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Suspicious Partner: Episodes 25-26

Ji-wook has been the principled man thus far, but when push comes to shove, it turns out that he isn’t the type of man to sit back while those he cares about are threatened. He’s sick and tired of feeling yanked around and afraid, and now it’s time for action—but that action may come at a cost, and I’m not sure the price is worth it.

 
EPISODE 25 RECAP

Chief Bang visits one of the men in Chan-ho’s photo, but he finds the guy dead in his apartment. He’s attacked by a man in black, who leaves him bleeding to death from a stab wound in the belly. Before he goes, the man takes off his face mask — and it’s Hyun-soo.

Ji-wook finds Chief Bang in a pool of blood and calls the paramedics, who rush him into an ambulance — he’s alive! Meanwhile Eun-hyuk picks up Bong-hee and they rush to the hospital, calling Yoo-jung on the way. Bong-hee asks worriedly if Chief Bang will be okay, and Eun-hyuk struggles to say that he’ll be fine.

Ji-wook rides in the ambulance, still crying and apologizing to Chief Bang for not coming sooner. Even as he’s outwardly apologizing, Ji-wook’s inner voice says in self-recrimination, “A pointless apology. A pointless regret.” Ji-wook starts to cry in earnest, pleading with his friend not to die, and his tearful face fades to his younger self, sobbing in a fiery room as his father dies next to him.

At the hospital, he stays with Chief Bang’s gurney until he’s stopped at the entrance to the operating room. He thinks about Hyun-soo, certain that this must be his handiwork, and his sorrow turns to fury. Ji-wook screams Hyun-soo’s name at the top of his lungs and pounds the wall with his fist.

He’s calmer by the time Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee arrive, though he’s still covered in Chief Bang’s blood. When Yoo-jung gets there, Ji-wook asks her to personally investigate what happened, telling her not to rely on the police. He says that Hyun-soo is the primary suspect, but that it won’t be easy to find evidence because he knows how to cover his tracks and not leave forensic evidence.

He’s clearly struggling to keep it together, his sentences increasingly disjointed and meandering, and they all look worried about him. Finally Yoo-jung tells him to leave everything regarding the investigation to her, and Eun-hyuk adds that right now, they need to focus on Chief Bang.

Yoo-jung goes directly to the scene of the murder and Chief Bang’s attack to get a first look. She tells the police to get her the films from every CCTV camera in the area.

CEO Byun arrives at the hospital too, and the law firm family waits together nervously until the surgeon emerges from surgery to talk to them. He explains that Chief Bang’s spleen was injured, but they’ve stopped the bleeding. Everyone sighs with relief, but there’s bad news — there was so much bleeding that Chief Bang’s brain was deprived of oxygen, so there’s the possibility of brain damage. Oh no.

CEO Byun uncharacteristically thinks positive, assuring everyone that Chief Bang is strong and that he’ll be fine. But Ji-wook looks shocked as he tries to process this new danger to his friend, so Eun-hyuk sits with him and puts a comforting arm around his shoulders. Still, there’s something new and very dark in Ji-wook’s eyes.

Hyun-soo meets with a guy who’s wearing his black jacket and driving his motorcycle, and he confirms that the man did everything he asked. Earlier in the day Hyun-soo had hired him to make a certain delivery at a certain time, directing him not to take off the helmet and to speak as little as possible.

As he explained the task, Hyun-soo had thought, “You’re going to become me. From now until tonight, you’re going to be my perfect alibi.” Ah, so he set it up so that it would look like he was making deliveries at the time of the murder. He’d even given the man his cell phone with instructions to send a text message at a particular time.

In split screen, we see his alibi being made by his backup while Hyun-soo was actually attacking Chief Bang. The man had made sure to be caught on CCTV cameras as he made his delivery, per Hyun-soo’s instructions.

Now the man reports back to Hyun-soo, recalling every single detail he encountered on his errand, which Hyun-soo commits to memory.

Bong-hee follows Ji-wook outside, and when he looks up at her with that lost expression, she sits and pulls his head to her shoulder. She murmurs that Chief Bang will be okay, and Ji-wook sighs that he thought Chief Bang was doing to die, because he couldn’t find a pulse or hear him breathing.

In the morning, Yoo-jung goes to the hospital to check on Chief Bang, who is still stable. She tells Eun-hyuk that she doesn’t have grounds to summon Hyun-soo forcibly, but that she’s summoned him anyway just to see if he’ll comply. She also says that the police officers report that when they arrived on the scene, the look on Ji-wook’s face was frightening, like he was planning to do something.

He’s wearing that same resolute expression now, at home, where he seems to make a decision. Eun-hyuk tries to stop him on his way out, guessing that Ji-wook’s planning to confront Hyun-soo, but Ji-wook shoves him angrily and says this is none of his business.

Ji-wook asks if he should just sit by and watch as Hyun-soo takes away someone he cares about. He yells that he won’t just watch Chief Bang die, so Eun-hyuk asks if he has a plan. Ji-wook shouts that he has to do something, vowing to make Hyun-soo feel the same regret that he’s feeling right now.

As Eun-hyuk predicted, Hyun-soo responds to Yoo-jung’s summons, who jokes dryly that it’s not so bad without a warrant against him. Yoo-jung asks about his alibi, and Hyun-soo readily offers one, saying that he was working that night and can verify delivery logs.

She notes that he didn’t even have to think about his alibi, but Hyun-soo says that ever since he was framed for Chef Yang’s murder, he tries to remember everything. Without any proof of his guilt, Yoo-jung is obliged to let Hyun-soo go.

While sitting at Chief Bang’s bedside, Ji-wook calls Hyun-soo and invites him to meet up to talk. Then the other three lawyers arrive, and CEO Byun complains that he’s the only one talking to Chief Bang.

He tells a sweet story about how his mother once had an accident, rendering her unconscious, and his normally taciturn father would talk to his wife constantly. Then came the day when his mother woke, and she’d said that she had to wake up because that man was too loud. HAHA.

They all go on alert when Hyun-soo enters the room, claiming that he heard about Chief Bang and was worried. Ji-wook says he didn’t expect Hyun-soo to come here, but they go outside to talk. Bong-hee glares and tries to follow them, but Eun-hyuk stops her.

Hyun-soo will only agree to talk over a noisy bridge while standing at a distance, though Ji-wook makes a big show of displaying his jacket pockets to show he’s not secretly taping him. Hyun-soo says that he’s going to be honest, and actually confesses to killing everyone — the bodies in the tank, Hee-joon, and Chef Yang. He’s surprised that Ji-wook isn’t surprised, and Ji-wook casually says that he already knows.

Hyun-soo taunts him, offering up his wrists to be arrested. Ji-wook says that he’ll arrest him soon enough, and Hyun-soo breaks out in amused laughter. Still giggling, he reminds Ji-wook of how passionately he defended him when he was totally guilty of killing Chef Yang.

Ji-wook admits that he regrets that now. He says that if he’d discovered Hyun-soo’s guilt just a bit sooner, then Chan-ho and his friend Jae-ho wouldn’t be dead or missing right now, and Hyun-soo wouldn’t have been able to hurt Chief Bang.

Hyun-soo suddenly looks upset, and he asks if Ji-wook is beginning to know how he feels, to have loved ones threatened. He says that Ji-wook should try to understand him and leave him to his work. Hyun-soo promises that if he does, then he’ll leave Ji-wook and his friends alone. He even holds out a hand to shake on it, but Ji-wook slaps it away.

Hyun-soo mutters that Ji-wook must not understand how he feels after all, and he wonders what he should do to make him understand. Seeing that Ji-wook isn’t swayed at all, Hyun-soo says, “I should just kill them all,” then walks away.

Back at the hospital, Bong-hee paces nervously, then rushes out of the room. She runs into Eun-hyuk in the hall and says that she has to go to Ji-wook, but he explains that Ji-wook invited Hyun-soo here. He reveals that it’s a ploy to give Eun-hyuk time to dig up a few things, and idly hopes that Ji-wook doesn’t get hurt too badly.

We see what he means when Ji-wook follows Hyun-soo and punches him dead in the face. Hyun-soo is so surprised that Ji-wook gets in another punch, then kicks him to the ground. He invites Hyun-soo to fight back, and when Hyun-soo lands a solid punch, Ji-wook looks like he just got exactly what he wanted.

 
EPISODE 26 RECAP

Bong-hee and Eun-hyuk are called to the police station where Ji-wook and Hyun-soo have been arrested (ha, they both look pretty sheepish). Ji-wook is refusing to agree to settle the matter simply, pointing to a tiny little boo-boo on his lip and whining that it hurts too much. The annoyed detective says that they can just cool their heels in jail.

That evening Eun-hyuk drives Bong-hee somewhere, asking mysteriously if she’ll join him in doing something bad. Earlier he’d visited Ji-wook in his holding cell, and Ji-wook had told him to find whatever he can. Eun-hyuk asked what he should do if he finds nothing, knowing how meticulous Hyun-soo is.

On his way out, Eun-hyuk had accidentally-on-purpose spilled the basket holding Hyun-soo’s belongings to the floor. He’d picked them up, secretly pocketing Hyun-soo’s keys in the process.

Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee arrive at Hyun-soo’s apartment, where Eun-hyuk holds up the keys triumphantly. They let themselves in to find an apartment that’s small but neat as a pin, and they set about carefully searching for any clues or evidence.

When nothing turns up, Eun-hyuk remembers Ji-wook telling him that if he can’t find anything, then they need to fabricate a murder weapon that has Hyun-soo’s fingerprints on it. He takes a large butcher knife from Hyun-soo’s kitchen, bags it, and hides it in his pocket before Bong-hee sees him.

At the hospital, CEO Byun talks to the still-unconscious Chief Bang. He tells him that they’re all trying to catch the person who did this and begs him to wake up. Awww, he’s a total marshmallow.

Ji-wook and Hyun-soo finally settle in the morning, and they’re released. They stop to glare at each other for a moment, then go their separate ways.

Back at the office, Eun-hyuk outlines the idea to put blood from Chief Bang and the dead man on the stolen knife, though he reminds Ji-wook that this is very illegal. He says that Ji-wook could be fined or jailed, and would definitely lose his law license if he’s caught.

Ji-wook says he knows, but he still plans to do this. He asks what else they can do when Hyun-soo admitted to the murders but they can’t find a single piece of evidence. He refuses to stand by while Hyun-soo kills as he pleases, but agrees to save the knife as a last-ditch measure after they try everything else they possibly can.

Eun-hyuk says that he’ll be the one to plant the fake evidence, arguing that it fits his reputation anyway, while Ji-wook used to be known as the morally righteous prosecutor. Ji-wook starts to insist that he do it since it was his idea, but Bong-hee’s voice chimes in, “I should do it.”

She reasons that she’s already been to prison, so a second time won’t make a big difference. She adds that she should be the one to plant the knife because this is all her fault for bringing Hyun-soo into their lives. The guys are stunned silent.

Ji-wook’s voice narrates that they all have their own reasons for feeling responsible for Chief Bang almost getting killed, and each one sits at his bedside looking burdened by guilt. The night of his stabbing, CEO Byun had canceled plans to go out drinking with Chief Bang, which gave Chief Bang the time to go out investigating.

Eun-hyuk feels responsible too, because earlier that day he’d heard Chief Bang talking to someone about the man’s identity. He knew Chief Bang was looking into the guy even after being told not to, yet he didn’t do anything to stop him.

Bong-hee’s feeling guilty too and gives in to her tears as she sinks to her heels. Ji-wook crouches beside her and says softly that they should stop blaming themselves and each other for what happened. Bong-hee had thought she was the only one beating herself up, and knowing that she’s not alone makes her feel better.

Hyun-soo listens to music as he goes for a walk, and stops to sit on the stone bleachers near a school. Turning his head, he sees a teenage girl in a school uniform, the same girl he saw that time in the park. She smiles at him happily, but his answering smile is heartrendingly sad. After a moment she fades away, leaving Hyun-soo alone. He starts to cry, and when he eventually stands to go, he leaves behind a beautiful purple rose.

He heads home, where he immediately notices that some of his belongings are out of place. They’re only tiny differences, but Hyun-soo’s ability to notice the finest details make them stand out like beacons. He realizes that his fight with Ji-wook and overnight jail stay was a trick to get him out of the way, and he mutters, “This is fun.”

Bong-hee tells the team and Yoo-jung that she followed up on Hyun-soo’s alibi for the day Chief Bang was attacked. The woman who received the delivery reported that the driver didn’t remove his helmet or say a word, so Bong-hee concludes that Hyun-soo must have used a substitute.

Yoo-jung argues that even so, the CCTV footage and Hyun-soo’s cell phone location line up with his story, calling it a perfect alibi. Ji-wook asks about the autopsy on the second body from the water tank, but Yoo-jung says that the body was so damaged that they couldn’t find any evidence linking it to Hyun-soo.

Bong-hee also shows them a list of names and addresses that she found on Chief Bang’s desk. All the names on the list are connected with Chan-ho, so Eun-hyuk suggests that they look into this.

Yoo-jung reminds them that they’re civilians and tells them to pass the information to her. She idly wishes that the murder weapon would be found (to make her job easier), and Bong-hee, Eun-hyuk, and Ji-wook exchange loaded glances.

Later, while visiting Chief Bang, Ji-wook gets a text from an unknown number. It’s just a series of pictures — one of Chief Bang in his hospital bed and two of Bong-hee, taken from a distance. Ah, a threat.

Instantly furious, Ji-wook rushes out of the hospital, and the moment he exits he hears Hyun-soo call his name. He turns to see Hyun-soo grinning at him, and when they find a private place to talk Ji-wook slams him against the wall.

Hyun-soo motions for Ji-wook to let him go, so he does, but he turns right back around to pin him again. He growls that they agreed to leave each other alone, but Hyun-soo just laughs and asks if that’s why Ji-wook went through his home.

He asks why Ji-wook keeps challenging him, adding that he wouldn’t have gone this far if Ji-wook had done his job properly in the first place. He snarls that if lawyers didn’t keep locking up the innocent and letting the guilty go free, then he’d never have become like this. With a sigh, Hyun-soo says that he’s only doing what’s right, and actually sounds like he believes it.

Going down Chief Bang’s list of names, Eun-hyuk shows one man the pictures of the murdered chef, Hyun-soo, and Chan-ho with his friends, but the man only knows Chan-ho. Bong-hee has better luck with another guy who knew Chef Yang. He tells her that there were rumors that Chef Yang went to study abroad in high school after causing trouble here in Korea.

A third man tells Eun-hyuk that he doesn’t recognize anyone in the photos. He asks why everyone is looking into the past all of a sudden, saying that he’s just curious because Chief Bang had been calling him too. Eun-hyuk doesn’t quite seem to believe him.

That night Ji-wook stares at the knife Eun-hyuk stole from Hyun-soo’s apartment. He recalls how District Attorney Jang planted a bloody knife in Bong-hee’s home, convinced that proving her guilty justified framing her to be certain she was caught.

Then Ji-wook remembers what Hyun-soo said when confronted about his prior assault conviction. Hyun-soo hadn’t seen anything wrong with beating the man to a pulp, confident he was doing the right thing by delivering justice to the guilty.

Ji-wook decides to dispose of the stolen knife. He tells Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee that they’ll never use it, tossing it in his desk drawer and declaring that they’re going to do this honestly—otherwise, they’re no better than the criminals themselves. Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee both agree.

They’re worried that Hyun-soo is planning another strike, moving on to the next victim in his revenge plan. Ji-wook guesses that it will be someone who got off lightly, or even entirely, for a crime. Eun-hyuk says that someone he spoke to from Chief Bang’s list keeps popping up in his mind.

A while later, Bong-hee finds Ji-wook sitting with his head hanging, and she takes his hand and tells him that he made the right decision. She says she’s proud of him, and he rests his cheek on her hand, taking the comfort she offers.

The third man (who told Eun-hyuk that he didn’t recognize anyone in the photos) walks down the street, muttering that Chef Yang and Jae-ho both died, and Chan-ho is missing. A worrying thought hits him, but he shakes it aside, not seeing someone watching from behind—Hyun-soo.

A gloved hand removes the knife from Ji-wook’s desk drawer. We don’t see a face, only that the person gets into Hyun-soo’s apartment and slips the now-bloody knife back into the chopping block.

Yoo-jung receives an anonymous text message and immediately begs a superior to get her a warrant. He says that he can’t issue a warrant without evidence. Next Yoo-jung calls Ji-wook, and whatever she says has him running to his desk and frantically searching the drawers for the knife. But he comes up empty.

Yoo-jung somehow gets her warrant and goes to Hyun-soo’s apartment. He’s upset when the officers trash his place, and he follows Yoo-jung into the kitchen. When she pulls the knife from the block and sees the blood, he laughs incredulously and mutters Ji-wook’s name.

Then he makes a break for it, jumping onto his motorcycle and taking off. Yoo-jung follows in a cop car, and Ji-wook spots the chase as he drives in and joins in. A third car follows close behind — it’s the third man our team talked to, whom Hyun-soo was following earlier.

Meanwhile at the hospital, CEO Byun notices Chief Bang’s hand moving, and he clutches it excitedly.

Hyun-soo leads a wild chase through the streets, weaving dangerously between cars. He’s so focused on losing those behind him that he doesn’t see a car approaching him at a cross street. Car and motorcycle collide at full speed, and Hyun-soo tumbles over the hood of the car.

The car that hit him peels away from the scene of the accident, but not before we see that the driver is the man Hyun-soo was following.

Hyun-soo lies motionless in the street. Ji-wook jumps out of his car and stares in shock as he realizes that Hyun-soo isn’t getting up.

Epilogue.

Ji-wook runs into Bong-hee holding a plate piled with tofu. She says it’s for him now that he’s out of jail (eating tofu is customary upon prison release, as a superstition to ward off future visits), but he complains about the taste and refuses to eat it.

Bong-hee insists that he take this advice from someone with prison experience. Ji-wook eats a teeny tiny pinch, but she’s not satisfied until he takes a huge bite. He makes a childish yuckyface while Bong-hee beams happily.

COMMENTS

Is it strange that I’m desperately hoping that Hyun-soo is okay? I think Hyun-soo must be the boldest drama murderer ever… to walk into the hospital room of his latest victim, knowing that everyone in that room is certain he’s the killer, takes some pretty serious you-know-whats. I can’t help but respect his attention to detail with the way he made sure to concoct a solid alibi this time. Ji-wook and Bong-hee are going to have a very difficult time convincing anyone that he’s guilty. Most people would expect a murderer to stay far, far away from the people that are trying to prove his guilt, so they’d never believe that this soft-spoken man could possibly be a cold-blooded killer.

But he can also be terribly sympathetic — I have this sinking feeling that Hyun-soo’s motive for the killings is going to be heartbreaking, which will only make him harder to completely vilify. He has a dark, chilling menace, but he still manages to make me ache with sorrow when he grieves his lost girl. I can’t wait to find out who she was (I’m guessing either a girlfriend or a sister) and what happened to her.

It was very telling when he told Ji-wook that it’s the fault of those who let the guilty go free that he’s like this, which reinforces my guess that something happened to his lost girl, and that the guilty parties didn’t pay for their crime. This makes Hyun-soo a killer as a result of tragic circumstances rather than any inborn evil, and he would probably be living a normal life if he hadn’t experienced a devastating loss. He’s not a sociopath, he’s just a boy who loved a girl and went crazy when he lost her. All of this complexity, combined with Dong-ha’s brilliant performance as the tragically tarnished white knight, is causing him to quickly become my favorite drama villain ever.

One positive result of Hyun-soo’s actions is that Ji-wook appears to be finally accepting Eun-hyuk, and even working with him. I loved their elaborate plan to get Hyun-soo jailed overnight so that Eun-hyuk could search his apartment. I wasn’t so thrilled with the part of the plan that involved framing Hyun-soo, because planting evidence as if the ends justifies the means would make them no better than District Attorney Jang. Yes, Hyun-soo is guilty and he even admits it, but Ji-wook and Eun-hyuk can’t afford to make a mistake that could result in Hyun-soo going free for a second murder. Not to mention, it’s just wrong, and they’re better than that. They are more than capable of finding something to prove Hyun-soo’s guilt without resorting to illegal measures, now that they’re putting aside their past and working together.

So it begs the question — who did plant the knife in Hyun-soo’s apartment? Eun-hyuk and Bong-hee were the only ones who knew of the original plan and where Ji-wook stashed the knife. It’s possible Ji-wook made a big show of saying they would never stoop to such measures to throw them off the scent so he could do it himself, but by his reaction when he realized the knife was gone, I doubt it. Whoever did it was a man, judging by the clothing we could see, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the truth isn’t going to be as simple as it seems. I do have a theory on who it could be, but it’s pretty out-there so I hesitate to say quite yet. But if I’m right, it could change everything.

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