“Pride and Prejudice” Ep. 16

Would it hurt “Pride and Prejudice” to tell us a tiny bit about the Hwa Young Foundation? What do they ostensibly do, besides control everyone in this story? If they’re going to be a major player, can we at least learn something about them, besides the fact that they like to give away platinum tie pins?

Watching “Pride and Prejudice” is an act of faith—faith that someday everything will make sense. Increasingly I suspect it won’t. When a writer stays mum about basic details, like what Hwa Young does, I start to doubt the writer knows the answers. And this episode suggests we should despair for the future of the characters, and maybe mankind in general.

Everything here takes place in one long evening and night at the office. The conflict is over Chief Moon’s involvement in the kidnapping and the video of the sex trafficking ring. The opening scene springs a nice surprise: Special Prosecutor Choi interrupts Dong-Chi’s arrest of Chief Moon—to arrest Chief Moon. Choi tells Dong-Chi he doesn’t know anything about the case, besides what he learned 15 years ago, but he got a call late in the day telling him to detain Chief Moon. Choi has instructions to turn in a report in the morning.

pride and prejudice episode 16 choi min soo choi jin hyuk large web

Choi essentially asks Dong-Chi what he should believe: did Chief Moon do it? Dong-Chi has doubts. When he accused Moon at the beginning of the episode, he did so in order to rattle Moon into sharing information. He doesn’t really think Moon is guilty. No one else on the team does either. Because Choi is supposed to close the case ASAP, Dong-Chi has one night to look for evidence.

His search reveals that Director Lee was the guy who paid for the kidnappers’ rental car 15 years ago. He also learns that the platinum tie pin found at the murder site was probably a Hwa Young Foundation gift to an attorney from the special prosecution team.

But the higher-ups are quickly shutting Dong-Chi down. He has the computer chip with the original video from the sex trafficking, the valuable file that Director Oh has been trying to secure from Moon. He sends Kang-Soo and Mr. Yoo to a video expert with the chip, but thugs waylay them and take it away. Fortunately, it turns out Dong-Chi suspected this might happen. The chip he sent with them was a fake. Director Oh isn’t amused. She tells Dong-Chi to stop being a wise-ass.

Yeol-Moo is listening to this conversation and gathers that Mr. Yoo and Kang-Soo have been in a fight because of the computer file. She’s getting a better idea of the lay of the land. She gets an even better idea when she, Dong-Chi and Kang-Soo try to visit the computer experts at the Forensic Office in Seoul. Dong-Chi passes her the computer chip and tells her to run inside the building while he and Kang-Soo prevent interference. But when they pull up at the front door, Director Oh’s minions surround them. Dong-Chi decides not to take on a dozen guys with baseball bats and turns the car around.

When they get back to the office, Director Oh gathers everyone and tells them their suspensions start at midnight. Yeol-Moo will have to apply again to be a trainee next year. Mr. Yoo will have to begin his retirement. Everyone’s getting hit with paycuts and promotion freezes, too. Yoo Gwang-Mi has a gutsy reaction to the announcement: she grabs Prosecutor Lee and says they still have till midnight, so they’ll finish their investigation into the tie pin’s origins.

Dong-Chi explains to Kang-Soo that even if he gave the file to Director Oh, it wouldn’t make a difference. Someone wants to dismantle the Public Welfare Team and they’ll do it sooner or later.

pride and prejudice episode 16 lee tae hwan and little chan large web

Later, after a snack brought by grandmother, Yeol-Moo comes back from ostensibly taking a walk. She won’t meet Dong-Chi’s eyes, though, and he’s worried about her. When he asks her what’s up, she reluctantly starts to admit she “did something.”

At that moment Director Oh comes in, exasperated, and says she can’t believe Dong-Chi went over her head and made a deal directly with the Hwa Young Foundation. Dong-Chi doesn’t understand. She starts to hand him the brown envelope that Chief Moon was going to trade for the sex tape. But Yeol-Moo reaches for it.

“I was the one who talked to Hwa Young,” she says. Dong-Chi looks stunned. As soon as Oh leaves, he lays into Yeol-Moo for giving away evidence for a criminal case that needs prosecution. She replies with realistic reasons why they shouldn’t hold onto the tape. With the team dismantled, they wouldn’t be able to work on any cases at all. Hwa Young has promised her to support the team’s continued work.

Dong-Chi doesn’t believe these promises, but Yeol-Moo would rather at least try. Although it’s a serious argument, they seem disengaged, as if they both know it’s a catch-22 situation. Neither really wants to be right. Or maybe they seem disengaged because the director edits this scene in a helter-skelter manner, moving back and forth between close-ups and long shots.

Inside that coveted brown envelope is a photo of someone meeting with the kidnapper—and that someone turns out to be Moon Hee-Man. But a couple hours later, special prosecutor Choi says that can’t be right, because he remembers sitting through a long meeting with Moon the evening of the photo’s time stamp. The photo has been doctored, as have the meeting records from that night 15 years ago. Only Choi’s memories don’t add up.

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4 thoughts on ““Pride and Prejudice” Ep. 16

  1. I think Hwa Young is meant to be shrouded in mystery tbh.In this fictional world(I have no idea if Korean politics in real life works that way),I hardly can believe if Hwa Young does not connect to the Presidential office one way or other,when it has such power in the prosecutor office (and influence in judges).So the person(s) in place has to have legislative power. And legislative power does not come with just with those who executes it but those who has the power to manipulate it ,If the Presidential office has no power to influence the legislation one way or other,it’s the next most powerful person who has the power.I think it has it supporters in say senators etc,but someone who wields such power needs to be more than that.

    So the ending – I hardly think they can dismantle all of HY so fast , but the PD and writer may let us glimpse some hope in the end instead of showing they dismantle them.

    But what’s up with Chang Gi?Is it just a misunderstanding or something more that made him distrusts Moon that much?And how long will Kang Soo will talk to his Ajusshi?

    I’ve been learning Korean lately – and it’s way harder than Japanese in terms of pronunciation 🙂 .

  2. @neovd,

    I also would like to know what Hwa Young does. All we know so far is that they have prosecutors in their back pockets and they use school to funnel money they “steal” from kids and “bribe money.” It’s like this one big shady corporation that’s mysterious and all-mighty, but I can see the viewers getting frustrated over just hearing about it.

    In a sense, the use of Hwa Young is very similar to an American tv show called Revenge’s use of a mysterious organization called the Initiative. By mid-season Revenge viewers were just done and tired of this mysterious corporation that hid in the shadows and threatened the main characters from a far. I can see viewers getting Hwa Young fatigue.

    It would be nice if the writer does give more backstory to both the Hwa Young Foundation and the Jae Gun Corporation. Because right now, even though I should feel worried about Hwa Young, the lack of info on them makes me think they’re some hokey made up big bad that we’re supposed to fear, but just don’t care about.

    I do feel P&P works much better when all the cases are related with our fave public safety team. When it starts to get too conspiracy theory and out of the public safety team’s office (like into the government and senate positions) it does start to feel plausible and far-fetched without actually seeing who they people in position of power are. It’d be nice if we finally saw a face to the Hwa Young Foundation’s CEO. It’s really tough to fear someone you can’t see.

    Although, I have heard theories that people suspect Prosecutor Choi is the big bad of Hwa Young. While I like the theory, I’m not wholly convinced on it, though I don’t fully trust Choi just yet still.

    I think Chang Gi has always distrusted Moon since he found Kang Soo without memory? I think he probably blames that on Moon since he probably though Moon was the one who’d “take care of it.”

  3. @ neovd & PBS, I guess it makes sense in this show that a powerful organization would tie to the President in some way. When P&P is evasive about who the “bad guy” is, they’re implying that the corruption goes all the way to the top. Either the president is controlled by Hwa Young money, or the president is weak and someone else controlled by Hwa Young does a lot of bad stuff.

    But I’ve watched too many American shows where a Big Evil Organization is the writer’s way to avoid explaining things. On the American shows, the President usually doesn’t have any idea what’s going on. The Evil Organization is a way to make politicians victims too. Writers don’t like to say elected politicians are evil, since that would mean voters are idiots.

    I’m okay with not seeing the people in charge of HY. But I won’t believe they’re a real threat unless I know more. P&P has done a good job of showing the realistic challenges to prosecutors’ work. In the early episode where Yeol-Moo learns how many cases a prosecutor is supposed to finish per day, I thought, Ah! That’s the real obstacle to justice. Another obstacle to justice: the fact that the justice system gives prosecutors lots of power and little review. I find those things more frightening than a Big Bad.

    If the show wants to focus on stopping Hwa Young, it seems impossible in the time remaining, as you say, neovd. But it bothers me more that if Hwa Young is gone, another organization will just take its place.

    I’m thinking about this like an American too familiar with Washington: it’s an unavoidable fact that powerful, rich organizations are desirable allies for politicians. Sometimes for bad reasons like greed. But sometimes for good reasons, like passing new laws. The writer-nim does a great job of showing that being idealistic (like Dong-Chi) isn’t enough. Someone like Chief Moon may get more done for justice, by being sneaky. If P&P uses Hwa Young as a scapegoat, we lose a lot of that subtlety.

    There’s still a way to realistically stop Hwa Young: if Prosecutor Choi owes his success to a second, equally powerful and mysterious organization. We need a second organization to challenge Hwa Young for control of the prosecutors office. Two rival organizations would mean neither one could control everything. We need a powerful group to support Dong-Chi and Yeol-Moo and protect them from HY. That’s not an idealistic ending, but it’s the ending that would fit with the world P&P has created. A rivalry between two organizations could make it possible to prosecute the men in the sex trafficking ring. I would really really like to see that horrible plastic surgeon go to jail.

    Chang-Gi’s distrust of Moon does seem to go way back. And part of his dislike might be because Chang-Gi was unable to keep up his life because of guilt. He could be angry that Moon finds it easy to compromise and keep going, while Chang-Gi lost everything.

    @neovd: It’s the Korean grammar and word order that kills me! Everything is the reverse of English–I think that part might be easier coming from Japanese, LOL.

  4. Am I naive for not caring about the details behind the Foundation(s)? I just assume it’s the entity that received and handles the “slush fund” and thereby wields the “power behind the throne” so to speak. That’s not too farfetched for me to believe given the amount of money lobbyists throw legislators’ way to get their “legislation” passed.

    I’m actually liking the portrait P&P paints of corruption and how entrenched it can be in any institution. And how the distant, anonymous powers-that-be manage to retain control through “divide and conquer”-ing its own players. I LOVE it!

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