation has been leaked, but she at least seems poised to avoid serious penalty for her transgressions.
With just the finale week left to go, though, the team will need to refocus quickly in order to ensure they capture everyone involved. Beom-joon was given the entirety of the blame before, and now Chairman Cha is set to take that position from him. Without intervention from our heroes, it’s not hard to imagine the public would be satisfied with choosing Chairman Cha as the sole scapegoat and letting the rest get away unharmed without any further questions. Mad Dog will need to find the smoking gun to bring everyone else to justice, or all of their efforts could be for naught.
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