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Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 11

Things start moving fast once a witness enters the picture and purports to be able to identify the culprit. Everyone is desperate for a break in the case, but his accusations put one organization in particular in a bind. And while the welcome testimony of the eyewitness may help catch the culprit, that’s only the first step in finding our missing prosecutor.

 
EPISODE 11

While Gun tracks down the witness, the ex-chief waits in an empty conference room at the National Police Agency. He’s soon joined by the Segok cops, including his nephew Soo-hang. They wait for Soon-chang to bring in Joong-gi.

Soon-chang manages to find him, but when he sees him walking down the street with a crowbar, he decides to follow rather than approach. As if the crowbar wasn’t suspicious enough, Joong-gi then buys a huge canister of bleach. Soon-chang follows him through winding back streets and alleys to an old motel. Joong-gi only stays in the room a couple of minutes before leaving again.

Once he’s gone, Soon-chang uses a fire extinguisher to knock off the door handle and cautiously enters, taser drawn. He sees what looks like a person underneath a blanket on the floor and pulls back the covers with trepidation. It’s an elderly woman.

Soon-chang senses someone behind him and turns as Joong-gi grabs him. They begin fighting, and right when Soon-chang has the upper hand, the elderly woman grabs him. He’s knocked off balance, and his taser drops to the ground. The elderly woman picks it up and hands it to Joong-gi who raises it and advances on Soon-chang.

At the National Police Agency, an angry Director Shin enters the conference room with Chief Choi and Yeo-jin in tow. Director Shin begins interrogating the suspects, questioning their alibis. It’s at this point that Shi-mok walks in and quietly sits at the table.

Team Leader Choi awkwardly notes that their alibis have been verified as Director Shin continues aggressively questioning them. Director Shin asks after the cop who immigrated, and Team Leader Choi responds that he hasn’t been back in the country. Director Shin is clearly on the warpath and doesn’t much appreciate Team Leader Choi’s rationality.

He moves on to the ex-chief, asking where he hid Dong-jae. He’s the only one without an alibi, and his temper is well-known. The ex-chief quietly answers that he was at Gold Sauna. Shi-mok cuts in to ask when they found out about the faked overtime and the shop. Yeo-jin explains that they discovered both at the same time and already checked the shop.

Shi-mok remarks that they had enough time to contact the prosecution had they wanted to and guesses there’s more that they’re not telling him. Yeo-jin looks down uncomfortably. Abruptly, the ex-chief bangs the table and frustration. (I thought he seemed way too calm.)

He starts shouting about how he didn’t do anything wrong and deserved that extra overtime pay. Soo-hang tries to calm him down, but the ex-chief yells at him to shut up. Director Shin loses it and screams that he should be ashamed of himself.

Amid the shouting, Soon-chang bursts into the room with Joong-gi, and we flash back to their altercation. After pointing the taser at Soon-chang, Joong-gi had flipped it around and returned it to him. It turns out the elderly woman is the mother of Dae-sung, the Segok cop in prison.

Back then, Dae-sung had been desperate for money for his mother’s meds. He’d promised insurance would cover it once the new law was passed. Joong-gi explains that he’d encouraged his team to hold out until then; they’d only take bribes until insurance covers the medication. Ah, so that’s how the whole team got involved.

Director Shin observes they didn’t stop, though. They insist Joong-gi followed through and stopped, even though the rest of them continued taking the bribes. One of the cops claims Joong-gi didn’t even know they were still doing it.

Yeo-jin thinks he must’ve known his team was leaking information to the bar owners, and he admits he did. Joong-gi dejectedly notes that he couldn’t stop them, but Soo-hang comfortingly says that he tried. Regardless, Joong-gi feels guilty for getting them involved in the first place. Yeo-jin asks for his alibi the night of Dong-jae’s disappearance, and he insists he was home like his wife testified.

Soo-hang reaches into his pocket, sending the cops panicking as one rushes to grab him. But he only pulls out a piece of paper that looks like a long, handwritten statement. Chief Choi glances over it and angrily exclaims he must think they’re stupid. Does he think producing Ki-hyun’s suicide note now would make them believe him? Oooh.

He claims to have found it on Ki-hyun’s desk, but Chief Choi finds it hard to believe he’d keep it all this time when it says they all took bribes and bullied him. Soo-hang says he was scared that Ki-hyun would haunt him if he got rid of it.

His uncle yells at him for hiding this piece of evidence and getting him into trouble. (Could this dude be any more self-centered? Ugh.) Shi-mok walks over to read the note as Soo-hang continues that if they didn’t kill Ki-hyun, that means they didn’t have a reason to harm Dong-jae. The police allow Shi-mok to take the note to be verified by the prosecution.

Everyone freezes when Team Leader Choi announces that the witness has arrived. Shi-mok doesn’t miss how Joong-gi seems to already know about the witness while the rest of the Segok cops were unaware. The cop suspects are lined up, and Ki-hyuk is asked from the other side of the glass if the culprit is present. Everyone turns wide eyes to him as he proclaims, “Yes.”

We can’t see clearly who he’s pointing to, but soon after, they release everyone but Joong-gi who is arrested on the spot. He struggles and denies it as they read him his rights. On the other side of the glass, Shi-mok asks Ki-hyuk for more details of what he saw, but he says everything is already in the comment he posted.

Shi-mok asks how far it was from where he stood on the staircase to the vehicle, but Ki-hyuk is unsure. Yeo-jin questions how good his eyesight is, and Chief Choi wonders if he could really see the culprit’s face clearly in the dark. Ki-hyuk responds that he has good eyesight, and the man wasn’t that far away.

They worry that the news about a cop being the suspect influenced Ki-hyuk to pick the uniformed Joong-gi out of the lineup. Ki-hyuk insists that’s not the case. When Shi-mok requests his friend’s address, the one Ki-hyuk claims he was visiting that night, Ki-hyuk gets frustrated. He feels he’s being treated unfairly as a witness who has done nothing wrong.

They’re not getting anywhere with Joong-gi who seems exasperated and baffled. If he’s acting, he’s doing a pretty convincing job of playing the wrongfully accused. As Director Shin asks where Dong-jae is, Soon-chang thinks back to when Joong-gi returned his taser.

Soon-chang shares that the flooring in the motel room didn’t match the flooring in the photo. The room was also too small to hide Dong-jae in. Team Leader Choi frustratedly observes that he only searched that one room, so how can he know if Dong-jae is being held in the motel?

Joong-gi insists he had no motive to hurt Dong-jae and looks at each of the cops in turn. At the sight of their unsympathetic faces, he bows his head and blinks back tears.

On the other side of the glass, Yeo-jin guesses that Ki-hyuk was at an illegal gambling house that night. That explains his reluctance to give his “friend’s” address. Yeo-jin warns that this is worse than his scamming charges, and he accuses them of using this to try to get out of having to pay him the reward money.

Chief Choi asks in disbelief if he’s there for the money. He unashamedly admits it and says he deserves the money after all the nightmares he’s had since that night. Shi-mok interjects that if he wants the money, he needs to give up the address.

Director Shin sends officers to the motel and Joong-gi’s house. Joong-gi begs for them to let him call his wife, but Director Shin refuses. In the hall, the Yongsan team muses that Yeo-jin is the one who will suffer the most for this turn of events. It was her face on TV during that briefing, not Director Shin’s.

Once they’re alone, Yeo-jin shows Shi-mok the analyzed picture with the watch clearly visible and claims there’s nothing else they’re hiding. Shi-mok calls to update Tae-ha who then immediately calls a reporter to break the news.

While the police search room to room at the motel, Yeo-jin investigates the house from which Ki-hyuk witnessed the culprit. She hops over a wall and about has a heart attack to see Shi-mok already there, crouched down and clutching a broken base as a weapon. Ha.

Yeo-jin watches from the staircase while Shi-mok goes across the street to stand in the same spot the culprit did. She can see him clearly, but it’s too far away to make out the license plate of his car which is parked next to him. That fits with what Ki-hyuk told him.

Shi-mok had caught up with him as he was leaving and asked if he remembered the culprit’s shoes. Ki-hyuk claimed they were dress shoes. He remembered the car being a dark color, but he said he couldn’t make out the license plate in the dark, especially since the culprit was standing in front of it.

Yeo-jin informs Shi-mok that the photo wasn’t taken at Joong-gi’s house – the floors were different. The officers didn’t find anything at the motel either. She says they’ll need another warrant for Ki-hyuk’s phone history, but Shi-mok is one step ahead and already requested it. Before she heads back to talk to Joong-gi again, she assures Shi-mok she isn’t hiding anything.

Shi-mok joins the police at Joong-gi’s house and takes a brief look around. After checking behind a family photo on the wall, he leaves. Chief Prosecutor Kang calls as he’s glancing through the recycling. He asks if they’ve found Dong-jae yet and shares that there’s already news articles about the arrest. Once he hangs up, Shi-mok intently watches officers take photos of Joong-gi’s black car.

By the next day, it’s all over the news. Tae-ha informs the team that the minister of justice and the minister of security called the prosecutor general in for a meeting. There’s a small chance the police could get investigative authority even in this situation. He tells Sa-hyun and Shi-mok to prepare resignation letters.

Sa-hyun agrees – Shi-mok stays silent – but thinks it’s an unlikely outcome. On the off chance, Tae-ha says all the prosecution offices will go on strike and shut down. That should curb any talk of investigative authority for a long time.

Tae-ha announces that the case is being handed over to the central office and tells Shi-mok to send the files over. It’s time for Tae-ha’s radio interview, so they leave his office and listen to the broadcast. He confirms on air that the witness did pick out a police officer as the culprit, but they have yet to verify his guilt.

The interviewer brings up the seriousness of an active police officer being the culprit. As he listens, Shi-mok pulls up an article, featuring a picture of Yeo-jin, on the police’s insistence that it wasn’t one of their own. Tae-ha states that the police shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of a single cop.

They move on to investigative authority, and Tae-ha diplomatically implies that were the police able to close cases on their own, perhaps corruption in cases such as this would not be revealed. We see Team Leader Choi and Yeo-jin sitting in an interrogation room with Joong-gi, all three looking exhausted.

Tae-ha looks mighty pleased with himself as he hangs up the phone. Despite the fact that Dong-jae still hasn’t been found, Tae-ha heads out for a celebratory lunch with the deputy prosecutor general. Guess we know where their priorities lie.

Meanwhile, Joong-gi gets an unexpected visitor in jail: Dong-jae’s wife. In a quiet, halting voice, she asks where her husband is. He can’t meet her eyes as she says their children are still so young. He finally glances up to tell her that it wasn’t him.

She begs for him to return her husband, even if that means his body. He sighs as she continues pleading and crying. Desperation in his eyes, Joong-gi argues that he truly didn’t do it. He has a kid too. She doesn’t believe him and promises not to tell the police if he tells her where Dong-jae is. Joong-gi just keeps repeating that it wasn’t him.

Yeo-jin is waiting outside the room and sits with Dong-jae’s wife for a minute. Thinking of Joong-gi’s denials, Dong-jae’s wife asks if they’re sure he’s the culprit. Yeo-jin dodges the question and tells her they’ll call with any news. Dong-jae’s wife recalls her husband telling her culprits always lie and deny the accusations.

Yeo-jin assures her they’ll keep investigating and questioning him, even if Joong-gi continues to deny the charges. Later, as Yeo-jin watches the video footage of Dong-jae’s wife meeting with Joong-gi, she gets a call about Ki-hyuk’s phone history. His GPS shows he was on the scene on March 26, the day of the kidnapping.

Yeo-jin gets a call from Shi-mok and stares at her phone as it rings. Next thing we know, she’s with Ki-hyuk at the gambling house. Shi-mok parks the car where Ki-hyuk indicates from the stairway, and Yeo-jin asks if that’s the car he saw. He says it is.

She asks about the license plate, but he maintains he couldn’t make it out. He could only see black letters on white. Yeo-jin reasons that, if he saw the car pulling out, the taillights would illuminate the plate. Ki-hyuk wouldn’t have seen since he accidently kicked something and got scared. He shows her how he crouched down to hide.

She repeats that she’ll put down that he only saw black letters on a white background. Oooh, wait, wasn’t Joong-gi’s license plate background green? Yeo-jin indicates to Shi-mok, and he rips the white license plate sticker off to reveal the green license plate underneath. Ah-ha.

Ki-hyuk nervously backs down the stairs as he tries to make excuses for how he missed that easy-to-notice color. He scoffs that this was a setup and is surrounded by officers once he exits the yard. They ask for his phone, telling him they have a warrant.

The officers hold him when he tries to run, and Yeo-jin swipes his phone. She points out the app he has that lets you change your GPS location. He wasn’t really there on the 26th, was he? Ki-hyuk claims he’s always used that app.

When Shi-mok asks why he went this far, Ki-hyuk stills. “What do you mean why?” he asks derisively, staring defiantly at Shi-mok.

 
COMMENTS

It’s one step forward, two steps back with this case. Ki-hyuk was shady from the start, but I really hoped he actually saw something. So now the question is if he lied for money or if he’s involved in some other way. He seems angry, but I can’t tell if that’s just his general disposition or if he’s got a grudge or something. Just what we needed, another suspicious name to add to the list in case we hadn’t met our duplicitous character quota.

All this back-and-forth over the culprit is going to blow up big time. They accuse a cop, publicly exonerate him, accuse that same cop again, and now have to release him again. What a mess. It’s going to make everyone look incompetent to the public, and neither the police nor prosecution is going to be happy about that. I’m worried for Shi-mok and Yeo-jin who are probably going to take the fall. Tae-ha already told Shi-mok and Sa-hyun to prepare resignation letters, so I’m guessing this means they’re going to be using them. Since Yeo-jin served as the face of the police in this investigation, I can’t imagine she’ll come away unscathed.

If Yeo-jin and Shi-mok are both booted off the case, they’d better team up to run their own covert operation. I don’t trust anyone else at this point. The prosecution was already celebrating when they hadn’t even gotten a confession or hard evidence, much less found Dong-jae. I don’t think anyone really believes he’s still alive after all this time, and the organizations are more worried about their power struggles and optics than Dong-jae anyway.

We haven’t heard a peep from Hanjo lately, which makes me concerned. There’s no way they’re not being sketchy behind the scenes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they planted Ki-hyuk to divert attention from the Kwang-soo case to the police. The Segok cops are all good targets, but now things appear less straightforward with them. Joong-gi’s denial and bewilderment seems real, and from what we saw in his earlier interrogations by Dong-jae and Shi-mok, his acting wasn’t that great. Then, we have Soo-hang who has either turned over a new leaf or puts on a mean repentant act. Unlike his uncle, he hasn’t lost his temper once or been anything but cooperative. If that suicide note he produced truly is Ki-hyun’s, that certainly swings things in the Segok cops’ favor. It’d be pretty risky to hand over a fake handwritten note since they can probably analyze the handwriting at the very least.

Also, I found it odd that the ex-chief is only now giving his (probably) real alibi. You’d think it’d be worth outing yourself for swindling overtime pay rather than having people think you kidnapped and possibly murdered someone. Then again, he doesn’t exactly strike me as a thinker … he seems more of a punch-things-until-they-work kind of guy. But despite his general douchiness, it didn’t sound like he was pulling this alibi out of thin air, so he might be in the clear. I hadn’t realized that the police had actively kept the prosecution out of the loop on the ex-chief, but Yeo-jin clearly felt bad about hiding the info from Shi-mok. Even though he didn’t say anything to her about it, she kept telling him unprompted that she’s not keeping things from him. Hopefully, that means she won’t hide anything from him in the future. We need both of them informed if we’re going to get anywhere. It’s frustrating to watch the organizations that are supposed to be working together to solve this case scheming and hiding things instead. They’d obviously get further if they would just do their jobs and trust each other, but I don’t imagine that’s likely to happen any time soon.

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"It’s one step forward, two steps back with this case"... I wouldn't have expressed it better. Things keep being suffocating and exhausting, even YeoJin long hair feels like a burden.

I'm terribly worried about Dong Jae, because at this point it is more likable he's dead. All the people investigating it knows and besides there's been no advance lately. Even if he's alive, why keep him and not ask for a ransom (whether it's money or a political action). I just don't understand it.

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My dislike for Tae-ha becomes bigger and bigger every episode. He's hidding something and he's trying to stop the only one competent prosecutor. The fact he released to the journalists it was a cop without waiting was so stupid, wait for the end of the investigation!

Yeo-Jin was really feeling guilty that they didn't say about the Police watch on the picture to the prosecution. She doesn't like to lie to Shi-Mok or hidding things from him.

I miss the bonding part from the season 1 with the special team investigating the prosecution. It gave some fresh air to the serious plot. This season is kinda more exhausting to watch.

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Yeo-jin might feel guilty about withholding vital information from Shi-Mok but it didn't stop her from doing it. Even if she says she is not withholding anymore information, who is to say she won't in the future, if it suit the police department. I see this as a possible crack in Shi-mok's open trust in Yeo-jin. Has she already shown where her loyalty lies?

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I don't think Shi-Mok is not trusting her anymore. He knows there is a battle between the Police and the Prosecution. He knows she won't keep very important informations like she was against all her team when they beat the young guy to make him confess to a crime he did not commit. She was the one who took the pictures from his bruises and gave them to the lawyer, even if it was against the interests of the investigation.

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yea the kyung wan thing came to my mind and him saying before "wow seems like what someone in the field would say." more like he knows her well like she knows him. he didn't even think it was a betrayal bc he knows she has responsibilities as well.

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he said, "i don't not trust the police" then she says that was all she was hiding. him saying, "you weren't like that before" re: timing reminds us of how he asked her to wait for park kyung wan but she refused to let it go. the thing is they really DO tell each other everything they are just realizing their changes, for better or for worse. part of it is her trust in her colleagues (misguided) but she does trust him and he her. and if anyone can understand it, he will.

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I don't think she withheld the information on purpose, but I think she knew what that her accidentally overlooking contacting the prosecution could be perceived that way and sew a seed of distrust. I think this showed how messy having both the prosecution and police investigate this concurrently but not together. And the prosecution doesn't seem to have the same requirement to relay their findings to the police.

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It's hard to say this without mentioning what is going to happen in Episode 12, but my suggestion to you is: hold your anger on Tae-ha. It seems the backstory between him and the Chief Choi may have been an unexpected pair who used to deal with Kwang-soo's dead case with something related Hanjo. They may even be more than just working partners ...

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Episode 12 didn't change my mind about him. It was kinda worse.

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Is Tae Ha hiding something? Hell yeah! [SPOILER REDACTED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT]

Choi Bit may be power starved, but she comes across as someone who would do anything- but not hurt others- to get her way. So her association with Tae Ha sort of makes me want to be optimistic about him.

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or! they just both suck. which they do (i think.) and they can suck and be dumb together i love watching them be idiots

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they were in a rship i swear to satan

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this ep was fun mostly because yongsan team + yeojin+ shimok working together!! but then ep 12 is frustrating..my poor dongjae

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I wish someone would just rescue the poor guy while the war for investigative rights continue😭😭
The poor guy just wants to work in the Supreme Office and wear nice shoes

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we only have 2 weeks left and there's still no answer to everything i'm amazed...i wonder how he survived 5 days without being fed :(

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With the appearance of the witness and the arrest of Baek Joong-ki, I thought Woo Tae-ha could have done a lot more damage to the cops' case for having more investigative rights. It seems pretty natural for them to announce that a cop had been arrested, just as it was reasonable for them to tell the media earlier that they were looking into Dong-jae's shady past for possible suspects. So I was surprised that Woo was so restrained during the radio interview, especially after he'd instructed his team to prepare resignation letters.

Even after eps11-12, I still harbour a stubborn suspicion that the unreliable witness had been planted by Woo and Choi!

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My suspect is ex-Chief Samchan who wanted to plant a definite suspect to keep the attention off himself.

As for Woo's radio interview, he's a sly political operator. He can't be seen to be leveraging the situation for the prosecution's advantage. Instead he slides the information out there knowing the media and the public will do that for him later.

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That radio interview surprised me as well, for someone who we easily get a reaction from, he was quite composed than I expected.

That 'why?' from the fake witness feels like he was asked by someone higher probably from the prosecutor side.

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i thought the same too..it feels like the witness was asked by woo taeha

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WTH was shown at the crime scene smoking last episode. He used a green lighter. This episode CB also has a similar lighter. Don’t know if it’s the same. There is a sign of again green light in the next episode. If we go back to E3, both WTH and KSH didn’t have a lighter and they were talking about borrowing one from the restaurant. Hope we will have an answer for the connection of all the lighters!!! 😬

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Woah I didn't notice the smoking thing at all. Even if the lighters aren't the same, etc, it's still a nice little parallel, reflecting their connection and also maybe how troubled they are right now.

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Ohh, what an observation! I wish I wasn’t watching three other dramas at thesame time. Perhaps I’ll remember all these details😞

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YEA and the "you don't drink?" hmmm

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wow choi bit smoking was trending on top 5 korea trend list just because it's cool lol never thought it could be a hint

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It's so interesting that the show has turned the tables round so that we now see the dodgy police crew helping out their colleague who can't afford the medical bills for his mother. We see that they are paid so poorly that they cannot afford something that should be basic, and yet they risk their lives on a daily basis. In that sort of situation, they are ripe for corruption, as has happened in this instance.

This extends what I noticed last week - the emphasis on the price that both prosecutors and police pay to do their jobs and the toll it takes on their personal lives, and their vulnerability to corruption for the sake of their families. FOS has skillfully flipped the narrative so that the "bad" guys suddenly look heroic in the face of institutional ingratitude. The suicide note added to their exoneration.

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What if - and this is a comment I was going to save till next episode's recap but will slide it in here - what if there's no big overarching conspiracy here to uncover? What if it's all just petty little acts by self-interested individuals and when it all comes together, the picture will be of nothing?

I mean, Dong-jae was still kidnapped. That happened for sure. But what if everything else is just a mirage?

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Exactly that's what I'm thinking too. I wrote in an earlier comment, what if there are no murders at all? That the drownings were drownings, that the suicide was a suicide (after 11, we know), that the heart attack was a heart attack. In fact we see maneuvering for advantage in a fog of misdirection, and attempts by the police and prosecution to frame each other. What's happened to DJ may be something else/someone else.

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That's what I've been thinking too - that season 2 is more about how people respond to these incidents than about the incidents themselves. I mean, the incidents are important too, e.g. the Segok case built from poor pay and working conditions via bullying and corruption to an outright tragedy. But to Dong-jae (and Woo and Choi), Segok was just an opportunity to score points. In a way it's poetic justice that DJ, in getting kidnapped, has himself created an opportunity for Shi-mok and Yeo-jin to dig deeper into the morass around Woo, Choi and Lee Yeon-jae at Hanjo.

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i think his kidnapping may be. and i think all the rest of the cases have more to do with structure (STILL wodnering why he was searching for accidents and all these collisions came up. people keep asking for railings or tougher restrictions on that beach ....why hasnt it happened.) the car accident means something though but murder wouldnt have to be one just what he was doing (tax evasion?) before death

that isn't to say that this is futile. each thing uncovers another thing but if the things are just things then it means nothing in the grand scheme of things but this is why reform is useless.

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so the safety lines become a metaphor for more oversight?

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i definitely think so. like the drowning case wasn't technically anything but it was bc they keep having drownings. he saw the line cut but kept going bc that's what most of us would do bc as average citizens, not looking over public places or recreational spaces, we don't think much of it. would a non-burned line have been affective for drunk college students? possibly not but the deterrents are there for a reason. and they said in the beginning "why don't they make it harder to get into."

this summer an american actress from this popular show drowned in this lake in california. drowning is really common in general but in this lake specifically it's high. people have asked for more warnings and better infrastructure to stop people from going far down into the lake as adult bodies can't really survive the pulls but nothing has happened.

(if we were to go deeper there's societal levels for why people can't swim like how often black people drown in the US...)

but companies, governments, whatever cut corners all the time to not "waste" money. an accident could just be an accident, anything can happen, but what happens when the rate is just too high? same with what happened to director yoon's kid. it wasnt a murder plot it was a shirking of responsibility and dodging spending money.

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not exactly oversight actually just like actual CARE for the human being and not exhaustion over doing things for the public and thinking it's an excuse. the workers keep having to put up those ropes and it exhausts them and the work they do only matters when something fucks up. why isn't there better technology? why dont they have more help? how much do they get paid? like why do we pay taxes lmao ergo the huge problems w tax evasions in the show e t c also considering hanjo engineering assets....ANYWAYS there's #theories

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Exactly. I mean, all these cases seemed to be connected only because Dong-jae researched those before his kidnapping. But then again, he most probably did that to search dirt from the police anyway.

So, at the end, everything is probably just amount to nothing. No conspiracy. No big baddie. Every suspicion everyone ever has about any of these cases are only motivated by their needs to uncover potential weapon against the other organization. Every attempt to connect everything in a sensible pattern is just a big waste of time. And if that really happened, I worry about the emotional impact that would hit both Shi-mok and Yeo-jin by the end of this drama. For their (and our) sake, I hope at least Dong-jae can be rescued alive.

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This may be it, "Every suspicion everyone ever has about any of these cases are only motivated by their needs to uncover potential weapon against the other organization."

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I think this is the direction we are heading - that we not getting a big reveal like FoS1 but instead seeing systemic failures and political grandstanding at the expense of individual sufferings.

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Even Si Mok had said it to himself one time. What if he was too concerned about connecting the two cases that he’s missing the real picture?

This show has taught me not to think too much outside the box. What I need to know might just be staring at me right in the face whilst I dig through irrelevant trash.

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That might be this show's biggest twist this season...turns out the answer was a lot simpler than we thought. We wanted to convince ourselves that the blame can be placed on a big bad but instead it was all around us

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Like a fog even...

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I'm starting to think that too - that it's all little acts that help reveal the brokenness of the system. Even Shi-mok had been floating the idea that some of the things he is investigating may not have anything to do with Dong-jae's disappearance and that he may be barking up the wrong tree.

It's a bit like how in the first council meeting, they brought up all these little cases to demonstrate their points. What if we're in a future council meeting now and everything we're seeing is what's being shared as examples of how each side screwed up or did well? The season has felt more like a debate than a mystery.

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I'm leaning toward this too. I honestly believe Dong Jae's kidnapping has more to do with his wife than anything else happening. I think the writer(brilliantly by the way) is showing all the little corruptions that happen everyday. All the little small things that add up to big thing. Shi Mok realizing he was using his connections, the officers taking bribes, etc etc. She(the writer) is showing that part of the problem isn't the individual but how the system is set up.

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Aside from everything else in this episode, it was a perfect example of how the police and prosecution are supposed to work together. This is how the system was designed to work. The police have a suspect and someone is arrested. The prosecution step in and do an investigation, double checking the work and providing a layer of oversight. Both groups work cooperatively. An innocent man does not get railroaded into an unfair conviction. Justice is done.
That's one tick in the column for Team Status Quo.

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I've said exactly the opposite below. LOL. I can see your point. It's a checks and balances/fail safe system, and it relies on the integrity and smarts of people like SM and YJ. At the same time, the higher ups in the police and prosecution don't have finding Dong-jae as a priority, Their investigative rights are more important. They are constantly pulling against each other. As I write this, it makes me wonder if that constant tension is actually designed to be in the system - a productive tension.

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We're not at odds though. The writer constantly uses Shi-mok and Yeo-jin to showcase how the system is supposed to work. But then the text is littered with hundreds of examples where the letter of the law is used to defeat its spirit or where personal interest, status, relationships and even laziness means the system doesn't function as it should. The police are right that the prosecution's powers mean they're ripe for corruption. But Shi-mok is also right that if police got investigative powers that corruption would simply shift its focus. It would be a depressing conclusion if we had to concede that constant antagonism, white-anting, undermining and conflict made the system work rather than any ethical oversight or common goal of justice.

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It is depressing if that is where they end up and the status quo prevails. The frustrations of the police are evident and as far as I'm concerned, justified. The prosecution have always been notoriously subject to political influence. But my comment about productive tension was made with The Deep Rooted Tree in mind when Jeong Do-jeon designed the new regime to be founded in debate. And we all know how that turned out.

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i agree and well justification for the cops is really within pride not any particular objective care for humans lol.

but i think that "supposed to work" doesn't mean it is achieved or even can be achieved. they tried to coerce baek into a confession even when he said he didn't do it (despite prior knowledge of other crimes but considering they are all criminals like...) and frankly the possibility of him not knowing (the witness) was dubious. they had to clear the case swiftly as the director said and he didn't have time for it. particularly because they said the police had nothing to do with the kidnapping but they still might.

however, i don't think the tension could be productive. this is obviously heavily influenced by my beliefs but there is no solution to a problem that doesn't want ot solve itself. the issue is that the system is interpreted as power for each person and turning into a communal gain (but only for the people in these settings.)

the reforms made during that era with jeong do jeon. he was anti-buddhist and a heavy proponent of confucianism which aided to feudalism. neither are interested in human rights as said in the meetings and neither will be.

also in this situation there is no justice, right? because baek feels the utter humiliation from being in a cell and being yelled at for hours (irony) and his life potentially being ruined (though that's what you "get")

justice can't be given retroactively. people have died, sdj isn't found, and baek was wrongfully accused and that has consequences. i read this as a constant answer to a problem that cannot be solved. hyj, hsm and even go are individuals not entities. they solve their issues on their own and presumably this is how the things are "supposed" to work but they don't work on a macro level bc it's about pride and efficiency. no one is interested in the truth and frankly the idea of that isn't what they want (when go said "this is just about pride" it really is. not change.)

it was designed on subjugation and superiority and continues to exhibit that and not designed for the public which is why it's constantly about winning faux-favor instead of solutions. a monkey could figure this out but said monkeys dont WANT to and never did

(a reply to @leetennant as well)

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It’s not just that the focus of corruption shifts but also that it multiplies as there are a lot more police officers than prosecutors. In addition it is harder to monitor, identify and stop because policing a police force is much harder than policing the prosecution who are a little more in the public eye.

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Also, all of this happened within a 48 hour span. It seemed like longer, but Shi Mok mentioned in one of these episodes that they got the bloody tie picture 2 days prior. So it was also swiftly done.

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"it’s frustrating to watch the organizations that are supposed to be working together to solve this case scheming and hiding things instead" I think this is the point. The struggle for power in the fog...

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‘Everyone who chooses to remain silent is an accomplice’

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facts!

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Whether officer Song's death was a homicide or suicide, those police officers were partly responsible. Team leader Baek knew about the bully but he stayed silent because he didn't want to expose the bribery of his team and himself. What started as a seemingly harmless crime for a good cause had snowballed into more crime, bully, cover up and a death. Is it justified to do the wrong thing for the good reason? I need to rewatch the scene when Shi-.mok quoted Crime and Punishment.

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Good point. Their bullying is inexcusable.

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And their bullying was almost unrelated to the corruption. They were bullying him because a member of their team was asked to get revenge on him by his bullyboy Uncle.

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But I think the bullying was also an attempt to get him to leave before he got hold of some concrete evidence and reported them for taking bribes.

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I hope it is not the end of Segok case. We still don't have an explanation for the scratches on Baek hand. Shi-mok must have found something from visiting the crime scene.

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def not cos the dude has to get out of prison and the suicide note they wouldnt leave us hanging!!!!

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SMDH this is what happens when ur fuckin job is a fraternity

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for sureeee

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Despite the reveal on the Segok case I still think that someone within them, especially the one that's still in prison, played a part (aside from the bullying) in the ex-detective's death/suicide.

I know that FoS is not your typical episodic drama but it still continues to amaze me that a kidnapping of one of it's main casts has taken this long and we still have no idea who's the real culprit. Though that's what happened with S1 too, except this time, the suspect lists just keeps getting longer.

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Now everyone is completely embroiled in a mad grasp of investigative rights while riding on Dong-jae's kidnapping case, only to find out that they are most probably only being played. I'm still not sure what to feel about the lack of ransom demand and the fact that the disrepancies in all the cases Dong-jae snooped about could be easily and logically explained. Is it really pure coincidence that his kidnapping case managed to disrupt so many carefully laid out cases and relationships??

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It does seem like a huge coincidence. Then again, DJ was combing the archives for dodgy cop activity to begin with. Segok is starting to look more and more like a stand-alone case, and any connection it has with the main characters is via DJ's bringing the case to their attention. DJ alighting on the Park Gwang-soo case also makes sense, because it occurred within the jurisdiction of Uijeongbu (I think) and involved someone that DJ was specifically looking to sling mud at, i.e. Choi Bit. What really does seem like a coincidence is that the Park Gwang-soo case is the very case that is hanging over Choi, Woo and Lee Yeon-jae.

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yes about his (SDJ's) district. also yes re: choi bit but then he found out who gwang su was working for and subsequently found the through line between cb and wth (esp if you think about the files withheld from hsm) also hence him talking 2 lyj's secretary on the phone...

like you said it is standalone in the sense of search. the segok case is another thing about coverup bc ostensibly the intelligence bureau knows EVERYTHING about what goes on so why would they not know about this? (choi bit says they never received the intelligence but that's probably almost impossible and just means she didn't know about it.) so sdj submits a report about the reasons why the possible murder could have happened which is then tited to his office they also mention why the hell no one said anything about this particular case in the office because they were asked to stop investigating? iirc.

so in a way they are disconnected (i think) but they are both things looked into by sdj, both things that are detrimental to the police and prosecution, and another time people have been silenced.

i'm assuming tae ha kept that file about the complaint because he didn't want choi bit to be involved (if she could have known about the connection between segok and dungdocheon then she may be blamed.) the possible murder is "just"" bc of the police station and no outside forces but internal issues.

not that sdj's concerns are particularly valiant since he is also trying to save his career. he just stumbled upon something he shouldn't have. so atp anyone's guess. he looked into stuff he shouldn't have to get dirt and now it's like a "why the hell is any of this happening" so it isnt really coincidence so much as he found things suspicious and ways to hurt others which is where the drama starts....

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the gwang su case isn't explicable really? i don't think so i would like to know your take. but the other ones are which is the point (cover up.)

in ep 10 they mention the rate of disappearances and missing cases. the lack of ransom is part of the worry but that adds another layer to it. as people have said, if sdj is never found then answers won't need to be found but then again like lyj said "then he [lcj] wouldn't have left everything to him [hsm]"

why would it be a coincidence when this is what people want? although it seems if it is to do with the young kid, which it could be and they have an understanding of his lack of presence, everything could be obfuscated.

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"Things start moving fast"? Never fear. Things will start unmoving again almost immediately. Sorry to say FoS2 is a gab fest to nowhere. Nobody is more disappointed than I am.

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Actually “a gabfest to nowhere” is a pretty fair description of FoS2 so far. The writer seems to be just detailing what’s happening around the two power struggles (police vs prosecution, Lee Yeon-jae vs her brother), rather than working towards resolving any of the narrative arcs. And much of what’s happening is indeed just various characters talking about what’s happening. It reminds me a bit of Netflix’s Mindhunter, where the cases don’t really go anywhere, and mainly function as the context for a lot of discussions about how exactly serial killers should be studied.

I happen to like that kind of thing, but I can’t deny that 12 whole episodes of it might be pretty off-putting. One thing’s for sure, though: no one can accuse the writer of repeating herself or playing it safe.

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interestingly enough the reason why things moved along was bc of lcj and lcj's ghost is all over s2 so totally diff executions but still technically (in~ my~ opinion~) we were in the dark in s1. i am super curious for the ending but i never felt like i'm not learning anything or things arent being revealed in s2, but i also know it had to find its own pace.

plus, again, the summary of the show has been and was always "the fight btwn the two groups" which really didnt sound appealing to me but they made it so. my big question is besides SDJ, who obviously is not the focus rather his absence is, what people would like? what answers and in what way?

the mechanics of the power struggle and what is happening are also actions themselves. the intentions are so different from s1 and s2 but also so so so similar i find it almost impressive. in a way i am then confused at certain critique. i don't really have complaints for this season like i don't have many for s1 but they exist at two different times.

i also really like that it shows this cycle if people refuse to change but that it doesn't have to be cyclical. this things are not inevitable and events shouldn't happen (killing the pawn broker and using his money to invest in himself since it's for a better cause)

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I was having a discussion with someone about a documentary about a social issue and it was interesting that she was a little disappointed that the documentary didn't present any sort of argument as to what actions should be taken. It was really just a witnessing of the events and circumstances, and I was satisfied with that.

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There were a few times that I feel frustrated with the plot. But once I calmed down, I realised I were supposed to feel that way. We were warned from the beginning that the journey would be foggy. We have characters expressing their frustration on why they couldn't make any progress on the case. We have actors in the interview saying that this season would have different feel. The writer, director and actors knew some of their fans would be disappointed but it is the world and the story they want to tell realistically. At times, it's feel like we are going in circle but it's closing in. I think it is better to binge S2, waiting every week raises up our impatience. I reckon you should continue after it ends. Even with S1, I appreciated it more on my rewatch.

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I'm so sad that we're at the home-stretch now with only 4 more episodes to go. What I enjoy the most this season, so far, is its relationship to the first season. It's not a standalone show and although I can see some possible critique of this structure, I appreciate it nonetheless. The first season is the case study of the overarching theme of season 2 - to show us what happened because of the corruption, the system that fosters such corruption, and how that system comes to be in the first place. I also freaking love the character development from the first to the second season. In season 1, both Shi-mok and Yeo-jin were wary but no less optimistic in their power to enact change in their world. Now, we can see the weight of their aspirations and the hurdles they encounter reflect in their body language and physical appearances. Throughout all of it though, their relationship dynamics remain the same. They work together, help each other, keep each other in check (i.e Shi-mok's comment to Yeo-jin in ep 12: "You were never one to push things for later."). I love that they are equal in every sense of the word. Their partnership puts a lot of others I've seen in k-dramaland (and elsewhere) to shame. Sigh, I might rewatch both seasons after season 2 ends.

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100000000% i love that people point out the relevance of s1. that's what makes s2 so worth it and rewarding and makes me probably like it more. they created the world and took it extremely seriously as it should be and had whole lives grow in between.

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at this point no one can convince me (or tell me and also i think i'm right so) that this isn't on purpose. the incompetency is inherent and the trust is never going to be mended. nor should it be bc that's truth to power and real life. their decisions are terrible bc that's exactly how they work. at this point i am highly doubtful of a conclusion that will put either organizations in a more favorable light because it wouldn't be true to the world OR the real world. and i'm glad. they may have trust in a system in some way but obviously not to an extent that reform can be achieved bc of these organizations problems...

i think the point is: reform can't be achieved if they're fighting but really...reform can't be achieved. one day i hope a drama can hammer this kind of point home. ANYWAY, the opening of this episode was SO good. i loved the editing and the entrances of them and the urgency.

the show has moments where the editing is so impressive and makes the moments tight as fuck. as an editor i appreciate it because it's an insanely necessary part of story and its' what makes things come together and puts everything in context. the camera work as well. i adored the timing of the scene and it was honestly gut-wrenching because the acting, camerawork, and even the fucking flashbacks (which i do not usually like) were amplified. i was nervous JUST from their entrances and i felt the dread.

then the whole board room scene was well done in all ways.

i have to give it to that big dude the chief cos his acting is over the top but in a good way for me. his anger is so bombastic and loud but the way he fills the frame and the anger he can bring out in people. the director, choi bit, and hyj. really good casting decision.

thats why i always say "cast and crew" about the shows bc they work really hard. kdramas have come a long fucking way in terms of more than just a basic cable camera and the sterility. i am not a huge fan of multicam (but it has to be done for TV) and they have gotten better with their editing department. someone else said they prefer the editing from s1 but i have to disagree bc this has its own maturity (i am gonna rewatch s2 from ep 3 today tho.)

that was such a digression my b.

re:hiding so hyj told choi bit that they can't hide anything this time in a previous ep and choi bit was like "i would never pull that BS" and they obviously did. but part of it is like...hsm is always gonna figure it out and one way or another she will tell him so.

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also these people are really intent on letting us know the type of intellectual and physical labor they do for the job and not getting what they are owed as public servants. it's ironic, gross, and sad.

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Thanks for pointing this put. When I rewatch, I'll look at the editing. You've got the 👀👀👀 for it.

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I wanted to give Director Shin the middle finger for being such a jerk to Team Leader Choi. Director Shin didn't even get all the information down before yanking everyone into that room to question them about the same things they've already been questioned about.

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He was playing catch up.

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This episode showed how things can progress when the cops and prosecutors work together. ShiMok and YeoJin worked together and shared intel and they were able to find out that the witness lied.
I loved the scene when the police are restraining the witness and ask for his phone and he says they need a warrant and Gun responds “here’s the man who’s got the authorization” pointing to ShiMok. It was a great call back to the argument about the ability to request warrants and who has them and what it means for the cops when dealing with suspects. Here was an instance where the prosecutor was working with them and they could confidently go after the suspect instead of being impeded in their efforts.
Great way to illustrate the importance of trust and cooperation between the police and prosecution.
DongJae’s wife seems genuinely upset and seems to care about him but I after the conversation between SooChan and Gun I was focusing on her nails!
YeoJin being defensive with ShiMok about not telling him details of the case before was both sad and cute. They have such a lovely relationship. While the slowish pace of the investigation into the disappearance of DongJae is nerve-wracking/frustrating the drama does a great job of portraying emotions and relationships.

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