Wow – this is a heady first episode – and took me a while to get to writing. It doesn’t quite pick up right where we left off, but it does help us get closer to solving the mystery of who the serial killer is. Mind you, in the last season’s finale, we encountered the Duct Tape Serial Killer again, and there was a criss-crossing of three murders, all related and all at different times. This premiere episode ties it all together, and then allows us to plunge forth.
This episode is called ‘Understand – Part 1’.
It’s back to the old basic question of who tied Nam Ye Ri (Jo Ahn) up. But before we can resolve that, we have to go back a little bit – back to when Ye Ri, Min Ho, and Do Shik were still trying to resolve why Ji Hoon had disappeared on them, and had regrouped in Min Ho’s empty office. Ye Ri returns from her visit to Ji Hoon’s place, and it’s as if we forgot she ever got the address to the warehouse.
Do Shik gets a sudden epiphany – how did all of them end up on the Ten team? It’s not like any of them had a special reason to be part of it; in his case, he joined because Ji Hoon promised to introduce him to a good dating agency. (HAH!) Do Shik points out that the Seo Eun Bi-Seo Eun Young Case was put with the ‘F cases’, even though it wasn’t really an ‘F case.’ (If you remember, Seo Eun Bi and Seo Eun Young were twins who traded lives, and one of them made her death look like a Tape Murder Case like the other F cases.) And if Ji Hoon was such an expert on the F killer, shouldn’t he have recognized that it was a copycat murder? He couldn’t recognize the modus operandi for that case, and needed the three of them to help him discover the trick.
Now that he has disappeared, he needs his team to help him again to discover the missing piece in all the cases.
Chapter 1: Find the Hidden Picture
It’s time to rebuild all the cases. Taking seven years’ worth of notes, photos, and reports from the organized boxes, they tape them up on to the walls and windows to get a better idea on the F cases. And it’s a lot.
They start with the first case in November 2003; victim’s name was Moon Hye Jin, and she met the killer in his car at a secluded riverside park. He’s completely hooded (not suspicious at all!), and suddenly he seizes up – and kills her violently. He beats her to death, and then covers face with clown makeup. There was no way to identify the killer, as his identity was all forged and no one had ever seen him except for Hye Jin. He disappeared like a ghost.
The detective on that case searched for the killer for three months, but got nowhere. He does remember having met Ji Hoon one time regarding the case, but that’s about it. To him, the case has been completely buried in his memory. Ye Ri visits Hye Jin’s mother, who’s still in a state of shock after all these years. She wonders if the police didn’t catch the killer all these years just because she was considered a “prostitute.”
They move on to the next case: June 2004, victim’s name is Song Mi Joo. She was another hostess/prostitute, but her family never knew of her occupation. In fact, her mother just boasted that her daughter had a boyfriend. But the killer tied her down to a surgical table and took pictures of her, then suffocated her with a saran wrap. Her family eventually left the town they lived in out of embarrassment because they were the local gossip.
It appears the killer gets close to these women first, then kills them.
Do Shik and Min Ho check out the location where Mi Joo was killed; it was at a remote building that used to be under construction, so no one ever passed by it. Her body was not discovered until two months later, in August, near the Han River where there would be a lot of people walking through the park or jogging. It seems the killer wanted the body to be found, and since the two locations were so close to each other, it seems he knew the place well.
Min Ho recognizes the area and the modus operandi of the killer. While Mi Joo’s head was covered with a plastic bag, Min Ho guesses that the next F case has the body covered with a black bag, and by the river side too. He knows that case – he was there, taking pictures as a young student.
This was the September 2004 case, where the victim was Choi Hyeon Jeong – the one that was referenced in the last episode of season 1. Again, a bar hostess who sent money to her family every month, and told them that she was a college student. She let the killer into her home, and as soon as her back was turned, he knocked her out with a weight. After Hyeon Jeong’s death, her father killed himself out of depression, and her mother stands outside of the police station asking for justice every single day.
Min Ho heads home first to verify that the pictures that he took back in the day are of Choi Hyeon Jeong (and… eat some food from his father’s fridge). He directs Do Shik to Seocho police station, where her case was handled. Do Shik bumps into a former colleague and asks to see Choi Hyeon Jeong’s case file. The colleague takes out the report, and is shocked that Do Shik doesn’t remember it – it was the case he worked on.
Suddenly, Do Shik’s memory comes back. This was the last case he handled in that station before asking to be transferred out to Gangwon. He was tired of looking at dead bodies all the time, and barely gave Hyeon Jeong’s case a second glance.
On top of this, when Ye Ri heads to the Seocho station to find Hyeon Jeong’s mother, she recognizes the flyer pasted on the mother’s poster board. It’s the flyer that she got on the college campus, and had thrown away without a second glance.
THEY WERE ALL CONNECTED through this one death!
The three of them converge at the front gate of Seocho station – the trifecta that could catch the killer and ease the sufferings of the families. It’s not that the case was too difficult to solve – it’s that people surrounding the case eventually forgot about it.
Chapter 2: Away
Do Shik and Ye Ri head over to Daejeon, where Ji Hoon had joined the police there to trap the killer. As for Min Ho, he has to stay behind and just find a possible mistake or a leak from the police in the case. Haha – there’s a lot of stuff to go through!
Do Shik meets with the original detective at the head of the Daejeon Tape Murder cases, who noted how peculiar the killer was to have been the victim’s boyfriend, but never seen by anyone. The detective believes that the killer’s strongest point was camouflaging himself with the rest of the people, and describes the game of “Mafia”, where a group of players need to figure out who the killer is through deduction.
As for Ye Ri, she meets with a victim’s former coworker, a hostess herself. The coworker never met the “boyfriend” either, but didn’t think very highly of the victim herself.
When they return to the office, Min Ho surprisingly does have something for them. He had been reviewing footage of news coverage on the Daejeon murder cases, and found an interesting bit: one of the reporters had called the murders “serial killings.” Before this, no one had ever linked the numerous murders together to one killer, except for Ji Hoon. So how did the reporter know that they were serial killings? Someone from the police station must have leaked it, specifically to two reporters – Heo Ji Woo and Park Su Jin – who wrote about “serial killings” in newspapers.
Ye Ri stares at Min Ho blankly – what does this have to do with solving the case? Min Ho’s confidence shatters – did he waste his time on a dead-end? But Do Shik finds value in his discovery – Ji Hoon had gone into hiding because he was afraid the killer might be within the police station. Back then, only two people would have known about the killings: Ji Hoon and ‘F’ Killer, and it’s likely the ‘F’ killer could have spread the leak as a way to show off.
Through his contacts at the station, Min Ho manages to get a list of all the police Heo and Park contact (thanks to his good looks). However, their lists don’t have any overlapping names, so it’s likely that they found out from two different police officers. On one list though – they find a familiar officer’s name: Chief Jung.
Ye Ri and Do Shik catch him in front of his house, and ask him straight up why he told the reporter about the Daejeon Tape Murder case being done by a serial murderer. (Ye Ri’s really there to be lie detector.) He also points out that during the night they set a trap for the killer, Chief Jung was unaccounted for. Chief Jung doesn’t reply directly, only noting that Do Shik is still playing “detective games” when he’s already been dismissed from the Ten team.
The two leave first, and Ye Ri still feels like he’s hiding something. Min Ho calls with an update regarding the other reporter; he narrowed the contact down to Officer Choi, so they meet with Reporter Park to confirm whether or not he was the leak. Reporter Park isn’t willing to reveal her source at first, but when he points out that both she and Choi could be implicated for bribery, she sits down.
She and Choi had a close relationship, and she visited his office quite often. But she didn’t hear about the case from Choi; one time she had gone to the bathroom and as she headed back to Choi’s office, she heard another person telling him about the serial murders. That person… was Yeo Ji Hoon.
Since Reporter Park’s article is all based on eavesdropping, it’s puzzling to them who would have leaked the news the first time around to Reporter Heo. Who in the department wanted the public to go into chaos, worrying about a serial killer? But they have another important case at hand – the next one is of his girlfriend, Hee Joo.
Chapter 3: Death and The Maiden
Min Ho rushes to the motel, where Hee Joo’s crime and the most recent one had taken place. It’s been taped off for the investigation, but Min Ho is glad to see that he’s the first one there. He wants to prove to Do Shik that he’s a good detective who arrives early.
But once he reaches the room, the tape has already fallen off. Is someone in the room? Min Ho raises his gun, and cautiously makes his way in. It’s Do Shik – snoozing on the bed where the body lay!
First Min Ho freaks out, but then he’s confused. The officers outside no one had come in (thus allowing him to think he was first), so how did Do Shik get in the room? Do Shik: “It’s not how he (the killer) got in the room, but when that’s important.” If the police had set up camp that day they laid the trap, and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, then the killer must have come with the body earlier.
When the alarm went off, and the guests evacuated, the killer must have slipped through and snuck out with everyone else as either a cop or a guest. Do Shik has Min Ho get the alibis of all the people who were involved that day – where were they the day before the incident, and on that day.
Meanwhile, Ye Ri goes to visit Hee Joo’s parents. The photos on the hall depict a happy family, but when she meets them, the father is now in a wheelchair and the mother looks more tired. Clearly the memory is painful, but she hopes they can tell her what Hee Joo did the day before she died.
Hee Joo had gone with a volunteer group to play the violin, and met with Ji Hoon that night. Then around 11pm she texted her parents saying she had to meet someone else, and for her parents not to wait up for her. Who was this person she had to meet?
Ye Ri looks at some of the photos in Hee Joo’s room, noticing her with Ji Hoon in several of them. There was also a record gifted from Ji Hoon – one of ‘Death and The Maiden’. There’s even several paintings depicting that musical piece in the room. When Ye Ri asks Hee Joo’s former colleague and friend about that piece, the friend reveals that it’s not Hee Joo’s favorite song. It’s Ji Hoon’s.
Min Ho hasn’t found anything, as all the guests and officers have had their alibis checked out. He’s pretty annoyed that Do Shik is eating food with the other guards at the motel; here he is, working so hard, and Do Shik’s having jajangmyung?! Even I’m jealous! Min Ho gives up, wanting to go get food, when suddenly he has an epiphany – he didn’t check the alibi of one person…
Do Shik tries to do the run through of how the killer could have escaped. After the electricity was cut, the fire alarm rang out. Do Shik realizes that the killer was never in room 101, where Hee Joo was found. He rang the fire alarm somewhere else in the motel, thus allowing him to blend in more easily and not get caught in the CCTV.
When they regroup, Ye Ri finds Do Shik reviewing the CCTV footage from the motel that night. Do Shik finds the shady fellow in the footage suspicious, especially since he covered his face and didn’t stay for long. He didn’t look like he could have gotten comfortable in his room, so it’s likely he was the killer. There are two males in the motel who stayed in their rooms alone, so Do Shik wants to investigate them further.
But Min Ho has a new lead – and it might be more important. There is one person whose alibi they did not check, and whose alibi does not check out. Yeo Ji Hoon. He didn’t have an alibi, and everyone knew that Hee Joo was with Ji Hoon that night. On top of that, his history shows that on most Fridays he was on leave or on field work.
Ye Ri discovers that he texted to a radio channel requesting a song to be broadcast the night of the incident. The song was – you guessed it – ‘Death and The Maiden’, and it played as Hee Joo died. The evidence is mounting against Ji Hoon, but suddenly a group of investigators come in to question the three of them.
They’re placed in three different interrogation rooms, and all are asked about how much they know Yeo Ji Hoon. They’re all under suspicion of helping him too, since they’re continuing an investigation they were expressly told to stop working on. All of them don’t respond to their respective interrogators, with Do Shik even telling the team leader to just do his job instead of asking them where Ji Hoon is now.
So the three of them are all taken to an office to view CCTV footage from a building across the hotel. It’s from the day before the newest victim, Kim Min Ji (I think?*), was found in the hotel room. (Note: this is the latest victim that set Ji Hoon off.) Of all people, who should come out but Yeo Ji Hoon himself.
Things are not looking good for the Monster.
*Edit: The victim’s name is Kim Min Hee.
This was a very intriguing episode, even though I felt disoriented because I wasn’t sure how this fit in the timeline from the last episode in the last season. There were certain details that I wasn’t sure if it fit into the right sequence of events based on what I had seen already, and the number of killings was sure as hell confusing to keep track of. It’s hard to juggle whether everyone was concentrating on 2004 cases, or on 2011 cases (when the first season aired).
It’s impossible for Ji Hoon to be the killer – he’s the protagonist of this drama! – but I’m intensely curious to find out how they’ll reveal the real killer, and who it is, since I heard that it’ll be revealed in episode 2. No – I haven’t seen the second episode yet, but I hope to catch up this week. No spoilers please!
The devil is in the details, and I’m impressed by how carefully plotted this series is. The way these detectives must find clues to narrow down a phantom killer is similar to how I feel Sherlock Holmes would need to break down his cases. Obscure hints give way to new breakthroughs, whether the leads end up being dead-ends or not. It’s a testament to how loyal Ye Ri, Do Shik, and Min Ho are to Ji Hoon that they pursue this case, and try to find out who on earth the F killer is. It’s becoming an obsession for them, I feel. They can all easily become monsters, as they’ve discovered that in a way they are: they’re the type of people who forget when injustice is before them, caring only for themselves in the very moment rather than thinking of the others suffering around them.
Well, as long as they remember the most important F word – food – I think they’ll be okay.