Two Cops: Episodes 31-21 (Final)
Hang on tight, because things are going to get very dark before we get to the end of our story. Dong-tak and Su-chang have a few more secrets to uncover before they can even think about saving Su-chang’s life, and time is quickly running out. But they’ve learned some important lessons about themselves during their ordeal, and no matter what happens, they’ve both become better people for having known each other.
EPISODE 31 RECAP
Confused, Su-chang asks Dong-tak why Jae-hee said he was responsible for the accident sixteen years ago. His eyes fill with tears as he asks Dong-tak if it’s true, and Dong-tak says that if what he did means he’s at fault, then yes, he caused the accident.
Su-chang says in disbelief, “So it’s all because of you… the accident that happened, that my dad died, and that I’m here in this state?” Dong-tak can only say that he’s sorry, hanging his head as Su-chang begs him to deny it.
When Dong-tak stays silent, Su-chang sobs that he should have just lied to him after everything they’ve done together. He wails, “What am I supposed to do now, you son of a bitch?!”
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Please just lie to me
Ji-an calls out to Dong-tak, and Su-chang is gone when he turns back. Su-chang walks the streets aimlessly, his voice hitching as he says that he’d thought he wouldn’t be alone anymore, but the person who helped him turned out to be the person who ruined his life.
Detective Yoo interrogates Chief Prosecutor Tak, informing him that Soo-ah is being charged with murder. Chief Prosecutor Tak confirms that he’s supported Soo-ah since she was a child at the orphanage, but he smugly denies any connection to her crimes.
In another interrogation room, Dong-tak tells Soo-ah that the nun at the orphanage informed him that she can hear and speak. He places the lighter/audio recorder on the table between them and tells her that this is the real one — the one she stole was a fake.
He asks if the recording on the lighter is the reason she killed Kim Jong-doo and Hang-joon. He asks if she did it on Chief Prosecutor Tak’s orders and her eyes widen in surprise, giving away the truth.
Dong-tak asks if she murdered Kim Jong-doo for threatening Chief Prosecutor Tak, and Hang-joon for investigating Kim Jong-doo’s murder. Soo-ah stays frustratingly silent, so Dong-tak tells her that she can write her confession if she prefers.
He guesses that she targeted Su-chang because she wanted personal vengeance for the accident that killed her parents, but he wants her motive for killing the others. Soo-ah maintains her silence, so Dong-tak asks if she’s ever wondered why Chief Prosecutor Tak made her commit the murders.
In the other room, Detective Yoo asks Chief Prosecutor Tak if Soo-ah committed murder on his orders. Smirking, Chief Prosecutor Tak says that it he wouldn’t be asking if Soo-ah has given them any information. Unfortunately, Jae-hee arrives and gets his father released.
They run into Ji-an on their way out, and she asks Chief Prosecutor Tak why he instigated a murder. He tells her it’s a misunderstanding, but Dong-tak calls out that the lighter Soo-ah gave him is a fake. Chief Prosecutor Tak looks nervous for the first time as Dong-tak quips that he’ll see him again soon.
Dong-tak takes Ji-an aside to speak privately. She says that she learned that he was the last person her father spoke to before he died, and he remembers that he said he envied Detective Song’s daughter. Detective Song replied that he wanted to be a detective his daughter could be proud of.
Dong-tak’s theory is that Detective Song didn’t turn in the proof of Su-chang’s innocence at first, but that their conversation changed his mind. He thinks that Ji-an’s father went to talk to Chief Prosecutor Tak, the person who asked him to fabricate the evidence in the first place.
Ji-an says that Chief Prosecutor Tak denies having seen her father that day. But Dong-tak guesses that Chief Prosecutor Tak was referring to Kim Jong-doo when he told Ji-an that the witness died. He says that he believes it was Chief Prosecutor Tak who asked Chairman Jo to frame her father as corrupt, and that it was Chief Prosecutor Tak who killed her father.
He drives Ji-an home, but instead of getting out of the car, she bursts into tears. She sobs at the knowledge that the man she asked to help her vindicate her father is the man who killed him, and says she feels guilty that her father died because he wanted her to be proud of him. All Dong-tak can do is hug her as she cries.
Later Dong-tak heads to the hospital, where he spots Miss Bong in the lobby, but she says she hasn’t seen Su-chang. She puts a hand on her chest and says that it hurts because he found out everything, and she tells him that it all began with him, so he has to finish it.
She asks if he wants that soul to live, adding, “Then give it to him.” Dong-tak asks what she means, but she says that he has to figure that out for himself.
Su-chang is with Chief Prosecutor Tak, watching as he glares angrily at the fake lighter and growls that Dong-tak must have the real one. He threatens to “show Dong-tak a funny picture,” and tosses the fake lighter into the river with an evil cackle.
Worried, Su-chang goes back to the station to find Dong-tak. He says he’s not there to forgive Dong-tak, but to tell him that after Chief Prosecutor Tak was released, he’d told Jae-hee not to let Ji-an dig any deeper into her father’s case. He also mentions Chief Prosecutor Tak’s threat, scared that he’s planning something.
Knowing that Soo-ah is the key, Dong-tak decides to talk to her. On the way, he tells Su-chang that the nun called him earlier to tell him how Soo-ah met Chief Prosecutor Tak, in the hopes that it would help.
When she was still young, an older boy at the orphanage had bullied Soo-ah. She’d smashed the boy’s foot with a brick, which Chief Prosecutor Tak happened to witness. He’d taken her aside and given her a dove, which she’d brutally crushed, then smiled at him with its blood still on her face (shudder).
Chief Prosecutor Tak became very interested in Soo-ah, and sent her to Japan for a special education. In other words, he made Soo-ah into a puppet who would do anything for him.
Dong-tak finds Soo-ah in her cell and calls her a child who saw the world through twisted eyes. He says he was the same way after his parents’ deaths, and that he rebelled against the world until he met a man who urged him to start over. He tells Soo-ah, “If you had met such a person, then you could have changed, too.”
Soo-ah sits up that night, unaware that Su-chang is in her cell with her. He asks if she knows that Doo-shik is dead, or that he liked her. He says that Doo-shik didn’t take the fall so she could sit in a cell, asking angrily why she’s keeping quiet.
The following day, Chief Prosecutor Tak visits an elementary school to talk to the children while the press covers the story. Ji-an is there, and she ignores his pandering to ask about the orphan he sponsored, and whether he’s involved in the murders she committed.
Addressing one of the children, Chief Prosecutor Tak croons that the pretty reporter thinks he asked someone to hit another person for him. The boy just happens to be Joon-soo, Hang-joon’s son, and he chirps that “Wife” (meaning Dong-tak) says they should always play fair. Chief Prosecutor Tak hugs Joon-soo and swears to always be honest once he takes public office.
When the story airs, Dong-tak bursts into Chief Prosecutor Tak’s office, furious that he touched Joon-soo. Chief Prosecutor Tak laughs and says that his opponent’s weakness is very visible. He asks about Ji-an, blaming her for putting everyone in danger.
He warns Dong-tak to stop or he’ll make him disappear. Undaunted, Dong-tak promises to take down Chief Prosecutor Tak himself.
Ji-an goes directly to Jae-hee to ask if his father rigged the accident case sixteen years ago, then had the witness, Hang-joon, and her father all killed. She tells Jae-hee that as a prosecutor, he has the ability to put it all to right.
As soon as she leaves, Jae-hee calls his father and asks if he killed Ji-an’s father. Chief Prosecutor Tak just tells him to be understanding, because he’ll be a great politician when this all blows over. He orders Jae-hee to free Soo-ah, and Jae-hee slumps, defeated.
Dong-tak calls another detectives’ meeting, telling the team that Chief Prosecutor Tak doesn’t know that his voice on the lighter’s recorder is damaged. He tells Detective Yoo to call the reporters for a press conference, planning to set a trap for Chief Prosecutor Tak.
Soon after, Soo-ah is taken from the station to be transported to the prosecutor’s office. The transport van is tailed by Yong-pal, who maneuvers the van into an intersection so that his minion can drive another car into it. After checking that his minion is okay, Yong-pal runs to the transport van to find that Soo-ah has escaped.
He calls the police station, and the detectives jump into action. When Chief Prosecutor Tak gets a call about Soo-ah’s escape, he tells Ja-hee that they’re lucky he didn’t do anything illegal, and that this will all be over once Soo-ah finds the lighter.
At the press conference, Detective Yoo tells the reporters that there will be an announcement the following day regarding Hang-joon’s murder case. As for Soo-ah’s escape, he simply says that they have information on the person who’s been shielding the real culprit.
Jae-hee denies the cops the freedom to search for Soo-ah, which is all part of Dong-tak’s plan. He’s counting on the fact that Chief Prosecutor Tak will have asked Soo-ah to do one more job for him. As they wait, Yong-pal asks who Soo-ah will be ordered to kill, and Dong-tak answers darkly, “Cha Dong-tak.”
We see the meeting between Chief Prosecutor Tak and Soo-ah, where he asks her to bring him the person most important to Dong-tak and hands her a photograph of Su-chang. She heads to the hospital dressed as a doctor and takes Su-chang’s body from his room.
Chief Prosecutor Tak calls Dong-tak and tells him to bring him the lighter if he wants to save his friend.
EPISODE 32 RECAP
Su-chang rides with Dong-tak as he goes to meet with Chief Prosecutor Tak. They find themselves in an abandoned building, where by several burly lackeys tie Dong-tak to a chair in front of Chief Prosecutor Tak and Soo-ah. Soo-ah takes the lighter and gives it to Chief Prosecutor Tak.
Now that he’s given Chief Prosecutor Tak what he wants, Dong-tak demands his friend back, but Chief Prosecutor Tak chuckles at the idea of a detective and a con man being friends. He asks Soo-ah if she “got rid of him” and she nods, making Dong-tak gasp that this wasn’t the deal.
He notes that this isn’t Chief Prosecutor Tak’s usual method, which is to cover things up until they become dangerous. Chief Prosecutor Tak agrees that he ignored Chairman Jo’s corruption just once, and Dong-tak asks how he framed Detective Song.
We flash back to the night that Detective Song confronted Chief Prosecutor Tak with the recording that he’d been hiding. He’d said he didn’t want to be an embarrassment to Ji-an, and that he was going to turn in the recording that Su-chang and Dong-tak worked so hard to get.
Chief Prosecutor Tak had grabbed for the recorder, and in the struggle, he’d pushed Detective Song out of the unfinished building to his death. Below, the taxi driver Kim Jong-doo watched in horror, but his shock had turned into a greedy smile when he saw Chief Prosecutor Tak.
In the present, Chief Prosecutor Tak tells Dong-tak that pushing Detective Song was an impulse, but that he never regretted it. Su-chang gleefully asks Dong-tak if they’re done. Wait, what now?
Dong-tak just laughs, which has Chief Prosecutor Tak scrambling to open the lighter. He finds the recorder inside, and when he plays it, he realizes that the audio is damaged.
Dong-tak confirms that the important parts have been destroyed, but he and Su-chang still look smug. We see that Dong-tak’s plan was to make Chief Prosecutor Tak confess while holding the lighter… which has been fitted with a tiny camera. Chief Prosecutor Tak shakes with rage as he realizes that he just confessed directly to the police.
Dong-tak confirms that the lighter just recorded Chief Prosecutor Tak admitting to everything. Chief Prosecutor Tak turns on his phone and checks the news to find Ji-an reporting on his confession live in progress. That is so awesome.
Stunned, Chief Prosecutor Tak drops the lighter, but he refuses to admit that it’s over. He asks Soo-ah for one last favor, and she pulls her knife. Dong-tak attempts to stall, telling Chief Prosecutor Tak to kill him himself if he wants him dead, but Soo-ah approaches Dong-tak and swings her arm back.
But she freezes when Chief Prosecutor Tak says that he’s meant to do great things, and killing is what Soo-ah was born to do. She looks stricken as Dong-tak asks her, “Now do you see what the man you were so loyal to made you do?” She turns to look at Chief Prosecutor Tak when he asks her again to do this favor, and with tears in her eyes, she utters a single word: “No.”
He goes to her and tries to take the knife from her hand. Soo-ah pulls him close and stabs… then she falls to the floor, bleeding from the stomach. Chief Prosecutor Tak screams her name, asking why she would stab herself and calling for an ambulance.
As Su-chang watches, he remembers that last night in jail, Soo-ah had written a confession letter apologizing to those she harmed. Su-chang had let Dong-tak know that he thought she could be turned, and Dong-tak had told Soo-ah that someone else would be in Su-chang’s hospital bed when she went to kidnap him.
The police storm the building, freeing Dong-tak and arresting Chief Prosecutor Tak. But there’s no time to relax as Yong-pal calls from the hospital to say that Su-chang’s body isn’t doing well.
As Dong-tak speeds to the hospital, Su-chang watches his hands flicker in and out, realizing that today is the 49th day. They’re both terrified, scared that they won’t get to the hospital in time.
Reporters swarm the building as Chief Prosecutor Tak is led out. He tells them confidently that he’ll go free because the investigation wasn’t legal, claiming that he was targeted because he’s about to take office.
Jae-hee arrives, and the reporters let him through to his father. He announces that the investigation was legal and carried out under his supervision, having been convinced to do the right thing by both Dong-tak and Ji-an.
Before he’s taken away, Chief Prosecutor Tak tells Jae-hee to remember that he did it all for him. Looking resigned and weary, Jae-hee says, “Yes, I know. And I am doing this for your sake.”
Dong-tak and Su-chang arrive at the hospital to find Su-chang’s body in cardiac arrest, with the doctors working frantically to revive him. Su-chang holds out his fading hands to Dong-tak, and he says in a frightened voice that he thinks he’s about to die.
Dong-tak remembers Miss Bong telling him to “give it to him” if he wants to save his friend, and now he realizes what she meant. Su-chang looks at him sadly and says, “You did well, Cha Dong-tak.”
Not ready to give up, Dong-tak finds a bottle of water and dumps it over his head., then rushes at Su-chang. Su-chang wakes up in Dong-tak’s body, Miss Bong in front of him. She tells him that this is atonement — that Dong-tak gave him his body.
She tells Su-chang that if he stays there until his own body dies, then he can live in Dong-tak’s body forever. He asks what would happen to Dong-tak, and she tells him, “He’ll never come back.”
As his body flatlines, Su-chang realizes that he can’t do it. He finds a scalpel and slashes his palm, sending his soul back out of Dong-tak’s body. Dong-tak asks him why, and Su-chang yells at him, “Why did you do it? Why?! Do you want to make me a thief who stole your body?”
The doctors stop laboring over Su-chang’s body, and Su-chang’s soul begins to fade. He looks terrified as he disappears in front of Dong-tak’s eyes, and Dong-tak lunges at his body and begins chest compressions again. He tries desperately to revive Su-chang, but Su-chang’s eyes remain closed.
Some time later, Bong-sook and Ji-an enter Su-chang’s hospital room to find him sitting up in bed — he’s alive! But he backs away from Bong-sook, not recognizing her and taking offense when she says they used to con people together.
Su-chang squints at Ji-an, and asks if they’ve met, then decides they haven’t and grumbles that she’s totally not his type. LOL. He picks up a pot of flowers from the windowsill and gives them to nurse Da-jung, thanking her for taking care of him and gifting her with that blinding smile.
When Dong-tak visits and says that it’s good to see him back in his body, Su-chang asks sarcastically if he was walking around like a ghost or something. Upset, Dong-tak asks if he really doesn’t remember, and Su-chang swears he doesn’t. He asks who he is, and Dong-tak says somberly, “You’re my forever partner.”
He tells Su-chang that they got into a lot of trouble together, and even caught some bad guys. Su-chang lights up, asking if he was a cop, but Dong-tak tells him that he was better than a cop.
As he walks away, he says under his breath, “You were a fraud.” Su-chang calls after him, asking what he said. He doesn’t get an answer, but he smiles a tiny, affectionate smile — wait, is he faking??
The detectives (and even former-Detective Park!) go out drinking to celebrate their success in catching Chief Prosecutor Tak, Soo-ah, and even Chairman Jo. Detective Yoo pours an extra shot for Hang-joon, and they all bellow at Yong-pal when he plunks himself down and drinks it. Detective Lee pours another shot for Hang-joon, which is similarly stolen by Doc, hee.
Sung-hyun visits the bakery to buy a cake, and Bong-sook says defiantly that she doesn’t pick pockets anymore. He gives her the hiccups by asking her to date him again, sending the Bakery Boys into excited fits.
On a date with Ji-an, Dong-tak tells her that Soo-ah is recovering from her stab wound and that Chief Prosecutor Tak is probably meeting with the prosecutor he hates the most. Heh, he’s with Jae-hee, and he smiles proudly as Jae-hee reads him his rights before beginning his interrogation.
Ji-an thanks Dong-tak for helping her clear her father’s name and catch the real culprits. Dong-tak says there are still a lot of victims out there, and that it’s his job as a detective to catch the criminals.
She asks where Su-chang is, worried that they may never see him again if he doesn’t regain his memory. She denies being disappointed at the thought, and Dong-tak suddenly becomes more relaxed as he says in a light tone, “I like your attitude. Song, from now on, you will only look at me, get angry at me, and smile at me.”
At the familiar words, Ji-an looks wary, but Dong-tak grins and says that that’s what Su-chang said once. Damn, he scared me!
Dong-tak visits Hang-joon’s grave dressed in his formal uniform, and he can practically hear Hang-joon asking if he’s been crying. He tells his friend that he finally got them, hearing Hang-joon’s voice say that Dong-tak will live well without him: “You did well, Cha Dong-tak.”
He leaves a bouquet of flowers and sits on a nearby bench, looking up at the sky for the first time in a long while. A hooded figure sits next to him, and after a moment Dong-tak asks if the person has a lighter. It’s Su-chang, and he chides Dong-tak for asking for a lighter when he’s a detective.
He spins around when Dong-tak calls him rude and says that he talked to Hang-joon, who told them to be friends. Dong-tak grudgingly agrees to be friends, though he warns Su-chang that he’ll kill him if he pretends not to remember again. Su-chang says that he’ll keep joking around because he wants to be himself.
Dong-tak takes out a pair of handcuffs, cuffing Su-chang’s hand to one of his own. He asks Su-chang what he wants to do now, and Su-chang replies that he wants to do what he’s good at.
When Dong-tak asks if he means being a crook, Su-chang answers, “No. I’m going to stick next to you.” Dong-tak thinks he means as his sidekick, but Su-chang says there’s a better word for it: “Partner.”
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Friends and partners
What a great finale, chock-full of action and suspense and even a few more surprises for good measure. I had a feeling that the ending would be worth waiting for, and I wasn’t disappointed. Chief Prosecutor Tak’s takedown was so satisfying, the way he was tricked into confessing live on television with the whole country watching. It felt like proper revenge for the lives he ruined, and the best part was the rejection from Jae-hee, the very person he claimed to have done it all for. I still bemoan the way Two Cops unnecessarily lagged in the middle — it’s a damn shame, because the beginning was strong and the ending even stronger. I know it’s a matter of opinion and many will disagree, but as pure entertainment and exciting storytelling go, this one ranks pretty highly for me.
Once again, I really applaud Two Cops for doing a great job at keeping its cards close to the vest, and for the way it doled out surprises until the very end. I genuinely believed that Chief Prosecutor Tak didn’t know about the killings that Soo-ah was doing on his behalf, only to learn that not only did he know, but that he specifically chose and groomed her for that purpose. That shows a chilling propensity for forethought and a ruthless willingness to use people to his own ends. I’m incredibly impressed with Choi Il-hwa’s performance here, because he really kept me guessing right up until the full truth was revealed.
One of my favorite things about the show is how it portrayed its characters not as absolutes, but as fallible people whose paths were shaped by those around them. Su-chang and Dong-tak had very similar childhoods, both of them losing their parents traumatically at a young age and becoming delinquents as a result. The only difference is that Dong-tak met someone who told him he could do better, while Su-chang was left without a positive influence, at least until he met Dong-tak. Soo-ah was warped by Chief Prosecutor Tak, who saw a potential for violence in her and instead of teaching her to be a good person, he nurtured and encouraged that side of her.
Even Chief Prosecutor Tak became twisted out of love for his son, going so far as to ruin at least one young child’s life and using her to end the lives of others. There must have been some good in him or he wouldn’t have raised a strong, decent man like Jae-hee, but he was so blinded by his need to protect Jae-hee from one bad decision in his youth that he was willing to go to any lengths, even murder. Luckily, Soo-ah was given the chance to redeem herself in the end, helping to put the true murderer away and almost sacrificing herself in the process.
Su-chang definitely stands out as my favorite character from Two Cops, and not just because he’s cheeky and endearing (although goodness knows, he is both of those things). As cheerful and upbeat as he appears on the outside, he’s actually a very tragic character because despite having been portrayed as the “bad guy” con man at the outset, Su-chang actually turned out to be a person who was horribly wronged. He was orphaned through no fault of his own, his father branded as a killer, and as a result he wasn’t able to realize his own dream of being a detective. Then on top of everything else he’s put into a coma and forced to beg for help to the one person least willing to help him. He felt so helpless throughout his 49-day ordeal, relying on others to solve the mystery and get him back into his body. And yet he never lost his optimism, or his belief that everything would be set right and he’d get his life back.
I didn’t talk much about the bromance between Su-chang and Dong-tak in previous recaps, mostly because they never really cemented their friendship until this final episode. I always loved the way they bantered and bickered, and how that bickering morphed over time from antagonistic, to harmless, and finally to affectionate. Their teamwork was fantastic once they learned to trust each other, and I was really touched when everything culminated in their each being willing to sacrifice themselves so the other could live.
That’s ultimately why Su-chang survived and woke up — because Dong-tak was ready to trade his life for Su-chang’s, after the way he altered it for the worse when they were kids. He didn’t offer up his own life because he felt he owed it to Su-chang, or because he was guilty, but simply because he cares for Su-chang more than himself. And Su-chang passed his test by choosing to do the unselfish thing, and being willing to die for Dong-tak. They each made up for their past actions in that one choice, which felt fitting and right for them both. I’m so happy that they were able to mend their fences and make plans to be real partners, just like Hang-joon always wanted for them. I only wish I could be there to see the shenanigans that Su-chang and Dong-tak manage to get up to in the future, because if one thing is certain, it’s that their lives as partners will never be boring.
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