The surprises are fewer in episode 15, but more poignant. The story keeps winding the tension tighter without giving any breaks in the case—no answers, no hint that any of these conflicts can end well. It’s enough to make me nostalgic for the early episodes when each week our heroes solved a small, everyday, undramatic case. We got answers back then. Will we ever understand what’s going on again?
None of Moon’s maneuvering this episode gets us any closer to what matters most: finding out who is responsible—really, truly morally culpable—for the 1999 murder of one six-year old and the attempted murder of a second. Because yesterday and today’s episodes focus almost exclusively on Han Byul’s case, it’s frustrating that we don’t get any closer to a solution.
But this episode pulls us into the characters’ emotions deeply, as usual. And the big surprises this episode come from the characters doing things we didn’t expect.
Surprise #1: Jung Chang-Gi enters the office in the first scene, wearing a suit and looking professional. He introduces himself formally as Park Man-Geun’s attorney, as if he’s a stranger. Kang Soo, Dong-Chi and Yeol-Moo are astonished.
Kang Soo finishes the question about his mother’s death that he began at the end of episode 14. Is it Jung Chang-Gi? he asks Dong-Chi. Dong-Chi hesitates, but Jung speaks immediately. It was me, he says firmly, without further explanation. When Dong-Chi starts to speak to him, calling him “ahjushi” of course, Jung says to him, “Don’t call me that anymore.” Then he looks at Kang Soo and says, “You too.”
Kang Soo leaves the office, with Yeol-Moo following. And it gets weirder, if that’s possible, because Jung Chang-Gi then introduces himself to Dong-Chi again, with a small bow, offering his business card with a formal gesture. He’s here to answer questions for his client, he says.
Dong-Chi is surprised and sad. But he slowly picks up his prosecutor’s badge. With it hanging around his neck again, they talk as prosecutor and attorney. Jung’s polished responses are the standard double-talk of a lawyer protecting his rich client, and it’s hard to believe this is the same man who just last week was talking about his plan to get rich by importing iguanas.
Later in the episode, Dong-Chi does confront Jung Chang-Gi briefly. There’s a hint that Jung is working for Park Man-Geun in order to search for evidence. It was Park Man-Geun who provided the funds for the kidnapper in 1999. Jung may be looking for the killer. The suggestion that he’s also looking for answers makes it doubly ironic that he appears to be betraying Dong-Chi and Kang Soo. Ironic, too, that he and Chief Moon hate each other deeply.
Surprise #2: Director Oh’s inspectors interrogate Dong-Chi, who doesn’t deny responsibility for the Song Ah-Reum affair. But then the inspectors tell him that they aren’t there simply to investigate him. They are there to look into Chief Moon and shut down the whole team.
By the end of the day, everyone in the team has heard the rumor that they are being placed on suspension and the team is shutting down. Hilariously, the people most openly upset about the rumor may be Prosecutor Lee and Yoo Gwang-Mi, who argue about their relationship in front of everyone.
Surprise #3: Inspector Yoo (père, not daughter) starts getting involved, by giving Dong-Chi advice and by talking to an old police buddy about the 1999 case. He advises Dong-Chi that it’s important for a prosecutor to trust his boss. Mr. Yoo doesn’t think Chief Moon is truly bad. I wish Mr. Yoo had said this a few episodes ago. But it’s in keeping with his low-key, mild-mannered personality that he has been minding his own business until now.
Yoo suggests that Dong-Chi make a move to thaw relations with his boss by taking Moon the piece of evidence he requested earlier, the Song Ah-Reum sex tape. And how can you say no to kindly old Mr. Yoo?
Surprise #4: It isn’t a total surprise that Dong-Chi is capable of swallowing his pride in front of Chief Moon. But he takes Mr. Yoo’s advice with surprisingly good grace, considering that he was royally pissed off when Chief Moon tricked him into handing over a resignation letter.
Dong-Chi gives Moon the sex tape, which is an important piece of evidence and potential blackmail—a new MacGuffin for the higher-ups to scheme over. At the end of the scene, Chief Moon almost has a kindly expression towards Dong-Chi. Or is it just the absence of his normal murderous expression?
Incidentally, Dong-Chi’s act of humility and respect in front of Chief Moon is reminiscent of Moon’s submissive act in front of Board Game Guy. Neither of these guys likes having to take orders.
Surprise #5: Moon visits Board Game Guy with the sex tape in hand, but Board Game Guy says he isn’t working with Moon any more. Because Moon approved Dong-Chi’s investigation into Han Byul’s death, Board Game Guy has concluded that Moon is either incompetent, or betraying him. It was Board Game Guy who sent the inspectors to shut down Moon’s team.
Elsewhere in this episode, we learn that Moon was Board Game Guy’s right-hand man 15 years ago. They have a long history, but Board Game Guy ends things unceremoniously. Before Moon leaves, Board Game Guy says that all he did was order the kidnapping of a child in 1999. It had to be done, he says, “but then it got complicated.” Moon appears to be learning parts of the story for the first time. He leaves, hiding his anger, with the sex tape still in his pocket.
Surprise #6: From every direction, people are spontaneously giving Dong-Chi convincing circumstantial evidence that Chief Moon ordered the 1999 kidnapping. Chief Moon learns he’s a suspect from Director Oh, who is reveling in his potential disgrace. Chief Moon is furious. He goes to Dong-Chi’s office and does something so unexpected that I must tip my hat to the writer in great respect.
What does he do? He goes to Dong-Chi’s office and he knocks on the door before entering.
Knocks on the door! Chief Moon really likes to mess with people’s heads. It’s an unexpected, out-of-character entrance, as is his next move. He sits down in front of Dong-Chi’s desk and says he’s here to answer questions. He heard he’s under suspicion.