Fly Dragon: Episode 10
Public sentiment can be a fickle thing, swapping from one side to another in a matter of seconds. Though our heroes’ sneak attack worked, their opponents have prepared their retaliation, and things take a turn for the worse for our team. As they strive to clear an innocent man’s name, the case becomes complicated the more they learn about the people involved.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Doo-shik and Sang-man recognize Jae-sung on the tv, and Tae-yong calls Yoo-kyung to ask her about her assignment. She tells him that the ceremony ended hours ago, and she published her article already. The group huddles around Sam-soo’s laptop to read, and all but Sam-soo look grim.
According to the article, Jae-sung is now an upstanding citizen who has a loving family, worked as a social worker for ten years, and won multiple medals for his good deeds. Sam-soo believes people don’t change, but everyone else thinks they might have to scrap the next part of their plan.
When Yoo-kyung joins the team, she tells them that Jae-sung looked kind, and Sang-man agrees. Recalling the past, Jae-sung apologized to the detective for lying about his previous confession, but Sang-man looked incredulous, warning the young man that the truth won’t change.
While the group fights over how to handle Jae-sung, Yoo-kyung offers to investigate the culprit, which satisfies both sides. However, Tae-yong is against sending her on such a dangerous assignment, but Yoo-kyung’s determination wins everyone else over, leaving Tae-yong with no say in the matter.
Realizing that something doesn’t add up, Sang-man turns to Doo-shik and asks how he recognized Jae-sung. He tells everyone about the time the prosecutor called him to his office because they caught another suspect. Back then, Doo-shik believed all would be fixed, but things took a strange turn in the meeting.
Prosecutor Yoon asked the young men if they killed the truck driver, and both of them denied it. Compared to Jae-sung’s story about being coerced, and Doo-shik’s rather blasé attitude towards his predicament, the prosecutor sided with the former and sent the Doo-shik back to jail.
His account of the incident dampens the mood, and Sang-man advises Doo-shik against visiting Jae-sung. Sam-soo reminds the group that they’ll push forward with their plans—revealing the criminal’s identity—yet the others still look hesitant.
On the drive back home, Sam-soo outlines his upcoming article about the “shocking transformation” of the Osung case murderer, but Tae-yong puts the brakes on his idea. He wants to avoid another Samjung case outcome and won’t allow Sam-soo to brand a person as a criminal without evidence.
After Tae-yong “accidentally” drops off Sam-soo first, the reporter calls Sang-man to ask for his advice. Unlike his earlier bravado, Sam-soo is just as worried about Yoo-kyung meeting Jae-sung, but Sang-man tells him that there hasn’t been any news about criminals retaliating against reporters—she’ll be safe.
Having that reassurance, Sam-soo goes home in high spirits and shows off his latest article to Jin-shil. He brags about people loving his writing and dances his way to the bedroom before he reveals too much about the case.
As Tae-yong arrives at Yoo-kyung’s house, he gets upset when she doesn’t know why he’s against her investigation, but she tells him that she understands his feelings and places her hand on top of his. She thanks him for this chance to work as a true journalist again, and Tae-yong eagerly offers to give her a ride when she meets Jae-sung. Watching Yoo-kyung go inside, Tae-yong caresses his hand, vowing not to wash it tonight.
Preparing for her new assignment, Yoo-kyung stays up that night to read the case files, and the gruesome details of the murder clash with Jae-sung’s current image. When she returns to work the next day, CEO Moon praises her on a job well done, and she uses this opportunity to ask for permission to interview the winners from the ceremony. Unaware of her ulterior motives, CEO Moon approves of her initiative.
Jin-shil finds Sam-soo whistling in the living room, and he tells her about Yoo-kyung’s investigation. She gets worried about Sam-soo since he’s only good at crying, but he disagrees. He demonstrates some of his skills for her, but one kick from Jin-shil sends him sprawling to the ground.
While our ragtag team prepares for their next course of action, Prosecutor Jang also makes his move and drops by Prosecutor Yoon’s office for a chat. Prosecutor Yoon tells his senior that he did try to solve the case but was admonished by his superior.
Then head prosecutor, Partner Kim, told Prosecutor Yoon that if everyone was at fault, then no one was at fault. He blamed the police for their shoddy investigation and then the judges for their flawed verdicts. Rather than resolve the problem, Partner Kim only cared about avoiding responsibility.
Prosecutor Jang agrees with Partner Kim’s past decision and offers to help the younger prosecutor with the Osung case. He tells Prosecutor Yoon not to interfere any more than he needs to since the higher-ups are already discussing what to do.
Over the phone, Chief Ahn gets permission for a press conference and notifies Detective Bae—his partner during the original Osung case—about their plan of attack. They’ll go after Doo-shik’s past as well as Sang-man’s, but more importantly, Chief Ahn has a secret weapon he prepared a long time ago.
Before Yoo-kyung interviews Jae-sung, Tae-yong hands her a taser in case of an emergency. However, as she begins her investigation, she has no need for the weapon since Jae-sung lives up to his charitable image. All day, he helps the elderly who come for assistance, and everyone sings praises about his character.
Near the end of the interview, Jae-sung tells her that he was troublemaker in the past, but thanks to the guidance of his kind neighbors, he grew up to become a social worker. She asks if he’s referring to anything in particular, but he brushes it off as something anyone could do. Mentioning his birth name, Yoo-kyung tells Jae-sung that what happened that night in Osung wasn’t just an immature accident.
Tae-yong paces around the room, anxious about Yoo-kyung’s safety, but Sang-man tells him that no one retaliates nowadays. Siding with Tae-yong, Attorney Hwang appears with a sledgehammer slung across her shoulder since Jae-sung won’t go to jail without a fight. She points out that Tae-yong had a bat in his trunk as well, and Sam-soo barges outside to check for himself.
He can’t believe the others were preparing weapons without him, and worst of all is Sang-man who kept an axe in his car. Sang-man argues that he’s an old man now, but the others back away in fear as he swings around the axe. Yoo-kyung finds the group making a commotion on the streets and leads them back in for a briefing on her investigation.
After following Jae-sung around, Yoo-kyung came to the conclusion that his new identity isn’t fake. She returns Tae-yong’s present, which causes another round of protests from Sam-soo about feeling left out. He asks if Tae-yong likes Yoo-kyung as a woman, and the others join the bandwagon, teasing the lawyer.
Moving onto happier topics, Sam-soo tells the group that his article funding raised 100 million won (roughly $92,000) and reads some comments out loud to bolster their morale. As he shares some of the top replies, his voice falters since they are all negative. One of them mentions a press conference, and they immediately turn on the tv.
On the news, Chief Ahn gives a police briefing on the Osung case, accusing Doo-shik for being a violent inmate and a menace to society. One by one their phones go off, but Tae-yong tells everyone to ignore the calls since they’re probably from reporters.
In his office, Justice Jo watches the conference as Chief Ahn besmirches Sang-man’s name, charging him for police brutality. For his final piece, the chief brings out a letter he received from Doo-shik while he served his sentence, and he reads aloud Doo-shik’s apology for murdering the truck driver.
As the damning evidence plays on tv, Doo-shik’s family enters the room and hears everything. Though Sam-soo assures the son that his father is innocent, the wife runs out looking betrayed, and Doo-shik chases after them to explain the situation.
Relocating to Sang-man’s house, Sam-soo yells at the others for hesitating and causing this mess. Tae-yong urges the reporter to take things slow, but the other side’s attack is relentless. On tv, victims of Doo-shik’s prior demolition job call him a vicious man, and newspapers keep publishing articles about Sang-man, describing him as a disgraced officer. Celebrating their win, Legislator Kim compliments Justice Jo for his quick and proper response to the crisis.
With the public’s favor against them, Tae-yong sighs at their predicament, and Sam-soo blames him for complicating matters. He shouts at Tae-yong to keep things simple: their goal has been and always will be about clearing Doo-shik’s name.
Tae-yong is firmly against using the press to condemn a person without evidence, but Sam-soo disagrees since they have all the evidence they need. The lawyer points out that Sang-man’s investigation already failed during the first retrial, and he implores Sam-soo to act wisely. Dismayed by their wavering, Sam-soo tells the others that when they have one objective, the road isn’t complicated, and he leaves the group.
The recent shift in public sentiment has also gotten Kwi-hyun in trouble with his boss. Though Kwi-hyun attempts to persuade him using his fancy reasoning, his boss dismisses his arguments and threatens to fire him if Sam-soo’s article is false.
When Sam-soo calls to check on him, Kwi-hyun lies about his precarious circumstances, but his ruse doesn’t last long since Sam-soo overhears the boss reprimanding him. Now that he knows, Kwi-hyun tells Sam-soo to keep going, and Sam-soo thanks him for the support.
Sam-soo calls Jin-shil next, letting her know that he’ll be out late tonight, and she encourages him to keep fighting for the truth. When her father calls, she stands up for Sam-soo and tells him to believe in her partner, too. Tae-yong also makes a call to his family, asking his little brother to help around the house since he’ll be busy for a while.
In the den of evil, Partner Kim thanks everyone for helping him on this case, and Mayor Kang starts rambling about his contributions to the group. As usual, he doesn’t know when to stop, and soon, his long-winded and vulgar rant ruins the mood of the party.
Things get worse when Mayor Kang has Prosecutor Jang share his findings on Sang-man, convinced that all rich people are dirty crooks like him. To his surprise, Sang-man paid his taxes and donated all his money to start a foundation aimed at rehabilitating ex-convicts. While Mayor Kang may have embezzled money and committed tax fraud, Sang-man did none of those things.
Salvaging the situation, Justice Jo reassures the legislator that a retrial will be difficult, but it’s too late to save the party. As Legislator Kim leaves, he scolds Mayor Kang for bragging about all his crimes, but the mayor fails to see his wrongdoings, absolutely certain that Sang-man must have at least one thing to hide.
Doo-shik joins Sam-soo at a bar, but he sticks to water while the drunk reporter pours himself another glass. He wonders why Sam-soo is going above and beyond to help him and cautiously asks about his mom’s case.
Sam-soo shares about the guilt he carries for running away that day, and Doo-shik comments on how hard it must have been for him. He says that it’s nothing compared to Doo-shik’s story, and tells him that he’s helping him because he received something from his son. Just like how his entire neighborhood thought it was no big deal to help raise him, Doo-shik’s son shared his cake with Sam-soo without a second thought.
The rest of the team eat ramyun at Sang-man’s place and wonder how they’ll find the knife. Yoo-kyung asks if Jae-sung really confessed four times, which gets the others questioning why he would only lie about the knife’s location. As they go over the details of the search, Detective Bong’s involvement catches their eye, but Sang-man vouches for his junior.
At the bar, Sam-soo asks Doo-shik about the letter, so he tells the reporter that he did, in fact, write it. His cellmates advised him to act repentant since it might help him get parole, and at the time, it seemed like the best thing he could do.
Meanwhile, the others are still suspicious of Detective Bong even though Sang-man tells them that the detective was just a rookie officer at the time. Their distrust offends Sang-man who ends the discussion and tells them to leave.
Sam-soo buys snacks for Doo-shik’s son, and their talk of children remind Doo-shik of Jae-sung’s two daughters. He’s worried about their family experiencing the same thing his son went through, but Sam-soo refuses to hear his worries. Despite his previous statements, Sam-soo struggles over the correct thing to do, as well, but he’s decided to stick to his resolve and suggests Doo-shik do the same.
During the ride back, Yoo-kyung tells Tae-yong that she might quit for real this time if the newspaper won’t publish her article. She asks him to let her join their team if that happens, but first, she promises to fight with everything she has.
Sam-soo stumbles into Sang-man’s house to keep the ex-detective company, and Sang-man humors the reporter as he leads him to his guest room. After putting Sam-soo to bed, Sang-man grabs a drink as he carefully considers the others’ doubts about his junior.
In the morning, Yoo-kyung reports her findings to her bosses, and CEO Moon calls her out for revealing the prosecutor’s name instead of the criminals. He sees through her tactics to drum up publicity for the retrial and won’t allow her to publish it. He threatens to hold another disciplinary committee, but Yoo-kyung is prepared for them to fire her.
Calling Sam-soo, Yoo-kyung sends over her article to publish on his site instead, and once Sam-soo reads it, he compliments her for becoming a better reporter than him. She tells him not to consider her a little child this time and brings up his old promise to accept her in the future.
He boldly claims to charge forward, but in reality, he frets over how to pay Yoo-kyung for her work. Putting his worries aside for now, Sam-soo calls Kwi-hyun about the article, and Kwi-hyun marvels at her writing, too. Which each declaration, they raise each other’s spirts and release the article to the public.
Sang-man visits Detective Bong again, but this time, he sits next to his junior to avoid looking into his eyes. He asks about the knife and the search warrant, and Detective Bong denies any accusations about him meddling with the case.
Having heard enough, Sang-man thanks him for protecting his faith in people since he was worried about another broken bond. As he leaves, Detective Bong calls after him, and Sang-man growls at him to stop. He already saw his eyes tremble, and Detective Bong hangs his head in shame.
As soon as Yoo-kyung’s article is published, Prosecutor Jang calls Sam-soo to scream at him for attacking the prosecution. He threatens to sue them for defamation, but Sam-soo steps up to the challenge, clamoring for a fight to the death.
Tae-yong calls Yoo-kyung to congratulate her on the article, but she hangs up without a word. She marches into CEO Moon’s office and tenders her resignation letter. He reads her galvanizing words—it’s too sickening to work here any longer—and shouts at her. She tells him to lower his voice since he’s no longer her boss and slams the door as she leaves.
One of the more interesting aspects of this show is its commentary on the legal system. There are clear villains like Mayor Kang and Justice Jo, but there are also morally grey characters that populate the various intertwined institutions and help uphold false rulings and continuous injustices. It’s easy for dramas to depict a group of evildoers manipulating everything from the shadows, and though the show also has its den of evil, they aren’t the sole problem. Just as there are Chief Ahns and Partner Kims of the world, there are also Detective Bongs and Prosecutor Yoons. It’s much simpler for the viewers to hate those who have clearly wronged Doo-shik and actively hid evidence for their own selfish reasons. However, the show was never about a few bad apples ruining the legal system but the entity itself causing a festering problem because of a lack of responsibility and a culture of avoidance. People like Chief Ahn and Partner Kim were the ones who stopped the truth from being revealed, but it was with the help of bystanders like Detective Bong that allowed this situation to grow into this unruly mess. If Doo-shik was freed way back when Sang-man first received the tip, this wouldn’t have become as big of a case. In fact, if Detective Bong was brave enough to report his fellow officers, then this whole situation might have never happened. While Detective Bong isn’t as terrible as the others (and he does seem to be the only one who feels guilty about the case), he’s still part of the problem, and possibly even the reason why Jae-sung was never charged.
Besides Detective Bong, the show also depicts Prosecutor Yoon in this grey area. To his credit, he did try to solve the case and went against orders when he issued the search warrant. However, what ultimately separates him from Attorney Hwang is that he hasn’t improved. While Attorney Hwang failed to prosecute the real culprits in the Samjung case, it’s assumed that she never integrated into the group which is why she left. On the other hand, Prosecutor Yoon has continued bowing to those in power even if their motives were corrupt, and presently, still cares more about his wellbeing than correcting his past mistake. In a similar vein, he’s like Judge Heo from the previous case, a person who made a mistake and caused this problem but still has a chance to do the right thing. Most people—whether they be judges, attorneys, or laypeople—have an understanding of what is just and fair. However, the show points out that knowing is not enough. Justice require actions, and bystanders should be held accountable. Turning a blind eye because it inconveniences you is not a valid excuse. As Partner Kim said, if everyone is at fault, then no one is. This mentality encapsulates the core problem of the legal system, and ultimately, injustices thrive because of the multitude of bystanders who aren’t willing to challenge the status quo.
Sam-soo represents the outcome of bias and stigma as it relates to a criminal’s family as does Doo-shik’s son. In the last episode, the show built up this narrative about guilt by association and how harmful it is. Children should not be held responsible for their parent’s crime, yet society treats them unfairly for something they had no control over because of the heavy emphasis on family ties. Then in this episode, the show makes its characters question this very notion with Jae-sung and his daughters. Punishing the real murderer means his family will also be punished even if that is not the group’s intentions. As Sam-soo argued, Doo-shik should be everyone’s main concern, but Tae-yong is right to be worried about the repercussions of their actions.
This leads to the other issues raised about journalism and the responsibility reporters hold. For the most part, Sam-soo and his vaguely vigilante-esque journalism was left unquestioned by the show and the characters since he’s always sided with the powerless and vulnerable. However, his recent venture to expose Jae-sung as the criminal touches upon a different topic. Instead of garnering sympathy and giving a voice to the unheard, he’s trying to play judge and jury in this case. Though we know as the omnipresent viewer that Jae-sung is the murderer, Sam-soo doesn’t necessarily have the evidence to prove his claims in court. The problem is not just about Jae-sung’s family but also Jae-sung, himself. Even if he is a criminal, he still has rights. Clearing Doo-shik’s name is one thing, and condemning another man in the process is another. No matter how much Sam-soo strives for the truth, it all feels for naught if his goal is not to also minimize harm. He has a responsibility to consider the long-term implications of his writing, and as a character who’s been so insightful thus far, I have hope that he’ll find a solution to this dilemma along with the rest of the team.
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