Review: Confession

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Confession might look like a standard crime thriller sort of show, but as it turns out, it’s more heartfelt and more melodramatic, than one might first expect.

With your expectations tweaked (very important, and more on that in a bit), Show works out to be a solid watch that’s both interesting and absorbing.

Junho and Yoo Jae Myung anchor this story, and they are excellent, both individually and together. Their enemies-to-partners journey was one of my favorite arcs in this show; I just loved the idea of them putting their talents together, and working towards a shared goal. 🤩

Plus, the music in this show is a force to be reckoned with; I loved the atmospheric, dramatic nature of it all, and how precisely it’s all applied.

An underrated drama that deserves more love than it gets.

THE LONG VERDICT:

I have to admit that the only reason this show came to be on my radar, is because Junho‘s in it.

Now that I’ve seen the show for myself, I think I ought to thank Junho for being in this show, because I ended up liking it very well, and I wouldn’t have thought to check it out, but for the fact that Junho’s in it.

Of course, part of my enjoyment is that Junho is in it, but aside from that, in as objective a manner as I can muster, I do find this story interesting, on its own.

That said, I do think that it’s important to manage your expectations and your viewing lens, going in, which I’ll talk about shortly.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

To be honest, I really, really like the background music in this show, even more than the actual vocal pieces. It’s all very dramatic and atmospheric, and I feel that it lifts my watch experience, by increasing my sense of immersion in our drama world.

To be fair, I do think that if your drama palate is different than mine, or if you were to approach this with a more cynical eye, you might well roll your eyes at how Show is applying so much dramatic music, to what can sometimes look like fairly pedestrian settings.

But, as always, context is everything, and I personally find that with our story context in mind, I’m actually really happy to roll with the tone that Show dictates via its music.

Sometimes, it surges with a building, pumping sense of excitement, and at other times, it’s dramatic in a vaguely choral, atmospheric sort of way. I dunno about you guys, but I dig it. 🤩

Here’s a playlist of the instrumental pieces from our show, in case you’d like to listen to it, as you read the review.

My favorite instrumental track is this next one, Confession.

I just really like the choral bits; it makes everything feel extra dramatic, which I kinda love. If you’d rather just listen to Confession on repeat, just right-click on this video, and select “Loop.”

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS

Here are few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:

1. Show is a drama queen, at its heart.

I feel like this is the single most important piece of information I can give you, to prepare you for your watch.

Show might start out feeling like a serious crime thriller, but after it gets into its second half, Show embraces its love for heightened melodrama that dances on the edge of makjang.

With a makjang-appreciating lens on, this makes it all rather fun and slurpy, but without that makjang lens, you’d quite likely feel bemused instead.

2. There are logic stretches.

For example, a chunk of the courtroom proceedings are played more for drama than for accuracy.

Also, when the makjang comes out to play, the stretches in logic become more obvious as well.

Knowing that, and accepting it as part of the territory, rather than trying to fight it, is the way to go, if you want to enjoy this show.

3. The large cast of characters can feel confusing at first.

However, as you get deeper into your watch, I do believe that you’ll naturally get a sense of who’s who, and in relation to whom.

Actually, having those pieces fall into place in my head, and having those Aha! moments, when I realized how people were interconnected, was part of the fun of my watch.

4. The larger picture takes some time to come together.

This actually worked to be quite fun for me, because as I watched the show, my theories about how people are connected in this drama world continued to evolve, and that kept me both engaged and intrigued.

STUFF I LIKED

Show’s general handling and execution

In general, I thought Show’s general handling and execution were very solid – provided, of course, that you keep in mind that Show’s a drama queen at heart, and does have makjang tendencies.

Here are just two main things I’d like to highlight, in terms of Show’s strengths.

1. Show really knows how to amp up the dramatic tension.

Show often had me on the edge of my seat, thanks to the manner in which it spliced its scenes, often in parallel, to create this one dramatic watch experience.

Many times, the scenes in one part of our drama world have an impact on what happens in another part of our drama world, but we can’t quite tell what the outcome’s going to be, either which way, and the experience of watching this all unfold in parallel, works out to be very exciting.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E3. During that entire sequence, where the sentencing trial is taking place, and the detectives are searching Han Jong Goo’s (Ryu Kyung Soo) family home for evidence that he’d killed his mother, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

I thought the way Show interspliced scenes of the trial, with scenes of the search at Han Jong Goo’s home, was very nicely done.

I was as disappointed as Do Hyun (Junho), to hear the news that the bones that they’d found, had been dog bones, instead of Han Jong Goo’s mother’s remains.

[END SPOILER]

2. Show does a good job of tying narrative arcs together

Although there are many apparently different cases in our drama world, Show does a very solid job of tying them all together, in support of our larger narrative arc.

I thought this was very nicely done.

Here’s one example, of how Show works in an apparently unrelated arc, and uses it, to tie us back to our main story.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E5. Considering how Do Hyun’s desire to clear his father’s name forms the main arc of our story, I’d say that Show does a reasonably good job of going off on a related tangent, this episode.

Not only does it give us a change of pace from Do Hyun dealing with Han Jong Goo, it also unearths some important details, that have an impact on our main story.

I’d call that a win, even though the parallels and coincidences do lean a touch heavy-handed.

The whole situation, of Jun Hwan (Choi Min Young) being next in line to receive the heart transplant, does bring up inadvertent questions about the same situation 10 years ago, when Do Hyun had ended up receiving the heart transplant, when Yoo Ri’s father (Shin Hyun Bin and Moon Ho Jin), the original scheduled recipient, had died.

[END SPOILER]

Junho as Do Hyun

I checked out this show for Junho, and I have to say, I am really glad I did, because besides this turned out to be a very solid watch, I absolutely loved Junho in this, as Do Hyun.

On a very shallow note, I think he looks verryy handsome in this. 😍

Even though the suits that his character Do Hyun wears, aren’t particularly luxe or sharp, and even though his hair isn’t particularly coiffed to vibe polished, he manages to look extremely handsome, and I find myself involuntarily breaking into a fangirl smile, each time he appears on my screen.

Which, yes, means that I’m smiling like a ridiculous goof through good stretches of my watch, ha. ESPECIALLY on the occasions when Junho unleashes that blink-and-you-miss-it eyebrow quirk, or his lovely smile. 🤩

In terms of Do Hyun as a character, one of the key things I love about him, is that Do Hyun is such a competent and capable character. I got a thrill whenever Show demonstrates Do Hyun’s competence, which is often.

I found myself really growing a soft spot for him, and wanting to root for him, pretty much right away, during my watch.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I love how steady, focused, calm, measured and unflappable Do Hyun is, in the face of prejudice, rudeness &/or unexpected developments. He appears to have his emotions well under control, and that appears to be standing him in good stead, so far in our story.

E2. It looks like Do Hyun’s had open-heart surgery, and requires long-term medical supervision for it. It worries me somewhat, that Do Hyun keeps pushing himself so hard, to work on the case.

He regularly pulls all-nighters, doesn’t sleep enough, and when he does sleep, he suffers from nightmares. We don’t see him out of his restrictive work wear even once, this episode, which indicate exactly where his brain’s been at, the whole time; tense, and working all the time.

He even looks a little pale, in the later part of this episode, when he’s at the hospital. That definitely makes me concerned for his health.

E2. I’d just like to say again, that I really like how steady and unruffled Do Hyun continues to be. Even when Hong Jong Goo explodes with fury in front of him, and starts to exhibit violent tendencies, Do Hyun doesn’t even bat an eye.

I find that rock-solid anchored-ness about him, very appealing.

E2. I like the detail, that Do Hyun is able to get the case file photos from the police, even though they don’t exactly want to give them to him. I kinda love the fact that he’s matter-of-fact yet kind of endearing, in his approach.

E2. I like the idea that even with so many obstacles stacked against him, Do Hyun still manages to uncover some useful bits of information, on his own, without Chun Ho’s help. It just gives me thrill, to watch Do Hyun being independent and competent, y’know?

E3. As a character, there is a lot that I like about Do Hyun.

He’s very competent; he’s not easily intimidated; he’s not easily distracted; he’s not easily swayed; he’s not easily ruffled. He’s just very focused and determined, and I really like how he casts a wide net, and keeps an open mind when it comes to figuring out the truth.

He’s also resourceful and creative, which I love.

At the same time, there’s this layer of heartbreak and poignance that mostly remains an undercurrent. His dad is on death row, and he doesn’t understand why. Plus, there’s this whole thing, with his heart condition.

On top of everything else, he’s not a heartless robot of a lawyer.

He does have a conscience, and he does actually listen to his heart, like when he visits Yang Ae Ran’s family at the end of this episode, to express his apologies, even though he technically doesn’t have to, because he was simply doing his job.

Altogether, this makes Do Hyun a very decent character; someone whom I find easy to root for.

The way Junho plays him, there’s a consistent sense of tension about him, like there’s a strength and power that’s coiled within him, which he’s holding under control.

It kinda-sorta reminds me of the coiled sense of power that Jang Hyuk has in Money Flower (review here, and Open Threads listed here), but there’s a distinctly different flavor about Do Hyun, compared to Kang Pil Joo.

Where Pil Joo had been like a mature, lithe panther, just waiting for the right moment to pounce on his prey, Do Hyun strikes me as a young guard dog, who’s doing his best to focus on protecting the ones he’s chosen to protect, always thinking quickly to discern real threat from false alarm.

I love how steady and unruffled Do Hyun is, even in the face of strong protests, after he brings up the Yang Ae Ran murder in court, during the Kim Sun Hee hearing.

I feel like it would be easy to lose his cool, particularly since the prosecution is behaving in quite the provocative manner.

Yet, Do Hyun remains unwavering, like a rock, and I love that about him.

He drives the court proceedings forward without missing a beat, even though the reactions that keep sweeping across the room, are big gasps of shock.

In this way, he strikes me as a chess master; a young baduk genius who has full control of the board, despite being up against much more seasoned players.

E3. How very clever of Do Hyun, to bait Han Jong Goo with the supposed information, that his family home was going to be demolished very soon.

That effectively sends Han Jong Goo back to the crime scene, to attempt to remove the body – which is when the cops arrive to arrest him in the act. HUZZAH.

That was so great.

E5. I love the fact that Do Hyun continues to show concern and care for Jun Hwan as a person in his own right, even though he’s just found out, through Jun Hwan, some details that are of particular importance to the case.

It’d be understandable if he were to excuse himself and rush off, but no, Do Hyun doesn’t do that.

Instead, he puts aside his shock, to interact with Jun Hwan a little more in the moment, and tell him that it’s not his fault that his mom is working so hard; that anyone would do that for a sick family member.

Plus, he even reminds Jun Hwan that his immune system is weak, and to take good care of himself, before he leaves. I do love how Do Hyun’s compassionate and kind like that.

E6. I must admit that I felt really quite concerned for Do Hyun’s wellbeing this episode.

I mean, he collapses, needs to be given emergency first aid, and needs to be rushed to the hospital, and then while he’s supposed to resting, he’s out and about – and climbing stairs and hills! – with Chun Ho, trying to investigate the Changhyun–dong case.

He looks so pale while doing all of that, that I couldn’t help but worry for him, even as I enjoyed his new dynamic with Chun Ho. Plus, that thing that his doctor says to Madam Jin (Nam Ki Ae), that perhaps the heart is giving out, worries me too.

From what I understand, heart transplants do have something of a shelf life, and it’s been 10 years since Do Hyun’s had that transplant, and he’s certainly been pushing himself, in the interest of solving his dad’s case, so I wouldn’t be surprised if his transplanted heart isn’t in the best shape. Eep. 🙈

E10. The final scene between Do Hyun and Madam Jin is really nicely done, I have to say.

I really appreciate the parallel that Madam Jin draws, on how, as a doctor, she couldn’t choose her patients, and would treat them, even if they were murderers, and how she therefore understands Do Hyun’s prerogative to represent Cho Ki Tak.

I do find it very problematic that Madame Jin had been the surgeon to do Do Hyun’s heart transplant, for the very fact that the donor had been her own son. Surely that’s not proper protocol, because that’s a bad idea in every sense of the word?

Mainly, the risk of her having an emotional breakdown partway through the surgery is so high, that it should be deemed unsafe for her to participate in the surgery?

However, I really appreciate Junho’s delivery of the shock and confusion, morphing into dawning realization, in Do Hyun, as he starts to realize what Madame Jin is saying to him.

And, the way those tears spring forth like that, as Madame Jin walks out the door, is so believably reflexive, like they take Do Hyun completely by surprise. That makes the moment feel so real.

SO well done by Junho, seriously. 🤩

[END SPOILER]

Yoo Jae Myung as Chun Ho

I’ve found Yoo Jae Myung increasingly interesting to watch, in recent years, and I was quite excited, really, to see him face off with Junho, on my screen.

I found myself immediately intrigued by Chun Ho, as our other protagonist.

At first glance, he and Do Hyun seem to be on opposite sides, and yet, there’s a conviction and passion about Chun Ho, that I found quite compelling.

It’s clear that as a character, Chun Ho puts his money where his mouth is, and I had to admire that about him, even when he was directly opposing Do Hyun.

Over the course of our story, I found myself growing very fond of Chun Ho, particular in relation to Do Hyun – which I’ll talk about later.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. Chun Ho resigns from his Team Leader role, when Do Hyun gets the charges dropped against Han Jong Goo, but it looks like he’s still very much invested in the case, even after leaving the police force.

I’m curious to know his thoughts, which he stops short of sharing with his ex-colleague Geun Pyo (Jeong Hee Tae). It seems that he has something to say about Han Jong Goo’s recent arrest, and my gut instinct tells me that whatever he has to say, will be interesting.

I’d also like to know what Chun Ho has gained, from his own investigation so far.

E3. I am loving Yoo Jae Myung as Chun Ho.

In particular, I love the way he plays the moment when the prosecution accuses him of not having a good enough memory to serve as a reliable witness.

The way he pulls out his notebook and starts reading out his detailed observations of Hang Jong Goo’s movements, from the day of his release from prison, is pretty darn great.

E5. I do love how Chun Ho goes to see Han Jong Goo, and basically provokes him to think about who could be working so hard to frame him for Kim Sun Hee’s murder.

I mean, Chun Ho doesn’t actually leave with any new information, but it does feel like he’s managed to get Han Jong Goo moving in a helpful direction.

I like how Chun Ho’s willing to go the extra mile, even if it’s just to test the waters. And he does leave with a fresh conviction that there’s something deeper, between Han Jong Goo and Do Hyun, which I think is useful as well.

[END SPOILER]

Shin Hyun Bin as Yoo Ri

I have to admit that I could not recognize Shin Hyun Bin as Yoo Ri in episode 1, even though I knew going in, that it was her. That’s pretty incredible, I thought.

However, given a bit more time, I definitely recognized Shin Hyun Bin, so it’s not like she completely changed her face, or anything like that. 😅

I do think that Shin Hyun Bin does a very solid job of the role, and this really brings home for me, that idea that people can and do get better with their skills, over time.

Once upon a time, I’d been convinced that Shin Hyun Bin was the worst actress I’d ever seen 😅, after sitting through her very flat and forced performance in Warrior Baek Dong Soo.

I was then very happily shocked to enjoy her in Hospital Playlist Seasons 1 and 2, and now I’m glad to say that I like her in this, too. Good going, Shin Hyun Bin-sshi!

I have to admit that I didn’t like Yoo Ri very much as a character at first (more soon, on why), so credit to Show, for turning that around, such that I actually found her sympathetic and even likable, after some time.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I have to admit that I’m not liking Yoo Ri very much, so far. I dislike how she’s so invasive and inconsiderate, when it comes to Do Hyun.

Not only does she repeatedly interrupt his sleep by banging on his office door until he opens it, she refuses to leave when he asks her to, and then she presumes to make decisions in his absence, even though it’s clear that he would rather that she not do that.

I am extremely curious to know how she’s connected to Do Hyun, and why he’s so tolerant of her very intrusive behavior.

E2. I am happy to report that I find Yoo Ri less unlikable this episode.

Mainly, I like that she’s actually helping Do Hyun now, even though he has to negotiate with her, for her to get things done. But the thing is, she does get those things done, and she does get some useful information to Do Hyun. That definitely helps to endear her to me.

Also, she’s just less annoying in general this hour, in that at least she’s no longer banging down Do Hyun’s door in the middle of the night. Hopefully this positive trajectory continues.

E3. I find that Yoo Ri is growing on me, as a character.

At first, I’d found her really quite annoying, with the way she was pushing her way into Do Hyun’s space, against his wishes, in the middle of the night, no less. But she’s proven herself to be helpful to Do Hyun, last episode and this, which helps.

What makes the most difference, for me, though, is the way she seeks out Do Hyun on the roof, this episode, and asks if he’s ok, because whichever way the trial ends, there’s something for him to be unhappy about.

This is the first time we’ve seen her show overt concern for his wellbeing, and I like that quite well.

E6. I’m glad to see Yoo Ri digging around the circumstances of her dad’s death.

I mean, it’s a refreshing change to see her focused on something important and personal like this, rather than just getting drunk a lot. I know it’s not easy for her, but I much prefer to watch her in this space, than in her drunken space.

And perhaps once she gets through this and finds justice for her father, she might not feel the urge to get so drunk anymore?

E12. This episode, I feel most sorry for Do Hyun and Yoo Ri. They both are in really difficult positions, and it’s over something so serious, that it could break most relationships.

I mean, Yoo Ri has to contend with the information, that her father had been murdered in cold blood, specifically to get him off the heart transplant waiting list, so that the transplant could go to Do Hyun instead.

Even though Yoo Ri understands that it’s not Do Hyun’s fault, and that he hadn’t had any idea about this, I can imagine that it’d still be hard for Yoo Ri to deal with this, and it’d be hard for her to feel neutral towards Do Hyun, with this in mind.

On that note, though, I’m pretty sure that Yoo Ri’s dad had been killed, not just because of the heart transplant.

I feel that they would have killed him anyway, for his intention to unveil the corruption in the Blue House. My guess is, it’s just that his bad heart had turned out to be a convenient way to give Choi Pil Soo some kind of advantage, for taking the fall for a murder he didn’t commit.

On Do Hyun’s side of things, it must be such a shock to realize that the only reason he’s alive, is because he’d been wrongfully given a heart transplant – that should have gone to someone else.

It’s no wonder that Do Hyun loses it, and beats his chest like that. It’s almost a form of self-hatred, because I’m sure that in his mind, if not for him, Yoo Ri’s dad could have lived.

Which, like I said, is not a very sound train of thought, taking into account everything else that went down, in relation to Yoo Ri’s dad and his report.

Still, I can see why Do Hyun would be so upset, and so thrown, by this reveal.

I’m just relieved that Show doesn’t choose to make this rift between Do Hyun and Yoo Ri into A Thing, and instead, has them reconcile and make a pact to get to the bottom of the case, to get at the bad people who’ve done these things to them and their families.

That feels purposeful, and a much healthier place to direct their energies and their emotions.

[END SPOILER]

Nam Ki Ae as Madam Jin

Madam Jin is introduced to us as a pretty mysterious character, in episode 1, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what she was about, as Show dropped nuggets of information and context, along the way.

Without giving anything away, I’ll just say here, that I found Madam Jin to be a character with grace, elegance, and a quiet strength, which I came to really appreciate.

It was great to see Nam Ki Ae take on this role, which feels different from most of the other roles I’ve seen her in.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. I am extremely curious to know more about Madam Jin.

She definitely appears to want to help Do Hyun, and she’s very helpful this episode, with the way she recreates the case file for Do Hyun, so that he can now see all the information that was redacted by the prosecution.

Plus, Madam Jin actively thinks about the case when Do Hyun isn’t in the office, and she’s the one who points Do Hyun to the possibility that Kim Sun Hee’s estimated time of death might not be accurate.

She’s definitely proving herself to be an asset to Do Hyun’s law practice, right now.

E6. If it’s true that Do Hyun received Madam’s Jin’s son heart during the transplant, I can see why Madam Jin would want to find a way to inject herself into Do Hyun’s world.

It’s not just about being near her son’s heart; it’s also about keeping Do Hyun safe, like in this episode, where Do Hyun had needed immediate medical attention.

And honestly, I do feel better knowing that there’s a qualified heart doctor who’s familiar with his case, around Do Hyun on a daily basis.

E8. I appreciate that Show remains in touch with the emotional side of things, with Madam Jin feeling especially overwhelmed by the pain of realizing that her son’s death might not have been an accident after all.

The line that she utters in the office, that she’d thought that she’d thought she’d never experience anything more painful than her son’s death, is so very poignant.

Indeed, the only thing worse than losing her son, is realizing that her son might have been killed on purpose.

I’m glad that Madame Jin pushes through the pain, though.

Because, as hard as this is for her, and as much as I feel for her, that her deepest wounds have to be opened again because of this, she does deserve to know the truth, and the perpetrators need to be brought to justice. No Sun Hoo deserves that his killers be brought to justice.

E11. I’m so glad that Madam Jin soon officially offers her permission to Do Hyun, to carry on representing Cho Ki Tak (Yoon Gyung Ho).

I know he’s already representing Cho Ki Tak, but it’s good to know that at least he has peace of mind, as far as Madam Jin is concerned.

[END SPOILER]

Do Hyun and Chun Ho together

With Do Hyun and Chun Ho being our key characters, and with Junho and Yoo Jae Myung both being such excellent actors, I started wishing, very early in my watch, that they would share the screen, and often.

I felt like there is so much room for Chun Ho and Do Hyun to spark off each other, whether they are working together on the same side, or facing off each other, on opposite sides.

And in a similar vein, I feel that there was, in line with that, so much room for both Yoo Jae Myung and Junho, to flex their acting range as well.

Show does take a little while to get these two to share the screen on a more regular basis, but happily, we don’t have to wait too long, and it’s well worth the wait.

It was great to see Chun Ho and Do Hyun challenge each other, and both grow to greater heights, as iron sharpens iron.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E3. I am really enjoying how Do Hyun is now working with Chun Ho and the other detectives.

It just feels refreshing to see them be on the same side, working towards the same goal now, where before, they’d been on opposite sides, and Do Hyun had received so much hate and vitriol from the detectives, just for doing his job.

That shot of Chun Ho and Do Hyun standing side by side, watching it all go down as Han Jong Goo is arrested, was so satisfying to see.

I just LOVE the idea of them working together.

E5. I actually like the fact that Chun Ho finds out about Do Hyun’s father’s case, and confronts him.

Guh, so much crackle and sizzle between these two, even as Chun Ho provokes Do Hyun, by calling his father a murderer, and Do Hyun provokes him right back, by calling him an incompetent detective.

Ahhh. This is the first time we’ve seen Do Hyun this worked up, and it’s the first time we’ve seen Do Hyun actually provoke someone out of anger; of course it would all be in defense of his father, whom he believes to be innocent.

And with Chun Ho having resigned from his job as a detective because of a mistake, and now working in security, of course that touches a raw nerve.

There’s so much crackly tension between them, as Chun Ho grabs Do Hyun by the collar, and the two stare each other down, barely controlling their raging emotions.

E6. I am very pleased with where we leave Do Hyun and Chun Ho, because it’s been my strong desire to see these two actually work together on the same side, and by the time we end the episode, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

That said, I have to say that the process that leads us up to this point, did give me pause.

For example, I didn’t enjoy the part where Chun Ho shoves Do Hyun; that had seemed rather too rough and antagonistic, I thought.

Also, I didn’t feel comfortable at the sight of Chun Ho snooping around Do Hyun’s office, when no one else was around. That had felt wrong, and the more Chun Ho looked around, and the more he actually touched things, the more uncomfortable I felt.

It’s basically unlawful entry, isn’t it?

However, I get that Show basically needed a springboard for Chun Ho to start talking with Do Hyun, on the same page. And if Chun Ho hadn’t seen Do Hyun’s secret wall of information about his dad’s case, they may have never started to talk about it, or started working together.

So in this case, even though I didn’t like the idea of Chun Ho snooping around, and touching things without permission, I’m happy enough with the end result, to roll with it.

I’m also very much digging the tone and flavor of this new relationship between Chun Ho and Do Hyun.

I like how they each grudgingly acknowledge the competence of the other, and I also feel quite entertained by Chun Ho’s low-grade annoyance at Do Hyun’s bad jokes.

Do Hyun’s slightly weak but still cheeky lopsided grins are also a fantastic addition to what might otherwise be a situation and story that leans too heavy and serious.

E7. When Chun Ho and Do Hyun go to Nurse Cho’s apartment, I like how they each pick up on things that the other person misses at first.

Like how Do Hyun discovers the folder-over photograph, which Chun Ho had missed. And then how Chun Ho notices that the apartment is way too clean to have not been purposely wiped of someone’s traces.

The indications that their partnership is a symbiotic one, gives me a great deal of satisfaction.

E9. That scene where Do Hyun and Chun Ho are outside Cho Ki Tak’s house, and Cho Ki Tak essentially tries to run them down (kinda like a prank – except not quite 😬) really made me realize how important it is, for Do Hyun to have Chun Ho by his side.

If Chun Ho hadn’t been there to drag Do Hyun out of danger’s way, I’m not super sure that Do Hyun’s own reflexes would have been fast or sharp enough, for him to save himself.

Eep. That’s such an unsettling thought, really. 🙈

E11. I also really appreciate that this turn of events, that has Do Hyun representing Cho Ki Tak, doesn’t actually drive Chun Ho and Do Hyun apart. That had actually been my primary concern, with Do Hyun agreeing to take on Cho Ki Tak’s case.

Instead, we have Chun Ho still positioning himself as an ally.

He understands why Do Hyun’s choosing to do this, and recognizes that they are both after the truth. They’re just approaching the truth in different ways, at the moment.

I love Chun Ho for being able to see that, even though he’d rather that Do Hyun doesn’t take on the case.

I love even more, that Chun Ho even goes so far as to call Madam Jin, to speak on Do Hyun’s behalf, and tell her that the path that Do Hyun’s on, is likely the same one that her son, No Sun Hoo (Moon Tae Yu), had been on himself.

[END SPOILER]

Madam Jin and Yoo Ri

The further we get into our story, the more we see Yoo Ri and Madam Jin work together, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they actually make a really good team, despite their very different personalities.

In that sense, I felt like they complemented each other nicely, while also managing to connect in the things that mattered most to them.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E7. I like how Madam Jin and Yoo Ri are able to empathize with each other, since they’ve both lost someone dear to them. Now that the deaths of Yoo Ri’s father and Madam Jin’s son look suspiciously connected, I like the idea of them working together in solidarity, to uncover the truth.

I’m also just glad that they’re there for each other, so that neither of them feels alone, in dealing with this terrible realization. That sense of solidarity feels precious and important.

[END SPOILER]

Our main quartet

Up to about halfway through our story, Do Hyun’s got a connection with Chun Ho, and he’s also got Madam Jin’s and Yoo Ri’s support, back at the office. The idea of these four people taking another step, to function as one quartet, really appealed to me.

Not only does that translate into a bigger support network for each of them, it also makes a lot of sense, in terms of sharing information and resources.

More than that, though, I was hungry for the teamwork, support and understanding that I imagined this quartet would discover, among themselves.

..Which are all good things, for our story. Win, win and win!

[SPOILER ALERT]

E7. Up to this point in our story, I’d been looking forward to seeing Do Hyun and Chun Ho work together on my screen, and last episode, we got that. Which made me think that it’d be a while, before we get any other significant boost to the level at which our characters work together.

However, this episode, besides the satisfaction of watching Do Hyun and Chun Ho working together, we also get to see Yoo Ri and Madam Jin starting to work together as well.

And while it’s definitely a Drama Coincidence sort of thing, that has them all working on things that will lead them to the same source, Show has already established that all roads lead to the dirty big guns, in this drama world.

I actually like the inherent promise, that given a little time, our two pairs of investigative partners, will actually join forces to become an investigative quartet.

I like the idea of that a lot.

E8. I’d had an inkling that our quartet coming together would result in a lifting of our narrative to the next level, but I guess I hadn’t been prepared for just how our narrative would evolve, as a result. And, I hadn’t been prepared for how quickly our narrative would evolve, either.

Both very good things, just in case that wasn’t clear. 😁

I’m so pleased that our quartet wastes no screen time in getting together, and laying out their cards with one another.

I’d been half afraid that the pethidine and Seol-hwa pieces would remain in hiding for a while, because it’s not really immediately obvious, that these are important pieces of information.

Instead, Show is quick to have that all come out, so that Do Hyun and Chun Ho can connect the dots to the cases they’re investigating.

I’m also glad that Madam Jin and Yoo Ri are quick to conclude that everything that they’ve been investigating, is actually interconnected, and that it would be better for them to join hands, and combine their efforts.

This pleased me a fair bit, because I love the idea of these 4 working together, rather than the two teams working in parallel to each other.

E12. In terms of our main quartet, I really like the fact that they are still working together, in spite of everything that’s happened, that could have put them on opposite sides.

This episode, I really liked that little scene, where Chun Ho goes to Do Hyun’s office to get some perspective from the other 3, after getting all frustrated while trying to interrogate Chairman Oh.

Ahh. The team spirit! That warms my heart very nicely. 🥰

I also really liked the fact that Do Hyun makes sure to call Chun Ho, to tell him that Jenny’s asked to meet him alone, even though Jenny’s made it clear that Do Hyun should come alone, without telling anyone else about the meeting.

I love how the intra-team trust trumps, even in a situation like this.

E14. I also really love how firmly Chun Ho sticks with Do Hyun, through all of this, even putting his job on the line to flex the rules for Do Hyun, and even refusing to leave everything in Do Hyun’s hands, when Do Hyun says it’s fine for him to do so.

The way Chun Ho is personally invested in this, is so heartening to watch, seriously.

I’ll admit that it feels a little clique-y-sneaky, in the watching, for them to stage the press conference, such that Yoo Ri’s planted there to specifically make mention of Chief Prosecutor Yang and Ji Chang Ryul, and to have Do Hyun at the ready to make a dramatic entrance to announce that he’s going to ask for a retrial for his father’s case.

However, it’s nowhere near as sneaky as our baddies are being, so I feel like it’s fine to roll with it, coz our good guys are basically working with what they have, to beat the baddies at their own game.

[END SPOILER]

Do Hyun and Dad

The relationship between Do Hyun and his father (Choi Kwang Il) is one that brings so much heartachey pathos and goodness to our story.

Without getting into spoilers, I just wanted to say that the journey that this father and son chart, in terms of their relationship, turned out to be one of my favorite highlights of the show.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E3. Show hints heavily that Dad had agreed to be the fall guy, in exchange for Do Hyun’s surgery fees.

The heartbreaking thing about this idea, is, because it’s a crime that gets Dad on death row, Dad is literally choosing to die, so that his son might live. Gah. That’s so poignant and so heartbreaking. 💔😭

It also seems like the whole reason Do Hyun chose to become a lawyer, is so that he’d be in a position to clear Dad’s name. That would explain his deep sense of focus, that runs through his entire career. Why would he allow petty insults to derail him, from saving his father’s life, right?

I also wanted to say, that moment, when Do Hyun pushes aside the cabinets to reveal the hidden wall of information on his father’s case, is very well-played.

That quiet long moment of hesitation, before Do Hyun pulls apart the cabinets, tells us that this hurts him. That as much as he desires to clear his father’s name, this entire process is also bringing him pain, which is why he hesitates, to open it up.

E13. Despite the suspension of disbelief required, I kinda love the idea of Dad breaking out of jail (more or less), out of concern for Do Hyun. Given that Dad’s withheld himself for so long, from Do Hyun, this feels like such a huge display of care.

Of course, it made me giggle to see how Dad’s got some slick moves up his sleeves, despite never having been in the special forces, and despite having spent the last 10 years in jail (like, how did he learn, and how did he train?), but it’s all good, with a makjang lens on.

In fact, I am rather fond of Dad’s hidden ninja moves; it makes my watch feel quite exciting, heh.

In a similar vein, I was happily entertained and quite thrilled by how Dad shows up as Chairman Oh’s (Song Young Chang) driver, and takes control of the conversation, to find out who’s dared to mess with Do Hyun.

Ooh. I love that Papa Bear is angry and protective, and will defy all authority, to protect his son. 🤩

I also love that scene, where Do Hyun’s about to leave the police station in a hurry, in order to search for Dad, and Dad comes walking right into the station, on his own, because he knows that that’s where Do Hyun is.

Sure, it’s double the suspension of disbelief, what with Do Hyun AND Dad walking around like free men, and Chun Ho managing to get his colleagues to turn a blind eye to SO MUCH stuff, but it’s thrilling and emotional, and it works, in a makjang context.

E13. Sure, there are very logical questions that one might ask, in this situation, like, how is Do Hyun supposed to defend Dad in a retrial, if he’s busy being framed for murder? And, is it even ok, for a son to defend his own father? Like, wouldn’t it be considered a conflict of interest..?

Putting those pesky questions aside, though, the emotional beats of the scene land very nicely, to my eyes.

Dad’s been withholding the truth from Do Hyun for so long, that it feels like a Huge Deal, that he would now agree to open up to Do Hyun, and even request that Do Hyun represent him, during his retrial.

That’s a complete turnaround from his hard, distant stance, these past 10 years, and I can see why this is such an emotional moment for Do Hyun. It’s all he’s worked for, ever since Dad had been incarcerated.

It’s such a great moment, with tears welling up noticeably, in both of their eyes, as they lock gazes with each other, finally on the same side again.

I know it doesn’t make complete sense, but I love it anyway.

E14. I just really like how focused and passionate and loyal Do Hyun is, as a character, and the way he’s getting to work at his actual dream, rather than simply working towards it, is pretty stirring stuff – especially when it’s all scored by our very dramatic, very swirly, very stirring OST.

Also, with Dad having avoided Do Hyun so actively for the last decade, it’s just really cathartic, to see him being open with Do Hyun now, and trusting Do Hyun, with this retrial.

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-outs:

Delicious makjang tidbits

Like I mentioned earlier in this review, the right makjang lens really helps Show’s more heightened spots of melodrama land a lot better.

Here are my favorite makjang moments from the show, which I found highly entertaining – but which would have deserved a spot on the Logic Stretch portion of this review, if viewed with a straight analytical lens.

I’ve always believed that lens adjustments are critical to the enjoyment of dramas, and this is some great evidence. 😉

[SPOILER ALERT]

E10. That entire thing, where Jenny Song (Kim Jung Hwa) waits for Secretary Hwang (Choi Dae Hoon) in the bedroom of his apartment, with the door slightly ajar, leans so melodramatic, seriously.

It makes absolutely no sense for her to set herself up in the bedroom of the apartment, because Secretary Hwang could very well just go into the apartment, get his money and passports, and get outta there, without ever seeing her.

Her dramatic entrance hinges solely on the possibility of Secretary Hwang spotting that the door is ajar, and then moving in to investigate.

The idea that Secretary Hwang could’ve left her sitting in that room in a futile attempt to have a dramatic entrance, just makes me laugh, honestly. It’s so silly. 😂

But, like I said, a makjang lens solves it nicely, and makes it entertaining instead of stupid.

E11. The thing that made me laugh the most, this episode, is the way Jenny saves Secretary Hwang, after he’s been attacked by men sent by Chairman Oh, to silence him for good.

I mean, the attackers drug him by forcing spiked whiskey down his throat, and then leave him on the floor, trusting that the drugs in his system will kill him.

And then, we have Jenny swooping in to save the day. When Secretary Hwang wakes up, she benevolently announces that if she’d arrived just 5 minutes later, he would’ve died.

But.. Apparently, all Jenny has done, is pick him up off the floor and put him on the couch?!??

Clearly, Secretary Hwang had needed to have his stomach pumped, if he’d been forced-fed a drug overdose.

And yet, here we have Jenny proudly announcing that she’s saved him. By putting him on the couch. HAHAHAHAHA.

I laughed so much at this, that I literally had to wipe the tears from my eyes. 😂😂😂

E12. I like the way Secretary Hwang bursts into the courtroom in such a dramatic fashion, and proceeds to confess his crime – and then point the finger at Chairman Oh, as the mastermind. Ooh. So much drama, and so much flourish! This was truly quite makjanglicious. 😋

[END SPOILER]

Kim Jung Hwa as Jenny Song

Even though Jenny Song doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time, and is, for the most part, a mysterious character who seems randomly introduced into our story world in its second half, I found myself enjoying her character quite well.

Of course, this was all with a suitable makjang / heightened melodrama lens on.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E12. I really liked the way Jenny Song goes around so jauntily, taunting and poking at various people, to galvanize them into action on her chessboard.

I especially enjoyed that beat where Jenny goes to visit Park Si Kang, and tells him that she’s just been to see Do Hyun.

After Park Si Kang sputters, “Who did you say you met?,” I just love the way Jenny mutters to herself, as if genuinely perplexed, “Did you not hear me?”

Tee hee. The sass! I kinda love her.

E14. Ooh, I do love the fact that Jenny had managed to send Do Hyun those emails, right before getting shot, as improbable as that was.

[END SPOILER]

STUFF THAT WAS OK: ALL OF OUR MORE DUBIOUS CHARACTERS [SPOILERS]

I’ve got all of this show’s dubious characters in this section – with the exception of Jenny Song – because they were all very good at what they were meant for, in our story, but I didn’t exactly like any of them.

Ryu Kyung Soo as Han Jong Goo

Kudos to Ryu Kyung Soo, for playing Han Jong Goo so convincingly, whether Han Jong Goo was taunting Do Hyun, or genuinely fearing for his life.

I feel like my reactions to him as a character, went through an entire rollercoaster, all on their own, thanks to the writing around his character, and Ryu Kyung Soo’s delivery as well.

Yoon Gyung Ho as Heo Jae Man / Cho Ki Tak

Yoon Gyung Ho does a great job playing the different sides of Cho Ki Tak, who turns out to have stolen Heo Jae Man’s identity, and is essentially living a double life.

When he’s being amiable Heo Jae Man, he really does look quite harmless. But in the blink of an eye, when he’s channeling Cho Ki Tak, he can look absolutely murderous.

In episode 8, I felt such a strong sense of horror and dread, as we see Cho Ki Tak close in on Han Jong Goo, like a predator toying with his prey. The way Cho Ki Tak pursues and pounces on Han Jong Goo really makes me think of a wild animal out for the kill.

Yikes. But also, really well done.

Moon Sung Geun as Chairman Chu

Chairman Chu is basically the biggest baddie in our story world, and what strikes me about him, is how casual his cruelty is.

For example, in episode 13, it becomes clear that Chairman Chu had made Jenny’s disposal a condition for signing the MOU (with Do Hyun being framed, as a side bonus), and the company had agreed. Gah. That’s cold.

Plus, there’s the way he makes sure that the tax audit on Chairman Oh’s company is pushed back, so that it won’t interfere with Chairman Oh’s performance during the retrial.

In doing this, he’s basically saying, “Fine, I’ll kill you later, AFTER you’ve successfully gotten through this retrial, where you will absolve me of all blame.”

Underneath his reasonable pleasantries, he’s oily, calculating, and heartless. And, he seems to sincerely think that there’s nothing wrong, in the way he conducts business.

Quite awful, all around.

Kim Young Hoon as Park Si Kang

Of all our baddies, Kim Young Hoon as Park Si Kang is the one I most loved to hate.

The writing makes Park Si Kang arrogant, crass and very unstable, and Kim Young Hoon brings it all out in such a believable manner, that I sometimes felt myself instinctively recoil from his presence on my screen.

Ack. But also, well done. 😅

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

Logic stretches

As much as I managed to enjoy my watch, I have to admit that Show has its fair share of logic stretches.

While I managed to accept and even enjoy some of them, using my makjang goggles, I do think that it’s useful, to list the logic stretches, for the record.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I have to admit that I sniggered at the court proceedings in the first murder case, where the police tried to use the fact that Han Jong Goo was able to open the sliding door without issues, as circumstantial evidence.

Like, how did they manage to present that, so dramatically, with a straight face? 😂

As a result of how laughable this is, the vitriol that the police officers throw in Do Hyun’s direction feels extremely exaggerated, as well.

I mean, all Do Hyun had done, was exercise some simple logic – which any lawyer worth his salt should have been able to do, to refute the ridiculous “evidence” that was being presented. Did the police expect anything less, from a decent lawyer?

E2. I do feel like I’m being asked to suspend disbelief somewhat, with Madam Jin being able to read the blacked out areas of the report, while Do Hyun couldn’t.

After all, Do Hyun’s such a smart, capable sort of guy, surely he would know how to read beyond the blacked out ink as well? I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t know how to do that, and had to depend on Madam Jin to recreate the file for him.

E9. With Chun Ho being back on the force, he shouldn’t have as much time to spend on his cold case investigation with Do Hyun. And yet, it doesn’t appear that he’s assigned any other work?

Rather, it seems like his rejoining of the force simply makes his investigative work with Do Hyun easier, because he now has access to all the resources that had been off limits to him before.

This doesn’t make sense to me, since he’d logically need to spend his time working on other things, unless the team’s somehow assigned him to this cold case – which they hadn’t even been investigating before.

E9. Another thing that niggles at me, is how Do Hyun is shown contaminating the crime scene,  later in the episode, when he’s at Cho Ki Tak’s house.

To be fair, this seems to be a fairly common thing in kdramas, where a protagonist explores a crime scene without being properly suited up.

This happened in the early episodes of Stranger (Open Threads listed here) as well, to show us just how fast and badass our protagonist Shi Mok is.

Therefore, I feel like I shouldn’t hold it against Show too much. However, I have to confess that I couldn’t stop myself from mentally urging Do Hyun to get out of that secret basement, to get the forensics team to do their thing, INSTEAD OF CONTAMINATING THE CRIME SCENE. 😅

E10. One the biggest things that makes me roll my eyes, this episode (and last episode too, really), is how we’re expected to believe that Cho Ki Tak had kept No Sun Hoo’s camera and camera bag all these 10 years.

That’s so very unlike him, honestly. This is a guy who’s meticulous – METICULOUS! – about not leaving traces behind. That’s the reason he steals the Ministry of Justice vehicle and sets it on fire, after all.

And we’re expected to believe that he’d kept the camera and the bag, for 10 whole years? And then, when he KNOWS that Chun Ho and Do Hyun are on to him, and about to search his house, he leaves the camera and the bag there, for them to discover, and hold against him?

No, really?!? 🙄😆

If, for some bizarre reason, he’d chosen to keep that camera with him, I’d expect him to at least destroy it, while cleaning up his house and preparing to leave.

The fact that so many things hinge on the fact that Cho Ki Tak had that camera in his house, and the fact that it’s SO UNLIKELY that Cho Ki Tak would have left the camera there, makes it all quite laughable to me, honestly.

E13. There is a good amount of suspension of disbelief required, especially around the way Chun Ho’s able to give Do Hyun that much freedom, when he’s supposed to be in detention.

Do Hyun practically is only behind bars, just for good measure, since he spends so much of his time out and about, discussing things with Chun Ho, and even going to Hwaye, with Chun Ho.

Honestly, I’d much rather have this, than a whole episode of Do Hyun doggedly insisting that he’s guilty, and Chun Ho tearing his hair out and going in circles, trying to prove that Do Hyun’s innocent.

Keeping that in mind every time Show expects me to exercise some suspension of disbelief around the laxity around Do Hyun’s detention, helped a lot – as did my makjang goggles.

[END SPOILER]

SPOTLIGHT ON THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE [SPOILERS]

All in all, I found this a solid penultimate episode – as long as you accept that Show is going to embrace its love for makjang, or at least, heightened melodrama.

The way doors get burst open with flair and flourish this episode stacks up, and depending on your lens, this could land as either eye-rollingly ridiculous, or enjoyably entertaining.

I personally found it enjoyably entertaining, because I’ve decided that Show is pretty fun, when it leans into the heightened melodrama, which kinda-sorta licenses it to throw things like logic to the wind, for a while. 😁

The decision to not sweat it, when Show does somewhat illogical things, is pretty key to enjoying this episode, I find. Like, when we open the episode with Chun Ho visiting Chairman Chu to basically alert him that they’re investigating him.

I mean, in a story played more straight and less melodramatic, I’d complain that that’s not very clever; that they should’ve investigated Chairman Chu secretly, without telling him about it.

However, with heightened melodrama with makjang lashings, it’s the drama of confronting Chairman Chu that’s more important, heh. Knowing that allows you to just enjoy the drama of the moment, instead of knitting your brows in consternation Chun Ho’s lack of shrewdness.

Another thing I’d like to say is, I’m hugely relieved that Do Hyun is saved from the attack, at the top of the episode, and doesn’t end up getting stabbed or something. AND, he doesn’t get hurt in other ways either, like when those gangsters go to his office and prevent him leaving for the retrial.

Honestly, this is turning out to be one of my big asks of Show, as I get nearer the finale.

Just don’t hurt Do Hyun; our heart transplant boy on a mission is pale enough from all the stress, exhaustion and related heart-strain. 🥺

This episode, I like the way we’re slowly but surely shown that Prosecutor Yang is coming around to want to do right by his conscience.

From the way he saves Do Hyun from the attacker, to the way he quits his job and sends that hard disk to Madam Jin, it feels like his presence &/or involvement is going to help our quartet with their mission, much more than I’d dared to hope for or imagine.

Of course, that does also make me somewhat nervous for his safety, because we’ve seen how Chairman Chu and his cronies take care of inconvenient people who know too much; they all end up getting murdered, one after the other.

I wonder if that’s perhaps the reason that Secretary Hwang insists on maintaining his silence, even though it’s clear that Chairman Oh has turned away from him, along with all of his associates?

I’d thought that it was because Secretary Hwang still had hope that Jenny had his back (assuming he still thinks she’s alive), but now I’m wondering if it’s more just his last ditch at self-preservation. Like, if he can prove that he won’t talk, maybe they’ll let him live? Hmm.

The retrial gets underway pretty fast, this episode, and I hafta say, I was genuinely happily surprised, to see Han Jong Goo being wheeled into court to be a witness. Ahhh!!

I mean, when Han Jong Goo had first fallen into a coma, I’d been convinced that Show would have him up and about and ready to be useful, at some point in our story, in keeping with its makjang leanings.

But then I forgot all about him, with all the other goings-on in our drama world, and all the other morally dubious characters prancing around and doing their thing. Which is how Show took me by complete surprise, with that reveal. Very nicely done, I thought.

I love the drama of how Han Jong Goo points out Park Si Kang as having been the person to leave the annex at Hwaye the night of Lt. Colonel Cha’s murder, and even makes sure to mention that Park Si Kang had looked like he was wiping blood off his hands.

Park Si Kang is such a hateful character, that it’s very satisfying to see him get put on the spot like this.

Also, shout-out to Judge Na, for bringing such a grounded, well-reasoned presence to an otherwise chaotic courtroom. I like her a lot.

Another twist I liked, this episode, is that Do Hyun and the rest of the team, had made a copy of the Black Bear report, so that Chairman Chu’s men take away the copy, while Do Hyun manages to retain the original.

Of course, I’m slightly disbelieving that the team manages to recreate the report, down to the aged paper, and I’m also wondering why they didn’t just make color copies of it, rather than re-type the thing, but like I said, logic schmogic. It’s the DRAMA of it all, that matters. 😅

As for Chairman Oh’s suicide, I feel like there are two possibilities here.

One, he really did commit suicide, because he doesn’t want to face jail time for perjury, AND he can’t bear the thought of his company going under. And, he leaves behind incriminating evidence, to take down Chairman Chu with him.

The other possibility is that he didn’t commit suicide, and Chairman Chu had him pushed off the building, to prevent him from taking Chairman Chu down with him, like he’d threatened.

I have no idea which of these actually went down; I’d believe either one, honestly. Chairman Oh WAS desperate enough to kill himself, and Chairman Chu IS vile enough to have him murdered, for being uncooperative.

I’m gonna take a wild stab, and guess that Chairman Oh did kill himself, in the hope that he does actually leave behind important evidence for Do Hyun and the team.

And last but not least, there’s now also the final recording, that Do Hyun and Chun Ho find in the annex at Hwaye. Maybe there’s important information there too, even though the recordings themselves can’t be submitted as evidence.

So many possibilities, as we get into gear for the finale! I know our team’s going to win (they have to!), but I’m curious to see just how they pull it off. Go, team!!

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Overall, I thought this worked out to be a solidly satisfying finale.

I felt suitably engaged all the way through, our baddies get their comeuppance, and our good guys come out of this with their relationships, their sense of justice, and their passion, intact.

Not only that, Show even chooses to rein in its makjang tendencies, to give us a finale that vibes reasonably close to its earlier tone, of being more of a serious crime thriller.

Given all that’s gone down in the course of the last 16 episodes, I really couldn’t ask for much more, from Show.

One of the things I really appreciated this episode, is the fact that Show lays out everything that had happened that fateful day, when Lt. Colonel Cha had been shot. After seeing this play out only in fragments, it felt gratifying, to finally see exactly what had gone on, that day.

I was actually genuinely surprised, to realize that Park Si Kang hadn’t been the one to kill Lt. Colonel Cha, and that it had been Chairman Chu, who had fired the decisive shot.

Ok, technically, we don’t really know if Chairman Chu’s shot had been the one to kill Lt. Colonel Cha, because in theory, it could have been the third shot, fired by Chairman Oh, that had killed him.

But, since Chairman Oh is dead at this point, and since there is no indication that Lt. Colonel Cha had still been alive after the second shot, it seems fitting, that Show would deem Chairman Chu to be responsible for Lt. Colonel Cha’s death.

That said, I’m not clear on whether Chairman Chu is eventually indicted for the murder of Lt. Colonel Cha. In our final scene, we have Do Hyun asking Chairman Chu in court, if he admits to all the charges brought against him.

This is Chairman Chu’s corruption trial, and not Lt. Colonel Cha’s murder trial, reopened, so unless the murder is one of the charges brought against Chairman Chu, in the midst of all his corruption charges, I do feel a niggling sense of injustice, for Lt. Colonel Cha.

Sure, Chairman Chu gets brought down in a big way, and will likely serve life in prison, for the magnitude of the crimes committed, but.. if the murder trial doesn’t get reopened, then technically, Lt. Colonel Cha doesn’t get the justice that he deserves.

That does give me a small sense that our finale is wanting for something, but overall, I still stand by my opening statement, that this finale worked out to be solid and quite satisfying.

Of course, the biggest win, on the emotional front, is the fact that Do Hyun’s dad is acquitted of murder, and is released from prison.

Those scene that we get, of Do Hyun and Dad eating and drinking together, and talking about what Dad would like for them to do together, going forward, is so very precious.

It might look like such a small, everyday sort of scene, but for Do Hyun and Dad, who have been separated for the last 10 years, this feels so hard-won and so priceless.

It also feels fitting, that Do Hyun and Dad go to pay their respects to Yoo Ri’s dad, because it’s true that Dad’s decision had resulted in Yoo Ri’s father’s death.

That said, I also want to say that given the way Chairman Chu and his group were operation, and the fact that Yoo Ri’s father had been investigating Chairman Chu’s power in the Blue House, I don’t know that he would have survived, even if Do Hyun’s Dad hadn’t agreed to the deal with Chairman Oh.

My gut tells me that he would have gotten himself killed anyway.

Therefore, I don’t think that Do Hyun and Dad ought to burden themselves with the full responsibility of his death, going forward.

I do think that the forming of the special counsel off-screen, by the President, after Do Hyun had stated that it would be difficult to accomplish, was rather convenient.

However, it’s so gratifying to see Do Hyun and Chun Ho both getting appointed to be part of the special counsel, because it means that they will now get to work on the same team again. I do love that.

And while we don’t see Chairman Chu admit to all his charges in the final scene, we do have the assurance that the team has enough evidence to bring him down anyway.

Beyond that, I’m also very much heartened at the thought that Do Hyun – with the rest of our quartet by his side – will continue to fight for truth and justice, for a long time to come. ❤️

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Solid and satisfying – with the right lens adjustments.

FINAL GRADE: B++

TRAILER:

MV:

WHERE TO WATCH:

You can check out this show on Viu here.

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KZ
KZ
29 days ago

Thanks for a great review of a really good, solid show!