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EPISODE 21 RECAP

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After successfully blackmailing Kang Tong-hwan into allowing her to reopen her casino, Yoon Hye-rin and Park Tae-soo go to a private banquet room to talk.  She apologizes to Tae-soo for not telling him her plan in advance, and he scoffs when she claims she had no choice but to do what she did.  He asks her just how deeply has she dragged him into her scheme, then he asks if the marriage talk was all just a show too. (And I’m a bit confused by this question because I think she made that pretty clear when she roped him into her plan.  He either has selective memory or he’s not as bright as the show keeps trying to convince us he is—you decide.)

Hye-rin tells Tae-soo she’s going to buy him an airline ticket and make arrangements for him to go overseas because he needs to be far away from Korea right now.  He ignores her and starts talking about his mother.  He asks if he ever told her about his mother, who ran a tavern and brothel, and one day decided to stop being ashamed of what she did.  Hye-rin asks him what he’s trying to say, and he tells her that she needs to be forthright.  “Words like ‘I had no choice,’ just aren’t worthy of someone like you. Those are words someone like me might be inclined to use,” he tells her.

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Hye-rin does what she promised and makes arrangements for Tae-soo to go overseas.  She even goes to the airport to see him off.  But she watches him from afar instead of saying a proper goodbye.  He seems to know she’s there though and looks around before he goes through the boarding gate.  She stays hidden behind a column until she thinks he’s gone.  When he walks through the gate to board the flight, that’s when she steps out of her hiding spot to look after him.

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Only he hasn’t really left and we see him watching her from afar just as she watched him before.  When she finally spots him, he turns and leaves. He’s too late though.  Chang To-shik arrives at the airport before he boards and the airline employee taking his ticket has obviously been tipped off to delay his departure.  Police arrive before he can get on the plane and it’s not long before they surround him and take him into custody.

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The Prosecutor’s Office wastes no time getting the word out about Tae-soo’s arrest.  They have evidence, including photographic proof, of his involvement in breaking up the opposition party’s political events in the 1970s and they release the information to the public, claiming Tae-soo was actually working for the opposition party to make the current administration look bad.

Luckily, the reporters aren’t fooled when the Prosecutor’s Office lambasts Tae-soo at the press conference.  The reporters point out that besides the picture, which doesn’t show much, they don’t have any evidence that Tae-soo was in cahoots with the Opposition Party.  Reporter Shin Young-jin is among the reporters at the press conference, and she points out that the Prosecutor’s Office is releasing information on an investigation that isn’t even complete yet, which is highly unusual.  She also points out that there’s an upcoming election and this news is damaging to the Opposition Party.  She says their timing is strange too and the Chief Prosecutor gets upset and asks if she’s questioning the integrity of their office.

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After the press conference, the prosecutors get back to interrogating Tae-soo.  He refuses to reveal his backers, which is what they keep asking him about.  One of the prosecutors tells him by maintaining his silence, he’s letting all the blame rest on his shoulders. Tae-soo points out the futility in their questions.  They wouldn’t be able to do anything to his backer even if he revealed his identity, and he’s already fully aware that the person who provided the Prosecutor’s Office with the pictures told them there’s no need to reveal his backers.  Isn’t that so, he asks?

Kang Woo-suk learns about Tae-soo’s arrest and takes a trip to Seoul to visit him in jail.  Woo-suk has heard that Tae-soo isn’t talking, and he encourages him to confess.  Woo-suk thinks the Opposition Party is using Tae-soo and tells him the government has linked him to the political unrest of the time.  Tae-soo tries to laugh off Woo-suk’s remarks, but he finally gets upset when Woo-suk asks how can he live with himself leading the type of life he leads.  Tae-soo glares at Woo-suk and spits out that Woo-suk hasn’t changed a bit in all these years.

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They end up sitting side-by-side in silence for a long time until Woo-suk finally gets up to leave.  After the guard opens the cell for Woo-suk, Tae-soo stops him and asks for a favor: take care of Hye-rin.  She’s having a hard time, he says.

Woo-suk goes to the head district attorney (Reporter Shin’s uncle) and asks him to put him in charge of Tae-soo’s case.  He tells the head DA that Tae-soo’s case is connected to Chairman Yoon’s case, but the head DA refuses to assign it to him.  He knows Woo-suk is really after whoever is behind Tae-soo, and he tells Woo-suk it’s not time to go after the person who is really pulling the strings.  Besides, he says, it will take everyone’s efforts to bring that person down.  Woo-suk won’t be able to do it alone, he says.  “You can’t do anything alone,” he tells Woo-suk, “Don’t ever let your head swell.”  But Woo-suk is not deterred.  He tells the head DA that he’s a prosecutor and he knows what a prosecutor is supposed to do.  “I think that little else matters beyond that,” he says. The two stare at each other, and the head DA sighs and looks away.

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With his usual determination, Woo-suk then goes to see Hye-rin to ask her about her involvement in Tae-soo’s arrest, even though he’s not officially sanctioned to investigate.  He suspects Hye-rin has something to do with Tae-soo’s arrest and points out that Tae-soo’s only concern is Hye-rin even though he’s in a world of trouble.  Hye-rin pretends Tae-soo is only worried about her because she’s standing in the way of him getting his hands on her father’s wealth—which she claims is what Tae-soo has always been after.  Woo-suk doesn’t buy her story and he brings up the fact that Tae-soo was arrested the minute her casino re-opened.  Hye-rin tries to bluff again, claiming her casino is legitimate and she wouldn’t risk it for a man, but she starts coughing in the middle of her speech and can’t finish her sentence.  She’s sick and Woo-suk asks if Tae-soo’s problems brought on her illness.

Woo-suk stands up to leave.  On his way out he tells her he’s going to go after Oh Jong-do.  If he’s lucky, he’ll be at least able to clear her father’s name, he tells her.  Jong-do was the one behind Chairman Park’s murder, he says—at least that’s what he believes, and he hoped she’d help him, he tells her.

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She is still brooding over Woo-suk’s words when Baek Jae-hee comes downstairs later.  He puts a shawl over her shoulders because it’s cold, and Hye-rin asks if he thinks she’s a terrible person now.  He’s his usual silently stoic self and, instead of responding, he kneels down in front of her to wrap her up in the shawl a bit more snugly. She asks if he’s ever wanted to leave, and he admits he’s thought about. He tells her he always thought he’d leave when there was someone else by her side.  She tells him he’s the only one she has left so she guesses she’s safe for now, and then she leans her head on his arm for comfort.

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Woo-suk returns to Kwangju and decides to move forward on his case against Jong-do.  He’s decided to arrest Jong-do under his prosecutorial arrest power instead of seeking an official arrest warrant, which he knows his superiors will never authorize.  The problem is that he can only detain Jong-do for forty-eight hours.  He tells his team they’ll have to come up with enough evidence to get an official warrant during that time.

Detectives Chang and Baik, along with Sergeant Cho Myung-woo stage a minor fender bender in the parking lot of Jong-do’s building to get him to open his door.  Once he does, they barge in and arrest him—while he’s still in a robe and pjs.

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They allow him to change once he gets to the interrogation room, then Woo-suk arrives to begin the interrogation.  Jong-do feigns surprise at seeing Woo-suk and asks if Woo-suk remembers him from high school.  Woo-suk doesn’t respond.  Instead, he starts unpacking to prepare for the interview.  Meanwhile, Jong-do keeps talking—he tells Woo-suk he must remember him.  They were classmates and he was always hanging around Tae-so.  Woo-suk calls out to Mr. Oh to be sure to record every word that is spoken and Jong-do finally takes the hint and sits down quietly.

Woo-suk starts the interrogation, but, as expected, Jong-do doesn’t admit to anything.  Woo-suk outlines his businesses and shady transactions, like the fact that he has an aluminum factory with reported annual sales of $8 million, but in reality it’s just an empty building.  But Jong-do insists he’s an honest businessman.  Woo-suk brings up his company winning construction contracts through coercion as well as forcing subcontractors to accept goods from a bankrupt company he acquired, but Jong-do just disclaims using any coercive tactics in his business dealings.

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The scene then cuts to Woo-suk’s house where we see Jong-do has sent some of his men to deliver a bribe to Chung Sun-young.  She refuses it, of course, and goes to close the door on the men, but one of the thugs steps into the doorway and tells her he’s just following orders.  She gets frightened and says she’s going to phone the police and they finally allow her to close the door.

Back in the interrogation room, Jong-do still refuses to admit to his wrongdoings.  He tells Woo-suk that a briefcase can hold about $325K and the cops, Prosecutor’s Office, and tax office require payments four times a year.  He asks if Woo-suk thinks that’s how he’s been running his businesses, by paying off officials? Woo-suk doesn’t respond to him, so he keeps talking and says he may just start naming names of officials on the take. Woo-suk warns him to be careful if he does.  He can be charged with libel if he’s not too careful, Woo-suk warns.  Jong-do just laughs and tells Woo-suk he still has some growing up to do.

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With the interrogation going nowhere, Woo-suk calls it a night.  He tells Mr. Oh they’ll start in the morning and will focus on the mid-level guys who the gangs forced to join up with them or risk retaliation.  Jong-do is still in the room with them and he tells Woo-suk he must not have heard about the concept of honor among thieves.  Woo-suk brings up Jong-do’s role in Tae-soo’s arrest and stint in rehab camp.  “Is that what you’d call honor?” he asks.  Jong-do tells him if he knows about Tae-soo, then he should realize how powerful his backers are.  “You made a big mistake messing with me. Do you know that?” Jong-do asks. Woo-suk grabs him by the collar and tells him he’s going to be convicted for racketeering.  “If you’re not executed, it’s life, or at least ten years,” he spits out.  Just then, Woo-suk’s supervisor walks into the room and asks to see hm in his office.  As Woo-suk heads out, Jong-do looks at him and smiles knowingly.

Not surprisingly, Woo-suk’s supervisor reprimands him for bringing Jong-do in under procedural cause instead of obtaining an arrest warrant.  He tells Woo-suk their office will be embarrassed when they’re forced to release Jong-do for lack of evidence.  Woo-suk insists he has evidence, but the supervisor doesn’t care.  He tells Woo-suk they’ve gotten a call from a judge.  If they don’t take the judge’s advice, they’ll never get a conviction in court.  Woo-suk wants to investigate the judge who delivered the warning, but his supervisor says he’ll never be able to practice law again if he goes after a judge.  Unfazed, Woo-suk tells him that his younger brother runs the family’s farm and his wife will follow him wherever he goes, and he asks if he understands what he’s trying to say.  His supervisor can’t think of anything to say in response to this and just stares at Woo-suk.

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From the looks of things, Woo-suk may want to seriously consider his supervisor’s advice, because it’s clear even Woo-suk’s employees are not loyal to him.  The guard standing watch outside Jong-do’s door allows someone in to deliver a meal.  There’s a note with the meal, which causes Jong-do to get upset.  I suspect the message tells him they failed to deliver the bribe to Sun-young, but we don’t get to see what it says.  Jong-do eats the note to avoid being caught, but Mr. Oh happens to walk past the interrogation room and sees the messenger leaving.

Mr. Oh asks the guard why he allowed someone in the room, then he takes the news back to the office and tells Det. Chang about seeing an employee from another office leaving Jong-do’s room.  Det. Chang tells Det. Baik to bring the employee to their office, and he calls out to Ms. Lee, telling her to call Sun-young and warn her not to leave the house or answer the door for anyone.  He failed to consider that much of Jong-do’s gang is still on the streets.

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It’s too bad someone else gets through to Sun-young first.  It’s a man at a pay phone who calls asking to speak with Woo-suk.  He claims he has to speak with Woo-suk and it can’t be at the DA’s office or over the phone.  Sun-young tells him he can wait at their house, and then she leaves the house to meet him and show him the way back.  As soon as she gets near the pay phone, Sideburns Guy and a few others pull up and kidnap her and Mr. Kim, the man who made the phone call.

Luckily, Sergeant Cho is on his way to the house to check on her and he witnesses the kidnapping.  There’s a high speed chase that’s interrupted when a police car shows up and cuts Sergeant Cho’s car off.  Sergeant Cho jumps in the car with the officer and tells him to follow Sun-young, but the officer picks up his radio and starts reporting the chase back to headquarters instead of following them. (Could he be in on the kidnapping too?)  Sergeant Cho yells that a prosecutor’s wife has been kidnapped and asks what the hell he’s waiting for.

Detectives Chang and Baik join the chase and they finally corner the car near an abandoned building on a dead end street.  With the police blocking their path, the gangsters decide to drive straight through the barricade.  When the car inevitably crashes, the Detectives and the officers find that Sun-young is not in the car.  They’ve gotten away.  The car must have been a decoy.

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It looks like they haven’t gotten far though.  Sun-young is inside a nearby building with Mr. Kim, the man who called her from the payphone, and Jong-do’s men.  Knowing they’re surrounded, Jong-do’s men hide Sun-young in one of the rooms and escape.  Sergeant Cho has made his way inside the building by then and he finds Sun-young just before Woo-suk and Detectives Chang and Baik arrive.

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Sun-young is shaken up and in shock, but she tries to remain strong and tells them that Jong-do’s men took Mr. Kim with them and she recognizes one of the men because he came to the house before.  She stops talking mid-sentence and looks like she’s about to faint, but Woo-suk puts his hand on her shoulder and hugs her tightly.

Back at the Prosecutor’s Office, Woo-suk’s supervisor is finally on his side.  He visits Jong-do and tells him he went too far in involving Woo-suk’s wife.  Jong-do feigns innocence, saying he’s been locked up all day and couldn’t have ordered the kidnapping, but Woo-suk’s supervisor is not fooled.  “You’re finished friend.  I can promise you that,” he says, and he walks out.

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Meanwhile, Tae-soo’s men make their way to Hye-rin’s office.  Jung In-young steps forward and tells her they’ve come to ask her about her plans for their “hyungnim.”  If she needs their help in anything, they’re at her disposal, he says.  Hye-rin superciliously asks if the hyungnim he’s referring to is Park Tae-soo.  In-young stares at her for a long moment and confirms that he’s talking about Tae-soo.  Hye-rin continues acting as if she’s confused about why they’re there and asks if they expect her to make some sort of plan to help Tae-soo in some way.

Jong-kun is insulted, and he steps forward and says it sounds like she’s giving them the run around.  In-young tries to remain calm though, and he tells Hye-rin they know she and Tae-soo are engaged.  Hye-rin asks who told them that, and Jong-kun almost loses his cool.  In-young points out that Tae-soo is in jail because of her, and Hye-rin says Tae-soo is in jail because he assaulted members of a political party—at least that’s what it says in the papers, she remarks.  Jong-kun finally loses his temper, but In-young is there to hold him back.  He politely thanks her for her time and tries to usher the men out of her office.

Jong-kun won’t leave without venting some of his anger though.  He yells, asking if she’s worth it? He says Tae-soo threw them out on the street and got rid of everything he owned for her.  Chang-min and In-young grab him to drag him away.  But Hye-rin perked up when she heard that Tae-soo sold off all of his property though, and she asks if it’s true.  In-young tells her it is, and he says she should be receiving her share of the money by now.  She stands there looking stricken as the full weight of Jong-kun’s words sink in, and the episode ends.

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MY THOUGHTS

I can really feel this show winding up to wind down . . . if that makes sense, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all ends.  And not just because these recaps have been kicking my butt (they have though), but because I feel like I’ve been waiting around forever for things to finally be all out in the open.  My opinion about the characters hasn’t changed that much, but I must admit I keep going through various degrees of disdain for each of them. 

I’ve always had a mild dislike for Hye-rin—at least as it relates to her entitled attitude, and I think these last few episodes have justified my early opinion of her.  I can’t totally blame her for being willing to use any connection she can to save the casino, but being willing to let someone else be imprisoned and/or die just for money (which she’s admitted she doesn’t even need) takes things way too far.  I get that it’s really about her father and her way to hold onto him now that she’s finally able to appreciate and love him, but again—we’re talking about someone’s life here so if something happens to Tae-soo she’s on my list for sure.

I’ve saved my greatest (and most vile) loathing for Jong-do though, and I’m glad Woo-suk and his intractable personality are focusing on him again.  Woo-suk is the best person to bring Jong-do down—although at this point I have to admit it looks like a long shot.  I just hope his downfall happens in the next episode because it’s getting harder and harder not to throw things at my computer screen whenever his sleezy face appears.   

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