The “skeleton in the closet” takes on a whole new meaning as Jin-hyuk investigates the truth behind the old woman hoarder and her real estate connections, while Kwon-joo discovers that the old woman isn’t all that she appears to be. The truth may seem obvious at first glance, but there’s something deeper — and more sinister — lurking beneath.
Chapter 7: “The Secret of the Trash House — Eyes Inside the Wall Part 2”
We backtrack slightly from last week’s grisly cliffhanger to the moment just after the cops apprehend the tenant. He pleads with them, explaining that it’s really the old lady’s fault. Not only is she trying to kick him out of the only affordable apartment he can find, but she’s also been driving him crazy with all the strange sawing noises coming from her home.
But it seems like the old lady is pleased when she hears him stomp on the ceiling, yelling at her to stop being so noisy. She goes upstairs to throw cold water in his face, warning him that it will be boiling water next time. Later, he sees her creepily watching him through the bathroom window as he’s washing up.
He yells at the cops that the old woman is making him lose his mind, and they should be taking her into custody instead of him. Jin-hyuk just says they’ll sort it all out at the police station. But when he tells the old woman that she needs to go to the station so she can file a report, she refuses. He also finds it odd that someone who spends her time collecting garbage smells like bleach.
He asks Kwon-joo to look into it, and Hyun-ho reveals that the old woman, Park Bok-soon, recently registered her home to be given to a homeless shelter when she passes away, but all the rest of homes in that apartment block have been registered with a company called “Good Friend.”
Kwon-joo also finds it suspicious that Bok-soon, who acts like she’s suffering from dementia, is still perfectly articulate. There’s also medical records that state Bok-soon recently had surgery for thyroid cancer, yet she doesn’t sound like someone who’s ill.
As Jin-hyuk listens to Kwon-joo’s report, the tenant takes the opportunity to flee the cops and rush into Bok-soon’s bedroom, where he freaks out when he sees the face in the closet, staring at him. Dae-shik doesn’t believe him, but Jin-hyuk goes to investigate — and out falls the bloody body wrapped in plastic.
The men are dumbfounded, especially when they realize the body has the same face as Bok-soon. Jin-hyuk radios back to Kwon-joo, letting her know they’ve found a body with a fractured skull, which points to a violent death. Bok-soon insists she doesn’t know anything about it as Jin-hyuk searches for a scar on the body, revealing that the body had surgery for thyroid cancer. Bok-soon — or the woman who calls herself Bok-soon — does not.
Jin-hyuk demands to know why she’s pretending to be Bok-soon, but the woman keeps her mouth shut. Dae-shik discovers a heavy metal lamp that seems to be the best fit for the wound on the dead woman’s head, and Jin-hyuk realizes that there are defensive marks on the body’s hands from where she had fought back. This was murder.
When he notices the fake Bok-soon glancing worriedly towards the window, he asks the neighbors if they saw anyone nearby, and they tell him that it was a man who used to live in the building but moved away.
Kwon-joo and Hyun-ho look into the tenants of that unit, and it’s revealed that it’s a woman about the same age of Bok-soon, Shim Chun-ok and her younger brother, Shim Young-woon, who’s been charged with assault multiple times. She’s the most likely candidate for Bok-soon’s impersonator, especially since she has a scar on her collarbone that matches the picture Hyun-ho found of Chun-ok.
Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik chase after a man who quickly walks away from the building before finally tracking him down in a side street where he tries to hide behind some boxes. He insists he’s not Young-woon as he brandishes a broken bottle at them. Thanks to Hyun-ho’s research, Kwon-joo reveals that Young-woon is mentally disabled.
The man insists he doesn’t know anything and that his sister told him not to say anything, either. Young-woon wildly swings his bottle as he screams at the detectives to get away, even though Jin-hyuk promises him they’re not bad guys. Finally he tackles Young-woon and arrests him as a murder suspect.
Twenty minutes after the concerned neighbor called in, the suspect is arrested, thus ending the “golden time” clock.
As the cops lead Chun-ok and Young-woon away, across the street the mysterious man in black watches from a car as his lackeys express frustration that the upstairs tenant ruined everything. They promise to fix it, but the man in black — with his crackling jaw — orders them to start construction right away before anything else is discovered.
Hyun-ho is pleased with another successful day of work, and when he catches Eun-soo staring at him in disbelief, he assumes she’s taken with how attractive he looks while working. He tells her about a club he’s DJ’ing this weekend, letting her know that it’s a special invitation if she wants to check it out. Even though she mildly scoffs at his puppy-like exuberance for his stress-relieving hobby (and apparent abundance of free time), he still manages to make her smile.
The Violent Crimes detectives attempt to interrogate Young-woon, but it’s difficult since he has the mentality of a small child and begs to be sent home, warning the detective that if anyone hurts his sister, he’ll hit them. The detective grows more and more frustrated as he asks about how he killed Bok-soon and where his sister got the large some of money that was recently deposited into her account.
Young-woon throws a fit, screaming as he hits his head repeatedly against wall. The detectives try to calm him down as another Violent Crimes detective, who’s been watching through the glass along with Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk, reveals that the brother and sister lived in the building for the past couple of years. Due to Young-woon’s lack of impulse control, it’s rumored that Young-woon retaliated after all the scoldings he received from Bok-soon.
Then, once Chun-ok realized how much she could get for Bok-soon’s place, she had plastic surgery to impersonate the woman her brother killed. She pretended to have dementia so she could drive the other tenants away and sell the place for a tidy sum. It seems like a reasonable, cut-and-dry case.
Except Kwon-joo isn’t convinced. She heard the minor way Young-woon’s voice changed when the real estate company was mentioned during the interrogation. It was a voice of fear, and she believes that Young-woon was threatened. She also believes that GP Development and the real estate company, Good Friend, are somehow related. Jin-hyuk isn’t sure that it’ll be easy to prove, but agrees to look into it.
Just then one of his informants calls, letting him know that he’s discovered someone who used to work for GP Development and tells Jin-hyuk to come over right away so they can talk to him. The informant, who Jin-hyuk’s nicknamed “Tabloid,” is also the same one who gave them all the intel about the club’s madam.
As Jin-hyuk starts to head out, he tells Kwon-joo that there was something odd about when they tracked down Young-woon. He had marks on his hand and couldn’t hold the bottle very well. Kwon-joo promises to look into it, but she also worriedly tells him to be careful. The thugs at GP Development must know they’re onto them.
Dae-shik also thinks it’s strange that Kwon-joo believes GP Development and Good Friend are somehow connected, but he also doesn’t trust Tabloid. He insists on going with Jin-hyuk, but Jin-hyuk tells him that he’ll be fine. Besides, he needs to be available in case they get another call that requires the Golden Time response team.
The informer Tabloid picks up Jin-hyuk from the station. They’ll be meeting the contact he’s discovered, but it seems legit because the guy told him that the owner of GP Development had an odd gait and also his jaw crackled.
Kwon-joo orders Hyun-ho and Eun-soo to look into Young-woon’s files, even though everything has already been sent to the Violent Crimes unit for them to look through. They pull up Young-woon’s medical records where they discover he was treated for a fracture in his hand a couple of months ago, but the ligaments take at least six months to heal. That would explain why he couldn’t hold the bottle — and unless Bok-soon was killed more than two months ago, Young-woon wouldn’t have been able to hold the heavy murder weapon.
As Jin-hyuk leaves with Tabloid, he calls his son, letting him know he’s hard at work and will see him soon. But Dong-woo has installed a tracking app on his father’s phone and can see that Jin-hyuk is driving away from the police station.
He asks if his father will be able to make it to the puppet show the hospital will be putting on to entertain the patients, or if he’ll miss it again. Aw. Jin-hyuk admits that he’s on his way to catch a bad guy, but promises he’ll be there next time. And then he seals it with adorable kisses over the phone. Too cute.
Kwon-joo is in the interrogation room with Chun-ok, who stubbornly insists that she did everything on her own — Young-woon had nothing to do with it. But Kwon-joo reveals that she knows Chun-ok and her brother didn’t kill Bok-soon. Chun-ok isn’t strong enough and Young-woon’s injury means he couldn’t hold the heavy murder weapon.
She knows that Bok-soon’s death has something to do with the real estate company, and that both Young-woon and Chun-ok are too terrified to talk about it. Chun-ok continues to insist it’s all her fault, but Kwon-joon points out that if Chun-ok goes to jail, there will be no one to take care of Young-woon.
Chief Jang is annoyed to find Kwon-joo interrogating Chun-ok, but he settles in with the other detectives to watch through the one-way glass.
Chun-ok isn’t willing to trust the police, knowing how terribly they’ve taken care of the residents of the poor area she’s lived in. No one helps those who live in the slums. But Kwon-joo persists, telling Chun-ok she must resent the fact that she has to collect garbage and wear bleach to mask the smell of the dead body. These are really just the ways she’s attempting to alleviate her guilt.
Furious, Chun-ok yells that Kwon-joo has no idea what’s really happened, but she’s stunned when Kwon-joo reveals that Bok-soon was going to let Chun-ok and Young-woon stay in the apartment even after she died and donated the building to the homeless shelter. Chun-ok begins to weep, and agrees to tell the truth if it means Kwon-joo will help protect her and her brother.
She reveals that Bok-soon seemed stern, but she was really tender-hearted and beloved by all the tenants. The neighbors thought she was harsh with Young-woon, but it was only for his own good. For example, the time when Bok-soon yelled and beat on him was to make sure he spit out pieces of glass, which she then gently took from him, promising that she’d give him some real candy to have instead. Or regularly giving out homemade kimchi to all her neighbors, including Chun-ok and Young-woon.
Even though she could have made a lot of money selling the townhouse to the real estate company, she promised her tenants she wouldn’t never do such a thing. Then, one day, Chun-ok found her brother, his hands covered in blood. She was worried that he got into trouble again, and as he began to panic, he took her to where Bok-soon was lying in a pool of her blood in the middle of her living room.
The men in her apartment swiftly wrapped up Bok-soon’s body in plastic. Young-woon stuttered out that the old woman kept telling him “no,” so he hit her with the lamp. Or, at least, that’s what Young-woon believed he did, since due to his simple-mindedness, he’s easily swayed.
In order to save her and her brother, Chun-ok obeyed the men who made her get plastic surgery to look like Bok-soon. And not even from a clinic — a scary-looking dude was prepared in the next room, his surgical paraphernalia laid out as he gestured for the terrified Chun-ok to lie down.
Chun-ok admits to Kwon-joo that she was so scared, she can’t remember what the men looked like or any other details. All she can recall was the strong scent of an exotic spice. Kwon-joo begs her to try harder to recall anything, and she remembers when she was pleading with the men that she would do whatever it took to save Young-woon, a man in black approached with someone else. She overheard them talking about someone called “Tabloid” and that they’ll need to get rid of a detective. Uh-oh.
Jin-hyuk and Tabloid arrive at the meeting place for the GP Development contact, but Tabloid gets frustrated when their contact isn’t picking up his phone. He tells Jin-hyuk to stay put while he goes to search for the man they’re supposed to meet.
Kwon-joo recognizes the “Tabloid” nickname, and when Chun-ok confirms that the man had blond hair, Kwon-joo knows that it’s the same man as Jin-hyuk’s informant. Chun-ok then reveals that the men were talking about getting rid of some “crazy dog” before it bites. Kwon-joo immediately calls Jin-hyuk, trying to warn him, but he tells her to wait a moment because he’s distracted by a large truck blocking his way.
A garbage truck suddenly zooms down the alley, pushing the car Jin-hyuk’s in directly towards the other truck. Jin-hyuk manages to slam on the breaks of the car and somehow stop it, while Kwon-joo listens helplessly as the thugs leap out of their trucks and start to batter the car. Jin-hyuk shields himself from the blows and broken glass before getting out to try and fight off the thugs.
He’s a good fighter, but he’s vastly outnumbered, and he’s no match for them as they kick and beat him. Watching on his CCTV feed, the man in black orders them to take Jin-hyuk away. Another man takes out the SIM card from Jin-hyuk’s phone causing the GPS to be disabled, which means the call center crew can’t track his location.
Kwon-joo orders her team to look more fully into Good Friend as a new Golden Time countdown begins to save Jin-hyuk. She radios Dae-shik to let him know the situation and if he knows where Jin-hyuk went, but he helplessly says that Jin-hyuk didn’t tell him.
Back at the warehouse, one of the men hands a phone to the Malaysian man (who was previously taken from the shipping container). It’s Jin-hyuk’s phone (or at least a phone with his SIM card), which they’ve purposefully turned back on so that the police can track it.
Dae-shik runs out to help track down where Jin-hyuk’s phone says he is, calling the local patrol for back-up. Hyun-ho, following the GPS signal, finds it odd how it keeps quickly weaving through the small alleyways of the neighborhood, and concludes it must be a motorbike. Kwon-joo assumes that means someone else has Jin-hyuk’s phone, and relays the information to Dae-shik, who manages to trap the motorbike with the help of the local patrol.
The Malaysian man refuses to be cornered and he makes a run for it. Dae-shik chases after him, and even though loses him when the man climbs over a fence, he does retrieve Jin-hyuk’s phone. It’s five minutes since the assault on Jin-hyuk, and the call center team is worried that something has seriously happened to him.
Jin-hyuk dangles from the chains of a butcher’s hook and blearily regains his consciousness to see that the men in black’s thugs are chopping up meat and sending it down a conveyer belt. Please tell me that’s animal meat and not something else. Tabloid is there, too, and he apologizes for tricking Jin-hyuk, but he had no choice. But it doesn’t pay to be an informant, because just as he thinks his duty is done and the deal is complete, the thugs start to beat him up as well.
Back at the call center, Kwon-joo tries to figure out what additional sounds she could discern in the background when she was on the phone with Jin-hyuk. She’s able to pin-point the loudspeaker advertisement from a nearby nightclub, and when Hyun-ho searches for CCTV in that area, he finds video of the car — but no evidence of the accident it was forced into.
Dae-shik hurries to find the nightclub she mentioned in order to search nearby, and the Violent Crimes Unit also mobilize to join the hunt.
The man in black arrives at the warehouse where he greets Jin-hyuk, who still dangles from the butcher’s hook. The man in black introduces himself as the one that Jin-hyuk has been looking for — the man who killed his wife. Jin-hyuk asks him why he did it, but the man just tells him that it doesn’t matter — it won’t bring her back.
Jin-hyuk warns him that he’d better run or else he’ll prove why he’s earned the nickname “Mad Dog.” But the man in black scoffs, pointing out that Jin-hyuk isn’t the only one who’s ever lost a family member — and he’s not the only cop, either. Even if they kill him in the middle of the busy downtown, the man in black has connections in the police force that will help to cover it up. That all proves how worthless Jin-hyuk really is.
With a final crackle of his jaw, he orders his men to take care of Jin-hyuk. But as he leaves, “Mad Dog” Jin-hyuk almost starts to smile as rage fills his eyes. It’s been eighteen minutes since he was first attacked.
You kind of have to wonder about a team where both of the leaders are kidnapped within a few days of each other. Or maybe one day. Maybe even less than twenty-four hours. I’ve lost track of time with this show, and when I actually think about it, I’m convinced it’s barely been a week since Kwon-joo took command of the call center. If that doesn’t convince you there’s a conspiracy in the police force, then I don’t know what will.
I’ve generally been enjoying the production quality of the show (although the letterbox format has been mildly annoying, even if I’ve come to terms with it), but now I’m desperate to know if the camera director has a terrible case of the hiccups or is drunk or has someone tickling him behind the scenes. I can understand the desire to keep the tension and momentum going during scenes that are fairly static, especially when it’s Kwon-joo thinking hard and trying to listen to different sounds. But it’s giving me a headache and I’m starting to feel woozy. I’m just glad I’m watching it on my tiny computer screen, or I might end up being seriously motion sick by the end of each episode (unless, of course, the director remembers that the action should really happen in front of the camera and not because of the camera).
Maybe I’m feeling a extra nit-picky because, for the first time, this episode felt primarily like filler. While the case itself is reasonably interesting (and congrats to those of you who accurately guessed that the woman had plastic surgery and was just pretending to be the real landlady), but it felt more like an excuse to drag in the man in black and GP Development, since it seems pretty clear that it’s going to be important later on. I didn’t feel as invested or on the edge-of-my-seat like I have with the previous cases. Even though I’m concerned for Jin-hyuk, knowing that he’s the lead means I know that he’ll be saved. But at least it then he and Kwon-joo will be even with the whole “life saving” score-sheet. Oh, and there’s also the fact that I still don’t believe for one second the man in black is the Kettlebell Killer, so he’s not quite as scary to me as I think he’s supposed to be.
Mostly this episode shows how much the procedural aspect can limit a show, especially one with such interesting characters. If there’s to be a “filler” episode, why can’t we have more moments between the characters and see them do more than just race to save someone’s life? I want to see more of Eun-soo and Hyun-ho’s banter, Jin-hyuk’s sweet and genuine smile as he talks with his son, and Kwon-joo relaxed with her hair down (literally!). I want to know what her life was like when she was pursuing her skills in the States. I want to know more about Dae-shik beyond his existence as the skeptic and Jin-hyuk’s only friend. There are histories and lives that exist outside of the call center — why not spend some time with them?
That said, I’m still really enjoying the show. It’s as gripping and entertaining as ever, and I’m desperate to know what really happened that night and how far the corruption goes. I love the cast and think they’re doing an excellent job, no matter how large or small their role. And maybe it’s a good thing that for once I’m not a nail-biting nervous wreck at the end of this episode, since it means I can relax for at least a minute or two. After all, I very much doubt we’re going to get too many moments like this as we begin to hurtle into the second half of the show.