Special Affairs Team TEN 2: Episode 4

Revenge seems to be the theme through this series so far with these four episodes. While I never minded Ji Hoon’s know-it-all personality, I did find it slightly irritating because everything to him as about revenge, and he’s the “expert” on it. Sometimes, I just want him to be wrong – some crimes just aren’t fueled by revenge.

Chapter 1: Addict

Four years ago, a gambling addict, Kang Jong Yoon, leaves his family for a business trip. His wife is uneasy about him going, thinking that he’ll end up drinking and gambling all night. Though he says he won’t, and promises his daughter he’ll be home the next day, the temptation is too great. He spends the entire night winning, and then losing all of his money.

This habit spans for the entire four years, leading up to the present. One morning, he sees a little girl outside the convenience store wanting to buy ice cream. Seeing his daughter in that little girl, he hands her a dollar to buy the ice cream, but her mother snatches it out of her hands.

That evening, the depressed Jong Yoon chooses to lock himself up in a hotel for the night, and seals up all the cracks in the doors and windows. He lights up a coal briquette and drinks, waiting to die. However, his phone rings, and he grudgingly picks up, losing his resolve to truly disappear from the world. A friend, Min Ho Ryung, knows someone who can get him easy money, and sends Jong Yoon to this person’s house.

Jong Yoon arrives in a stately mansion, and the front gates open, swallowing him up in the darkness.

The following morning, a couple of neighbors come by to see the mistress of the mansion. They find the doors open, and enter the kitchen to see Jong Yoon opening up a bottle of wine. The entire family is tied up in chairs, all bloody and dead. The women scream, and Jong Yoon takes flight with a small bag.

Chapter 2: Quick Mover

Present time: Ye Ri tries to convince Do Shik to come back, but he’s sick of murder cases. He’s now a security guard at a local high school, protecting innocent girls from pervy flashers. Speaking of which, he spots one, wearing a trench coat and no pants. Do Shik calmly gets up, and suddenly attacks from behind, grabbing the flasher’s arms. Except, with a closer look, he realizes that this ‘flasher’ is actually a girl! (A very manly looking girl…) She’s wearing a trench over her uniform, and she’s even a student at the school. Ruffled, the student leaves off in a huff. Awkward!

Do Shik receives a call from a colleague, who wants him to help on a case of a murdered family.  He refuses at first, until he hears that Kang Jong Yoon is involved. As he races over to Gangwon, the news reports that Mr. Lim Do Sool – the victim – had hired Jong Yoon to place a bet for him, but Jong Yoon killed the family instead and robbed them.

The news also says that Jong Yoon had stolen 2 billion dollars from a casino four years ago.

Do Shik arrives at the scene of the crime and his colleague has already positively ID’d Kang Jong Yoon with the witnesses. CSI is already working on the evidence, and Do Shik notices that one of the victims – the mother, presumably – has broken teeth but no broken lips. It’s likely she bit into something very hard. As for the man of the house, Lim Do Sool, he was apparently a wealthy loan shark.

The police are already searching for traces of Kang in a 20km radius, but Do Shik makes it 40km; Jong Yoon was part of the Marine special forces, so he can run for quite a while. He also calls up for a favor and gets the police to break into Jong Yoon’s home to inspect it. No one’s around, and all of his cash and jewels are gone. That means he’s already gone home and prepared for his escape.

Do Shik heads out to a port, where he and his One-Eyed-friend are waiting for Jong Yoon to appear. Do Shik is absolutely sure that Jong Yoon would be coming to this port because he is a gambling addict. He’ll need to set sail if he ever wants to gamble again, and he’s sure Jong Yoon’s wife will be arriving soon with money to give him. But he gets a call from the police – they’ve tracked Jong Yoon down at a bus terminal in Youngwol, the complete opposite direction of the port!

Do Shik races to Youngwol, but midway is informed that Jong Yoon’s already on a bus to Wonju. He makes a troublesome U-turn and arrives at the bus terminal there. Jong Yoon’s nowhere to be found on the bus, but finally, Do Shik spots him outside, wearing a baseball cap and black jacket. Just as he makes a phone call, Do Shik tackles him to the ground.

Except – it’s not Jong Yoon at all! It’s a stranger who was paid to take the bus and then make a phone call when he arrived with Jong Yoon’s phone. Do Shik then gets a call from the police – they’ve had a Jong Yoon sighting, in Jungsun. This guy’s everywhere.

He heads to the motel where Jong Yoon was last seen, which happens to be quite close to the police station. The police are already there taking pictures of the room, and it appears that Jong Yoon used the room to change his clothes and change his hair. Well – that renders the “Wanted” posters a bit useless now. Outside, a crowd has begun to form, and Mr. Lim’s brother, Lim Min Seob, and his goons are hanging about. Looks like they’ll want revenge… and Min Seob has a nasty scar on his cheek too.

Reporters grab a photo of Do Shik, who holds his hands up out of the flash. It’s a perfect “caught you!” photo for their headlines as the newspapers report on the incompetency of the police: “Police Miss Criminal Right In Front of Them.” Chief Jung isn’t pleased with the heads of the regional units, as it affects the image of the bureau. The Regional Chief asks for a week to catch the criminal, but Ji Hoon says he can catch them in three days.

Do Shik and his colleague search through the CCTV footage for any signs of Jong Yoon around Jungsun. One-Eye calls him and says that someone “scary looking” came by the port searching for Jong Yoon; he gives Do Shik the license plate number and a description of the car to track down.

Suddenly, something catches Do Shik’s eye on the camera. He notices a figure with a dark jacket and baseball cap pulled over his eyes walking through a busy intersection, and then walking out on another nearby street 20 minutes later. It’s Jong Yoon for sure, and Do Shik follows along the path to find out where Jong Yoon could have gone. He shows Jong Yoon’s photo to every store owner he passes along the route, but none have seen him.

Just when he’s about to give up, Do Shik notices an obscure ‘errand center’ on the side of a building. He heads inside to find the boss, who denies ever seeing Jong Yoon. Distrusting him, Do Shik rummages through the trash can and finds a crumpled ‘Wanted’ ad. He then sits on the couch opposite the boss, and pulls out several packs of 50,000 Won from under the couch cushion. Clearly, despite what the boss says, Jong Yoon’s been here.

Caught, the boss admits what happened. Jong Yoon had come to him with some money, seeking some answers. With the right amount of money, he was willing to turn a blind eye to the fact that a wanted killer had come into his office. Jong Yoon wanted to know who would want to kill Lim Do Sool, which is strange considering Jong Yoo’s supposedly the one who killed Lim.

Ji Hoon calls Yoo Rim to the forensic lab in Gangwon so that she can conduct the autopsy on the family. She notes that Mr. Lim has eight stab wounds, and all but one miss the body’s pressure points. It’s highly likely that it was done by a professional – like a marine like Jong Yoon. Mr. Lim also had a thread that matches his daughter’s clothing on his body. Knowing that the wife seems to have died an hour or two earlier than the others, the order of death was wife, daughter, then Mr. Lim.

Chapter 3: Encounter

Meanwhile in Seoul, Ye Ri stays behind to question the suspect’s family members. The moment she says she has questions regarding Kim Eun Joo, Kang Jong Yoon’s wife, they all close the door on her face. Clearly Kim Eun Joo isn’t popular.

As for Min Ho, he’s already set up camp in the local Gangwon precinct, much to the displeasure of the police there. Do Shik is surprised to see him there, but seems to take the news that Team Ten is taking his case quite well. He finds Ji Hoon in Mr. Lim’s house, surveying the crime scene.

Immediately, Ji Hoon starts discussing the crime scene as if it were the old times. He notes blood splatter on the wall, but not on the family portrait frame, which suggests that the suspect took the frame down. But why would he put it back up neatly if the rest of the crime scene was so messy? Ji Hoon also doesn’t think the suspect would stab three people just for some cash and checks. To kill the wife and daughter first before killing Mr. Lim suggests that the suspect wanted Mr. Lim to see his family die, and to inflict pain. The crime scene – to Ji Hoon – suggests revenge.

Everything‘s about revenge for Ji Hoon.

Do Shik doesn’t take his analysis seriously. This is his case, because he knows Jong Yoon best. Three years ago, Jong Yoon was under arrest for suspicion of murdering someone else. Jong Yoon had begged to not let his daughter suffer the fate of being a murderer’s daughter. He appealed to Do Shik’s sympathy, and finally got off with a probation. But as soon as he was let out, Do Shik found Jong Yoon in a gambling parlor.

From then on, Do Shik learned his lesson: gambling addicts would do anything to be able to keep on gambling, and so he’ll never let Jong Yoon get away with it again. Ji Hoon smirks – so is it because of this regret that Do Shik is adamant on Jong Yoon’s guilt? He advises Do Shik to not get emotionally invested in the case.

Do Shik: “Look who’s talking, Yeo Ji Hoon. You said this was for revenge? Ah – because revenge is your specialty?”

Yes! Ji Hoon totally deserves this chilly reception! Do Shik warns Ji Hoon to stay out of this case, because Gangwon detectives don’t like it when outsiders poke their noses into their cases.

Ye Ri finally makes progress when the landlady lets her into Kim Eun Joo’s small apartment. There have been no records of credit card usage or phone usage since the day of the crime, so Ye Ri has no idea where Eun Joo and her daughter disappeared to. She looks into their closet, and finds a negligee and lacy underwear. The vanity table is full of new makeup, and Ye Ri even puts on some of her lipstick. A spritz of some new perfume in the air, and Ye Ri gets an epiphany. There was a man around Eun Joo, but who?

Ji Hoon returns to the mansion, and finds something striking about the wine bottle pictured in the report. He doesn’t find the wine bottle on the rack in the house, so he calls up the police and discovers that it’s been sent to the lab for Jong Yoon’s fingerprints. Ji Hoon requests a photo immediately, not of the fingerprints but of the label. It is a Chateau Cheval Blanc.

Do Shik and his colleague stake out the errand center to see whether the boss would lead them to Jong Yoon. And lead them he does – without realizing that he’s being tailed, the boss ends up in an abandoned building to hand off Mr. Lim’s account book. Jong Yoon is about to hand over the rest of the money, but the boss says no need. Instead – Mr. Lim’s brother, Min Seob, has paid off the boss in exchange for Jong Yoon.

The boss runs off, and Min Seob and Jong Yoon engage in a fight. Though Jong Yoon is the trained Marine, he’s not quick enough for Min Seob’s stabs. Min Seob gains the upper hand, and is close to stabbing Jong Yoon, when he gets distracted by the sound of Do Shik coming up the stairs.

That distraction is all Jong Yoon needs to grab a crow bar and knock Min Seob out. By the time Do Shik arrives at their room, he only finds Min Seob, bleeding out of his head but still alive.

Do Shik hauls the boss and Min Seob to the precinct for questioning. Min Seob admits he wanted to ‘take care’ of Jong Yoon himself – after all, his brother’s family was killed. Do Shik wants to know what Jong Yoon got, but he doesn’t believe that it was just an account book of people with debts owed to Mr. Lim.

Once he starts slapping the head of the boss with a file folder, Min Ho and Ji Hoon enter the interrogation room to defuse the tension. Ji Hoon asks Min Seob if Lim Do Sool was ever threatened in his life. Min Seob takes offense at the suggestion that Do Sool did shady dealings (even though he was a loan shark).

Ji Hoon then shows everyone the wine bottle label that Jong Yoon almost drank. It’s one of the most expensive wines out there. Ji Hoon points out that Lim Do Sool had a vulgar taste for wine as every label he owned was quite expensive. The Cheval Blanc was the most expensive in his collection. It’s likely they’re looking for a suspect with a similarly garish taste, and Jong Yoon doesn’t quite fit that profile. Also, Jong Yoon’s own fingerprints were barely on that bottle.

Do Shik laughs at Ji Hoon’s deductions and the two nearly come to blows as they face off against each other and each other’s methods. But Do Shik’s colleague bursts into the room with startling news – Jong Yoon is calling in and wants to speak to the detective in charge.

Ji Hoon ends up picking up the phone. Jong Yoon’s on the other line, mending his stab wound. He wanted to report that the real killer had just called him, but won’t go to the station to talk because he knows he’ll get arrested. Since they need three minutes to track his location anyways, Ji Hoon urges him to tell him what happened that night.

Jong Yoon explains that he had arrived at the mansion and thought that he was meeting the man of the house. (It turns out it was the killer.) In exchange for being hired for two days and purchasing a particular switchblade, he would get paid 7 million won. The killer invited him to take a glass of Cheval Blanc, which is how Jong Yoon’s fingerprints ended up on the glass and the bottle. Jong Yoon talked about how he missed his now 6-year old daughter, but felt to ashamed to go back to his family. After he was paid, Jong Yoon hung around outside the casino for several hours before going back. By then, the family had been killed.

At that moment, Do Shik picks up the other line and demands that he come in and draw a sketch of how the killer looked like. Jong Yoon can’t – it was too dark inside the house so he couldn’t make out the killer’s features clearly. Do Shik curses him out for being a liar and Jong Yoon hangs up. But it’s okay – the police have his location now.

Ji Hoon doesn’t rush out with everyone else to find Jong Yoon. He’s more intrigued by the elaborate set up that the killer made to frame Jong Yoon.

By the time Do Shik arrives at the small apartment Jong Yoon stayed at, he’s already gone. Instead, he leaves behind a photograph.

Chapter 4: Monster vs. Viper

Jong Yoon has already made his way out to a local bar, and he holds the hostess at knife point (to get away unseen? and make sure she doesn’t report him?). He hurries to an abandoned mine and dumps his small bag in one fo the carts, hiding it below planks of wood.

Ye Ri visits a counseling center that specializes in helping families of gambling addicts. Kim Eun Joo was there too, and she took their 12 step program very seriously. The program was meant to make the family members feel better about themselves, and even encouraged the wives to wear pretty clothing and put on makeup so that they could feel more confident about themselves. Eun Joo was harassed constantly by debt collectors, but she would continue the program, hoping for her husband’s return one day.

Though Do Shik doesn’t completely believe Jong Yoon’s story, he can’t help but wonder how the crime scene got set up so quickly in just several hours. He reviews the footage of the CSI going through the house, and notices that a bunch of family members had made their way inside, milling about uselessly when they shouldn’t have been there. That’s when Do Shik notices Min Seob’s behavior; for a man who claims he wants revenge for his brother, he acts quite disinterested by the dead body.

Ji Hoon goes to Lim Do Sool’s office in hopes of finding another account book. Instead, he finds a curious copy of ‘Crime and Punishment’, which is about a student plotting to kill a loan shark, on the bookshelf. Seeing that that’s not normal ‘loan-shark-reading-fare’, he opens it… and out come polaroids of girls dressed in lingerie in a bedroom. He realizes that those pictures were taken in the bedroom next door.

Just then, he gets a call from Min Ho, who’s gone through Lim Do Sool’s medical records. Turns out, Lim was treated for syphilis a month ago, and a week later, Lim Min Seob and his wife Min Jung were also treated for syphilis. Do Sool could have had an affair with Min Jung, and transmitted the disease that way. Out of revenge for the affair, Min Seob could have killed his own brother.

Do Shik returns to the mansion and stands where Min Seob was standing in the video. He looks around, wondering what could have caught the brother’s eye. And then he sees it – on the stereo behind him, the logo of the brand is upside down on the speaker panel. He takes it off, and behind it is a safe! There’s another account book in the safe recording that there were 500 million Won in the safe. Do Shik realizes that all that money must be what’s in Jong Yoon’s bag. Since Jong Yoon and Min Seob were the only ones who knew about the safe, it’s also likely that Min Seob was fighting with his brother over the money.

He then gets a call from his colleague: Ji Hoon and Min Ho are on their way to see Min Seob, and a purchase for the Cheval Blanc was found on Min Seob’s credit card. Do Shik races to find Min Seob, who actually returned home. Min Seob relieves himself in his outhouse, not paying attention to his dog’s incessant barking. When he hears a door creak however, he becomes suspicious…

Min Ho and Ji Hoon arrive outside Min Seob’s house, but no one’s answering. They draw out their guns and each make their way in through the front and back doors. Suddenly, the front door of the house opens, and Ji Hoon raises his gun at a very bloody Min Seob.

Min Seob collapses, having been stabbed badly in the gut. Min Ho and Do Shik join him, and Ji Hoon quickly asks who did this to him. With his dying breath, Min Seob sputters out, “Kang… Jong… Yoon.” And with that he dies.

Guess it was Kang Jong Yoon the whole time.

Comments:

I’m kind of surprised this episode is a two-parter, since I usually expect it to be the first two episodes and the last two episodes. One of the things I liked about this series was that the one-case-per-episode worked quite well for its format (once a week) and for the tone of the drama (intensely gritty). If it had two episodes to tell its story, I wish it could have made the time line less confusing. With two hours, it had a little more time to set things up. For one thing, I didn’t realize that four years had past until much later in the episode; the confusion disturbed my experience for most of the episode. I guess I’m not a “smart viewer” but I don’t think knowing that four years had passed earlier in the episode would have detracted from the story line.

One of the things I really enjoyed in this episode is the fact that the monster and the viper are pit against each other. It’s kind of like old times, back in the beginning of season one before they really started trusting each other, but this time there is so much more antagonism. And I get that; Do Shik had to put up with so much with Ji Hoon going on his revenge spree. In a way, I can see that Ji Hoon’s pursuit of “justice” against the F killer was foolish and self-serving, even though he was mad with grief, and his irresponsibility might have driven Do Shik mad. It’s also become insufferable how Ji Hoon approaches everything from the angle of “revenge”; he quickly bought in to the idea of revenge killing for his professor’s death, and here he believes that revenge was in order for the Lim family’s death. In the last case, he was wrong; in this case, I hope he’s wrong again. Why? Because I want to see cases not driven by revenge, and I want Ji Hoon to recognize that just because he’s a Monster, not everyone else is necessarily. The first step is to forget, even though it may be painful. It’s only then that he can take a step back and approach cases with a clearer mind, and perhaps revisit the F case with a new perspective.

On another note, I quite enjoyed seeing my favorite cameo actor Kim Hyun Sung back for another round of OCN dramas as the “could be killer” Kang Jong Yoon. He was previously in Hero and Vampire Prosecutor, and I’m sure those spate of action dramas made him quite believable as a marine-turned-gambling-addict. There’s always this masculine but mysterious aura around him that makes him my favorite guest actor to watch.

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