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Mad Dog: Episode 16 (Final)

It’s finally time to try to drag down the people truly responsible for the Flight 801 crash, but can Mad Dog ensnare everyone involved or will some of them manage to escape our team’s carefully laid trap with some smooth maneuvers of their own?

EPISODE 16: “Dr. Kim, in”

Lawyer Lee sneaks into Min-joon’s empty apartment and waits in ambush. Downstairs, Kang-woo catches up to Min-joon and urges him to join the rest of the team for a meal instead of going back to change clothes.

Kang-woo checks the security footage and sees Lawyer Lee enter the apartment upstairs. Kang-woo heads straight in and bolts the door behind him. He draws Lawyer Lee out from the shadows and says he’s now trapped inside with him.

Lawyer Lee laughs and says casually that he was only there to meet Min-joon, but Kang-woo notes both the scarf and knife in Lawyer Lee’s hands and surmises that the real reason he came was to kill Min-joon.

Kang-woo challenges Lawyer Lee to take him on instead of Min-joon, since Kang-woo is a more equal match for Lawyer Lee’s strength. Lawyer Lee wildly slashes the knife at Kang-woo as the two clash in the apartment, and eventually Lawyer Lee catches Kang-woo with a swipe to the arm.

At the restaurant, Min-joon wonders why Kang-woo still hasn’t joined them when it was his idea to get a meal together. Back in the apartment, Kang-woo and Lawyer Lee battle to gain the upper hand on each other, and eventually Lawyer Lee manages to overpower Kang-woo by choking him with the scarf.

Meanwhile, Ha-ri tries to get a hold of Kang-woo but he won’t answer. Min-joon realizes Kang-woo is up to something and rushes back to find him, with Ha-ri and Noo-ri quickly in tow.

Kang-woo manages to get out of the chokehold and quickly turns the tables on Lawyer Lee, turning his own scarf against him and choking him instead.

Min-joon and company find the security footage of Lawyer Lee entering Min-joon’s apartment and dash upstairs to intervene, but can’t get past the bolted door.

Inside, Kang-woo throttles Lawyer Lee and asks why they’re after Min-joon all of a sudden, when he himself was the original target. Lawyer Lee refuses to answer, instead urging Kang-woo to just kill him.


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Will Kang-woo end up a killer?

Min-joon and gang yell through the blocked door to see if Kang-woo is okay, and Lawyer Lee promises that he’ll kill every one of them if he gets the chance. His words enrage Kang-woo, who tightens his grip on Lawyer Lee’s neck.

Min-joon notices Kang-woo’s reflection in the window and screams, “Stop! Don’t do it! You can’t become a murderer!” At his words, Kang-woo finally comes to his senses and lets go right as Lawyer Lee loses consciousness.

Noo-ri finally breaks the chain and the team rushes in to find Lawyer Lee lying motionless on the floor. Ha-ri frantically calls an ambulance as Kang-woo staggers away looking stunned.

Later, at the prison, Kang-woo meets with Chairman Cha and brings up Lawyer Lee, who survived Kang-woo’s strangulation and is now recovering in the hospital.

Kang-woo reveals that Lawyer Lee dropped a phone during the scuffle, and it turned out to belong to Go Jin-chul, the murderer Lawyer Lee killed to keep silent.

The phone contains a recording of Go Jin-chul and Hyun-gi’s business dealings, including Hyun-gi ordering him to kill Min-joon. As the team listens to the recording, Min-joon realizes that Lawyer Lee’s plan was to kill Min-joon and frame Hyun-gi for ordering the hit.

Back at the prison, Kang-woo reveals that he read their move. Chairman Cha denies his involvement, and tells Kang-woo to hand the phone over to the authorities so that Hyun-gi will be investigated.

Kang-woo wonders what would happen if he gave the cellphone to Hyun-gi instead of the prosecutors, and Chairman Cha’s eyes widen at the threat.

Kang-woo estimates that Chairman Cha must have only agreed to take the blame for everything in exchange for Hyun-gi saving Hong-joo, and Hyun-gi will second-guess his promise when he finds out Chairman Cha tried to frame him.

Chairman Cha pleads with Kang-woo not to go after Hong-joo, but Kang-woo presses forward, dismissing Chairman Cha’s attempt to appeal to Kang-woo and Hong-joo’s closeness.

Chairman Cha admits he should have killed Kang-woo two years ago when Kang-woo first started acting out. Kang-woo growls back, “Do I look like I’m alive to you?” Kang-woo leaves with a promise to make Chairman Cha feel the same pain Kang-woo felt two years ago.

Chairman Cha scrambles to make sure Hong-joo sticks close to Hyun-gi, as he is now her only lifeline, and she begrudgingly agrees.

Hong-joo heads to Hyun-gi’s office, and she admits to him that Lawyer Lee’s plan to kill Min-joon was a result of Chairman Cha trying to sabotage Hyun-gi. When Hyun-gi asks what Hong-joo wants, she reveals that she wants to take down Kang-woo and Mad Dog.

Hyun-gi promises that he will take care of them for her, but Hong-joo reveals that the documents they recently destroyed as part of their cover-up were actually fake. She guesses that Kang-woo must have the originals and replaced them with the fake documents.

Elsewhere, Manager Park meets Kang-woo and says that Hong-joo doesn’t know the documents were switched. Manager Park agrees to keep helping Kang-woo now that they’re so close to ensnaring everyone.

Back at Mad Dog HQ, the team gets their hands on the original copies of both the flight insurance contract and the flight purchase contract, and they now have all the evidence they need to take down Hyun-gi and Hong-joo together.

Min-joon notices Kang-woo is conspicuously absent, and realizes that he must be up to something on his own again.

Min-joon calls Kang-woo and asks if he plans to take all the burden on alone again, but Kang-woo says that’s not the case, and that they just need to draw attention away from themselves right now.

Min-joon doesn’t understand Kang-woo’s meaning, but just then, Manager Park arrives and briefs the rest of Mad Dog on Kang-woo’s plan. The goal is to find as many seemingly insignificant issues as they can and throw them at JH Group all together to make a large impact, and the team quickly gets to work at finding any issue they can use.

Meanwhile, Kang-woo seeks out a prosecutor. Kang-woo knows that Prosecutor Jin was after JH Group for years, until Chief Prosecutor Ohn shut down the investigation.

Kang-woo offers to give Prosecutor Jin someone who can testify that Hyun-gi was responsible for the plane crash, and Prosecutor Jin looks intrigued by the offer.

Back at home, Hyun-gi looks skeptical that the documents Mad Dog possesses could do serious damage since it would be their word against his with no way to verify who is telling the truth.

He checks the old government reports one more time and realizes that the mechanic and accountant who analyzed the viability of JH Group’s flight expansion two years ago aren’t named in the reports, so they could be potential loose ends for Mad Dog to grab onto.

The next day, Hyun-gi berates Hong-joo for her sloppy handling of the cover-up, and argues that if they really want to keep things under wraps, they’ll need to also silence the mechanic and accountant.

But since Mad Dog will already be a step ahead of them in trying to find those two, Hyun-gi suggests that they let Mad Dog find their targets.

Later, back at Taeyang, Hong-joo shows the fake airplane insurance contract to Manager Park and interrogates him about what happened to it. Manager Park plays dumb, and Hong-joo has no choice but to let him off the hook.

Manager Park texts Kang-woo right away to let him know that Hong-joo has caught on, but we learn that her showing Manager Park the document was Hyun-gi’s idea, part of his plan to ensnare Mad Dog.

Meanwhile, Hyun-gi meets with Chief Prosecutor Ohn and, surprisingly, Prosecutor Jin, who sells Kang-woo out to Hyun-gi immediately and reveals the plan to provide witnesses who can prove Hyun-gi’s responsibility for the crash.

Chief Prosecutor Ohn suggests arresting Kang-woo, but Hyun-gi insists that they wait so they can press more charges and force him to serve a longer sentence.

Later, Prosecutor Jin meets Kang-woo and urges him to bring the witness to the investigation press conference. Kang-woo questions whether he can really trust Prosecutor Jin, who assures Kang-woo that he is just doing his job as a prosecutor.

Back at Mad Dog, Manager Park leads the team’s operations and insists that he should be in charge while Kang-woo is out. Soon-jung protests but Manager Park pitifully explains his outcast position at Taeyang and Soon-jung relents out of pity.

As Min-joon and Ha-ri wait for their targets elsewhere, they join Soon-jung and Noo-ri in teasing Manager Park by affectionately referring to him as Spaniel because he always roams about busily chasing after them like a puppy.

The accountant who assessed JH Group’s finances two years ago arrives to meet Min-joon, who pretends to be interested in getting his taxes done by the accountant. The team guffaws when they hear how large Min-joon’s net worth is, much larger than they originally thought.

Min-joon convinces Accountant Lee to join him for lunch while they finish discussing his taxes, and Ha-ri scolds him for changing the plan on the fly, though Min-joon tells Ha-ri not to worry.

In a nearby restaurant, Min-joon treats Accountant Lee to what appears to be a romantic meal, and Ha-ri covertly finds a table nearby to spy on them in-person. She shoots daggers at Min-joon as he flirts with the accountant openly.

Accountant Lee excuses herself momentarily, so Min-joon walks over to Ha-ri’s table and sits down across from her. Min-joon points out that she must’ve followed him inside because she was worried about him.

Ha-ri tries to shoo Min-joon away so that he doesn’t blow his cover, but he tells Ha-ri that he’d rather sit and watch her to pass the time. “I just want to be with you for a minute,” he says, ignoring her warnings, “I just want to look at you for one minute.” He begins to stare at her intently, refusing to break eye contact.

Back at Mad Dog, Soon-jung and Noo-ri shush Manager Park from interrupting the romantic moment, and Manager Park whispers his shocked reaction to learning about Ha-ri and Min-joon’s relationship.


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Min-joon stares into Ha-ri’s soul for just one minute

Min-joon tells Ha-ri to look out for Accountant Lee since he’ll be so preoccupied with looking at her, and she awkwardly keeps watch while Min-joon stares at her. By the time Ha-ri spots the accountant returning, Min-joon is already on his way back to his seat, unnoticed by Ha-ri who was too nervous to look at him while he sat there.

After eating, Min-joon reveals to the accountant that he’s actually the brother of Flight 801’s co-pilot, and pleads with her to help prove that the original accounting report was the one which showed that JH Group could not afford a new flight.

Min-joon argues that people should know who was really responsible for the crash, and why his brother was painted as a murderer in their place. His words get through to Accountant Lee and she breaks down in tears.

Kang-woo, meanwhile, finds the plane’s mechanic. Hyun-gi has put a tail on Kang-woo, however, and quickly finds out that Mad Dog found both the mechanic and the accountant.

Hong-joo asks Hyun-gi what he plans to do now, and Hyun-gi answers, “They found them, so we should steal them.” Hyun-gi calls Chief Prosecutor Ohn and tells him it’s time to finish their plan.

The press conference to reveal the results of the Flight 801 reinvestigation is announced, and Min-joon and Kang-woo each confirm that their witnesses will attend.

At the press conference, Hyun-gi opens by apologizing once again, and Hong-joo joins him on stage for a deep bow. Hyun-gi also introduces Min-joon in the front row, who greets the gathered reporters.

Hyun-gi announces that Flight 801 crashed because of a faulty engine and that it was impossible for the pilot to successfully control the plane.

He reveals that the safety inspection of the plane predicted this outcome, and his secretary projects the original safety report onscreen to confirm. Hyun-gi reads the mechanic’s declaration of unsafe conditions as Min-joon marvels that Hyun-gi would reveal this information himself.

Hyun-gi announces that the mechanic who wrote the report is in attendance, and calls on him to verify the report. Kang-woo, who is watching alone in the Mad Dog office, reels as Hyun-gi steals their witness with ease.

The mechanic claims that he did report the unsafe aircraft, but Hyun-gi blames the upper officials in the government for ignoring the mechanic’s report.

With one witness successfully undermined, Hyun-gi switches to the financial report, and now presents the original document showing JH Group’s insufficient funds, which Accountant Lee verifies is what she reported two years ago.

Hong-joo notices that Mad Dog doesn’t seem upset that Hyun-gi just effectively stole their witnesses, and wonders what they must be up to instead. Just then, Min-joon rises from his seat and begins to address Hyun-gi.

At Mad Dog, Prosecutor Jin arrives with a team of prosecutors and orders Kang-woo to let them in. But Kang-woo was prepared for Prosecutor Jin’s double-cross and knew Chief Prosecutor Ohn would attempt to arrest him.

At the press conference, Min-joon plainly asks Hyun-gi who is responsible, then, for the crash, and Hyun-gi obliges by showing the insurance contract that JH Group signed with Taeyang, which he says proves that Chairman Cha and his father were the perpetrators who facilitated the creation of the new flight.

The reporters in the room stir, however, when they read the names on the document Hyun-gi is showing onscreen—it’s the real contract, the one with Hyun-gi and Hong-joo’s signatures on it.

Min-joon points this information out to Hyun-gi, who shoots an angry look at his secretary, who just glares back. Hyun-gi lies that the file onscreen is not the original.

But Min-joon asks if the aircraft purchase contract is also not the original, and signals the secretary to show the next slide containing the purchase agreement. The contract clearly shows that Hyun-gi was the one who purchased the plane.


Watch the scene

Mad Dog finally catches Hyun-gi in a lie


Hyun-gi denies its authenticity by claiming that he was on a flight on the day it was allegedly signed. But Min-joon is ready for that excuse, and introduces a former Juhan Air flight attendant to combat his denial.

Kang-woo had approached the flight attendant in a restaurant previously, where he’d convinced her to attend the press conference. Now, she reveals that she was an attendant on the flight Hyun-gi is using as an alibi, and she announces that she witnessed Hyun-gi signing that contract while on the plane.

With Hyun-gi cornered, Kang-woo messages Soon-jung to play something at the press conference. The prosecutors finally break into the office right after the message is sent, and arrest Kang-woo for his illegal activities in gathering all the evidence against Hyun-gi.

Back at the press conference, Hyun-gi tries to regain control of the situation, but the recording Kang-woo just sent starts playing in the auditorium.

The recording begins with Hong-joo’s confession about securing the falsified government reports before it continues with Hyun-gi admitting to purchasing the faulty plane, then moves on to both Hong-joo and Hyun-gi’s backroom dealings with Chief Prosecutor Ohn.

Hyun-gi and Hong-joo realize they’re doomed, and all Hyun-gi can do is softly offer an apology to Hong-joo for failing to protect her.

Ha-ri is shocked that they’re using the illegally obtained recordings, and Soon-jung reveals that Kang-woo stayed behind specifically so he could send the file himself. Min-joon sighs as he realizes that Kang-woo really will take all of the blame for Mad Dog’s activities.

As a result of Mad Dog’s investigation, Chairman Cha and Hyun-gi both receive seven years in prison for their crimes. Hong-joo receives a five-year sentence for her crimes, while Chief Prosecutor Ohn gets three years.

Kang-woo, on the other hand, gets a one-year sentence for wiretapping, and Min-joon visits him in prison to warmly request that Kang-woo join him for a drink when he gets out.

10 months later, Kang-woo leaves prison to find Professor Byeon waiting to pick him up. The team is in the middle of another operation, and they all welcome Kang-woo back over their earpieces as Professor Byeon escorts him back into action.

Min-joon takes notes as a scammer lectures a classroom full of people on how to fake a car accident to get insurance money. Ha-ri enters wearing an exceptionally short skirt and sits right next to Min-joon, who nags her for wearing such a skimpy outfit. Ha-ri just winks back at him cheekily.

The rest of the team join in on the big skirt debate, including Nurse Oh, who now joins the team regularly when she’s not working as a nurse. Soon-jung adds, “With me, as a couple.” Nurse Oh protests, and he just blows her a little kiss in the air.

Min-joon drops his pen as an excuse to cover Ha-ri’s legs with his jacket, saying that they’re so pretty that he wants to be the only one to admire them, and she giggles at his smooth comment.

Min-joon heads outside and asks where Kang-woo is, and Kang-woo answers that he’s on his way to them now. Min-joon tells Kang-woo to hurry, and affectionately calls him “hyung,” which results in a series of grins from the rest of the team.

Kang-woo returns the favor, dropping to informal speech with Min-joon as he gets the rest of the team to fill him in on their case. Soon-jung tells Min-joon to get back in the game, and Min-joon responds, “Dr. Kim, in,” as Mad Dog begins their next operation as a now fully formed team.


Yay, they’re all working together as a team now! And even Nurse Oh and Professor Byeon are getting involved more! It’s a happy note to leave the series on, and I can only imagine how well their schemes will work now that they’re all on the same page and willing to trust in each other. Their final plot to corner Hyun-gi went about as smoothly as anyone could have hoped for, and though I unabashedly love Hyun-gi as a character, his comeuppance was satisfying to watch in the end.

I’m a little bit disappointed at how muted the whole affair was, though. Mad Dog spent all of this time setting up their elaborate trap and the end result was a simple switching of the press conference materials to incriminate Hong-joo and Hyun-gi. It really lacked the panache I was expecting, and diminished the payoff slightly that there wasn’t some big, unknown twist that changed everything. We already knew Hyun-gi’s secretary was collaborating with Mad Dog, so there was no real surprise when he became the key to ruining Hyun-gi.

It’s just a shame that the solution was so simple. When you consider how much the main conflict revolved around each party reading the other side’s moves correctly and plotting around them, Hyun-gi falling because he trusted one person is a disappointment. He was so on top of everything throughout the series and even read Mad Dog’s final plan for the most part, but failed to account for one variable and it brought everything crashing down.

Still, Mad Dog was a decently fun ride along the way thanks to its smartly written villains, who all felt like they were reasonable opponents for Kang-woo and company to match wits with. Their motives are maybe a bit too nebulous if you look too closely at them (I still have no real sense of what Taeyang stood to gain from taking such an active role in the conspiracy), but if you don’t squint too hard it’s not glaring enough to be a massive hindrance to your enjoyment.

For me, Mad Dog’s core competency is the relationships of the team members themselves. There were a ton of cute moments throughout, not only from Min-joon and Ha-ri’s budding romance, but also neat little touches like Soon-jung and Noo-ri’s extremely close bond, or Kang-woo and Min-joon’s escalating competition to selflessly sacrifice themselves more than the other person. Plus they packed in enough detail with the characters on the periphery like Nurse Oh and Manager Park that it felt like there was an abundance of warmth around everyone on the team.

So now that Min-joon successfully absolved his brother and helped Kang-woo get justice for his family, I’m glad they all stuck together and even kept working with their leader in prison for a year. It shows, really, how much Min-joon grew over the course of the series, that he went from grouchy con man who refuses to trust anyone to a fully integrated team member in the end. His heartwarming referral to Kang-woo as “hyung” left me sharing the same dopey smile the rest of the team expressed when they heard it. It goes to show that even with all the corruption out there in the world, you can find hope in the support of a solid group of friends who will back you through thick and thin.


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