Special Affairs Team TEN 2: Episode 8

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This was one truly interesting episode. A case that has the most unlikely suspects: either a blind lounge singer, or a killer who murders five people in 7 minutes. This is episode 8: ‘Elegy.’

It’s evening at the Soundholic City Jazz Lounge, and Song Hwa Young sings a sad love song on an empty stage before an empty lounge. It’s only when she’s done that she realizes how eerily quiet her surroundings are, and she calls out, “Is anyone there?” No response. There isn’t a single soul inside.

Next thing we know, there are police surrounding the area. The Ten team arrives, taking on the case because there is a new chief in town, and it’s the first murder case under his tenure; he’ll want this case solved quickly and tidily. Apparently, five people – all of whom are employees – have died in the club, and there are only two people left – Song Hwa Young and Park Eun Soo, who reported the murders to the police.

Ji Hoon discovers that Hwa Young is blind – she has been since she was two, and can’t even feel light. Her alibi was that she was onstage recording an audition demo the entire time the murders took place. Ji Hoon is skeptical, and wonders if she could have done it herself, but Ye Ri thinks that’s too much of an accusation to make. The murder weapon was a computer cable, which was used to strangle all five victims to death. It was left backstage and had no fingerprints.

Do Shik inspects the exits, and notices that the back door blocked. The only way inside or out was through the front door. It’s harder that there are no security cameras near the exit either. There’s only a camera outside the door, and Do Shik confirms the arrival of all the workers based on their time cards. Finally, the last witness Park Eun Soo arrives, entering at 4:21 pm and running out at 4:28 pm. That leaves three possibilities for the murderer: (1) it’s the blind woman Hwa Young, (2) it’s the man Eun Soo who reported the crime, or (3) the killer is still inside.

He orders all the guard to lock the doors and make sure no one gets in or out. Do Shik then yells out an announcement inside the lounge: no one is to leave the premises, as they are going to do another thorough search within the premises. The killer is among them, and they will catch him/her.

Chapter 1: Closed Doors

Do Shik splits the police force into three teams and they start searching their assigned areas thoroughly, making sure no nook and cranny go unchecked. Ye Ri stays with Hwa Young, who won’t stop biting her nicely manicured nails.

The victims are as follows: Choi Dong Hyun, a waiter who was killed in the bathroom; Kim Yoon Suk, another waiter killed in the locker room; Kim Min Shik, the owner who was killed in his office; Bang Jung Hoon, head chef killed in the food storage room; and Choi Chul Gyu, the manager killed in the kitchen. Choi Chul Gyu was the only one who had a weapon in his hand – a knife – and he still got strangled to death by the culprit. There are scratch marks in the walls where the manager had swung it against, but because the knife is clean, he clearly didn’t hit his attacker.

Min Ho wonders why none of the other victims knew the others had died. If they did, more of them would have been armed and there would have been some resistance. It would have been possible if the workers all came in at staggered times, and the killer was waiting for them as each of them came in; one by one, they would have been killed.

While conducting her autopsy, Yoo Rim notes that one of the victims, Kim Yoon Suk, had a wound on his ear – approximately a week old. He was also the only victim that got strangled from the front rather than behind.

The closed-doors search does not turn up fruitful, as no one can locate the culprit. That leaves the other two possibilities left for the killer. Ye Ri continues questioning Hwa Young, asking what she does when she’s not recording. Since Hwa Young is blind, she does not move around much, preferring to stay onstage. There’s even a faint bruise on her knee – presumably from knocking into things.

Ye Ri comments on Hwa Young’s large beautiful eyes – which happen to be perfectly made up as well. Hwa Young turns, and looks Ye Ri right in the eye, “You don’t sound like you mean it.” Can Hwa Young actually see?! ‘Cause it sure does feel like it. Hwa Young mentions a person who once told her something similar; it seems like she’s in love with him. She also lives alone, which is strange because her nails are perfectly manicured; clearly someone is taking care of her, and it might be her mysterious suitor. Hwa Young does happen to remember the sound of footsteps that night, when everyone had died. That’s something useful for the police.

Chapter 2: Witness

They play back a CCTV video of inside the lounge with sound for Hwa Young, and after a series of footsteps, she’s heard asking, “Eun Soo?” She thought it was him because the footsteps sounded similar, even though Eun Soo technically did not arrive at the club until 20 minutes after the events of the video. The team presumes it to be the killer, who wore boots similar to Eun Soo’s and therefore made his footsteps sound like his.

It’s great timing that Park Eun Soo arrives from the police station, and is subjected to Do Shik and Min Ho’s interrogation. In those seven minutes in the lounge, Eun Soo had clocked in, saw Hwa Young on stage, and headed straight to the bathroom. The bathroom was a total mess, so he went to another one to get cleaning supplies, and that’s when he saw Choi Dong Hyun’s body. He freaked out, ran across the lounge and entered the kitchen, calling for help. That’s when he saw Chul Gyu’s body as well. He ran off to report the crime, and left Hwa Young singing on stage. His first instinct was to run, not protect his colleague, because it was too eerie seeing her sing normally while everyone else was dead.

Do Shik: “How’d you know everyone else was dead if you only saw two dead bodies?” Eun Soo trips up: “Well, the police told me…”

Do Shik leans in, and pulls off Eun Soo’s rose tinted glasses. There’s a black eye underneath it. It ends up being Hwa Young who explains: the boss had wanted Eun Soo to quit because he was sexually abusing Hwa Young. At any time, any place, he would “want” her while wearing a particularly awful perfume. Hwa Young was so embarrassed she didn’t tell anyone about it, and Eun Soo had given her a chance to sing onstage too. Eventually there was a big fight when the boss found out.

When Min Ho takes this information to Eun Soo, he’s surprisingly far more offended than a guilty person would act. Eun Soo denies being a sex offender, and instead says that the boss and the other workers were all “scary people.” Hwa Young was also someone who would do anything to be onstage – including seducing him.

Do Shik returns to the back room where he inspects the carpet. There are grooves in the carpet for where the crates usually were, and with some dusting, the police determine that the crates were moved. It’s likely that the killer broke in through the back door, killed everyone, then left the same way. If it were Eun Soo, he would have then made his entrance through the front door, moved the crates within the seven minutes he was inside, and then left to go report it to the police.

Eun Soo maintains his innocence throughout, but then Do Shik shows him a photo of a nearby parking lot, where Eun Soo’s car is parked. He had parked there since 11:38 am, but didn’t go to the lounge until 4:21 pm; why did it take Eun Soo five hours to arrive at the front door of the lounge? Eun Soo ends up having a very good alibi for his five-hour gap: he was at a motel with another woman. CCTV footage proves that the both of them were there, and so Do Shik and Min Ho have to let him go.

Yoo Rim calls up Ji Hoon with another discovery – the bodies were all tasered. They were first shocked, then strangled. But Ji Hoon thinks that there must have been something else to instill such a paralyzing fear in all the men – a fear that rendered even an armed man useless to a taser.

Chapter 3: Corpse Flower

The Ten team convenes in the kitchen, and Ji Hoon informs everyone that Hwa Young owned a taser for self-defense. It’s so unlikely that she would be the killer, and yet Ji Hoon warns everyone to not underestimate her just because she’s blind. Ye Ri looks deeper into Hwa Young’s’ deal with the lounge, and discovers her own private changing area. She then notices that there are blinds installed on the window on the outside of the room, not inside. That means, the office on the other side (which so happens to be the owner’s) can open the blinds at any time and peek into Hwa Young changing.

The sexual assault is far more depraved than they thought because it wasn’t just Eun Soo who was assaulting her – all the men in the lounge were basically invading her privacy and ogling at her like a zoo animal.

Meanwhile, Do Shik notices that the police outside are busy controlling the crowds; the lounge is pretty popular that a lot of customers keep wanting to come in. It prompts him to call Eun Jung to get some bank records for the place. As for Min Ho – he’s in the men’s locker room, studying the numerous perfume bottles that he found throughout the lounge. At first he thought nothing of it, but then he started noticing that all the staff members would have the perfume hidden somewhere near their work area. And then, in the locker room, someone had thrown the bottle against the wall and smashed it.

It all starts coming together – the same perfume bottles that were all hidden, coupled with the blinds that allowed for peeping toms to ogle at her, added up to a dangerous workplace for Hwa Young. They could smell like Eun Soo, abuse her, and blame it all on Eun Soo. Now there’s a motive of revenge for Hwa Young.

So to run a test, Ji Hoon dons the same perfume and approaches Hwa Young. She thinks it’s Eun Soo right away just from the smell, even though she should have known it wasn’t him because she didn’t hear his boots. Hwa Young apologizes, saying she must have been mistaken, but Ji Hoon is not easily fooled. He asks where her taser is, and she claims it’s at home; Ji Hoon still sends officers to her place to verify that.

Ye Ri reviews past footage of Hwa Young performing onstage, and notices that just 10 days ago she used to sing happier songs. But soon after, she changed her entire demeanor, her repertoire to sad love songs, and her appearance to something more mournfully romantic.

The police return with no tasers found at Hwa Young’s place, so Ji Hoon questions her aggressively. Hwa Young protests – how could she possibly be the murderer if she’s a “blind idiot?” The Ten team is still convinced she did it, but they need to prove it. Strangling and tasering the victims would have given her the power she was stripped of when she was sexually abused; it also gives her a bloodless way of killing people since she wouldn’t be able to clean it up.

The thing Ji Hoon wants to know is why Hwa Young sent him to her home to look for the taser when she most probably knew it wasn’t there. He has Min Ho bring in Eun Soo again for questioning to find out the story behind the perfume. Eun Soo is outraged when Ji Hoon accuses him of owning the perfume. He swears he only used it once, and on that day he learned what the other guys at the club were doing to her – peeping through the window and sexually assaulting her while using the same perfume. He insists the perfume doesn’t belong to him, but he also can’t say who is the real owner.

Just then, Min Ho interrupts with some news: they found another suspect. Thanks to the bank records Eun Jung found, Do Shik discovered that there was someone being paid off the books – Kang Jin Wook. He was a part-timer that could have been romantically involved with Hwa Young. When prompted of the name, Eun Soo quickly says that Jin Wook owned the perfume, and that he was close to Hwa Young. The other waiter Kim Yoon Suk would constantly apply Jin Wook’s perfume to trick Hwa Young and assault her. When Jin Wook found out, he fought with Yoon Suk and all the other guys.

Now it looks like Jin Wook is the main suspect. Eun Soo never mentioned this fight or Jin Wook because he was afraid that he’d be misunderstood by the police, but even then Ye Ri believes he’s guilty of something; why else would Hwa Young single him out so much in their investigations?

After some time passes, Hwa Young raises her hand while sitting at the bar. “I… killed them,” she admits. No one pays her any mind. “I killed them!” she says with more conviction and louder. The police pause their search and stare. What are they to do with her?

Chapter 4: Blind Canary

Ji Hoon has Hwa Young do a walkthrough of her crime, to lead them when, where, and how she killed them all. Hwa Young tries to lead them to the kitchen where she killed one of the victims but goes in the wrong direction, which tests Ji Hoon’s patience. She starts giving them a really odd timeline, saying that she washed her hands of blood when there was no blood, and blaming her disoriented state for her confusion.

As much as Hwa Young may have admitted her crime, it still makes no sense because she doesn’t seem to know what she supposedly did. Hwa Young blames her stupidity and apologizes for not giving them a solid confession. What?! This woman’s crazy…

Meanwhile, Do Shik has gone to Jin Wook’s apartment to check it out. He has a cowardly security guard, who’s never seen Jin Wook before, help him get in. The security guard looks suspicious, and for a moment, I think that he’s actually Jin Wook. But the doorbell rings (and scaredy cat security guard jumps a mile high), and a police officer comes in with a new report. Jin Wook was charged for assault by Kim Yoon Suk. With one look at the picture of Yoon Suk on the report, Do Shik realizes something very wrong with the case.

Do Shik bursts into the autopsy lab demanding to see Kim Yoon Suk’s body, and to compare the face with the picture on the report.

Ye Ri questions Hwa Young again: is she looking for Jin Wook? Hwa Young reveals that he was the only one who ever noticed her. Some time ago, she had finished her performance and was very thirsty, but no one noticed it except for Jin Wook. She never felt more cared for than before. Ye Ri is confused how Hwa Young could not tell the difference between all the men even if they smelled the same, and Hwa Young once again uses the excuse that her blindness makes her an idiot. Surprisingly, Ye Ri is quite sympathetic towards the blind singer despite the overwhelming evidence.

The suspect, Kang Jin Wook, arrives at the lounge all bandaged up and his arm in a sling. Do Shik arrives just in time to say, “That’s not Kang Jin Wook. That’s Kim Yoon Suk.” EHH?

Chapter 5: Elegy

After Kang Jin Wook found out about what the other people were doing to Hwa Young, he beat Yoon Suk up to the point that he ended up in the hospital. Afraid that the other men would continue to assault Hwa Young, he took Yoon Suk’s shift so that he’d be able to protect her. That means, Jin Wook is actually dead, and Hwa Young killed the man she loved. The only question that remains is how? How did Hwa Young kill everyone by herself?

Ji Hoon goes back in the kitchen and switches the light on and off. More forensic evidence reveals Choi Chul Gyu’s handprints on the wall as he ran to a corner rather than for the escape. That means he was disoriented and didn’t know where to go; that also means, the kitchen was dark. He decides to run an experiment: he tells Hwa Young to go back to her room for a break, and then has Min Ho shut off all the lights in the club. Everyone suddenly freaks out, as they’ve been blinded and disoriented. But Ji Hoon shines a light into Hwa Young’s room through the window; Hwa Young is still pacing back and forth, as if nothing happened. She’s not bumping into anything, and finds her seat calmly and perfectly. It’s almost as if she could see in the dark.

And at that moment, Hwa Young eerily turns her head, and looks right into the light of Ji Hoon’s flashlight.

The case starts coming together. When everyone was working and in their own respective areas, Hwa Young shut off all the lights. That gave her the tactical advantage to creep up to them, and taser them. When she heard them collapse, she would then strangle them with the computer cable, applying enough pressure long enough for them to die. The manager would have been the hardest one to kill because of the knife he wielded. She then turned the lights back on, moved the beer crates in the back room to make it seem like someone had escaped through the back door, and then gone on stage to sing.

She then stayed after the murders to make sure all the evidence pointed at Eun Soo, and then hid herself among everyone else as the suspect who could never have done the murders. See – she’s a lot smarter than she tells people. The question is now why she blamed it on Jin Wook later on, the man she loved. Ji Hoon thinks it is all misdirection. If they found Jin Wook, he would have an alibi proving he didn’t do it, and they would have to then find someone wearing those boots Hwa Young heard.

Ye Ri goes to Hwa Young with the news that Jin Wook had no association to the crime whatsoever, and that he won’t ever be seeing her again. Hwa Young finds that as a good thing, as she knows he blamed himself for all the suffering she went through. She realized after his fight with the others that he didn’t love her anymore, and that the perfume she had bought him (so that she’d know where he was all the time) ended up being more a curse than a gift.

But suddenly, just when you think she’s admitting to have done the crime out of love, she asks, “But whose footsteps were those that we heard? If it wasn’t Jin Wook, then whose was it?” At that moment, Ji Hoon sends Yoon Suk out with a beer bottle and with instructions to simply refill her cup. He slowly approaches her, and swivels on the bar chair suddenly. Yoon Suk is actually afraid of her.

She thinks he’s Jin Wook, and says, “Just because I was addicted off of that scent, did you think I would never recognize you?” She says that she would be able to protect him, so he shouldn’t be hurt by her anymore; because Min Ho, Do Shik, and Ye Ri are watching silently, Hwa Young doesn’t realize they’re present too. Yoon Suk then pours the drink, and as he tilts his wrist, his metal watch clinks as rolls down to his hand.

Hwa Young hears that, and grabs his wrist. She doesn’t recognize the watch, as Jin Wook wore a leather watch. She drops the glass; she wasn’t talking to Jin Wook the entire time. She realizes that he’s Yoon Suk, and that she must have killed Jin Wook instead in the locker room.

Hwa Young screams in anger, and we flashback to the moment she killed her lover. He looked right into her eyes as she strangled him to death. It must have been the saddest, most painful 2 minutes of his life. She didn’t realize it then, but when his hand dropped, you couldn’t even hear the watch fall.

The taser is later found hidden in Hwa Young’s speakers. The motive for the crime is that she wanted to take away the guilt he felt for not being able to protect her. Ji Hoon is mildly amused at that thought, perhaps thinking of his own experience. Ye Ri certainly is, as she debates whether or not she should tell him the truth now. But before she can say anything, Do Shik interrupts. He calls her over, stating that he needs help picking up a gift. But they share a look, and Ye Ri understands that it’s not time yet.

And Ji Hoon can only smile – guess Do Shik’s blind date is really working out well!

Comments:

This was a twisted case that involved sexual abuse, assault, and murder all at once, and yet you had the most impeccably dressed and elegant-looking blind woman as the main suspect. For that, I found the premise intriguing because I wanted to know how a blind woman overpowered five men and killed them all. Once again, it’s a crime about revenge and guilt, but this time a different kind of victim/suspect had emerged. It’s about a woman who finally learned how to retake control of her life, but unfortunately had to do so with murder. It’s the story that if the surviving victim of F’s had come back and killed F out of revenge for what he did to her and other women.

The one thing that annoyed me the most was how Hwa Young hid behind the excuse that she was a “stupid blind woman,” because I didn’t believe it for a second. I was frustrated that she pretended she couldn’t tell the difference between footsteps and scents, considering that she was blind and her other senses should have been sharper. Even though everyone smelled the same, I had this expectation that she would at least be familiar with her other coworkers’ characteristics: their build, their sound, their clothing, etc. So as soon as I saw her recognize the watch sound, I got that gratification of knowing that she was smart. Instead of being the idiot who couldn’t tell the difference between people when they had the same scent, and thus blamed all the sexual assault on Eun Soo, she was actually a smart woman who knew what was happening to her, but only felt helpless because she didn’t know any other way to protect herself. While her crime was thought out, I think she made too many mistakes in blaming others who couldn’t possibly have done it to really have gotten away with it.

It’s amazing how much sympathy Ye Ri had towards Hwa Young though; Ye Ri seemed to be a staunch supporter of Hwa Young, and that she couldn’t have possibly done the crime. It almost made me wish that Hwa Young wasn’t the murderer as well, because I wanted to believe in Ye Ri and her ability to read the truth in faces. It’s possible in this case that Ye Ri got too invested with Hwa Young’s plight, or that Hwa Young just had an excellent poker face, that she couldn’t read the truth completely.

Four more episodes to the end! Ye Ri is probably going to have to suffer for two more episodes before she can tell Ji Hoon the truth about F.

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