The Good Detective 2: Episodes 3-4
The police intensify their search for the serial killer, whose newfound boldness might just prove to be his downfall. However, the pursuit won’t be an easy one — not when there are so many moving parts in the background that hint to a larger conspiracy.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
Pressed for time, the Seoul detectives want to know how Ji-hyuk obtained the shot of the supposed killer. In exchange, Do-chang requests for the Seoul team’s cooperation. He doesn’t care for their case reports or the like; he just needs their word that they won’t interfere with their investigation.
The deal is made, and the teams get to work. Both teams manage to find the same backpack model the killer used, but the killer is one step ahead. Not only does he have multiple different backpacks, but he also burns the most recent one he used, having seen the notice Ji-hyuk pasted up regarding it.
That backpack ends up causing even more trouble; the Seoul team detains college student Choi Ho-joon for owning the same backpack, believing him to be the killer. Since he has feelings for the victim, the team paints a story that he killed her after being snubbed. Worse yet, the victim’s phone is discovered in Ho-joon’s backpack, to his shock — it turns out the killer planted it there, but they don’t know that.
The real culprit isn’t Ho-joon, but bus driver LEE SUNG-GON (Kim In-kwon), who lies to Do-chang and Ji-hyuk that he thinks he saw the killer. Sung-gon spins a tale of witnessing a fight between the victim and Ho-joon, claiming that they were the only two passengers on the bus that night. According to Sung-gon, she had rejected Ho-joon’s romantic advances, and he then got off the bus to follow her home.
That night, Sung-gon comes across his next victim. A drunk young lady misses her stop, then demands that Sung-gon pull over in the middle of the road. When he finally gives in to make her stop screaming at him, she then refuses to get off unless it’s at the exact spot she demanded he let her off earlier. Sheesh, talk about entitled.
Sung-gon circles back to drop her off at her bus stop, but as she gets off the bus, Sung-gon’s gaze grows menacing. Hm, I’m not sure I like where this case is going; by portraying the victim in such a negative and unsympathetic light, I worry the drama may unintentionally lean towards victim blaming. There certainly are awful and abrasive passengers, of course, but was it really necessary to make one of them a victim? Is this supposed to be commentary on the overlooked struggles of bus drivers, or is the villainization of a woman merely a device for dramatic effect?
In any case, investigations proceed. Ji-hyuk seeks out KIM MIN-JI (Baek Sang-hee), the victim of Sang-woo’s physical assault from the first episode. She’s now the manager of a luxury hairdressing salon, and she refuses to speak about the incident — seems like she received hush money.
She escorts Ji-hyuk out, but as he leaves, he catches a glimpse of Min-ji’s VIP client. It’s Na-na, and Ji-hyuk recalls seeing her with Tae-ho before.
Unfortunately, this avenue of investigation gets cut short before long. The police chief’s daughter MOON BO-KYUNG (Hong Seo-young), who’s an employee of the TJ legal team, hands Ji-hyuk a restraining order. The company has filed it on Min-ji’s behalf, which only confirms Ji-hyuk’s suspicions that Min-ji is an important link to the case.
To Ki-jin’s credit, when he realizes that Ho-joon isn’t the actual culprit, he instructs his team to release him immediately. I’m pleasantly surprised, since I expected his stubborn pride to win out.
Detective SHIM DONG-WOOK (Kim Myung-joon) of the Incheon team finally has a breakthrough; he realizes that the victim’s residences are all connected by a single bus route, except for Hee-joo. The team is stoked by the new discovery, but they’re also befuddled, since no one suspicious showed up on the bus CCTVs.
Then Ji-hyuk has an epiphany — a bus driver wouldn’t arouse suspicion at all, despite being captured on the CCTVs. That leads the team to investigate the bus company, and then Sung-gon’s hideout.
Meanwhile, Sung-gon has dragged the rude girl to a secluded spot on a mountain. He forces her to admit what she did wrong, promising to let her go afterwards — but of course it’s a lie, and he takes out a knife to stab her.
Just then, a signal flare is fired, distracting Sung-gon and giving the girl time to escape. Sung-gon catches up to her, but Do-chang discovers them before he can deal the killing blow, and Sung-gon turns tail to flee.
Realizing he’s outnumbered by the search party, Sung-gon allows the police to apprehend him — but not before he injects himself with a drug. He’s trying to get off easy, but Ji-hyuk sees right through his scheme.
Sung-gon plans to claim that the police coerced him into a confession, due to his (faked) lack of mental capacity. Which means that he gets tossed into a detention cell to wait out the drugs, and just as Ji-hyuk expected, he breaks.
Before long, Sung-gon’s slamming his head bloody on the bars of the detention cell. He’s moved to the hospital, where he pretends to have zero recollection of his crimes. Ugh.
The Seoul team demands for the case to be handed over to them, and Do-chang complies despite his team’s complaints. Except it’s all part of his plan — he makes a big fuss about the case getting stolen, so that he can convince Superintendent Moon to lodge a formal complaint against the Seoul team. HAHAHA.
There’s another lead for our detective pair to follow up on, and it’s Sung-gon’s estranged half-sister. (She only speaks English, which means we get treated to Ji-hyuk’s English too, heh.) According to her, they were separated from a young age, and she came to Korea to find him — but their meeting deeply traumatized her.
We see what happened, and it’s awful. Sung-gon holds a deep grudge against his half-sister and her mother for walking out on their family, since he had to suffer in poverty while they carved a new life abroad in America. He flings his half-sister to the ground, and she begins fearfully chanting prayers in English, which enrages him.
Brandishing his knife, he tells her that his murders are all her mother’s fault — every time he kills, he recalls her mother’s white dress and red lipstick as she abandoned him. Ugh, he blames his murders on her, saying that the girls are dying because she’s still alive.
Remember how TJ Group’s chairman is in jail for various financial crimes? Well, someone had to have reported him, and it seems the whistleblower may very well have come from within. Sang-woo suspects that someone on the TJ legal team passed the evidence to the prosecution during their search and seizure, but Na-na dismisses his conjecture.
Their sibling relationship is certainly a complicated one; while Na-na claims that Sang-woo tried to suffocate her to death when they were kids, Sang-woo asserts that Na-na is a habitual liar and manipulator.
A flashback reveals that the sibling strife goes way back. When Na-na was on the plane to America, she’d received a call from her mother. Against the alarming sound of pounding against the locked door, Na-na’s mother tells her to never come back; she has to survive. By the time Sang-woo breaks down the door, Na-na’s mother lies dead, having overdosed on pills.
In the present, Na-na’s gaze grows hard as she sips tea — using the very porcelain cup her mother had drunk from, to swallow the pills that killed her. Declaring that she’ll never run away like her mother, Na-na vows to stay alive till the end.
That shot of Sang-woo grinning as he peered into the room was downright chilling, and I’m curious what exactly led up to that moment. Na-na’s obviously out for vengeance, but I wonder why her mother saw no other way out of her situation. Was she backed into a corner by Sang-woo’s manipulations? Or did she commit a wrong that could not be corrected?
There’s been an alarming amount of violence perpetrated against women thus far, and I wonder if the drama will end up making insightful commentary about the prevalence of misogynistic crimes, or if it’ll just be reduced to gratuitous violence. I was willing to give the drama’s opening scene the benefit of the doubt, but too many times and it becomes a pattern that isn’t pleasant.