The Good Detective 2: Episodes 15-16 (Final)
The truth is finally brought to light, and our villain starts to find that her very own methods are beginning to spell her downfall. Our team bands together with some unlikely allies in order to bring the true culprit down — will it work, or will she slip through their grasp yet again?
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
The detective team surmises that Na-na likely faked her fainting episode to convey the message that she’s under threat. Since it’s plausible that President Cheon would want to target her in retaliation for the exposé interview she gave, she could be trying to frame him by making it look like someone tampered with her insulin dose.
Ki-jin visits Yong-geun in prison, coming clean about the DNA analysis he ran on Hee-joo’s clothes. He wants to use that to continue blackmailing Na-na, just as Dong-jae did, in order to secure himself a lifetime of money. Yong-geun advises him to make it count if he’s going all the way; he ought to pin everything on Sang-woo and tear him down for good.
Na-na voluntarily comes to the police station to give a testimony, though Ji-hyuk sees right through her — she’s attacking first in order to protect herself and turn the situation in her favor. He’s right, because Na-na brings up the time they colluded and she deliberately let them conduct a search and seizure on her house; she insinuates that she could reveal their illegal method of obtaining evidence.
When Ji-hyuk brings up the possibility of her staging her insulin overdose, Na-na deliberately plays dumb. She suggests that it could’ve been an employee with access to her office, with instructions from President Cheon, though everyone knows that’s obviously not the case.
Ki-jin gives a press hearing, in which he intentionally reveals Hee-joo’s clothes to the public. He crafts a story about how the Incheon team was concealing evidence, in order to use it in a surprise move to prove Sang-woo’s innocence in the second trial. Not only has Ki-jin discredited the Incheon team, but he’s also manipulated the evidence in his favor.
Taking it one step further, Ki-jin claims that the second person’s bloodstains on the clothes could have been intentionally smeared on after the crime, in order to frame someone. With that, even if the blood is revealed to be Na-na’s, she has a way to explain herself out of suspicion.
President Cheon gets summoned to the station with a subpoena — Na-na has submitted her doctored audio recording as evidence that President Cheon has it out for her. The interrogation is really just an excuse to talk to President Cheon, though; Ji-hyuk reveals that the police also think it’s simply just a scheme Na-na cooked up.
Of course, Ji-hyuk knows just how to appeal to President Cheon. By pointing out that their investigation into Hee-joo’s murder could end up exonerating Sang-woo, Ji-hyuk manages to secure President Cheon’s cooperation. The influential president pulls a few strings, and with that, our Incheon team’s investigation is no longer hindered by outside forces.
Eun-hye reports Ki-jin to the prosecution for the incident at Grandpa’s shop, and the Seoul detective team subsequently gets hit with a search and seizure warrant. Desperate to save his own hide, Ki-jin engineers a plot to sneak Boss Gu out of prison. Ki-jin baits Boss Gu with a duffel bag of money, a fake passport, and even a gun just in case, pretending to arrange for his safe escape.
At the last second, however, Ki-jin pulls out his own gun and aims it at Boss Gu. If Boss Gu is dead, then he can’t expose Ki-jin for ordering him to murder both Dong-jae and Grandpa. Ready to tie up this last loose end, Ki-jin prepares to pull the trigger — only to be met with a barrage of warning gunshots.
Yay, our detectives tracked him down just in time! All thanks to Dong-wook, who stumbles out of Ki-jin’s car trunk, LOL. In the interrogation room, Do-chang and Ji-hyuk get Boss Gu to spill the beans with a neat bit of reverse psychology, while Ki-jin stews in his seat.
In a flashback, Dong-jae tells Tae-ho that he received Hee-joo’s corpse at a villa (a.k.a. Na-na’s villa). Except when he called Sang-woo, he fibbed that Hee-joo wasn’t dead yet, and Sang-woo yelled at him to kill her — meaning Sang-woo wasn’t Hee-joo’s murderer.
We finally see the rest of Tae-ho and Na-na’s conversation on the night of the former’s death. Tae-ho asks why Na-na was here at the villa when Hee-joo died, and in response, she asks if they ever truly loved each other — was he in pain after learning of Hee-joo’s death?
Not knowing that Tae-ho already knows the truth, Na-na attempts to pin the crime on Sang-woo. Tae-ho doesn’t call her out on her lie, instead declaring that he killed Hee-joo, so he’s going to turn himself in.
He asks Na-na to forgive him once he’s released from prison in a decade, but we all know how that panned out. Na-na engineers the car accident, and we lose one of the most interesting characters of the season.
At Sang-woo’s second trial, Ji-hyuk admits that the police couldn’t find conclusive evidence that Dong-jae killed Hee-joo, which means there’s reasonable doubt as to Sang-woo’s guilt. Ji-hyuk apologizes on behalf of the team, owning up to their mistake.
It’s a neat parallel to Do-chang from the previous season; this time it’s Ji-hyuk in his place, repeating the exact same words he once said. It should be an emotionally weighted moment, except I don’t think I’m feeling it as much as the show wants me to. I wish we saw more of Ji-hyuk’s motivations, because it feels like he got here without that much struggle (owing to his righteous nature), in comparison to Do-chang.
Sang-woo meets with Do-chang and Ji-hyuk, where he accurately points out that they want him to help uncover the truth behind Hee-joo’s case. He already knows everything about the case, including the evidence and why none of it is conclusive, as well as how Yong-geun is the key to cracking Na-na’s perfect cover story. Stunned, they ask Sang-woo how he knows, and he points out that he had all the time in the world to figure things out while in prison, LOL.
This scene displays another interesting parallel; we’ve seen both siblings eating sweet treats (and with their bare hands at that), just in very different circumstances. Na-na binged a table of cakes in a moment of vulnerability, but here, Sang-woo’s enjoying his desserts from a position of power. It’s an interesting role reversal, and I wish the show expanded upon their sibling conflict more.
In the TJ carpark, Yong-geun nearly gets clobbered by a motorcyclist with a baseball bat. It’s clearly a warning from Sang-woo, who points out that both sides have it out for him. Sang-woo gives Yong-geun a choice between him or Na-na — who will he support, and who will he rather get killed by? (LOL, “me” in Korean is na, so Sang-woo basically went “Na? Or Na-na?”)
Na-na promotes Yong-geun, and she asks him to be her shadow. She claims that she’ll feel safe having him as her right-hand man, then hints that he should get rid of Ji-hyuk.
Yong-geun makes his decision, and he calls Ji-hyuk to a junkyard, saying he has a voice recording of Na-na to hand over to him. Of course, it’s a trap, and Yong-geun ambushes Ji-hyuk before stabbing him with a knife. Except the knife doesn’t go through — phew, Ji-hyuk wore a bulletproof vest!
Ji-hyuk gains the upper hand in no time, and Yong-geun ends up handcuffed in Ji-hyuk’s car. Instead of taking him to the police station, however, Ji-hyuk gives Yong-geun one last chance to obtain decisive evidence from Na-na.
As such, Na-na returns to her office to find a bloody and disheveled Yong-geun waiting for her. Since he’s the only one left who knows the truth of that night, he starts a voice recording on his phone, then asks Na-na to confess that she killed Hee-joo. Yong-geun wants to keep the recording as insurance, so that Na-na can’t kill him off too.
Losing her cool, Na-na throws the phone, but Yong-geun doesn’t let up. Relentlessly pushing her buttons until she’s cornered, he eventually pressures her into admitting that she killed Hee-joo. With a dangerous glint in her eyes, she says that they have to trust each other now. Yong-geun agrees, and leaves her office.
Once she’s alone, Na-na furiously stomps on the broken phone, only to be interrupted by the ringing of her office phone. She answers the call, and it’s Sang-woo on the other end of the line. Musing that Yong-geun will need a new phone, he patronizingly croons that she shouldn’t simply destroy things just because she’s unhappy.
Oh, how the tables have turned. It’s Sang-woo doing the surveilling now, and Na-na paces about her office in a hysterical panic, realizing that she’s been caught on a hidden camera and that it’s all over for her. Na-na’s been done in by her very own methods.
The next morning, in her mother’s villa, Na-na receives a text from Sang-woo. It’s a clip of her murder confession, along with a sticker of a laughing face wishing her good luck. HAHAHA, why is Sang-woo so funny! He’s like an overgrown manchild, and I wish we got to see this side of him earlier.
Our detective team pulls up to the villa, and Ji-hyuk calls Na-na to inform her that they have a warrant. He requests that she open the gates for them, but she screams that she didn’t murder Hee-joo — on the contrary, she tried to save her.
We see what actually happened that night. Na-na calls Hee-joo to the villa to show her the video of Sang-woo ordering her murder. Shocked, Hee-joo runs to the bathroom to throw up, where she accidentally comes across a positive pregnancy test in the trash can.
When Hee-joo returns to the living room, Na-na instructs her to send the contents of Tae-ho’s laptop to the Blue House (thus making her the Blue House informant that landed President Cheon in jail), in exchange for the video clip of Sang-woo that she can use to protect herself. Hee-joo does as told, while Na-na receives a provocative phone call from Sang-woo that sets her on edge.
After Hee-joo’s done, she apologizes to Na-na. She says that Tae-ho sincerely loves Na-na, then humbly asks Na-na to please forgive Tae-ho. Then she congratulates Na-na, and remarks that Tae-ho would make a good father.
As Hee-joo leaves, she wishes for Na-na’s happiness, and it’s the last straw. In an impulsive fit of rage, Na-na brings a wine bottle crashing down on Hee-joo’s head, and it ends up killing her. Shocked by how things ended up, Na-na mutters over and over that she didn’t murder her. It was Sang-woo, not her.
Back in the present, Ji-hyuk handcuffs Na-na, though she’s still adamant that it wasn’t her who killed Hee-joo. She keeps a calm facade, but her denials are starting to sound like empty reassurances that she’s desperately clinging to.
In the hospital, Do-chang and Eun-hye pay a visit to Grandpa, who still hasn’t regained consciousness yet. Tearfully, Do-chang tells Grandpa that he’s finally caught his granddaughter’s murderer. It’s a bittersweet moment, as Do-chang confides in Eun-hye that the driving force behind his determination to catch the culprit was the pain he felt for both the victim and her bereaved family.
Some time later, Do-chang drives his date home. She likes him enough to schedule a second date, but Do-chang gets distracted by an altercation happening on the side of the road. His detective instincts kick in, and he pulls over to break the fight up. By the time he returns to his car, however, his date is long gone. Ha, some things never change.
We also see our team searching for a dog on their chief’s request, and in the distance, Man-gu comes running over. He’s flailing and screaming, and the reason for his panic quickly becomes apparent — he’s being chased by bees! HAHAHA, the team takes off running, and we end the season just like how we started it.
It’s a relief to finally have Na-na exposed for her crimes, but it was a shame that we didn’t get to see the fallout. Since it was obvious from fairly early on that she was the true culprit, the drama spent much too long going in circles and having her constantly escape the law. If done right, it could be suspenseful and thrilling, but I personally felt that it fell flat and even got tedious at times.
The ending felt rushed in comparison to the amount of time we took to get there, which shortchanged Na-na’s character a fair bit. We saw her descend further and further into an instability of her own making, but we never really got to explore her psyche beyond a few flashback scenes.
Na-na’s aversion to personal accountability for her own actions spurs her into a habit of lying that’s so compulsive she ends up believing her own falsehoods, which is at once repulsive and sympathetic. She grew up under awful circumstances, which definitely warped her perspective, but her subsequent actions were still ultimately her own.
Similar to Tae-ho, Sang-woo is another interesting character that I felt was wasted overall. They say prison changes a man, but I didn’t expect it to be like this — he’s so amusing! I wish the script allowed him to show this side of his character more, instead of simply yelling at people every other sentence.
It feels like the show pulled out all the stops in its final week, but it was too little, too late. I liked the callbacks in these episodes and how we came full circle, but it did feel like the writer had an idea of the start and end, and no idea how to connect the middle in a concise and compelling way. It makes the payoff less satisfying than it ought to be, and I can’t help but sigh at the show’s wasted potential.
Still, I did develop a soft spot for our bumbling Incheon team, whose antics gave me a healthy dose of laughter each week. I certainly have mixed feelings about a potential third season — don’t make it unless you have a solid script, please — but I wouldn’t be entirely averse to seeing our team in action again.