Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 8
The search for our missing prosecutor ramps up, but clues are still scarce. The list of suspects seems to grow rather than shrink, and there’s no shortage of cases that could prove relevant to the kidnapping, making progress frustratingly slow. Although our lead is as stoic as ever, the investigation is taking a toll on him as his colleague’s chances of survival get slimmer by the day.
Yeo-jin drops Shi-mok back at his car and reassures him that Dong-jae will be okay – having two colleagues die like this isn’t a thing that happens. As she drives away, she watches Shi-mok stand there, staring at the bloodstain on the asphalt.
On the phone, Chief Choi can’t believe Yeo-jin took a prosecutor along with her to see the ex-chief. Yeo-jin says it was to keep an eye on the prosecution, but Chief Choi accuses her of just wanting some quality time with Shi-mok. Ha.
Yeo-jin whines at her for suspecting there’s something going on between them. She assures Chief Choi that the ex-chief’s alibi was solid; he worked until 11 P.M. that night. As an afterthought, she mentions that Dong-jae had been asking around about Chief Choi.
Chief Choi goes still and takes a second to compose herself as Yeo-jin continues that he visited the Tongyeong case victims. She’ll let her know more after talking to them the next day. Once they hang up, Chief Choi stands lost in thought until her daughter calls to her.
While filling out a report, Shi-mok recalls Chief Choi complaining about how difficult it is for police to get a warrant. Sa-hyun is surprised to see Shi-mok there so late, but he guesses he wouldn’t be able to get much done at the dorms.
He shares that he and Chang-joon were roommates in one of those dorms in their early years. Over a decade later, he heard that Chang-joon committed suicide. Since Shi-mok has worked with Dong-jae, he’ll be the most determined to find him. But it was hard for Sa-hyun to deal with Chang-joon’s death even after not seeing him for 13 years.
Sa-hyun cautions that suppressing emotions isn’t always for the best and encourages Shi-mok to tell Tae-ha if this is too hard for him to handle. (That’s surprisingly thoughtful.) Shi-mok says he’s fine and asks if Sa-hyun thinks Tae-ha would get someone to dig up dirt on Chief Choi.
Sa-hyun remarks that the commissioner general was arrested during the last investigative authority fight, and this time, the director of the Intelligence Bureau was arrested. Tae-ha would definitely try to get dirt on Chief Choi.
Shi-mok brings up the possibility of planting false information. Sa-hyun asserts that the police make things up too. Chief Choi is now overseeing the whole Intelligence Bureau, so they need to be prepared. Sa-hyun finds it odd that Shi-mok is asking him about this rather than searching like crazy for Dong-jae.
After he leaves, Shi-mok gets one of his attacks. He grabs his head in pain and barely manages to stay conscious as he stumbles over to the window. He pushes it open and gasps for air, wondering, “Why?”
The following day, Shi-mok makes a trip to Hanjo. While he waits, he peruses a list of cases Dong-jae decided to indict. Yeo-jin lets him in her office, and he explains he’s investigating Dong-jae’s disappearance. There are several calls and texts to and from Hanjo in Dong-jae’s phone’s history.
A week ago, they exchange five calls in a day. Shi-mok outright asks if she kidnapped him. If not, don’t waste his time – it’s already been two days since Dong-jae went missing. Yeon-jae honestly admits that she had Dong-jae look into her father’s condition as a personal favor.
When Shi-mok asks why she called him the day he went missing, her assistant enters and explains he was the one who contacted Dong-jae without Yeon-jae’s knowledge. He’d asked Dong-jae to get them intel on the Eastern Prosecution Office (Chief Prosecutor Kang’s district) that’s been after them about their tax lawsuit.
He clarifies the intel was for “reference” not blackmail, and he hasn’t received anything yet. On that last phone call, Dong-jae told him he needed more time. Shi-mok looks suspiciously between Yeon-jae and her assistant.
Her assistant states he didn’t meet Dong-jae in person that day and is willing to provide evidence of his alibi. Before Shi-mok leaves, Yeon-jae asks him to find Dong-jae so she can fulfill her promise to treat him to a meal.
Once he leaves, Yeon-jae berates her assistant for turning Dong-jae into a traitor to his colleagues after he, Shi-mok, and Chief Prosecutor Kang went through everything together back then. And that lie is probably worthless with Shi-mok on the case. Her assistant thinks Shi-mok understood him, but Yeon-jae muses that Chang-joon wouldn’t have left everything to him if he were that kind of person.
Shi-mok thinks of the assistant’s claim and recalls Dong-jae telling him they should visit Chief Prosecutor Kang together. He gets a call from the office telling him the warrant he requested was denied. Tae-ha grabs the phone in alarm when he hears Shi-mok stopped by Hanjo.
Sa-hyun clocks his odd reaction and speculates that maybe Dong-jae was merely greeting his senior’s wife – he heard he and Chang-joon were close. Sa-hyun notes that Shi-mok has his work cut out for him, meeting with Hanjo and the National Police Agency. Tae-ha is confused what the National Police Agency has to do with anything and again looks alarmed when Sa-hyun says he thought Dong-jae was looking into Chief Choi for him.
At Yongsan, Gun interviews Dong-jae’s wife. She anxiously fidgets and asks in a shaky voice if a public investigation means her kids’ info will be exposed. She knows about the 48-hour “golden time” principle, but Gun assures her that’s just the average. He gets her to consent to a public investigation.
When he steps out, Shi-mok enters. He asks how long they’ve been living apart; it’s too far for Dong-jae to commute daily. She explains that Dong-jae sleeps in the night duty room at his office when he works late.
Gun comes back in as Shi-mok says Dong-jae told him he doesn’t see his kids much. She gets defensive and tells him not to make assumptions about their marriage. Pressing on, Shi-mok asks when she last saw Dong-jae, making her even more defensive.
Why isn’t the kidnapper asking for a ransom? Who was she texting? Dong-jae’s wife angrily shoves her phone at him and says she was texting her mom. He then asks if she’s having an affair. Outraged, she snaps that they should be looking into what Dong-jae’s been up to instead. Her lip trembles like she’s about to cry as Gun asks what that means.
As Team Leader Choi briefs the officers and begins handing out assignments, two officers from the National Police Agency show up with Yeo-jin. All the Yongsan cops are happy to see her, but when the Agency announces they’re putting Yeo-jin in charge, Team Leader Choi’s face falls.
Things are awkward as Yeo-jin divides them into two teams and asks Team Leader Choi to lead the team that will retrace Dong-jae’s steps. She then announces the second team will investigate Segok Station with her and puts up a picture of Ki-hyun.
Shi-mok walks in, and everyone is less than enthused. The cops start grumbling about how they don’t usually register adult males as missing so fast and suggest Dong-jae might’ve just run away. Shi-mok points out that Dong-jae worked hard to make connections with the Supreme Office and went missing right before a meeting with Tae-ha.
Gun pipes up that he could’ve orchestrated it for the attention – everyone knows what Dong-jae is like. (Hey, now!) He comments that he was relieved when Dong-jae was transferred, but now he even accused a cop of murder and took off. Shi-mok takes issue with that wording.
Yeo-jin orders them to do their jobs and stop judging. Soon-chang suggests they get Dong-jae’s wife to make a video calling for witnesses to step forward. Yeo-jin okays it so long as she agrees.
After telling Team Leader Choi about meeting with Yeon-jae, Shi-mok asks Yeo-jin about Soo-hang. She explains he’s coming to meet her at the station. Yeo-jin is frustrated she’s not doing more. She’d rather be out there looking for Dong-jae herself.
Shi-mok notes that’s what a field officer would feel. Yeo-jin looks up at him in surprise. Did she not want to be in administration? She looks away without responding.
Whether or not Ki-hyun was murdered, investigating the officers helps narrow down their suspects. How else will they convince them that Dong-jae has really been missing for three days? Yeo-jin asks who needs convincing, but Shi-mok just says he’s heading to meet Joong-gi. She double-checks that he brought his car and laughs when he says he won’t take a cab all the way to Dong-jae’s office.
Meanwhile, Gun meets with Soo-hang’s employer who describes Soo-hang as a hard worker who volunteers frequently and is liked by the elders. At Yongsan, Soo-hang is like a different person, demure and cooperative.
On the day of Dong-jae’s kidnapping, he was at the public bath. He seems to work for a care facility, and the residents go as a group twice a month. Soo-hang cries as he expresses regret for how he treated Ki-hyun back then, saying even Joong-gi told him to lay off.
Shi-mok sits in on Joong-gi’s interview where he again says they tried to help Ki-hyun. Shi-mok notices his nervous hand movements as the prosecutor asks him when he last saw Dong-jae and where he was the day he disappeared.
Joong-gi asserts he went straight home after work and starts getting angry when she refers to him as a suspect. Why would he hurt Dong-jae when he wasn’t a part of the bribery? Shi-mok wonders if Joong-gi thought he should sacrifice Ki-hyun for the sake of his team.
Soo-hang claims to have gotten all religious and repentant in jail, but Yeo-jin isn’t buying it. She proposes his uncle warned him after they met. Soo-hang even got a lesser sentence due to his uncle’s influence, so it doesn’t make sense that they aren’t in touch anymore.
Shi-mok also accuses Joong-gi of lying, as evidenced by his constant fiddling with his fingers and rubbing his nose. When Soo-hang and Joong-gi leave, officers tail them in hopes that they could lead them to Dong-jae.
Outside, the prosecutor asks if Shi-mok took a particular law class; he quoted from Crime and Punishment earlier, like that professor does. Shi-mok says he did take that class and stares at her oddly.
Dong-jae’s wife records a plea for people to come forward with information. They include a photo from CCTV footage on the day of his disappearance. Yeon-jae watches the video in her office and fiddles with her collar anxiously. She heads out, instructing her assistant to stay behind.
He’s not happy with that arrangement, so he secretly follows her. It looks like she’s meeting with judge-turned-lawyer Joo-seon at a house.
Elsewhere, Tae-ha and Chief Choi meet. She asks what Dong-jae dug up on her, but Tae-ha claims he didn’t order him or anyone to find dirt on her. He wouldn’t have told her about the Park Kwang-soo case (the former chief prosecutor who died) if that had been his plan. Oooh.
Shouldn’t she be trying to find out who told Dong-jae she covered it up and what else they told him? She already went through Dong-jae’s call records and found the snitch. The officer claims he only said that she pressured him to close the case quickly. Tae-ha guesses he said more but doesn’t want to own up to it.
Chief Choi says he can ask Dong-jae when he finds him, although she thinks he’s probably already dead. She steps out to take a call from Yeo-jin, and we see Joo-seon sitting nearby. In a flashback, Yeon-jae orders him to find out about Chief Choi’s relationship with Kwang-soo. She dangles the idea of him starting his own firm with Hanjo as an exclusive client.
Joo-seon ponders how to get that kind of information about Chief Choi when he doesn’t know her. Off to a great start, he doesn’t even notice as she passes right by him. At their private table, Tae-ha shares that Dong-jae went to Hanjo. Chief Choi is worried about how much Dong-jae knows, but Tae-ha is sure Hanjo won’t talk.
Chief Choi wonders if Hanjo could have kidnapped Dong-jae. She claims she’d never have been so flashy had she been the culprit. Chief Choi knows Tae-ha suspects her, but Tae-ha is aware she also suspects him. The case they both thought was closed forever was brought back, and now Dong-jae is missing.
They each insist it wasn’t them, and Chief Choi observes that if one of them goes down, so does the other. Tae-ha assures her no one will ever know so long as they and Hanjo keep quiet. But if Hanjo did kidnap Dong-jae, keeping quiet means they’ll never find him, Tae-ha observes heavily.
Chief Choi points out he just told a cop, and he laughs she hasn’t changed. She’s still shouldering everything, including his guilt, just like before.
In a dark room, someone watches the video of Dong-jae’s wife. They start to leave the comment, “Because of people like you who have no conscience …” but delete it without posting.
The next day, Joo-seon meets with Director Kim of the Intelligence Bureau in prison and offers to represent him. He says “higher ups” feel bad and sent him. Since this is unofficial, though, it should stay between them.
Director Kim agrees, so Joo-seon asks if any of his colleagues knew he was hiring people to write comments. Director Kim says there’s someone. Chief Choi gets a call from Director Kim, telling her his lawyer will come to meet her.
While Yeo-jin reports on the meetings with the Tongyeong victims’ family and Soo-hang, she spots a note with Joo-seon’s name on Chief Choi’s desk. As she walks out, she almost runs into the man himself and tries to recall where she’s heard his name.
Joo-seon and Chief Choi sit to talk, and he asks if she was stationed in Namyangju when Director Kim was supposedly leaking intel. He’s relieved to hear she wasn’t – she was in her current position. Joo-seon goes on about Namyangju bringing back bad memories since his friend died in an accident. Pfft, this is his strategy?
Yeo-jin remembers Joo-seon now and calls Chief Choi to let her know he was the one on the Tongyeong case. Chief Choi hangs up and asks Joo-seon to get to the point, much colder now.
Yeo-jin gets a call that sends her running. Yongsan’s phones are ringing off the hook, and we see a published article stating a suspect in the kidnapping is an active police officer. Chief Choi calls Tae-ha to blame him, but he insists it wasn’t his doing. Tae-ha enters the deputy prosecutor general’s office.
At the Supreme Office, Sa-hyun comments that if a police officer really is responsible for what happened to Dong-jae, the investigative authority fight is over. As they sit to eat, Shi-mok gets a call from Yeo-jin and goes flying out the door.
The culprit sent them a message. A new picture is posted on the board for Dong-jae’s case at Yongsan. There’s a piece of a bloody tie with a note that reads, “I will do the dishes. It’s too late now.”
Okay, what is up with Tae-ha and Chief Choi? I didn’t expect them to be in this together. Now I’m super curious about their backstory and how they’re involved in Kwang-soo’s strange death case. Tae-ha is the real question mark here. Dong-jae didn’t appear to know Tae-ha was linked to the case when he brought it to him, so he must not have been officially involved. Tae-ha mentioned Chief Choi bearing his guilt back then, so I’m guessing she handled whatever went down. Their relationship is interesting in that despite being suspicious of each other, they seem to have a sense of comradery. These two have so many secrets that I bet it’s hard to really trust anyone.
We’ve spent so much time on the Segok case that I’d almost forgotten about the Kwang-soo case. I wonder why Yeon-jae has been so interested in Chief Choi lately. From what we’ve heard, Hanjo is at the center of this case, and Yeon-jae knows the details, even if she wasn’t leading the company at the time; I honestly can’t remember the exact timeline to know if she was directly involved or not. Either way, I’m not sure why she’d need more info on Chief Choi now. Is she afraid she’ll talk or that she’s vulnerable in some way?
Hanjo is looking even shadier with those lies about Dong-jae. Yeon-jae was honest about her other discussions with Dong-jae, so why hide whatever that last call was about? Add that to her seemingly nervous reaction to Dong-jae’s wife’s video, and it definitely casts her in a more suspicious light. While Yeon-jae may be cold, I don’t see her as a killer or a kidnapper. Her assistant, on the other hand … he’s one shady dude. I doubt he’d do something so severe without her permission, but I’m not putting it past him.
Even Dong-jae’s wife is acting suspicious. I don’t think she did anything to him, but she’s got something to hide. She was too defensive, and her anxiety seemed tinged with guilt. Then there’s that shadowy commenter who claims she has “no conscience.” It could just be that she’s having an affair, like Shi-mok threw out there, but this isn’t the time to be keeping secrets.
I’m missing the levity that Dong-jae brings to the proceedings. Without him, everything feels pretty heavy. And poor Shi-mok is even getting his stress neurological pain again. He may think all this doesn’t bother him, but his brain begs to differ, just like when he investigated Eun-soo’s death. Shi-mok may not realize it, but Dong-jae kind of is his friend. I’m glad he has Yeo-jin working the case with him. The other cops have such a grudge against Dong-jae that I’d worry it’d affect the search if Yeo-jin weren’t in charge. Hopefully, this message from the kidnapper will stop them from questioning whether it’s a serious case or not. I’m still holding out hope Dong-jae is alive since there’s no reason for them to send that message if he’s dead (or so I’m telling myself). The kidnappers obviously have a goal, but they’re taking their time making it known. Sending that message to the police suggests they want this to be public, so I have a feeling things will be intensifying soon.
- Premiere Watch: Forest of Secrets 2
- Jo Seung-woo, Bae Doo-na go head-to-head in new teaser for Forest of Secrets 2
- A new conspiracy unfolds in teaser for Forest of Secrets 2
- The cast of tvN’s Forest of Secrets 2 gather for first script reading
- Jo Seung-woo confirms second season of Forest of Secrets