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Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 13

They may officially be off the case, but that doesn’t mean our prosecutor-cop duo is giving up. Some new bits of information surface which may be relevant to the disappearance, but like everything else about this case, it’s unclear. As our duo quietly investigates, their bosses work behind the scenes to keep their own secrets buried and figure out their next moves.

 
EPISODE 13

We pick up where we left off with Tae-ha questioning Yeon-jae about Kwang-soo. Tae-ha observes that Tae-ha was desperate enough to drink that day. Kwang-soo had invited Tae-ha to their meeting at the vacation home. When the Hanjo lawsuit was brought up, Tae-ha left, and Kwang-soo chased after him.

Chief Choi asks if Yeon-jae got an update after the situation. Yeon-jae knew based on the time of his death that Kwang-soo hadn’t accomplished the task. She didn’t want to draw attention, so she let it go. But now Dong-jae is missing.

Yeon-jae smiles derisively when Tae-ha claims putting Shi-mok in charge let him maintain control over the situation and stay in the loop. She’s angry to hear Shi-mok has already talked to Kwang-soo’s wife, but Tae-ha assures her Shi-mok was only in charge of Dong-jae’s case and has since been removed from the investigation.

Cue Shi-mok with Yeo-jin at Yongsan, hoping for an update on Dong-jae’s case. He texts Chief Prosecutor Kang to ask if he can stop by his office. But Chief Prosecutor Kang is preoccupied with examining the evidence of fraud Joo-seon has put in front of him.

Chief Prosecutor Kang astutely asks if Joo-seon’s client Yeon-jae gave this document to him. Does he work for her? Chief Prosecutor Kang finds the timing too coincidental – Yeon-jae’s financial statement is handed to him right when one of Hanjo’s subsidiaries is being audited. “You dislike Sung-jae, don’t you?” Joo-seon asks.

In the meeting with Yeon-jae, Tae-ha claims that Chief Choi was involved after the fact. Chief Choi says Tae-ha called her the day after Kwang-soo’s death to ask how the investigation was going, so she instructed her subordinates to handle the case quietly.

Chief Choi asks how Yeon-jae knew of her. Had Kwang-soo not died, she’d never have even known about his group that was secretly helping with Hanjo’s lawsuit. Why have Joo-seon approach her now?

Yeon-jae heard about her from Dong-jae and assumed Chief Choi was at the vacation home too. We see a flashback of Chief Choi arriving at said vacation home. Yeon-jae continues that Dong-jae didn’t give her any details. Now he’s missing, and she’d much rather be dealing with him than Shi-mok since he’d have “understood” things.

Chief Choi is still thinking about when she arrived at the vacation home. She’d paid special attention to a car’s dashcam. Now she asks Yeon-jae if she sent someone to the vacation home to keep an eye on things that day. Tae-ha points out that Yeon-jae can extricate herself from the situation, but if they were seen, it’d be a problem.

Yeon-jae claims ignorance, stating that meeting was personally set up by Kwang-soo and had nothing to do with Hanjo. In response to Chief Choi’s prodding, she asserts that no one from Hanjo was at the vacation home.

Chief Choi and Tae-ha try to reassure Yeon-jae that Shi-mok’s investigation isn’t a big deal. Besides, Shi-mok won’t keep investigating since he concluded the case isn’t related to Dong-jae’s disappearance. Yeon-jae compliments them on their hard work and dismisses them.

In the elevator, Chief Choi and Tae-ha wonder if Yeon-jae called them there for confirmation or to dig for information. Tae-ha found her wording strange in saying that’d she’d have rather dealt with Dong-jae. Director Park was clearly listening in and reports this back to Yeon-jae.

Yeon-jae finds Tae-ha’s wording suspicious when he claimed she’d be in a difficult position if Dong-jae were around. They turn on the monitors to check on Joo-seon as he tries to convince Chief Prosecutor Kang that Sung-jae’s enemies passed this document to him.

Joo-seon says he’s scared to look into it, but Chief Prosecutor Kang is in the perfect position. He changes tactics and reminds Chief Prosecutor Kang that Chang-joon gave his life to obtain evidence against Sung-jae, yet he still got away with it. Now is their chance.

Chief Prosecutor Kang wants more evidence, but Joo-seon says he’ll have to agree first. Chief Prosecutor Kang looks torn, and he leaves without committing to anything. From the other room, an exhausted Yeon-jae remarks that it’s hard and wonders how her husband handled all this alone.

Meanwhile, as he drives, Tae-ha recalls when he saw Chief Choi at the vacation home. In voiceover, he asks why she called, and she replies that she didn’t want him to be left in the road for a long time.

At the office, Shi-mok runs into Sa-hyun and asks if he knows what’s happening with Ki-hyuk. Sa-hyun can’t believe he did that for the money, but they can’t arrest him. What about tracking the culprit’s phone? Shi-mok explains it was a burner, and the text was sent near the subway.

Sa-hyun remarks that the police watch in the photo means the culprit could still be a cop. As Sa-hyun leaves, Shi-mok remembers that Sa-hyun was at Seongnam when Ki-hyuk was charged in 2017. He sneaks into Sa-hyun’s office and sees a photo of him sitting on the floor with an elderly woman. The flooring matches the culprit’s photo. Whaaat.

Shi-mok hears someone outside and sees a shadow under the door. He and Sa-hyun open the door at the same time. Sa-hyun tells him off for snooping in his office and asks if he’s on some power trip. Shi-mok just goes with it and apologizes.

Sa-hyun tells him to get out and checks his office for anything out of place. He remembers Shi-mok looking at something on his desk earlier, and his eyes land on the photo. He storms out and asks Shi-mok why he was in his and not Tae-ha’s office. Unfazed, Shi-mok asks if he was in the criminal division at Seongnam, and an angry (and confused) Sa-hyun replies he was.

At the National Police Agency, Yeo-jin shares with Chief Choi that she heard from Shi-mok that Ki-hyuk was released. And Ki-hyun’s suicide note is authentic. Chief Choi mentions Tae-ha calling her, which shocks Yeo-jin. Chief Choi testily asks why she can’t have a prosecutor friend too. “It’s illicit for me but romantic for you?” Heh.

Yeo-jin is speechless when Chief Choi speculates that she has a one-sided crush on Shi-mok. Why else would she give a grown man a ride after he gets a stomachache? Ha. Yeo-jin plans to date an artist, thank you very much. Pfft.

Chief Choi cautions that Shi-mok is still a prosecutor. Yeo-jin asks if this all seems too orchestrated, and Chief Choi warns her that they’ll be in trouble if they suspect the prosecution and dig into the witness. Their best strategy is to pretend nothing is wrong but prepare to bring the witness in when it’s advantageous.

After a moment of hesitation, Yeo-jin says she wants to continue working on Dong-jae’s case. Chief Choi shoots her down, asking if this is a means to prove herself so she can return to field work. Yeo-jin swears she only wants to catch the culprit. Outside, Yeo-jin pouts which I’m guessing means the answer was still no.

Meanwhile, Chief Prosecutor Kang shares what he knows with his deputy chief who remarks that Hanjo can be indicted for breaking multiple laws, embezzlement, and destruction of evidence. Chief Prosecutor Kang sighs that they’ll hand over more evidence if he reaches out to Yeon-jae.

His colleague excitedly notes that they can take Sung-jae down with this. Chief Prosecutor Kang is worried about what they’ll want in exchange – they’re not just going to hand everything over. His colleague believes Yeon-jae could use this to gain more power and oust her brother. One of them will be ousted either way, so it won’t make much difference if Chief Prosecutor Kang gets involved.

Apparently, he’s been convinced because Chief Prosecutor Kang calls Joo-seon to say he’s in. At the office, Tae-ha and Sa-hyun watch a news report on the investigation into Hanjo Engineering. When Tae-ha indicates he’s sent Shi-mok to check into it, he notes Sa-hyun’s stark change in attitude toward Shi-mok.

Outside the Eastern Office, Shi-mok spots Joo-seon looking on with a smug grin as the deputy chief gives a statement to the press. Inside, Chief Prosecutor Kang hastily stashes a file when Shi-mok walks in. Shi-mok guesses that they’re able to really take Sung-jae down this time.

Chief Prosecutor Kang asks what Shi-mok wanted to talk to him about before and seems disturbed to hear that Dong-jae was looking into Kwang-soo’s case. He gets up and paces around, failing to sound casual when he asks what that case has to do with anything.

Shi-mok remarks on the oddities of the case, and when he brings up the drinking discrepancy, Chief Prosecutor Kang notes that whoever said Kwang-soo drank didn’t know him well. Hmm. He’s shocked Shi-mok is aware of Kwang-soo’s financial troubles since those who knew agreed to keep quiet about Kwang-soo’s brother’s business failing.

After Shi-mok pushes him, Chief Prosecutor Kang admits he miiight’ve said some things to a lawyer (Joo-seon) about it. But he claims not to know who Kwang-soo’s VIP client was. Shi-mok asks for the lawyer’s number.

Chief Prosecutor Kang hesitates, but since it’s possibly linked to Dong-jae’s disappearance, he gives up Joo-seon. Shi-mok immediately pieces things together and surmises Joo-seon is the source for the current Hanjo case and that Yeon-jae is behind the leak.

Shi-mok next meets with Kwang-soo’s former secretary who confirms that Joo-seon told her about Kwang-soo’s financial troubles and pretended to be close to him. When Shi-mok suggests Joo-seon stole one of their clients, she confidently asserts they’ve never lost a client. She denies that Hanjo is a client, although they’d love to have them.

She surprises Shi-mok by divulging she met with Joo-seon only a few days before she met with Shi-mok previously; he’d assumed it was shortly after her boss’s death. Once she leaves, Shi-mok wonders if Joo-seon is Kwang-soo’s replacement at Hanjo. Is he looking into Kwang-soo’s death because he’s afraid for himself?

He wonders why Hanjo chose Kwang-soo and arranged to meet in Namyangju when they certainly have covert meeting spots in Seoul? Shi-mok muses that the reason companies like Hanjo seek out former judges and the like is due to their connections and influence.

Could Dong-jae’s kidnapping be related to something he found out, like that a murder was disguised as a heart attack, for instance? What if Kwang-soo introduced Hanjo to a lawyer to help with their lawsuit and that person is behind all this?

Suddenly, Shi-mok thinks of Chief Prosecutor Kang and his vendetta against Hanjo, picturing him as the legal aid introduced to Hanjo by Kwang-soo. He calls Min-ha and learns that there aren’t many secret places to meet in Namyangju except vacation homes.

Min-ha wants to meet – she has something to say about Dong-jae’s case – so she comes to Shi-mok’s office that night once everyone has gone home. She explains that Dong-jae was working on a junior high school assault case, and the kids that were involved just assaulted a noraebang owner. They hit him on the head with a fire extinguisher and locked him in a storage closet. Jeez.

They did the same with their classmate: hit him on the head and locked him in a bathroom. She shows him some photos of the injuries and group photos of the kids. Min-ha knows Dong-jae was hit from behind and locked up somewhere, so she checked the kids’ locations that day. They were at Itaewon Station which is a ten-minute walk from the scene. The times roughly add up.

Shi-mok wonders how they would’ve met that day, although Dong-jae’s GPS did show he was in Itaewon three hours prior to going missing. He has Min-ha look through Dong-jae’s call list for the kids’ numbers, but they’re not there.

He guesses that the current prosecutor in charge of Dong-jae’s case was dismissive of her suspicions about the kids. Why else would she come to see him? Shi-mok says he must not have taken that philosophy of law class with the professor who quoted Dostoevsky.

After Min-ha comments that the professor must’ve been using the same quotes for years, seeing as Shi-mok knew them too, Shi-mok asks her age. She says she’s 28. Before she goes, he asks for copies of the kids’ group photos and asks if Dong-jae talked about the Tongyeong drowning case. He didn’t, but she’ll ask around.

The following day, Shi-mok has lunch with Yeo-jin at the National Police Agency and shows her the photo of the kids. The bullies are smiling with their arms around their victim like they’re all friends. Shi-mok notes that there’s sometimes a hierarchy between male students, so Yeo-jin asks if he sees that in the photo of the college students from the Tongyeong case.

He didn’t at first, but this photo puts it in a new light. They look at the photos side by side, and it does seem feasible. Although Hoo-jung (the survivor) claims Dong-jae called twice to ask him about Chief Choi, Shi-mok points out that it doesn’t make sense for Dong-jae to call back days later to ask the same thing.

Shi-mok isn’t pegging Hoo-jung as a suspect just yet, but he chides himself for not noticing the anomaly sooner. What if Dong-jae, who’d been dealing with school violence cases, noticed something off in the Tongyeong students’ picture?

Yeo-jin speculates that, if that were the reason for Dong-jae’s second phone call, Hoo-jung would’ve been startled. She doesn’t find it odd that Dong-jae didn’t mention this case to his office since he didn’t usually share things with them, but Shi-mok remarks he wouldn’t thought he’d tell Min-ha since they seem close.

Yeo-jin notices his expression and asks if he finds Min-ha suspicious. Shi-mok comments that she’s only a year apart in age from Eun-soo. Oooh. He can’t help thinking of her when he sees Min-ha, about how she’d be living were she alive. It makes him think living and dying are both simple things.

They go back to the issue at hand and discuss the Tongyeong students. They went to the same middle school but were separated after that. Hoo-jung lives far from the scene of Dong-jae’s disappearance. Yeo-jin wonders if he could’ve taken his former bullies to the beach and drowned them.

Shi-mok recalls Hoo-jung crying and looking shaken that night and states they could be wrong. Yeo-jin says they need to investigate anyway and scarfs down the rest of her lunch after noting the time. (Shi-mok is finally getting to eat! Ha.) Later, Yeo-jin calls Shi-mok from City Hall with a discovery: Hoo-jung used to live in the neighborhood where Dong-jae was abducted.

Yeo-jin pays the kid a visit, catching him as he pulls his car into the garage. He looks around nervously after she shows her badge and seeing she doesn’t have backup, invites her in. Don’t follow the sketchy kid alone!

He pulls down the garage door, but at the last moment, a foot prevents him from shutting it. Phew! Hoo-jung backs up as Shi-mok enters. He recognizes Shi-mok from the beach. In a flashback to that night, we see scratches on Hoo-jung’s hand, similar to the ones on Joong-gi’s.

In the present, the second Yeo-jin asks if he knows Dong-jae, Hoo-jung takes off. Shi-mok chases after him while Yeo-jin uses the keys Hoo-jung dropped to go inside and look for Dong-jae. She brings her arm up to her face, seemingly to ward off a bad smell. Meanwhile, Shi-mok pursues Hoo-jung through the streets.

 
COMMENTS

And now we’ve come full circle back to the Tongyeong case. We keep ping-ponging between cases, but I hadn’t even considered Hoo-jung as a suspect. Although it can feel like the investigation is moving at a glacial pace, I like how things are revealed in realistic, non-flashy ways. Layers are slowly peeled back, and the details unfold piece by piece. It’s a painstaking process of following breadcrumbs, but it seems more realistic than the constant epiphanies and convenient clues we get in most dramatized investigations.

Small details always come back in this drama. I’d forgotten about the school violence case and didn’t expect it to have any bearing going forward. But if Hoo-jung truly is involved in Dong-jae’s disappearance like he appears to be, that case could turn out to be the missing link. Kudos to the writer for being so detailed and reminding us that nothing in this drama is irrelevant.

So it’s also looking like Sa-hyun could’ve sent that photo as a means to take out the police. I don’t believe he had anything to do with Dong-jae’s disappearance – what would his motive be? – but between the way he’s still pushing for the culprit to be a cop and the flooring in the photo, I think it’s entirely possible he sent the photo. It would make more sense than the culprit sending it and not making any moves since. And his anger at finding Shi-mok in his office was a bit extreme. Sure, it’s fair to be upset your colleague was snooping, but he seemed like he was afraid Shi-mok was onto something. I’m guessing this is the end of his mentoring of Shi-mok.

I had a feeling Chief Prosecutor Kang was going to take the deal. He has such a vendetta against Hanjo, which is understandable, but it compromises him. He clearly wanted to take the deal from the start, but he had to convince himself it wasn’t ethically that bad to get involved in their power struggle. I’m sure it’s difficult to hold onto all of your principles when you’re surrounded by people who encourage you to do otherwise, but I hope he doesn’t let himself get dragged into the seedy side. Of course, that’s assuming he isn’t there already. I really hope Shi-mok’s possible scenario of Chief Prosecutor Kang being involved in the Kwang-soo case isn’t true.

We got some nice moments of bonding this episode. I was glad and kind of surprised to hear Shi-mok bring up Eun-soo to Yeo-jin. Seeing Min-ha working so hard, eagerly trying to help and prove herself did make me think of Eun-soo, and I’d wondered if that played any role in Dong-jae’s close mentorship of her. It hadn’t clicked that Shi-mok’s odd looks toward her might be because she reminded him of Eun-soo, although it probably should’ve. Min-ha attached herself to Dong-jae the way Eun-soo attached herself to Shi-mok, so it probably brought back memories.

Even though Chief Choi is sketchy, I also enjoyed the bonding between her and Yeo-jin. I love that Yeo-jin said she wants to date an artist; it’s just so fitting with all her doodling. That scene made me realize there hasn’t been much female bonding in this show. The higher echelons of both organizations are almost exclusively male, although we do have Chief Choi this season. I’m guessing it wasn’t easy for Chief Choi to get to her position. Not that it excuses her questionable sense of ethics, but the more we see of her, the more she seems to think what she’s doing is for the best. She’s ambitious for sure, but I don’t see her as someone acting entirely out of greed or selfishness. And we also have Yeon-jae in a position of power this season. I’m not sure if she’s more concerned with amassing power for herself or stripping it from her undeserving father and brother, but I don’t think her motive is entirely greed either. With all the scheming and maneuvering, no wonder everyone looks exhausted all the time.

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I honestly don't know what I'd do in Kang's situation and it's only one of the ways in which show does a brilliant job of canvassing how easy it is to get compromised. And what do you do when someone hands you evidence of a crime? Ignore it because of the larger political agenda or pursue it despite the larger political agenda? Either way, the decision to prosecute becomes a larger political issue. It's far greater than whether a crime occurred.

The way in which this show takes decisions like this and extends them out across everybody - even in some circumstances Shi-mok - is what it does best.

Other than that, this episode had some lovely little moments in it and it flew by. I'm just so sad it's about to wrap up.

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Kang's dilemma is brilliantly written, and I especially loved how his initial euphoria at having dealt with Lee Sung-jae slowly turned into doubt and regret under Shi-mok's probing.

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My feeling is that there is no choice, although timing is everything. If the law is broken then it must be prosecuted. It may be worth waiting though to see how it fits into the bigger picture. I like how we are now thinking about Kang and his role in what has happened.

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The way the drama does tension is unique, I was so tensed watching Chief Kang walk away from the evidence and kept silently repeating “get on the elevator”.
It was easy to see the justifications that Chief Kang and his subordinate could you to take the evidence from YeonJae. It was also a great call back to when ShiMok asked Chief Kang for a favor and realized he had used his connection. The question now for Chief Kang is what would he do when YeonJae comes to collect?

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For me, FoS 1 & 2 are the productions which should have been titled "50 Shades of Grey." I can imagine the discussion in the writer's room when embroiling the two lead characters in a bureaucratic dispute about investigative rights was first suggested, because that just screams "sexy", lol.

But I think it turned out to be a fantastic choice thematically. It's so easy to contrast stalwart heroes of great integrity and empathy with self-interested baddies but this show illustrates how even paragons of virtue find themselves having to compromise their straight honesty or defend self-interest or simply be at a loss as to the "right" thing to do.

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This episode was great in all accounts but terrible for my Changjae heart. For that single moment to tear me to shreds is remarkable, thank you Lee Sooyeon, I will simply never recover

I love however how everything had indeed converged to the very first case we saw occur. Devil in the details, indeed.

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I liked how the first case directed us to look at how the rich are able to use their status and buy connections to get away with breaking the rules (the couple who took down the rope), but it's now actually about bullying. Bullying is a terrible societal cancer and the effect of that bullying has led to what happened with Seo Dong-jae and has upended the police and prosecution. And current laws have been lax on controlling the bullying behavior of middle schoolers (i.e. the bully that Seo Dong-jae was questioning), leading them to carry that behavior into every stage of their lives and even into adulthood (i.e. the Tongyeong college students, that officer who was beat up while driving for a higher-up officer, Ki Hyun being transferred because reported the abuse, and Segok cops bullying Ki Hyun). Not to mention the terrible system of connections and deferring to seniors.

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The way the Tongyeong case and Segok case have turned out is genius. I want to see how writernim further contextualizes the Tongyeong case to fit into the larger themes.

As for the Segok case, Idk if I'm the only one still bothered by it or expecting something more? Like does the fact that what the Segok officers did was to save one of their colleague's mom excuse the fact that they DID bully one of their own? I think it's going to be ironic if the show doesn't comment on that, especially given the fact that it has condemned other instances of bullying, and it looking like the Tongyeong case is also such a case!

I love how the Segok case was used as a tool to critique various systems, but I think the fact that the officers DIDN'T kill Ki-hyun is the most unrealistic thing in this show so far, and them having his suicide note for years is the weakest link of all. (Although they kinda did kill him with their bullying).

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Who knows - there could still be more with the Segok case since Shi-mok went through the trouble of pretending to hang himself and had never let us know what he discovered! And what about the blood under Ki Hyun's fingernails? Though I do think having Ki Hyun kill himself made a lot of sense in that it was more cruel that he could see no recourse to the constant and unchecked harassment and bullying but to take his own life. It's that or take the lives of his bullies like Hoo-jung did.

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potentially, we failed to realize but bullying was the big theme of the season and it was in our face from the very beginning..

With the police station,
with seo's area of expertise,
even between prosecution and police (not sure if bullying but definitely power struggle)
those passerby comments on not to underestimate SM because he can't be "suppressed" or "lured" into a setup (aka senior - junior korean concept doesn't work with him)

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True, it might not be over yet. They way they closed the case by showing Chief Baek mourning over his decision to accept bribes doesn't feel final. And Chief Baek had scratches similar to what Hoo-jung had.

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While waiting for the Friday-Tuesday cycle of "Lie After Lie-FoS2-Record of Youth-Do You Like Brahms" to start over again the following week, I have been catching up on dramas I missed the first time around (my employer will be surprised to learn that I apparently do not have a job), including Lovers in Prague. I am amazed how well time has treated Yoon Se-Ah and how much she has grown as an actor. That exhausted despair caught so perfectly not only the complexity of plot but the three dimensionality of the supporting characters, past and present.

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Bullying is and has always been a topic that hits very close to home for me. I pretty much fast forwarded through the Segok case because what they said and did to the officer was very similar to what they did to me and I'm glad they raised awareness towards it

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I always thought HooJoon was sketchy at episode1. His reaction when his "friends" bodies were being pulled out was suspicious. But since the show didn't touch on it further aside from being a token case I didnt think much of it. It does make sense now and I appreciate the writer's attention to detail.

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Oh boy, bad smell in the locked garage! Does that mean Dong-jae is just over ripe or is he past tense? ;( Thank you Quirkycase for another great recap. Yikes, we are coming to the end of the story, I hope that's not true for Dong-jae.

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I just love writer-nim, she always lets us know that nothing is irrelevant. I had the feeling that the drowning case was more important than we thought. It was not about the rope, it was about the surviving student. ShiMok looking at him feeling it was odd, that he never listened to their voices, the way the camera fixed on the student hand, the way he didn’t want to talk about the case with the rich couple. It all led to our case. This is solid writing.

Also I love how the investigation runs slowly, because that’s what happens in real life. Police don’t solve cases in a day. It takes time to investigate and to make the connections to solve a crime. I just love how it’s been shown.

Regarding Chief Kang, I can totally understand his decision but I was shouting to the screen: don’t do it!!!!! I don’t want him to fall to that manipulation, but it will mean a shortcut that would help the prosecution.

My favourite moment (apart from YeoJin aeygo) was gorgeous YeonJae lying in the sofa asking herself how his husband could have done everything on his own. Poor Director Park...

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I was shouting don't do it too, lol. I was like it is clearly a set up sir, don't do it. Sometimes in life you can't see the castle for the walls, and alas you just happen upon a crumbling castle instead of magnificent opulence.

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I genuinely thought the purpose of the drowning case was to introduce the Prosecutor vs Police overarching storyline this season, but I’m honestly blown away with how it has all come back full circle because now I feel satisfied with how everything is connecting. I really loved the way Shi-mok figured it out connecting one case to the other. This writer is so detailed I love it

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When Min-ha appeared and Shi-mok had that certain look on her, I had two guesses. He thought she could be a suspect/played a part in DJ's appearance or that he reminded him of Eun-soo. But having that confirmed that he did think of Eun-soo, couldn't help but cry. Writer-nim's consistency in making me cry during ep13s. Thank goodness that Yeo-jin was there and listened to him. They were eating and talking too with no interruptions!

For Shi-mok and Chief Kang's relationship, I hope he's not directly involve with Park Gwang-soo's case. And looks like Sa-hyun is no longer on Team Shi-mok, which is not surprising at all.

The focus on Hoo-jung's thumb in the first episode and SM mentioning it during Captain Baek's questioning is coming back in full circle. I'm sure we'll be noticing more after this finishes and rewatch session starts.

Can't believe we're on the final week. T_T

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I am 100% sure Chief Kang did not involve in PGS case. I would lose faith in humanity if he did.
Rewatch is the only way to relieve our pain after it ends. I like Stranger even more on my rewatch. So much details and hidden messages.

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I cannot be that sure until the last episode airs.

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Me neither. But I desperately need Chief Kang NOT to be involved because that would me more than my heart could take. I've always trusted Chief Kang. I just hope writer-nim is not that cruel.

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When Shimok mentioned EunSoo... my heart tore up! It shows that he never forgot about her and thinks about her from time to time 😭😭

The parallels of SeoEunSoo and MinHa got me thinking about something I remember on the fanwall a few weeks ago. The parallels between the older and younger prosecutors/police. I think it was mentioned to be WooTaeHa and ShiMok, ChoiBit and YeoJin. But this episode got me thinking

YeoJin and Choi Bit
Shimok and Chief Prosecutor Kang
SeoDongJae and WooTaeHa/SaHyun

Anyone agree?

I love Prosecutor Kang and I was sad to see him make a deal with OhJuSeon knowing it was probably a setup from Hanjo but it’s hard to not take it when LeeSungJae had gone away with so much even after the LeeChangJoon information.

Such a masterful episode... it really made me chastise myself for thinking the previous episodes were too slow.

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I love every conversation between Chief Kang and Simok and often rewind their scenes. I have faith that the writer would never turn Chief Kang, one of the very few good prosecutors, to the dark side. I love that this season focuses more on the mentor mentee relationships lIke SM and Chief Kang, YJ and CB, SM and KSH. But i am bracing myself for a heartbreak :( I am afraid Yeo-jin will have to make a very difficult decision regarding her boss in the last two episodes.
Glad many beanies pushed through the slow first half. I had some moments of frustrations but I could tell the writer and the team have a clear vision of how the story should be told.

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I'm joining you as Chief Kang faithful believer

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Count me in as well! He's how I imagine an older Shi-mok would be, maybe the less blunt and more sensible version. And also he's the one chosen by Lee Chang-joon to support Shi-mok.

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Amazing that Dong-jae had been attacked not because of Segok, Park Gwang-soo or Hanjo, but because of Tongyeong, the very first case of Season 2. It's perfectly plausible too, cos the boys’ dynamic, DJ’s work with juveniles and his repeated phone calls to the boy have been either hinted at or explicitly mentioned over several episodes.

My attempt at piecing together the Park Gwang-soo case: Presumably it was Woo Tae-ha (not Kang Won-cheol, as pictured by Shi-mok) who had been driven to the Namyangju highway by Hanjo’s Director Park, then driven to the vacation home by Park Gwang-soo in the latter’s car. After Park died, Woo, stranded on a remote Hanjo-linked property with a dead man and no car of his own, had to ask Choi to drive over and get him out of that sticky situation. Perhaps Park and Woo had only been arguing about the Hanjo lawsuit, but it’s also possible that Park had evidence of Woo’s dodgy cryptocurrency dealings during his Fair Trade department stint, and was using it to blackmail him into helping Hanjo.

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Nice theory about the motives of the meeting between Woo and Park Gwang Soo. I also think it was WTH the one meeting him and not Chief Kang (this comes more from my willing to think that Chief Kang is "clean" in every possible way).

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Knowing this writer, I'll probably turn out to be dead wrong, haha. But yes I believe in Kang too! If he were already a Hanjo pawn, they wouldn't have needed to get him into a posh suite, wave the bait at him, drop Lee Chang-joon's name like crazy and even film the whole damn thing. Also, he seemed genuinely disturbed when Shi-mok made the link between Oh Joo-seon and Park Gwang-soo.

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The Tongyeong case always left me the feeling of an unsolved case but I had no idea it will turn like this.

The way they resolved this case is interesting, just some pictures from another case, not a big clue that peep out from nowhere.

Personaly, Mina always reminds me Eun-Soo, a young female prosecutor trying to find a place. Dong-Jae was bad with Eun-Soo, gave her really bad advices, etc. So I guess Mina is the second chance.

Prosecutor Kang and Sa-hyun were too happy to know it was a cop who sent the picture to have leverage. I won't be surprised if they orchestrated that.

Prosecutor Kang always looks so bad at doing his job. Chief Choi is sketchy too but at least she looks competent.

Why Joo-seon is everywhere? What is his goal?

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Personaly, Mina always reminds me Eun-Soo, a young female prosecutor trying to find a place. Dong-Jae was bad with Eun-Soo, gave her really bad advices, etc. So I guess Mina is the second chance.

I never really thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense since both were his hoobae. From what Min-ha said, it seemed like Dong-jae is taking extra good care of her. I guess what happened in season 1 left a big impact for him and really changed him for good. It's a shame that his attempt to be a good prosecutor is what brought him to his current predicament.

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Dong-jae was probably reminded of Eun-soo too when he was with Min-ha :( I remember back in Season 1 when Dong-jae and Eun-soo were sitting in the hospital together, Dong-jae revealed that he wanted things to go well for Eun-soo too, so no doubt her death affected him. That's probably why it seemed like he was taking good care of Min-ha

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Agreed on Min-ha as a second chance. Prosecutors treat their own kin protectively and to have the only daughter of their respected mentor killed sure is a big blow. Not to mention Dong-jae once choked Eun-soo as well in season 1.

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I still feel like there is more to Min-ha though! Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Her phone calls made her really suspicious to me

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I don't know, there are only 2 episodes left. Not everybody can be a villain. Maybe there was more than a professional relationship but otherwise...

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I did speculate before about how there is probably no conspiracy regarding Dong-jae's kidnapping. But knowing that it's true still hurts. Everyone (including us viewers) is barking at the wrong tree from the beginning. Out of all the important, high and mighty cases that we saw Dong-jae working on and snooping about, and turned out everything comes down to the teenage violence case that I always thought only served as an explanation of why Dong-jae seemed to change a bit in the last few years. Everything comes down to bullying case, and we were so sure it was all about power struggle and corporation takeover and grand conspiracy and whatnot. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the moment.

As for Shi-mok's perpetually odd reaction whenever he interacted with Jung Min-ha, now we finally got our answer to that. I used to think he suspected Min-ha a bit (especially after Dong-jae's wife insinuated that there's something going on in their marriage life). But apparently he was reminded of someone else from the painful past. His simple reminiscence of what Eun-soo might be up to had she not met that unfortunate fate was too sad. I suddenly miss her all over again.

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I also thought the suspected Min-ha, so when he said she recalled him of Eun-soo my heart was broken, and the way he talked to her about YeoJin has so sad... what could have been. Oh, this season needs a rewatch, all the little details...

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When I realized the connection between the tongyeong case and DJ's disappearance I started clapping. That was a clever piece of a work there. It also falls into an overall theme the writer has been hinting at. Initially I thought it was just showing little corruptions and now I see it is more a slippery slope. How one small thing leads to something else and that leads to something else. From bullying to using your connections. People forget the consequences and how it can affect the individual and others. Brava writer, brava.

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The tension when Sahyun caught Shimok in his office really set the tone for this week's episodes. And Sahyun's ability to turn on Shimok makes him even more suspicious. Of course you'd be mad if someone sneaked into your space, but Sahyun's outburst suggests that he actually might have something to hide (though I doubt he'd keep it in his office?) Shimok's reaction afterwards was infinitely funny. He chooses the worst of times to be courteous 😂

I put all laughing matters aside though when Shimok mentioned Eun-soo (right on the heel of Yeonjae mentioning Changjun) 😭
I KNEW IT. His interest in Minha wasn't due to suspicion! But it actually brought back the painful memories of two years ago. Did y'all hear that his voice actually cracked a little when he was talking about Eun-soo? There was so much emotion behind it, it made me tear up just like Yeojin in that scene.
Also did anyone think Shimok was going to give Minha a ride when she left his office? But nope, in typical Shimok fashion he just went his own way, that was a little amusing.

And finally OMGG so turns out Choi Bit WAS at the vacation home??? So here's my theory, I think Park Gwang-su had a heart attack because he was stressed out about that deal for whatever reason, and Woo Taeha found him already dead (which is why he looked so worried in the flashback), so him and Choi Bit probably took him to that highway to pretend like that's where he had his heart attack and CB was the one who called the police with Park Gwangsu's phone, hence WTH asking "why did you make that call?". But we still don't know what the deal was about or why CB and WTH were really there (right?)

Even more crazy is us circling back to the Tongyeong case. The show did a really good job of convincing us (me) that that wasn't a murder, so I got goosebumps from the reveal during this episode. I had casually told myself to keep Hu-jeong on my suspect list just in case, but I never believed he would ever ever be guilty or so deeply involved!

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This episode has a perfect balance of heart, humour and suspense.
I have a similar theory about PGS and the connection of CB and WTH to the case. WTH said he decided to leave once he knew it was about Hanjo lawsuit but why PGS invited him to come along? The purpose of the meeting (according to Shimok) was to Introduce an influential figure from the prosecutor/judge to Hanjo. So PGS wanted to set up WTH with Hanjo?

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I think Sa Hyun is the type to only be friendly when he feels like you're non-threatening/not-competition. Shi-mok going into his office probably gave off the impression of Shi-mok being ambitious when his impression of Shi-mok had been that of a slow guy.

I also thought Shi-mok was going to give Minha a ride too! What a great fake-out!

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I thought too that ShiMok was going to give MinHa a ride, and I thought it twice: first when they were in the elevator and he oddly asked her how old she was (that irrelevant question turns out to be important when he talked about her to YeonJi) and then, when he sees her on the street.

Regarding what happened on the vacation house, I concur with your theory. I don't think neither WTH or Choi Bit were involved in the death but they had to cover it because of where it happened and the fact that he Park Gwangsu couldn't be legally working for Hanjo.

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Sahyun's photo
with his mother / grandmother ... the floor

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I’m already sad that we are at the final week. I love these characters SO much that I don’t want the drama to end. I will miss them so very much.

ShiMok and YeoJin having lunch together and discussing the different aspects of the case was cute. They acted like guilty teenagers who didn’t tell their parents they were hanging out.

YeoJin and Choi Bit’s conversation about dating/ being friendly with prosecutors was interesting and made me think that CB and WTH definitely have a more personal connection. The conversation also highlighted a inherently sexist mindset that exists - YeoJin being a female cop will only hang out with ShiMok because she’s romantically interested in him and no matter what he will be considered a good catch for her. We see characters repeatedly ask why YeoJin is interested in ShiMok never why he might be interested in her. The fact that ShiMok trusts and respects her maybe obvious to us but within the world they both live it’s not even an afterthought. Makes me a bit sad for YeoJin.

How cute is YeoJin saying she wants to date a artist? Her mention of her grandmother was also a nice connection to season 1 when she let the grandmother of the suspect live with her.

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“Yeo-jin notices his expression and asks if he finds Min-ha suspicious. Shi-mok comments that she’s only a year apart in age from Eun-soo. Oooh. He can’t help thinking of her when he sees Min-ha, about how she’d be living were she alive. It makes him think living and dying are both simple things.”

- This scene got me 🥺 He was thinking of Eunsoo 😭

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Man I really do miss Eunsoo, mainly because I love Shin Hye-sun and would’ve loved to see her back this season

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I’m happy they mentioned her character! I hope we see her in a new project soon.

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Wow, this was an intense episode! Glad the drowning case came back into action. In the end, everything is connected and in this show one can't skip the details. Now how is the dead prosecutor connected to all this?What's the deal with Hanjo? Why is this show ending next week??

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I once said that this season's pace is too slow but now I'm taking it back. I regret I said that.
On ep 7, when Dongjae was questioning the middle school bully, I complained to my watching buddy that the scene was too long, especially for something that has nothing to do with his missing case.
Turned out I was completely wrong. It was necessary for us to recognize that case later on. I'm sorry I've ever doubted you writer-nim.

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I'm happy to admit the writer is way smarter than I am lol. I also doubted the director at first, but the last scene of Shi-mok chasing Hoo-jung is just awesome. The editing also feels superior. What can I say, the story brings the best out of everything?

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Yes, to the superb editing, I love the smooth and clever transitions~

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I was thinking the same when i watched that school boy scene. There were a few times I questioned why they were a bit longer than necessary, but they proved me wrong time and time again.
I have to applause the writer and production team for taking a risk, knowing well the criticism and pressure to live up to S1.

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And I can only hope they don't mind taking another risk for another season pleaseee

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It has to be slow for this sort of show. Not everything has to be in your face

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Ha! I knew they didn't just bring in the school kids violence story for nothing.

Also is it only me or did other ppl also think that there was smth immature in Sa Hyun's anger when he found Shi Mok snooping around his office? It seemed like a grown kid throwing a tantrum to me..

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My heart broke so bad when Shimok finally brought Eunsoo up to Yeojin <////3 I mean ever since the first time he saw Minha, there were almost no moment that he didn't throw a suspicious look at Minha as if he was trying to figure her out, much like the earlier episodes of Season 1 when he couldn't decide whether to include Eunsoo in his investigation or to get her as far as possible. Gah... now I kinda Miss Eunsoo. Also... I don't know if it makes any sense but I think Shimok and Yeojin's relationship is the most affectionate platonic relationship in Kdrama I've ever seen <3

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