Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 4
The Police-Prosecution Council finally meets, and it goes about as well as you’d expect given the enmity on both sides. Complicating matters, the police catch wind of a prosecutor asking around about an old case, and that very prosecutor is doing some sneaking behind his unofficial partners’ backs. With everyone scheming and working towards their own goals, the situation is becoming increasingly complex. A little teamwork would go a long way.
The prosecutor gang arrives at the Board of Audit and Inspections for the council meeting, and Tae-ha and Sa-hyun foist their bags on Shi-mok like he’s the bellboy as they head to meet the Chairman. While Shi-mok waits for everyone to arrive, he pulls up an article about Chief Kang criticizing Sungmoon Daily. Guess he made his choice.
The police members arrive, and Yeo-jin introduces Shi-mok and Chief Choi. Gun greets Shi-mok pleasantly, and Yeo-jin good-naturedly reprimands Shi-mok for not at the very least asking about Gun’s kids or something. Chief Choi looks surprised by how comfortable they are with each other.
Shi-mok obediently asks about Gun’s kids, which makes Yeo-jin laugh, but she and Gun sober when they look at Chief Choi. Despite saying she’s glad they have a good rapport, Chief Choi looks angry. Looks like someone doesn’t appreciate fun.
Tae-ha and Sa-hyun run into Director Shin on their way to the room, so they head in together. After being forced to take a group photo, they begin. Oh my gosh, the posturing has already started as Tae-ha butts in while Director Shin kicks things off.
Director Shin lists their concerns: who holds the power to lead and close investigations, who requests warrants, and the establishment of the Senior Civil Servant Corruption Investigation Unit (rolls right off the tongue). Sa-hyun thinks the warrant issue should be left out since the government already decided not to change anything.
Chief Choi asserts that they wouldn’t be here if they were going to accept the government’s proposals as is. Sa-hyun pompously recites the relevant article and asks if they’re amending the Constitution now. Yeo-jin never thought that article made much sense and argues the prosecution must’ve been powerful enough to have their rights protected in the Constitution.
Chief Choi gives a history lesson, noting that police used to also have the power to request warrants before the May 16 military coup and cites the removal as legally problematic. Shi-mok has looked neutral but seems irritated now. Sa-hyun argues that historically problematic laws don’t equate to legally problematic ones.
Yeo-jin brings up a case where a lawyer – formerly of the prosecution – repeatedly reported illegal gambling businesses and collected a settlement in exchange for dropping the charges. He then sued the police for unfairly targeting him, claiming bias since he always took the prosecution’s side in arguments over investigatory power.
He may have lost his suit, but the police’s warrants were continually rejected by the prosecution. Chief Choi thinks they should be embarrassed for protecting one of their own like that. Tae-ha contends that the warrants were eventually issued, but Director Shin reminds him the lawyer got off with an acquittal from the prosecution.
Well, this is going swimmingly so far. Tae-ha complains about the focus on the past, so Gun relates a current rental scam case. The victim lost 10 years’ worth of savings, even though she went through a realtor and did everything right.
We flashback to when the Yongsan team rushed out of the station after the suspect. After hours of staking out the area where he was supposed to be, Gun spotted him, and everyone gave chase. Gun took a nasty tumble and hurt his leg, but he followed the rest into a subway station.
As they hopped barriers and ran though the station trying to find the suspect, Soon-chang received a call that the prosecution wanted someone in their holding cell transferred to them. Team Leader Choi had yelled that they’re busy, and the prosecution can come get him themselves. It’s their responsibility anyway.
They caught sight of the man again, and off they went – this time, they got him. But the prosecution still hasn’t requested the warrant, even after the police submitted an extra report with all the evidence. Six people fell victim and lost everything. If the warrant isn’t issued by midnight, they’ll have to release the suspect.
Chief Choi thinks nothing has changed. 15 years ago, an officer could be jailed for refusing to obey the prosecution’s orders. Although that law has been changed in name, there isn’t a difference in practice.
Sa-hyun addresses Gun and calls it a “misunderstanding” – they don’t order the police around anymore and aren’t petty enough to refuse a warrant for disobedience. Tae-ha doesn’t appreciate how they’re framing the prosecution as the bad guys for following the law.
Director Shin comments on how difficult it is to get warrants, yet the prosecution wants to hang onto their authority. Shi-mok silently recalls a prosecutor who was demoted for revealing that she got on the bad side of an assemblyman and was ordered by her superiors to delete evidence off the list. She pushed back, but it was removed anyway.
Shi-mok interrupts Sa-hyun and Chief Choi’s arguing to state that the prosecution’s authority is in not prosecuting cases. Whoever can best prevent misuse of authority in the process should be responsible for warrants. How would the police handle the pressure to decide whether or not to prosecute a case?
Director Shin replies he wants to bring in legal experts, but Shi-mok argues that’s not the issue. They need to demonstrate at least one difference between their organizations for this debate to result in change. Yeo-jin likens it to seeing different doctors for different treatments. Sa-hyun equates the police to “quacks,” and both sides start fighting.
Yeo-jin interjects that they’re not asking to issue warrants but to directly request them from the courts. Sa-hyun is heated now and claims the police will abuse their power and want to arrest everyone they’ve investigated.
Chief Choi says the courts will reject the warrant if there’s a problem, but Shi-mok points out the courts’ procedure for warrants is lax. There needs to be a third party to review the requests. Yeo-jin calls bull and says the prosecution have abused their power and aren’t exactly humanitarian.
Tae-ha asserts it’s easier for police to abuse power since there’s a lot of them, and they aren’t in the public eye like prosecutors. Gun counters that people can get hurt by waiting on warrants too, but Sa-hyun snaps they can take it up with the Constitutional Court, then.
They’re getting nowhere, so they call it a day. No one leaves happy. Tae-ha explodes once they’re in the hall, asking what’s going on with that withheld warrant. He plans to get in touch with someone at the prosecution office in that district (Shi-mok’s old office).
Meanwhile, Yeon-jae sits in a meeting regarding Sung-jae’s rising stake in the company – he’s been purchasing shares in addition to what their father left him. Their other concern is Kim Byung-hun, the CEO of Sungmoon Daily who’s the third-largest shareholder after the siblings and is on Sung-jae’s team.
Sung-jae is trying to change the company bylaw that allows the same person to serve as CEO and chair of the board. As CEO, Yeon-jae would be ousted as chairperson, and the new chair would be elected from among the current board members. Joo-seon mentions a similar case where the CEO and chair positions were split to push out the owner.
They don’t have the money to purchase more shares, so their only recourse is to figure out who Sung-jae is backing for chair and make a move. Yeon-jae realizes the only person it could be is her father which would be a disaster for her since he has support from the board.
In a flashback, Yeon-jae goes to her father’s house (guess he’s out of prison), but he refuses to speak with her. The housekeeper relays Sung-jae’s message: their father no longer considers Yeon-jae his daughter, and Sung-jae doesn’t consider her his sister.
In her office, Yeon-jae sees that Dong-jae tried to call multiple times hoping to meet. (What is this boy scheming now?)
The prosecutors go out to eat, and Tae-ha and Sa-hyun get really into the soccer game on TV. They can’t believe that Shi-mok doesn’t follow any sports, and Sa-hyun jokes that he must just hang out with his girlfriend in his free time.
Shi-mok gets a call, and it sounds like someone wants to meet. He gets a strange look after he hangs up. Elsewhere, the police officers eat out, and Chief Choi compliments Yeo-jin and Gun for their contributions during the meeting.
After getting a text from a police chief informing her that a prosecutor asked about an officer who served time, Chief Choi calls for more info. She asks for the name of the prosecutor.
At Yongsan Station, Team Leader Choi asks Gun about the meeting and if he asked Shi-mok for help with the warrant. Gun didn’t bother since he didn’t think he’d listen, alleging he’s just like the other prosecutors. He doesn’t think Team Leader Choi should bother asking Yeo-jin for help either.
None of the National Police Agency officers offered to help with the warrant, anyway. Gun thinks about Yeo-jin’s colleagues complaining about how she’s the outsider, yet she gets to be on the council and invite her old colleague along. He sighs to himself she’s got it hard enough.
Shi-mok is dropped off on the street by Tae-ha and promptly picked up by Yeon-jae. She wonders if he’s found “his place” now and suggests they correct the article. When Shi-mok encourages her to go through legal channels, she asks if he doesn’t feel at all indebted to Chang-joon. “What about you?” he counters.
Dong-jae calls Shi-mok to abruptly reschedule their sleuthing, so Shi-mok goes back to the office. And it turns out Dong-jae skipped out to meet with Yeon-jae. He grabs her hands enthusiastically – her assistant narrows his eyes, ha – and professes his excitement at hearing she was made chairwoman.
Dong-jae gets to the point and asks if she knows of Choi Bit and Park Kwang-soo, the prosecutor-turned-lawyer Hanjo wanted to recruit under the table years ago. Kwang-soo’s wife told Dong-jae that he’d bragged about the unofficial appointment to those around him.
Yeon-jae’s assistant cuts in that he died of illness before he could be onboarded. “Did I kill him?” she asks. The prosecution loves stories like that. Dong-jae explains the oddness of the alcohol situation and coverup.
Ha! Her assistant very intentionally steals his thunder again by naming Choi Bit as the instigator and asserts that Kwang-soo drank a lot when he met him the once. Hmm. Yeon-jae cuts Dong-jae off when he asks if her assistant knows who he met the day he died.
Dong-jae insists Yeon-jae must’ve agreed to meet with him for a reason (assistant rolls his eyes to the heavens). Dong-jae offers to help her any way he can. He might lie to others, but not to Lee Chang-joon’s wife.
Yeon-jae signals her assistant to leave and after confirming Dong-jae knew her father, asks if he would visit him. Since he believes she collaborated with Chang-joon to send him to prison, her father refuses to see her or any of her associates.
Dong-jae butters her up, and she laughs that she gets why Chang-joon kept him near. She entrusts him with an envelope to give her father and sends him there immediately. Once he leaves, she calls her assistant to ask if Choi Bit was mentioned back then.
She wasn’t, but she did move to the Intelligence Bureau right after the incident. Yeon-jae deduces it was connected and orders him to ensure Joo-seon doesn’t even tell his wife he’s working for Hanjo.
Dong-jae shows up at Lee Yoon-beom’s place and gets in the grounds, but the wary housekeeper informs him Yoon-beom isn’t home and won’t let him inside. He’s forced to leave his gift with her and go, although not before he annoys the housekeeper by asking for a glass of water in a failed attempt to snoop.
He reports back to Yeon-jae and returns the letter. He didn’t want to risk it falling into the wrong hands by putting it inside the gift. Dong-jae asks if there’s an ill person in the house. He found unlabeled bottles in the recycling bin and passes over a ripped up medicine label from the trash.
Yeon-jae commends his dedication, and Dong-jae admits that he doesn’t often receive praise. Chang-joon will probably yell at him when they meet again for not completing the tasks he was supposed to, but now he can at least say he helped Yeon-jae.
On the verge of tears, Yeon-jae snaps that Chang-joon doesn’t have the right to get angry when he should’ve stayed and protected his juniors and the people he cared about. Dong-jae says he’s rooting for her and encourages her to show the naysayers what she’s made of. She smiles and says they’ll meet again for a meal. Dong-jae walks out self-satisfied.
Chief Choi meets with Yeo-jin to see if she knows Dong-jae and wonders why he’s interested in that old case. She wants Yeo-jin to meet with Kim Soo-hang, the ex-officer Dong-jae was hoping to contact. He’s been AWOL since his release, but Chief Choi will try to locate him.
She gives Yeo-jin contact info for Baek Joong-gi and asks her to find out why the prosecution is snooping around. Outside the door, Yeo-jin remembers Shi-mok asking her something about the Segok Station and the shower room. She starts to go back inside to tell Chief Choi but thinks better of it.
Since Joong-gi is taking some time off, she meets with a terrified young officer who was listed as a witness instead. She asks if Ki-hyun got along well with his team, particularly Soo-hang.
He tells her about the time one of the teammates “spilled” boiling water on Ki-hyun intentionally. When Ki-hyun had poured cold water over his burn, Joong-gi chided him for getting water on the floor and made him clean it up. The rest of the team watched silently. The witness later overheard Soo-hang telling Ki-hyun no one wanted him there.
Yeo-jin is incensed that his police colleagues bullied him and asks who was there when Ki-hyun died. Who found his body? The witness tries to dodge the question by stating Ki-hyun was severely depressed.
Yeo-jin reports back to Chief Choi that Ki-hyun was bullied and found dead in the station with no one present but those very bullies. Soo-hang was the one who found him. Chief Choi lets out a frustrated cry. “It was suicide, but it’s homicide,” Yeo-jin states.
That was outed pretty quickly. Now that Chief Choi knows, what will the cops do? They can’t directly involve themselves or it will look like corruption, but I can’t imagine the higher ups will just let this be. Whether or not the officers outright murdered Ki-hyun, like Yeo-jin said, they still played a part in his death. Their treatment of him was vile, particularly since the team leader actively encouraged it. This case will rile up the public anyway you slice it, and it paints the police in a horrible light.
And since Shi-mok mentioned the case to Yeo-jin, she knows the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office is connected with Dong-jae’s “reinvestigation.” She seems to be keeping quiet about Shi-mok’s involvement for now. Hopefully, she’ll talk to him about it directly. Knowing her, she will. Tae-ha will not be happy if their involvement is discovered, and I don’t want Shi-mok to get in trouble with his superiors again. He needs a break.
I still don’t quite know what to think of Tae-ha, but I do know that I severely dislike Sa-hyun. That dude is annoying. He’s immature, arrogant, and a hothead. If he hadn’t been so aggressive in the Police-Prosecution Council meeting, things might not have turned out so poorly. Not that they would’ve gotten anything done, but they might’ve all left feeling less hostile. It wasn’t even a meeting, really – more a professional brawl. Sa-hyun and Chief Choi are clearly the hotheads of their groups, and I don’t see how they’ll make any progress with them constantly going at it. Maybe Tae-ha will be able to reign in Sa-hyun, although he seems a little lenient with his friend.
The Hanjo storyline is converging more with our main plot, and I expect it will continue to get more tangled as we go. From what Dong-jae said, the former chief prosecutor who died under suspicious circumstances was advising Hanjo. I’m not sure exactly how the potential coverup of his death is related, but Yeon-jae’s comment to her assistant about Chief Choi’s transfer being connected suggests Dong-jae is once again onto something. I’ve got to hand it to him, he’s good at ferreting out information. Like with the medication evidence he found. I’m guessing Yoon-beom is sick, and Sung-jae is taking advantage of the situation to speak for him. Only Sung-jae and the housekeeper seem to have access to Yoon-beom, which is suspicious. And from what we saw of Yoon-beom last season, I can’t imagine him being content with someone else acting as his spokesperson.
Yeon-jae’s assistant’s palpable exasperation with Dong-jae cracked me up; he seems a little overly protective of his boss. Methinks he may be catching feelings. Then again, Dong-jae really does bring out the frustration in people. Although he’s clearly using Yeon-jae in his constant bid to level up, I do think Dong-jae was being sincere about wanting her to succeed. He did care about and respect Chang-joon, and although he may not be the most loyal of the bunch, I don’t think he’s cold enough to be entirely ungrateful. Now that he’s in some sort of alliance with Yeon-jae, who knows what trouble he’ll get into with all his sneaking.
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