Fly Dragon: Episode 12
Our team takes one step closer to winning the retrial, but things don’t run as smoothly as they hoped. Doubts and suspicions start creeping into their midst, and these unaddressed issues threaten to destroy the group from within before the real fight even begins. Facing a new challenge, our lawyer will need to find a way to keep his group intact while bringing the public back to his side.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Sang-man reveals the murder weapon from the wall, and the reporters ask him how he knew about its location. Remembering his junior, Sang-man doesn’t know how to respond, so Tae-yong answers instead. He acknowledges the fact that the previous investigation was flawed, but thanks to a just officer, they were able to find the knife.
Detective Bong’s wife cries as she hears their words while Chief Ahn watches the live broadcast in disbelief. At home, Doo-shik tears up while his young son happily points at the familiar faces on tv. As for Jae-sung, he can’t endure the questioning glances from his coworkers and rushes out to call his wife. When she voices her doubts, he yells at her to stay home with their kids.
Tae-yong and the crew barge into Chief Ahn’s office, and Sang-man hands over the knife. With a crowd of reporters recording everything, Chief Ahn has no choice but to accept the weapon and proceed with the reinvestigation. When he accidentally let slip that the knife should have been destroyed, Sang-man accuses him of causing Detective Bong’s death.
The discovery of the weapon turns the tide, and the public once again sides with Tae-yong and his cause. The donations for Sam-soo’s article fundraiser reach new heights, and Kwi-hyun’s boss is now his ardent supporter, espousing the same grand ideals of journalism he previously disowned.
As the message about the donations reaches Sam-soo’s ears, he gapes at the rest of the group and drops his phone. One by one, the others share the same shocked face after they read the amount: they raised 370 million won (approximately $340,000).
Attorney Hwang cheers since Tae-yong can pay her back (heh), and Tae-yong is ecstatic to have finally met his long sought-after philanthropists. The comments have also turned positive, praising the team for another job well done. To commemorate the moment, Yoo-kyung offers to take a group photo, and the image of an officer, lawyer, and prosecutor holding hands reflects the true collaborative spirit of the legal system.
Chief Ahn lies to Prosecutor Jang about the knife, claiming to have never seen it before today, but Detective Bae looks troubled by his superior’s actions. Despite Detective Bae’s misgivings, Chief Ahn feels no remorse and dares him to challenge his decision. With Detective Bong out of the picture, the chief tells him that no one else knows the truth.
While Prosecutor Yoon fumes over the recent developments, Prosecutor Jang smiles at him since things are still in their favor. He points out that Prosecutor Yoon issued a search warrant in the past, which means with the right angle, the prosecutor becomes a champion for justice who did his best to catch the real culprit.
As the two prosecutors laugh over their sly plan, Prosecutor Jang looks at Sam-soo’s fundraiser and frowns. Talking out loud, he wonders if Tae-yong and Sam-soo used the money as they promised, and Prosecutor Yoon gets the hint. He offers to look into them right away, and Prosecutor Jang tells him to focus on the funds from their previous case.
At a café, Sam-soo can’t look away from the growing number of donations, and Yoo-kyung chuckles at him. While she finishes up the next article, Sam-soo leaves to visit Doo-shik’s family, and on his way out, he calls Jin-shil to set up a meeting with her father.
Even Sam-soo’s mom hears about the Osung case from a loyal customer, and she tears up at the thought of her son. While she was imprisoned, the kind neighborhood lady visited her and promised to watch over Sam-soo in the meantime. Keeping her promise, the neighborhood lady bought Sam-soo shoes for school, but in exchange, she wanted him to always remember that he wasn’t alone.
Yoo-kyung joins the others for a meal, but as they eat, Tae-yong steps out to answer a call from Assemblyman Tak. The assemblyman congratulates him on his projected win and asks if he has any interests in politics. He offers the lawyer a chance to run for office on their party’s ticket, but Tae-yong hesitates to accept.
Sam-soo arrives at Doo-shik’s house with his hands full of cake and presents for the son, and the little boy is happy about the party even if he isn’t quite sure why all the adults are crying. After they blow out the candles, Sam-soo shows the couple the amount they raised and thanks Doo-shik for saving him.
In his office, Mayor Kang watches the clip of Sang-man breaking the wall, and Prosecutor Jang fails to read the room as he praises the ex-detective for his powerful swing. Prosecutor Jang’s ignorance infuriates the mayor, and he warns his son-in-law to stay alert since some political leaders have taken an interest in Tae-yong.
Sam-soo plays soccer with the son at the park, and the ball flies towards another boy and his mom. As the son approaches the other child to invite him over, the adults watch warily and then sigh in relief when the mom gives him permission to join. Soon, the rest of the playground boys play soccer with the son, and Sam-soo steps out to give the kids more space.
Doo-shik receives a call from Boss Kim at the same time Sam-soo receives one from Prosecutor Jang, and both conversations leave the men feeling suspicious. For Doo-shik, Boss Kim tells him that Tae-yong’s group is using him to make money, and he demands Doo-shik to pay him back. As for Sam-soo, Prosecutor Jang asks if their fundraiser is for Tae-yong’s upcoming political campaign. Though neither Sam-soo nor Doo-shik accept their words completely, their faces cloud over with doubt.
While Prosecutor Jang hastens the next stage of their plan, Justice Jo stands before Legislator Kim who is disappointed with the justice’s poor performance. If the justice wishes to live up to his new position, the legislator advises him to better understand the people under his control.
He tells the justice that judges grew up thinking that they were the best only to be thrust into a world filled with geniuses. He describes them as greedy and prideful, and in order to lead them, Justice Jo must first learn how to manipulate these feelings.
The group parts ways for the night, leaving Tae-yong and Yoo-kyung by themselves. She comments on how his words came true—everyone is laughing right now. He giggles since he’s the happiest one, and during the ride back, he asks if she wants to see his hometown.
They stand together at a beach which reminds Tae-yong of his mother’s final piece of advice to him. Seeing him lost in thought, Yoo-kyung asks if it isn’t hard to keep fighting, and he confesses to her that it’s lonely. He wonders if he should try a different path, and she tells him that she’ll always support him.
The next stop of the tour is his hometown’s best restaurant, and Tae-yong takes Yoo-kyung to meet his “aunt.” As they sit down for a meal together, he informs Yoo-kyung of how his aunt helped him become a lawyer. After a pause, he cautiously mentions the idea of running for office though he hasn’t made a decision yet.
Mayor Kang visits Legislator Kim in his office and shares his party’s latest idea to invite Tae-yong to the group. Their proposition holds some promise, but Legislator Kim points out the overlap between Tae-yong and Prosecutor Jang.
Mayor Kang says that he took the legislator’s advice to heart and is willing to cut ties with family for the greater good. His resolution finally earns him a compliment from the legislator who recognizes the mayor’s leadership potential.
Sam-soo joins Prosecutor Jang for drinks, and the prosecutor asks about Tae-yong’s political aspirations. He asks if Sam-soo will act as the lawyer’s minion if he becomes an assemblyman, and Sam-soo calls himself an aide, which makes the prosecutor snort.
Prosecutor Jang warns them to stay away from his district, but when Sam-soo doesn’t register the seriousness of his threat, he blows up at the reporter. Prosecutor Jang finds it humiliating to be compared with a college-dropout like Tae-yong, and as a hyung, he advices Sam-soo to know his place.
Jin-shil complains about Sam-soo staring at his phone even while walking, and Sam-soo prances around, telling her that he’s checking on their future. He says that it’s time for him to finally repay her, so Jin-shil lets him know that her father set a date for their meeting.
The NFS have finished examining the knife and concluded a match with the victim’s DNA. Chief Ahn suspected as much and asks Detective Bae about Jae-sung. According to the detective, Jae-sung is acting like normal as if he truly believes he isn’t the murderer.
At the welfare service center, Jae-sung helps an elderly man, but even the elderly have heard the rumors floating around town. Jae-sung assures him that the truth won’t be swayed, and the elderly man laughs in relief to hear that Jae-sung will be staying.
Justice Jo receives an extensive file on the Osung judges containing all their information from school rankings to political alliances. Meanwhile, Prosecutor Yoon waltzes into Prosecutor Jang’s office and presents his findings with a flourish. Looking over the documents, Prosecutor Jang finds nothing wrong with Tae-yong’s negative bank account and Sam-soo’s paltry funds, so Prosecutor Yoon directs his attention to his real catch: the amounts Tae-yong paid everyone related to the Samjung case.
After looking over the potential candidates, Justice Jo decides on Judge Choi to reside over the upcoming Osung retrial. He sends the information over to Legislator Kim, and the legislator looks approvingly over the files, noting how judges only move after a little nudge.
During the National Chief Judge conference, Justice Jo announces his plans to make personnel shifts and hold more in-person gatherings to raise morale. While the chief judges vie for his attention, Chief Judge Yoon offers to host the first event of the justice’s new initiative.
While Tae-yong and Sam-soo celebrate the news of the NSF report in the office, Sam-soo mentions his future wedding plans. Scanning the reporter’s outfit, Tae-yong offers to give him a makeover and takes him out to buy a new suit. Recalling the previous time he accepted fancy clothes, Sam-soo refuses the gift, but Tae-yong pushes the reluctant reporter into the changing room.
While Tae-yong waits, the employees recognize him and ask for a photo. By the time Sam-soo comes out, a crowd of fans surrounds Tae-yong, and Sam-soo is tasked with taking their pictures. After signing autographs, Tae-yong grabs Sam-soo for a selfie to remember this happy day, but only Tae-yong smiles for the photo while Sam-soo barely manages a grimace.
Tae-yong treats Sam-soo to a meal, but the lawyer’s good mood raises his suspicions. He asks if Tae-yong is running for office and begs him to stay. Tae-yong tells him that he isn’t leaving since the retrial hasn’t even started, but Sam-soo doesn’t trust his words. He argues that they’re finally making money, but Tae-yong says that too much can be a problem, too.
After they eat, Tae-yong drops by the store where his sister works and accompanies her to buy groceries. When she sighs over the expensive organic eggs, Tae-yong tells her to buy it for the kids and places them into her basket.
Prosecutor Jang and Yoon meet with a few reporters—each from different media outlets—and hand them an exclusive. They eagerly scan the documents, and Prosecutor Jang smiles as everything goes according to plan.
Tae-yong and the group gather again to turn in the retrial request as a team, and Yoo-kyung suggests another photo. While she takes the picture, she scolds Sam-soo for looking like a gangster, but in reality, it’s Doo-shik who looks glum.
When a few people ask Tae-yong for pictures, Doo-shik frowns at the lawyer and excuses himself from the group. Though they wonder what’s wrong, they have bigger problems to worry about such as investigating Jae-sung. Attorney Hwang finds it odd how quiet their opponents are, especially since their silence feels reminiscent of their previous case.
Holding the first face-to-face event, Chief Judge Yoon instructs the others to make Justice Jo feel welcomed and forces Judge Heo to wear a bear costume to atone for his Samjung retrial ruling. As soon as the justice arrives, the crowd erupts into cheers, and Judge Heo carries Justice Jo on his shoulder to parade him around the field.
The event consists of menial physical activities aimed to please the justice, and the star of the games, Judge Choi, looks exasperated by the demeaning tasks as he crosses the finish line. The other chief judge brings Judge Choi to meet Justice Jo, and the justice invites the young judge to dinner.
In the evening, Tae-yong drops Yoo-kyung off and crosses paths with her father. Having heard a lot about the lawyer from his daughter, he offers him some tea inside, and Tae-yong gladly accepts the invitation.
During dinner, Justice Jo mentions how he’s considering a chief judge for the open justice position, and immediately, the chief judges appeal to the justice’s good side to accrue his favor. However, it’s Judge Choi who catches Justice Jo’s attention, and the justice proposes a toast for the young judge’s future.
At Yoo-kyung’s house, her parents are smitten with Tae-yong’s good image, but as they talk about his retrials, the news makes a scathing accusation about the lawyer. The reporter claims that Tae-yong violated donation laws and possibly bribed witnesses with the money he raised.
While visiting Doo-shik and his family, Sam-soo watches the same report on tv and tells the others that he can explain. However, Boss Kim calls Doo-shik first and reminds him of his earlier warning. When Sam-soo tries to clarify the situation, Doo-shik notes Sam-soo’s new clothes with disdain, and Sam-soo groans over his ill-fated relation with suits.
The repercussions hit Kwi-hyun as well, and Prosecutor Yoon leads his team with a search and seizure warrant. Prosecutor Jang laughs in glee over his junior’s impeccable work, and Mayor Kang joins the celebrations, repeating the compliment he received from Legislator Kim to his son-in-law.
Tae-yong apologizes to Yoo-kyung’s parents as he excuses himself, and they watch him leave without uttering a single word. Yoo-kyung follows him outside and tells him not to fret over the news too much since they know the truth.
After their dinner with Justice Jo, everyone but Judge Choi bows repeatedly towards his direction long after he’s gone. In his car, Justice Jo reads the news about Tae-yong and smiles. When he arrives at the courthouse, a voice calls his name, and he comes face-to-face with Tae-yong who introduces himself to the justice for the first time.
The current plot of the show surrounding the donations isn’t the most exciting since the audience already knows how and why Tae-yong spent the money, but I did find it a little surprising that it took this long for people to question where the funds went. When Sam-soo first got the money, he was planning to spend it on an overseas trip which definitely felt odd. Unless the funds raised were simply tips to the lawyer and reporter for a job well done, I never quite understood what the money was for and what obligations the team had to their donors in terms of transparency. From the way the prosecution has shaped the narrative, it does look like Tae-yong bribed the witnesses from the Samjung case and gave very little to the clients. However, this situation feels like an easy fix for the most part.
The reporters accused Tae-yong of paying the clients only (roughly) $5,000 while more money was given to the witnesses. While this statement is true, context is important. The witness only received 1,000,000 won (roughly $900) more than the clients, but without these numbers, the accusations sound more incriminating. In addition, Tae-yong helped the clients out of his own pockets, which the news did not mention. If you consider the amount he spent personally, most of the clients received much more than the witnesses. Lastly, it seems unconvincing that Chul-kyu would testify against himself and go to jail for such a measly amount. If $5,000 is such a small sum for the clients according to the news, why would people think $6,000 is large enough to bribe a witness to go to jail? However, this situation does force the team into a corner. The public will scrutinize their actions more since attention has been drawn to them, and given the substantial amount of money involved, Tae-yong and the others will need to be careful about how they spend it. As Tae-yong warned Sam-soo, having too much can be a headache as well because more funds also mean more responsibilities.
Besides the public backlash, this arc about the donations has also been about greed and ambitions. For our heroes, Tae-yong steps into the limelight, earning people’s praise and adoration. He is now the poster boy for justice, and for the most part, he enjoys the attention. However, his growing popularity has isolated him from Doo-shik and caused some jealousy in Sam-soo. Though they are partners, Sam-soo is merely the messenger for Tae-yong’s good deeds, and the public doesn’t recognize his contributions to the team. He becomes jealous of Tae-yong getting all the credit, but more importantly, this imbalance makes Sam-soo realize his precarious position. If Tae-yong leaves to pursue a political career, Sam-soo is no longer needed, which is why he’s so intent on keeping Tae-yong grounded. As for Doo-shik, he was happy for the group when he initially heard about the money, but after one warning from Boss Kim, he quickly changes his tune. On one hand, it seems out of character for Doo-shik to suddenly become so antagonistic, but his response also feels reasonable if you consider the character’s background. He’s only known Tae-yong and Sam-soo for a month or two at most, so there’s no reason for him to trust their word. He can only believe in their actions, and currently, it does look like the lawyer and reporter were using him for his story. Granted, Tae-yong and Sam-soo both displayed acts of compassion towards Doo-shik, and Sam-soo even revealed his deepest secret to him. Despite all that, Doo-shik seems to be blinded by greed as well, only choosing to look at the negatives such as Sam-soo’s new clothes instead of the mountains of gifts the reporter bought his son.
Greed and ambitions are also the issues plaguing the evildoers this hour, and as usual, these two emotions motivate their every actions. Adding to his long list of problematic beliefs, Legislator Kim thinks a good leader is a heartless manipulator who controls others by exploiting their pride and sense of shame. His underlings take his advice to heart, and the cycle continues through Justice Jo and Mayor Kang. The chief justice makes the other judges grovel at his feet and acts as if one gesture of kindness from him should make anyone grateful for the attention. However, it seems Justice Jo miscalculated how prideful some people can be, and his tactic against Judge Choi may not be as fruitful as he thinks. Unlike the others, the young judge looked fed up with the whole event, and at the end, he refused to join his superiors as they threw away their dignity to bow to Justice Jo’s car. In contrast, the legislator’s strategy does work on Prosecutor Jang because his greed is greater than his pride. Prosecutor Jang dreams of becoming an assemblyman because the position offers him more power, which reflects his general outlook on life. Prosecutor Jang didn’t choose this profession out of a sense of duty but because it would propel him the farthest away from his humble roots. His motivations become apparent to everyone, and consequently, it makes him an easy target to manipulate for people like Mayor Kang and Legislator Kim.
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