Second to the last episode! Episode 11: Park Min Ho Kidnapping Case – Part 1. As the title suggests, Min Ho gets kidnapped. Will the team save him in time? Only time will tell. It’s not the happiest episode you’ll see in this series, unfortunately. It hurts more because we actually know the victim, and are invested in his character.
In a small karaoke/drinking salon, room 210, a gunshot is fired. A woman screams, and more gunshots… until there’s only silence.
Ji Hoon is drinking in his apartment, once again going over the F case. He vaguely hears the police sirens on the road below. Do Shik, in a pojangmacha, hears the police cars go right past him. Ye Ri, in a trance at a red light on the way home, snaps back to reality when a police car drives by. The three are reeling from the after effects of telling the truth of the F Killer.
And then an abandoned car in the middle of the road, headlights all blinking. We don’t see Min Ho, whom you’d have expected to see.
The following day, it’s quiet in the office. Eun Jung receives a package from Min Ho, which they find strange since he’s not even in today. To his defense, Eun Jung says that he was at the office until 2 AM investigating the F case.
Do Shik opens the small package and finds a cellphone inside. He opens it, takes a look, and suddenly screams “DIRECTOR YEO!”
The phone contains a video of Min Ho, bloody, beaten up, and tied to a chair. He’s given a letter to read aloud: “Find the real murderer of the Majang Room Salon case. Send the result to tonight’s 9 o’clock news. If you run or fail to find out, I will die.” Suddenly, a figure looms forward and hits Min Ho in the head, knocking him out.
Chapter One: All For One
It’s 10 AM. The trio are on the road when Ye Ri confirms that there was a murder at 1 AM in Majang Room Salon; the video was filmed at 4:25 AM and so Min Ho, who left at 2 AM, got kidnapped on the way home. Do Shik notices that Min Ho is being held down by police-issued handcuffs, but Min Ho had left his handcuffs at work. That means their kidnapper might be a policeman. Ji Hoon thinks that Min Ho was specifically targeted, whereas Do Shik thinks that if Min Ho had not been in the office so late he wouldn’t have gotten kidnapped. (I think that’s just guilt talking.)
Do Shik has Ji Hoon pull over; it’s very possible they’re getting played by the kidnapper, so they need to focus on getting Min Ho back. Though they need to solve the murder case they also need to find a way to save their teammate, so Ye Ri and Ji Hoon will head to Majang Room Salon, and Do Shik will conduct his own investigation.
Chief Jung is already closing up the case at the salon. There are two dead bodies in the room; six live bullets were shot randomly all over the room, which suggests that the shooter was an amateur but also had the intent to kill. The woman (a bar hostess) was shot in the heart while the man (a guest) was shot in the neck artery, and that prompted the huge spray of blood in the room. Ye Ri notices a stain on a white cloth that looks nothing like a blood stain or blood splatter. Rather, it seems that it’s a smear, mixed with a black stain, that someone (perhaps the shooter) tried to wipe off.
The chief interrupts to privately show Ji Hoon and Ye Ri a video that the police had captured while tailing one of their targets, Lee Byung Man (the dead man). The suspect in the video, Ji Jin Hyuk, is seen exiting the salon shortly after the gunshots were fired. He leaked prostitution information and accepted bribes, and had an affair with the female victim. It is possible he flew into a jealous rage, and the murders were a crime of passion. Ji Hoon and Ye Ri head over to Ji Jin Hyuk’s home to investigate.
Do Shik arrives at the scene of Min Ho’s abandoned car. It’s in the middle of a deserted road with no CCTV cameras. Most likely, the kidnapper was a pro who stalked Min Ho. The kidnapper then caused a mini accident by hitting Min Ho’s headlights, prompting Min Ho to come out of the car of his own will.
He takes a sample of the kidnapper’s car that fell off from the accident and finds one of his colleagues in a small restaurant. The car type, year, and color – the colleague is an expert at hit-and-runs, so he can figure it out from the small sample, right? The colleague is none too happy to be given work when it’s his off day, and tries to ignore Do Shik. But he can’t stop himself from being curious about the car in question.
Ji Jin Hyuk’s home is a complete mess, since the police already searched his quarters. Ji Hoon notices an open window that could have been a possible escape route — were Ji Jin Hyuk not barefoot. Two gunshot holes are seen in the painting next to the window. Ye Ri discovers something strange: the investigative report says that Ji Jin Hyuk shot through the window, but the neighbors say they heard two gunshots first, then a window shattering. On top of that, Yoo Rim calls with insight on the black stain – it’s a shoe polish. That means the killer in the room salon wiped blood off of his black dress shoes, which seems unnaturally fastidious for someone who shot quite randomly.
Ji Jin Hyuk also wore tennis shoes. He was framed.
He could be Min Ho’s kidnapper trying to get Team Ten save him from getting caught.
Chapter 2: Lizard
Do Shik starts investigating the surrounding area of where the car was abandoned; there are 6 empty buildings under construction that the kidnapper could have brought Min Ho within two hours’ time. Meanwhile, his colleague discovers that the car hitting Min Ho’s was a black Sonata, which is fairly common. But not common on the roads between 1 AM to 4 AM.
Ji Hoon hurries to Chief Jung’s office to show him Min Ho’s ransom video. They’ll have to find the real killer, as it is not Ji Jin Hyuk. Chief Jung can choose to help them or stay out of it, but either way the case is now Ji Hoon’s, and there is to be no announcement made on anyone’s arrest.
Do Shik and Ji Hoon reconnect. If Min Ho’s kidnapper is Ji Jin Hyuk, then it’s kind of odd how quickly he acted within one hour, between leaving the salon and kidnapping Min Ho. Aside from finding the real killer, it seems that they’ll have to find the person who trapped Min Ho – someone who actually planned this for a while.
Ye Ri investigates Jin Hyuk’s car parked outside his apartment, and finds several illegal phones in the glove compartment. Just then one of the investigators comes to take the car away for further inspection. As he comes around to the driver’s seat, Ye Ri quickly stashes all the phones in her bag and steps out of the car.
Several blocks away on the rooftop, Ji Jin Hyuk observes the investigator drive off and Ye Ri stand in his driveway.
Do Shik finally locates the building where the kidnapper filmed Min Ho. The chair is now empty, as they’ve made their escape. The building is completely empty, without any guards or surrounding neighbors; it’s also not in a policed district. That suggests that the kidnapper is a suspicious and cautious man who knows the area well, but doesn’t necessarily live there.
He gets a call from his colleague, who’s located the kidnapper’s car abandoned on the side road. Do Shik opens the trunk to find a bloodied towel and some empty bottles of water. Though they have no clue as to where they both went, Do Shik is relieved to know they’re traveling together; it means Min Ho is alive. Do Shik reckons that the kidnapper stole another car, so he asks his colleague to alert him if they hear of a stolen car report.
Meanwhile, Ji Hoon meets with a friend in the police force on a parking lot rooftop, who informs him that the investigators have been on Ji Jin Hyuk and Lee Byung Man’s tails for a year. No matter the outcome of the case, Ji Jin Hyuk is a dead man — either killed by the investigators or going to jail for a very long time. Is there an internal affairs conspiracy going on?! He warns Ji Hoon to stay out of it since he’ll be opening up Pandora’s box. They part ways, and don’t realize that there’s another black car watching them and following them from afar.
Ji Hoon stops by another abandoned building, and makes his way up to the roof. One well-suited guy with an earpiece steps out of black car and follows him up. Cautiously he opens the door, but gets caught by surprise at gunpoint by Ji Hoon. “The killer wore your type of (dress) shoe,” Ji Hoon notes. The guy takes out his ID: he’s Jo In Guk, prosecutor.
Chapter 3: Pandora
Safely ensconced in a taxi, Ye Ri looks into the four phones she managed to pilfer. Three have the same opening screen, but one is different. She checks the phone numbers; the different one belongs to Lee Byung Man. Clearly Byung Man and Jin Hyuk knew each other, and were even communicating up until yesterday with Jin Hyuk’s fake phone. What were they talking about? Byung Man had sent Jin Hyuk to find a high school student named Ryu Mi Ho, nickname Pandora.
Meanwhile Jo In Guk shows the same photo of Mi Ho to Ji Hoon. She used to work at the salon and did “deliveries” for Byung Man. She learned a few dirty secrets about him – including the fact that he killed someone very cleanly – and contacted the prosecutor office to spill the beans on him. She didn’t contact the police because she knew he had a connection there. However, she disappeared several weeks ago just as she was about to share her intel.
While Do Shik visits a real estate shop to find out what is in the area near the abandoned car, Ye Ri goes searching for Mi Ho. She bumps into a social worker who worked on Mi Ho’s case, and the social worker is hopeful that Ye Ri found her. Turns out she hadn’t, but they go to Mi Ho’s home, where her grandmother lives alone. The social worker has to help take care of the grandmother, as she feels terrible about Mi Ho’s situation: bright girl but lacking familial support so she turns to bar hostessing. The social worker notes that no one has seen her since a detective came to take her away.
It’s the first that Ye Ri’s heard of it, but when she reconnects with Ji Hoon, it confirms what he heard from Jo In Guk – that someone within the police force is helping Byung Man. However, Ye Ri thinks that it’s Jin Hyuk who picked Mi Ho up instead. It seems that while Jin Hyuk got rid of Mi Ho, someone else is trying to shut them up. It was Byung Man first, and now it’ll be Jin Hyuk.
Do Shik starts looking through all the small shops and markets in the neighborhood of where Min Ho might now be. He asks for cold bottles of water – the same brand found in the car. One storekeeper says some guy just came in and bought everything she had. He shows her a photo of Ji Jin Hyuk, and she confirms that it was he who bought the water. When he left, he asked for directions to Incheon.
Do Shik races off and contacts the guards right by the tolls on the highway. He has them check the videos for any sign of Ji Jin Hyuk in another stolen car, but they can’t find any sign of him. It’s possible he could have gone in the opposite direction, but that road would have led back to Seoul. Do Shik figures out that Jin Hyuk must be playing him – he’s actually still in the area.
A black car takes a break in an empty field. Jin Hyuk steps out of the car and takes out another full bottle of water. He takes a swig, then opens the trunk to give Min Ho the rest. Min Ho tells him that the Ten Team can’t solve the case without him, but that they can all help Jin Hyuk out of his situation together. Instead of being panicky and taking Min Ho’s offer, Jin Hyuk is actually quite calm and collected. He warns Min Ho not to be fooled by his “motivations,” as Min Ho can’t see through his mask. And with that, he closes the trunk lid.
Chapter 4: Chameleon
Do Shik gets a call from his colleague about the missing car report – an old Black Grandeur – which matches the one we saw Jin Hyuk driving. Ji Hoon heads back to headquarters to speak to Chief Jung — only he’s nowhere to be found. Ye Ri waits in front of Mi Ho’s friend’s house; the friend runs off at first, afraid of a stranger’s presence, but Ye Ri assures that she’s here for Mi Ho.
The friend had introduced Mi Ho to the salon, and was the last person Mi Ho contacted, texting: “Call the annoying one.” The friend explains that there was one guy who always nagged them about finishing school and turning their life around. He could have been someone who could help, but the friend didn’t call him. He was a detective: Ma Seok Gi.
Do Shik rides a cab to a motel where the car was last seen. Most of the cars have a sign covering their license plates (perhaps to protect the identity of the owners since the motel is quite seedy), except for the Black Grandeur. Do Shik scuttles to the trunk of the Grandeur and knocks, checking to see if Min Ho is inside. There’s no response. He’s already getting suspicious of the whole thing, but goes to the front desk to check where the guest that owned the car is staying. It’s room 302, and next thing Do Shik knows, a bunch of suited officers run up and break in to that room.
It’s Ma Seok Gi (Sung Ji Roo), and his agents of internal investigations. The agents think that Jin Hyuk left the room clean, but Do Shik knows better: Jin Hyuk never came into the room at all. He knew that there were officers on his tail so he left them a red herring. The camera zooms out of the window and we see Jin Hyuk hiding behind a rooftop water tower over at the next building, watching the break in unfold.
Evening falls, and Jin Hyuk drives another car to a secluded field. He opens the trunk and wakes Min Ho up with a flashlight. Then, he pulls out a pair of cutting pliers, and takes Min Ho’s hands. “Don’t blame me,” Jin Hyuk says, then cuts off his finger. You can hear the bone crunch.
When Do Shik races back to the Ten Team’s office Ji Hoon is already putting the finger away into an ice box, and Ye Ri tries to hold back her tears.
Ji Hoon reports to Chief Jung that evening about the finger. It’s a sign that Jin Hyuk wants them to find the real killer, otherwise he would have killed Min Ho already. Ji Hoon is certain that Jin Hyuk is not the murderer. Chief Jung is disappointed with how internal investigations and the prosecutors handled this case; they’d been on it for a year and now it’s getting bungled up so badly. He wants Ji Hoon to solve it before the prosecutors get the suspect.
With one hour to go to the deadline, Ji Hoon wants to send out a press release about the case for the 9 o’clock news, but they’ll have to make up a fictional suspect for now.
Jin Hyuk contacts Ji Hoon through a pay phone, asking if he’s out of danger now. (Pfft – you ask this after cutting off Min Ho’s finger?!) Ji Hoon lies that they got a confession out of someone, and that it’ll go live on the news. Jin Hyuk will not get implicated during the investigation of the crimes. Once the news is done, they’ll meet at the place where Min Ho got kidnapped, and make their trade then. Ji Hoon assures the suspect that if he does not bring Min Ho, it’ll be the end of Jin Hyuk.
Do Shik and Ji Hoon wait in the dark in their car at the intersection where Min Ho’s car originally was. Countdown begins from 8:56 PM… Ji Hoon receives a call from Ye Ri, who’s back at the office. She discovered that Ma Seok Gi was the one who filmed Jin Hyuk running off from the salon that evening, and Do Shik realizes he was the guy who was a bit too careless with his gun in the seedy motel. Unfortunately she hasn’t been able to locate him yet.
The two are distracted by an approaching car: it’s Jin Hyuk. They both turn on the news in their little TV screens in the car, and the news goes on; the anchorwoman reports that they’ve arrested a suspect (and a fake one is filmed leaving an apartment for added effect), and are currently questioning him. No mention is made of Jin Hyuk at all.
The news satisfactory, both sides step out of the car and make a deal. However, Jin Hyuk isn’t entirely trusting, so he’s kept Min Ho somewhere safe. He’ll lead Ji Hoon and Do Shik to the place, but only if nothing happens to him.
Suddenly, another car comes racing up. It’s Ma Seok Gi. He steps out and starts carelessly firing his gun at Jin Hyuk. He misses though, and Jin Hyuk manages to get away. Ji Hoon loses Jin Hyuk’s tail, while Do Shik tackles Detective Ma. To Ma Seok Gi’s credit, he doesn’t look angry, but rather quite mournful.
Ma Seok Gi is taking in to questioning by the Ten Team. Though he’s been with internal investigations for 24 years, he doesn’t talk – like he’s guilty of something. Do Shik has a sinking feeling that during all this, Min Ho is in greater danger. And then Ye Ri comes in, her face dark with gloom.
Oh crap – you better not tell me Min Ho is dead!!!
A police officer making his nightly neighborhood rounds comes too close to an alleyway where Jin Hyuk is hiding. *Grab* *Pang Pang Pang* with a metal pipe and the officer is down. Jin Hyuk grabs the officer’s gun and removes all the bullets, and runs. Min Ho is sitting up on a quiet hill, pretty much just waiting for his death. His hand brushes his ID in his back pocket, and he looks down in sadness at his smiling face; he’s a police officer, something that should give him great pride and happiness right now. Jin Hyuk fills the gun with live bullets (no blanks) and aims at Min Ho.
Min Ho stares right back, not breaking eye contact. If he’s to die, he’s going to do so as a brave police officer. In his mind’s eye, he goes back to his father’s house, where his father drinks alone, still depressed and hurting from his wife’s death years ago. He promises his father that he won’t just die so easily, and then a gun shot rings through the air.
It’s as if the father heard it to, in a distance.
A smoking gun… a silhouette of Min Ho’s body rocking back and forth… and then Min Ho’s body drops…
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Ye Ri pulls Do Shik and Ji Hoon out to show them a video captured on a traffic cam. It’s Jin Hyuk, riding a motorcycle. Alone. Ye Ri reports that two hours ago, shooting was reported in the same neighborhood where Jin Hyuk was caught riding away. There was another report of gunshots in the Yasan area as well.
Wherever Min Ho is, it’s likely he’s gone.
Do Shik falls to the ground, covering his head as if it can’t be true. And Ji Hoon lets out one small tear.
I HAVE NO WORDS, SHOW. That hurt. You have got to be kidding me.