Special Affairs Team TEN 2: Episode 7

Ten 2 ended already in Korea – so I know this means I have to step it up and finish these recaps soon. This episode featured one of the more chilling suspects who was probably more sociopathic than the rest we’ve encountered so far. (Not including the ‘F’ Killer of course.) This is episode 7, the Wooeumdo Murder Case.

A wife speaks to her husband on the phone, bidding him to hang up or else he’ll miss his flight. The room is strangely empty, and her body language seems quite somber. The conversation ends, the wife disappears in a ghostly mist, and the phone remains with eight missed calls.

Some time passes, and a police crime scene is taped off in a swampy field in Hwaseong. There’s a luggage with a skeleton in the mud. The chiefs of the police are afraid that it might be part of a series of murders in Hwaseong, which the journalists are totally eating up. The area used to be full of puddles that eventually dried up; the killer must have tossed the luggage in one of them and thought it’d never show up. Despite the difficulty in identifying the victim, there’s at least a lot of clues left in the bones.

Chapter 1: Bones

Through Yoo Rim’s analysis, she identifies a female between 20s-40s who had a cheekbone reduction cosmetic surgery. Min Ho is immediately sent off to search through the list of highly trained plastic surgeons in Seoul and see if any treated the victim. Yoo Rim states the cause of death is a blunt force trauma to the head. Unfortunately, all the teeth have been extracted so they can’t get any more identification than that.

Do Shik discusses with the landowner about the field’s history, and discovers that the puddle must have appeared after January, after the field was completely burned down. That means the body was thrown out anytime between January and March, and has the officer Eun Jung grab a list of all the reported missing people in that time frame.

Min Ho has difficulty tracking down the right surgeons and getting a list of clients from them. When one tells him to get a warrant, Min Ho calls Do Shik (and a bunch of gangsters) to do a sit-in at the good doctor’s office for a “free consultation.” That’s enough to give the doctor a second thought. As for Ye Ri, she tracks down the luggage to a luxury brand that had the limited edition style shipped from New York in 2011. Ye Ri then requests Eun Jung to get a list of immigrants from the States in 2011 with a higher income.

After a bit more testing, Yoo Rim has a new discovery for Ji Hoon. Had the body not been found sooner, the bones would have decomposed completely because they were completely soaked in hydrofluoric acid, meaning the criminal was someone familiar with chemistry. There was only one missing person who fit the profile (had plastic surgery, traveled to America, and was close to someone who knew chemistry) – Lee So Jung.

The Ten team returns to the office to find a shocking scene before them: Ji Hoon grinding coffee beans to make fresh coffee for all of them! Why? Because they’ll have confirmed the victim’s identity in a few hours.

Min Ho still holds a presentation summarizing the case, which shows Lee So Jung, a travel freelance writer, who disappeared on February 15. Now they just have to arrest the husband, who is a chemistry professor… and just arrived at the station to claim So Jung’s body.

Shin Young Geun had heard about the body after seeing it in the papers. He came by with So Jung’s toothbrush and comb as a DNA sample in the hope that the body might not be her. Clearly he’s still holding on to the hope that his missing wife is still alive. He had seen her the day she disappeared at his office, when she had packed him a bag of things for his seminar and gave him lunch. He then left for the airport, and spoke to her before he boarded the plane. After that, she never picked up his calls, and he reported her missing the next day. Young Geun doesn’t believe there’s anyone who would want to kill his wife, and Ye Ri doesn’t completely believe that he might be the killer too. If he is, he’s certainly putting up a very good act.

Chapter 2: Four Suspects

Do Shik heads to the station that handled So Jung’s disappearance case. They had no leads and no clues to her disappearance, so the case went unsolved for them. The only lead they had was the fact So Jung had called a classmate of hers many times, but they couldn’t reach him so they stopped trying.

Min Ho and Ye Ri check out So Jung’s home, but find nothing suspicious. They do see a map of Korea where Young Geun had marked out all the places he visited in hopes of finding his wife. Ye Ri wonders if the criminal chemically treated the house too, and that is why the CSI team can’t find any traces or clues. If that is the case though, then it means the criminal is comfortable with going in and out of the house, and could stay for a while to clean things up.

Meanwhile, Ji Hoon asks a former college professor some questions about Young Geun. She doesn’t have much to say, other than the fact that he was a difficult professor who gave his students tough tests. In addition, years ago when he was just a student, So Jung had accidentally locked the lab doors without checking. She accidentally locked her fiance in a room with a fire, and he died that night. Young Geun comforted her, and ended up marrying her.

A snack break for ice cream at a convenience store gives Ye Ri and Min Ho a new break. First, Min Ho tries to split a pair of popsicles perfectly in half because it’ll mean he and Ye Ri will get together. It doesn’t split very well. Hah! Guess they’re not getting together. Then the owner of the store comments that the professor has a teacher’s assistant who’s pretty and polite, but oversteps her bounds by visiting his house often even when he’s not around. That means they may have a stalker in their hands!

Do Shik asks for Eun Jung’s help to track down So Jung’s classmate, Nam Won Hak, whom she’s been calling quite often lately. He then receives the CCTV records of the camera near Wooeumdo, near the field where the body was dropped off. One driver strikes his interest – Kim Min Jung, a student at the graduate chemistry program where Young Geun works. She heads towards the field at 1:26am, and leaves around 2:08am. This makes her a very likely suspect.

Chapter 3: Females

Ye Ri and Ji Hoon investigate Kim Min Jung’s apartment; everything she owns and writes notes about is related to Professor Shin Young Geun. The history of her searches online show that she looked up all the articles relating to the found body the other day. Now, she’s disappeared, and her cellphone has been turned off.

Do Shik and Min Ho speak with her colleague at school, who reveals that Min Jung has a big crush on Young Geun. She was the flirt in school who’d do anything for the teachers to get her grades up. Young Geun didn’t buy her sweet act, but because she was actually a talented chemist, he turned a blind eye to her flirtations. But soon after, a new student, Bae Seo Yeon, joined the program, and Min Jung was immediately jealous.

Bae Seo Yeon is a flat, no-nonsense student who can tell the detectives are here about Min Jung. After all, if she were them, she’d suspect Min Jung in So Jung’s death. Seo Yeon reveals her burned, mottled hand; when doing experiments only her glove was torn, allowing for the chemicals to ruin her skin. Min Jung just happens to be the one in charge of all the protective equipment.

Min Ho then gets a call from the police – they just found Min Jung’s car. Min Jung has committed suicide with a combination of pills and burning a charcoal briquette. The trunk has a faint outline of blood shaped like the luggage So Jung was found in. There was also a typed suicide note; in it, she admits to killing Lee So Jung and details how she did it. The case seems like it’s now been closed, but Do Shik and Ji Hoon feel something is off.

Autopsy confirms the time of death as 9-12pm of last night. Yoo Rim notes that the sleeping pills found in her car were prescription-only, but Min Jung has no history of getting that prescription. Min Jung’s GPS records show that she went from home straight to the crime scene, but her printer history shows that the suicide note was not printed at her home. There’s something fishy with the note. They analyze the language, and it doesn’t match Min Jung’s usual writing style. The note is stiff and formal compared to her usual expressive form of writing. It’s likely that the person who really wrote the note is So Jung’s real killer. Ji Hoon concludes that Min Jung either died being framed for murder, or died for being an accomplice to murder.

Do Shik returns to Min Jung’s apartment, and looks at the polaroid photos hanging on the wall. Pictures of people and receipts show that she was out with friends from 9pm to 1am on February 15, the same night So Jung disappeared. It seems that Min Jung specifically prepared these photos as evidence to discreetly show that she was not involved in the murder. It suggests that she knew something bad was going to happen to her that night, and thus prepared her alibi. It also means that if she was far from Wooeumdo that night, someone else was driving her car. If she knew someone else was driving her car, it makes her an accomplice.

Chapter 4: Accomplice

Eun Jung finally tracks down So Jung’s classmate to a motel and hands it off to Do Shik. She can even tell from his demeanor that he’s now dating someone. Hee! Meanwhile, Min Ho’s tracked the sleeping pill prescription back to Bae Seo Yeon. And, handwriting analysis comes back with the conclusion that the writer of Min Jung’s will is… Bae Seo Yeon.

Dun dun dun! So what’s Seo Yeon’s deal?

They bring her in for questioning, but it’s puzzling already why Seo Yeon and Min Jung would conspire together to kill So Jung if they hated each other. Ye Ri shows Ji Hoon and Min Ho a paper Seo Yeon wrote some time ago, where she accused a professor of stealing her research. After that, only Young Geun still accepted her to his program and supported her. So it is possible that Seo Yeon and Min Jung both admired and loved Young Geun, which makes So Jung their common enemy. And then, perhaps Seo Yeon killed Min Jung so she could have Young Geun all to herself.

Meanwhile, Do Shik finds Nam Won Hak in a dingy motel, but he runs off, trying to escape Do Shik’s grasp. (Poor Do Shik – he’s been running a lot lately.) He heads to the nearest police station, but trips before he makes it through the door. “Help me!” he cries, but Do Shik arrests him first. “I’m with the police!” Do Shik says, and suddenly, relief is all over Won Hak’s face.

Ye Ri goes in to question Seo Yeon, and makes light conversation by asking if she took sleeping pills since she doesn’t look like she had much sleep. Seo Yeon says she lost some a while ago, which does seem like a poor excuse. Ye Ri comes on strong, asking where Seo Yeon was on February 15, and if she drove to Wooeumdo to dump the body. Seo Yeon insists she just went out for a drive, but her face remains expressionless. Her eyes do bug out in intensity, in belief of what she’s saying, that Ye Ri falters for a moment. Could it be that Seo Yeon is telling the truth?

I have to say – this actress who plays Seo Yeon freaks me out: her eyes are too big for her face, and her doll-like features are unsettling because they make her look a bit like a bug.

Ye Ri can’t get a good read on Seo Yeon, so luckily Do Shik has a new break in the case. When he questioned Won Hak, the guy was begging Do Shik to protect him; he believed that whoever killed So Jung would kill him next – and that the killer would be Young Geun. Won Hak was there years ago when the accident in the chemistry lab occurred. He was outside when he saw the fire break out, and he remembered seeing Young Geun smiling, satisfied, when the firemen’s water mixed with the chemicals in the lab and caused a greater explosion. He thought it might be a misunderstanding, but the chilling image of Young Geun smiling never left his mind. So one day, when he was drunk, he told So Jung about it. She was so shocked, she called him several times after to confirm the story. Now Won Hak is so scared that he’s next that he’s been hiding out for the past several months.

This puts a new spin on the case. Perhaps Young Geun is the mastermind; his female students are just his accomplices. He killed the fiance to get So Jung, and then killed So Jung to cover up his first murder. They’ll need to reinvestigate this case, because of course, nothing ever gets solved easily if it’s a Ten team case!

Chapter 5: Difficult

Ji Hoon goes over the timeline of So Jung’s last day. If he takes out every single one of Young Geun’s statements on what she did that day, the only reliable fact they need to verify is her visit to his office with a packed lunch. That’s where others would have seen her.

Do Shik checks the call history on So Jung’s phone. There were several missed calls during the day from beauty spa La Beaute; So Jung was supposedly alive then, so she should have picked up. So Jung apparently had an appointment with them that day, but she never showed up.

Ji Hoon heads to the school to question Young Geun’s other colleagues about So Jung visiting. They all say that So Jung came to bring some lunch, but in reality, none of them actually saw So Jung come with lunch. It was because Kim Min Jung told them that she had come, that they knew.

That means, everything the husband testified as happening after 5pm is untrue. The only thing they know is that So Jung was alive for sure at 9:16am, when she spoke to her mother on the phone. That also means her time of death was sometime between her conversation with her mother to around 11am, when the spa called. Since Young Geun was supposedly at home that time, his alibi is now gone.

He killed his wife, packed her in the luggage, then went to work. When he called his “wife” at 9pm, he was actually calling Bae Seo Yeon. Once the body was discovered, he made Min Jung the scapegoat for his crime, even though the two of them must have made a deal together. Though it’s tempting to arrest Young Geun right away, the team only has circumstantial evidence. They need something more definite and catch Young Geun making a mistake.

They try questioning Seo Yeon again. Ye Ri tries to appeal to the just side of Seo Yeon, the side that would out a professor for being dishonest. Doesn’t she feel any guilt? Doesn’t she realize that she is now the suspect of killing two people? Seo Yeon insists that she was only out at Wooeumdo for a drive, but now she silently lets out a tear.

Ye Ri lets Seo Yeon go, and realizes that she has been telling the truth the entire time. Seo Yeon may not be involved in Min Jung’s death at all, but they just dragged her into it mistakenly. The person who used Min Jung’s car to bury the body, to write Min Jung’s suicide note and give her the pills, could have been Young Geun’s doing completely. He used Seo Yeon’s trust in him to make her not say anything, but when she figured out that he killed his own wife, he decided to frame her for Min Jung’s murder so that Seo Yeon would be eliminated as well.

That also means, if Seo Yeon becomes a liability to his alibi, he might eliminate her himself soon.

Min Ho gets a call from NFS because they’ve found additional chemicals in the bag that usually exist in fertilizers. They could not have come from the field in Wooeumdo because it doesn’t use fertilizers, so Min Ho and Do Shik track it down to So Jung’s home. They had a garden, and much need of fertilizers there.

Meanwhile, Seo Yeon returns to Young Geun’s office, and tells him that she didn’t say anything to the police. He gives her a drink, and thanks her for believing in him. He takes a sip from his cup, and only then does Seo Yeon drink. But she shouldn’t have trusted him too easily — her cup was drugged, and the next thing we know, a passed out Seo Yeon is being carried into her lab.

Young Geun places her on a chair, then lights a lab coat on fire. He makes his escape, and hides in the woods until he sees the flames grow through the window. Then he calmly takes his leave. Cold blooded murderer!

The following morning, Do Shik and Min Ho come to pick Young Geun up. Seo Yeon was found dead last night, and they need him to confirm her identity. Of course, Young Geun is shocked. He doesn’t believe it when Ji Hoon says both his students were involved in So Jung’s death, and both died with the truth. Ji Hoon isn’t ready to rule Seo Yeon’s death as an accident or suicide yet, but Young Geun is sure it is suicide. His students were running some tests in the lab but didn’t use hazardous materials at all, so Seo Yeon must have mixed some chemicals herself.

Ji Hoon: “That’s strange. How did you know she died in the lab? I didn’t mention anything about where her body was found.”

Aha! Young Geun makes up the excuse that he was notified last night, but can’t name who called him exactly. On top of that, Ji Hoon finds it more suspicious that for a husband searching the entire country for his wife, he didn’t come right away when the Ten team first found the body. Now Young Geun claims he had a lot of classes, but he was probably just plotting how to get rid of Min Jung and Seo Yeon.

Ji Hoon shows another CCTV image of Young Geun driving to and from Wooeumdo in a rental car, three days after he filed a missing person’s report. He had first buried his wife in the garden (hence the fertilizer chemicals in the bag) and then when he came back from his seminar, he buried her in Wooeumdo. The motive? Because she had figured out that Young Geun killed her first fiance.

Ji Hoon then shows Young Geun the CCTV footage of him killing Seo Yeon in the lab. There’s no escaping this piece of evidence now. Young Geun now says that he killed them out of revenge, and that Seo Yeon was a stalker who made him uneasy. Dang, he just keeps spinning those lies. He is willing to receive punishment for his revenge killing. So Ji Hoon charges him with murder of his wife, disposal of her body, and the attempted murder of Seo Yeon.

Attempted murder??

The two-way window turns on, and Young Geun sees, standing on the other side of the interrogation room, Seo Yeon alive and well, staring at him with her cold, dead eyes. He’s caught. There’s no way out of it. He even threatens Seo Yeon that this isn’t the end, which makes her fear for her future. However, the police are there to support her, so she looks at Young Geun in the eye. Yep – she’ll testify against him.

As Seo Yeon leaves, Ji Hoon comforts her with a word of advice: “The truth hurts, but it’ll heal faster than the hurt you get from believing a lie.”

Ye Ri takes those words to heart as well, and at the end fo the day, she asks Do Shik for advice. Would it just be better to tell Ji Hoon the truth about Song Kyung Tae. The case of the F Killer isn’t exactly over yet.

Comments:

I can’t say much for the episode, except that Young Geun was quite the frightening foe because he’s clearly sociopathic. After watching the full episode, I would look back and see that most of his expressions were quite stoic; though he said he was worried and sad, he didn’t look worried or sad. Sure, a knitted brow here and there, but he seemed more impassive than emotional. Once he was caught, his face was full of subtle micro-expressions that spoke infinitely about his thought process and yet he did his best to betray as little as possible. The same goes for Seo Yeon; I would have believed that she was the killer too because she was so deadpan in everything – in her delivery, in her expression, in her fear. While it seemed like a boring performance, it was actually also a bit unsettling because you can’t tell what she’s thinking or feeling. The case in itself wasn’t that memorable or grisly, but I give this episode credit for a memorable killer.  

I was wondering when the F Killer story was going to show up again. I guess now is as good as ever, since there’s only 5 more episodes to the end. I easily forget that only Ye Ri knows the truth about Kyung Tae not being F, whereas Min Ho and Do Shik think he is. As for Ji Hoon, I wanted to think that he knew Kyung Tae wasn’t F, but that could be wishful thinking on my part. However, I didn’t think this episode’s case was something that would trigger Ye Ri into considering telling Ji Hoon the truth. While the truth hurts, and Seo Yeon was certainly misled, I wish there was a stronger case about trust issues to catalyze Ye Ri into wanting to tell the truth herself. I felt that while Seo Yeon trusted and believed in Young Geun, it was more of a case about desire and selfishness. Young Geun desired his friend’s fiancee, but was selfish enough to kill her when convenient. Similarly, Seo Yeon desired Young Geun to a certain extent, and she did help cover for his murders even when she knew he did wrong. And so it wasn’t like a complete betrayal of her trust in him.

But it is what it is. The F Killer will resurface again.

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