A new case sends the emergency call center into a tizzy as they try to save the potential victim before it’s too late, especially when that victim is no stranger. Kwon-joo gets another step closer to figuring out who the killer is (perhaps a step too close) and Jin-hyuk has to decide who he trusts more: the cops he’s known for years, Kwon-joo who he’s known for a few days, or his own instinct.
Chapter 4: “Ringing from the Darkness — The Secret of the Chocolate Box Part 1”
Down by the train tracks, the convivial atmosphere of a group of guys hanging out is suddenly disrupted when a body falls from the bridge, landing right next them. When the police are called in, it’s revealed to be the body of Dong-chul.
Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk speed to the crime scene, but along the way Jin-hyuk refuses to believe that it’s Dong-chul. He can’t be dead. Not yet.
The detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit are already on scene, collecting evidence. They determine that Dong-chul’s injuries came from his fall, and there’s also a suicide note in his pocket. Chief Jang tells the guys to keep it quiet so Jin-hyuk won’t find out, knowing the detective will throw a fit.
Too late, because Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo arrive just then. The guys try to block Jin-hyuk from entering the crime scene, reassuring the detective that Dong-chul committed suicide. Jin-hyk insists on having a look himself, but as he struggles against the other detectives holding him back, Kwon-joo steps forward and informs Chief Jang that the call center received the notification first — he doesn’t want this to be a conflict between departments, now, does he?
Reluctantly, Chief Jang allows her and Jin-hyuk access, warning them that they only have five minutes and she’s responsible for Jin-yuk’s actions. Looking over the body, Kwon-joo is convinced that Dong-chul was murdered since his head wasn’t destroyed by the fall, but from the same type of metal instrument that was used on her father and Jin-yuk’s wife. She also points out that his bare feet are too bloody and broken for him to have merely taken his shoes off and jumped from the bridge.
She’s right, of course. A flashback shows a barefoot Dong-chul shuffling across broken glass as he tried to flee the hooded man with his gleaming grin, but it’s useless. The mysterious man bashed in Dong-chul’s feet with a hammer before pulling out his trusty kettlebell to finish the deed. Jin-hyuk lifts up the body, much to the consternation of the Violent Crimes Unit, asking what’s left of Dong-chul’s face to tell him who is the killer.
At his usual restaurant, Jin-hyuk downs glass after glass of soju as the news reports on Dong-chul’s suicide, declaring the three-year-old case officially closed. He thinks over Kwon-joo’s suggestion that the two of them should secretly investigate the murders themselves, since there’s definitely someone on the inside helping to cover it up. She promises to keep looking into the type of weapon the killer is using, while Jin-hyuk can investigate into Dong-chul’s whereabouts the past three years.
As he drinks more soju, he remembers the last time he saw his wife alive. He was rushing out the door to get to work, skipping her offer of a birthday breakfast. She later packed up the food to deliver it to him, but she ran into a murderer first. Jin-hyuk promises his wife that he’ll find her killer, no matter what.
Dae-shik barges into the restaurant to find a very drunk Jin-hyuk. He’s surprised that Jin-hyuk has agreed to stay on the Golden Time team, especially now that Dong-chul is no longer alive and the case is closed. But Jin-hyuk just tells him he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.
The granddaughter of the woman who runs the restaurant suddenly runs out to meet one of her friends, Hwang Kyung-il. She cutely greets him and he hands over a present of a DVD (Forrest Gump, which he says is favorite movie) and perfume. Grandma is suspicious, though, and goes out to greet him.
She’s gradually won over by discovering he’s a middle school teacher, and is surprised that Eun-byul would date a decent guy like him. But Eun-byul tells Grandma that she has no end of guys interested in her, as is proven when she gets a message from an ex just then.
In the morning, Kwon-joo and a medical examiner study the injuries on Dong-chul’s body. He agrees with her that they were inflicted by the same instrument that killed her father and Jin-yuk’s wife. He also points out that it’s an unusual kind of weapon — which means this is an unusual kind of murderer.
Eun-soo, the polyglot who Kwon-joo had wanted to join her Golden Time team, declines the offer by sending Kwon-joo a polite text message. Eun-soo is also the older sister of Eun-byul, who calls her at that moment to let her know that she’s going to be late tonight because she’s going to a birthday party.
Eun-byul’s in the parking garage of a shopping center on her way to get a gift and literally stumbles over an abandoned purse. Her sister tells her to leave it alone, but the younger woman’s curiosity is too strong and she opens it to see what’s inside. She recoils in horror when she discovers a memory stick with a note that says it’s a video clip of her, and “I know the dirty things you did.”
She never hung up on her sister — merely shoved her phone in her pocket to free her hands to search the purse — but the phone is forgotten as she looks around in terror, afraid of whomever left this for her. Listening on the phone, Eun-soo only hears her sister shriek and a car drive off before the call is dropped.
Eun-soo immediately calls the emergency center and Hyun-ho answers, taking in all the information about the situation. He starts the “golden time” clock for the abduction and contacts Kwon-joo, who tells him she’s on her way and to start tracking the phone’s GPS and any cars that were in the vicinity. When Hyun-ho radios for Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik, the guys are shocked to realize that the victim is their favorite restaurant ahjumma’s granddaughter, and they scramble to head out.
As Kwon-joo talks to Eun-soo to figure out who in her sister’s life might be the most likely suspect, a bound and gagged Eun-byul struggles in the back of a trunk, struggling to free herself and reach her buzzing phone. After enough wriggling, she’s able to free the phone and touch the right area on the screen to answer it.
They’ve tracked down the GPS on her phone to direct Dae-shik and Jin-hyuk where to go, and Hyun-ho patches in Kwon-joo on her phone to be able to listen to the radio feed so she can hear the sounds around Eun-byul. Jin-hyuk yells into the radio that there are too many cars where they are — how are they going to figure out which one is the right one? Based on the way she could hear Eun-byul struggling, Kwon-joo estimates that she must be in a midsize sedan or larger.
That narrows it down a little bit, and Jin-hyuk orders Dae-shik to get closer to the larger sedans ahead of them, much to the frustration and anger of all the other drivers as they swerve around while repeatedly honking the horn. Even though they get cursed at by nearly everyone, Jin-hyuk realizes that these are not the right cars.
According to the GPS tracking, the detectives are close to Eun-byul, and as Jin-hyuk rattles off the license late numbers in front of him, none of the drivers seem like likely suspects. But then he notices a pick-up truck with a covered bed, and realizes that the cover was moving from where Eun-byul was trying to kick at it. Kwon-joo argues with him, telling him tat she clearly heard a sedan’s trunk, but Jin-hyuk bluntly tells her that this time, she’s wrong.
Besides, if this was a planned abduction, then Eun-byul will likely die if they don’t catch her abductor right now. He reminds her that he’s a trained detective, which means he knows how to analyze situations. They turn on their siren and order the truck to pull over.
Back at the call center, Hyun-ho has pulled up the information on the truck’s registered owner, Min Ji-suk. He finds it odd that the Ji-suk and Eun-byul share a similar phone number, and when he uses that number to search on a social media site, he pulls up a photo of Eun-byul with the Ji-suk. Apparently they used to date, and he’d posted that he’d do anything to be with her again.
Armed with that knowledge — and a gun — Jin-hyuk approaches the driver’s side of the truck, ordering Ji-suk to get out of the vehicle. Meanwhile, Dae-shik investigates the covered truck bed and verifies that Eun-byul is inside. But before he can figure out how to open it, Ji-suk steps on the gas and drives away. Jin-hyuk hops on the running board and does his best to order Ji-suk to stop, but even he’s thrown aside.
The detectives race back to their car and speed off in pursuit of the truck. Both vehicles weave in and out of traffic, but eventually the detectives are cut off when the truck smashes his way through an intersection and Dae-shik has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting another car.
But they’re stopped in the middle of the intersection, and a truck of doom barrels down, crashing into them and causing the detectives’ car to roll. The men are still alive (whew!), but injured, and Jin-hyuk calls for an ambulance for Dae-shik. Eun-byul’s phone turns off and Hyun-ho panics when he realizes they can no longer track her via GPS.
Back at the station, Commissioner Bae is furious that not only did the Golden Time Response Unit lose the suspect, but they also caused a major accident. Chief Jang has no problem blaming Kwon-joo for misidentifying the abductor’s vehicle, He reassures the commissioner that the Violent Crimes Unit is forming a special investigation team to take care of everything.
Eun-soo blames herself for her sister’s abduction — she’s a detective, yet she didn’t know that her sister was receiving threats in the first place. Grandma arrives at the station just then, throwing herself into Jin-yuk’s arms as she cries about what they’re going to do. Eun-byul’s teacher friend Kyung-il is there, too, also worried about her since he couldn’t contact her.
From across the room at his lonely Golden Time desk, Jin-hyuk listens to the other detectives report their findings on Ji-suk. He’s a coworker of Eun-byul’s, and the truck isn’t actually his, but they have proof he rented it this morning. They also found a lot of videos of Eun-byul in his room. It’s also odd that Ji-suk cancelled all his credit cards that morning — it could mean he’s planning to commit suicide.
They question Eun-byul’s other coworkers, who are convinced that Eun-byul broke up with Ji-suk because he was abusing her — they found bruises on her arms, even though she wouldn’t tell them how she got them. Then Ji-suk continued to stalk her, even though she kept telling him to leave her alone. He retaliated by threatening to post videos online of them having sex.
Jin-yuk’s figured out that Kyung-il knows Ji-suk, and he asks the younger man for more information. Kyung-il admits that Ji-suk had difficulty accepting that he was now dating Eun-byul, and even though they hadn’t been seeing each other very long, he’d been hoping things would start to get serious with her.
He asks Kyung-il if Eun-byul was seeing other men — someone with a different body type than either him or Ji-suk, but Kyung-il insists that he doesn’t know about anyone other than Ji-suk. Even though both men are in a private interrogation room where no one else can hear them, Kwon-joo arrives in time to overhear their conversation as she’s walking down the hall.
She apologizes for her earlier mistake, and is curious why Jin-hyuk is asking about other men in Eun-byul’s life. He reveals a printout from a CCTV camera at the car rental agency, which shows two men with their backs to the camera.
The Violent Crimes Unit are starting to be curious about Kyung-il, but Jin-hyuk barges into their meeting to tell them that they’re after the wrong man. Ji-suk is tall and thin, but the man in the camera and that masked figure he saw driving the truck is of a much burlier man. Chief Jang scoffs at this supposed evidence, but Kwon-joo cooly informs them that the Golden Time Unit will be taking over the case, reminding him that for kidnappings, the “golden time” is the first twelve hours.
It’s now two hours after Eun-byul’s abduction. Kwon-joo listens to a recording of the the phone call from when she was trapped in the truck, and realizes that she was wrong in insisting it was a sedan. Focusing on the call, she wonders why there would be a shovel, and then remembers when Kyung-il left the station, realizing that he called Ji-suk to warn him that he’s been found out.
As the Violent Crimes Unit (plus Jin-hyuk) hurry to where they’ve tracked down Ji-suk’s phone at an abandoned amusement park, Kwon-joo calls Kyung-il to ask him if he’ll do her a favor and deliver some items to Eun-byul’s grandmother. Hyun-ho searches for anything online that will give them more information about Kyung-il. He sighs that there isn’t anything out there, but when he clicks on a forum link, he’s shocked to see a pornographic video.
Kwon-joo brings out the boxes “for Eun-byul’s grandmother,” pleasantly remarking that Kyung-il must spend a lot of time outdoors when he’s teaching, since she’s noticed the much on his shoes. He seems vaguely confused by her statement, but agrees with her. Kwon-joo insists on putting the boxes in the back of his truck herself, despite Kyung-il offering to take them for her.
Meanwhile, the Violent Crimes Unit finds a truck and surrounds it, ready to take down the driver. Except when they open the doors, the driver is dead. Very dead. And the truck bed is empty.
As is Kyung-il’s truck, and Kwon-joo tries to hide her reaction at finding it empty. Her radio crackles as Hyun-ho calls for her, asking if she’s with Kyung-il. As she steps aside to answer, he warns that, even though Kyung-il isn’t the abductor, he’s still a dangerous man, and she needs to get out of there right away.
She freezes as she hears Kyung-il advance towards her, and he holds a knife against her neck as he sighs that the police are such a pain, always trying to catch him but never succeeding. He takes out his retainer and flexes his jaw, and as he does so, the sound is eerily similar to the distinctive crackle of the Kettlebell Killer’s jaw.
But Kwon-joo fights back, easily disarming Kyung-il and drawing her gun, which she points at him as she radios for back-up, adding that he’s also the one who killed her father and Jin-hyuk’s wife. Except Kyung-il has his own back-up, as a burly man suddenly appears and knocks Kwon-joo out by hitting her in the back of the head with a baseball bat. Kyung-il and his accomplice put her in the trunk of the truck — just like they did with Eun-byul.
Meanwhile, the detectives investigate the truck, and it looks like Ji-suk committed suicide by burning a charcoal briquette in the cab of the truck, causing him to suffocate. But Jin-hyuk points out the body is unnatural positioned and there’s no smoke marks anywhere in the truck. He was murdered and placed there on purpose.
Unable to track the GPS on her phone, the Golden Time team begin a “code zero” clock for their leader. Hyun-ho radios Jin-hyuk, letting him know that Kwon-joo has been abducted and a, and that Kyung-il is the suspect. He also reveals that Kyung-il is responsible for running a “revenge porn” website, where videos of rape are posted for paying customers to watch. Ji-suk had figured out Kyung-il’s online identity and had threatened to report him, which is why Kyung-il killed him.
The Violent Crimes Unit rushes into action to the last place it’s determined the truck could have been, and Jin-hyuk is ready to join them until they have to literally drag him out of the van, reminding him that he’s no longer a part of their team. But Hyun-ho tells Jin-hyuk privately that he’s found out that Kyung-il seems to have had a constant psychopathic rage against women ever since he was young. This won’t be good for Kwon-joo — or Eun-byul.
Krung-il’s truck is parked in the middle of an empty field, and Kwon-joo struggles in the back of the truck. She’s bound and gagged, just like Eun-byul was, as well as wrapped in a cloth bag. She can hear Kyung-il and his accomplish digging, and she listens to them complain about the chaos of this morning. The men have a boat as their planned escape vehicle — and Eun-byul is still alive, even if she’s locked away where no one will find her.
As the accomplice continues to big a deep enough hole to bury a body, Kyung-il posts on his site that he’ll be leaving for awhile, but he’ll be uploading one last video later tonight.
After calling in a favor to get information about secret shortcuts in the area, Jin-hyuk arrives at what looks like a blocked off portion of road, but based on his tow truck’s buddy’s advice, he removes the tarp covering to reveal an unpaved road leading through the snowy field. He stops when he sees recent tire tracks and calls in his location so they can send in a back-up team.
Kyung-il’s accomplice drags Kwon-joo out of the truck, and removes her gag so she can have one last word before she dies. She pleads with Kyng-il to free Eun-byul. He’s amused that she’s not begging for her own life, but she wants to know if he’s ever felt guilty for the way he’s treated the women he’s hurt? She also knows that she’s not the killer she’s looking for, after listening to him speak and figuring out the cracking jaw isn’t the same.
She spits out that he’s nothing more than worthless trash, but he just sighs that she’s the real trash. He orders the accomplice to throw her into the hole, and as they gradually bury her under the dirt, Jin-hyuk makes his way through the tall weeds of the field, his gun at the ready.
It’s three hours and fifteen minutes since Eun-byul was kidnapped, and forty-five minutes since Kwon-joo was kidnapped.
Ahhhh, yes. The nail-biting cliffhanger — I knew we’d meet again! And I doubt this will be the last time, either. Even though I know, logically, that there’s no way Kwon-joo will die (after all, she’s the lead and we’re only four episodes in), I’m still stressed about waiting to see how Jin-hyuk will save her. As well as Eun-byul, since her “golden time” has been going on for longer, and there are fewer hours to successfully save her.
I hadn’t fully realized until this episode that Kwon-joo doesn’t know what the murder weapon is. In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious that she’d be baffled by the unique shape of the kettlebell, especially since the killer doesn’t leave it behind at the scene of the crimes. That won’t stop me from calling him the Kettlebell Killer, though, even if it will only make sense to us omniscient viewers (or semi-omniscient, as much as OCN and their purposefully obscuring ways will allow). It does explain why she has all the details about the different types of steel and oddly-shaped weapons on her wall o’ evidence.
OCN also seems to be trying a little too hard to keep the identity of the Kettlebell Killer a secret while also dropping red herrings along the way. I don’t mind if these are done well, but even though Kyung-il’s jaw cracked, I never really thought that he was the killer since that was the only similarity. He’s too short! His voice is all wrong! (By the way, I’m convinced that OCN added a new tonal element to the way they’ve been disguising the voice — sometimes it sounds deeper and more synthesized, and other times it seems like it’s not as manipulated. Are they really working that hard to convince me I don’t know who it is, or am I just crazy?)
That’s just a minor complaint, though. Overall, I’ve really been enjoying the brisk way the show has been maintaining the plot, both with each case “chapter” and the mystery around the Kettlebell Killer. Everything happens in a tightly edited, quick pace, and the way the show Kwon-joo’s “hearing” is a stylistic choice that’s really growing on me. I can totally imagine her trying to mentally mute the other sounds around her as she focuses on the most important one. My respect to the director for being able to subtly convey something that could easily seem hokey or ridiculous.
What I loved most about this episode, though, was that for once Kwon-joo was wrong and Jin-hyuk was right. As much as I’ve been wanting him to learn to trust her sense of hearing, it’s also important that she trust him as a detective. Her super-hearing isn’t infallible and it won’t always save the day — she needs someone who has good instinct and the ability to assess a situation on the fly. In that way, I think this is one of my favorite episodes just because I feel like the team is actually starting to work as a team. It’s not just Kwon-joo calling the shots, but everyone is relying on the other person’s strengths to help put all the puzzle pieces together so they can save a life. Whether it’s Hyun-ho’s internet sleuthing skills, or Kwon-joo’s hearing, or Jin-hyuk’s deductions, they all have important skills that become useful when it’s a part of the whole. I’m also eager for Eun-soo to officially join the team, which I’m sure she will when the Golden Time Unit are the ones who save her sister (because they totally will, right?).
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait a little longer to see if they do. Next week’s episodes will be pre-empted due to the Lunar New Year. I know. I’m pretty sure that’s the worst torture this show has given us yet, and I can only hope that Jin-hyuk will come rushing in soon to save us.