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.
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.
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.