Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 10
We focus on our lead prosecutor’s investigation into the suspicious death case our missing prosecutor was so interested in. So many things in this case don’t add up, yet there’s no solid evidence to prove anything was wrong. Even our lead starts to wonder if he’s grasping at straws, a notion his boss is more than happy to encourage.
Tae-ha thinks about Dong-jae and Shi-mok digging into the Kwang-soo case as he heads back to his car after meeting with who I’m assuming is Kwang-soo’s wife. Shi-mok is currently going through the slim case file with Dong-jae’s colleagues, but none of them are sure why Dong-jae personally visited the scene.
He chides them for not doing their due diligence and following up on the missing dashcam footage. An open and shut case is not an excuse to be sloppy. The prosecutor who trained under Dong-jae handled the case, and she apologizes for not being thorough. She takes full responsibility and even starts to defend Dong-jae, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Shi-mok.
Shi-mok is surprised to hear Dong-jae recently asked for a copy of the case file. The assistant explains that she copied two other files for him at the same time, one of which is in Shi-mok’s possession. The other is on the ex-chief.
They’re all flustered when Shi-mok asks why he’s only hearing about this now, and he doesn’t buy their excuse that they forgot. Dong-jae’s trainee slips out to make a call to the chief of the Namyangju Station traffic division. Well, that’s sketchy.
Meanwhile, Yeo-jin and Gun stop by Soo-hang’s little family restaurant and talk to his aunt. They casually strike up conversation, and she shares that the cooking smells don’t carry to nearby residences as they’re all separated. Yeo-jin looks at Gun meaningfully.
Swiping some keys on her way out, Yeo-jin uses going to the restroom as an excuse to snoop around. She notices a padlocked storage room out back and rushes in when she hears a sound from inside. In the restaurant, Soo-hang’s aunt realizes Yeo-jin took the wrong keys. She runs to find Yeo-jin with Gun trailing behind.
She panics that they’ve seen the storage room where it looks like she’s keeping meat. There are even rats in the room. Her conciliatory tone disappears when they insist on reporting her due to the unsanitary conditions, and she brags that she has a police officer in the family who has her back.
Outside, Yeo-jin recalls the last time she saw Dong-jae and remarks that she could think of him as just one of thousands who go missing every year if she didn’t know him. Gun feels bad for his children, noting that Dong-jae must miss them.
Yeo-jin is frustrated they’ve found nothing, but Gun encourages her optimistically. He jokes that too many people hate Dong-jae for him to die so soon.
Meanwhile, Dong-jae’s trainee catches up with Shi-mok in the hallway and says she wasn’t able to obtain information on the missing dashcam footage or Kwang-soo’s route that day – it’s been too long. She tells him which division at Namyangju Station is in charge of the case.
She shares that Dong-jae seemed to be affected by this case. He’d sadly observed that even someone as successful as Kwang-soo was stressed enough to have a heart attack. Dong-jae desperately wanted the promotion to chief but worried about the fact that he’d investigated by someone who was his junior.
Jung Min-ah (a name!) starts peppering Shi-mok with questions about whether the Kwang-soo case is related to Dong-jae’s disappearance. Clearly irritated, Shi-mok tells her he doesn’t know. He finds it odd that she was so quick to contact the police for the missing information since most prosecutors are hesitant to reveal their mistakes and lessen their credibility.
Shi-mok calls Tae-ha to ask about the third file. Did Dong-jae give him anything else besides the Segok case file? Tae-ha denies it, and we see he’s at the scene of Dong-jae’s kidnapping.
In the car, Shi-mok recalls Dong-jae telling him that he gave Tae-ha two reports. Shi-mok visits the spot where Kwang-soo died and reenacts the scene, examining the tire tracks he leaves when stopping at various points.
Shi-mok goes to Namyangju Station to discuss the case with the chief. He questions why Kwang-soo would simply stop in the middle of the road rather than pulling over when he started to feel pain. If the pain had come on suddenly, he would’ve slammed on his brakes and left tire tracks. But he didn’t.
The division chief claims Kwang-soo called emergency services himself, so he was likely in control enough not to slam on the brakes. Plus, he was probably tipsy from the drinks and didn’t think to pull over.
Shi-mok finds it odd that he didn’t need to use his GPS, despite the fact that he lived and worked in Seoul. He then brings up Dong-jae and pulls out phone records that show he spoke with the chief shortly before his disappearance. What did they talk about?
The chief starts acting shifty and says they probably talked about the accident that happened the previous day. He denies they discussed the Kwang-soo case, but Shi-mok points out that Dong-jae visited the scene of the accident right after they spoke.
Before he leaves, Shi-mok comments on the small amount of alcohol in Kwang-soo’s system. You’d think he’d have managed to put his hazard lights on. The chief lets out a sigh once Shi-mok exits the room.
Tae-ha and Chief Choi discuss the situation, worried about how much Shi-mok knows. Isn’t that chief the one who told Dong-jae that Chief Choi closed the investigation too quickly? Chief Choi isn’t concerned about that. Based on his questions, she thinks it may be worse having Shi-mok on the case than Dong-jae.
Tae-ha wants to remove Shi-mok from the investigation, but Chief Choi thinks that would look too suspicious. Tae-ha’s beyond caring at this point. Yeo-jin pops in to let Chief Choi know someone is there from Dong-jae’s office. After she leaves, Chief Choi tells Tae-ha that she thinks she can get “those kids” off the case. (I doubt it’ll be that easy to deter those two.)
Shi-mok goes to see Kwang-soo’s wife who looks hesitant to talk to him. She tells him there’s a guest inside and won’t let him in. She claims she doesn’t know why her husband was in Namyangju that day and is quick to deny that her husband was in the area often. She describes his drinking as “normal.” He didn’t talk about work much at home, so she can’t offer help there.
She’s aware of Dong-jae’s disappearance and hopes he’s okay. They met when he came to her husband’s funeral, but she says she can’t remember much of what they talked about. She’s confused when Shi-mok asks if her husband used a GPS regularly.
Was he stressed working at the law firm? More so than at the prosecution, she asserts. Inside, a baby begins to cry. She suggests he visit her husband’s law firm and speak to his old secretary; she’ll have things to tell him.
So that’s just what he does. The secretary reveals that Kwang-soo took the day off the day he went to Namyangju, so she’s not sure why he was there either. It was the only day off he ever took from the law firm.
Shi-mok asks about the missing dashcam footage. She explains that clients sometimes ask lawyers to turn off the dashcam if they’re sensitive to being filmed. The secretary starts fidgeting nervously when Shi-mok asks how the law firm reacted to his death. She says everyone was sad.
Shi-mok wonders why Kwang-soo would need to take the day off to meet a client. She looks away self-consciously. Isn’t that why she wanted to meet him outside the office today?
There are rumors the client was a VIP. Kwang-soo was known not to drink, even when their CEO asked him. Shi-mok confirms that not even the CEO knew who Kwang-soo was meeting. Was he stealing a client? The secretary thinks it’s a possibility; his family was going through financial troubles.
In the car, Shi-mok ruminates over what he’s learned and wonders if he’s trying too hard to link it all to Dong-jae. All the oddities he’s noticed could amount to nothing. Is it a coincidence that Chief Choi was the chief of the precinct in charge of the case? He’s worried that he’s wasting time when Dong-jae has already been missing for five days.
The second he gets back to the office, Tae-ha pretends to be nonchalant in asking what he’s found so far. Shi-mok explains that he hasn’t found a concrete link between the Kwang-soo case and Dong-jae’s disappearance. When Tae-ha realizes he hasn’t found any clues yet, he wonders if he overestimated Shi-mok’s abilities.
He uses this is an opportunity to get Shi-mok off the trail and tells him the most important thing is to see if Dong-jae’s disappearance is linked to the cops. If not, the case is a normal missing persons case, and they can take their hands off it. He wants Shi-mok to keep looking into the Segok cops.
Tae-ha pretends to forget Kwang-soo’s name and says he’ll look into that himself. He starts asking questions about who he should talk to, trying to get a sense of how much Shi-mok knows. Shi-mok seems to sense something is off.
Shi-mok gets a text from his mom asking if he’s in Seoul. (Dude, you still haven’t told your mom?!) She chides him for letting her find out through the news and tells him to come home when he has time.
Shi-mok passes over Dong-jae’s files to Tae-ha since he said he’d look into the Kwang-soo case. He asks again if Dong-jae told him anything else when they first met, which Tae-ha angrily denies. Shi-mok recalls Tae-ha yelling at Dong-jae that they weren’t at a casino and assumed that they weren’t talking about the Segok case.
Tae-ha suddenly pretends to remember and halfheartedly looks through his file cabinet. Shi-mok walks over and plucks the file right out. Ha. He tells Tae-ha it’s a file on the ex-chief, and Tae-ha acts like he’s just realizing it’s related to the Segok case.
Tae-ha accuses Dong-jae of spending all his time trying to gain his favor rather than investigating. On his way out, Shi-mok grabs the files Tae-ha declares irrelevant and comments that Tae-ha doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to investigate.
Meanwhile, the ex-chief storms into the National Police Agency where he meets privately with Yeo-jin and Chief Choi. There’s a long stretch of silence as Chief Choi glares, the animosity between them apparent. Chief Choi accuses him of faking overtime hours, which he responds to with snide remarks.
Yeo-jin begins recording and asks where he was the night of Dong-jae’s kidnapping. He screams at her, and Chief Choi screams right back, startling him and Yeo-jin both. Yeo-jin brings out photos of the ex-chief leaving his office while he was supposedly working overtime and coming back later that night.
The three hours he was missing from the precinct provided ample time for him to make it to the crime scene and back. A phone call he made earlier to Yongsan complaining about the frequent theft near his sister’s shop means he’s familiar enough with the area to know there’s no CCTV in the alley.
Yeo-jin continues that the evidence of his faking overtime means he gave a false alibi for the night of Dong-jae’s kidnapping. The ex-chief finally admits that he met Dong-jae a few days before he went missing. Yes, he was angry at Dong-jae for bringing up the Segok case, but that doesn’t mean he’d kill him to protect his nephew.
As he fights with Chief Choi, Yeo-jin receives a text and goes out to check the comments under the video. Someone claims to have been a witness. Over at the Supreme Office, Sa-hyun reads over the comment with Shi-mok. The witness claims to have seen a man putting a body in the trunk of a car at around 10:00 PM the night of the kidnapping. He even saw the culprit’s face.
After securing the cooperation of the video platform and obtaining a warrant from the Supreme Office, the Yongsan team rushes to the Internet café where the comment was posted. They discover the commenter’s identity from his payment information: Jeon Ki-hyuk.
He has a criminal record for gambling and scamming, so they’re worried he’ll run if they approach him directly. Maknae Soon-chang is forced to call, pretending to have a delivery, but it doesn’t work. They decide to stake out his place instead.
Elsewhere, Team Leader Choi is with forensics who are analyzing the photo. The object Shi-mok noticed turns out to be a watch, and the writing he thought he saw is a pattern on its face. Team Leader Choi pulls up his sleeve to reveal an identical watch on his wrist. He sends Yeo-jin a text revealing that what they thought was a ceiling light was actually a watch – a police watch. Oh, snap.
Yeo-jin gets the text while she’s on the phone updating Shi-mok on the witness. She says she’ll call him back and hangs up to call Team Leader Choi. While Director Shin yells at Chief Choi to summon the Segok cops, Shi-mok makes his way to the National Police Agency.
Even though we were heavily focused on Shi-mok’s investigation into the Kwang-soo case this hour, we did get a few important discoveries about Dong-jae’s disappearance. Thanks to Shi-mok’s keen eyesight, forensics discovered that police watch in the photo. While that obviously doesn’t look good for the Segok cops and the ex-chief, it doesn’t necessarily mean the culprit is police – the watch could belong to someone other than the culprit. Of course, it doesn’t help that the ex-chief did meet with Dong-jae shortly before he disappeared. But if we factor in the Kwang-soo case, things aren’t looking so good for Chief Choi either. Then we have the sudden appearance of this witness who claims to have seen the culprit’s face. Fingers crossed he’s reliable and we’ll actually start getting somewhere.
It’s now been five days since Dong-jae’s went missing, which does not bode well for his safety. Whoever took him has done too good of a job covering their tracks. How are there so many suspicious people around Dong-jae? Even his office colleagues were acting shifty when Shi-mok was questioning them. And I’m not sure if Dong-jae was having an affair with Min-ah, but it does seem like she has feelings for him at the very least. I’m with Shi-mok that it’s a bit suspect that she called the traffic division chief so quickly after Shi-mok brought up the problems with the case, although it could just signify how worried she is about Dong-jae. I swear, besides Yeo-jin and Shi-mok, everyone in this drama comes off as suspicious at some point or another. So while I’m keeping my eye on Min-ah, she’s in the mildly suspicious category for now.
I loved watching Shi-mok throwing everyone into a panic by just asking questions and being his unrelenting self. There are so many oddities and red flags about the Kwang-soo case, but it’s just possible to explain everything away. Kwang-soo’s wife seemed so nervous talking to Shi-mok, but the fact that she sent him to her husband’s old secretary makes me think she’s not wholly against him digging into this. I wonder if she knows what went down and has made some sort of deal with Tae-ha and the others, or if she’s been kept in the dark. The weird discrepancy over Kwang-soo’s drinking behavior does make me suspicious of his wife who said he drank a normal amount, while his secretary and colleagues say he was known for never drinking. It’s all such a mess, and I understand why Shi-mok started questioning if he was on the wrong track. Thankfully, Tae-ha gets jittery pretty easily, and it seemed to clue Shi-mok in to the fact that he wanted him off the case. I doubt Shi-mok will let it go so easily now. Although this case may turn out not to have anything to do with Dong-jae’s disappearance, the conspiracy surrounding it is obviously far-reaching, and I’m looking forward to Shi-mok blowing it open.
I know Shi-mok isn’t close to his mom, but I can’t believe he still hadn’t told her he was in Seoul. From what we saw in season one, their relationship is awkward and somewhat strained. It looks like that hasn’t changed in the intervening years. Come to think of it, we really know very little about our leads’ personal lives or backgrounds. I don’t think there’s even been a single mention of Yeo-jin’s family. Not that it’s particularly necessary to our story, but it would be nice to learn a little bit more about them outside of work. You know, in between detailing turf wars between the prosecution and police, all the different cases we’ve got going on, and searching for Dong-jae.
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