Mysterious Il-seung: Episodes 19-20
Jong-sam and Jin-young have some new leads in the 10-year-old case of Jin-young’s father’s murder. But the league of corruption won’t take things lying down, and they’ve still got some cards to play to disrupt the investigation, mostly because they own someone in every department. Even without their meddling, both Jin-young and Jong-sam struggle to remain unbiased as they investigate a case they are both thoroughly personally involved.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
As Detective Park’s wife Cha-kyung loads her son into the car, his backpack spills open and Jin-young stoops to help. But amidst the items is a keychain identical to the one Jong-sam found in the stairwell the night of Jin-young’s father’s murder.
Cha-kyung’s son Kang claims the keychain is his father’s, and Cha-kyung confirms that one is hers and the other Jin-young holds up in an evidence bag is Detective Kang’s. Jin-young darts inside the station to share her new information with Jong-sam.
While she heads inside, Detective Park meets up with his wife to head home together. Kang tells the detective about the keychain discovery, and Detective Park scurries to get in the car to avoid his wife’s explanation.
Back in the station, Jong-sam doesn’t think that Detective Kang was the man he saw in the stairwell, since he would have recognized him then. Jin-young is fixated on her new target though, and points out that he conveniently disappeared the very same day as her father’s death. Jong-sam recalls Agent Kwak’s tale of sending Detective Kang off on a ship as punishment, so he defends his former mentor again.
Jin-young takes note of his insistences, and asks what relationship he has with Detective Kang. Jong-sam’s answer is a familiar one; he says he knows him because of Jin-young. Jin-young asks where Detective Kang is, and in the next scene we see that the missing detective is aimlessly wandering the streets alone.
The next morning, Jong-sam is surprised to see Jin-young’s car outside his apartment again. She offers to carpool with him, if he pays her monthly, but Jong-sam is worried others will assume they’re living together. Jin-young whispers in response that technically they are living together…
And to clear things up, Jin-young’s mother leans over the balcony of Jong-sam’s apartment building just then. It seems that Jin-young and her mom have moved in for the cheap rent, into the apartment right under Jong-sam’s rooftop apartment.
Give me money. Don’t like her.
Mom comes down to ask for money and to warn Jong-sam against any interest in her daughter. Jong-sam is more than happy to oblige, and Mom seems satisfied when they finally leave for the station.
Detective Park immediately pulls the two aside when they arrive to discuss the new evidence in Jin-young’s father’s case. After hearing both their sides regarding Detective Kang, he decides to put Kang on a wanted list. Even if he isn’t the killer, he’s a suspect who needs to be investigated.
The team settles in for a meeting with their forensics guy, who brings news that Baek Kyung is dead by apparent suicide. Dae-woong is the first to suggest that the guy’s employers killed him and staged it as a suicide, but they wonder why they would be worried about it, especially when Baek Kyung never broke during interrogation. Jin-young suggests that he killed himself to avoid being sent back to prison, and that receives some nods, though Jong-sam’s expression suggests that he thinks otherwise.
There’s more new info—Baek Kyung was a North Korean defector. This surprises everyone, Jong-sam included. The question is how he ended up working as a hired killer in South Korea.
And for that answer, we go to Chairwoman Gook’s office. Lawyer Ahn is with her, and he asks if she’s upset to hear of his death, since Baek Kyung has been with her for a long time. The chairwoman plays cool, but does say that she’ll continue sending money to his mother in China.
Lawyer Ahn lets her know that Chairman Lee wants to see everyone after his meeting with their political party leader, a hint that they might be discussing future elections. And finally, Ahn has an answer to the chairwoman’s worries over the missing Detective Kang. Lawyer Ahn has heard about Jin-young’s father’s case being reopened, and they’re confident that the police will find their own way to him. Uh oh, does that mean he was involved in the murder?
As Lawyer Ahn leaves, Chairwoman Gook makes a call, and the scene transitions to Chief Jang ending a call of his own as Detective Park joins him in his office. Detective Park delivers the report of Baek Kyung’s death and anticipates some backlash, but it never comes, and instead the chief launches into Jin-young’s father’s reopened case.
Detective Park again expects his boss to give him grief, but Chief Jang is full steam ahead about the Jin-sung Group case. Detective Park can’t believe his ears, especially since this would look bad on the officers who handled it 10 years ago if they’re able to prove it was murder. The chief is still cool with it, though he does remind Detective Park that Jin-young can’t participate in the investigation of her own family. Detective Park doesn’t give the chief the time to take it back and charges out the door.
Detective Park is back in time to witness Jong-sam’s epic failure of a case briefing to his fellow officers. Jong-sam stammers, sputter inaccuracies, and generally does a poor job. Jin-young finally steps in and finishes the report, even though she knows very well she’s not supposed to be on this case.
Detective Park tells Jin-young to take a vacation for the time being to keep her off the case. He sends Min-pyo and Dae-woong after the testifiers, and Jong-sam will interview Mr. Choi again for an official statement for the case.
Jin-young can’t give up her dad’s case, and as everyone departs, she catches Jong-sam to accompany him on the interview. Jong-sam tries to send her away, but she reminds him that he’s not equipped to do this right on his own. Jong-sam points out to her how indifferently she speaks about her dad’s case, as if it’s just another case, and Jin-young readily agrees that she’s an officer and doesn’t get emotional over any case.
Jin-young’s ready to go, but Jong-sam reports that Mr. Choi is meeting with his lawyer right now and they’ll get a call once he’s free. In the meantime, Jong-sam has an errand to run.
Jong-sam’s errand is a visit to Prosecutor Kim’s office. Jong-sam has info about Baek Kyung to hand over and gives the prosecutor a list of every time he can recall that Baek Kyung was placed in solitary in prison. Jong-sam suggests that these dates will line up with strange deaths. The prosecutor scoffs at the idea of a way out of prison, but Jong-sam says, “How do you think I’m here?”
Prosecutor Kim asks why Jong-sam brought this to him, and Jong-sam makes the Chairman Lee connection. Now Prosecutor Kim is eager to get to work.
And speaking of Chairman Lee, it’s time for his big league of corruption meeting, and the chairman’s son Young-min is even invited to take a seat, while Chairwoman Gook catches his eye conspiratorially.
They are indeed there to discuss the next election and the candidate they will back. Chief Jang is surprised they’re starting so early when there are still two years left, but that will give them time to do what needs to be done to ensure they succeed.
The chairman asks Chairwoman Gook if she really doesn’t want to run, and she demures, even after receiving encouragement from Lawyer Ahn. Instead, she’s pulling for the chairman’s son Young-min. She thinks they can reinvigorate their party with a fresh, young face, but this is the opposite of what the chairman thinks will succeed, and everyone else backs him up.
Since Chairwoman Gook and Young-min are out, that leaves Lawyer Ahn and Chief Jang to duke it out. They both bow and thank the chairman in unison. That settled, the chairman returns to admonish Chairwoman Gook for bothering to promote Young-min. She starts to defend him, but Young-min interrupts her by standing to leave.
This action further upsets the chairman, who says he would have respected Young-min more if he stayed and took his criticism. Young-min says nothing and just turns to leave.
The men in black are relaxing in Chairwoman Gook’s office, and Agent Ki is feeling low following Baek Kyung’s death. It seems that even these guys aren’t sure whether his death was a suicide or not (but if these guys didn’t do the killing, who did?). Agent Kwak assures his partner that Baek Kyung was loyal, since he was brought into the evil league when he was 15 years old by the chairwoman.
Agent Kwak suggests that the chairwoman is probably sad about Baek Kyung’s death too, though you wouldn’t know it by the steely expression she wears as she charges into the office. The agents stumble over each other as they stand in attention for her, and she gives the order to gather info to take down both Lawyer Ahn and Chief Jang.
She asks that they start with Chief Jang, and Agent Kwak points out that will be easy enough, since they have Detective Kang. Wha?
The missing-in-action Detective Kang heads to the playground where Jong-sam has left him a new note. This one warns of the warrant out for Detective Kang and asks the detective to turn himself in.
Jin-young still hasn’t left the station yet, and she gives the excuse that her official vacation doesn’t start until tomorrow. Detective Park tries to send her home, but they’re all interrupted by the arrival of the other officers, escorting Cha-kyung with, of course, pizza. They all enjoy their pizza together (seriously, it’s like a half-minute long ad for Papa John’s where they just laugh with each other and exclaim how good it is).
Min-pyo and Dae-woong have come back with no leads, and Dae-woong says that Detective Kang is their only hope. Min-pyo drags the rookie away as they all shoot worried glances at Cha-kyung. Detective Park eventually lures his wife out the office door to let her know she doesn’t have anything to make up to him about, and he tries to explain why they’re still talking about Detective Kang, when, what do you know, Detective Kang himself arrives to turn himself in.
Detective Park interviews his old partner, and Detective Kang cuts to the chase—yes, he was on the roof the night Jin-young’s father died, where he witnessed the man’s death. But according to him, he wasn’t there as a Chairman Lee lackey, but because Jin-young’s father had asked to meet with him, possibly in relation to political funds. He was one moment too late to stop Chairman Jin from falling, and he ran to help, not to flee the scene.
Jin-young asks Jong-sam if he believes the story, and he does. Jin-young reacts by accusing him of being the one who can’t stay impartial in this case. Jong-sam is relieved of the need to answer by a call, letting him know that Mr. Choi is ready for the interview.
Jin-young and Jong-sam both go to interview him, and he doesn’t seem to know anything about Detective Kang. Mr. Choi shares that he didn’t drive Chairman Jin that day, but that the police did take the black box from the car. This is news to Jong-sam and Jin-young. Mr. Choi clarifies that the first cop that arrived didn’t take it, but the second one did. Supposedly, the lead detectives were switched, but this doesn’t sound right to our investigators.
EPISODE 20 RECAP
Jong-sam and Jin-young verify that the black box Mr. Choi mentioned was not listed in evidence. Jong-sam plans to meet with the detective in charge of the case back then, but Jin-young doesn’t think he’ll cooperate when it means admitting a mistake, or worse.
They meet with the detective anyway, who is indeed abrasive about the reopened case, and he recognizes Jin-young as the young girl who insisted her father’s death wasn’t a suicide. Jong-sam brings up the black box, and we discover two things: first, no other detective was assigned to the case, so we have no record of the mystery first officer on scene, and second, the black box was recovered, and then turned over to Jin-young’s mom.
Cut to Jin-young’s apartment, bras flying over Jong-sam’s head as Jin-young searches through her mother’s belongings for the black box footage. Finally, Jin-young spots an SD card in a compact and takes it to the computer. Mom tries to stop her as she admits, “Your father had an affair.”
Jong-sam tries to discourage Jin-young from watching the incriminating footage of her father, but Jin-young sticks to her “just a case” attitude. In the footage, Chairman Jin stopped at Odong Blowfish House, where he was escorted out the back entrance by the owner, Ms. Hong, the woman whose murder Jong-sam was framed for later that night.
An old link in the case
Meanwhile, Detective Park and Detective Kang sit together to unofficially discuss Detective Kang’s story. Detective Park knows he’s not getting the whole story from Detective Kang, but Kang stops short of explaning to his partner how he’s involved with Chairman Lee.
Detective Park tries another angle and asks how he knows Il-seung, and Detective Kang admits a few small truths without giving the whole picture. He instead asks Detective Park why Cha-kyung’s son Kang doesn’t refer to him yet as Dad. Detective Park answers that he and Cha-kyung discussed it and want to give the boy time to adjust at his own pace.
Neither comfortable with the topic, Detective Park moves on to ask how Baek Kyung figured out they were tracking him. Detective Kang says that he received notification of the tracker, so someone on the team must have given up the info. As Detective Kang rises to leave, Detective Park warns him not to go too far, since he’s not cleared of suspicion just yet.
In the prosecutor’s office, Prosecutor Kim aligns all of Baek Kyung’s nights in solitary with suicides of high ranking officials and CEOs. He’s convinced that he’s got something and heads directly to Chairwoman Gook’s office.
He lays out his evidence for her piece by piece and brings up Chairman Lee as the logical piece linking them all, but she holds strong against his accusations, even as he details the Baek Kyung evidence he’s compiled. He promises to get at least one of her people with this evidence, and urges her to betray Chairman Lee instead.
Agent Kwak listens in at the door, and seems concerned that they might be the ones punished as the prosecutor forges ahead with his investigation.
We check back in with Jong-sam and Jin-young, who head back to the station. Jin-young still seems unphased by the new evidence againsted her dad, and Jong-sam tries to assure her that there is likely a better explanation than an affair for his meeting with Ms. Hong. They agree to keep this new information to themselves until they’ve had a chance to investigate further. Even though Jin-young is supposed to be off work, she heads in anyway.
At the briefing, Jong-sam says they should find the mystery detective who was on the case, and then Jin-young interjects with the specifics of their new finding. Their primary suspect is Detective Kang. Before they can continue though, Chief Jang pops in to get an update on the case. This shuts everyone up immediately and Detective Park calls an end to the briefing. Good, they don’t trust this guy any more than they need to.
After the chief leaves, Detective Park suggests they show Mr. Choi photos of potential suspects, leading with Detective Kang’s photo. As he closes the meeting, Detective Park throws out an opportunity to whoever leaked the Baek Kyung operation to speak with him in private.
Min-pyo realizes immediately that it had to be him and follows after his boss. He admits that he spoke with Chief Jang about the operation while he was in the station dropping off Kang. New information in hand, Detective Park goes to make eyes at his wife in the cafe before he heads out.
Back in Prosecutor Kim’s office, Agent Kwak has stopped in to make a deal. Agent Kwak’s information is this: Chairman Lee was the last person to see Chairman Jin, and the driver, Mr. Choi, is the link they can expose. In return for the intel, Agent Kwak asks for the safety of himself and his partner Agent Ki.
The aforementioned Mr. Choi is currently in his interview with Jong-sam and Jin-young, and he doesn’t recognize Agent Kang when they show his photo. Mr. Choi tries to recall when he met the detective, and he recalls it’s when he called Chairman Jin’s office (so he was the one on the phone when Jin-young picked up). Looking at the record, this doesn’t make any sense—this would have been only two minutes after the death was reported. How was the detective on the scene so soon?
Jong-sam leaves the interview to take a call, and that call leads him outside to Detective Kang. Kang gives him the watch he had intended as a present for Jong-sam’s police academy graduation. Jong-sam puts the watch on alone in the team office and stares at the name tag bearing his real name inside the box as well. He sets both aside in his desk drawer before returning to the interview.
Now it’s Jin-young’s turn to be interrupted by a phone call. Hers is from Prosecutor Kim, who directs her to release Mr. Choi. According to Agent Kwak, Mr. Choi will lead them to a money trail linking Chairman Lee to the case. So Jin-young lies and tells Mr. Choi his attorney has gotten him released. She asks that he review the rest of the photos before he leaves, and he agrees, but first asks for his phone to call his family, and some privacy, which includes turning off the cameras.
Mr. Choi gets his requests, but his phone isn’t charged. He looks through the remaining photos, and one catches his eye in recognition. He calls out, and a figure enters the room and sits across from him. Mr. Choi’s eyes grow wide to see whoever has come for him.
Jong-sam chases Jin-young down the hall to report that Mr. Choi has disappeared. Mr. Choi wanders down the street outside the station, but he’s immediately swarmed by an angry crowd of his pyramid scheme participants. In the uproar, someone stabs him in the gut. While Jin-young cries for help, Jong-sam spots the disguised assailant (who I suspect is Agent Ki) in the crowd and gives chase.
The assailant stops to fight off Jong-sam, and Jin-young shows up to add her superior combat skills to the fight. But as they grapple, the man gets a swipe in to Jin-young as well and she collapses.
Prosecutor Kim gets word of the results of his plan and slams his phone down in anger. Meanwhile, Chairwoman Gook gloats in her office with her still-faithful Agent Kwak at her side. She thanks someone on the phone for getting her info to use against Prosecutor Kim, and tells Agent Kwak they’ll have to lay off Chief Jang for a while in their campaign to bring the future political candidates down. It seems this has all been part of her plan.
In the station, Chief Jang is revealed to be the person on the other end of the line. He is also revealed to have been not only the officer that entered Mr. Choi’s interview room, but also the mystery detective he recognized in the photos. It seems Chief Jang has been involved with Chairman Lee for a while.
And on the street, Jong-sam runs for help with the injured Jin-young on his back.
Things are starting to catch up to Jin-young, and I have a feeling this injury will be the final moment before she finally cracks. And for good reason. She’s been terrifying stoic about the whole thing, when this is the case for her. Some bed rest in the hospital with Jong-sam at her side sounds like an excellent time to let her unleash her emotions and get some support.
The truth is that neither Jin-young nor Jong-sam are unbiased in this case. They’re way too wrapped around this ever-connected web, and I like the idea that they might butt heads a lot before they get to the end of this. Sure, cooperation will get the best results, but haven’t we waited long enough to get a second dose of the fire between these two people? Jin-young is still in this space where everything is either right or wrong, guilty or innocent, while if Jong-sam has learned nothing from the last 20 episodes, it’s that there’s a lot of gray, and sometimes you have to trust those who have betrayed you in the past.
The show has been really great at keeping me guessing about our grayest character, Detective Kang. The guy has been back and forth from the sides of good and evil so many times that I had no clue just how involved in Jin-young’s father’s death he would actually be. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be the killer, but the extent to which he allowed or assisted in it, I really couldn’t guess, especially given Chairwoman Gook and Lawyer Ahn’s reactions.
Prosecutor Kim seems to really love his big reveals, but it also seems to be his biggest weakness. He’s a guy that loves to pull everything together on paper, but he misses things as he relishes the reveal to his opponent. He needs to get better at closing all the holes before he lets the bad guys know what’s up. I wouldn’t mind it if he were the one to get to smile smugly while laying down lots of paper at Chairman Lee’s feet right before he’s escorted to jail. He just needs to be more patient and less smug.
And okay, what is this whole thing with Young-min and the election? We already have the chief of police and his lawyer fighting to give us some drama, why do we need this character that has been hiding in the shadows of Chairman Lee’s house for the last couple weeks? They really can’t expect me to care about this at all. This whole thing just seems like we’re giving the evil league something to occupy themselves until Jong-sam can catch up.
Which is why the scam Chairwoman Gook and Agent Kwak pulled on the police to get Mr. Choi out was so great in comparison to all the elections prep. This was something relevant to Jin-young’s father’s case, it directly impacted Jong-sam and Jin-young, and it frustrated their progress in a really satisfactory way. This is the kind of antagonism that they need. More this, less following the political funding scandals, please.