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Through the Darkness: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

Our newly-formed team’s first case is a gruesome one, further fueling their determination to identify the criminal and seek justice for the young victim. We’re introduced to a new character that seems to straddle the line between help and hindrance, and it remains to be seen how her interactions with our team will develop.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

Our duo is joined by rookie statistics analyst JUNG WOO-JOO (Ryeoun), who’s like an overgrown eager puppy, hee. Ha-young offers a word of wisdom about the tale of a blind man who carried a lantern not for himself, but for others — they need to have that mindset in order to last long in this job.

When the cut-up remains of Soo-hyun, the kidnapped little girl, are discovered, our Behavioral Analysis Team gets right on the case. They’re technically not officially allowed to investigate the case since it isn’t under their purview, so Young-soo and Ha-young decide to go straight to the captain of the Special Crime Squad — Inspector YOON TAE-GU (Kim So-jin). She’s skeptical about what they do, insisting that resolving the case takes priority over crime prevention.

Still, I like that she isn’t one-dimensional in her stubbornness, and that she’s willing to listen to reason. Our team realizes that the body parts were cleanly cut and double-bagged, like how a butcher would pack meat, and they tell Gil-pyo about it outside the station. Tae-gu overhears this as she walks out, and contrary to expectations, she actually begins investigating the butcher shops in the area.

However, she later accuses Ha-young of meddling and disrupting their work. He points out that she’s being overly defensive, but we soon realize why. Some of her coworkers don’t afford her the proper respect she deserves as team captain, disparaging and excluding her instead.

I love the subtle female empowerment that’s woven into this drama — for example, a witness dismissively refers to Tae-gu as “miss,” and Ha-young corrects her that Tae-gu’s actually the team captain. It’s an understated commentary on how women are often belittled and underestimated in the workforce, and I’m glad the drama took the opportunity to call it out. Tae-gu is such a capable character, and I appreciate that her gender isn’t spotlighted to reduce her to a trope, but neither is it glossed over.

Our team’s extrapolations of the criminal’s likely characteristics and personality traits seem like mere speculation to the higher-ups. Thankfully, they have Gil-pyo and Jun-sik in their corner, who give them the go-ahead to investigate unofficially as long as they keep it covert.

Young-soo discovers imprint marks on the back of the victim’s corpse, which allows them to narrow down the model of the refrigerator she was kept in. Eventually, Ha-young discovers that a man named Jo Hyun-gil fits their profile. The team searches his abandoned house, and they find knives, the exact refrigerator model, and Soo-hyun’s hair clip. However, only eight of Soo-hyun’s fingers surface, and Ha-young’s frustration is palpable.

When he discovers something that seems like a finger, but turns out to be a sausage instead, we witness our first outburst from him as he hurls the sausage back into the sewer. Slowly but surely, his emotions are beginning to rise to the surface. He’s not as dispassionate as he portrays himself to be — when he and Young-soo interview a convict that not only dismembered his girlfriend, but also bit off her tongue, the revelation clearly unsettles Ha-young and he’s visibly shaken.

We do get more soft Ha-young moments as well, though! While staking out Hyun-gil’s house, Ha-young gets out of the car to feed a stray cat some of the snacks he always carries around. He explains that animals can’t speak up when they’re sick or hungry, so he thought that he should take the first step to reach out to them. Aww. Later on, Tae-gu ends up bringing the cat home, showing that she isn’t made of stone either.

The forensic analysis on the murder weapon turns up only three fingerprints, leading Ha-young to suspect that Hyun-gil’s missing two of his fingers. They manage to apprehend him (with a very satisfying takedown by Tae-gu), and Hyun-gil admits to the murder. Through Ha-young’s questioning, Hyun-gil reveals that he lost two fingers in a work accident. His missing fingers made him ashamed of women’s judgment, whereas children showed no such prejudice. And yet he murdered an innocent child! Rage bubbles up in Young-soo, and honestly I feel the same.

Again, we have a male criminal, and again, it’s a crime committed against someone weaker in a twisted attempt to alleviate their trauma of victimhood. First it was Kang-moo who suffered from domestic violence, and now it’s Hyun-gil who struggled with an inferiority complex. Yet what they’ve failed to realize is that by committing these crimes, they can no longer play the victim card, because they have now become the perpetrators of unconscionable violence.

After the case wraps up, we see our protagonists grieve in their own ways. Young-soo downs shots after shots of soju next to a concerned Woo-joo, and Ha-young leaves a basket of white flowers outside Soo-hyun’s parents’ door. The montage is accompanied by a voiceover of a heartfelt article written by reporter CHOI YOON-JI (Gong Sung-ha), and I have a lump in my throat.

A very drunk Young-soo stumbles home, bumping into a man along the way. In a fit of frustration at the police’s incompetence, Young-soo tosses his police ID card on the ground, and the man picks it up ominously. This is next week’s criminal, who not only bludgeons an innocent dog to death by a riverbank, but also replaces Young-soo’s photo on his police ID card with his own. He masquerades as an officer, accompanying a young lady home under the guise of protecting her. Ugh, I’m getting the shivers already.

I hope the stolen ID card doesn’t snowball into a bigger issue for Young-soo, especially when there’s already so much scrutiny directed towards the Behavioral Analysis Team. Furthermore, our team has set their sights on the next case, the unsolved Daesung serial murders, which seems to be based off the real-life Hwaseong serial murders. It’s going to be brutal and bloody.

I’m concerned for Ha-young, too. Back at home, he eases his mother’s worries with a small smile, but once he’s asleep in bed, a tear slips from his eye. The case clearly took quite the emotional toll on him, and his mother summed it up quite nicely — while he used to cry in her arms before, he now tries to carry everything on his shoulders, alone.

Interviewing criminals and trying to examine their psyche is a mentally draining task, and it’s likely even more so for Ha-young, who’s so empathetic that he seems to be unable to draw emotional boundaries. He pours his whole heart into solving the cases and bringing closure to the victim and their grieving families, yet he doesn’t seem to reserve any of that concern for himself. At this rate, I’m worried he’ll start running on empty. Thankfully, he now has a team beside him, so I hope that Young-soo’s kind concern, Woo-joo’s bright exuberance, and Tae-gu’s stoic rationality will help keep our hero from drowning in desolation.

 
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Episode 4 had contained a sadfest scene that I totally cannot stop crying. I broke tears when Soo-hyun's parents watched a home video clips from her late daughter Soo-hyun before her disappearance. I am really happy that the writer-nam did a great and good job by putting this sad scene that made people wanted to cry like me.

Well, meanwhile, the next episodes for next week will be I think it was the case inspired by Raincoat Killer. Overall, this show still sold for me because of too-old crimes from the 1990s and even the 2000s.

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I agree with you, the raincoat killer was the one that bludgeoned his victims to death with that type of Hammer.

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They will show Yoo Young-chul aka the infamous Raincoat Killer based on the preview along with Jeong Nam-kyu who will appear as well as they are on the same timeline with Yoo Young-chul confessing to one of his crimes…

“It was the case that I would never forget for my entire life,” recalled Kwon, now retired and enjoying life away from the world of crime about Jeong Nam-kyu.

remember it was mentioned in the trailer as well when they conclude there might be two serial killers…

Also “Through The Darkness” will cancel broadcast for three weeks since Feb 4 due to Beijing Winter Olympics.

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I am glad they brought the younger police officer in because he tries to make Ha Young smile and the man needs some joy in his life. This drama is a great example how change, even good change is hard for some people. The resistance to using the behavioral team analysis is strange, but that may be because of hindsight.

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I had to remind myself again and again this while I am watching: this is SK, in late 90's, a profiler is not a thing. It's not that they don't want help, it's that is something new it's hard to understand. But I like how it's been shown with Lee Dae Yeon and Kim Won Hae's characters. They were shouting ahjussis at first, but they are really concerned officers who want to improve the system. It's not so usual that dramas portray this kind of superiors, and I'm glad.

I was also had to be reminded that a Captain woman must be so exceptional back then and if she was there she must have proved so many times how good she was. TaeGu was hard at first, but I remembered what it was like to work in the office 20 years ago, when I was asked in every single job interview I had if I was going to get married and have children, if I had a boyfriend, being always judged because I was a woman. Things have changed, fortunately. And also I have changed (thanks to women like TaeGu).

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For sure!!!

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"Animals can't speak up if they're hurt or hungry" is such a strange detail, lol.

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(I should elaborate that my experience with animals has been the opposite.)

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I know a cat who never fails to make her hunger or anger very clear to me.

Also: did Ha-young give CHOCOLATE to the cat?! Thank goodness Tae-gu took the cat home and gave it a proper meal.

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Oh mine aren't subtle about it at all.

I really hope the snack wasn't chocolate and he sometimes has something other than sweets on him.

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Thank goodness that not a chocolate so don't worry(◡ ω ◡) he said it's a cat food that he sometimes bring it along

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My cat is the most adorable thing in the world, but she’s DEFINITELY able to make her hurts, hunger and anger known lol. Ha-young is clearly not a cat-owner. Tae-gu will learn soon enough.

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This weekend too I read of something similar that happened in the news just before I watched episode 3 and 4 and I spent the entire weekend just crying and worried bcos these type of people really exist.

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I don't know if it's just me, but this show seems exceptionally nuanced in its portrayal of killers. All the men interviewed by the team have committed monstrous crimes and created a world of pain, yet their responses to Ha-young's non-judgemental demeanour reveal a human side that cannot be ignored. Though I was disgusted by the ex-teacher's reason for killing his girlfriend (unlike many women, he had the option of walking away), there was something strained and despairing about his boasts, as if he was trying to compensate for, or conceal, his regret. Like many paedophiles, Cho Hyun-gil is a great liar and needs to be kept on a very short leash by the authorities for the rest of his life. But there is also a quiet hopelessness in his face and posture when Ha-young confronts him about the two fingers, and during his ride back to prison just a few months after leaving it. And I think it has less to do with being caught than knowing he will never be free of his terrible compulsion.

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I agree. Because of Ha-young, we get to step into their mental landscapes with him. We see them as damaged and damaging, trapped in their own self-deception, but as you have observed, underneath it all, tragic. It's v fine.

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I’m thinking of the journalist’s voiceover a little differently after reading your post. She asked which adults should we blame for this crime (that someone who wasn’t rehabilitated was released), but the portrayals of the killers are also raising this question - treating a person who is missing fingers as outcasts, that a kid had to watch his father abuse and strip his mother and so on..

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I definitely agree, and thank you for this insightful comment! Yes, these criminals are monsters — but their monstrosity wasn't developed in a vacuum, and as much as they inflicted suffering upon others, they themselves also suffered. Ultimately, they are culpable for their own crimes, but society and its harsh prejudice definitely had a hand in pushing them to the brink. I think this drama does a skilful job of showing both sides of the coin, as well as questioning what exactly it means to be human and to have humanity.

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Interviewing criminals and trying to examine their psyche is a mentally draining task, and it’s likely even more so for Ha-young, who’s so empathetic that he seems to be unable to draw emotional boundaries.

This was the most interesting point for me. And KNG did such a good job of showing it. He is so empathetic. He enters into the minds of the killers as he talks to them. He meet them as individuals and talks to them about their feelings. He steps into their ugly defiling mental worlds. He goes into the pit with them. Afterwards, when he reenters "normal life", you can see him look around in confusion and slowly come back to himself, but he has been defiled by the experience. I'm not sure what the words are to describe it, except to use words like sullied, tainted, defiled. He is truly finding his way through the darkness.

While KNG is revealing a deep sadness in Ha-young's character, I don't think it will burn him out. He's well aware of the boundary between himself and the criminals he engages with. But he has the courage to enter those terrible worlds, and in doing that he is unique.

This drama is so finely detailed in the way it is addressing this new process. As viewers, we take profilers for granted. They have been mystified in so many dramas, and seeing Through the Darkness makes me realise how crudely they have been mystified elsewhere. No words to describe how much I'm enjoying this.

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I've never been a KNG fan - in fact I had a deep aversion to that awful little wispy moustache that he sported earlier in his career. But as Song Ha-young he is very good indeed. It seems to be a highly controlled performance, with the character skirting but never falling into cliche. I especially like the way he is reserved without being unfriendly. And the moment that has stuck with me is the look on his face when he asks Cho whether he'd cut off the kid's fingers because of his own missing ones. He looks and sounds calm but his eyes are watering. He is certainly upset about the kid, but he also looks like he is sad for Cho.

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LOL, the moustache. I follow his IG posts. I've enjoyed KNG in everything I've seen him in, but he is exceptionally good in this. He's getting all the layers, as you say.

You might be interested in this which I just found in the Korea Herald
http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170526000482

*Kwon acknowledged that he had battled with post-traumatic stress in the course of his work with brutal criminals.

“Memories linger on for quite some time,” he said.

He was also not free from fear. He recalled the shock he felt when he learnt that a photo of him was found at the home of a suspect.

To avoid letting work affect his upbeat personality, Kwon made it a rule to have an after-party after closing a case at a nearby pub, simply to talk.

“It could be an unbearable burden if we (policemen) have to endure such mental pain all alone. We gather together often, just to exchange idle chitchat sometimes,” he said.

Having grown up in a Catholic family, faith also helped him to get through the day, without letting the work obscure who he really was, quoting Friedrich Nietzsche’s admonishment that those who fight monsters risk becoming monsters themselves.*

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The very first Kdrama I ever watched had KNG as the ML. (Bad Guy) That began my long adventure into Kdrama land. So I think fondly of him.

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I am a big KNG fan, but I hate the moustache, too. I read an interview with him where he said he was encouraged to grow it because he always has a baby face and it made him look more manly. But to me, it's like drawing with crayon on fine sculpture - it detracts from his eyes which are his best and most expressive feature. It's hard to believe that man is 40!

He has played such a wide range of roles, but this is my favorite so far. Even though his natural personality is so bubbly, the role suits him - he is able to convey so much with so little dialogue without looking just sullen.

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If we are talking about his looks, from The Fiery Priest, when he goes undercover as a woman, he is stunning. Good legs too. I'm still trying to get over it. 🤣

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OMG, yes. Even prettier as a woman. I about laughed myself sick at the scene where the older man was leering at him, and he kept pulling the hem of his skirt down.

Still, I am glad he's sticking with being masculine for this one. Increases my viewing pleasure for sure.

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I agree. I fell in love with the world of profiliers since watching the first season of Criminal Minds. Its such a tough job and not everyone can do it. This show has given me the same vibes since i first watch Criminal Minds. I love how profiliers think and work but also feel sad the emotional and mental rollercoaster they have to go through. I raise a glass to all the profilers in the world! Continue your good work! 👏🏻

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BTW, I only just realised I've actually seen Kwon Il Yong in Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in South Korea, on Netflix. I'm going to have to go back and look at the sections where he is interviewed.

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I suppose it's unavoidable since TTD is based on Kwon's book, but in taking on the Raincoat Killer and also the Hwa-seong case, the show has the difficult task of living up to two of the best Korean films ever made: Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder and Na Hong-jin's The Chaser. The Chaser's Ha Jung-woo, in particular, is going to be a hard act to follow as our man with the mallet. As for profiling: if I remember correctly, the character based on Kwon in The Chaser only has a single scene, but it's a damned good one...

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Oh yeeees. I haven't seen Memories of Murder. I'm always on the lookout for it, but I've seen The Chaser and HJW's killer is seared into my brain. Should I revisit to look at Kwon?? I might have to, but they'll be lots of ff-ing.

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According to my DVD it's at around the 1 hour 15 min mark, right after Kim Yoon-seok spots the drawings on the wall. The profiler isn't named, but I think he is supposed to be Kwon. He's rather different from Ha-young though!

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Thanks, I rewatched The Chaser and found it. He's not like our handsome KNG's Kwon, but he's effective (and as you said, memorable). He went straight to the heart of his motivation. Cut through everything else and touched on stuff that Young-chul had probably not even admitted to himself.

I rewatched Raincoat Killer too. In RK, Kwon's clear about the emotional toll. He says he actually wondered if he would ever be the same again. The forensic expert in rl was a woman and she is astonishingly good - just as humane and compassionate as Kwon. Looking forward to seeing how the drama unfolds. I usually shy away from stories about women being murdered, but I think because this is a breakthrough story of triumph, I'm not feeling the same way.

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I have to say I enjoyed these two episodes much more than the premiere ones, and this time not only because of KNG hair.

I like how the drama doesn't hide the brutality: the one by the police and the one by the criminals, and at the same time we are shown how every one is human: Taegu barely being able "raped" on her report, YoungSoo drinking to forget that the little girl has the same name as her daughter, reporters being concerned about what they write, criminals liking being treated and addressed as human beings. And among them all, HaYoung that shows real compassion and wants to understand why, that hides in his room clenching his fists while he cries. The predictable HaYoung that always leaves the table before everybody else...

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Kim Nam-gil with cats. If that isn’t a selling point for this show, then I don’t know what is.

I hope Ha-young manages to find a healthier work-life balance of sorts. As the recap pointed out, his deeply empathetic nature means that he becomes unable to compartmentalize between his regular life and when he’s interviewing murderers. He’s clearly suffering from the mental toll of sitting through and hearing the details of these violent psyches. Hopefully his teammates can help out more. It never stops being delightful whenever Young-soo brings out those rare smiles.

I can’t definitively say if this is my favourite Kim Nam-gil character yet (Bidam!!), but it’s already high up there. This is the Ha-young Protection Squad. Young-soo is the other member.

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What a good police drama!

Yeah, it's slow because investigating is a slow process. But the focus on the characters (police, villain, family, etc.) compensates for the pace.

I like the fact that Kook Young-Soo came from the forensics, he's methodic and Song Ha-Young has the empathy to understand everyone. They make a good team.

KYS will be devasted when he will understand that his police badge was used to kill people.

I already hate the Olympic Games...

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The instrumental music reminds me FoS's one.

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I know right! It sounds exactly like it to me.

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Oh! I'm happy that I'm not the only who noticed the resemblance!

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I was curious on how this would be handled, a profiler, and interested in the book that was first offered to Ha Young on the FBI counter profiler. I am now over halfway through "Mindhunter" and found it interesting and disturbing at the same time. I know finding the villain is the 'story line' this wishes us to follow as it moves the program, but I also wanted more background information on how Ha Young used the material in this book and started to apply it. Guessing that might be too real, even a short trip through this I think the general public might find informative in the application of what a profiler is/does. As the author John Douglas makes the repeated statement in the book, anyone that may have a thought in one of these deviant areas, but it is the ones with the mental (not as in retarded or such) will carry these out. He also points out the vast majority he has interviewed knew the difference between right and wrong, and therefore could not really cop to an insanity defense. What Ha Young and team are experiencing in the startup and 'quack' science is what he and his fellow FBI team members had also. I am totally hooked, actors are tremendous in their portrayals, villeins believable and if the rest continues in this vein, a solid gold star all around for the program

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What I also like with this show is that they are also showing the reality that investigation takes time and takes a lot of man hours and leg work.. and since this is in the 90's , technology is not yet modern enough to help. But even with technology, it still takes time as they had to do their leg work of interviewing witnesses, analysing evidences, etc. In most police crime drama nowadays, it is often unbelievable that they get results and get their perps in just 24 hours.

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I've seen quite a few shows revolving profilers but never how it started so it has been pretty interesting. And to have KNG? I can't stop looking at his eyes. Too many words and emotions go through his stares. Great actor indeed.

This show has piqued my interest back to crime-thriller dramas and I'm about to binge a few shows I've put on hold because I wasn't in the mood because what to do with this 3-weeks pre-emption?!?

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"Later on, Tae-gu ends up bringing the cat home, showing that she isn’t made of stone either."

To me, this is the highlight of ep 4's ending coz while watching this episode, my mind was wondering about the 3-legged cat most of the time. Now Tae-gu is my fav 2nd character after Ha-young.

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