Suits: Episode 6
As Kang-seok and Yeon-woo prepare to face down their toughest foes to date, they’re going to have to be flexible and see the situation from all angles. It’s not enough to win at all costs, because that attitude can lead to a lot of damage. Failure is often the best teacher, and both Kang-seok and Yeon-woo are about to learn that sometimes, in order to win, first you have to lose.
EPISODE 6: “They drink the same water, but cows make milk, whereas snakes make poison.”
Kang-seok takes David Kim, the opposing lawyer in the Noxi Chemicals case, to a baseball diamond. He makes David an offer: agree to repair the sewage disposal system at the factory, establish a foundation for the community, and pay each claimant one billion won (about a million USD).
Smirking, David asks what Kang-seok would choose as he picks up the bat. Kang-seok says he would have taken the offer and left, and he asks if their positions were reversed, what kind of ball David would pitch. David just says he’d throw the best ball he’s ever thrown.
Kang-seok winds up for the pitch…
Having been tricked by Lawyer Seo, Yeon-woo listens as he outlines the case — his client had some drinks with friends, where they joked as friends will do. A video of her went viral without her consent, which makes her a victim, but instead she lost her job.
Yeon-woo is dazed when Ha-yeon, playing judge, calls on him to make his statement. He scans his brilliant memory for ideas, and he finds a case in which an agreed-upon settlement was rejected so the lawyers were given more time to prepare for trial. Ha-yeon grants the extra time — ten minutes.
Yeon-woo runs into Ji-na outside, who asks if he’s angry. He says he’s mad at himself because he may have to give up. Lawyer Seo interrupts them, reminding Yeon-woo that it’s illegal to talk to his client (the part Ji-na is playing).
Yeon-woo asks if Lawyer Seo should be treating his hoobae like this, then sighs that it’s what he expects from someone who plays dirty. Lawyer Seo sneers that there’s no such thing as playing dirty in a trial, and that he has other ways of winning.
Instead of pitching the ball to David, Kang-seok lets it drop from his hand. He says that he just realized that David can never be like him, so he has no reason to pitch his life away. David compliments Kang-seok’s creative ways of accepting defeat.
He turns to put the bat away, and feels the ball ricochet off his back. Kang-seok warns that this will be the last night David sleeps well.
Back at the mock trial, Yeon-woo requests to file a counteraction on behalf of the (imaginary) news anchor that Lawyer Seo’s client offended in the viral video. Lawyer Seo objects that the mocking from his client wasn’t malicious enough to be insulting, and Yeon-woo challenges him to prove it.
It’s a brilliant move, because the exact nature of the slander was never described, since the mock suit is between the client and the station that fired her. Looking impressed, Ha-yeon permits the counteraction. She announces that this case now regards violation of personal rights, and that the plaintiff and defendant are switched.
She evidently planned for this possibility, and hands out new evidence to Lawyer Seo and Yeon-woo. She tells Yeon-woo that this was a good move, but that if he’d planned this from the beginning, he wouldn’t have been cornered to begin with.
Back at his desk, Yeon-woo watches as Ji-na goes out with her teammates. She turns back, but he’s gotten a text from Se-hee and is on his way out.
When he sees Se-hee smiling at her job, he says that she looks like she’s found an answer to her question (of what her purpose is). She says that she just knows it’s sad to stay depressed about the past, and that she likes being a dog groomer, but it feels good when people mistake her for a veterinarian.
She asks Yeon-woo about his day, and he says haltingly that he wonders if he deserves the title of Attorney Go. Se-hee tells him that he took the first step when he decided not to go back to his old life. Yeon-woo stops and confesses that he’s not a real attorney, but Se-hee doesn’t look surprised.
The following morning, Yeon-woo tells Kang-seok that Lawyer Seo betrayed him, but Kang-seok says that he should have been prepared for all variables, because this could have been a real trial. He tells Yeon-woo that the mock trial is for the firm to decide whether to keep him, and that in court, he’s either a winner or a loser.
With a sigh, Yeon-woo says he’s right, though he feels like he’s walking the path of a loser. Kang-seok snaps that a winner would be finding a solution, not making excuses.
He redirects to ask if Yeon-woo has researched the medical histories of the Yumi Pharmaceuticals plaintiffs, and when Yeon-woo says he’s doing a thorough investigation, Kang-seok says, “No, you’re standing right there.” He cocks an eyebrow, and Yeon-woo gets the hint and scurries out of the room.
Geun-shik talks to Lawyer Seo, who was supposed to be his ace against Yeon-woo and Kang-seok in the mock trial. Lawyer Seo apologizes for letting Geun-shik down and promises to destroy Yeon-woo.
As he’s looking into the Yumi Pharmaceuticals plaintiffs, Yeon-woo finds a petition to another law firm that startles him. Meanwhile, Kang-seok meets with Director Jeon, who shows him video of a man whose Lou Gehrig’s Disease had taken his ability to move or speak. Eighteen months after starting on their medication, he was moving and speaking freely again.
Kang-seok asks if it’s true that in the three years of clinical testing, not one patient suffered liver problems. Director Jeon offers to show him the medical records, and Yeon-woo bursts in to ask why they won’t show their financial statements. She asks what the financial records have to do with the clinical test records.
Yeon-woo states that clinical trials are the most important part of developing a new drug, because once it’s approved, the company’s stock price increases. Director Jeon confirms that that happened, but she insists that CEO Kim didn’t try to benefit from that.
Kang-seok breaks in to say that Director Jeon, who’s dating CEO Kim, didn’t want his ex-wife, to take this case. He tells her that she should have put the past in the past if she really cared for CEO Kim, and she reluctantly agrees.
She begins to say something else about CEO Kim, but hesitates. Yeon-woo shows Kang-seok something, which sends him to confront Attorney Jang, who represents the plaintiffs, in front of a judge. Apparently, Attorney Jang has filed suits against five different pharmaceutical companies for side effect issues.
One plaintiff in the Yumi Pharmaceutical case was also on the list of plaintiffs against another company for their Alzheimer’s drug. Kang-seok asks for dismissal of the case against Yumi Pharmaceuticals, and for Attorney Jang to be punished.
Attorney Jang hands the judge a financial statement showing that Yumi Pharmaceuticals was nearly bankrupt when the Lou Gehrig’s medication went on the market. In his opinion, it proves they had motive for forging the clinical trial results. The judge decides that both attorneys are making assumptions and refuses to dismiss the case.
Ha-yeon is waiting for Kang-seok in the car. Kang-seok is annoyed that he has to pretend that CEO Kim is a decent man just because Ha-yeon insists it’s so, and asks shy she believes he’s not the type to play with lives.
She tells him that when CEO Kim was working as a chief surgeon, a colleague of his committed malpractice. The issue was a medical grey area, but CEO Kim stubbornly insisted that a doctor must take responsibility no matter how mall the mistake and quit his job.
Kang-seok mutters darkly, “Because he could always get a job in a pharmaceutical company.” But Ha-yeon retorts, “No, he was unemployed for two years. Just like you. There’s one thing you both have in common — you would never lie to me.” Kang-seok says that there’s actually a lot she doesn’t know about both of them.
She changes the subject to say she’ll fund the settlement in the Noxi Chemicals case, but that Kang-seok’s shares contract will be used as collateral. He says he’s more worried about the file he hands over, which contains pictures of CEO Kim and Director Jeon looking very much in love.
Ha-yeon is upset that he did a background check, but Kang-seok asserts unhappily that it’s his job. Ha-yeon confesses that she knew they were seeing each other while she and CEO Kim were still married. She regrets giving Kang-seok this case and takes it back, instructing him to focus on winning the Noxi Chemicals case.
She goes to see CEO Kim, who continues to insist that he would never alter clinical test results just because the company was in financial trouble. He asks Ha-yeon to trust him, but she says that she only trusts documents and evidence.
She hands him the file, reminding him that she once asked him if he was seeing someone else and he told her no. She asks him to be honest now, but CEO Kim still swears he never forged anything. Ha-yeon warns that if he’s lying, he’ll be embarrassed by his own lawyer in court.
David visits Kang-seok to gloat that seventeen of the twenty plaintiffs in the Noxi case have agreed to his settlement, which means he’s won. Kang-seok informs David that as of now, all twenty plaintiffs have refused his offer in favor of the one Kang-seok’s paying them.
David asks if the partners are angry that they paid off its own plaintiffs with firm money. Yeon-woo pipes up that actually, it was Ha-yeon’s personal money. David calls them desperate, but Kang-seok says that they’re considering this a pro bono case.
David warns in English, “Listen to me, stupid. Once I’m in that ring, you’re not going to see some gentleman sweep by me. I’ll have every single one of them bleed their bodies dry and get tossed out on the stretchers. You got that?”
Kang-seok replies that David won’t even get into the ring, showing him the recording of the call between him and the factory manager at Noxi Chemicals. On that recording, David ordered Lee Jin-seok threatened, even specifying who should do it and how. He offers to let David hear it, holding out a tablet with the recording queued up.
When David doesn’t hit “play,” Kang-seok asks if he’s scared to hit the ball. He moves to play it himself, but David grabs his wrist and says that it’s illegal wiretapping, so it can’t be used against him in court. Kang-seok claims that he was given the recording anonymously, so his evidence report states that he doesn’t know whether it was recorded illegally.
David accuses Kang-seok of needing to use an illegal recording just to beat him, but Kang-seok concedes that if this is a fight, he lost. He tells David that he can feel as victorious as he wants so long as he signs Kang-seok’s settlement agreement, otherwise he can go to jail.
When David asks if Kang-seok would sign if he were him, Kang-seok says that if he were him, he wouldn’t do illegal things just to win. He states that this case is making him emotional and sincere, because as soon as he heard that recording, he wanted to put David in prison.
Yeon-woo silently hands David a pen as Kang-seok says that just because they drink the same water doesn’t mean they’re similar: “Although they drink the same water, cows make milk, whereas snakes make poison.” David signs, though he says they’ll meet again, and Kang-seok will taste his venom then.
After he’s gone, Kang-seok admits to Yeon-woo that he really was emotional, because he was method acting, ha. Yeon-woo asks if he would have turned in the recording as evidence, but Kang-seok says he doesn’t do stupid things or pull dirty tricks in court. He says that David signed because he knew what was on the recording, so curious Yeon-woo plays it.
LOL, it’s a recording of Yeon-woo getting blindsided by Lawyer Seo at the mock trial. Kang-seok smirks, “See? I don’t do dumb things in court, like you.” Yeon-woo just marvels at his deviousness.
Ha-yeon calls Kang-seok to meet her at a bar. She says that she heard about the Noxi Chemicals case, confirming that he’s the best closer there is. Kang-seok can tell something is off, and she confesses that she let her emotions blind her to the truth.
Ha-yeon says that CEO Kim still claims he didn’t forge the trial results, so Kang-seok asks why she’s upset. She says, “He couldn’t afford to do something like that, because he needed that drug more than anyone. He’s dying. He has Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Oh no, I was afraid of that.
While walking Se-hee home again, Yeon-woo says that he feels better after telling her the truth. Se-hee says that he made a decision not to go back, so he’ll find a way — she’s just glad he was honest with her.
Yeon-woo says that everyone has a rabbit they want to hide, recalling Ji-na’s story about the rabbit that hides on the far side of the moon. Yeon-woo begins to say something else, but we don’t hear what he tells Se-hee.
He’s surprised the next morning to hear that CEO Kim has Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Kang-seok is sure that Director Jeon knows, reminding Yeon-woo that she said CEO Kim is a victim. They bring her in, and Kang-seok asks when she became aware of CEO Kim’s illness. She says that he didn’t tell her until he could no longer hide his symptoms, but she still claims that he didn’t alter the trial results.
Kang-seok says this isn’t about blame, but she grows agitated and repeats that he didn’t forge the results. Yeon-woo says that they know she’s the one who lied, and that if she wants to protect CEO Kim, she needs to tell the truth.
Director Jeon begins to cry and says that CEO Kim decided to test the new drug on himself and improved, but at the end of the clinical test, one patient started having liver problems. It could have delayed or even prevented the drug’s acceptance, so she excluded that patient from the clinical trial.
They report this to Ha-yeon and CEO Kim. Kang-seok advises that Director Jeon hire a lawyer, since they can’t defend her. Ha-yeon says that they can, but only if CEO Kim dissolves his company and give the plaintiffs as much settlement as he can afford. Then he can list himself as a victim and also receive a settlement, which he can use to start a new company.
He refuses, saying that he can’t do that because he didn’t suffer any side effects. But Ha-yeon disagrees — he’s no different than the other victims because they all have the same illness. Having been listening closely, Yeon-woo bursts in with a revelation.
They call in Attorney Jang and the plaintiffs to say that they’ve come up with their final decision — to admit fault and apologize. Confused, having thought they were here to come to a settlement, Attorney Jang asks what this is about.
They play a video of CEO Kim in the throes of his worst symptoms, then he addresses the plaintiffs. He says that it’s unfair that they have Lou Gehrig’s Disease and now suffer from side effects of the medication, while that same medication made him better.
He adds that he truly didn’t know about the side effects, but now that he does, he wants to keep researching the drug until he eliminates the side effects. Ha-yeon tells them that if he bankrupts his company to give them settlements, he won’t be able to keep studying the medicine.
Kang-seok says that their offer is not to give the plaintiffs money now, but ownership shares in Yumi Pharmaceuticals so that CEO Kim can keep working and perfect the medication. Ha-yeon adds that money won’t extend their lives, but the medication will, and she begs them to help CEO Kim. Seeing the wisdom in this, the plaintiffs nod.
Later, Kang-seok visits Attorney Jang’s office to inform him that he’ll be disbarred soon. Attorney Jang spits that Kang-seok is no better than him, with his fancy suit and fancier car. Kang-seok grins that he’s fairly compensated for representing clients who trust him, while Attorney Jang fabricates crimes that don’t exist. He starts,” We may drink the same water… no. You aren’t a cow or a snake. You don’t have the right to drink water at all.”
Lee Jin-seok thanks Kang-seok for his help, but he says he was just doing his job. After Jin-seok leaves, Ha-yeon asks what Kang-seok meant when he said it was because of him and not David. He admits that he got angry for the first time in ages, and Ha-yeon agrees that they were both unprofessional.
Se-hee shows up at the firm to be Yeon-woo’s mock trial witness. She worries that she’ll forget what to say and make him look bad, but he assures her she’s just nervous. When she goes to get water, Ji-na follows her to the break room. Lawyer Seo asks Yeon-woo if Se-hee is his girlfriend, interested in being set up with her if she’s not. This weasel, seriously?
From the doorway, Kang-seok and Geun-shik watch their proteges. Geun-shik says that Lawyer Seo is good, though not on their level, and Kang-seok is all, “Since when were we on the same level?” HAHA.
He asks Yeon-woo if he’s okay with the mock trial coming up. Yeon-woo is surprised after all the times he’s been told not to mention it, but he jumps on the chance to get Kang-seok’s advice. Kang-seok says that Lawyer Seo is conceited, so Yeon-woo needs to go after the person, not the case.
He says this is Yeon-woo’s first fight, so he has to win no matter what. He leaves with one last bit of friendly advice: “Destroy him.”
In the break room, Ji-na asks if Se-hee is here for the trail. Se-hee admits that she’s worried she’ll make Yeon-woo look bad, and she’s confused when Ji-na says they’ll have a happy ending.
The trail resumes with Yeon-woo now representing the plaintiff, Da-ham, who claims to have been damaged by the mocking of a coworker going viral. Representing the defendant, Ji-na, Lawyer Seo states that Ji-na was only joking.
He says that the video was made by spycam, but Yeon-woo points out that Ji-na knew it was there because she winked at the camera. He calls on Da-ham, who hams it up as she wipes away dramatic tears and sniffles that she’s worked hard to become the station’s main anchor and gain the trust of the entire nation (LOL, Ha-yeon is trying so hard not to laugh).
Da-ham continues that because she gave Ji-na advice, she became the laughing stock of the nation when Ji-na’s cruelly impersonated her, and that she even had to break up with her fiance. Lawyer Seo objects on the grounds that her relationship has nothing to do with this case. Da-ham wails that it’s not easy to get married, making the whole room giggle at her histrionics.
It’s Se-hee’s turn to be questioned — she’s playing a morning newscaster at the TV station. She says that the video was taken at a get-together to congratulate her for landing the morning news position, so she was also there when Ji-na made fun of Da-ham. She says it made her feel uncomfortable, and that in her opinion, the Ji-na did it because Da-ham recommended Se-hee for the job and not herself.
Lawyer Seo asks if Ji-na ever told Se-hee that she was unhappy, and she admits she didn’t. He says she doesn’t know how Ji-na felt, but Se-hee blurts out earnestly, “Doesn’t everyone have a rabbit in their hearts? A rabbit that lives on the dark side of the moon so others can’t see it’s there, like a secret.”
Ji-na, recognizing her own words, glares at Yeon-woo, and he looks like he’d love to dive under the table.
Se-hee says that Ji-na (the character) has many secrets, but she can’t hide her feelings well. Lawyer Seo asks her what he’s feeling right now, and when Yeon-woo objects, Lawyer Seo says that Se-hee can’t read minds and doesn’t know how it feels to be mocked and unfairly fired.
In his office, Kang-seok listens to the recording of David’s phone call. David tells the manager that they must instill fear in Lee Jin-seok, but since he’s a strong person, they have to strike at him in front of his weakness — his daughter. He snarls that you can tolerate rats nibbling at cheese, but when they want the whole block, “You extinguish them, with a bullet in the heart or an ax in the head.”
Back at the mock trial, Ji-na is questioned. She says she was just having fun with friends, and that she wasn’t upset about being passed over for the promotion because she expected Se-hee to get it. She improvises that if there was a video for every time a hoobae mocked their sunbae, the internet would be flooded with videos of Da-ham. Oh, snap.
Yeon-woo asks about her claim that she wasn’t angry, and Ji-na says that she and Da-ham were close friends so she had hope, but she didn’t really expect the job. He asks if she made some did something to Da-ham, and she replies that in fact, it’s Da-ham who’s been telling people her secrets.
He asks what she means by secrets, and she barks, “The rabbit.” There’s a long silence as she and Yeon-woo stare at each other, and finally Yeon-woo snaps back into character and says that Ji-na’s critical email to her colleagues was sent out of spite. She asks why she’s accused of spite when Da-ham told her secret for fun.
He brings out her mock employee evaluation, which states that she’s anxious when on the air, and can’t handle emergencies. Ji-na disagrees, so Yeon-woo asks if she thinks she has no ability to be a news announcer, since she said she knew she wouldn’t get the job.
Aggressive now, Yeon-woo asks why she never looked within herself for the reason she wasn’t promoted, instead of blaming Da-ham. He says that if Ji-na had tried to improve herself instead of making excuses, she might have gotten the job, and concludes that Se-hee spent that time on herself so she earned the job. Oh damn, he’s just attacking every one of Ji-na’s insecurities.
Ji-na fights back tears as Yeon-woo keeps hammering about life being a series of challenges, and that people don’t fail because of stage fright. She interrupts to yell that she’s as capable as anyone, and Yeon-woo suddenly realizes what he’s done by using her fear against her. Ji-na gasps that she’s afraid, no longer in character, and Yeon-woo excuses himself.
He pulls Lawyer Seo aside and asks for a settlement. Lawyer Seo says he has no reason to settle, since nothing Ji-na said was crucial testimony. He wants to continue, but Yeon-woo looks at Ji-na and says he doesn’t.
Ha-yeon declares Lawyer Seo the winner of the mock trial, as Yeon-woo stands looking deeply ashamed and Geun-shik whispers that he’s done for. He turns to see Kang-seok standing in the back of the room, arms crossed and a dark look on his face.
After this week, I don’t like Ji-na as a person as much as I did before. She jumps to a lot of wrong conclusions, particularly in regards to Yeon-woo, then lashes out without even bothering to find out the truth. It would have been obvious to anyone that he didn’t splash mud on her that first day on purpose, yet she held that against him pretty strongly until he told her the truth. Then she started acting cranky when she decided he’s dating Se-hee with no evidence other than seeing him and Se-hee being friendly together, and joins his opposition just to stick it to him rather than just ask if he’s dating someone.
Then she hears Se-hee repeat her “rabbit in the moon” analogy and jumps to the conclusion that Yeon-woo also told Se-hee her deepest fear, and instead of waiting and, you know, asking, she calls him out right in the middle of the mock trial. Granted, Yeon-woo was pretty awful when he used her weakness against her, but to be fair, Ji-na’s the one who made it personal. I’d like to alter what I said in the last recap — Ji-na is much too volatile and negative, and she doesn’t deserve Yeon-woo’s friendship (much less anything more) until she figures out how to talk to people instead of assuming the worst about them.
To be honest, a lot of the legal happenings that go on in this show confuse me. For example, I have no clue why Ha-yeon and Kang-seok felt it necessary to pay a settlement to their own clients in the Noxi Chemicals case (unless it was to make them refuse David’s offer, which feels unethical). It seems to defeat the purpose of even having a lawsuit if the other side gets off scott-free and your own lawyers give you the settlement money. But I do find the cases that Kang-seok and Yeon-woo work on interesting and engaging because they usually involve human rights, and I particularly loved the creative resolution to the Yumi Pharmaceuticals case. I do wish that David’s vague mentions of a chicken company lawsuit and Kang-seok not knowing what his case was really about had been explained, though — I was expecting something really twisty and surprising, but it just fizzled out.
Seeing the way that Kang-seok and Yeon-woo approach the cases from such different angles is fascinating. Kang-seok is all about the win no matter what, which is his job, but he also seems to have convinced himself that kindness and compassion are never necessary. While Yeon-woo still wants things to be fair and for the “good guys” to win, which is wonderfully idealistic but not very helpful in a courtroom. I’m enjoying the fact that in Kang-seok’s real-life cases and Yeon-woo’s mock trial, they both butted heads with a rival who was willing to fight dirty just to win. They were forced out of their comfort zones, and seeing them squirm was entertaining, even as we know they’re learning some valuable lessons.
Kang-seok always assumes that he’s unique and that nobody is capable of figuring him out, so he can use the same tactics on everyone and still be triumphant. But despite his confidence that he’s the only one of his kind, David Kim kept anticipating his moves because Yeon-woo is correct — he was thinking just like Kang-seok. So Kang-seok was forced to do the opposite of what he’d normally do in order to defeat David, including letting his emotions get involved and admitting defeat. He needed to learn that you can’t just treat every case the same way, but I’m worried that we haven’t seen the last of David. He’s much too devious and invested in winning to stay away for long.
Meanwhile, Yeon-woo believes that everyone is interested in fairness and justice like he is, so he was blindsided when Lawyer Seo didn’t hold his same values and used that fact to gain the upper hand. But Yeon-woo tried to play by Kang-seok’s rules and win no matter what, only for it to backfire on him when he accidentally got carried away and hurt Ji-na. I’m proud of him for not getting caught up in the game and realizing that winning isn’t worth hurting people, but I do hope that this doesn’t backfire again and get him in deep water with Kang-seok.