Inspector Koo: Episode 10
Our team intercepts a package intended for our killer’s former accomplice and suddenly all of the puzzle pieces begin falling into place, revealing a picture that leads them back to their very first case. Meanwhile, our killer concocts a plan to complete some unfinished business.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Kyung-yi rips open the package as the men huddle together and scream dramatically, terrified that they are about to be blown to bits, but inside the box they find something equally frightening: a dead body. Kyung-yi bursts into laughter when she sees the dead man Kyung gift wrapped and had delivered to Geon-wook’s front door, but they are forced to carry the heavy load inside when Geon-wook’s nosey neighbor appears to investigate all the racket they’d been making.
Flashback to a few hours earlier. Two of Sook’s men are gossiping at a coffee shop about how “Dragon” (Sook) said she would kill “Rabbit” (Hyun-tae), who is now supposedly vacationing in Hawaii. After overhearing Sook’s threat, the men suspect Hyun-tae is dead and all his recent social media posts have been photoshopped to make it appear as though he is alive and well. The scene pans over to the decorative hedge behind them, where the soon-to-be-dead man has comically painted himself green in order to camouflage himself into the fake foliage and eavesdrop on the conversation.
The soon-to-be-dead man is a tabloid journalist who rushes back to his office, which is a rented karaoke room. He’s a few paragraphs into writing his next big scoop when a noose of fishing line is slowly lowered from the ceiling and looped around his neck. As he struggles, Kyung drops down from a vent, puts on a karaoke track, and wanders over to read his unfinished article. She discovers that the “Rabbit” she overheard her previous kill mention is Hyun-tae.
Kyung is curious to know why Sook would want her to kill a journalist, so she asks him if he has any other information on Sook, warning him that he has ten seconds to tell her or she will kill him. He points to a canister, where Kyung finds a memory card hidden inside the lid. The journalist tries to struggle free, but Kyung pulls the noose tighter and removes a twin bell alarm clock from her bag. It’s tied to a lanyard, which she loops around his neck before miming that it’s set to explode.
The scene cuts to the beach, where Kyung is reclined under an umbrella. Sook arrives and applauds Kyung on her explosive cover-up of the journalist’s murder, but when Kyung remains silent Sook removes Kyung’s sunglasses to wake her. Sook is startled to find that Kyung has painted a set of fake eyeballs on her eyelids, and Kyung bursts into laughter.
Kyung explains that she decided be more dramatic with the journalist’s murder because her usual style was boring. Plus, she wanted to see how effective Sook was at cleaning up the aftermath. Sook is pleased to have Kyung as a part of her team, but she’s curious to know how Kyung feels when she’s murdering someone. Kyung answers that she enjoys it when things go as planned, but, more than that, there’s a sense of doing what needs to be done.
Mr. Kim runs excitedly towards them with live coverage of the mayoral primary election playing on his phone, and Sook orders him to stop a few feet from where she and Kyung are sitting. As Sung-tae is declared the winning candidate for the Future Hope Party, Sook stares thoughtfully at Mr. Kim and divulges that she enjoys moments like the present, when things go exactly the way she wants and she can easily see through people. On Mr. Kim’s phone, Sung-tae gives his acceptance speech, and Sook explains that Kyung will be busy from here on out.
In the present, the team and Geon-wook are all having mixed reactions to finding the dead body. Kyung-soo worries about how much jail time he will have to serve, Santa is a frightened statue in the corner, and Geon-wook nervously asks Kyung-yi if the body was a gift from Kyung. Kyung-yi calmly munches on a snack and reveals that she suspected Kyung would try to get in touch with Geon-wook after she realized that her partnership with Sook was not a match. She then kicks the box, and orders the journalist to wake up.
When the journalist opens his eyes, Kyung-soo freaks out and clings to Santa. Kyung-yi scolds them for not knowing the difference between a dead and living body and then confirms with the journalist that Kyung was the one who packaged him up. She tells him that she will release him if he tells her everything he disclosed to Kyung.
The night Kyung strangled the journalist, she’d loaded the memory card onto his computer and kept a firm grip on the fishing line, tightening her hold in order to force him to sing along to the karaoke music. In between lyrics, the journalist had explained to Kyung that Ko Dam, who was rumored to have been gathering dirt on influential people, had given him the memory card because he was infamous for writing articles about the Heo family.
Geon-wook suspects the journalist, who Santa has now sweetly tucked into bed, stole the memory card, but Kyung-yi scolds him for being so suspicious. Her hypocritical statement astonishes Santa and Kyung-soo, and they stare at her as though she’d grown a second head. Oblivious to their looks, Kyung-yi keeps the journalist talking, wanting to know what was on the memory card. He divulges that it was a ten-minute surveillance video of a boat and dock. Kyung-yi asks if the dock was in Tongyeong, and the journalist is surprised that both Kyung-yi and Kyung were able to identify the video’s location.
Kyung had run out of time before she could deduce the significance of the video, so instead of killing the journalist, she’d chloroformed him. Before he’d passed out, she’d told him to give the memory card to the “man with a mean face.” Everyone turns to Geon-wook, who’s offended by their unanimous opinion, but Kyung-yi ignores Geon-wook’s protestation and asks the journalist for the video. Underneath the bed covers, the journalist fiddles with his…uh…downstairs area and makes everyone uncomfortable. When he produces the memory card, no one is willing to reach for it.
Geon-wook is peer pressured into taking the memory card, which he opens on his computer. The journalist hovers nearby, insisting that there must be something on the video worth Sook trying to kill him over, but Geon-wook is distracted by the journalist’s foul odor. Santa, who had been busily cleaning Geon-wook’s apartment, escorts the journalist to the shower.
The team gathers around as Geon-wook tabs through the video. Kyung-soo is suspicious that Geon-wook is deleting evidence with his button clicking, so Kyung-yi explains that the surveillance footage they’re watching was filmed over old footage, which is appearing as image noise. Geong-wook pauses the video as people are boarding the boat, and the team realizes that there was an additional, unknown person present the night Joon-hyun drowned. Kyung-yi, knowing Kyung will reach out to Geon-wook again, tells him to have Kyung contact her if she wants to know the mystery person’s identity.
The freshly showered journalist exits the bathroom and asks if he’s free to leave, but next we see him, MelonMusk is putting a plate of dumplings in front of him. He’s crashing with her while he continues to play dead for his own safety, but MelonMusk grumbles that she’s only willing to put up with the journalist’s snoring as a favor to Kyung-yi.
At the charred remains of the journalist’s office, Mr. Kim reviews the CCTV footage of the explosion and notices two couriers loading a large box into their van shortly before the building blew up. Suspicious, he calls the delivery company, and they direct him to Geon-wook’s apartment. He calls Sook to update her on the status of the mystery package, and she orders him to kill Geon-wook off quietly after he finds out what Kyung stole from the journalist’s office.
As Mr. Kim approaches Geon-wook’s building disguised as a police officer, Geon-wook rummages through the box of items from his relationship with Dae-ho. He pauses when he finds the bottle of protein powder and remembers Kyung-yi advising him to turn himself into the police because jail is the only place where he’s safe from Sook. He shakes off his worry when he hears his hidden cell phone ringing from inside the back of his toilet.
It’s Kyung, but because Sook’s creepy gardener is keeping a close eye on her, she pretends to read aloud from a script instead of answering Geon-wook’s questions directly. Geon-wook, sensing Kyung cannot talk freely, explains that the video revealed an additional person present the night of the boat party, and if she wants help identifying the person, Kyung should contact Kyung-yi. Kyung is excited to learn Kyung-yi is still alive, and her reaction to the news makes the gardener suspicious. He rushes over, and while he searches her book for a secret phone, Kyung palms her earpod and hides it under her butt. The gardener searches her hands and ears, but he comes up empty.
The call ends just as Mr. Kim rings Geon-wook’s doorbell. Geon-wook grabs a knife from the kitchen and checks his security camera, but when he sees a police officer outside, he mistakenly assumes Kyung-yi turned him in. Geon-wook answers the door, and Mr. Kim lies that the package Geon-wook received recently was delivered by mistake and that he’s there to retrieve it. Geon-wook plays dumb, so Mr. Kim forces his way inside when he sees the flattened cardboard box in the living room.
He pulls his gun on Geon-wook, who brandishes his knife, but Mr. Kim easily knocks the knife out of Geon-wook’s hand and shoots him in the shoulder. Complaining about having to run Sook’s errands, Mr. Kim takes his anger out on Geon-wook and beats him into submission with the butt of his gun. While Geon-wook’s down, Mr. Kim searches the apartment for the package’s mystery contents, but Geon-wook crawls towards his weights, picks up a dumbbell, and slams it onto Mr. Kim’s foot. Enraged, Mr. Kim points his gun at Geon-wook, but Geon-wook’s nosey neighbor screams from the doorway, and when she registers what’s going on, she runs away and yells for help. While Mr. Kim hobbles after the neighbor, Geon-wook escapes out the window, repelling down the side of the building using a rope.
Sung-tae is performing community service and schmoozing with the public when he gets a soot smudge on his face. Je-hee advises him to leave it as part of his down-to-earth image, and because of her strategizing, he compares her to Sook. Je-hee thanks him as though it’s a compliment, but her smile is clearly forced. She lingers behind as the rest of the campaign team escorts Sung-tae to his next photo op, and Kyung-soo appears. He’s wearing a disguise and an earbud that is connected to a phone call with Kyung-yi.
Using Kyung-soo to relay her words, Kyung-yi asks Je-hee if she thinks Sung-tae is the man from the video. Je-hee is uncertain because the video is too blurry to identify whether the person is either Sung-tae or Hyun-tae. They find it odd that Ko Dam would entrust a journalist with his only evidence of Sook’s misdeeds, so Kyung-yi wonders if he had additional blackmail hidden somewhere else. She asks Je-hee if Ko Dam said anything noteworthy before he died.
Je-hee tells Kyung-yi to listen to his last words herself, admitting that she’s hidden a flash drive containing the video of Ko Dam’s murder in her refrigerator crisper, where it will be protected from fire and explosions. After Kyung-yi and Santa watch the video, the team ponders the location of Ko Dam’s hidden blackmail files. Given his understanding of Mironet, it seems unlikely he’d want to upload them to the cloud, so it makes more sense that he would keep them on his person at all times. Santa realizes he must have kept the files inside the ring he always wore, which prompts Kyung-yi and Je-hee to ponder Ko Dam’s dying assertion that he’d take his blackmail files with him to his grave.
Sook’s gardener settles down to eat dinner in his basement lair, where he has surveillance footage of the whole house and grounds. His meal is interrupted when a limping and infuriated Mr. Kim arrives. Armed with a tranquilizer gun, they enter Kyung’s room, and Mr. Kim jerks her by her hair, demanding to know what was in the box. She plays dumb and denies letting the journalist live.
She offers to show him proof that she killed the journalist and acts like she’s retrieving something from the side of the bed, but when she turns back to Mr. Kim, she offers him a smile and a finger heart. Mr. Kim instructs the gardener to shoot her with the tranquilizer gun and move her to the basement, where he can torture the truth out of her. As she drifts off, Kyung reveals Kyung-yi is still alive, taunting that Sook will be pissed when she finds out that Mr. Kim failed to kill her.
An injured and barefoot Geon-wook wanders around, scrambling to find a safe place to hide out. He can only think of one safe place to go, but Dae-ho is initially hesitant to let him inside. He reconsiders when he sees Geon-wook’s battered state.
In a parking garage, Mr. Kim screeches to a stop and blocks Je-hee’s car with his SUV. He confronts her about the fact Kyung-yi is alive. Je-hee responds by doing a rather convincing impression of Sook, reminding Mr. Kim that Sook will be angry if she finds out he failed. He’s suspicious that she already knew Kyung-yi was alive and didn’t tell Sook, but Je-hee claims that she withheld the information because she wanted him to owe her a favor. She makes him pinky-promise that assist her if she ever needs it, and after sealing the deal, she discloses that Kyung-yi is searching Ko Dam’s grave for the evidence he had against Sook.
Santa, who is disguised as a security guard, leads Kyung-yi and Kyung-soo to Ko Dam’s final resting place, which is a narcissistic museum exhibit. At the center of the room is a bust of Ko Dam that was cast from a mixture of Ko Dam’s ashes and plaster, and according to the plaque, his possessions have been interred inside the bust. Kyung-yi is ready to shatter the glass display case with a nearby fire extinguisher, but Kyung-soo stops her while Santa calmly removes the back panel from the display.
Determined to break something, Kyung-yi distracts Santa and Kyung-soo so she can smash the bust on the ground, a completely unnecessary act because Ko Dam’s ring was easily accessible underneath. While Santa and Kyung-soo attempt to reassemble the bust, Kyung-yi examines the ring. They hear Mr. Kim squeal to a stop outside, but the locked doors delay him from getting inside. Kyung-soo, who has experience shopping for rings because he once planned a (failed) marriage proposal, realizes that the ring has a secret compartment. He twists off the top and finds a micro SD card.
When Kyung wakes up, she’s locked inside a cell with “Help” and “Just kill me” written on the walls in blood. She’s disgusted to find human teeth — remains of the gardener’s last victim — stuck to her face. Quietly, she peeks into the room outside her cell and sees the gardener carefully inventorying his arsenal of torture devices, but she smiles when she sees the drain in the floor next to him.
Kyung pretends to call for help, and the gardener shoots another tranquilizer dart into the mound of blankets he mistakes for Kyung. He enters the cell to confirm she’s unconscious, but Kyung, who was actually hiding in the corner near the door, smashes a brick against his head. After stealing the gardener’s shoes, she escapes through the drainage tunnel.
Back at Ko Dam’s memorial, Mr. Kim triggers the alarm. Santa, pretending to be a security guard, leads a group of police officers into the room with the broken bust. He plants Ko Dam’s ring in Mr. Kim’s pocket, and he tells the police — using his real voice! — to frisk Mr. Kim for the stolen ring. When the police find the ring, they arrest Mr. Kim.
Kyung-yi’s plan to capture Mr. Kim is revealed in a flashback. She knew she couldn’t continue pretending to be dead any longer, so she instructed Je-hee to tell Mr. Kim where she was hiding. His arrest hinged on Santa’s ability to speak and act as the security guard because they needed someone whose voice Mr. Kim had never heard before.
The micro SD card from Ko Dam’s ring contains a video from the night of the boat party that was filmed by the mystery passenger. Joon-hyun was there as a server to the party goers and the cameraman. After getting high off drugs Min-gyu obtained from Mexico, the passengers participated in a game, and the winning Min-gyu was rewarded with a pat on the head from the cameraman.
The cameraman notices Joon-hyun watching them and offers him some drugs, too. Sometime later, the drugs have hit Joon-hyun, and the cameraman waves a wad of cash at Joon-hyun. He tosses the money over the boat railing, and the impaired Joon-hyun jumps overboard to catch it. Initially, the other party goers discuss a rescue attempt, but the cameraman tells them to hush so he can watch Joon-hyun drown.
When the video ends, Kyung-soo grumbles that they are unable to see the cameraman’s face, but Kyung-yi rewinds the video to when he patted Min-gyu on the head. Barely visible in the reflection of Min-gyu’s glasses is Hyun-tae.
Kyung-yi retreats inside her imagination, becoming a spectator the night of the boat party. Following Joon-hyun’s drowning, Hyun-tae had remained unaffected, waving it off as an accident. He’d used Min-gyu’s phone to film the video, so as part of the coverup, he’d told Min-gyu to delete the video, but what neither of them had realized was that the video had already been backed up to Mironet, where Ko Dam later accessed it.
Dae-ho finishes bandaging Geon-wook, who wants to run away together to someplace where no one knows them and they can open a gym, and Dae-ho agrees to wait for him and move to the beach with him. He stands, causing Geon-wook to panic, but Dae-ho says he’s going to get breakfast. Instead of retrieving breakfast, though, Dae-ho goes to the police station, where he cries as he gives them footage of Geon-wook disposing a body. When Dae-ho returns, Geon-wook excitedly rushes to greet him at the window, but his face falls and he flees when he sees the detectives who followed Dae-ho home.
Kyung-yi and the rest of her team are seated separately in an otherwise empty train car when Kyung joins them. She sits across from Kyung-yi and waves to the rest of the team. She’s excited when Kyung-yi pulls out one of Kyung’s handmade dolls, but before she agrees to hand over the doll — and the evidence inside — Kyung-yi makes Kyung promise to stop bothering Je-hee. Kyung agrees to the conditions so long as she’s allowed to leave the train unharmed in return.
Kyung takes the doll, but because Kyung-yi taught her to be suspicious, she reveals that she has a contingency plan and pulls up a video on her phone. It’s footage of the inside of Je-hee’s apartment. Kyung points to an alarm clock on the bookshelf and explains that she will push the button on the device in her hand if anyone gets off the train before it leaves the station. Je-hee panics, calls her father, and tells him to vacate the apartment.
Kyung-yi asks Kyung if she has to keep killing, and Kyung replies that her aunt is still angry. Santa blocks her at the exit when she tries to exit the train, so Kyung whines for Kyung-yi, who nods at Santa to allow Kyung to leave. As Kyung passes him, she leans in and whispers, “Do you think I didn’t recognize you?”
From the platform, Kyung waves goodbye as the train pulls away from the station. “It must be nice to have a lot of friends,” she comments before handing the device she’d threatened Je-hee with to a young girl at the train station. She tells the girl to push the button, and back at Je-hee’s house, the alarm clock begins blaring a recording of Kyung’s voice. The glass face cracks, but there is no explosion.
Back on the train, Kyung-yi assures them that it will all be over soon and advises that they relax until they get to the next station, where Je-hee suggests they can grab some galbi. Santa, on the other hand, is worried about the consequences of giving the video to Kyung.
At the Buddhist temple, Sook’s favorite monk agrees that it is her and her son’s fate to lead the people, but Sook complains that it’s an exhausting fate. Their conversation is interrupted by the sounds of Hyun-tae trying to fight the monks who are guarding him, but they quickly subdue him and place him back under house arrest.
Once it’s quiet again, Sook pulls out a package of information on Kyung. She explains that she never had a daughter, but she feels as though Kyung could be of great help to her so long as Sook manages her correctly. As the monk reads the information, he ominously reveals that Kyung is burning up, and when fire meets fire, the wind will spread it and cause it to engulf everything. He’s concerned when he asks Sook about Kyung’s whereabouts.
Sung-tae psyches himself up to run across the Wonju Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge, but the strong winds and creaking metal cause him to stop several times and cling to the railing. He continues on, but as he nears the middle of the bridge, he stumbles over a tripwire and falls on his face. He screams as he confronts the distance between him and the ground, and Kyung rushes up to ask if he’s okay. He gazes up at her, and her innocent looking face is haloed by the sun, making her appear almost angelic as she smiles down at him.
Welp, I called it! I knew Sook had a connection to Joon-hyun’s drowning, so I wasn’t surprised when her son was revealed to have been a passenger on the boat. How else would she have noticed Kyung’s killing pattern if not for the fact that Sook was already connected and paying attention? Although a tad predictable, I appreciate that everything has finally come full circle, but I feel like they could have done a better job using Ko Dam as a bridge to connect all the pieces together. The fact that he coincidentally became one of Kyung’s targets without her knowing he had evidence tying Hyun-tae to the drowning incident was a rather weak point in the plot for me, and I can think of several ways they could have improved upon it and made those middle episodes more interesting to watch.
While I can’t say that I’m shocked by Sook’s connection to the drowning, I was surprised by Mr. Kim, who I always pegged as more of a “yes, ma’am” lackey, not someone who got his hands dirty. But, man oh man, did he get his hands dirty this week! Given how much he seemed to enjoy beating Geon-wook, I’m not sure if I should chalk his violent streak as pent up frustration from being at Sook’s beck and call or if he’s actually an extremely ruthless killer. The way Sook was watching him when her son was elected party candidate makes it seem like she’s aware he’s keeping a side of himself in check, but does she admire that side of him or does she have him on a short leash because she knows he might potentially turn on her? Honestly, I kind of like the idea of Mr. Kim rebelling against Sook and being the one to kill her, but if Sook doesn’t bail him out of jail, I guess that won’t happen.
Things may or may not be rocky between Sook and Mr. Kim, but our team is, thankfully, back on the same page. I was definitely happy to see Je-hee alive and acting as a double agent in order to take Mr. Kim off the playing field, but the real star of that heist was Santa, who finally spoke publicly. But what’s more interesting is that Kyung-yi knew he was capable of speaking. Has she figured out Santa’s real identity? Kyung seems to recognize him, which suggests that he’s probably tied to Kyung’s days as Sung-woo’s student, but Sung-woo taught at an all girls school…Could Santa have undergone gender affirmation surgery? It would explain why he had a name change and is hiding his voice, which is likely the only recognizable thing about him. I sincerely hope that when we learn Santa’s true identity we will find out the truth behind Sung-woo’s death. I’m not inclined to believe his suicide was anything more than just that, but there might be more to the “accidental” death of the student that happened prior to his suicide.
Like Kyung-yi, I knew Kyung would not be able to team up with Sook on a long-term basis, but I’m a little surprised Sook kept her on house arrest. Any idiot could have figured out that caging Kyung is not the way to win her over and keep her as a long-term killing minion. That being said, I enjoyed watching Kyung test her prison’s boundaries and make her escape because it mirrored Kyung-yi’s ascent from the dumpster pit in episode nine and continued to show how she is a foil for Kyung-yi. Rather than climbing up and being aided by friends, Kyung descended down into the sewers and emerged alone.
Her former sidekick Geon-wook was actually more of an honorary member of Team B this episode, and I enjoyed his surly reluctance as they invaded — and cleaned — his space. I think we needed his interaction with Team B to disassociate him from Kyung a little bit more in order to feel bad for him when Dae-ho turned him into the police. It had to be done, but I truly felt sorry for him as he and Dae-ho stared at each other through the window.
As we head into our final week of Inspector Koo, I’m feeling a bit more confident that I will enjoy the conclusion. Aside from wanting to know Santa’s backstory, I’m equally interested to see what Team B will do now that Kyung knows that Sook and her son were involved with Joon-hyun’s drowning. Will Team B look the other way as she targets Sook and Hyun-tae and then try to have her arrested for their deaths? Or will they try to turn her over to the police before she gets the chance to murder them?