121

Forest of Secrets 2: Episode 16 (Final)

Our second tale of one prosecutor and one cop’s tireless fight for justice has come to a satisfying close. As they’ve already learned once before, exposing the truth in a system that caters to the powerful is a thankless job. Our duo has done their part, and now it’s up to others to see it through. All they can do is keep fighting for what they believe and hope they can inspire some change along the way.

EPISODE 16

Shi-mok and Sa-hyun present the case for a warrant for Tae-ha to none other than the deputy prosecutor general. He listens and looks through the documents silently, weighing his options. Meanwhile, Tae-ha walks into an empty press briefing.

At Chief Choi’s full press briefing, she admits that Kwang-soo’s body was moved to conceal a meeting at the Namyangju villa. We flash back to Shi-mok paying Chief Choi a visit. He’d explained that Tae-ha meant to destroy Yeo-jin’s life.

The one person Tae-ha can’t silence right now is Director Kim who will likely try to use Chief Choi again to get out of this mess. Chief Choi accuses Shi-mok of doing exactly what Tae-ha did to Yeo-jin. In the present, Chief Choi lays out the facts. A police official summoned her to the villa where she and a high-ranking prosecutor moved the body.

Shi-mok had told her she decides how this ends. If she denies her involvement, she’ll be ruined by Director Kim and Yeo-jin will be ruined by Tae-ha. But she can choose to confess and step down. Chief Choi calls him a bad judge of character if he thinks she’d go that far to protect Yeo-jin.

Shi-mok says Yeo-jin opens up easily to people but is selective about who she trusts and respects. He doesn’t think her and Chief Choi’s bond is one-sided. He’s appealing to her because he trusts that Yeo-jin is a good judge of character.

Presently, Chief Choi announces she plans to step down and will cooperate with the investigation. She apologizes to the public and Kwang-soo’s family.

At Hanjo, Director Park briefs Yeon-jae on the situation. She’s most concerned that Sung-jae will find out about their involvement and use it against her. Reading her intentions perfectly, Director Park asks if he should contact Joo-seon.

Yeon-jae comments that it’s a good thing Director Park works for her since he knows her so well; she’d be screwed if he went somewhere else. He assures her he’ll never betray her in any way. Alone in his car, Joo-seon vents his anger at being ordered around. But then he drives off to do as bidden.

The deputy prosecutor general signs off on the warrant. He supposes Shi-mok would enjoy humiliating Tae-ha and puts him in charge of the investigation. Sa-hyun looks alarmed and signals to Shi-mok not to accept, but Shi-mok does anyway. The deputy prosecutor general sends Shi-mok out and privately asks Sa-hyun if Tae-ha was behind the fake note and witness. Does Shi-mok know?

Whatever Joo-seon and Director Park said to Chief Prosecutor Kang did not go over well. Chief Prosecutor Kang is livid when Joo-seon refers to Hanjo as a “good partner.” Joo-seon encourages him to close his eyes until retirement when they can enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

Chief Prosecutor Kang mulls over the threat he just received: stop the Eastern Office from messing with Hanjo or be framed for illegally acquiring the financial statements – Joo-seon will serve as witness. Director Park implied they could get his colleagues on their side should Chief Prosecutor Kang wish to fight Hanjo.

Meanwhile, Chief Choi takes a call from Tae-ha. He’d planned to leave her out of it since she was his partner during the most difficult day of his life. She accuses him of sending Yeo-jin and Shi-mok to meet with Director Kim knowing he’d give them her name. Then, he used her to threaten Yeo-jin.

Angry, he defensively argues he had to mention Director Kim if he didn’t want to take the fall alone. She gets it but says it’s over now. Tae-ha won’t accept that and hangs up.

Chief Choi wanders pensively around her office, thinking back to her conversation with Shi-mok. He’d said it was her last chance to serve the public as an officer. Ki-hyuk will never talk if Tae-ha remains in power, and Chief Choi is the only one who can bring him down.

Chief Choi walks out of her office for the last time to find her subordinates all waiting for her. She blinks back tears as they salute, and she locks eyes with Yeo-jin before she leaves. Yeo-jin’s colleagues snipe about how she ruined Chief Choi.

At the Supreme Office, Shi-mok interrogates Tae-ha who observes things would’ve gone perfectly were it not for Dong-jae. They’d never have found out about Kwang-soo otherwise. Shi-mok notes all his what-ifs are no different to how Dong-jae’s kidnapper rationalized things. Hoo-jung, at least, was bullied. What’s Tae-ha’s excuse?

The deputy prosecutor general summons Shi-mok for an update. He let Shi-mok handle Tae-ha as revenge of sorts, but now he warns him to keep the charges to abandonment of a corpse. There’s no need to mention the fake evidence. He’ll still fire Tae-ha if Shi-mok wants.

He says he’s doing Shi-mok a favor by not firing him and cautions that they’ll lose investigative authority if Tae-ha’s deeds are made public. Is Shi-mok okay with the police running the show?

When Shi-mok refuses to cooperate, the deputy prosecutor general asks if he wants to be responsible for stripping them of their investigative authority. Shi-mok notes that he’s not the one to blame for the abuse and misuse of the citizen-granted power that has been turned into a bargaining tool. He leaves with the deputy prosecutor general screaming after him that he’ll make him pay.

As Shi-mok strides down the hallway, everything turns bright white and dreamlike. He stares at an image of Chang-joon, Eun-soo, Chief Prosecutor Kang, and Se-won laughing together. A hand grips his shoulder, and Shi-mok turns to see Dong-jae heading to join the group.

Chang-joon puts up a hand to stop him. From behind Dong-jae, Shi-mok nods at Chang-joon who responds with a small smile. They all turn and file out, leaving Dong-jae and Shi-mok behind. Eun-soo turns and gives one last look before disappearing into the white.

Shi-mok is awakened by his phone. It’s Chief Prosecutor Kang, standing outside the ICU. He thinks of Director Park’s orders to leave Hanjo alone and ensure no one brings up the villa. He struggles to find the words, leaving Shi-mok confused by his silence. The ICU door suddenly opens, and Chief Prosecutor Kang hurriedly says he has to go.

Chief Prosecutor Kang catches a glimpse of Dong-jae as a doctor and nurses flock to his bedside, asking if he can hear them. Chief Prosecutor Kang goes searching through the hospital for Dong-jae’s family. Shortly after, Dong-jae opens his eyes to nurses and his wife by his bedside. He’s unresponsive to their questions, but he lightly squeezes his wife’s hand.

The following day, Gun picks up some PPL coffee and heads to the station where Team Leader Choi informs him the Council has officially been disbanded. Gun doesn’t see it as a loss since all they did was fight. Team Leader Choi worries about the state of the country, but Gun argues things are still improving little by little.

At the National Police Agency, Director Shin addresses Chief Choi’s team. He claims Director Kim felt guilty but was caught by the prosecution on another charge before he could come clean. Suuure. He shares that the government and Judiciary Committee will make the decision on investigatory authority now. Since the Reformation Unit will also be disbanded, most officers will join the Intelligence Bureau.

Yeo-jin’s two hostile colleagues pull her aside to talk. The gist is they want her to leave. She’s best suited to fieldwork, so they’ll talk to Director Shin about transferring her back to Yongsan. Chief Choi was her only connection, and everyone knows Yeo-jin is responsible for what happened to her. Yeo-jin is over their bullying and tells them to bring it on. She’s done going easy on them.

Shortly after they leave in a huff, Gun calls and invites her to drink with the Yongsan team. She cries as he amiably chats about where to go and what foods she likes. She asks if all is good there, and he updates her about Hoo-jung being sent to the detention center.

He asks if she’s okay, and she fights to keep her voice steady and upbeat. After she hangs up, Gun and the others – they’re in the van – worry about her being ostracized and bullied. Team Leader Choi hopes she’ll return to Yongsan before worse happens. Meanwhile, Yeo-jin wipes her tears and tries to pull herself together.

Sa-hyun informs Shi-mok that he’ll be sent back to his original post in Wonju in a week and chuckles at Shi-mok’s typical nonresponse. They discuss Tae-ha, and Shi-mok observes that he’s someone who’s been justifying his actions to himself for a long time.

Sa-hyun observes that they wouldn’t need to fight over investigatory authority if everyone worked like Shi-mok and Yeo-jin (hear, hear). It hits him that Tae-ha and Chief Choi worked together too, but that didn’t turn out well.

As they head out, the deputy prosecutor general passes by without a word. Sa-hyun suggests Shi-mok try to live quietly from now on but surmises from his silence that it’s unlikely.

At Hanjo, Director Park informs Yeon-jae that Chief Prosecutor Kang just resigned. Whoa. Yeon-jae (in a fantastic suit) meets with him, and he shares that the prosecution is already looking into Hanjo’s connection with the Kwang-soo case.

When Yeon-jae guesses Shi-mok is investigating, Chief Prosecutor Kang tells her to leave him alone. She scoffs, wondering if he thought that would move her. He considers her and remarks that Chang-joon’s biggest mistake was “being sold off to Hanjo Group and meeting you.” Ouch.

Director Park tries to manhandle him out, but Chief Prosecutor Kang shakes him off. Had she left Chang-joon alone, he wouldn’t have died. Yeon-jae asserts that her husband exposed all the dirty deeds of her family. Yes, he would’ve lived differently if not for her, but she’s not sorry.

“Do his last moments have to affect the work I do?!” She doesn’t see why his wishes should dictate the way she runs her company. When she asserts that no organization is affected by a single person, Chief Prosecutor Kang reminds her that every organization is made up of people. She has the power to do things differently than her father.

His words affect her, and she turns from him with angry tears in her eyes as he continues that Dong-jae is awake but not out of the woods. Her husband trusted Shi-mok until his last. “Please don’t harm them.”

Once he leaves, Director Park tries to refocus her attention on beating Sung-jae. She instructs him to find out who’s in charge of the case.

Elsewhere, Shi-mok waits for Yeo-jin at a restaurant. She cut her hair again! He keeps staring at it and finally says it’s like when they first met. She playfully swishes it back and forth, claiming she looks exactly the same.

He wanted to meet since he’s leaving for his new office over the weekend. She’s disappointed and asks who’s taking over his cases. He just knows they’re being sent to the Central Office.

Yeo-jin wonders if the higher-ups will be replaced with more honest people. She notices how tired Shi-mok looks, and he explains his dream of the old gang that kept him up. They were all going somewhere, although Dong-jae stopped along the way and Chief Prosecutor Kang went off alone.

She ticks off that Dong-jae woke up, and Chief Prosecutor Kang resigned, so those make sense. She puzzles over the fact that Se-won went with Chang-joon and Eun-soo, though. Yeo-jin laments that Shi-mok probably won’t have time to go anywhere before he leaves. (Is she thinking of visiting Se-won?)

Yeo-jin pours him a drink and wishes him well, laughing that they keep doing this. He wishes her well and her lackluster response makes him wonder if she truly will be okay. She smiles and assures him she will. They drink, and Shi-mok regards her as she enthusiastically eats.

While Shi-mok leaves for Wonju, Yeon-jae goes to visit Dong-jae who’s still not fully conscious. From the other side of the curtain, Dong-jae’s wife hears her say that Chang-joon didn’t only trust Shi-mok; he treasured and worried about Dong-jae, too.

She creepy whispers in Dong-jae’s ear that he’s the only one connecting her with Kwang-soo now – she already handled Kwang-soo’s family. Her “get well soon” sounds more like a threat now.

Aw, Yeo-jin does go to see Se-won. He’s surprised to see her again. She tells him she found out who sent him that package: Park Moo-sung’s son. He blinks in confusion, but she says she’s seen it before. Sometimes this kind of thing makes victims feel at peace.

He can ask Moo-sung’s son himself for the reason later. Yeo-jin believes that Se-won’s mistake doesn’t define him. It’s possible he’ll get a package with the sender’s name and maybe even a visit from him one day. She promises to visit again in a few months.

At Yongsan, Gun questions Ki-hyuk again, informing him of Tae-ha’s dismissal. Does Ki-hyuk want to take all the blame? Ki-hyuk starts talking. That “washing the dishes” note was just to confuse them; the main order was to not make the police watch too noticeable. Tae-ha questioned Ki-hyuk once, which is how they met.

After the questioning, the Yongsan team welcomes a new member. They can’t help but look saddened as they clean out Yeo-jin’s desk for him. Yeo-jin, meanwhile, reports to her new office at the Intelligence Bureau where she’s promptly ignored by her colleagues.

Elsewhere, Shi-mok meets with Chief Prosecutor Kang (that country ajusshi getup, though) by the river. They bring up Tae-ha who still hasn’t been arrested, although Shi-mok is sure he’ll be indicted. Chief Prosecutor Kang has been refusing offers from law firms and wonders how long of a break he needs to take for things to be okay. He’s not a fan of Shi-mok’s straightforward reply that he can’t erase his past no matter how long he does this.

Chief Prosecutor Kang didn’t resign because of Hanjo but because he did give preferential treatment. If he hadn’t hurriedly closed the Tongyeong case, he could’ve noticed something was off with Hoo-jung and spared Dong-jae and others who suffered.

Meanwhile, Min-ha opens an envelope from Shi-mok with the Segok case file and a note explaining the bullying situation. He tasks her with making sure the police don’t cover it up.

As Shi-mok arrives at his new office, Chang-joon narrates that chasing the truth and what’s right is a never-ending process where even a moment’s stopping leads to failure. You keep marching forward “in the belief that a handful of hope is better than immeasurable despair.”

The new director of the Intelligence Bureau arrives (cameo by Kim Won-hae) and immediately walks up to Yeo-jin, saying he’s heard a lot about her from Chief Choi. There’s a lot of surprised looks from her colleagues as he smiles and shakes her hand. Yeo-jin smiles to herself at her desk.

Dong-jae arrives (with a cast on his arm) at the Central Office where he’s greeted by a gaggle of journalists. He smiles at his wife before turning his signature haughty look on the journalists and heading inside. The prosecutor asks if Kwang-soo had a connection with Hanjo. Dong-jae leans forward, looking straight into the camera, but we don’t hear his reply.

At his new office, Shi-mok turns when someone calls his name. Aw, it’s his old investigator from season one who’s thrilled they’ll be in neighboring offices. He’s so adorably excited that Shi-mok remembers his hometown it makes Shi-mok smile. As he rattles off random locations in response to Shi-mok asking if he knows his hometown, Shi-mok’s smile gets even bigger.

COMMENTS

A great ending to a great drama. I found the open ending fitting. The situation may not be fully resolved, but Shi-mok and Yeo-jin’s roles in the investigations are over. Bringing the responsible parties to justice is a process that will take time and, unfortunately, isn’t guaranteed. While we know Hoo-jung has been charged and can be pretty sure Tae-ha, Director Kim, and Chief Choi will have to take responsibility for their actions, it’s a toss up whether Hanjo will have any negative repercussions. That could very well depend on if Dong-jae chooses to testify against them or back them up, a point on which the drama frustratingly left us hanging. On the topic of Hanjo, I do have to say that I found that element of the story the least engaging. I never much cared about the company politics, so Hanjo only interested me in so far as it directly related to our cases. It may also have to do with Yeon-jae. I think she had the potential to be a really interesting character, but she was pretty isolated from all except her minions, and I had a harder time connecting to her. I wish she’d gotten to interact more with other characters since I liked her interactions with Dong-jae earlier in the season, as well as with Chief Prosecutor Kang.

I was happy with where we left our characters on the whole, though. Some were set in their choices like Tae-ha and Yeon-jae who unrepentantly continued on their paths. Others like Chief Prosecutor Kang and Chief Choi knew they’d crossed lines and chose to accept the consequences and reflect on their actions. This series presents a lot of layered, interesting characters, and I think Chief Choi caught my attention most this season. She was an ambitious woman who was put in a terrible position and made the wrong decision, after which she continued to put her career before ethics. But I’m glad to see she chose to voluntarily admit her crimes and step down in the end. I never thought she was beyond redemption, and I hope she learns from her mistakes. I loved Shi-mok’s appeal to Chief Choi simply based on his trust in Yeo-jin’s instincts. He knew she couldn’t be hopeless if Yeo-jin had seen something in her.

In case I haven’t made it clear enough, I love Shi-mok and Yeo-jin’s partnership so much. Their mutual trust, support, and understanding allows them to work toward a common goal knowing they’ve got each other’s backs. It’s rare to see this kind of platonic relationship between a man and woman in dramaland, which makes it even more special. They may have polar opposite personalities, but their conviction and ideals bind them together. No matter the consequences, they can’t help but live according to their principles. Thankfully, the repercussions weren’t as bad as they could’ve been this time. Shi-mok may have gotten transferred again, but it’s nothing he didn’t expect. Plus, he has a friend in his new office this time! How perfect was it that we ended once again on Shi-mok’s smile? But this time, it was genuine and not for practice. I think it’s the first time we’ve seen him smile at someone besides Yeo-jin. As for Yeo-jin, she toughed it out and went to the Intelligence Bureau where she has a chance of making a difference. Although I’m sad she won’t be back with her Yongsan team, it feels like the right decision for her. That new boss seems promising, so hopefully she won’t be ostracized; seeing her being bullied and crying the once was enough. At least her Yongsan team still has her back. It’ll take time, but I trust that Yeo-jin will figure things out and be okay. She already got her old hair back, which felt so symbolic – a fresh start and a return to herself all in one. Now we just need her to start giving “presents” again.

In a genre that often glamorizes and sensationalizes investigative work by police and prosecutors, this drama’s realism is a breath of fresh air. For that reason, although I’m glad he’s alive, I do find Dong-je’s miraculous survival and recovery after being held for days, bludgeoned, and tossed off the roadside while bound and gagged a bit eyebrow raising. I mean, if anyone could manage to survive, it would be our weasel-y prosecutor, but this seems like a stretch even for him. Also, I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see him interact with Shi-mok after he woke up. Their reluctant partnership was a highlight in the first half of the season, and I’d hoped we get at least one more conversation between them before it was all over.

I was such a fan of the first season that as excited as I was for another, I was also nervous that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. My fears were unfounded. We were working off similar themes as the first season – power and corruption – but this time, it was a messier, deeper dive spanning multiple institutions and cases. The way it all linked together was masterful. This is a drama that rewards you the longer you stick with it. This season was a much slower burn, which may not be to everyone’s taste. In the early episodes, it felt less focused and gripping than the first season, but once we got going, I was fully hooked. What seemed like a more meandering approach turned out to be an intentionally messier story that wove together details and cases that at first glance were only loosely connected. Whereas season one zoomed in on the issue of corruption by focusing predominantly on individuals, season two panned out to emphasize the institutional role in this systemic problem. But like Chief Prosecutor Kang said, all organizations are made of people who still have the choice to either participate in said system or stand up to it. I loved the nuanced explorations of the dynamics within the justice system. I never would’ve thought lengthy discussions about investigatory authority could be so interesting. The fact that this was centered around a real, recent issue of much debate made it all the more fascinating. (For all who are curious as to the real life outcome, it looks like the police were recently granted the right to close investigations.)

Although I loved season one, I’m glad this season took a somewhat different approach. It maintained its definitive Forest of Secrets vibe, but it avoided feeling repetitive. And we still got the tightly written mystery/criminal procedural that’s clever without relying on gotcha moments or red herrings. One of the things I love about this series is that it doesn’t treat the audience like they’re stupid and over explain everything; it’s complicated with a lot of moving pieces, but it trusts that you can keep up. It’d be easy for a show like this to get convoluted, but the strong writing, editing, and directing worked together to tell a cohesive story that stayed focused and engaging. And, of course, the stellar cast brings it all home. This series is a great example of what happens when all the creative elements bring their A game and work in tandem to create something truly special. Bring on season three! (…please?)

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , ,

121

Required fields are marked *

I wouldn't say Dongjae walked away completely unscathed, because I feel with Lee Sooyeon's rich, complex worldbuilding, there's definitely some trauma in the works for this tall weaselly bastard (and hats off to Lee Joonhyuk carrying his final scenes without any lines, while still translating the injuries Dongjae'd received throughout)

Also I disagree on Yeonjae pursuing her path unflinchingly. She visibly teared up when Wonchul accused her, and is still obviously hurt and grieving. Wonchul by far is the only person who hadn't used Changjoon's name to compare him to her, and he does seem to have her interests in heart despite wanting to take Hangjo down. I want her to reform Hangjo with trusted allies along the way: sadly Yoon Se-ah was horrifically underused here, but I'd reckon it was a small sacrifice to make with an ensemble like this.

Overall, thank the lord for this. I was worried it would've ended up Life 2.0, with the messiness, rampant ableism and horrific lack of focus that fizzled out on its magic near the end despite its richness in characters and fantastic ensemble. I'm seriously so glad this show (which had started slow, then ramped up) turned out just fine.

8
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I wasn't sure if Yeon-jae's last conversation with an unconscious Dong-jae was supposed to be threatening or not. Sure sounded like it which goes to show sometimes we have these high hopes from others but not everyone changes for the good

2
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I felt it was a veiled cry of help despite the threat >_> She acknowledged Dongjae as efficient and even brought it up during her meeting with Taeha and Bit. I don't think she would actively seek to destroy the only person in the show beside her managing director that she's actually complimented and found competent and suited to her needs :P

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeon-jae complimented DJ before, and also was a little put off by Director Park's lie (the lie that turned DJ into a traitor) to Shi-mok. So I don't believe Yeon-jae would threaten DJ, instead I interpreted that scene in two ways.

LCJ still weighs heavily within Yeon-jae, and Won-Cheol's words to her are evidence of that. Yeon-jae may say LCJ's wishes have no effect, but definitely not the truth for her. So in a way she may be challenging DJ to reveal the truth, since she feels like she can't stop herself.

OR possibly she didn't change, and is enticing DJ to cover up the truth and he would be rewarded with something in return. The optimist in me hopes for the former

5
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeonjae redemption arc 2021, we love to see it

I do want her to turn around, and she was already wavering (as I pointed out) so I hope she makes the right choice :')

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

So that's what I thought as well..that she was strongly hinting to Dong-jae that he should cover up for her and he will be rewarded

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0

I think it's the latter. The purpose of YJ's visit to DJ's hospital bed is to lay down the map for his path from here onwards, like giving him a hint and heads up on what he should do in order to remain in Hanjo's good books. DJ's answer is deliberately shown to be ambiguous but knowing him, I dare say he will join hands with YJ to cover it up.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Mhm, and like I said, Yeonjae knows to use people who are efficient and helpful to her, but a little part of me wants Dongjae to weasel her way into her actual heart so that they can both heal together about losing a mentor and a husband :(

2

There definitely is a potential for that if they make future seasons! These two accidentally become better people...all according to LCJ's plan

0

I personally thought this season was perfect. I loved every minute of it and I'm sad it's over. I do hope we get a third season but I also hope they take the time to get it together so it can be as intricately and intelligently written as this one is.

20
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Whole-hearted seconding of your sentiments. Our stalwart heroes did not so much triumph as survive, which will be all the more difficult in Season 3 (I choose to be enthusiastically confident) with fewer and fewer flawed but really sympathetic superiors to (reluctantly) help them out of tight spots.

My prediction is that season 3 will involve a final showdown of sorts with Hanjo although I have no idea whether Yeon-Jae becomes an ally against her brother or full-on Dark Side. Plus, am I the only one who thought that Dong-Jae looked royally pissed and with the wheels clearly turning in his head?

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Second that!! Lee Sooyeon is free to take 2-3 years to write another script but please do say that it's coming :)))

7
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

BDN said if the writer wanted to write season 3, she should start ASAP. BDN is worried that she is getting old day by day :) Your fans and the cast want to have many more seasons, do you hear that writer-nim?

7
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, I read part of it on the transcript of her IG live but didn't know it's about her getting old haha. But Yeojin is 5 years younger that Simok and BDN doesn't look any bit like 40 so...

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, the actors look young but I was a little worried they might be more reluctant to the do future seasons because of the age factor. I can see the entire series definitively ending with a third and final season (although I would love to have more BDN and CSW on my screen)

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

If season 3 happens and its story takes place a few years after this, it shouldn't matter that they're aging since the characters would have aged too. And there aren't many chase scenes!

2

As much as I enjoyed this season I was also a bit disappointed...
I think the deeper dive into the messiness and corruption of both the prosecution and police was done masterfully but the human element was really lacking this time around.
I didn't find myself caring for....anybody, really.
While in the first season we got to feel like every single character was a fully rounded human being, in this season neither our main characters nor the supporting cast got to be someone outside their work.
That made even the relationships flimsy. The trust and loyalty Yeo-jin had for Chief Choi Bit actually baffled me. I got no sense of their closeness and mutual admiration whatsoever.
And Shi-mok was really floating along the whole time too...it made me crave all the great characterization and backstory of season 1.

All in all this was a really good season of television but it wasn't perfect for me and left me emotionally cold. I think it could have been much better if it let its characters breathe and live a little more and talk a little less. I hope we get to see a season 3!

7
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

In some ways Season 2 is indeed colder than Season 1. In contrast to the camaraderie of the Yongsan crew and the team that formed around Shi-mok in Season 1, the two main characters were not only mostly isolated but also often alienated from their colleagues. That said, SM and Yeo-jin having to do their own thing so much this season actually made me feel closer to them. Last season, both seemed almost invincible, especially as they had each other all the time. This season, their vulnerability made me worry more about the choices they made and how others treated them. It also meant that when they got the opportunity to display their understanding of, and concern for, one another, it was all the more moving.

I also agree that we didn't get to see anyone outside their work in Season 2. But there wasn't that much about the Season 1 characters' home lives either, and quite a bit of what was shown was related, even if tangentially, to work and to the theme of corruption. In any case, I feel that character development doesn't require a big canvas to be effective. E.g. Kim Sa-hyun and Oh Joo-seon appear in only a handful of scenes, but just from the things they said (and from the way they said them) we can tell quite a lot about who they are. Characterisation as described by you is a pleasure to watch, but I'm also amazed by this writer's ability to convey so much about a character with so little.

I can also see why the relationship between Choi Bit and YJ might seem insubstantial. For me, however, just their first meeting alone suggested a sort of under-the-radar give-and-take between them. Choi Bit might have snapped at YJ, but YJ was still allowed to be a bit cheeky, and Choi's little smile after YJ left the room pretty much summed it all up. Perhaps the far from obvious feelings between them is deliberate, to indicate that for various reasons they were still a long way from open affection and perfect trust.

12
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am surprised at some comments saying there was little character development for SM and YJ this season. For me they have come a loooong way from the previous season. We feel greater emotional impact for the characters in S1 because two were dead and one was in jail. Most of character depth is not said here, unlike typical kdrama where the characterization is often explained to us. But it is part of the fun because we have to pay attention to every little expressions. I didn’t cry even at Eunsoo and LCJ deaths in S1 but I got teary twice this time and it was the scenes between Choibit and Yeojin in E15 and when Yeojin got the call from her ex colleague.

7
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think there was definitely development for Yeo-jin and Shi-mok. For YJ it was the "loss of innocence" while SM is better at picking on other's feelings..or at least YJ's

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's a testament to the writer's great characterisation (and the actors' fabulous performances) that the character impacts of S1 transcend to S2 seamlessly. I did not remember crying when Eun-soo and Chang-joon died, just shell-shocked and still riding high from all the adrenaline. But when they appeared in Shi-mok's dream, and CJ gave SM a knowing, determined look that's worth more than a thousand words, and ES turned around one last time to look at SM while he stared at her with these VERY sad eyes, I burst into tears. It was a wordless exchange but all the feelings from S1 carried over and at that moment we were all Shi-mok, experiencing that grief and regret all over again. I did not realise how attached I was to these characters until they showed up.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! The dream scene really resonated because we saw the impact of those people on the one person who supposedly doesn't have emotions. In season 1, left a brief sense of loss but after seeing this season and how our characters are just tested over and over again, there was a nostalgia for season 1 in that scene

3

It also showed SM's sense of responsibility to the others who have gone before him. It was profound.

3

I didn't say there was no character development , I was talking about fleshing out the main cast a bit more and even though I am happy to see a Kdrama be so radically different it went too much
the opposite way for me this time. Taken absolutely by itself there were many things left to the viewer and I think often times to the detriment of the stories "roundness". A lot of threads were also left hanging and therefore also led to an emptiness in that storyline (e.g. Hanjo groups inner conflicts...especially bc Hanjo group was supposed to be a major player this time, the lack of scenes showing the inner workings outside of Yoon Se-Ah's monologues and talks with prosecutors, really hampered the impact.)
I think the fact that I still really liked this season really speaks for the writers skill and I am happy that many were still moved – just for me it didn't work as well.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

IMO the development of the two lead characters has resulted in their being more fleshed out this season, as described in various comments in this thread. But I do agree that the other main characters on the poster have not figured as prominently as their equivalents in Season 1. Certainly none of them got the kind of attention that Young Eun-soo or Season 1 Dong-jae did. But with the one big exception of Lee Yeon-jae, I don't think any of the recurring characters in Season 2 is any less coherent without their Season 1 background. As I argued somewhere else, Shi-mok's past hasn't really played much of a part in who he is or what he does. In fact I'd go as far as to say that the details about his family, his childhood, etc were a bit redundant even in Season 1. As for the new main characters, namely Choi Bit and Woo Tae-ha, I would have liked to know more about them, but I can see why the writer chose to give us just glimpses of their lives and work in the same way that we only got glimpses of what Lee Chang-joon was up to. I completely agree that the cast really added a lot to the characters, but as many people have pointed out this is a remarkably talk-heavy script, so a lot of the character work is undeniably based on the dialogue.

About Hanjo: I think it actually has a more minor role in Season 2. Last season it was linked to the main story via Lee Chang-joon and Lee Yoon-beom, mostly, but also via Park Moo-sung, Young Eun-soo and her father. It IS pretty disorientating that almost all we see of the Hanjo power struggle this season is Lee Yeon-jae talking, and she's another character that I'd have liked to see more of. But while Season 1 Hanjo was in many ways the true big bad, Season 2 Hanjo was more like a part of the background to the eternal struggle to do the right thing.

1

I agree that the characterization is done well, even if it is in most parts the amazing acting that conveys these small intricacies. I do still think that it was weaker than in season 1 and if we didn't have that outstanding work from S01 we couldn't at all interpret the characters correctly in this season.
The way characters are "tangible" even if you see them only for a short time has always been a strength of this writer, but I think this only works well if the main characters are more fleshed out than the supporting ones. This time there was very little difference between main and supporting imo and it lead to me not feeling very anchored in the story.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I get what you're talking about...there were fewer "human" moments and I missed them this season but I felt that made the little we got more valuable.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

And yet we got quite a lot of insight into their families and domestic arrangements. Family and all of its entanglements figured big for me in this season.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

What a fantastic ending. It was funny because it was looking bleak for a second there, but the drama showed that there is still hope left in the world. It really affected Choi Bit that Yeo Jin didn't salute, but she respected and liked Yeo Jin enough to still put in a good word for her. Shi Mok smiling at the end is always the best part a season ending. I'm glad he was able to get a little bit of some family with him.

I once again want to commend the brilliance of the writer. She leaves me in awe every freaking time and I pray she comes back to this world again. She writes so believably and beautifully. I will forever STAN. Thank you writer-nim for bringing us back and showing us excellent storytelling.

19
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

Can’t agree more. The smiles at the end really save this episode. Yeo-jin smiled while meeting Shi-mol for drink, and Shi-mok is his usual embrace-what-comes-next self. But they look like worn out soldiers. Love that they’re starting in a new place, a better one hopefully.

9
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’ve been scrolling to see if anyone mentioned about the salute.
I kind of felt bad for Choi Bit there. But it is what it is...she fell Yeo Jin’s hand, and lost her respect in the process.

While we await the news for a probable third season, can someone recommend another drama by the same writer?

FoS is so tightly written, I’m willing to sacrifice my nights to see more the the writer’s works.

8
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I believe Life is the only other drama that this writer has penned.

8
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Time for a rewatch!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Be prepared that Life is nothing like FoS but brilliant in a different way - more like a slice of life drama.

Cho Seung-woo is a totally different man from Shi-mok in FoS, dapper and corporate savvy.

Enjoy!

4
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I always say Life is a drama un which nothing really happens, it’s a drama that takes place in a hospital but it’s not a medical drama, many people find it boring. I just loved it!

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved it. It's really subtle but it makes a powerful point against the tsunami that swept over hospitals and universities in the last decade - that they had to be profit making. COVID has now put a bomb under that, so Life will now have immediate relevance and even more bite. It seems like nothing is happening. It's a slow, slow burn, but oh, so good.

2

I started rewatching Life recently and it's jarring how different CSW looks from season 2 of FOS!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

For me it would have seemed hypocritical if she'd saluted.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you, @quirkycase, for being with us every step of the way through season 2. I loved season 1 and thought this season almost lived up to it - just separated by hair's breadth. I agree with you about the Yeon-jae/Hanjo part feeling isolated this season. I would have loved to see Yeon-jae and Yeo-jin go head-to-head, like they did in season 1. I also agree with you about Dong-jae surviving all that (should have toned down the blood splatter). I thoroughly enjoyed the deeper dive into organizations and systems and the big consequences of small injustices. I guffawed at the way Dong-jae's last scene is of him leaning in - in his sly, conspiratorial way and the scene cutting out before we find out if he's going to spill or cover up. Same reaction to how he ended season 1 appearing not to have changed from his weaselly ways at all.

I was ready to be depressed with Yeo-jin's ending (even Yeo-jin is a victim of bullying...) until they had Kim Won Hae come in to shake her hand. Our girl will be okay! And ending on Shi-mok/Jo Seung Woo's cute smile, like it did in season 1, is just perfect!

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

A perfect ending with just the right combination of fear and hope for the future. Shi-mok and Yeo-jin are still cogs in the machine, but continue to do their best to make the world a better place. Kang Won-cheol finally proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a good man. Choi Bit uses whatever remaining influence she has to avert another Segok. Meanwhile: Woo Tae-ha might avoid arrest; Dong-jae’s dream of being useful to Hanjo might finally come true; and Lee Yeon-jae forges relentlessly ahead in her father’s footsteps.

IMO Season 2 is more mature and daring than Season 1, with the writer getting closer to reality while moving further away from what is usually expected of K-drama. Also, does anyone else find Season 2 easier to follow? To me, Season 1 feels like it has a lot more characters doing different things for different reasons. Season 2 has come a long way from Tongyeong, yet seems more focused.

17
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes to me Season 2 is the superior season. But that's because it's very much a culmination of season 1 and is built brilliantly on it. So while it's superior it requires season 1 to be so.

10
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, I think in many instances the full significance of what certain characters do or say in Season 2 will only be evident if the viewer knows what happened in Season 1. In ep16, Kang Won-cheol's remonstrances are the more bitter when we remember how Lee Chang-joon was practically torn apart by his great love for his wife and his great hatred of everything her family stands for. (In fact I wonder if LCJ sometimes resented loving LYJ, and whether LYJ's current activities are partly fuelled by anger at having been completely shut out of his huge sacrifice.)

Then again, I'm not sure if it's a good thing for Season 2 to depend so much on 1, and I do wonder what it'd be like to watch 2 without any knowledge of 1. IMO backstory isn't always a plus, e.g. I've always felt that Shi-mok's backstory was a bit makjang and cliched, and I truly believe I would have accepted him as he's been in Season 2, straight face and headaches and all, without knowing anything about his past.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Didn't LCJ once tell LYJ that he had regrets about the marriage? That must have hurt and then Won Chul came along this episode saying the same thing. It's one of her insecurities and was thrown back at her again

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I also felt that ShiMok’s back story and reason for stoicism was the weakest part of season 1. However, I appreciate the writer keeping drama related to ShiMok’s surgery to a minimum.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

To the writer's credit, season 1 was perfect to hook you in and in season 2 the gloves come off

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

That sounds right. And if the ratings are anything to go by, it seems to have worked.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hopefully, it plays a role in decision to make season 3. Not sure if Netflix has any say in it.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

“Those who want silence, are all accomplices.”

I think writer Lee Soo-yeon captured this theme wonderfully, keeping it central to her characters’ motivations throughout the drama’s run.

At first, it’s easy to simply assign the drama's tagline to the ‘bad' characters — the ones who desire silence in order to conceal the crimes they’ve committed. Kim Hu-jeong acted out of desperation and almost killed another man, in a bid to silence Dong-jae and cover up the truth of his bullies’ murder. Woo Tae-ha did everything in his power to bury the Park Gwang-soo case, even viewing SDJ's life as less important and less valuable, in order to rise up the ranks and keep a firm grasp on his power.

But then, we realise that there are characters who fall into the gray area in between ‘bad’ and ‘good’. Choi Bit stayed silent about the PGS cover-up and got a promotion out of it, but she was forced into that situation by a higher-up — one that would have been very difficult to disobey, because her life could very well be ruined if she did (like how WTH threatened to ruin HYJ). Despite HYJ saying that CB would have been able to attain that rank eventually, it could also very well not have happened — they live in a society where one after-work dinner between old boys can push a male employee several steps further than what years of diligence can do for a female colleague. Of course, that doesn’t excuse CB’s actions, and it doesn’t change the fact that CB took the easy way out when she ought to have spoken up. But it contextualises and humanises her struggle, and allows us to feel sympathy for the way she was backed into a corner.

Similarly, we have another complex female character in the form of Lee Yeon-jae. She uses shady, underhanded measures to keep a tight rein on her power, but underneath it all her emotions run deeper than she lets on. We saw this in her heartbreak after LCJ’s death last season, and we see it again in the confrontation with KWC, where he echoes LCJ’s words last season that implied meeting LYJ was a mistake from the very start. Those words clearly hurt LYJ deeply, because it’s difficult, nearing impossible, to maintain power as a chaebol while keeping her hands clean. And it pains her that she can’t live by LCJ’s beliefs. But this conflict is not an easily resolvable one, because it pits LYJ, the Hanjo CEO, against LYJ, LCJ’s wife, and LYJ will have to sacrifice one identity in order to live by the principles of the other.

20
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

On top of all this, Lee Soo-yeon takes it one step further, and shows us that even ‘good people’ — the characters we’ve come to trust, the ones we uphold as paragons of virtue — are not infallible to silence.

We see this when Yeo-jin wavers and ultimately chooses to keep quiet about the assemblyman’s case as CB advised her to, raising the question of whether it’s preferable to not rock the boat. We see this when Shi-mok (unintentionally) tries to use his connections to obtain a warrant, raising the question of whether it’s acceptable to make such deals behind closed doors in the name of justice. And we see this when Kang Won-cheol accepts the illegally-obtained information from Hanjo, raising the question of whether we ought to sacrifice our morals for the (supposedly) greater good.

Ultimately, while the people in the first category have been more proactive in conspiring to stay silent in order to cover up their deeds, that doesn’t absolve those in the latter categories from the weight of their silence. To keep silent in the face of injustice is not to remain neutral, but to aid and abet, to enable people to get away unscathed after committing misdeeds. Just like Yeo-jin said in Season 1: “They’ve become like this because they can get away with it. They know people will turn a blind eye. If one person keeps his or her eyes wide open and speaks up, this can change.” KHJ’s bullying wouldn’t have escalated to that extent if his teachers or his schoolmates did something to stop it. SDJ’s kidnapping wouldn’t have dragged out for that long if the people involved in the PGS case and the Segok case had revealed the truth and taken themselves out of the equation earlier. Instead, all the lies piled up in layer after layer of deceit, obscuring the truth and obstructing justice.

The idea of perfect justice is an ideal that does not exist in the real world. Just like what HSM and HYJ have revealed over the course of two seasons, what we call justice is in fact flawed and tainted by corruption and human greed. And yet, as LCJ said: “In the belief that a handful of hope is better than immeasurable despair, we move forward with unwavering determination once again.” While perfect, unblemished justice may never be attainable, that is not an excuse to give up. Instead, we ought to try our best to take a step towards it, however small that step may be.

18
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, perhaps reform will be fruitless. Yes, perhaps for every corrupt official that is weeded out, two more will spring up to take their place. Yes, perhaps we will always be on the losing end of this fight. But to stop is to fail entirely. Hence, we ought to march on, determined and resolute in our quest for change.

In my opinion, Writer Lee Soo-yeon has written an absolute masterpiece. Despite the reservations some viewers had about this season, I thoroughly enjoyed the way she posed these philosophical and ideological questions, and the way she wove them so seamlessly into her depiction of these drama characters while still keeping it grounded and true to life. She painted a realistic picture of today’s society, and yet in the midst of that bleak fog, she shines a beacon of hope. One that is bright and unwavering, however small it may be. And that is why this season has carved a space for itself in my heart, and I will always remember it fondly. ♡

(I usually don’t comment, despite lurking on DB for over half a decade, but FOS2 was just so breathtakingly good that I had to write out my thoughts. As we used to say back then, in the recaps of Liar Game: seven seasons and a movie, please!)

14
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

i couldn't word it better! thank you for all this i agreed with your points!!

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well, she did make Shi-Mok quoted 'Crime and Punishment', a stellar piece of work by Dostoevsky. I felt a lot of ideologies and philosophical questions inserted in this season are based on that book, but made fresh and easier to digest for general audience.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I noticed that as well! Especially the emphasis on "the ends justify the means but at what cost" aspect

3

You have pinned it beautifully. Especially this: "while the people in the first category have been more proactive in conspiring to stay silent in order to cover up their deeds, that doesn’t absolve those in the latter categories from the weight of their silence". And this - "The idea of perfect justice is an ideal that does not exist in the real world." FOS explores this in such an engaging way without being tedious, didactic or moralistic. A hard thing to do.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

i honestly think season 2 is so realistic..the writing is still mindblowing i'm amazed with last few eps..also love that they tackles the bully issues from kids to even HQ's higher rank police..the thing that shimok felt about lee changjun last season happened to yeojin and choibit in this season. exposing higher up for justice but shimok and yeojin are still suffering the same i guess that's how Stranger is

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

And it comes to an end once again and I have to accept it with heavy heart . And as fitting with this series and the writer , the ending is not tied with a bow but an open realistic ending that although the country is over run by corruption but as long as there a some people like Shimok and Yeo Jin there is still hope and it rings for every country now a days and its message to us as well that we must see past the smoke and support people like our protagonists and fight for truth and justice.
I go back to what Prosecution Kangs warning to Sa Hyun that their biggest mistake would be to think to use Shi Mok just as a model and thats exacly what happened. Shimok is relentless when it comes to finding out the truth and giving justice. Once he finds a thread , he wont stop till finds all the loose ends. Though I am gonna lie , one of things I was really looking forward to was the development of Yeo Jin and Shimok's friendships as in more scenes with them but i think it was lesser than 1st season. I loved their camaraderie and was looking more of their scenes. But even with the lack of their scenes together , the writer subtly showed how much Shimok trusted Yeo Jin. She is the first person who he opened upto about his trauma and openly discusses about his headaches and YEO JIN is the first Shi Mok spoke up about and wanted to protect which speaks volumes of how much he cares about her coz its not like him to do that. All in All it was another really good season from the writers and director. I do hope there is Season 3 and they delve into the backstory of Shimok and Yeo Jin coz tbh we know nothing about them.
Thanks @quirkycase for the wonderful recaps. Always looked forward to it.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Right, I think a bittersweet ending like this one is a bit more inspiring than a perfectly happy one where all the issues and corruption has been magically solved. It shows that yes, problems will always exists but you don't have to be a cog in the machine. Instead be more like Yeo-jin and Shi-mok

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

it's over and I'm gonna miss it. It was a bit confusing for me as I feel like every case has potential as the reason why our handsome weasel is kidnapped but when I sit back and watch without being so anxious if someone will die this season, it was all there. Loving the way how the plots are brilliantly written. This season focuses on the police and prosecutors war and it seems like hanjo is a bit out of place. But I think this is a setup for the next season.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"This season was a much slower burn, which may not be to everyone’s taste."

I'd be one of that group. When the plot was moving it was exciting, but there were way too many scenes, especially in the early going, of people just sitting around and talking.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved this season almost as much as the first season which I think is really rare because second seasons can hardly live up to the first. The writer did a great job with exploring the theme of this season. One thing I did feel disappointed about is the lack of Seo Dong-jae, don’t get me wrong I do understand how his character impacted the storyline of this season and I loved that, but I was really looking forward to seeing our Weasel back just for him to be missing for majority of the episodes. That being said, I think it’s mainly because of the uncertainty of whether there will be a season 3 that keeps me dissatisfied because otherwise I know that he’ll play a major role next season. I also miss Yeo-jin and Shi-mok interacting this season as we didn’t get much but these are only minor complaints from my end.

Now talking about the last episode, I loved that season 2 ended the same way as season 1 with HSM’s beaming smile! I loved the special appearances by YJM and SHS that scene really made me cry a lot. Crossing my fingers for a season 3!

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

If previous eps left me empty and lost, I want to believe that the finale eps is all about hope. Some people will probably be dissatisfied with how things end, because there's no clear wins and losses about important issues like the investigative right and Hanjo's takeover. That while Woo Tae-ha has to face the consequence of his action, the systemized corruption is still pretty much unchanged (and probably will continue to be for the next several years). But Lee Chang-jun's narration at the closing is a good reminder that change is always going to be a never ending process. That a handful of hope is infinitely better than nothing.

I want to hope from Yoon's remorse that some people can turn a new leaf after a dreadful mistake. I want to hope from Chief Kang that some people know when to stop before doing more damaging justification for his choices. I want to hope from Yeon-jae's wavering stance that in some cases, while you can't exactly change the way you are, you can egg others on to make sure there's still a check-and-balance system in place, however flawed.

I want to hope from Dong-jae's little moment with his wife that we could be wrong, that we could be too quick to judge others, and that ultimately things could be much better than it appeared to be. I want to hope from Jung Min-ha's determined steps that while people like Eun-soo fell down as casualties of massive corruption, many more young idealistic people will take their place and make a difference in the world.

And most of all, I want to hope from the smallest gesture and kind words that reached from one old friend to another, from mentors to their hoobae, from unexpected people that has made an impact in one another's lives. Sometimes, that was all it takes to give support, to share some burden, to show concern, to help others brave the long and tiring journeys ahead. And from Yeo-jin's and Shi-mok's genuine smile, I'm pretty sure they also learned the same thing. ☺

19
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think Writer Lee will be pleased to see your “hope” tributes.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Overall, the only downsides I had for this season was that I found the lighting/camera work to be odd at certain points, and some of the scenes didn't smoothly transition (at least for me).

I really hope that we get a season 3! Shi-Mok and Yeo-Jin are my favorite characters- not just in dramaland, but I think in any show or movie I've ever watched.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Another thing I forgot to mention. When Dong-Jae got kidnapped, I felt as if all of the levity was taken out of the show, which made it feel exhausting at times. I wanted our main duo to be on screen more together because the whole situation felt hopeless at times. I think this got better, particularly during the last few episodes (Ep 10-Ep 16).

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

So.
Hanjo. Threats against Dong-Je.
Conflict in Yeo-Jin’s new office.
I think there’s enough to warrant a third season.
When will we find out?

I’m really interested in whether any real government police or legal figures have publicly commented on the show and complained or congratulated it?

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Am just so, so happy Yeo-jin finally cut her hair and having a semblance to her old self, and Shi-mook likes it too! This season she really has been tried and found true; I really don't think she can life with herself had she ever compromised her integrity, and that's just so DAMN admirable.

Jang Gun looking at Yeo-jin's drawing for the last time is so bittersweet, because as much as I want things to forever stay the same, am glad to see everybody moving on...

On the dream sequence, Shi-mok seemed to accept Chang-joon's mandate that he still have things to do here on earth. But it also seemed that Chang-joon look also spoke, "We're not letting this guy joining us yet, so here, take care of Dong-jae for me." ><

And if there'll be a season 3, am totally going to watch. Just let Dong-jae be in more episodes, please!

13
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This season was different indeed but little more realistic for me.

For the Police-Prosecution war, Sa-Hyun said it : it works with the good persons. Seo-Jin and Shi-Mok are a perfect team. Sa-Hyun would have been an interesting new character for me. He was so wrong by thinking that Shi-Mok is a "normal" person and seeing him dumbfounded at Shi-Mok was pretty funny. But at the end, he was a good prosecutor.

I was disapointed by Yeon-Jae. I thought she took Hanjo to make changes, but she just acted like her father. It looks that her husband's death was useless and it's sad. If I wasn't interesting by Hanjo's plot, it showed how big corporation have a role in our society in the justice or in the politics, it's so frustrating.

It was sad for Chief Choi but in the same time, she made choices and now she has to pay for it, like Chief Kang. Two very professional and smart people but who chose the easy way.

Dong-jae is so unpredictable, so it's hard to predict what he will say during the investigation. But in the same time, he was kidnapped by doing his job. On his 4 last dramas, Lee Joon Hyuk was kidnapped or left for dead in 3... I'm curious how he chose his roles xD

The Shi-Mok's dream was so sad. I think it's why Seo-Jin went in the prison to see Se-Won. In the dream, he left with the dead people. I think she was scared that he will commit suicide and wanted to give something to hold, he's not alone.

The end is kinda bitter for our incredible leads. They did all the work but they're treated like the plague by their own colleagues. Seo-Jin crying alone in this sad room broke my heart...

I think Seo-Jin and Shi-Mok needs a banbogi sometimes and not waiting for years without seing each other !

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved that SJ cared enough and took enough responsibility for Se-won that she not only went to see him but gave him a reason/obligation to keep living - for the sake of the son of the victim, and the son's need to come to terms with his father's death, by extending forgiveness to the perpetrator. Such a smart thing to do.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

That dream sequence!! Did anyone else notice when Eun-soo and the rest of them were all walking away, Shi-mok started to lift his arm to reach out to them? ㅠ.ㅠ

Anyways on the recap for Ep. 15, I mentioned my love for how the writer was able to scatter moments throughout the entire season and for all those moments to lead to something deeply meaningful for Yeo-jin.

Well for this episode, I feel that the dream sequence is the final moment building the connection that Shi-mok and Dong-jae have. All through the various episodes, I feel there were moments hinting at their connection. For one, although Shi-mok didn’t realize it, his stress headaches were related to SDJ. Another time is when Shi-mok asked Sa-hyun about what it means to be worried, and then moments later literally showing what “worry” looks like by running out the door after getting news about the kidnapping case. Or even his release of anger while interrogating SDJ’s kidnapper. Those scenes illustrate how Dong-jae does have meaning in Shi-mok’s life. Finally in Shi-mok’s dream, Chang-joon stops Dong-jae from walking their way and Dong-jae looks back to Shi-mok. This symbolizes how both SM and DJ are now the last two prosecutors left who experienced what happened 2 years ago, and are bonded together through that ordeal but I doubt either of them fully realize that yet.

I also feel Chang-joon stopping Dong-jae echoed his last words to DJ in the first season. Essentially, “don’t walk down my corrupt path, you still have a chance so turn around and be a righteous prosecutor”.

Ugh so sad this season is now over, but thank you for the all excellent recaps and I’m truly hoping for a third season!

12
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Reading @quirkycase's recaps and beanies's discussions had enhanced my experience watching with this wonderful drama. I love reading all your thoughts about this complex and intelligent drama, making me love it even more.
I could tell there is a sense of pride from everyone involved in this project, from the main and supporting casts to behind the scene staff. They all did the best of their ability to bring this beautiful-written script on screen and it is shown in every scene. Despite it was filmed during the surge of Covid in SK, the difficulty of finding filming location and the concern for health and safety, they have produced one of the best TV show for us.
Stranger series have ruined my kdrama and TV in any languages for me. I am looking forward to season 3 and the next (many) works from this writer.

9
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Stranger series has ruined my kdrama and TV in any languages for me. Same for me.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

A great finale to capped off Stranger 2 (thanks quirkycase) :D
That scene where Yeo-jin cried....I can really feel her helplessness and loneliness plus contributing a few drops of tears on my own as well :P Doing the right thing is really a thankless job.

The highlight of this whole series is really about people and their moral compass. There will always be difficult situations that make people do the wrong thing but at the end of the day it's also their own decision and courage to either own up or continue to live with a lie. This is perfectly played out by the characters of Chief Choi, Woo TH & CP Kang.

Though the story for Stranger Part 1 & 2 are quite different, I liked part 2 more because I can feel the message that this show is trying to tell the viewers. This is no easy feat when it comes to a slow pace show like Stranger thus kudos to the writer, PD and also the whole cast for making it work.

I'll be hoping for a Stranger 3 and beyond as per Cho Seung-woo's award acceptance speech indicated hahaha :)

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I would love a Season 3! But they should not rush it to be able to maintain the quality of the storytelling and when all key actors are available to lead the drama.

YeoJin and Shimok are perfect this season. I love their teamwork and steadfast in doing the job they were assigned ro do. I like that despite the obvious pressure they stood by their own morals and values to do what is right. It would be interesting to see where the writer will take the characters next. Whenever that will be, I will be sure to watch it. 😁

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Shi-mok's smile would be the ending scene of ALL dramas from now on if it were up to me. That, and Dong-jae's swagger. I absolutely love that as Jo Seung-woo and Lee Joon-hyuk have now played Shi-mok and Dong-jae in two seasons, their tones and body language have evolved to become so distinctive, to the point that you attribute them only to these characters. I haven't seen "Shi-mok's smile" in any other characters Jo Seung-woo played, and the same with the "haughty smirk" that Lee Joon-hyuk reserved only for Dong-jae. They really should be trademarked.

I think I get the most bittersweet feeling from losing Kang Won-chul this season. Hanjo used an underhanded method to bait him with that "leaked" financial document and he inadvertently fell into their trap. However, even in Season 1, he has the tendency to accept the chalice of poison (which Shi-mok refuses to drink from), if it means justice will be served in the end, so I can't say I'm totally surprised with his choices here. What I respect though, is that he owns up to his mistakes and takes responsibility, like a good leader and role model that he is. I know he's still alive and kicking (and won't be losing his sparks anywhere he goes), but I'm going to miss him being the awesome chief prosecutor who's not afraid to take on the Hanjo giant. It's such a shame that Shi-mok's losing his reluctant mentor and dependable sunbae. I have high hopes that Kim Sa-hyun can fill this role if Season 3 comes along. Speaking of the trap Hanjo set for Kang Won-chul, I noticed that his deputy chief prosecutor is a close hoobae of Oh Joo-seon, and he was quite vocal in advocating for Kang Won-chul to take the document, and go public with the investigation on Hanjo Engineering. Is this a mere coincidence or do you think that the scene where he said hello to OJS (and got promptly ignored by Manager Park) implies that he's in on it?

Overall I love this second season of FoS, which I think still lives up to the legendary phenomenon that is its predecessor. Many dramas with follow-up seasons fail spectacularly but LSY's strong writing not only manages to build up the drama's narrative as a continuation of the first season, but also enriches its world while still staying true to its recurrent themes. Directing-wise, I thought the new PD Park Hyun-suk did a decent job. Sure it wasn't as stylish or visually stunning as the first season, but his approach was effective and not at all distracting from the story. If they confirm Season 3, who would you want as the PD? I've been a big fan of Kim Won-seok (Misaeng, Signal, My Ajusshi) and occasionally wonder how S3 will look like if he's at the helm. There are also Kim Cheol-kyu (Chicago Typewriter, Flower of Evil) and Lee Jung-hyo (Heartless City, Life on Mars). Mo Wan-il (Misty, The World of The Married) is also not a bad choice, but unfortunately he's tied to jTBC.

10
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I didn't start liking Kang in Season 1 till towards the end, but he was fabulous in Season 2 from start to finish. I love his sardonic and slightly louche manner (I'm quite sad no one has commented on his "Who are you and why are you calling so late" response to Shi-mok's unceremonious phone inquiry about his class/year), which masks a lot more integrity and feeling than I'd expected. And you're so right about his deputy. I only noticed that Oh Joo-seon was ridiculously pleased at the deference the deputy showed him; it didn't occur to me that the deputy might be, if not in league with Hanjo, then at least a lot more sympathetic than he should be.

Kim Jin-min (Extracurricular, Marriage Contract, Bittersweet Life, Shin Don) seems to have started something with Netflix, so he's my main candidate for Season 3!

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oooh I forgot about Kim Jin-min. I enjoyed Extracurricular, and thought the directing there was top-notch. We can all dream and have fantasy casting until they confirm Season 3 (Please, Drama Gods...)

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Fantasy casting, eh? Maybe a few Kim Jin-min regulars, like Choi Min-soo, Son Chang-min and Jung Bo-seok? It's about time the latter two got out of daily drama hell...

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I would love it if the director of the first season, Ahn Gil Ho, came back. It's kind of hard for me to articulate but from some of the work I've seen from him so far, there always seems to be a humanistic/grounded approach to his direction? However your idea of Kim Won-seok sounds like a simply amazing match!

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Love Ahn Gil-ho and what he's done with the first season, which is timeless and doesn't feel outdated on rewatch years later. He really set the tone of the franchise and raise the bar up so high that it gives his successor so much stress and pressure (Park Hyun-suk admitted it himself). On the one hand I secretly hope he'll come back to direct S3, but on the other hand I'd love it if they give other capable directors a chance to try their hands on FoS, and continue the legacy while infusing it with their own individual style. That way S2 won't be the odd one out and FoS can still continue to evolve along with the time.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I remember being very impressed with the first season and this season doesn't disappoint! I love, love, love it. Salute to the production team and the amazing cast for creating this layered, complex and masterful piece. A wonderful gem.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

First of all, thanks so much for the recaps and comments @quirkycase, and also to all the beanies who commented here and in the wall. You all made the watching even better.

It was a perfect ending, and I loved everything of it. WTH realising (or being puzzled, I’m not pretty sure) he’s not untouchable, Choi Bit doing the right thing at the end, Chief Kang telling Yeon Jae what she needed to hear and admitting he had been too easy in the drowning case, Dong Jae playing the weasel (will he say yes? Will he say no?). And above all YeoJin and ShiMok smiles. I live for them!

I was also on that boat where I loved so much S1 I was really scared S2 could Ruib things. It was not. So please, bring S3. Writer-nim, I’m devoted to you!

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

As much as I don't want to say goodbye, this was such a great run. And if the casts and writer are up for a Season 3, I would be more than happy to wait another 2 years.

Thank you @quirkycase for the recaps and to all the beanies for the awesome discussion! I can only upvote since I'm not good with words.

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wanted to add something xD

Throughout this season I've always wanted to look into Shi-mok's thoughts. Then the slow-motion of his back came when he got out of the office. His back looked really heavy, it was carrying too much but there was no way he could express it. Then BOOM, came the dream sequence. It did scare me because Mr. Yoon and Kang was there, which we know are alive. It was more than enough to know what Shi-mok feels.

Yeo-jin will always have my heart for how strong she has been this season. There may be hiccups along the way but I'm sure she'll continue to be true to herself.

It's the first weekend without a new ep of FoS2 and I'm feeling that emptiness.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well, now what am I supposed to look forward to on weekends?? There were so many satisfactory moments in the finale and I noticed little crumbs for a potential third season. First of all, I'm so glad Kang Won-Chul came through for his boys! Peak dad mode complete with a fishing trip! It was at the expense of himself and understandably he has regrets but he made the best of a terrible situation. Some serious BDE to go up to Yeon-jae and throw her dead husband at her face. I think he's down but not out yet...Also, I love that no matter what happens, Dong-jae is always going to remain shady. He wanted to climb the ladder of success and now potentially has Hanjo on his side. Maybe in the end not everyone learns from their mistakes.

I really felt for Yeo-jin! It was so frustrating to watch people blame her. Her conversation with Geon and him picking up on her emotions right away was so touching. His sad little look at her drawing killed me too! I felt a sense of loss in that moment because maybe like him I'd hoped she'd be back in a more secure workplace but now officially isn't returning. But I'm also happy to see her move up and onward because the administration needs more people like her. Choi Bit not getting the salute from the one person who was her strongest advocate was such as blow so I'm glad she still vouched for Yeo-jin in the end. I think Choi Bit's story shows that it's not wrong to have ambition, but to go about it the right away.

Similarly, Shi-mok will also be fine and keep fighting the good fight. We saw his growth this season, like his queries about Yeo-jin and growing ease with other people. His dream was a nice insight into his thoughts as well. I felt like he was sort of yearning of the "easier days" of the past where he wasn't as burdened. Everyone he saw at the end of the hallways have succumbed to the system in some way and Shi-mok himself appeared ready to give in for a moment. I think dream!Dong-jae not walking to the end of the hallway shows Shi-mok
hasn't completely given up on him.

Overall, I enjoyed this season and was invested the whole time. Stranger/FOS really treats its audience as discerning viewers who will pick up on the nuance and details without relying on obvious tropes. On the downside, I found myself less invested in the Hanjo plot and also felt like we got less Yeo-jin - Shi-mok content this season compared to the last. While that did make the moments they had together more anticipated, I personally felt like something key was missing at times.

I'd be over the moon if there was a season 3 and can't help but wonder what direction our characters will go in? If another season doesn't happen this would still be a nice albeit bittersweet ending. No happily ever afters, but rather our mains moving on to the next chapter of their lives. I find it reassuring that even though they're in different cities, they still have this bond. There will no doubt be plenty of ribbing from Yeo-jin...

10
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

about Shi-mok's manners!

A huge thank you to the writer, actors, director, and all the production staff for their amazing work!!

Finally, I'm going to miss discussing this show with everyone here on DB! Despite watching dramas for years, this was the first time I participated in discussions. You all are so insightful! Let me know what you're watching next!

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Somehow it's more unbearable when a strong person like Yeo-jin breaks down. That was a truly brilliant scene, brilliantly played by Bae Doo-na. That single threatening step she took towards the bullies! Her contemptuous laughter! Then pacing about, trying to calm herself down, but losing it the moment she hears kind words from a true friend. I agree that someone like her is much needed at HQ, but maybe YJ herself believes that applying to return to Yongsan would be the easy way out - first she has to prove the bullies wrong and make her mark at the Intelligence Bureau.

11
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! My Queen is going places...

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I guess the good of this Forest of Secrets is mentioned enough, so I don't repeat here. I just want to point out 2 things.

First of all, I start to think Shi-mok may love Eun-soo, who killed last season. He obviously misses her a lot, and that's why at some point I think the aura between him and Min-ha is kind of interesting, as Min-ha and Eun-soo are both appendices to Dong-jae, and both have similar situation under him. His impression to both of them is a result he is unable to understand emotion. It maybe I am way too sensitive, but that's what I think.

I believe Yeon-jae's underdevelopment is a result of keeping her as the major villain in Season 3, so yes, I do believe there is a Season 3. For this season, though, the best villain is the one rarely shows up, or even not showing up at all, but his/her hands are like everywhere. This is exactly what I feel here, and therefore I don't think her part lesser then usual is a problem at all.

So, look forward to Season 3, my friends!!

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't know about Shi-Mok loving Eun Soo... I feel like it's more of a guilt than love (although he might have a sort of affection towards her because imo, she is a potential, hard-working young prosecutor and he knows that). Eun Soo wouldn't have died if Shi-Mok had at least tried to trust her, but in the end he didn't (just like what he said to Yeo Jin in the 1st season final episode). If only he regarded her better, if only he answered her last phone call to him, if only he agreed to meet her... I bet all of these "ifs" unconsciously appears in his mind, especially after meeting Jung Min-ah. He didn't get to mourn properly as well; or he can't, to be exact.

But the wonderful thing about season 2 is that we see him trying to be more engaged with his emotions, to be less cocky, to regard other people around him better. If those punks in the Supreme Prosecutors' Office had met 1st season's version of Shi-Mok, I bet they wouldn't be able to put up with him as long as they did in the 2nd season (remember how he talked back to LCJ? I love those scenes). He knows now, albeit not perfectly, that there are moments when he can be all smart and talk back and stuff, and there are other moments when he needs to just observe. I also see that unlike in season 1, where he was all quiet and just basically trust nobody, in this season he opens himself a little bit more to other people (especially to HYJ), and express his emotions a little bit more. I was really surprised when he told Yeo-Jin about Eun-soo; 1st season Shi-Mok didn't even flinch seeing a dead body, but we can see the effect Eun-soo's death and Yeo-Jin's compassionate behaviour have on him. He freaking SELF-REFLECTS, everyone, about how he feels; who would've thought?! And it's fantastic.

I can talk about HSM all day. And I haven't even talked about Han Yeo-Jin (when she cried, I cried T_T). And Kang Won-cheol (best work dad EVER). I'm too invested in these characters. It's really sad that 2nd season is over, but it also feels very satisfying. Here's hoping that they'd all agree to a third season!

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree with you that what Shi-mok feels towards Eun-soo is more like guilt and regret. She was the daughter of one of his law professors who happened to be one of the few people who did not think Shi-mok was weird. He was expected to look after her. As you grow older, it hits you more how young she was. It's just tragic.

This season, Shi-mok got to experience and understand relationships/politics. I don't think season 1 Shi-mok would have been capable of meeting with Choi Bit to tell her how Tae-ha is going to throw her under the bus and that she could end things on her terms - on righteous terms that would ultimately protect Yeo-jin.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

My impression was that Shi-Mok tried to protect Eun Soo in S1 by keeping her out of the loop (and also because she had a prejudice in her investigating - she was emotionally involved in the outcome), but she insisted on getting involved. Her father also gave SM responsibility for her and that's why he was firstly, so protective and secondly, so gutted. He was hard on her because he was fond of her. I don't know that it was any more than that.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I, too, think Shi-mom’s feeling for Eun-soo is more guilt than anything else. Not only that she’s a hoobae, her father is also his respected mentor - but looking back, he must have regretted his indifference and not trusting her. Of course, Min-ha is conveying the same vibe as a young and enthusiastic newbie. Glad to see him being more attentive to what she said and asking her to investigate the police station bullying case.

On Yeon-jae being reserved as a chief ‘villain’ In S3, that’s my thought too - although the idealism in me hopes that she’d be more a positive change agent than a traditional villain. As Chief Prosecutor Kang said, she HAS the power to do things differently and run a corporate as an organisation of people. That scene is remarkable and I certainly believe it lays the ground for the theme in S3.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Awww~

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you for the all the recaps quirkycase! This season is definitely different in pacing and tone but I think I ended up enjoying it just as much as the first.

Stranger never really shies away from the backlash that doing the right thing within a corrupt system incurs (the bullying, ostracization, transfers, etc.) but I appreciate it ends on a hopeful note. I was hoping for more of Yeo-jin's doodles but I think I'm just happy we end on a smile from both Yeo-jin and Shi-mok lol.

This season's been rough for Yeo-jin especially, and while I have a lot of complicated feelings about Choi Bit, Yeo-jin's obvious feelings of betrayal both at Choi Bit and herself had me crying at multiple points. I think I'd have been fine if she had decided to go back to Yongsan, because field work does suit her, and if she decided that that was where she was most happiest and most needed then good for her. But the formalized move into Intelligence does feel like a step forward for her, and a doubling-down on her convictions to do the right/moral thing. So while I'm sad she's left Yongsan for good, I'm pretty happy with Yeo-jin deciding to instigate change higher up.

I found the Hanjo lines the most uninteresting as well and (more frustrating) the most obviously unresolved. I suppose it's a hint for a possible S3? Yeon-jae's almost paradoxical reactions to her husband's death is definitely the most interesting aspect of those lines but I'm not quite sure what to make of it tbh

I'm wary of wishing for more seasons but if any writer could pull it off...

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am late to this party, but glad that I at least was able to catch up for this finale recap. This season indeed was a slow burn, and thus I had to had put this show onhold after ep 4, but then resumed (and binge-watched) the rest this week. FOS1 left a great impression on me and this season did not disappoint. Bravo, show!

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Since I can’t verbalize my thoughts as well as you all beanies
😂, I’ll just share the continuation of the information I shared on episode 6 recap. It’s about the current situation in Korea regarding the investigative rights. Source podcast (200901) : http://podbbang.com/ch/9213?e=23730883
- Despite of some changes in the law, the overall situation in the field is pretty much the same as before. According to the revision bills, prosecutor would be allowed to launch direct investigations into crimes under only 6 categories: corruption, economy, public officials, elections, defense projects and large-scale disasters. Hwang Simok might be the type who directly investigates murder case, but usually prosecutor only directly involve on cases such as illegal drugs or bribery/corruption. So there is no significant change.
- For bribery case, police can investigate for amount under KRW300.000 and prosecutor for the amount above. For public official case, police can investigate official below level 4 and prosecutor for the upper lever. But in the practical, a big amount bribery branch down to smaller amount and prosecutor can still process that case anyway. In public official case, usually there are lower levels involved, and prosecutor can still be in charge in those connected cases.
- Prosecutors could open case that is not fall under the six categories if they obtained search and seizure warrants from the court.
(addition from a news article)
- Even though the police is granted the right to close investigations, prosecutor are allowed to review whether the decision was justified.
So there the police have been voicing their dissatisfaction. Despite of the new law, police still pretty much under control of prosecutor and the concern of having the best procedure for the sake of the people still unanswered.

8
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you for the real life updates on the efforts of the real Hwang ShiMoks and Han YeoJins of Korea! Like you said there doesn't seem to be drastic changes but hopefully this is a step forward in the right direction for Korea. And the fact that LeeSooYeon wrote such a compelling drama about these efforts of real life situations will bring more light to potentially more changes in the future. Cheers to a more hopeful Korea and more hopeful world!!

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Cheers!!!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

*correction : 30.000.000 krw 😅 I'm sorry I don't know why I wrote 300k

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Also thank you beanies for all the insightful comments. It was great enhancement for my experience watching this drama. FoS is my #1 all time favorite. I will miss reading and talking about it here with all of you~

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Correct me if I'm wrong, but have you read too about the new Justice Minister and how the prosecution have been mud slinging about her request for special privileges' for her son when he was doing national service. Whether it's true of not (and I think they just found she had no charges to answer), the prosecution have had her in their sights because she is removing people who were undermining the last Justice Minister and who support someone who may be in line to be the new President. The prosecution is so entangled in power politics that they have put themselves up for sale, as SM said. I'd like to see how this sort of scenario plays out in a new season. Wishes. Fingers crossed.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't heard about that so I searched up a bit just now. I see she was cleared from charges and stating it as a political attack. Regardless of which one is the truth and regardless of the country, sometimes political play is so obvious it's like they don't really care how public see it as long as the enemy fell down.

Btw, Ministry of justice is currently in charge of prosecution reform, although police voiced that Ministry of Interior and Safety which has jurisdiction over National Police Agency should also be involved.

New season please. Finger crossed.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It has to happen. Everything has been leading up to this bigger stage.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The characters are all so written well. Every character big or small are given complex scenes. Its amazing as a viewer to see those interactions, and I think that it shows being the FL or ML shouldn't exempt other characters.

I'm not how I feel about the finale, but it feels realistic like S1. In rl, Woo Tae gets away (for now: S3 PLS!!) but its so sad how Choi Bit (literally bit the Bullet) and stepped down & how Yeo-jin felt defeated seeing someone she looked up to dismay her like that. I want to see more of her!

Some weird moments for me: When the police guy said to a new partner, "Your skin got darker" instead of tanner (Unless Netflix subtitles were wrong). Not a big thing, but kinda eh on. Also the dream scenes was a bit cheesy (sorry!) b/c of the music. I guess it was a bit jarring for me, b/c I'm so used to the show not having any lyrical songs play other then instrumental music.

This was an expertly crafted show, from top to bottom. No melodramatic, no silly out of bat stuff, but a puzzle piece like S1. It reminds me of a film in a way, you get the stuff from Ep 1/2 to puzzle us, then midway through it throws out some left fielders like Seo Dong-jae's case/mixing it w/ Park's case. Towards the end, the missing puzzle pieces came together. Loved seeing familiar faces at the end, and Shi-mok's smile getting bigger. S3 is a must since ratings/critical buzz went up! It's going the British format of a few seasons every few yrs, unlike other K-dramas, this genre/story is fitting for more seasons. Can't wait until Season 3!!

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Done rewatching the entire 16 episodes, and what I don’t really like about this second season is mundane compared to what I love about it. The slow pace of the early episodes didn’t bother as much. Shi-mok, Yeo-jin, and Dong-jae are really some of the best characters ever written.

Shi-mok is rock solid. Cho Seung-woo said Shi-mok didn’t change, there’s no need for asking. He might unconsciously asked Chief Kang to have the warrant issued for the apartment rental fraud, but even then he caught himself. Glad that he has Chief Kang as a mentor, Lee Chang-joon chose the right person to support Shi-mok. The best line from Shi-mok, personally for me, is when he said that if he could sell prosecutor’s authority it means someone already put it up for sale. That line stabs deep. Prosecutors bring the problems upon themselves by toying with their authority.

Yeo-jin is like the best friend everybody longs to have. She doesn’t judge and underestimate people’s value. In season 1 she told Shi-mok not to underestimate Dong-jae just because he didn’t have the best track record as a prosecutor. He still passed the exam like Shi-mok did. And in season 2 she and Shi-mok kept searching for Dong-jae when others didn’t bother. That’s why her crying in this episode is really sad. She’s just a genuinely nice person and in the society what she did made her being ostracized.

And lastly for Dong-jae, he made the heavy show much lighter. As much as he bluffs, he does work hard. I won’t be too worried about what he said in the last interrogation. He might still not know much about Park Gwang-soo, just like in season 1 where he rarely got the correct intel. I don’t think he will work for Hanjo as well. He doesn’t really have the connection and power that Hanjo needs lol.

I will miss the cast and really hope the 3rd season is on the way.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Think Dongjae's response at the end is "May I give you advice?". Ok, wrong drama.

If season 3 ever comes, may there be Simok and Yeojin having (more) meals together without interruption, Yeojin and Bit reconnecting over coffee, and Simok and Sahyun bickering/bonding over food, people and work matters. *off to dream*

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

All I have to say is thanks to the writer, director, cast and crew for making this incredible show.
Thanks to @quirkycase for recapping.
Thanks to all the other beanies for the thoughtful discussion and comments. 🙏🏽

I miss ShiMok and YeoJin and hope I will get to see them again. 🥺

For now I will cope by looking go at Bae Donna’s Instagram for all FoS content and “hearting” it. 💖

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gosh there are so many on Instagram..which is her real one?

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Some random observations:

Chief Prosecutor Kang should have stayed and faced up to the Hanjo mob. I thoroughly endorse what he said to Yeon-jae: every organisation is made up of people. When she goes to see Dong-jae in hospital I was shocked at her threat. I’m starting to think she is a truly bad egg.

Dong jae was the best investigator in this series, even though he got kidnapped. I found the tension over the kidnapping episodes almost unendurable and I’m so glad we’ve got him back looking his pretty self.

Love SM’s retort to the deputy prosecutor general: who put the prosecution up for sale? Perfect

The dream sequence broke my heart – I took it to mean that Chang-joon is still commissioning SM to keep walking forward in search of the truth in spite of the frightening threats that he just received from the deputy prosecutor general.

Yeo-jin’s courage when facing the fate of a whistle blower and how the Yongsan team immediately understood how she was feeling.

It’s such a nice touch that she picks up on Se-won and goes to see him. He’s only been in two scenes in this whole drama but he breaks my heart every time. She is such a warm person – makes a change from the hard-bitten stereotype of the female detective that we have been getting for decades

How we come back to Chang-joon’s narration, which makes the significance of the whole drama clear

I loved the contemporary relevance of the drama – police/prosecution power struggle

What I’d like to see in a new season

1. Shi-mok and Yeo-jin forever
2. Dong-jae still working both sides
3. More Choi Bit
4. A big Hanjo show down between Yeon-Jae and her brother Sung-jae
5. A good back story on Sec/Dir Park
6. More Sa-hyun tightrope walking (I like how he gets SM now)
7. More Chief Prosecutor Kang, but now as a lawyer
8. More power struggle politics at a higher level

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes to all of that for Season 3. There are so much for the writer to explore her ideas and vision. I would like to see how big conglomerates (Hanjo and LYJ can be the focus) influences the criminal Justice system or the role of the media in this power struggles and its responsibilities to the public (so that the actor Tae-in Ho can play a bigger role)

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes to all of that, I'd like to see Tae-in Ho more involved too. That was a complex encounter - the lipstick moment.
I want FOS3 to go all the way to the top because this struggle for power has done exactly that in real life.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

thanks all, i liked the recaps and commentaries, and i enjoyed watching this show:-)

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm in for Season 3. This was amazing.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm glad that I binged this season instead of watching it as it aired! It was such a wild ride with a realistic and satisfying ending that I cried throughout it.

In my country, systematic corruption and nepotism is prevalent. So this show hits even harder. Maybe that's why FoS is one of my favorite shows of all time and why Shimok and Yeo Jin mean a lot to me. I find myself being very emotional when it comes to their relationship. Their hardships and unwavering will to pursue justice is inspiring and brings hope to the dark reality we face.

This show made me more invested in my country's current issues and problems and maybe that's the least I can do. To educate myself about them, being aware of why the higher ups do what they do, not to be silent and to speak up whenever I witness even the smallest injustice. I learned a lot from Fos. Full gratitude to the writer and the whole team.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Loved it; thank you for the recaps! I'm ready for Season 3

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you so much for the recaps and analysis! I just caught up and boy, was it a roller coaster of emotions. I looked here after each episode just to make sure I understood the story straight haha.

Shi-mok and Yeo-Jin! What a duo. I will always remember their pursuit of the truth in the complexity of this system and the pursuit of ALL truths in EVERY system.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hope they make a 3rd season lol to see waht happend with Hanjo Group.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dear quirkycase I want to thank you so much for your detailed and insightful writeups. They've contributed so much to my enjoyment of FOS. Just been through fifth rewatch of FOS1 and second of FOS2. In these uncertain times I find them so comforting. Really really praying for more seasons of this quality story. :)

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This series made me research Korean culture, as well as watch Cho Seung Woo's other work. Insider Men helped me realise how much success and rising in Korean workplace and culture is dependent on being born in the right family and having the right sponsors and connections. It also made me realise in FOS2 that neither Shimok not Yeo-Jin have those. By sticking to their principles they are aware how lonely it will further make them which we know that neither are impervious from feeling - his remark to his ex- classmate about being lonely the rest of his life in S1, and Yeo-Jin's obvious unhappiness especially when those two (pls excuse my language) dxxkhead colleagues tried to persuade her to leave the unit.
Makes for an interesting contrast against Taiwah and DongJae who don't seem to have issues cultivating and paying for their connections. I still haven't forgotten or forgiven Dongjae for his treatment of Yeojin and Eunsoo in S1. But that's just me...

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *