Side dish: I’ve been looking for a backpack, and this episode had me green with envy at Jang Na Ra’s backpacks. Here’s something else that’s green: Italian pistachio cookies from Giramuk’s Kitchen.
We’re back at the end of the last episode, where criminal profiler and possible psychopath, Lee Hyun (Seo In Guk) is listening to a message from confirmed psychopath, Lee Joon Young (Do Kyung Soo or EXO’s DO) in his hotel suite. Meanwhile, police detective, Cha Ji Ahn (Jang Na Ra) bursts into the apartment of targeted victim, Yeon Ji, to come face to face with smug serial killer, Yang Seung Hoon (Tae In Ho, who will surely get a nice guy role someday, but not today).
Hyun leaves his hotel suite and goes to the police station, as the interrogation of Seung Hoon gets underway. Ji Ahn, possibly for expository purposes, lists off a bunch of facts about Seung Hoon, that he’s a second generation chaebol who runs a company branch in China, has an assemblyman for a grandfather, and likes to row. She points out that he has a record of assaults, but no convictions, since the law is generous with him. Seung Hoon creepily replies that he’s generous with women and with Ji Ahn, since he’s not using his right to remain silent. He wonders why he even has to be there, for the measly charge of defending himself.
In the viewing room, Hyun confirms to himself that Seung Hoon is not Min. The rest of the Special Investigations team is there, including planning manager, Hyun Ji Soo (Im Ji Eun), who points out that they’ll have to gather evidence to get Seung Hoon to confess. Since Seung Hoon had used a burner phone and drugs in the previous murders, veteran cop, Son Myung Woo (Min Sung Wook) explains that they’re combing the area to find the ones he was intending to use this time. Given the ten-minute window between Ji Ahn’s phone call and her arrival in Yeon Ji’s apartment, he wouldn’t have had enough time to dispose of them.
Hyun cuts in, startling the entire team, to confirm that Ji Ahn alerted the culprit before arriving on the scene. Team leader, Kang Eun Hyeok (Lee Chun Hee) points out that their actions saved Yeon Ji’s life, but Hyun is not impressed; the culprit was also saved from being caught in the act. The team takes offence as Hyun mutters about their stupidity, and geeky cop, Choi Eun Bok (Son Seung Won) has to hold Myung Woo back from attacking Hyun. Ji Soo allows him to stay, provided that he participates quietly.
At the hospital, rookie cop, Min Seung Joo (Kim Jae Young) asks a doctor about Yeon Ji. He’s relieved to discover that her injuries are superficial, and asks to interview her. Before he gets to see Yeon Ji, she wakes up in a hospital bed, to find a smiling man, Jung Sun Ho (Park Bo Gum), in a lab coat, standing over her. As Seung Joo goes to her hospital room, he passes Sun Ho leaving, but thinks nothing of it. However, when he gets to Yeon Ji, he’s surprised to find that she doesn’t want to give a statement nor press charges. He immediately figures out that someone must have come by, and thinks back to passing Sun Ho in the hall. He goes chasing after him, but to no avail.
Back at the interrogation, Seung Hoon is lazily batting back all of Ji Ahn’s accusations with ease. Hyun, unable to watch, leaves the viewing room, but only to gather up some props. He walks into the dramatically dark interrogation room, and pretends to be a trainee bringing in some files. Despite having previously said that he will evoke his right to remain silent to a male detective, Hyun’s bumbling rookie act puts Seung Hoon at his ease, and he agrees to let Hyun stay.
It doesn’t take long for Hyun to go on the offensive, attack him with a photo of the woman whose murder he was trying to recreate with his other victims. Hyun hypothesizes that Seung Hoon was dumped by her, then killed her, because of his inferiority complex. As Hyun demands to know who’s helping Seung Hoon commit perfect murders, Seung Hoon finally flips out, and admits it was him alone. But, to everyone’s disappointment, before he can make a full confession, Sun Ho enters as his attorney, and effectively puts a stop to the interview.
Back in the viewing room, Myung Woo gets a call from Seung Joo, informing him that Yeon Ji doesn’t want to press charges. Out of options, Ji Soo and Eun Hyeok meet with Sun Ho, who effectively shuts them down until they have enough evidence to proceed, then throws in a threat to have the team dismantled, for good measure.
In what might be the nicest police station washroom ever (there are plants in the mirror!), Hyun coolly fixes his hair, as Seung Hoon confesses that he did, in fact, kill the woman, and promises that he’ll kill Hyun next, if Hyun doesn’t catch him before he leaves for China. Hyun, however, is only interested in the identity of Seung Hoon’s puppet master, and the painting in the first victim’s apartment.
As Sun Ho and Seung Hoon leave the police station, they run into Hyun, who appears intrigued by Sun Ho. Later, Hyun goes to the squad room, and asks to use Ji Ahn’s computer to send an email. As he uses her laptop, Ji Ahn and Hyun argue over how to proceed next. Hyun is adamant that the situation is hopeless, but when Ji Ahn vents her frustration, he offers to kill Seung Hoon.
In a flashback to the past, Hyun as a child to pray in church, and then goes into the confessional. Young Ji Ahn spots him, and goes into the empty priest’s booth. She’s shocked to hear his confession that his father’s death was his fault. In the present, Ji Ahn wakes up from her dream in the office of medical examiner, Lee Joon Ho (Choi Won Young). He saves her from falling off a chair, and then tells her that he didn’t find anything in the case file either. Instead, he recommends that she go consult with Hyun. As she leaves the office, Ji Ahn thinks back to Hyun telling her not to bother him again until he calls her.
Meanwhile, no one is getting anywhere on the investigation, as warrants are blocked by the higher-ups. Even Yeon Ji is out of reach of the police, in a VIP hospital room (what?). The team is at their wit’s end about how to proceed, a problem not helped by Eun Hyeok attempting to deliver another inspirational speech.
At a dead end, Ji Ahn goes to the only person who knows how to proceed: Hyun. She barges into his hotel suite, interrupting his ponderings on the identity of the person who sent him an email. He’s annoyed, but lets her in and eventually gives in to her pleas to help get Seung Hoon, warning that there must be a price for getting what she wants.
They go together to the art gallery of his art dealer friend, where Hyun engages in a Who’s on First-style conversation with his friend to convince him to admit himself to the VIP hospital where Yeon Ji is staying, so that Ji Ahn can get on the visitor’s list. The art dealer friend agrees, and Ji Ahn manages to sneak into Yeon Ji’s room on the pretext of visiting the art dealer. At first, Yeon Ji doesn’t want to say anything, but Ji Ahn confronts her with her suspicion, that Yeon Ji was the one who smuggled the evidence out of her own apartment, and handed it over to Sun Ho.
It’s clear that Ji Ahn has hit on the truth, but nothing can sway Yeon Ji into testifying, neither empathy for the other victims, nor a promise of protection. As Ji Ahn leaves a card, Yeon Ji thinks back to her hospital visit from Sun Ho, when he told her that she’d now become an accomplice to the crime.
Ji Ahn calls Hyun on her way out, and reports Yeon Ji’s refusal. She speculates on Sun Ho’s role in the crimes, then invites Hyun to have dinner. Hyun has no interest in either topic, and hangs up. As he eats his dinner, he imagines that he’s sitting with his father and his younger brother, and smiles.
The next day, Ji Ahn gets a phone call in Chinese, but is unable to figure out what’s being said. Hyun, meanwhile, gets a call from Seung Hoon, who is on a flight to China. Hyun warns him not to go, but barely bats an eyelid when Seung Hoon gloats over his escape.
Back at the police station, the Special Investigation team is a study in frustration as the plane takes off, but when it lands, Seung Hoon is immediately arrested by Chinese Customs police. It turns out that Seung Hoon was arrested on drug charges, since a search of his house in China revealed a large quantity of drugs, and records of dealing. The tip-off, however, came from a completely baffled Ji Ann. In the midst of being yelled at by Ji Soo, Ji Ahn suddenly remembers Hyun’s request to use her computer to send an email.
Ji Ahn calls Hyun to meet, and he texts her his address. She comes bursting into his childhood home, and yells at him for using her name to trap Seung Hoon, thus getting her into trouble. Hyun is unruffled at her accusations, pointing out that she made a request of him to catch Seung Hoon, and was willing to pay the price.
Hyun stands up and backs Ji Ahn into the staircase. He asks how she found his house, when he deliberately sent her the wrong address. She comes up with excuses, but he’s undeterred. He asks how she knows where he lives, and then the big question: her identity.
Since I’ve started a trend of beginning my comments with my nitpicks, I’ll reverse order this time and point out what I liked. The dynamic between Hyun and Ji Ahn is suddenly a lot more interesting, though she did spend most of this episode chasing her tail while Hyun arranged everything from behind the scenes. The two of them have excellent chemistry, and I laughed pretty hard at the two of them together, especially in the hotel room.
In fact, I enjoyed Hyun’s interactions with everybody, especially Seung Hoon. The scene in the bathroom and the interrogation scenes were probably the most interesting parts of the show, which made it a bit of a let-down when Seung Hoon was dealt with off-stage, so to speak.
At this point, I could list off the various logic fails, but I’ll skip that this time, and go to my main problem. Having been led to expect that the plot only progresses when Hyun appears, it’s hard to maintain my attention when anyone else is on-screen. In fact, I would say that the Special Investigations team have been reduced to little more than comic relief, given how useless they are without Hyun’s help. As much as I like Seo In Guk, I don’t want to spend a good chunk of every episode annoyed at watching bumbling cops when he’s off-screen.
Despite my frustration at how ineffectual the police are, I’m surprisingly entertained by Lee Chun Hee’s ridiculous turn as team leader, Eun Hyeok. It would be awesome if he turned out to be real villain of this story, given how much of a doofus he seems to be right now.
Anyway, having spent the first three episodes on Hyun’s story, I’m hoping the next couple of episodes tell us a bit more about Ji Ahn, and why she was stalking him. I’m also looking forward to seeing Hyun and Sun Ho go head to head, since that’s where we seem to be heading. Regardless, I hope that we don’t find out that Sun Ho is the long lost Min; frankly, that’s just a little too predictable right now.