Bad and Crazy: Episode 1
A status-chasing police officer is hounded by a mysterious figure that seems to revel in tormenting him. He’s on the brink of big-time success, but getting the promotion he’s been longing for may mean turning a blind eye to the suffering of people around him.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
A man sinks into the ocean while a whale swims above his lifeless form. But in his mind, he’s in the middle of a bloody boxing match, in which he takes hit after hit, and his underwater self reacts to each blow. As his opponent grins and goes in for the knockout, the man opens his eyes underwater – and then comes up gasping in a bathtub. He heaves a sigh of both relief and annoyance, and vows never to drink so much again.
This is police officer RYU SOO-YEOL (Lee Dong-wook). After getting cleaned up, he heads out to the parking garage, where to his horror he finds his car all banged up in a clear act of vandalism. He tears into the security officers for letting this happen. But when they review the security camera footage, they see that the person who attacked his car was Soo-yeol himself. He stares at the video in disbelief.
When Soo-yeol finally arrives at the police station where he works, he’s met by his junior colleague (and ex-girlfriend), LEE HEE-GYEOM (Han Ji-eun). She’s upset that he’s about to interrogate her superior, and though he tries to walk away from their quickly escalating argument, she throws him to the ground.
Picking himself up and trying to play off the embarrassment, he makes his way inside and, along with his partner, YANG JAE-SUN (Cha Shi-won), heads straight to the interrogation room. Soo-yeol greets the suspect, officer KIM GYE-SHIK (Lee Hwa-ryong), with a proffered handshake, saying, “It’s an honor to meet you.” But Gye-shik responds glumly, “This isn’t exactly an honorable occasion, is it?” Soo-yeol can’t argue with that, but he still tries to keep things upbeat and casual.
The investigation concerns the death of Gye-shik’s partner, Tak Min-soo. According to Gye-shik, Min-soo had gone to meet someone on the fifth floor of an abandoned building, and asked Gye-shik to wait for him below. Suddenly, Min-soo screamed and fell to his death, landing just a few feet away from where Gye-shik was standing. Spotting a man looking over the edge, Gye-shik raced up to the fifth floor to catch him. He succeeded, but the man stabbed him with a shard of glass and tried to run away. Gye-shik shot him in the thigh, accidentally causing him to also plummet to his death.
Soo-yeol listens to the story, then starts poking holes in it. He points out that Min-soo and his alleged murderer were known to be on good terms, since the other man was a two-time drug dealer whom Min-soo had helped rehabilitate. Then Soo-yeol switches gears. He asks what Jae-sun would do if someone were to murder him, prompting him to say he’d go crazy and destroy them.
Gye-shik insists he only shot to wound, not kill. But Soo-yeol reminds him they were on the fifth floor with no guardrail – of course the impact of the bullet would send him toppling over the edge.
He keeps provoking Gye-shik until Gye-shik shouts, “Was I supposed to let him get away? He killed Min-soo!” Soo-yeol shouts right back in face… and then flips a switch and calmly notes that Gye-shik lost his temper just from talking about the incident, so he must have been even more furious in the moment. He goes on to say they found no evidence that the man Gye-shik shot actually killed Min-soo. And, notably, there were three people present that night: Min-soo, the other man, and Gye-shik.
While Gye-shik seethes, we move to the other side of the one-way mirror, where Commissioner KIM SUNG-HO (Han Ki-joong) chuckles to another officer that Soo-yeol could stand to go a little easier on Gye-shik – but that Gye-shik deserves this.
Later, the other officer, Soo-yeol’s superior KWAK BONG-PIL (Sung Ji-roo) pours Soo-yeol a congratulatory drink. He reveals that Gye-shik had gotten the commissioner’s nephew jailed for drug use – the very same nephew Soo-yeol was drinking with last night, and not by accident. Bong-pil assures Soo-yeol that if he gets Gye-shik suspended, he’s sure to land a big promotion. Soo-yeol claims he’s in this for justice, not promotions, but they both know that’s not true.
Still sore from getting slammed into the concrete, Soo-yeol relaxes at a sauna. He sinks into a drowsy haze, only momentarily distracted by someone standing at the door dressed in leather with a biker helmet. But then the biker comes inside, yanks Soo-yeol from his seat, and tosses him out onto the floor. And then proceeds to grab him by the hair, rub salt in his eyes, and spray scalding water directly into his face. He finishes with a punch to the jaw that topples Soo-yeol backwards into a pool. He sinks deep into dark water.
A young police officer named OH KYUNG-TAE (Cha Hak-yeon) sees a little girl putting up a missing person poster for her mother, a woman named Jung Yoo-na. Kyung-tae takes the girl to the police station, where he learns someone already placed a report that Yoo-na was missing. The detective in charge of the case, DO IN-BUM (Lee Sang-hong), informs Kyung-tae that Yoo-na recently got out of jail for drug use and probably ran away from home. He clearly doesn’t care, but Kyung-tae looks devastated for the little girl.
Back at the sauna, Soo-yeol describes the attack to the front desk clerk, who tells him the biker didn’t show up on any of their cameras. The clerk definitely thinks he’s crazy, and offers a refund to get him to leave. Soo-yeol’s tirade is cut short by a call from Bong-pil. He considers taking the refund, but decides it’s too much of a hassle.
As Kyung-tae walks the little girl back to her grandmother’s house, she reveals her mother used to come home every Sunday, except when she traveled to the US (which must have been when Yoo-na was actually in prison). During that time, she wrote letters every day instead. The last time they spoke, Yoo-na had told her she’d already bought her a birthday gift. Kyung-tae promises to find Yoo-na, and the little girl gives him a clover, promising that next time she’ll find a four-leaf clover so he can have a bracelet that matches hers.
When Soo-yeol arrives back at the police station, he stares in envy at the fancy sports car that officer JOO DAE-WON (Yoo Jung-ho) pulls up in. Soo-yeol is all too happy to gloat to Dae-won about his impending promotion, only to learn minutes later that Dae-won’s father is the commissioner’s childhood friend – which makes him a much more likely candidate.
Soo-yeol appeals to Bong-pil to help him out, but Bong-pil is quick to point out that that’s exactly what he’s been doing, ever since Soo-yeol got this job without having wealth, connections, or higher education.
Kyung-tae asks around for clues about Yoo-na, unconvinced she would willingly abandon the daughter she wrote to every day while in prison. Finally, he gets a hold of her call records, which lead him to an apartment complex. The security guard there is grumpy and uncooperative, but luckily Kyung-tae meets a woman resident who identifies Yoo-na as her next-door neighbor. The door to Yoo-na’s apartment is covered with flyers and has packages stacked against it, and no one answers Kyung-tae’s knocking. He gets a locksmith to open it, and as he does, the security guard calls someone to report him.
Kyung-tae enters the apartment and finds it neat and tidy, with pictures of Yoo-na’s daughter on the dresser and a child-size dress hanging in the closet. The bathroom smells strongly of bleach, and he carefully pries up the drain and pulls out a clump of blood-soaked hair. That’s when In-bum arrives. But when Kyung-tae shows him the hair, he shoves Kyung-tae into the bathtub and beats the living daylights out of him. Oh my god.
Bong-pil presents Soo-yeol with a chance to get on the commissioner’s good side and get that promotion after all. ASSEMBLYMAN DO YOO-GON (Im Ki-hong) is a friend of the commissioner, and the cousin of Detective In-bum, who has “caused some trouble” that won’t be good for Assemblyman Do’s campaign. Soo-yeol hesitates, knowing In-bum’s not-so-great reputation, so Bong-pil sweetens the pot: turns out Soo-yeol and Assemblyman Do attended the same high school, so if this goes well, he’ll have his own “childhood friend” connection.
Soo-yeol and Assemblyman Do meet at a pizza place owned by Soo-yeol’s brother. Soo-yeol lays the flattery on thick and promises to get everything sorted out before the election. In return, Assemblyman Do says he finds Soo-yeol very comfortable to be around even though they just met. They laugh heartily, but neither man’s smile seems to reach his eyes.
After Assemblyman Do leaves, Soo-yeol’s mother arrives, much to his annoyance. She’s recently had surgery (that he paid for), and at his continued nagging, she snaps that she’ll pay him back since she didn’t ask him to cover the bills. Soo-yeol’s brother steps in to say he asked Soo-yeol to pay, though it seems like he’s just taking the fall. In any case, it effectively turns Mom’s annoyance on him instead of Soo-yeol.
To begin the investigation on In-bum’s “incident,” Soo-yeol and Jae-sun drop by the police station where both In-bum and Kyung-tae work. Soo-yeol turns on the charm, but his cheerful manner drops when he sees Kyung-tae’s horrifically bruised face. While the other officers show Jae-sun Kyung-tae’s desk with the missing person posters, Soo-yeol gets Kyung-tae’s side of the story.
Kyung-tae explains exactly what happened and why he was at Yoo-na’s apartment. Soo-yeol is confused that Kyung-tae would go out of his way to investigate a missing person just because he made a promise to a child, but Kyung-tae believes that’s his duty as a police officer. Soo-yeol sighs that In-bum is a police officer, too, and says Kyung-tae should have respected another officer’s jurisdiction. He suggests they wrap everything up with a simple apology, but Kyung-tae persists: “I saw bloodstains at her apartment.”
They return together to see, but of course the blood is gone now. When Soo-yeol turns to go, Kyung-tae makes one last-ditch effort: “But what if something really did happen to her?”
Next, Soo-yeol meets with In-bum, who insists he did nothing wrong. Soo-yeol bristles when In-bum calls Kyung-tae an “attention seeker,” and even more so when In-bum pulls the “my cousin said we’d get along great” card. Tapping his ear, Soo-yeol switches stances into a no-nonsense interrogator, demanding respect as In-bum’s superior. He orders In-bum to keep his mouth shut and let him handle everything.
Later, Soo-yeol and Jae-sun look over Kyung-tae’s file. His record is spotless, and when Soo-yeol asks Jae-sun to find something – anything – on him, Jae-sun puts his foot down, guessing that Soo-yeol is only angling for the commissioner’s favor. HA, as they bicker, Soo-yeol tries to lift one of Jae-sun’s dumbbells, and promptly throws out his shoulder.
Kyung-tae returns to Yoo-na’s apartment to look for more clues. This time, he notices a teddy bear, still inside its plastic wrapping. This must be the birthday present Yoo-na had promised. The door creeps open behind him, but it’s just the neighbor, who invites him into her apartment to hear about the odd noises she remembers hearing about a week ago. She steps into another room to take a phone call, and suddenly there’s a loud crash. Kyung-tae runs to check on her, only to see her half-stripped and holding a shard of broken mirror. The security guard comes up behind them, and oh no – this looks really bad for Kyung-tae.
Jae-sun brings him in for questioning. Frustrated that Kyung-tae is still laser-focused on Yoo-na, Jae-sun urges him to look after himself instead of others, and offers to buy him dinner while they work on clearing his name.
Meanwhile, Soo-yeol questions the neighbor, but her story doesn’t add up at all. Exasperated, he calls In-bum and scolds him for hiring someone who can’t lie convincingly. Again, he tells In-bum to stay quiet and let him take care of it.
At home that night, though, Soo-yeol wrestles with conflicting thoughts. Muttering that he should only worry about himself, he leans back in his chair, and a water droplet falls on his forehead. His eyes pop open. The biker is looming over him. Before Soo-yeol can react, the biker rams his helmet against Soo-yeol’s head until Soo-yeol blacks out.
He wakes in Yoo-na’s bathroom, which is illuminated with eerie blacklights that reveal blood splatterings all over the walls and floor. The biker is here, too, and when Soo-yeol tries to punch him, he knocks Soo-yeol down again, laughs at him, and runs out the door. Soo-yeol pursues, even after the biker jumps on his motorcycle and speeds away. In a crisscross of alleyways, the biker vanishes, and then seems to be everywhere at once. He uses his wheel to knock Soo-yeol flat, and then rides straight toward him, as though aiming to run him over – and Soo-yeol wakes up back at home.
At In-bum’s disciplinary hearing, In-bum apologizes for letting his anger get the better of him, and the panel seems swayed against Kyung-tae already. They tell him the neighbor’s assault accusations would have been taken to prosecution if Soo-yeol hadn’t gotten involved.
Afterwards, Kyung-tae thanks Soo-yeol for his help. Jae-sun waits until he leaves to express his outrage – Soo-yeol had told him he wouldn’t include the assault accusation in his report. Soo-yeol claims he was just doing his job.
In-bum, who got off with a pay cut, shows Soo-yeol footage of a woman who matches Yoo-na’s description using her credit card just yesterday. He asks if Soo-yeol believes him now, but Soo-yeol takes a call from Assemblyman Do instead of answering.
Kyung-tae, of course, returns to Yoo-na’s apartment once more, only to find it under renovation. He frantically asks what happened to the teddy bear, but the construction crew toss him out, ignoring his pleas. He manages to pull the bear out of the trash, which does not go unnoticed by the security guard.
Assemblyman Do throws a big party for his daughter’s birthday, where he plays the perfect host and family man. Soo-yeol wanders around awkwardly until Assemblyman Do finally calls him over to meet the commissioner. Then Assemblyman Do excuses himself to put his daughter to bed. After tucking her in, he freezes when he overhears the ladies talking about a toy with a baby monitor hidden inside. Oh. It’s a large stuffed bear.
Ten days ago, a very drunk Assemblyman Do had stood over Yoo-na’s motionless body which lay in a puddle of her own blood, accusing her of filming him for blackmail. The bear had been in the room the entire time.
Kyung-tae attempts to deliver said bear, but the girl and her grandmother have already moved. He steps out onto the street, and a delivery driver grazes his arm, knocking him to the ground. He picks up the bear to make sure it’s okay, and discovers the hidden camera and memory chip. In a frenzy, he runs home. He plugs the chip into his laptop… as In-bum steps out from the shadows behind him.
In-bum demands he hand over the chip if he wants to live. Thinking this means In-bum killed Yoo-na, Kyung-tae tries to fight back, but In-bum quickly overpowers him and breaks a chair over his back. Meanwhile, Soo-yeol takes a taxi home, smiling over all the business cards he collected at the party.
Kyung-tae, now beaten to a pulp (again!), tries to swallow the chip. Augh, In-bum literally digs it out of his throat, and then sprinkles gasoline around the apartment while Kyung-tae writhes on the floor.
Soo-yeol starts feeling queasy and asks his driver to slow down a bit. But there is no driver, and the car isn’t moving – it’s parked, and the biker is bouncing up and down on the trunk. Soo-yeol crawls out of the car in time to vomit, and gets yet another beating himself. “You owe Oh Kyung-tae an apology,” the biker says, and drags Soo-yeol up to the top floor of a building. Kyung-tae’s apartment building, to be precise. But as he opens the door to Kyung-tae’s apartment, the whole place explodes in flames.
Soo-yeol tries to run away, but the biker punches him again and throws him inside the burning apartment, where Kyung-tae is lying motionless on the floor. With the biker blocking the exit, Soo-yeol has only one option. He runs over to Kyung-tae and tries to wake him. The roof starts to cave in, so the biker smashes a window and pushes Soo-yeol toward it. He clearly wants Soo-yeol to jump, but it’s a long way down to the street. That’s when the gas stove ignites, sending a huge fireball toward them. They all tumble out the window and land on top of a car.
Except, when Soo-yeol looks around, it’s just him and Kyung-tae. The biker lands on the car’s hood in a superhero crouch, his shoulders literally on fire. Straightening, he puts out the fire with his hands and then removes his helmet. With a laugh, he leans forward and speaks without moving his mouth: “It’s nice to meet you, Ryu Soo-yeol.”
Well. That was… different. Brutal. A lot to get through. But I kinda liked it. Most of it, anyway. (Can I just wrap Kyung-tae in bubble wrap??)
It would appear the mysterious biker is some sort of manifestation of Soo-yeol’s conscience, letting him know he’s not doing the right thing. But what exactly does that mean? I’d love to know what the sauna clerk actually saw on the security cameras – was it Soo-yeol beating himself up, just like he vandalized his own car? Also, how much of these encounters are in his head? The sequence where he woke up in Yoo-na’s bathroom, for instance, didn’t appear as though he’d actually physically traveled there (since he woke up back in his chair), while at the end he clearly did go up the stairs to Kyung-tae’s apartment.
Obviously, this is just episode 1, and I’m sure we’ll get answers along the way. But for now, I do appreciate the point being made that knowing the right thing to do and then not doing it is just as bad as doing the wrong thing. If the biker is his conscience – if he’s literally beating himself up for his choices – then he must really hate himself for what he’s done (and not done), even if he’s buried that self-loathing really deep. Which helps me root for him juuuust a little bit, just enough to want him to make the right choices for once.
It also helps to pair him with someone like Jae-sun, who 1) is a good person, 2) clearly cares about Soo-yeol and has a good relationship with him, and 3) calls him out on his selfish behavior. Because if there’s any good influence that Soo-yeol might listen to, it’s probably his partner. And because I like Jae-sun, I want to see good in Soo-yeol like he does, and I don’t want to see him (even more) disappointed in someone he cares about.
However, despite little hints like Soo-yeol getting visibly angry at the way In-bum talked about Kyung-tae, it’s pretty hard to like Soo-yeol right now. Every time it almost seems like he’s feeling a smidge of empathy, he flips that switch off and turns back to his own agenda. And, to be totally honest, if he didn’t have Lee Dong-wook’s smile, it would be even harder to like him…
But here’s hoping that the guilt he might be feeling toward Kyung-tae (hence the biker forcing him to go apologize) will get harder to ignore and that he’ll start listening to his conscience again – whether it looks like an actual person or is just a little voice in his head.
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