Inspector Koo: Episode 6
The killer is on the run, but our investigator knows that she will not leave town until she’s completed her last murder. With the clock ticking, the team rushes to identify the next victim before the killer strikes again.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Kyung-yi’s gut tells her that Kyung won’t make an appearance at the airport, so she climbs into the van’s driver’s seat and commandeers the vehicle. Using intel from Kyung-soo, Kyung-yi is able to locate Kyung’s secret base, but when she and Santa arrive, she hopes that her intuition is wrong. She’d prefer it if Je-hee called and reported that Kyung was apprehended at the airport. Unfortunately, as Kyung-yi peers through the windows of Kyung’s hideout, she comes eye-to-eye with the serial killer she’s been hunting. Kyung-yi tries to force her way inside Kyung’s hideout, but Kyung is pulling it closed from the other side. Kyung-yi realizes that she’s at a disadvantage against Kyung’s youth and strength and decides it would be better to trap Kyung inside her hideout and wait until she can get police backup, but Kyung catches onto Kyung-yi’s new plan and forces her way outside.
Instead of running for it, though, she backs Kyung-yi into the hideout and begins to throw punches at Kyung-yi, who retaliates by grabbing a nearby paint can and spraying Kyung’s face a lovely shade of Grinch green. While Kyung recovers, Kyung-yi handcuffs herself to Kyung and swallows the key. Kyung pins Kyung-yi to the ground and is poised to pummel Kyung-yi in the face, but Kyung-yi reminds Kyung that she can’t kill her since she’s innocent. Realizing Kyung-yi has a point, Kyung grabs a machete and threatens to hack off Kyung-yi’s handcuffed hand instead. She swings her arm back, ready to chop, but Santa arrives and tosses a fishing net over her. Kyung quickly slices her way through the net, and Santa cowardly runs away.
Kyung escapes by trapping Kyung-yi in the fishing net and using a hairpin to pick the lock on the handcuffs. She runs past Santa and the cops he brought for backup and leads them towards the river, where she steals a paddle board and flees via water. The police pursue her by boat, but as they close in, she dives into the river. Back on land, Kyung-yi scolds Santa for ditching her to go fetch the police. He wasted valuable time that would have been better spent helping her capture Kyung.
In an airport bathroom, Mr. Kim explains to Sook, who is audibly peeing in a nearby stall, that Kyung-yi’s intuition led her to Kyung’s location. He questions Je-hee’s usefulness and suggests contacting Kyung-yi directly in the future. Sook, however, disagrees because she prefers to build trust with Je-hee and stresses the importance of second chances.
Next, Mr. Kim provides an update on Ko Dam’s business dealings, but Sook complains that his intel is not enough to blackmail him with. It’s a pity, she muses, that there isn’t a way to kill him without anyone knowing it was a murder. Mr. Kim worriedly stares at her reflection through the mirror and she — not so convincingly — reassures him that she’s just kidding.
Back at K’s hideout, while wannabe badass Kyung-soo swings around the machete and makes Santa nervous, Kyung-yi unpacks Kyung’s script books. Je-hee arrives, mad at Kyung-yi for not telling her sooner about her plan to check out Kyung’s hideout, but Kyung-yi counters that she didn’t have the opportunity because Je-hee was too busy kissing Sook’s ass. Je-hee advises Kyung-yi to stick to using her brain while she does the legwork.
Their bickering is interrupted by the arrival of a courier with a package addressed to Kyung. Santa signs for it, and inside the box is a script book for Joan of Arc. The binding matches the rest of the books Kyung-yi discovered in the hideout.
A few days later, Kyung-yi is still lingering around Kyung-yi’s hideout, reading through the scripts and trying to determine their significance. Her hair smells so bad it’s attracting flies, and Santa does his best to mask the odor by spraying the tangled mess with some dry shampoo. Je-hee tries to convince Kyung-yi to stop pursuing a dead end . Of course a drama club member like Kyung would have script books, but Kyung-yi finds it suspicious that Kyung had them specially bound and hidden in her hideout.
As they ponder the likelihood of Kyung showing her face again now that her cover has been blown, two police officers from the Bongbaek Station arrive and ask for a sample of Kyung-yi’s handwriting to compare to an anonymous letter that they had intercepted prior to its publication in a local newspaper. The letter’s sender claims that Sung-woo’s suicide was actually a cleverly disguised murder committed by Kyung-yi. Kyung-yi asks to see the letter, and although it looks like her handwriting at first glance, she’s able to spot the differences that indicate it’s a forgery.
The police are doubtful, but they still ask her if she knows anyone who would frame her for her husband’s murder. She immediately thinks of Kyung, but she keeps her suspicions to herself, highly aware that she looks like an unhinged woman, having become an antisocial alcoholic with an anxiety disorder after her husband’s death. In order for the police officers to accept that the letter might be a forgery, they need her to recount her whereabouts the day of her husband’s death.
Flashback to the night of her husband’s suicide. Kyung-yi is at his school, rifling through his desk and searching for evidence that he was connected to the student’s death. Her investigation is interrupted by a phone call from her husband.
In the present, her voice is shaky as she explains that she received a phone call from the police as she was leaving her husband’s office. The officers are aware that she had an alibi during her husband’s presumed time of death, but they’re curious if it could have been a murder. Kyung-yi admits that she’d wondered the same thing, but the room Sung-woo had hanged himself in was locked from the inside and there had been no evidence that anyone else had been there. Kyung-yi grows visibly more distraught as she explains that there was no suicide note, but he had a clear motive for doing it: The love of his life didn’t trust him, and he must have lost his reason for living.
Kyung-yi collapses from emotional distress — and perhaps a bit too much alcohol — and her mind transports to a darkened high school auditorium, where she and her husband are the only audience members present to observe Kyung’s production of Hamlet. Sung-woo whispers that Kyung is the student he’d told her about, the one that is so much like her, but Kyung-yi denies any resemblance and ridicules Kyung’s poor acting abilities. Sung-woo counters that Kyung is adorable and talented enough to have created the entire set by herself.
On stage, Kyung pours poison into the sleeping king’s ear and cries out that he has died from a snakebite. The scene briefly flashes to Kyung killing the janitor before returning to play, where Kyung breaks the fourth wall, puts her finger to her lips, and shushes her audience.
When Kyung-yi wakes up, Santa is piggybacking her to the car where Je-hee waves for them to hurry up. Kyung-yi’s dream led to an epiphany, so she orders Santa to turn around, hurrying him like a jockey would push his horse in the Kentucky Derby. At the hideout, she sifts through the script books and connects each of the plays to one of Kyung’s known murders. A literal light bulb goes on over her head when she realize that the recently delivered Joan of Arc script must be tied to Kyung’s next murder.
At home, Kyung-yi stares at the bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that Santa has conveniently labeled for her use, but she skips straight to the body wash and applies it to her hair. When she exits her bathroom, Santa has prepared a meal for her. As she eats, the world around Kyung-yi becomes brighter. The view outside her apartment balcony turns into a forest, and a bird flies in through the window and lands on the table next to her. Kyung-yi’s Disney princess moment ends when Je-hee calls, and Kyung-yi explains that Kyung will not disappear until after she has carried out her latest murder. The team still has a chance to catch her.
Inside a shabby apartment, a man’s ramyeon dinner is interrupted by a sound from outside. He goes to investigate, and finds an envelope left outside his door. Inside, there’s a plane ticket to Manila and one of Kyung’s dolls.
Back at Team B headquarters, Kyung-yi ponders the identity of Kyung’s next victim, and Je-hee teases that she’s getting old because her speech patterns have taken on the cadence of an old woman. Je-hee rifles through the desk and is disgusted when she finds two drawers full of beef jerky wrappers. Santa rushes over with a trash bag.
Kyung-yi shares some advice someone once gave her: When you’re stuck on a problem, put your least trusted person in charge of solving it. Je-hee calls it crap advice, but Kyung-yi reveals that Sung-woo employed the method with his class, often appointing the quietest student as the class president. Kyung-yi rolls her chair over to Kyung-soo’s desk and pointedly looks at him.
He’s insulted but pleased that she remembered his name for once. Feeling encouraged, he does his best Steve Jobs impression and asks them: What’s the most important thing to remember when catching a culprit? Je-hee raises her hand and says that the offender always returns to the scene of the crime, but Santa answers that it’s important to put yourself in the killer’s shoes.
Kyung-soo agrees with Santa, but Kyung isn’t like most murderers, which makes it hard for them to get inside her head. Instead, he suggests that they dig into her accomplices. He suspects that being selected by K would probably make them feel special and maybe even have the urge to brag — not openly but on the sly — about their good fortune.
Santa rushes to the nearest computer and performs a reverse image search using a picture of one of Kyung’s dolls. There’s one result linking to a social media account, where the user repeatedly posted about his hellish job. A little more digging, and the team identifies the user as Kim Su-yong, who recently quit his job at KD Peace Lab, an IT company. They browse the company’s social media page and spot another familiar face: Yoon Mi-ae’s lawyer KO DAM (Kim Soo-ro).
Kyung-soo and Santa arrive at KD Peace Lab disguised as angry loan sharks who have come to collect money from Kim Su-yong. Behind them, Kyung-yi enters dressed as a pest control employee, which gives her the freedom to wander around the office. She has a moment of weakness in front of a vending machine full of beer, but she powers through it and spots a wall of employee photographs. Some of them have insulting remarks written on them in sharpie, evidence of company hazing.
Meanwhile, Kyung-soo and Santa question Su-yong’s former coworkers to try and determine who he might have a vendetta against. The employees reveal that Su-yong was caught illegally selling company equipment, but their boss was forgiving and decided to give him a second chance. One of the employees brings up a video of Su-yong wearing a sign of apology around his neck, and Ko Dam, his boss, has him stand on a table, where he remains long after the last employee has left for the day.
Kyung-yi’s search is interrupted by an employee who asks her to spray in a room where he saw a cockroach. He leads her to a windowless office that’s decorated with children’s furniture and penguin wallpaper. A single computer occupies the tiny child-sized desk. The employee’s phone alarm rings, and he leaves Kyung-yi alone to kill the cockroach. Kyung-yi assures the cockroach that she’s just spraying water, and she follows the insect’s path down the wall and underneath the computer desk, where Kyung-yi finds the message, “Just kill me already,” carved on the underside of the desk.
Kyung-soo and Santa look on in confusion as all of the employee’s cell phones begin chiming, reminding them to take their company issued vitamins, and a woman offers a box of Su-yong’s belongings to Kyung-soo and Santa with the suggestion that they sell the items to recoup some of their money.
Back in the van, Je-hee watches a video of Ko Dam as he tells reporters that he’s going to ensure that Mi-ae’s video is erased from the internet. As the rest of Team B joins her, she confirms that Su-yong is currently abroad, an alibi that was likely supplied by Kyung. Kyung-soo adds that he suspects Su-yong was bullied at work, and Kyung-yi finds it odd that Su-yong was isolated in a room without any windows when Ko Dam had the rest of his employee’s computers positioned so that he could see their monitors from his office.
Kyung-yi decides that they should question Ko Dam next, and Kyung-soo opens the box containing Su-yong’s belongings. Santa hurriedly waters the neglected plant that they find inside, but Kyung-yi points out that the plant is fake, pulling it easily from its vase and revealing a hidden flash drive.
Kyung-yi and Je-hee arrive at Ko Dam’s law firm, where a security guard waves them down with a metal detector and discovers flasks hidden in Kyung-yi’s jacket and sock. While Kyung-yi claims that her flasks are merely an extension of her body, Kyung-soo and Santa investigate the flash drive back in the van, but an unknown man watches them from across the parking garage.
Ko Dam escorts Kyung-yi and Je-hee to his office, and Je-hee acts impressed by his credentials and plans to run for mayor. Ko Dam claims he’s too busy to run for office, but Je-hee strokes his ego some more by claiming that the people seem to want a righteous person like him elected.
Pleasantries out of the way, Je-hee and Kyung-yi explain that they are seeking his advice on behalf of a “client” who has been bullied at work. Kyung-yi reveals that their client was ostracized by his coworkers and forced by his boss to stand on a desk for hours. Ko Dam remains pleasant and helpfully offers suggestions on how their client could build a case . He ends the exchange by giving Kyung-yi his personal number, claiming he would like to represent their client for free.
As they leave, Je-hee expresses her distaste for Ko Dam, but she doesn’t think that he took part in bullying Su-yong. She asks Kyung-yi if they should investigate the other employees next, but Kyung-yi isn’t listening. She’s counting down from five, and when she reaches one, she turns around, breezes past the reception area, and enters Ko Dam’s office, where she claims to have dropped something. As she peers under his coffee table, she palms a beef jerky packet from her sleeve and pretends to have found it on the floor. From her crouched position, she notices the bits of glass stuck to Ko Dam’s pant leg.
After she rejoins Je-hee, Kyung-yi explains that a man like Ko Dam would never show his true emotions in front of them; he’d wait until they were out of sight. Sure enough, after Kyung-yi and Je-hee left his office, he went into his private bathroom, wrapped his knuckles in a towel, and punched the mirror as he cursed Su-yong, which is how the broken glass ended up on his pant leg.
Once they’ve regrouped in the van, Kyung-soo reveals that the flash drive was a startup disc programmed to upload files automatically, and they wonder if Su-yong had a side gig on Mironet. Kyung-yi notices that Santa has exited the van and is playing peek-a-boo with the man who has been watching them. Kyung-so tries to intimidate the man with his loan shark persona, but Kyung-yi shoves Kyung-soo out of the way when she recognizes their stalker as Samsy, her favorite internet reporter.
They join Samsy in his van, and while Kyung-yi fangirls, Samsy swears them to secrecy and explains that he’s working on a story about the two-faced Ko Dam. Team B is initially intrigued, but they suspect Samsy is a conspiracy nut when he claims that he recorded Ko Dam talking to aliens.
Kyung-yi insists on watching the video, and identifies Ko Dam’s gibberish talk as a children’s playground language, like Pig Latin. She translates his words to say, “Upload the campus footage on the main page.” Samsy assumes that he must be talking about the video of Mi-ae, which is currently on the front page of Mironet. Disgusted, they realize that Ko Dam is using his company to upload Mi-ae’s video to the internet while simultaneously defending her during her trial. Kyung-yi apologizes to Samsy, and then steals and eats his memory card, suggesting that he find a new topic.
Je-hee meets Sook at an archery range, where Je-hee proves to be the superior archer. Sook asks Je-he where she learned archery, and Je-hee explains that her father taught her. Sook, always one to flex her knowledge of those around her, asks if that was before or after Je-hee’s mother ruined her entire family. Refusing to take the bait, Je-hee reveals that they have identified K’s next target and asks Sook what she intends to do with K once she captures her.
Sook feigns innocence and claims she just wants to capture a terrifying killer, but Je-hee tells Sook to cut the bullshit and tell her the truth. Sook explains that Je-hee isn’t one of her people yet, and even if she did trust Je-hee, she couldn’t trust her teammates. Je-hee counters that you aren’t supposed to trust your subordinates; you control them. She then reveals how she keeps each of the other Team B members in check.
Sook suspects that Je-hee wants something from her, and Je-hee states her intent to be by Sook’s son’s side when he enters the Blue House. In return for Je-hee’s frankness, Sook explains that K should have never been born, and someone — Sook — needs to make it as though she never existed. Je-hee discloses that K’s next victim is Ko Dam.
The rest of Team B are at a barbeque restaurant, where Santa wonders if they should just let Kyung kill Ko Dam since he’s a bad person who will only get a minor slap on the wrist if they report him to the authorities. Kyung-soo, who almost died because of Kyung, vehemently disagrees. He wants to capture Kyung, but he does concede that Ko Dam is an evil bastard that he wished he had the courage to kill. Kyung-yi explains that it doesn’t take courage to kill someone. Instead, you need foolishness and arrogance, two traits that she doesn’t possess.
Je-hee joins them at the table and reminds them that Su-yong will be returning to South Korea in a week, which means Kyung will try to kill Ko Dam before he returns. Kyung-yi asks Je-hee how her meeting with Sook went, and she answers by handing Kyung-yi a business card.
Kyung-yi meets Mi-ae at a park and hands her the business card and advises her to get a new lawyer. Kyung-yi vaguely explains that Ko Dam is actually quite evil, but Mi-ae argues that she’s not a good person either. Kyung-yi insists that she meet with the new lawyer and not worry about the cost. Mi-ae smells the scent of barbecue on Kyung-yi and comments that it’s nice to smell like barbecue after spending a week inside is nice, and Kyung-yi makes Mi-ae laugh by joking that she could have it delivered.
Dae-ho complains that it’s a hassle to pick up Geon-wook before work every morning because he lives so far away. Geon-wook offers to go back to taking the subway, but Dae-ho suggests that they move in together instead. Geon-wook immediately agrees to cohabitating.
That night, Geon-wook scours security footage in search of Kyung. She’s wandering the streets, intentionally strolling past security cameras so Geon-wook can locate her. Two men stop to harass her. She stoops to pick up a rock, but before there’s a need for her to defend herself, Geon-wook intercedes. He hands her a bag of snacks, which she quickly devours while complaining that he took his sweet time to locate her.
Geon-wook follows her back to a tent, where she shows off a collection of –presumably deadly — bottles that the woman from the greenhouse gave Kyung in return for killing her brother. Geon-wook warns that Ko Dam’s murder must be executed perfectly because Kyung-yi is watching closely, and Kyung is thrilled by the challenge.
Back at Team B headquarters, Kyung-yi compares her notes on Ko Dam to the Joan of Arc script, trying to identify how Kyung will commit her next murder. The fax machine buzzes to life, and Santa crumples the printed message before Kyung-yi can see it. She spins around in her chair, and he looks guilty as he faces her. Ominously, she asks, “How should I kill you?”
He drops his coffee mug, and it shatters against the floor, revealing the words “Bongbaek Girls’ High School 33rd Alumni Meeting” written on the bottom.
Just when I think I’ve figured Kyung out, she goes and flips the script — pun intended — on me. I thought for sure she was going to severely punish Geon-wook after he reported her to the police in episode four. She doesn’t seem like the type who’d be big on second chances, but maybe her current forgiveness is because she’s put in a position where she cannot refuse his help. The fact that Geon-wook is downright giddy to be assisting her with her last murder is at odds with his previous behavior, too. He’s still cautious, advising Kyung to be careful because Kyung-yi is watching closely, but is this really the same man who planted drugs on her so she would be arrested? I initially got the vibe he was grounded and logical, and Kyung kept him in check with fear. But instead of fearing her, I’m starting to wonder if he is a bit masochistic, drawn to her sadistic behaviors. Like, just how much did he enjoy being choked with that dog tag chain for him to be smiling maniacally alongside her in that tent? I still think Geon-wook’s boyfriend is in danger, though. Choking Geon-wook with his boyfriend’s dog tags seemed like foreshadowing.
Another character that keeps me on my toes is Sook. When the series began, I suspected she wanted to capture K out of self preservation because Sook feared she — or someone she cared about — would end up on K’s murder list. That may still be the case, since she doesn’t strike me as some sort of righteous vigilante bounty hunter and her conversation with Je-hee this episode suggests she wants to eliminate Kyung from existence. However, her little quip in the bathroom when she spoke with Mr. Kim has me wondering: What if she wants to make Kyung one of her people and have Kyung murder her opponents? The only motivation Kyung would need to kill on Sook’s behalf is evidence that the people Sook wants eliminated have done bad things, and with Sook’s patronage, Kyung would never get caught.
Santa, always a scene stealer, surprised me this episode when revealed he was inclined to let Kyung carry out her murder of Ko Dam. While there is definitely more going on with Santa than he lets on, I didn’t peg him as the type to support vigilante justice. That being said, I don’t think he is secretly in cahoots with Kyung or anyone else outside of Team B, even if the writers want us to suspect something is up with him. The ending of this episode was definitely a red herring. The fax was likely spam — Because who faxes these days besides people trying to sell you crap? — and the mug probably belonged to Kyung-yi’s husband. If he’s feeling guilty of anything, it’s that he broke Kyung-yi’s mug, not that he’s somehow secretly tied to her past or up to no good. Kyung-yi turning to him and asking him how she should kill him isn’t a threat; it’s just her trying to process the case aloud because when she’s stuck on a case, she either drinks, bounces ideas off Santa, or retreats into her mind.
Once again, the visual storytelling was on point this episode as it layered Kyung’s murders with her theatrical inspirations. Min-gyu dressed in lederhosen as he followed bread crumbs through the forest was darkly comical, but of particular interest to me was the use of Hamlet in this episode. When Kyung-yi retreats into her mind, she watches Kyung enact the famous play-within-a-play scene from Hamlet. Just has Hamlet used a production of The Murder of Gonzago to mirror his uncle’s murderous deeds and expose Claudius’s guilty conscious, Kyung’s own murder of the janitor is exposed through the scene. And just like Hamlet, who confirmed his uncle’s guiltiness by watching his uncle’s reaction during the play, Kyung-yi had her own epiphany and realized the significance of Kyung’s script books.
The Hamlet scene was also interesting because it gave us more insight into Kyung-yi’s relationship with her husband as she imagined him there with her watching the play. I admit, I was initially on the fence about the strength of their relationship when we saw Sung-woo tell Kyung in a flashback that he and his wife were like polar opposites. As someone who has never bought into the idea that “opposites attract” I saw that as a negative, but the more we delve into the past, the more it appears he understood Kyung-yi better than anyone else, which makes it all the more heartbreaking that she wasn’t able to trust him in return. A part of me hoped that he had been murdered in order to alleviate some of Kyung-yi’s guilt, but given what we learned about Sung-woo’s suicide this episode, it sounds like Kyung-yi eliminated the possibility of it being a murder years ago.