Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 7
Our snooping prosecutor takes center stage this hour as both the police and prosecution rush to locate him. Time is of the essence, but the frustrating lack of evidence makes it hard to know where to look. Thankfully, our favorite investigative duo come together, pooling their knowledge and brainpower to find their (kind of) friend. If anyone can save him, it’s these two. Let’s just hope it’s not too late.
Shi-mok meets Chief Prosecutor Kang who chides him for dredging up the past (i.e. looking into Assemblyman Nam), but Shi-mok is firm in his conviction. When Chief Prosecutor Kang says it’ll hurt “your Chief Woo,” Shi-mok baldly states Tae-ha isn’t “his” anything.
Chief Prosecutor Kang warns him he’s in over his head; the prosecution has not only let cases like this slide, but they’ve sided with the people in power against their own prosecutors. He says Shi-mok shouldn’t come running to him if things go bad, to which Shi-mok replies he already knows that.
Chief Prosecutor Kang exasperatedly asks when he’s going to stop causing problems for the people around him. Shi-mok blinks and notes that he must’ve been bothering Chief Prosecutor Kang all this time. Was it like that back then, too? Chief Prosecutor Kang looks a little abashed and admits they’re in different positions now.
Shi-mok says he’ll probably never understand the things he’s supposed to as he matures. It’s not like he enjoys this either. Chief Prosecutor Kang argues he should stop doing these things, then. He sighs and downs a glass of soju as he watches Shi-mok leave.
Elsewhere, Byung-hyun sighs as he recalls his conversation with Yeon-jae. He voted in her favor, claiming it wasn’t for her but for the business opportunity. The vote on Sung-jae’s proposal was close: about 42% for and 44% against while the rest abstained. In her office, Yeon-jae studies Chief Choi’s personnel file.
The next morning, Tae-ha rants to Shi-mok about Dong-jae standing him up and not answering his calls. He’s surprised to get a call from Gun who informs him Dong-jae is missing. At the National Policy Agency, Yeo-jin hears about Dong-jae from Gun and slips out once Chief Choi leaves.
Tae-ha angrily asks Shi-mok what Dong-jae has been up to and gets even angrier when Shi-mok wants to know what Tae-ha talked to Dong-jae about the day prior. Sa-hyun follows them into Tae-ha’s office where Tae-ha accuses Shi-mok of knowing something. How else could he be so calm at a time like this?
Shi-mok skips over that and asks when Tae-ha and Dong-jae were supposed to meet. Tae-ha finally gives in and snaps that they were supposed to meet at 10 P.M. He’s been having Dong-jae brief him on the side.
Tae-ha is pretty worked up, but Shi-mok is cool as a cucumber, like always. He asks if Dong-jae just didn’t answer Tae-ha’s calls or if his phone was off. That gives Tae-ha pause, and he realizes the phone was off.
Shi-mok observes, as Tae-ha earlier speculated, maybe this has nothing to do with Ki-hyun’s case and is related to a different case he’s working. Tae-ha orders Shi-mok to Dong-jae’s office, but Shi-mok protests he has no authority since the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office isn’t allowed to investigate. Tae-ha yells at him to go anyway. When Sa-hyun suggests he should have someone besides Shi-mok handle it, Tae-ha yells at him too.
As he calls Dong-jae’s phone, Shi-mok thinks of Dong-jae’s discovery about Joong-gi taking bribes and his determination to find Soo-hang. He heads to Dong-jae’s office and calls Gun on the way out to ask that all the info on Dong-jae’s disappearance be sent to their office. The Criminal Legislation Division is taking the case.
The police talk to the couple who found Dong-jae’s car parked in front of their house and noticed the bloodstain on the ground. Gun is currently with Dong-jae’s wife and kid; they’re taking a DNA sample from Dong-jae’s son to see if the blood matches. His wife is tense but relatively calm, although she worries about the effect of all this on her son.
Dong-jae’s colleagues haven’t noticed anything off about him lately, but they claim he mostly keeps to himself. Yeo-jin is at the crime scene when she hears from Gun that the blood is Dong-jae’s. She asks him for pictures of the scene and heads over to Yongsan Station.
The Yongsan team tries to figure out where the crime took place and how the perpetrator managed to move Dong-jae’s body; there are no drag marks. They didn’t find anything useful at the scene, but they take it as a good sign that they haven’t found a body.
Dong-jae’s phone turned off at 8:50 P.M., almost two hours after he left work. He was supposed to meet Tae-ha elsewhere at 10:00, so why was he even in that neighborhood his car was found in? Gun sneakily leaves the case file and crime scene photos on his desk for Yeo-jin before he heads to the scene.
Later, Yeo-jin goes through the file and joins maknae Soon-chang as they track Dong-jae’s route. Unfortunately, the alleys leading to where his car was found don’t have cameras. A call from Chief Choi sends Yeo-jin running back to her office.
At the Uijeongbu Prosecutors’ Office, Shi-mok asks for a rundown of Dong-jae’s activities the previous day. We flash back to Dong-jae trying to elicit some empathy and remorse from an infuriating junior high school kid who severely bullied his classmate. Afterward, Dong-jae left for an appointment after saying he’d look into Soo-hang’s whereabouts himself since his investigator couldn’t find anything. He left the office around 7:00 P.M.
Shi-mok notices all the files on Ki-hyun’s case were from the previous prosecutor. Did Dong-jae write any new reports? The colleagues hesitantly note Ki-hyun’s case hasn’t officially been reopened. The higher ups wanted to find concrete evidence before alerting the police, so they didn’t even mention the case to the Yongsan team when they came.
They break into Dong-jae’s computer and see that he recently watched Chief Choi’s interview from after the drowning case. Shi-mok is interrupted by a call from Team Leader Choi who says Shi-mok’s number was in Dong-jae’s call history. Does he remember what they talked about?
Instead of answering, Shi-mok asks if he sent the files to his office yet and surprises Team Leader Choi by saying he’ll stop by Yongsan Station. He instructs Dong-jae’s colleagues to check his web history, the officers from the bribery case, and any connection Dong-jae has with the neighborhood in which his car was found. Shi-mok also orders them to summon Joong-gi.
One prosecutor follows him out and suggests requesting a search warrant for the cops involved in the bribery, but Shi-mok doubts the courts would issue it with insufficient evidence. She says she’ll request additional evidence and asks if the Supreme Office is taking both cases.
When Shi-mok says they’re taking both Ki-hyun’s case and Dong-jae’s disappearance, she’s relieved. She was worried that the Dongducheon Police Station would get involved and try to interfere since Segok is their substation. She questions if it’d be different with any police precinct, though. Before he leaves, she says her probationary period was spent under Dong-jae. “Me too,” Shi-mok states. (Wait, so I’m supposed to believe Dong-jae is old enough to have trained Shi-mok in his newbie days? Either that or Shi-mok is way younger than he looks…)
At the crime scene, Gun notifies Team Leader Choi that they’ve found a probable weapon. The woman who discovered Dong-jae’s car insists a brick is missing from the pile nearby. Back at the National Police Agency, Yeo-jin meets with Chief Choi who asks if it was a kidnapping. Was he attacked?
Yeo-jin confirms both and hands her the case report and photos. Chief Choi sighs that it’s a crazy world, but this seems a little too coincidental. She tosses out that the prosecution could’ve orchestrated it to trap them, but even she knows that’s too far-fetched.
Chief Choi tasks Yeo-jin with proving the police aren’t involved in Ki-hyun’s death or Dong-jae’s disappearance. Yeo-jin hopes they’re not connected, but what if they are? They’re interrupted by a phone call letting Chief Choi know Tae-ha wants to reschedule the Police-Prosecution Council meeting, but she’s not having that.
Resuming their conversation, Yeo-jin firmly states that, even if Segok turns out to be involved in Dong-jae’s disappearance, they can’t wait until after the meeting or until they win the investigative authority fight to do something. Chief Choi demands Yeo-jin immediately report her if she ever orders nonsense like that. No one who does something that could cost a life is worthy of respect.
After Yeo-jin leaves, Chief Choi calls Tae-ha about the meeting postponement. Her face changes as she listens to him, and she asks, “When?” Her eyes narrow as she stares at Yeo-jin through her office window.
Shi-mok arrives at Yongsan where Team Leader Choi worries that it’s happening again (a repeat of poor Eun-soo) and shares the info they’ve gathered so far in Dong-jae’s case. The area in which the car was found has the fewest cameras in the district, so it could’ve been chosen intentionally by someone who knows the neighborhood.
Team Leader Choi shows him Dong-jae’s call history and asks what Shi-mok and Dong-jae talked about. Shi-mok ambiguously responds that they talked about work and investigative authority issues. He details Dong-jae’s complaining about being transferred too often and not seeing his family.
Shi-mok is surprised to see a Tongyeong number on the call history, and Team Leader Choi explains that it’s the student who survived the drowning case. Dong-jae talked to him multiple times. (I knew that case would come back!)
The student says Dong-jae called him and talked “nonsense,” saying the prosecution wasn’t at fault and asking if Chief Choi had ever visited him. Dong-jae also called one of the victim’s parents and asked if Chief Choi disparaged the prosecution and pressured him to do an interview.
Gun thought he must have been trying to discredit Chief Choi, making Soon-chang question whether Chief Choi was involved in his kidnapping. Team Lead Choi had told him off, but he looked concerned.
Team Leader Choi asks Shi-mok if he can get in touch with Hanjo – Dong-jae talked with them multiple times, but they’re rejecting the police’s calls. Lastly, he shares that there’s no GPS history from the previous day. Maybe Dong-jae just didn’t use his GPS, but an address also could’ve been erased.
Before he leaves, Shi-mok sees a doodled note, presumably from Yeo-jin, on Soon-chang’s desk and thinks of the prosecutor speculating that all the police precincts would be the same and try to protect Segok.
Shi-mok finds Yeo-jin at the scene, and they dive right into analyzing the scene together. Based on the haphazard parking and bloodstain, she wonders if Dong-jae wasn’t visiting a house nearby but instead met someone in the alley.
We get the scene imagined in different ways as Shi-mok and Yeo-jin theorize back and forth. If he met the culprit coincidentally, they’d have known the neighborhood and would’ve ditched his car. Maybe someone lured him there.
Yeo-jin has a thought. What if he gave someone a ride and dropped them off here? Shi-mok brings up the bad parking, so Yeo-jin suggests he could’ve been angry and stopped suddenly. That still leaves the question of the car. They either would’ve used it to move his body or drove it somewhere after moving him to one of the houses nearby.
Yeo-jin points out that any of those scenarios would work if there was an accomplice. Shi-mok shares that Dong-jae might’ve met with the former chief of Dongducheon Station (from Ki-hyun’s case).
Meanwhile, Chief Choi sketchily makes a copy of Dong-jae’s call history (with a crossed-out doodle, so it must be Yeo-jin’s copy) and looks through it. She gets startled when Yeo-jin calls and rejects it, after which she replaces the case file on Yeo-jin’s desk.
At the scene, Shi-mok trustingly hops in Yeo-jin’s car without even knowing where they’re going. Ha. She informs him they’re heading to Dongducheon and tries to call Chief Choi again to get the ex-chief’s current station, but she can’t get through.
Shi-mok guesses Chief Choi is the one who told Yeo-jin about Soo-hang being related to the ex-chief and comments on how quickly Chief Choi gets her info. Yeo-jin starts to brag about Chief Choi’s capability, but she suddenly realizes something.
In a flashback, we see Yeo-jin quickly covering her doodle (ha, is that supposed to be Chief Choi?) on the call history when Chief Choi walks up and hands her Soo-hang’s address. In the present, Yeo-jin notes that Dong-jae would’ve called ahead and tells Shi-mok to check his office call history for the ex-chief’s current precinct.
While they wait at the station, Shi-mok tries to get ahold of Yeon-jae to no avail. A man walks up and abruptly asks if they’re the ones who wanted to meet him. They introduce themselves and follow the ex-chief inside. Yeo-jin comments to Shi-mok about the ex-chief’s build: he looks strong enough to take Dong-jae.
The ex-chief has a nasty temper. He tosses a chair across the room and yells that he didn’t get Ki-hyun transferred to Segok. Yeo-jin asks if he said the same thing to Dong-jae on the phone two days ago. The ex-chief claims he doesn’t remember, but Yeo-jin doesn’t buy it since it’d be rare in his division to get a direct call from a prosecutor.
He yells again when she brings up his demotion and tries to pull rank with her. Shi-mok starts to speak up, but Yeo-jin stops him. When she threatens the ex-chief with the National Police Agency, he sneers she must’ve learned her ways from “Choi Bit.” Yeo-jin stands in anger and berates him for not respectfully using Chief Choi’s title.
Shi-mok cuts in to say that Dong-jae has likely been kidnapped, and the ex-chief looks frightened as he realizes the implication. So, of course, he starts yelling again. Yeo-jin brings up Ki-hyun, and Shi-mok remarks that he did think the ex-chief had less motive for murder than Soo-hang’s colleagues.
Yeo-jin asks what if he learned that Ki-hyun, the officer he transferred to be bullied, discovered that his nephew was taking bribes, and that nephew then killed him? Making matters worse, a prosecutor starts digging two years down the line.
As they continue speculating, the ex-chief gets so mad that he overturns the table. We see a speculative scene of him hitting Dong-jae over the head with a brick. The irate ex-chief tells them to wait while he brings his alibi, whatever that means. In the hallway, he acts all shifty … well, shiftier and makes a call.
We cut to Dong-jae, bound and gagged (but alive, thank goodness) in a closet. A man checks on him, and after he leaves, Dong-jae kicks open the door. He manages to scoot out into the main room – he’s in a house, it seems – but the man comes back. Eek!
When he steps close, Dong-jae gives him a good kick, but it’s not enough. The man approaches and raises something that’s hard to make out (it almost looks like a tripod) and strikes Dong-jae over and over as blood sprays the walls. Noooo. The man drags Dong-jae’s limp body, leaving a trail of blood.
Seriously?! We get to see Dong-jae alive and conscious for like two seconds and then he gets bludgeoned. Despite how bad that looked, I don’t know that he’s dead. Why would they kidnap him, keep him alive for a day, and then kill him? I’m assuming the person who checked on him in the closet is the same person who came in and attacked him when he tried to escape, but I guess we don’t know that for sure. I’m leaning toward the idea that there’s at least one accomplice. Regardless, if the kidnapper(s) didn’t kill him right away, they must either not intend to kill him at all or need him for something. Hopefully, that means Yeo-jin and Shi-mok will have time to track him down before it’s too late. He was in a house, which could mean he was stashed in the neighborhood like Yeo-jin and Shi-mok speculated.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for Shi-mok and Yeo-jin to work together again, but I didn’t expect it would come at Dong-jae’s expense. Yeo-jin seemed so much more in her element this episode, working (unofficially) alongside her Yongsan colleagues. Watching her investigate, it looked like she got some of her spark back. She’s a field officer at heart, and I can’t imagine her being happy behind a desk and embroiled in politics like Chief Choi. I think Chief Choi is the type who can’t imagine anyone being satisfied in a “lower” or less powerful position, so she views Yeo-jin’s lack of “ambition” as a shortcoming rather than an indication that Yeo-jin might just know where she’s best suited.
Chief Choi is being super shady. What was with that sketchy photocopying? Yeo-jin gave her a copy of – or at least showed her – the case file, so she wasn’t just trying to look through it. Seeing as she copied Yeo-jin’s version with her notes on it, I’m assuming she’s after something specific. Maybe it has something to do with whatever Tae-ha told her on the phone that seemed to worry her and make her look over suspiciously at Yeo-jin.
Although I trust Chief Choi about as far as I can throw her, I’m not sure she’d go as far as to personally order Dong-jae’s kidnapping. She’s smart and cautious, so I can’t see her doing anything so reckless; it doesn’t seem like her style. The ex-chief was acting really suspicious, but he looked surprised when Shi-mok mentioned Dong-jae being kidnapped. He did make that scared phone call, though, immediately after he talked to them. Of course, there’s still Hanjo and the other Segok cops to consider. The dirty cops are probably the most suspicious at this point, but I can’t discount Hanjo since Yeon-jae has been looking into Chief Choi and is somehow involved (or Hanjo is) in that chief prosecutor’s weird death coverup Dong-jae was looking into. Oh, and now we also know that Dong-jae was digging into the drowning case and talking to the survivor and the victims’ families about Chief Choi.
How is he involved in so many cases at once? He certainly gets around. It all does kind of circle back to Chief Choi, though, doesn’t it? If she is involved, I’d imagine she took advantage of the situation from behind the scenes to instigate other people to act so as to avoid liability. Still, all signs are pointing to her in a way that makes me think she’s too obvious of a villain. If I learned anything from season one, it’s that things are rarely as they seem. There’s a lot more to this story yet, and it better include an alive Dong-jae.
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