Fly Dragon: Episode 8
As our heroes fight over their next steps, they dive deeper into a new case that resembles their lives more than they initially thought. For our reporter, he comes face to face with a little boy who resembles his past self, and for our lawyer, he realizes that his current life is thanks to someone’s guidance and kindness. However, not everyone is blessed with a caring adult figure in their lives, so it’s up to our heroes to become that outstretched hand—ready to listen and help those in need.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
As the door swings open, Sam-soo stumbles to the floor, and Doo-shik shouts at him to leave. Out of the blue, a little boy calls out for his dad, and Doo-shik turns around to see his son standing there with his wife. Frightened by the scene that just occurred, the son hides from his dad, and Doo-shik’s wife yells at her husband, asking how long they have to run.
Relocating to a café, Sam-soo listens to the wife’s story and learns about the struggles their family has gone through because of Doo-shik’s criminal record. Rumors keep spreading about Doo-shik no matter where they move, and as a result, their son has transferred schools twice and has no friends.
The son interrupts their conversation to hand Sam-soo a fork, and offers to share his slice of cake with his new friend. Touched by the offer, Sam-soo remembers his own past when his mom was arrested after killing her abusive boyfriend. He was sent to live with his dad, and little Sam-soo watched as the other kids ate ice cream and pushed him away because he was the son of a murderer.
One little girl, though, befriended Sam-soo, and her mother also treated him kindly. Even when his own dad wanted to send him to the orphanage, the friend’s mother stood by Sam-soo’s side, offering to feed him every day. Back in the present, Sam-soo sits with the son, and they playfully feed each other cake.
Tae-yong reads over the Osung case files, and from the documents, he imagines the scenario with Doo-shik as the criminal. When Sam-soo drops by, they argue over who the real culprit is, and Tae-yong reenacts the scene. He believes Doo-shik murdered the driver in a fit of road rage, but Sam-soo points out a flaw in his theory: the passenger side door is open.
Sam-soo begins his own retelling of the rainy night with a different culprit, but Tae-yong scoffs at his fictional tale. He asks why the murderer rode a truck instead of a taxi that late at night, and Sam-soo tells him that they need to figure that part out.
The two men continue their argument at a convenience store, and Tae-yong shares his misgivings over the Osung case. He wants to avoid bad publicity and stick with pure and innocent clients, but his word choice irks Sam-soo.
He yells at Tae-yong for forgetting about troublemakers like Chul-kyu, and brings up Doo-shik’s young son. Tearing up, Sam-soo argues that invisible walls like prejudice and discrimination are scarier than visible ones, and his tears catch Tae-yong off-guard.
Driving Sam-soo home, Tae-yong apologizes for his earlier comment and promises to go down to Osung. Sam-soo perks up, suggesting they tackle both cases, but Tae-yong reminds him that he loses money with each case he takes.
His words spark an idea, and Sam-soo tells Tae-yong about Sang-man as a potential philanthropist. He uses his arm to describe the size of Sang-man’s pet fish (which conspicuously looks like an obscene gesture), but Tae-yong mocks him for exaggerating. When he drops Sam-soo off, Tae-young shouts at him to not cry or lie, and makes one last hand gesture before driving off. Heh.
At home, Sam-soo proclaims to Jin-shil that he met his destined case and explains how he sees himself in Doo-shik’s son. Sam-soo still blames himself for being too scared to open the door which caused his mom to become a murderer, but this time, he plans on opening an emergency exit for the little boy. Jin-shil compliments him for being cool and then leads him to the bedroom.
Facing the consequences of her actions, Yoo-kyung sighs over her demotion to the Internet News team which consists of copying and pasting trending articles. Though it can hardly be called journalism, CEO Moon won’t budge on her transfer, and Yoo-kyung bitterly laughs as she moves to Sam-soo’s old desk.
During the ride down to Osung, Sam-soo gives Tae-yong some tips before meeting Sang-man, but Tae-yong thinks it’s demeaning. Once they arrive at the house, Tae-yong marvels at the pond just like Sam-soo did during his first visit, and his tune changes.
He asks about Sang-man’s family, and the ex-detective tells him that his wife and daughter are in the US. Noticing the family photos on his way in, Tae-yong asks about his son, and Sang-man belatedly adds that he’s with them, too.
Despite his prior objections, Tae-yong uses Sam-soo’s advice to flatter Sang-man before mentioning the case. He believes Doo-shik is the real culprit, and Sang-man agrees… if you’re only going by the case files.
He tells Tae-yong that the documents are fabricated and Doo-shik was even tortured by the police. Tae-yong finds that hard to believe, but Sang-man stares him down, asking if he looks like someone who talks nonsense. He describes the events again for the lawyer, but as Tae-yong listens, he gives Sam-soo the side-eye since it is the same story he heard from him.
Making them promise that this really is the last time, Sang-man offers to give them a thorough explanation along with a tour. He drives them all in his car and takes them to the start of the case: the criminal Lee Jae-sung’s old home.
According to Sang-man, Jae-sung was a seventeen-year-old boy with a turbulent home life, and on the day of the murder, he ran away from his parents while carrying a kitchen knife. With only a few bills in his pocket, Jae-sung spent all his money on a short taxi ride and then hitchhiked from there.
That’s when the series of unfortunate events occurred, and the unsuspecting truck driver stopped to help the stranded teen. When Jae-sung saw the driver’s money, he pulled out his knife to rob the man, but he miscalculated the situation. As the burly truck driver resisted, Jae-sung stabbed him multiple times, and when he ran away, he momentarily crossed paths with Doo-shik.
The next stop on their tour is the intersection, and Sang-man tells them that Jae-sung was scared, which was why he stabbed the driver so many times. He then went to his friend’s house to hide, and the two of them watched the investigation from a nearby rooftop.
Tae-yong asks if Sang-man got a confession from both of them, and we flash back to 2005, three years after the murder and Doo-shik’s arrest. Sang-man received a tip about the case—one of Jae-sung’s friends ratted him out—and when he brought the young men to the station, they confessed.
Since their accounts of the event matched the case, the station chief ordered everyone upstairs to his office where he asked Jae-sung again if he really did it. The young man told the truth, explaining how the knife bent as it cracked a rib, and the original officers squirmed as they heard his confession.
Addressing Sang-man privately, the chief told him that the country would wail if this got out, but Sang-man said that they should be wailing over such a huge mistake. He asked if the chief didn’t feel bad for Doo-shik, but the chief dismissed him and immediately notified the prosecutors about the case.
Sang-man takes the group to the location of the old police station and points out the area where Doo-shik was beat. Basically an orphan, Doo-shik had no money for a lawyer, and Sang-man felt bad for the teenager, which spurred him to work on the case for nearly a year. Unfortunately, he met resistance from both the police force and prosecutors. Unable to obtain a warrant, Sang-man was forced to release the real culprits.
To make matters worse, the head prosecutor at the time was Daeseok Law Firm Partner Kim, and he ordered the prosecutors to bury the case. With even his coworkers accusing him of only bringing them ruin, Sang-man began his one-man investigation until it all came tumbling down one day.
Sang-man arrested Jae-sung again—a total of four times during the entire year—but unlike the other instances, Jae-sung confessed that he kept the knife hidden in his yard. Crying, Jae-sung wanted to apologize to the victim’s family and the framed man, and Sang-man believed his tears. He called the prosecutor for a search warrant, and the prosecutor risked his career to help him this once.
In the present, Sang-man finishes his tale: he was tricked. He thought Jae-sung had repented, but the knife was nowhere to be found. Though the ex-detective failed back then, Sam-soo encourages him to work with them this time, but Sang-man turns down their offer, afraid of another stroke if he takes on the case.
He treats them to a nice lunch, instead, and the group arrives at a chicken place. While Sam-soo grumbles, Tae-yong stares at the owner and whips out the composite sketch from the case. The owner looks exactly like the sketch, and Sang-man reveals the last spot of their tour, which marks the start of the frame job.
While Doo-shik claimed to have seen the murderer, Sang-man believes the teenager probably didn’t see the culprit’s face. Switching to the past, we see that Sang-man’s hunch was correct, but the officers in charge kept badgering Doo-shik to describe the murderer.
After keeping him up all night, they managed to get a composite sketch which looked exactly like his boss (the chicken place owner), but that lead was a bust. The officers told Doo-shik to come back after a good night’s rest, but Doo-shik ran away.
Sang-man explains to the others that the officers began to suspect Doo-shik as the murderer rather than a witness, and from then on, it wasn’t about gathering evidence but hunting him down. Tae-yong and Sam-soo wonder why Doo-shik acted that way, but Sang-man can only speculate as to why.
Before they separate, Sam-soo asks about the real culprits, and Sang-man tells them that the friend died in a car crash and Jae-sung disappeared. Tae-yong wonders why he was so obsessed with the case, and Sang-man tells them that Doo-shik felt like a son to him. His response makes Tae-yong wonder why the ex-detective won’t meet Doo-shik now, and he pushes Sang-man to answer truthfully. He finally admits that seeing Doo-shik would make him want to investigate again, and he hands over his old notebook to Tae-yong.
Though Sam-soo is smitten with the ex-detective and the case, Tae-yong is still hesitant about their future direction since they need all the case files for a proper retrial. When Sam-soo urges them to push forward, Tae-yong gets suspicious about his over-eagerness and accuses him of wanting the high compensation fee. Sam-soo doesn’t deny it, and Tae-yong chuckles at his big dreams.
While Yoo-kyung cleans out Sam-soo’s old desk, she comes across newspaper clippings of his mom’s case. The reason for his odd behavior from time to time finally clicks, and her eyes turn red as she reads the articles. When Chief Shin walks by, Yoo-kyung hides the file, and gets back to work writing about celebrity dating scandals.
Tae-yong and Sam-soo visit Doo-shik at his workplace and reintroduce themselves. Doo-shik doesn’t want to stir up trouble since he’s fine, but Sam-soo calls him out for lying. He asks what he’ll do about his son, and though he flinches at Doo-shik’s glare, Sam-soo refuses to back down. Doo-shik tells him that it’s none of his concern, but Sam-soo yells at him, asking why a stranger is more concerned about the little boy than his own father.
Sam-soo points out the stigma that will follow the son around for the rest of his life, and his comment makes Doo-shik angry since he isn’t a murderer. Sam-soo agrees and tells Doo-shik to reclaim his innocence then. As their argument escalates, Doo-shik’s hyung-nim (aka, Boss Kim) saunters into the room, and the underlings immediately tense up.
Boss Kim disapproves of another retrial since it failed once, and he pulls Doo-shik aside for a private chat. As Sam-soo recognizes the name of the gang leader, we see that Boss Kim hasn’t changed at all, ordering Doo-shik to complete another “demolition” task for him.
When Doo-shik refuses, Boss Kim promises to stop spreading rumors and getting in his way. To prove the legitimacy of his threat, he picks up a call from the building owner who contracted Doo-shik and informs him of his criminal record. The current, hopeless situation reminds Doo-shik of the past when he was tortured by the police and forced to confess to a crime he never committed.
Tae-yong calls Sang-man to ask about the retrial and hears about Lawyer Tak, who’s now an assemblyman. Following this new trail, Tae-yong contacts the assemblyman, but he, too, threw away the case files a long time ago.
The effects of the rumors are immediate as the building owner comes to meet Doo-shik and cancel their contract. Doo-shik accepts his fate and returns to the office where more bad news awaits him. His wife hands him a bill from the workers’ compensation and welfare services, charging him 100 million won (approximately $91,000) in interest alone for the murder of the truck driver.
Tae-yong points out that Doo-shik isn’t fine and tells him to speak up when he needs help. Doo-shik blows up at them, asking if anyone would listen to people like him. Recalling his past, teenage Doo-shik pleaded with the officers, but they ignored his cries and beat him. His piercing words silence the others, and Tae-yong grabs the discarded bill before he leaves.
Later that night, Tae-yong drops by Yoo-kyung’s house after receiving a text to meet, and she shows him the articles about Sam-soo’s mom. Tae-yong belatedly understands why the reporter was so fixated on the Osung case and regrets his past actions, acknowledging his own prejudices. He thanks Yoo-kyung for giving him this chance to repent and vows to work even harder.
At home, Tae-yong invites his younger brother to a drink and shares his worries about the latest case. As he hears about Doo-shik, Tae-sung says that this is Tae-yong’s specialty which earns him a scoff. Tae-sung argues that Doo-shik hasn’t spoken up because he’s never met a person like Tae-yong, and gives himself as an example.
He says that his life would have been similar to Doo-shik’s without his brother’s guidance, and he teases Tae-sung for not recognizing his own good deeds. Hiding his embarrassment, Tae-yong scolds Tae-sung for not studying and sends him away.
Tae-yong thinks back to the time Tae-sung’s mother helped him during his rebellious phase after his mother’s death, and because of her kindness, he returned to school and studied for the bar exam. He credits her involvement for his present success, and sees now that Doo-shik was missing an adult figure in his life.
Suddenly, an idea pops into Tae-yong’s head, and he grabs the discarded bill. He screams in exaltation, much to his siblings’ exasperations, and then wakes up Sam-soo to tell him that he’s found a way. He calls Sang-man next and invites the groggy ex-detective to join them as they pursue a retrial. A smile spreads across Sang-man’s face, and Tae-yong loudly declares, “I’m Park Tae-yong!”
Much like the previous Samjung case, the upcoming Osung case highlights the similarities and differences between the framed client and our heroes. For Sam-soo, the little boy’s situation hits close to home, and he quickly becomes invested in this new retrial. He wants to open an escape for the little boy, and in a way, he’s taken on the role of his friend’s mother—the stranger who offers an outstretched arm to protect him. Sam-soo has projected his younger self onto the boy, and though Doo-shik’s son still has both loving parents by his side, he knows that the prejudice the son will face in the future will be hard to overcome. It’s telling, though, that Sam-soo hides his motivations from the others besides Jin-shil, willingly allowing Tae-yong to get the wrong impression about him. Sam-soo hasn’t opened up about his past to his partner yet, and part of that may be out of fear. Even though Tae-yong is a champion for the powerless, he’s still a human with flaws and biases. Because Sam-soo knows this, he may have kept his own history a secret from the lawyer, but thankfully, Tae-yong is a much better person than that. Once he learns about Sam-soo’s past, Tae-yong’s reaction is one of repentance and regret. He realizes the mistakes he made in handling recent situations, and while he may have faced his own share of discrimination because of his background, he understands that his clients’ and Sam-soo’s hardships have been more severe.
While Sam-soo relates to the son, Tae-yong comes to see himself in Doo-shik, recognizing the fact that his life trajectory took a different turn partly due to luck. Just as Sam-soo had his friend’s mother there for him, Tae-yong had Tae-sung’s mother in his life to set him on the right path. It’s almost ironic how Tae-sung’s mother became such an important figure in Tae-yong’s life, and it goes to show how families can come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately for Doo-shik, no one was there for him during his time of need, and once again, the show depicts the brokenness of the system and how those in charge failed the people they were supposed to protect. While it isn’t a big deal to the police or the courts when they arrest defenseless people for these heinous crimes, it suddenly becomes a huge hullabaloo when their mistakes are exposed. It’s maddening to hear the same excuses over and over again as if their lives are much more significant than the innocent people who were framed. The officers, prosecutors, and judges all act the same, only caring about their own wellbeing, and in the end, their justification for ignoring the truth is all about self-preservation rather than serving the greater good.
Among all the terrible officers and people related to the case, only one person fought for Doo-shik: Captain Sang-man. Though I enjoyed Sang-man’s introduction last episode, it was this episode that made me fall in love with the cheeky ex-detective. He was exactly the type of adult Doo-shik needed in his life, but alas, he appeared a little too late. Despite his best efforts, he wasn’t able to free the framed teenager, and after all these years, he still harbors a deep regret over his failure. Though he claims to be bitter about the case and refuses to see Doo-shik, he clearly cares about the framed man and still remembers the tiniest detail about the case. He could have easily forgotten about the one blemish on his career and been angry about it, but Sang-man never directs his resentment towards Doo-shik or even the real culprit, Jae-sung. His anger is at himself for not being more competent and at the authorities for creating this mess and avoiding responsibility. Like our heroes, Sang-man points his finger at those in charge because they’re the ones who turned a case into a mess.
What I also loved about Sang-man was his confidence and sense of self. He’s one of the few characters in the show who can confidently declare a clear conscious not because he knows no shame (looking at you, Legislator Kim) but because he truly did uphold the law and fight for justice. His catchphrase, “I’m Han Sang-man,” is cool because Han Sang-man is cool. Even though Sang-man has never met Doo-shik in person, he felt sorry for the poor teenager who was wrongly accused, and while everyone around him tried to dissuade him from investigating the case, he couldn’t because an innocent boy’s life was on the line. He essentially risked his career for a stranger, and though it would be nice to think most people would do the same, the sad truth is that they don’t. I’m sure as the show delves deeper into the case, we’ll also learn more about Sang-man and his family since the captain seems to be hiding his own secrets, and hopefully, Doo-shik will finally meet the ex-detective soon and learn that someone was listening to him after all.
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