Two Cops: Episodes 23-24
I just love the way Dong-tak and Su-chang have gone from fighting over who has control of Dong-tak’s body, to orchestrating smooth-as-silk transitions to help take down the baddies. Their teamwork is pretty impressive now that they have a system, and a growing foundation of trust between them. They’re going to need it once the full truth begins to come out, and they learn that their pasts are more entwined than they imagined.
EPISODE 23 RECAP
When he sees Chief Prosecutor Tak’s name on the list of former Incheon detectives, Dong-tak remembers him saying that he owes Su-chang’s father a favor. Confused, Su-chang says that his father was too poor to do anyone a favor. Dong-tak wonders how Chief Prosecutor Tak could have lost his pendant at the accident scene when he wasn’t there — unless he lost it before that day.
Overnight, a woman is found dead from a hit-and-run accident. The detectives notice that Detective Park is preoccupied, and since Dong-tak isn’t around, Detective Lee and Sung-hyuk team up to investigate.
They learn that a man’s DNA was discovered under the woman’s fingernail, which sends us into a flashback. The woman was hit while walking across the street, by the creepy man that Detective Park met, Jo Min-seok. He’d seen that she was critically injured, and she’d reached out to grab his hand, scratching him when he pulled away.
The coroner tells the detectives that if the woman had been taken to the hospital, she probably would have lived. Detective Lee and Sung-hyuk leave with a plan to go through the CCTV films in the area, so they call Detective Park for help. He storms out of the office looking resigned.
He goes to the traffic department to see if the CCTV footage he deleted can be restored, but it’s impossible. Detective Park calls Min-seok, angry at being used to cover up manslaughter, but Min-seok loftily reminds him that he took the money so he’d better keep his mouth shut.
Unfortunately, Detective Yoo overhears Detective Park’s side of the call and reports to Superintendent Ma that one of his team has gotten into trouble. It reminds Superintendent Ma of hearing Commissioner Noh promising to take care of something for Chief Prosecutor Tak. Detective Yoo asks him to turn a blind eye and let him handle it, promising to quit if he can’t, but Superintendent Ma says there’s nothing he can do and dismisses him.
Detective Park confronts Commissioner Noh on the golf course, asking if he introduced him to Min-seok on purpose. Commissioner Noh freely admits it, acting as if Detective Park is being ungrateful that he did him a favor. Detective Park says darkly that he’s going to straighten it all out, but Commissioner Noh just tells him to get lost.
As Detective Park leaves, Superintendent Ma calls Commissioner Noh and yells at him for taking advantage of one of his own people. Commissioner Noh says that everything is a big picture drawn by Chief Prosecutor Tak, who covered up something sixteen years ago for Chairman Jo of Star Group.
While all of this is happening, Dong-tak meets with Chief Prosecutor Tak himself. He hands Chief Prosecutor Tak his pendant and asks if it looks familiar, saying that he’s looking for someone that he thinks is linked to the pendant. He says that he thinks the pendant’s owner was either a witness to the accident sixteen years ago, or the cause of it.
Chief Prosecutor Tak looks cornered for a moment, then he says coolly that the pendant looks exactly like the one he received when he retired as a detective. But he says it’s not his, and to prove it he shows Dong-tak his own pendant, which he keeps in a box in his desk.
Su-chang is waiting for Dong-tak, who tells Su-chang that Chief Prosecutor Tak says the pendant isn’t his. But he adds that the atmosphere was very strange in there. Sure enough, Chief Prosecutor Tak calls someone to thank them for letting him borrow their necklace, which reminds him of the one he lost.
Dong-tak gets a call from Detective Yoo, who says he knows he’s busy, but asks him to come help with the hit-and-run case. Dong-tak agrees and sends Su-chang to the orphanage in the meantime to look for new clues. But Su-chang passes Detective Park and hears him muttering about killing someone, so he follows him instead.
Superintendent Ma finds Dong-tak in the station and asks if it’s true that he’s secretly investigating Hang-joon’s death. When Dong-tak says vaguely that he’s keeping his eyes open, Superintendent Ma tells him pointedly to solve the hit-and-run case, and he might find something at the end.
Sensing something strange, Dong-tak asks if Superintendent Ma sent him Doo-shik’s alibi photo. Superintendent Ma pretends not to know about the photo, though he remembers seeing it in Hang-joon’s evidence file.
Based on the location of the woman’s body and the time of death, the detectives work out that she was moved from the scene of the hit-and-run, and their only evidence is the DNA found under her fingernail. They can tell by the shape of the skin cells that they came from either the suspect’s arm or hand, and Detective Park cringes as he recalls Min-seok’s bandaged hand.
Detective Park’s mood doesn’t go unnoticed by Detective Yoo, who asks if there’s something he wants to tell him. Detective Park just promises to catch the killer and quickly leaves.
Su-chang gets excited when Dong-tak tells him that the hit-and-run case could provide a lead in their old case. He thinks about when he followed Detective Park, and had seen him return Min-seok’s bribe money. Detective Park had said he’s not for sale, but Min-seok had smirked that he already bought him, so it no longer matters whether he hit a deer or a person.
But Su-chang doesn’t tell Dong-tak about that… he just says that he’s tired of being ashamed for asking a detective for help. He jokes that he’s half Violent Crimes detective now, making Dong-tak chuckle. They decide that no matter what, they have to solve this case and find out who’s behind it.
With the CCTV footage of the accident gone, Dong-tak wonders how to get proof of Min-seok’s guilt. He spots the dashboard camera on a truck and gets an idea. He and Sung-hyuk get the files from delivery trucks that pass by that intersection, and they find one with a video of the accident.
They can’t see the actual accident, but they can see the victim crossing the street, then Min-seok’s car turning and slamming into something. They bring him in and collect his DNA, hoping for a match. Detective Lee tells Detective Yoo about the original CCTV footage being lost and the rumor that it’s an inside job.
Dong-tak gets to interrogate Min-seok, jumping right in and accusing him of getting the injury on his hand from the accident victim. Smirking, Min-seok sticks to his “I hit a deer” story, oddly unafraid of the DNA report.
He brags that he’s rich, but Dong-tak tells him that he knows first-hand that in prison, everyone is only allowed to spend twenty dollars a day. Min-seok looks nervous for the first time, but he keeps his mouth shut. Soon Dong-tak gets a call from the lab saying that the DNA under the victim’s fingernails was damaged and he can’t get a match, and we see Commissioner Noh looming over the technician.
Min-seok says that as his father’s only heir, he’s coincidentally very lucky. He has the nerve to state that he has to stay free and inherit his father’s company so that the peasants can make a living, but Dong-tak just notes that his chatter indicates that he’s nervous about something.
He asks what happened to the car Min-seok was driving that night, and Min-seok says he got rid of it. He talks about his hobby of collecting rare cars, and that it’s natural he would get rid of one that was in an accident.
He tsks that Dong-tak’s only evidence is gone, but Su-chang tells Dong-tak that a hardcore collector wouldn’t get rid of a rare car… but he might hide it. He asks to borrow Dong-tak’s body, saying with a sneer that he’s going to pull a con.
Ji-an has trouble concentrating on work, going over things Dong-tak has said to her that suddenly make sense. Mi-nam gives her a tip that Star Group’s Jo Min-seok is being interrrogated at the station, and she rushes out.
Su-chang possesses Dong-tak and heads back to Min-seok, but he runs into Ji-an on the way. He says shyly that he’s Su-chang, and that he has permission to use Dong-tak’s body. He can tell by Ji-an’s disappointment that she’s not there to see him, but she says that she’s actually here to do a story on Min-seok’s arrest.
Watch the video
This time it’s the con man
He asks her not to cover this story today, then asks if she’s okay. He apologizes that she got hurt because of them, and she realizes that Su-chang has been helping Dong-tak with his investigations all this time.
He gets to the interrogation room, and he turns the CCTV camera down and closes the blinds. He mentions Detective Park and talks like he might be willing to “be friends” with Min-seok as well, saying that he can take care of all kinds of issues like drugs, gambling, and hit-and-runs.
Min-seok seems interested, though he’s skeptical that a cop would make an offer like this in the police station. But Su-chang says he wants to make a deal, and Min-seok motions for him to go on.
Su-chang tells him that he’ll continue the investigation, but that things will die down soon without any evidence. He says that once Min-seok goes free, he wants to work for Star Group.
EPISODE 24 RECAP
Dong-tak gets Min-seok released, and he goes straight to Yong-pal’s club to celebrate. In on the plan, Yong-pal plies him with alcohol, reinforcing the idea that Dong-tak is a dirty cop to further convince Min-seok. When he passes out, he’s carried to a car driven by Su-chang.
Some time later, Min-seok wakes to find himself on a deserted street, alone behind the wheel of the car. On the road is a man covered in blood — heh, it’s just Yong-pal’s sidekick playing dead, and Yong-pal and Su-chang are watching from a short distance.
Su-chang calls Min-seok’s phone, supposedly to discuss their deal further. Min-seok says frantically that he needs help, screaming at Su-chang to get there immediately. Su-chang helps him pull the man’s body into some tall grass, then offers to get rid of the car for him.
But Min-seok doesn’t take the bait and says he’ll do it himself. So Su-chang runs to Yong-pal and orders him to hit him, and Yong-pal is more than happy to take a few shots at Dong-tak’s face. Third time’s the charm, and the blood he draws kicks Su-chang out of Dong-tak’s body.
Before he drives off, Min-seok orders Dong-tak to delete the CCTV footage of this accident. He tells him not to change his mind “like that other fool,” making Dong-tak wonder what he means. But Dong-tak lets him drive off, telling Yong-pal that he’s got an untraceable tracker on the car.
Su-chang rides with Min-seok all the way to a remote parking garage, where Min-seok drops off the car and calls for a ride. As they’d hoped, the car from the hit-and-run is also there, with a broken headlight that still has traces of blood on it.
Min-seok is brought back in, but this time he has his lawyer with him. The lawyer argues that they had no warrant for that car, making the evidence inadmissable. Su-chang gets upset that their plan didn’t work, but Dong-tak promises that they’ll still solve the case and find that clue to help Su-chang wake up.
He thinks about Min-seok’s strange comment not to change his mind about deleting the CCTV footage like someone else did. Wondering if someone tampered with evidence, he heads back to his office.
Chief Prosecutor Tak also suspects someone of tampering with evidence, and he assumes it’s one of Dong-tak’s teammates. He asks Superintendent Ma what would tempt Dong-tak, like money or honor, and he decides that people like Dong-tak are swayed by compassion.
As he talks, his son Jae-hee hears his voice and decides to say hello. But he stops when Chief Prosecutor Tak says that he once asked a detective to destroy evidence on behalf of his son. Superintendent Ma asks why he’s telling him this, but Chief Prosecutor Tak just says ominously that when Dong-tak gives in to compassion, he’ll shackle him.
Without revealing himself to his father, Jae-hee rushes back to his office and pulls out files on Dong-tak and Su-chang. He flips through Dong-tak’s file, wondering why his father would have Dong-tak shackled because of him.
Detective Park finally decides to come clean, and he confesses to Detective Yoo that he’s the one who deleted the CCTV footage of Min-seok’s accident. The whole team is stunned, especially Dong-tak, and all Detective Park can do is quietly apologize. He says that he just believed Min-seok at first, and volunteers to tell Superintendent Ma the truth so they can catch Min-seok.
Detective Lee pleads with Dong-tak to let Detective Park off the hook. Dong-tak punches his desk, but he tells Detective Park to go to Superintendent Ma. He says that the worst kind of cop is one who tampers with evidence, yelling that there’s no way they can let Detective Park off the hook when he may have allowed a killer to go free.
Detective Park tells Superintendent Ma the truth, and Superintendent Ma immediately calls Chief Prosecutor Tak. Chief Prosecutor Tak grumbles to himself, “I took Cha Dong-tak too lightly.”
When they’re alone, Dong-tak asks Su-chang if he knew about this, figuring it explains why Su-chang was so excited. He asks why, and Su-chang says that he was watching Detective Park, and that while he messed up at first, he really did try to fix it.
Detective Park is fired, and he cleans out his desk, trying to stay cheerful while the rest of the team look like they’re fighting back tears. He gives Detective Lee a scarf that he bought for him because he’s always cold, but had been too embarrassed to actually give him. With red eyes, Detective Lee snaps that he doesn’t want it, so Detective Park leaves it on his desk.
He passes Dong-tak on his way out, but they don’t speak. Dong-tak apologizes to Detective Yoo for refusing to look the other way, but Detective Yoo says he’d have done the same thing. He adds that this will hurt for the rest of their lives, and that they may have to comfort Detective Lee later.
Unfortunately, even Detective Park’s confession isn’t enough to prove that Min-seok killed that woman. But the lab calls about the piece of glass that Detective Park sent to be analyzed, and the blood is confirmed to match the victim’s blood.
It’s the piece of proof they need to connect Min-seok to the murder. When he goes to his car to make his escape, it won’t start, and he finds a red scarf stuffed into the exhaust pipes, HA.
Detective Lee pops up, yelling for him not to touch his scarf because it was a gift from Detective Park. He slams Min-seok onto the car, asking if growing up rich taught him not to value human life.
He pulls Min-seok back up and starts to swing, but Dong-tak grabs his wrist and says that Min-seok isn’t worth it. Detective Lee backs down, wrapping his scarf around his neck with a flourish while Dong-tak arrests Min-seok.
As he’s cuffing him, Dong-tak asks Min-seok who’s behind him. Min-seok names Commissioner Noh, which shocks Dong-tak. He asks if that’s the end, but Min-seok says that there’s someone his dad caught sixteen years ago because of a traffic accident — Chief Prosecutor Tak.
Chief Prosecutor Tak is currently being ripped a new one by Chairman Jo for allowing his son to be arrested, threatening Jae-hee’s safety if Min-seok is convicted. He reminds Chief Prosecutor Tak of the corrupt detective “who died because of you,” wondering if that detective’s family knows the truth.
Chief Prosecutor Tak says that he can do something similar again if Min-seok ends up charged with murder. Chairman Jo laughs at him for asking for another chance, but he grants it.
On his way out of the station, Detective Lee stops Dong-tak just to let him know he’s okay (and I have a feeling he’s never taking that red scarf off). Dong-tak tells Su-chang that Chief Prosecutor Tak is the man behind Chairman Jo, and that he’s connected to the accident sixteen years ago.
Su-chang remembers to tell Dong-tak that Ji-an came by while he was in Dong-tak’s body, saying that she needed to find something, but that he thinks she was really here to see Dong-tak. He tells Dong-tak to take her file back to her, offering to stay at the station and think up a plan.
Ji-an goes out with her roommate, Da-jung, who asks if she and Dong-tak had a fight. Ji-an asks what she’d do if someone told her he was being possessed occasionally, and Da-jung says it would be scary and confusing, but that she’d feel bad for the other person because it’s worse for them.
She stops to coo over a cute teddy bear in a police uniform, but Ji-an sniffs that it’s not that cute. Later she walks home alone carrying her new teddy bear (hee), and she runs into Dong-tak outside her house. He says softly that he came to return her folder, and when he tells her that he’s Dong-tak, she says she’s glad to see him.
At the station, Su-chang mulls over the information they have, wondering what kind of favor Chief Prosecutor Tak owes to his father and what connection he has to the accident. He spots something on the other side of the room, and whatever he finds makes him gasp.
Ji-an tells Dong-tak that she’ll probably be confused for a while, but that she wants to slowly start seeing him again. She promises not to get scared and run again, and Dong-tak is visibly relieved. He wraps Ji-an in his arms, then steps back, and they smile shyly.
Ji-an hold out the folder and tells Dong-tak that it’s her father’s case that she wants him to help her solve. She opens the folder, and the first thing Dong-tak sees is her father’s name. He stares at Ji-an, asking incredulously, “Your father is Song Ji-seok? Is he the detective who killed himself while investigating an accident sixteen years ago?”
Su-chang stares at a photo that fell out of Ji-an’s folder, recognizing the man in the picture. He breathes, “Song’s dad was the corrupt detective who destroyed my father’s evidence of innocence??”
Watch the video
The boys finally learn who Ji-an’s father is
That was only a partially climactic cliffhanger, since we all figured out weeks ago that Ji-an’s father is the detective who was falsely accused of taking bribes and supposedly killed himself all those years ago. However, I wasn’t expecting Su-chang to know him as the cop who supposedly destroyed the evidence exonerating his father. And I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, but I’m guessing that Ji-an is the second child who ended up at the orphanage after the accident. We know that her family photo album ends when she’s at about the age she’d have been at the time of the accident, and she never talks about any other family, so it makes sense. I’m still not exactly sure how all of this fits together, but now that Dong-tak knows that Chief Prosecutor Tak is connected to that accident, I expect the information to start coming at us pretty quickly next week.
I really enjoy watching Su-chang and Dong-tak finally working together. I get that it took them so long because they had a lot of baggage and distrust to overcome, but it does feel like the plot stagnated for a while in the middle just so that when they finally partnered up, the tension would be higher. I don’t disagree with it as a storytelling device, because they do have sixteen hours to fill after all, but I do feel that the pacing could have been more balanced. Maybe another case leading to a bit more evidence, since I’ve thought the cases they’ve worked on have been interesting (and appreciated that they all revolved around righting wrongs against women).
Regardless, they’re a team now, and it’s great. It’s smart of Dong-tak and Su-chang to split up as often as possible, so that they can use their individual strengths — Dong-tak’s skills at deduction and Su-chang’s ability to go anywhere unseen — to find out as much as possible. In fact, I wish they’d do more of that, and in a way I wish they were smarter about it. For example, there’s no reason Su-chang couldn’t have been in Chief Prosecutor Tak’s office when Dong-tak met with him, to see if he got a different take on the situation the way he did when he watched Dong-tak interrogate Min-seok. If I were them, I’d have Su-chang just follow Chief Prosecutor Tak for a day and see what he finds out.
But it was also fun to see them working together to solve this case, switching in and out of Dong-tak’s body so that whoever could be more useful got a chance to do their thing. I loved seeing Su-chang do a con on a bad guy, which makes me hope that when they do solve the mystery and he gets his body back, he gets a chance to realize his dream to become a detective. He’s smart and resourceful, and the only thing that stopped him before was lack of opportunity. It would be awesome to see him and Dong-tak working together for real, using Su-chang’s con skills to trick criminals into giving themselves away.
I’ve thought for a while that Superintendent Ma is only in on Chief Prosecutor Tak and CM’s plans because he doesn’t have enough power not to, and that he’s probably going along with it because if he knows what they’re planning, he can mitigate the damage as much as possible from where he is. For example, if he couldn’t stop Hang-joon from being murdered, at least he could keep the other detectives from investigating, and hopefully keep them safe. Not that I think he’s a good guy, because he’s not —
doing nothing can be as bad or worse as doing the bad thing itself (even Chief Prosecutor Tak said that!), and he still reports everything to Chief Prosecutor Tak even when he’s helping Dong-tak. But I don’t think that Superintendent Ma be orchestrating cover-ups on his own, if the others weren’t pressuring him. He seems to be growing more and more worried about the things that his superiors are ordering, and I’m hoping that soon, he’ll decide not to put up with the illegal powermongering anymore. I’m not sure what he could do, as he doesn’t hold much power himself, but at least he’s finally doing something to help Dong-tak bring the bad guys down.
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