Dramabeans Recap of The Good Wife

60 July 13, 2016July 13, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 1

by odilettante

Adaptations are nothing new when it comes to dramas — webtoons, novels, and manhwa have all been popular sources, and every year there seems to be a remake of a Japanese or Taiwanese drama. But American television shows have been notably left off that list, at least until now.

The Good Wife is the first direct Korean remake of an American show — one that was wildly popular and, according to reports, the reason that tvN was able to convince the queen of the silver screen, Jeon Do-yeon, to return to dramaland (although the hefty record-breaking salary they gave her probably didn’t hurt, either). As a fan of the American version, I’m eager to see if this one will live up to the hype — and my expectations.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A man and women hold hands as they walk towards a set of doors that open to reveal a group of reporters, their cameras incessantly flashing as pictures are taken and questions are shouted. At the press conference, LEE TAE-JOON (Yoo Ji-tae) calmly tells the reporters that while he was the chief prosecutor, he never abused his authority by accepting bribes or sexual favors. The so-called scandal is just a personal failing for which he apologizes to his family, but it’s nothing political.

Standing next to him, his wife KIM HYE-KYUNG (Jeon Do-yeon) dazedly starts to reach for a piece of string on her husband’s jacket, but he grabs her hand as they walk off-stage. Once they’re alone, she yanks her hand from his, telling him never to bring her to something like this again.

He promises he won’t — he just needed her to show that they still have a good relationship. One of the other prosecutors appears and hands Tae-joon a copy of the investigation report, and as Hye-kyung watches him talk on the phone to one of his superiors, she remembers when, three days ago, Tae-joon’s scandal first erupted.

She was at home, the happy house-wife getting dinner ready for her family, when a frantic Tae-joon called her, ordering her not to answer the phone or open the door for anyone. As prosecutors pounded on her door, declaring they had a search warrant, she turned on the television to see the video of him in bed with another woman while the news reported on the corrupt prosecutor who accepted sexual favors.

Tae-joon begs Hye-kyung to give him a second chance. He may have made a mistake, but he’s not a coward. He asks her to believe in him one more time. Hye-kyung: “Why should I?” She turns on her heel and walks away.

Eight months later. Hye-kyung sits in an empty conference room. She keeps glancing at her watch as she nervously fidgets. Finally she asks the only other person she sees in the office if the staff meeting has been cancelled, but the other women tells her it’s upstairs. Panicking, she gathers her things and hurries up the stairs to the main conference room.

The meeting is well underway, and SEO JOONG-WON (Yoon Kye-sang) tells his staff at the M&J law firm that they’ve landed a new client and case that will require their utmost devotion, so if anyone thinks they can leave early or arrive late, then they don’t belong at this firm. That’s the moment Hye-kyung arrives at the conference room, but instead of reprimanding her, Joong-won opens the door for her and quietly tells her to find a spot.

Afterwards, Hye-kyung is apologetic, explaining that she thought the meeting was downstairs. She’s grateful, too, that her old friend was willing to hire her despite being out of work for fifteen years. Joong-won is the grateful one, though — it’s hard to find good lawyers these days, and he welcomes her back to the legal world with a friendly handshake.

As he walks her through the labyrinth of offices at M&J, he starts to explain the pro bono murder case she’s been assigned. Just then Hye-kyung’s phone rings — it’s the “Jaws” theme, a special ringtone for her mother-in-law. Hee!

They’re further interrupted by the flamboyant arrival of DAVID LEE, their expert lawyer for divorce. He proves his stuff by asking Hye-kyung if she’s planning to divorce her husband, wondering how much alimony they could get from Tae-joon and offering her a discount for his services since she’s now a coworker.

As they watch him walk away (the outfit is because he’s in a community theater production of Faust), Joong-won admits that he wishes he could fire David, but the divorce lawyer brings in the most money to the firm.

Just then, the other head of the firm (and Joong-won’s sister) SEO MYUNG-HEE (Kim Seo-hyung) calls down to Hye-kyung, asking her to stop by so they can discuss the pro bono case. Joong-won gives her the tip to appear confident, knowing Myung-hee is the type to judge by appearance.

Myung-hee wastes no time in telling Hye-kyung that she’s too old to have been hired on as a new lawyer, but she only agreed because Joong-won spoke so highly of her. Even so, Hye-kyung hasn’t had any work experience after leaving the Judicial Research and Training Institute. Hye-kyung explains that she got married right after she finished her training and thought she should spend her time and energy on being a wife and mother.

Myung-hee point-blank tells her that she was against Joong-won hiring her, but if Hye-kyung is going to be successful at M&J, then she’ll need to work harder than anyone else. Her age, lack of work experience, and her husband’s scandal are all hurdles that she’ll need to overcome.

But first is the pro bono case, and Myung-hee quickly briefs her on their client who was arrested for killing her husband. Myung-hee tells Hye-kyung to argue for manslaughter, saying their client was acting in defense due to domestic violence. Despite the evidence stacked up against her, their client says she didn’t kill anyone, so it’s up to Hye-kyung to convince her to accept the manslaughter charge. Oh, and the trial is in just a few hours.

As Hye-kyung leaves to find her office and study up for court, Joong-won and Myung-hee bicker about their choice of new lawyers. When he grumbles that she gave her choice an easy real estate case and his choice, Hye-kyung, a difficult murder case, she defends herself, saying that someone who’s starting her career so late needs to go through more difficulties first. Or maybe Joong-won is just being protective of his ex-girlfriend?

He insists that they were just friends at the training institute, and that Hye-kyung was considered a genius back then. At any rate, by the end of six months, they’ll have decided which of the two new lawyers will be worth keeping on permanently.

Hye-kyung arrives her office only to find the firm’s investigator KIM DAN (Nana) waiting for her. As Hye-kyung introduces herself, Dan says that they’ve already met at the Prosecutor’s Office where she used to work — until she was fired by Hye-kyung’s husband. It could be an awkward moment, but Hye-kyung wryly admits she’s not on the best terms with her husband, either.

As the women walk into the courthouse, Dan fills Hye-kyung in on the details of the case. Their client is claiming she’s innocent and that a thief attacked and murdered her husband, but her fingerprints were found on the murder weapon and she has a motive: her husband cheated on her. He was living with his mistress at the time, and then died the day after he and his wife fought.

Hye-kyung hesitates just before entering the courtroom, feeling nervous since it’s been fifteen years since she’s finished her training and passed the bar. Dan matter-of-factly remarks that fifteen years ago, she was in elementary school. That’s just the wake-up call Hye-kyung needs and she confidently enters the courtroom.

The prosecutor is the same one who met with Tae-joon after the press conference. PARK DO-SUP (Jun Seok-ho) is amused to discover the defense attorney is Tae-joon’s wife, and seems to think that this case will be a shoo-in for him. It definitely doesn’t help that the judge is the same one who sentenced Tae-joon to prison.

When Hye-kyung’s client, Kim In-young, is brought in, Hye-kyung quickly explains that Myung-hee won’t be there and she’s taking over the case. She asks for an extension so that she can have time to get caught up on the details of the case, but the judge just gripes that she’s unnecessarily wasting his time — what is this, her first day in court?

Prosecutor Park leaps up, thrilled to reveal to the judge that, yes, it is her first day, name-dropping Tae-joon. Hye-kyung petitions the court for bail because there’s no one available to take care of In-young’s daughter. When he asks the two lawyers to step up to the bench, Hye-kyung assumes it’s about her case, but the judge points out that while it’s true he does have a grudge against Tae-joon, he also found Tae-joon guilty by the letter of the law.

He also informs Prosecutor Park that bringing up Tae-joon’s name just to get a rise out of him will not work — he’s going to judge this case by the evidence, adding that Hye-kyung is not to change In-young’s lawyer again. He finally rules in judgement for In-young’s bail, much her and Hye-kyung’s relief.

When Hye-kyung arrives home to her recently-moved-into apartment late that night, she finds her teenaged son watching the news, which is all about his father’s scandal. Her daughter sadly asks if they can transfer schools again because all her classmates won’t stop talking about the scandal. Hye-kyung says that Tae-joon is the one who should be embarrassed about what happened, not them. Easier said than done.

Hye-kyung visits Tae-joon in jail. He jokes that when they told him a lawyer was waiting for him, he thought it was his lawyer, not his wife. She’s not there for a pleasant chat, however, and gives him the papers he needs to sign to sell their house. As he flips through them, he sees the divorce papers, which she snatches back.

He takes her hands, asking her to hold off on any decisions, promising that they’ll turn things around on the appeal. Annoyed, she tells him she doesn’t care if the scandal was manufactured or not — he’s still a bastard in her eyes.

As she starts to leave, he congratulates her on her first case. He still has friends on the outside who keep him in the loop. Hye-kyung: “Do they perform sexual favors for you, too?”

Instead of reacting to her barb, he tells her that he’s heard the case she’s working on is a little strange, and rumor has it that the police erased some of the original evidence. Hye-kyung doesn’t want his help, though, and tells him, frustrated, that she only came to see him because everything they own is in his name. He still promises that it can go back to the way it was before, but she wearily tells him that will never happen.

She meets with In-young, who insists that she didn’t kill her husband. She did meet with him, and he asked her for forgiveness, wanting to go back to the way things were. That was when the thief suddenly came out from hiding and attacked her husband with a knife. The CCTV doesn’t show footage of a thief running the direction she says he did, though.

Hye-kyung studies the evidence for hours, frustrated that she can’t find any proof that In-young is telling the truth. But when she remembers her husband’s statement that the police erased evidence, she goes through all the copies until she comes to the police report, which is one page — except that the photocopy has the image of a staple in corner, implying there was a second page.

Hye-kyung and Dan go to the scene of the crime where they track down the owner of the CCTV. While Dan works on the security guard, winning him over with her best aegyo, Hye-kyung finds an elderly cleaning woman who’s constantly berated by the security guard. She grumbles that he’s lazy and normally sleeps or watches porn when he’s supposed to be out patrolling.

Hye-kyung stays late, studying the new and boring footage until she finally reaches her limit. Gathering up the box of evidence, she heads out only to find the other new hire, LEE JOON-HO (Lee Won-geun) working late, too. He escorts her to the elevator, pleasantly introducing himself and then sighing that he’s jealous of her pro bono case. But they have to take the cases assigned to them, and really, all that matters is who wins in the end.

She doesn’t know what he’s talking about and Joon-ho doesn’t enlighten her as he wishes her a good night. As she reaches the parking garage, she runs into Joong-won returning to the office. He tells her to follow Myung-hee’s original plan for the case, revealing that she and Joon-ho are currently competing to see who stay at the firm in six months. If she wants to win, she needs to stick with Myung-hee’s plan.

But Hye-kyung has played it safe all her life. She doesn’t want to live like that any more.

She visits In-young at home, amused that she’s embarrassed to be caught reading about Tae-joon’s scandal. In-young is worried about what will happen to her daughter if she goes to jail, but Hye-kyung counsels her to only think about what is happening to her right now. She tells her to wear her best clothes and put on makeup — to do whatever it takes to make herself look and feel more confident.

She speaks from experience when she tells the worried In-young that you just get used to wearing a metaphorical mask in public, not caring what anyone else thinks.

That moment of woman-to-woman realness is enough for In-young to trust Hye-kyung to handle the case however she thinks best. At the next court date, Hye-kyung astonishes everyone by declaring that they do not accept the guilty charges, and further points out that there is evidence missing.

Prosecutor Park seems a little unprepared by Hye-kyung’s confident attack, and he blames her husband as the one who would hide evidence. But the judge rules in Hye-kyung’s favor, giving him forty-eight hours to get the missing page.

Afterwards, Prosecutor Park warns her that this “newbie” doesn’t know who she’s messing with, but she simply tells him that she’ll win — her client is the only person that matters. With a little jibe about his graduating late from the training institute, she confidently walks away.

Myung-hee is none-too-pleased that Hye-kyung is blatantly ignoring her orders, but Hye-kyung calmly explains that she changed the strategy per her assessment of case. Yes, but she should have at least notified Myung-hee of these changes.

Joong-won defends Hye-kyung, pointing out that she worked hard to find missing evidence, but Myung-hee snarks that she wonders who told Hye-kyung about the evidence in the first place. She knows that it’s just going to make the prosecutors their sworn enemies, and it will just be easier to replace Hye-kyung with a lawyer who will follow her orders, aka Joon-ho.

Hye-kyung studies the evidence late into the night when Dan calls her with the proof of what’s on the second page — it was dog hair. Seems she called in a favor to get that information, though, as she slips out of a bedroom where another woman sleeps.

At Hye-kyung’s apartment, Dan reveals that the dog hair isn’t the same type of dog that the victim owned, and the fur contained a medicated lotion for joint issues. The all-knowing Dan also tells Hye-kyung that she’s no longer the lawyer on the case and will only have one more day in court before Joon-ho replaces her.

In preparation for the trial tomorrow, Hye-kyung studies the CCTV footage over and over, and then suddenly realizes she’s got the proof she needs.

Prosecutor Park shows the CCTV footage in court, revealing that there wasn’t anyone else around at the time. But then Hye-kyung has three monitors brought in, and as she questions the security guard, he affirms that he does the same walk-through each night. She queues up the CCTV footage on the night of the crime to a moment when a plastic bag flies across the video.

She then plays the exact same time frame on the CCTV recordings of the nights before and after the crime, revealing a plastic bag flying at exactly the same time, in exactly the same pattern. The security guard admits that he copied the CCTV showing him on his rounds when he actually never left his chair. Prosecutor Park is looking mighty worried, but Hye-yung smiles proudly at Joong-won.

Later that night, he tells her that, for better or worse, she’s the lawyer assigned to this case. But she still has to refute the fact that In-young’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon. He has faith in her, though, having been reminded of all the late nights they spend together at the training facility, working on mock trials. Hye-kyung wonders how the victim’s mistress would have reacted to In-young’s husband deciding he wanted to reconcile, and Joong-won suggests adding her to the witness list.

Before the trial, Prosecutor Park tells Hye-jung that Chief Prosecutor CHOI SANG-IL (Kim Tae-woo) wishes to see her. He’s the one who took over Tae-joon’s position, and it’s their first time meeting since Tae-joon’s scandal. He offers her a plea bargain — In-young will only get two years in jail if she accepts the charge of manslaughter.

Hye-kyung is surprise by this sudden offer, but Chief Prosecutor Choi tells her that everyone knows she got the information from Tae-joon. He warns her that there are people watching her closely, figuring out where her loyalties lie. After all, it can’t be easy providing for her children and worrying about their future. Sounds like a threat.

She informs him that her most difficult day was when her children saw the video he leaked of her husband. He’s not the one she should be cursing, though — she should be cursing Tae-joon. Oh, but she does — she’s the one going through divorce. Besides, his tactic of bringing up Tae-joon in order to break her makes her assume that he knows nothing about women.

Chief Prosecutor Choi’s attack definitely seems to have backfired, as Hye-kyung confidently interrogates the victim’s mistress. Prosecutor Park is no longer sitting back and keeps popping up to object every few seconds, but the judge allows Hye-kyung to follow her line of questioning about the dog.

She makes it clear that the greyhound that required a medical lotion was the mistress’s brother’s dog, and that the victim had put a hefty life insurance sum in her name. The mistress might have had an alibi for that night, but her brother didn’t. Prosecutor Park looks defeated.

As they wait for the judge to deliberate and declare his verdict, Hye-kyung downs the traditional shot of alcohol that Dan says is to give her good luck in the ruling — and then she laughs at Hye-kyung’s gullibility. Dan doesn’t understand why Hye-kyung hasn’t divorced Tae-joon yet and taken him for all he’s got, but she says that her husband actually doesn’t have much.

Hye-kyung admits that she thinks about it every day, whether or not she should just cut and run, starting a new life. She knows at least that she wants to begin her life as a lawyer. But first she’ll be cautious as she decides if her husband is worth forgiving or not, and then go from there.

The judge has reached a decision, and based on Prosector Park’s acting like he has the worst headache ever, it seems like the judge has ruled in Hye-kyung’s favor. Or, rather, due to an investigation revealing that the mistress’s brother can be placed at the scene of the crime, the prosecution has decided to drop the case — Il-young is free!

Once Hye-kyung is outside, she does a cute little victory dance. As she tells Il-young the good news, she also watches Chief Prosecutor Choi angrily drag the mistress out of the courthouse.

Tae-joon’s lawyer visits him in jail, filling him in on Hye-kyung’s win and that Chief Prosecutor Choi is determined to find out who told Tae-joon about the missing evidence in the first place. Tae-joon ask him to keep an eye on Joong-won — after all, he should know who his wife works for.

Joong-won finds Hye-kyung working late, wrapping up the case, and presents a bottle of champagne as a way to congratulate her on her first win. They’re ready to break into it right then, but her phone rings — she assumes it’s her kids calling, so she asks for a rain check. As he leaves, he tells her that she did really great.

Except the phone call isn’t from her kids — it’s Tae-joon, who informs her that the court date for his appeal has been set, and he’s going to fight as hard as he can. The only person he needs to apologize to is her, and by the way, congrats on her win in court. After she hangs up, she pulls out the divorce paperwork and then stuffs it in a drawer as she stares at pictures of her kids, back when they were one big happy family.

 
COMMENTS

Ahhhhh, I love it! It’s very much like the original (much to my satisfaction), but it has its own flavor that it also seems fresh. This is largely due to Jeon Do-yeon, I believe, who hasn’t made me want to compare her to Julianna Marguiles and her portrayal of Alicia Florrick — although now that I stop to think about it, there’s something at once both softer and harder about Hye-kyung than there was about Alicia. Hye-kyung seems more sincerely gentle and compassionate than “Saint Alicia” ever did, and yet I loved watching how fiery and stubborn she was with her husband.

How marvelous it is to watch Jeon Do-yeon and Yoo Ji-tae together, though. You’d think that their scenes would be more static since they take place just at the prison table, but there’s an incredible chemistry that crackles between them. There’s something to be said about a drama filled with actors who typically work in film. Or, uh, almost filled. While Nana is doing better than I thought she would, it’s pretty clear she’s a rookie and I’m not sure if my inability to figure out where she’s going with her character is a conscious choice (since that character is supposed to be mysterious, anyway) or if it’s because of her acting skill. I think she’ll grow on me — I might just be stubbornly clinging to how much I love the American counterpart, Kalinda.

That said, I’m still going to treat the show like it’s the first time I’ve ever watched it. Or at least I’ll try to! It helps that it’s been some time since I first watched the American version and so I was only recalling details barely before they revealed in an “oh yeah, now I remember this case!” kind of way, but I definitely got a kick out seeing them bring back all the little moments that I loved from the original (like the ringtone for her mother-in-law).

But it is a relief to know that the show is sticking close to the source material, at least so far. Having said that, while it can be fun to speculate, please, please, please keep any comments about the show spoiler-free! Respect those who will be watching it for the first time and will have no basis of comparisons. Discussions about the similarities and differences in each specific episode is fine, but refrain from possibly spoiling someone about the general plot or characters. I’ll do my best to do the same (although I know how tempting it will be!).

All in all, it’s a very satisfying start and should keep both new viewers and fans of the original happy. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how it sustains itself for the rest of the drama.

 
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31 July 14, 2016July 20, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 2

by odilettante

Dealing with a case that could have been ripped from recent headlines, Hye-kyung begins to realize that her husband’s scandal has perhaps affected her more than she lets on. It can’t be easy being constantly reminded of the scandal at every turn as she tries to focus on her new career. She can’t let her private concerns get in the way of seeking justice for her client — or can she?

EPISODE 2 RECAP

Hye-Kyung prepares dinner — a delicious looking stew — but when she opens the lid, the pot is empty. She calls her children to the dinner table but they’re entranced by the television which replays the clip of their father’s scandal. She opens the door to the bedroom to find her husband in the arms of another woman. But it’s all just a dream. Whew.

In the morning, after she sends her kids off to school, Hye-kyung has an unexpected meeting with Chief Prosecutor Choi. He asks if she thinks Tae-joon is innocent, and she admits that she didn’t at first, but thanks to the prosecutor’s repeated attempts to discuss it with her, she’s beginning to wonder if her husband was framed after all.

Chief Prosecutor Choi says that he has more videos that he could release, but hasn’t because he’s thinking of her and her kids first. Oh, did Tae-joon tell her that the known scandal was the only one? There’s a lot she doesn’t know about her husband, who had no qualms about abusing his power.

Hye-kyung cuts him off, telling him that he should stop trying to use her to get information about her husband, and instead just find evidence to back up his claims. Chief Prosecutor Choi ominously mentions that he’s checked into her background and knows about a certain car accident — possibly something that could discredit her as a lawyer. But she refuses to be blackmailed and tells him to just do whatever he wants.

At work, the M&J staff are all buzzing about the latest news report regarding Tae-joon’s appeal. Joon-ho asks if she’s seen it — there’s a lot of information about her in the video, too, and offers to send her a link so she can watch it online.

Right now, though, she’s got a new client who specifically requested her as her lawyer. Joong-won says it’s a case that will likely settle out-of-court, but will also garner the firm a hefty sum.

The case is about a rape victim, Lee Eun-joo, who quietly explains her side. Even though Joong-won and Myung-hee are the ones asking the questions, and Eun-joo’s boyfriend is the one most vocal about wondering how much money they can get from the chaebol who raped her, Eun-joo keeps her focus on Hye-kyung.

Joong-won warns them that the Moo-il Group has deep pockets and high-priced lawyers, so they’ll have to tread carefully if they want a high settlement. But if they do get a settlement, it’s as close to an admission of guilt as they’ll be able to get — there’s no way this case will actually ever go to court.

Eun-joo whispers that all she really wants is an apology, and Hye-kyung slides over a box of tissue so Eun-joo can dab her eyes. She seems the only one attuned to what the victim is actually feeling.

In private, Myung-hee and Joong-won argue about the case. Myung-hee thinks that Eun-joo is lying in order to get money from Moo-il Group, but Joong-won doesn’t really care if Eun-joo is telling the truth. What matters to him is that the firm is set to get a lot of money from the commission of this case.

Hye-kyung doesn’t think Eun-joo looks like a liar, but Myung-hee points out that lawyers can’t go by how their client looks — they must go with facts and evidence. She warns Hye-kyung not to let her personal feelings interfere with her judgement.

Moo-il Group’s lawyer happens to be an old classmate of Joong-won and Hye-kyung, so Joong-won sets up a lunch meeting with him to talk “baseball.” Until then, Hye-kyung studies up on Moo-il Group, and Joon-ho follows through on his promise to link her to Tae-joon’s news report.

She clicks on it, and watches the video discuss her husband’s scandal and upcoming court date for appeal. Then the video switches over to an audio recording of the sex tape, and Hye-kyung immediately shuts it off. Dan arrives just then to deliver her files on Moo-il Group, telling her that the entire office has watched the video, so she shouldn’t be embarrassed about it.

Joong-won and his old classmate, attorney Jang Dae-suk, happily discuss baseball over lunch while Hye-kyung, as requested by Joong-won, silently stares at him. It seems he’s brought her there as a distraction, because Dae-suk is surprised to recognize his old classmate, especially considering her now infamous status as the disgraced prosecutor’s wife. Dae-suk admits that even though he lost cases to Tae-joon, he really respected him.

Joong-won brings the conversation to Moo-il Group’s walking headache, the chaebol Jung Han-wook. Dae-suk immediately says that M&J used to be a reputable firm, but now they’re wasting time on Eun-joo’s case. She slept with Han-wook because she wanted to, and now is trying to twist things around just to make some money.

When Dae-suk asks her opinion, assuming based on her husband’s scandal that she’ll be on the side of someone defending against baseless lies, Hye-kyung tells him that it isn’t a “scandal” — it’s rape, pure and simple. Dae-suk reiterates that it was totally a consensual act, and then scribbles down an amount for them to take back to Eun-joo the “blackmailer” in order to keep the scandal from going public. Based on the big number he wrote down, Hye-kyung concludes that it was definitely rape.

Back at the law firm, Hye-kyung asks Eun-joo why she specifically requested her as her lawyer. Eun-joo explains that she saw Hye-kyung on television, and figured that she would be more understanding of her situation since Hye-kyung had to suffer thanks to someone else.

The Seo siblings and Eun-joo’s boyfriend are already discussing how to accept the nearly $400,000 that Moo-il Group is offering as a settlement. The catch is that if Eun-joo accepts it, she will also have to sign a nondisclosure agreement. If she signs it and then tries to talk about what happened that night to anyone, Moo-il Group can sue her for defamation.

Eun-joo asks what Hye-kyung thinks she should do. With a quick glance at her bosses, Hye-kyung explains that $400,000 isn’t exactly a paltry sum, and if she went to trial, there’s no guarantee they would get any amount of money. Plus, it would be emotionally taxing for her to have the details of her rape analyzed in court. But Eun-joo wants to know what Hye-kyung would personally do if she were in Eun-joo’s shoes.

She hesitates for a second, but then firmly answers that she would go to court. Relieved, Eun-joo admits that what she really wants is an apology, not money.

Joong-won pulls Hye-kyung aside, asking why she’s making their life more difficult. As lawyers, their job is to win money for their clients. That $400,000 is as close to an apology Eun-joo will ever get, but Hye-kyung wants the truth revealed for their client so that they will know she’s the true victim. Joong-won points out that Moo-il Group’s lawyers will just keep dragging out the case in order to make it difficult for her — is she ready to fight until the end?

Hye-kyung doesn’t care if she’s naive — she believes that Eun-joo deserves more than just money. She accepts full responsibility for how the case will turn out, knowing that it could end up with her being fired.

Everyone nervously waits for Dae-suk to call back, letting them know if Moo-il Group has accepted their terms demanding Han-wook’s apology. But Dae-suk says they refused, and instead they’ll charge Eun-joo for false accusation, proving she’s just a gold digger attempting to blackmail someone who’s innocent. Eun-joo’s so-called boyfriend is angry that this means they won’t get the money, but Eun-joo sticks to her desire for an apology.

Considering that Moo-il Group seems to think they have evidence to shut down M&J’s threat to go to trial, Hye-kyung asks Eun-joo exactly what happened that night. She explains that she was at a club when someone in the VIP section requested she join him. Everyone started drinking way too much, and all she remembers is that she passed out.

When she woke up, Han-wook was on top of her. She tried to resist, but he was too powerful. Then, adding to her disgrace, when he was finished, he tossed a stack of money at her. She went to the hospital with Sang-man, the so-called boyfriend, because she couldn’t think of anyone else to take her.

Dan arrives with the results of her investigation, revealing that Eun-joo once worked at a hostess club — which is also where she met Sang-man, who would drive the girls to their “appointments.” Dan points out that Eun-joo having worked in a place of prostitution will be considered a weakness in her testimony, even though Eun-joo angrily points out that no matter what her background is, rape is till rape.

When Hye-kyung asks if there are any other witnesses, Eun-joo admits that one of her coworkers, Ye-ji, went to the hospital with her because she happened to be in the car at the time, but she’s not sure where Ye-ji is right now. She could be vital in helping them bring their case to trial and prove that Han-wook raped Eun-joo, if only they can find her.

Dan offers to find out what information the Prosecutor’s Office has — she’s got a friend there. Yeah, sure, a “friend.” As her friend looks through some documents, it’s revealed that Tae-joon seems to have a connection to Moo-il Group, but before anything else can be revealed, Prosecutor Park suddenly appears.

Chief Prosecutor Choi sits down with Hye-kyung, demanding to know why Tae-joon put her up to this. She scoffs at the idea, telling him she’s just trying to get an agreement with Moo-il Group. But Chief Prosecutor Choi still finds it suspicious that the very company Tae-joon was threatening to go up against is the one she’s willing to take a stand against with some random woman.

He advises her to cut her ties with Tae-joon and just live her own life. As Dan gives Hye-kyung a goodbye hug before the prosecutors take her away for questioning, she slips a piece of paper of into Hye-kyung’s pocket — it’s the address of the club Eun-joo used to work at.

While the boss lady of the hostess club remembers Eun-joo, she isn’t forthcoming when Hye-kyung asks about Ye-ji. It’s not until Joong-won suddenly shows up and offers to get the Prosecutor’s Office interested in her business that she gives them the information she has on the girls.

Joong-won tries calling the phone number on file for Ye-ji, but that phone number is no longer in service. Meanwhile, Hye-kyung idly flips through the photo book of the call girls, wondering why some are ranked differently than others. It’s all about what services the girls were willing to provide. She stops on a photo of the girl that’s in the video with her husband, and the boss lady sighs.

Amber was her “ace” but right after the scandal erupted, she disappeared and hasn’t been heard from since. Hye-kyung starts to ask if “that prosecutor” asked for any other women other than Amber, but stops when the boss lady recognizes her as Tae-joon’s wife.

The next day, Hye-kyung visits Tae-joon in jail, telling him all about Chief Prosecutor Choi’s warnings. She bluntly asks if he took bribes, but he insists he didn’t, and the evidence will bear that out. He brings up the rape case, revealing that he was the one who recommended Eun-joo go to Hye-kyung.

She latches on to the fact that he knows Eun-joo’s name, asking if he slept with her, too. She then asks about Amber — did he pay extra for her to role-play, or maybe not use a condom? Did he take her with him to his trips to America?

Tae-joon slams down his fist on the table, angrily telling her he’s not like that. When will she finally forgive him? But she keeps remembering all those times when Tae-joon said he had to take care of business and left early during family events. She’s not sure what to believe in any more.

But he insists that he only recommended Eun-joo knowing it means bringing in a client who would make some money for M&J, thus giving Hye-kyung some prestige with her bosses. Hye-kyung points out that means he’s been checking up on her. He calmly explains that he just wants to do all he can to help her in her fledgling career, but she doesn’t want his help.

Prosecutor Park meets with Dan, slipping her a flash drive with a copy of the file she wanted. Looks like she has more than one friend in the Prosecutor’s Office, although it’s not one I would have guessed.

Dan and Hye-kyung go to Eun-joo’s college to reveal that, according to the prosecutor’s report, the sperm found on her that night wasn’t Han-wook’s. Eun-joo is shocked, insisting that he was the only one she slept with that night. She begs Hye-kyung to trust her, but Hye-kyung keeps thinking about Tae-joon and longs to ask if Eun-joo slept with her husband.

She keeps quiet, though, as Eun-joo desperately insists that Ye-ji saw her with Han-wook that night. Except they aren’t able to find Ye-ji, and Hye-kyung heartlessly tells Eun-joo that she may end up going to jail if it’s revealed that she made a false accusation in an attempt to avoid indictment for prostitution.

Dan is surprised at Hye-kyung’s sudden change in attitude, pointing out that the sperm could have been from one of Han-wook’s friends who might have raped her when she was still unconscious. Dan’s change in opinion regarding the case is due to the suspicious way the prosecution is acting — why would they threaten Eun-joo if nothing happened that night?

Hye-kyung arrives home with a pizza to share with her kids. Her son tries to hide his face, but she immediately spots his bruises and bloody lip, clearly revealing that he was in a fight. She’s ready to head down to the school and demand to know why the teachers didn’t do anything about it, but he shrugs her off. If she goes, she’ll just make things worse because they’ll recognize her as the scandalous prosecutor’s wife.

Trying to hide her emotions at being rejected by her son, she heads out and collides with Joong-won, who was just on his way to see her. She buries her face in his chest as she cries, telling him that she’s worked so hard to keep things together, but she’s finally reached her limit. He gently comforts her.

After she pulls herself together, he shows her results of the sperm DNA test. It belongs to a man who’s been indicted for rape before, but is suspiciously not the kind of person that would ever be admitted into the club Eun-joo was at that night. The man was arrested yesterday, but is at the hospital in a coma, so it’s impossible to get his testimony.

Hye-kyung still wonders if Eun-joo is lying to her — if she was sincere when she said that Hye-kyung would be the only one who’d understand. Joong-won counsels her to trust Eun-joo for now, and then asks what’s really going on with her. But despite his offers for help, Hye-kyung says he’s done enough and that she’s fine. If she needs him, she’ll let him know.

Aw, her son apologizes for his earlier outburst. He knows his mom is having a hard time right now and he just didn’t want to burden her about what was going on at school. But he got into a fight with another boy who called his father names — and the real reason he didn’t want her to go to school is because he gave better than he got. Ha!

In the morning, Hye-kyung and Dan escort a masked Eun-joo into the courthouse, ignoring the crowd of reporters around them. While they wait to enter the courtroom, Eun-joo hesitantly confesses that the reason Han-wook asked her to join him at the club was because he recognized her from when she worked as a call girl — which explains why he treated her like a prostitute.

During the trial, Prosecutor Park calls Sang-man to the witness stand, where his story has suddenly switched to support Han-wook, declaring that Eun-joo is only concerned about money. When it’s her turn to question him, Hye-kyung asks if he was bribed to say that, and he sighs deeply, confessing that he was.

But he points towards Eun-joo, insisting he was temporarily swayed by Eun-joo’s offer to pay him if he lied for her, but it was only due to his sense of integrity that he decided to tell the truth in the end. Ugh, what a liar. The women look deflated as Dae-suk silently cheers from his spot in the courtroom audience.

Dan thinks she’s found evidence that the rape kit was switched at the hospital, showing that Dae-suk is suspiciously friendly with the doctor who performed the test that night. But that means he won’t likely testify, at least not truthfully, so they’re back to square one.

Hye-kyung’s got a plan though — they just need to give the doctor another way to weasel out of admitting the truth. The next day, they call the doctor to the stand, and based on his testimony of what happened that night, trap the doctor into confessing that there’s a chance that the sperm sample was taken incorrectly and got mixed up with another sample.

She then requests the court permission to do another DNA test, surprised Prosecutor Park is awfully eager to support her request. Except Hye-kyung herself has just proven that the DNA is too faulty to be tested correctly, and the evidence is thrown out of court.

Hye-kyung is even more determined to track down Ye-ji, who’s now their only witness. In order to do that, she and Joong-won head to the hotel where the rape happened to convince the front desk to give them any information about that night. As they head up in the elevator, they run into one of Joong-won’s ex-girlfriends, who assumes the two lawyers are there for pleasure, not business.

Turning on her empathetic charm, Hye-kyung asks the front desk agent to see if any calls were made that night from the hotel room. As the agent goes back to check with her manager, Joong-won babbles that he went on a lot of speed dates for networking purposes which is how he met the woman they ran into just now, much to Hye-kyung’s amusement.

Thanks to hotel, they’re able to track down Ye-ji and bring her in as a witness. Ye-ji admits that Sang-man threatened her to keep quiet about what happened that night since Han-wook is a rich and powerful chaebol, who could ruin her life if she said anything. Due to the conflicting testimonies and lack of concrete evidence, the judge rules to acquit Eun-joo of the false testimony charges. Aw, it’s a win for Hye-kyung, even if she wasn’t able to get an apology for Eun-joo.

As they leave the courthouse, Hye-kyung asks Eun-joo one last question: when did she meet with Tae-joon? But Eun-joo sincerely tells her that she never did.

Hye-kyung visits her husband in jail, asking if he still has connections within the police department — enough to get a case reopened. She asks him for a favor.

As reporters surround Han-wook, asking him about Eun-joo’s acquittal, he grandly declares that she’s a liar and a blackmailer who only wants to besmirch his reputation. Just then a detective shows up to arrest Han-wook for rape — based on new irrefutable DNA evidence. Pleased, Hye-kyung watches the broadcast online and then calls Dae-suk to gloat.

Later, when she’s home alone, she finally hits “play” on the full audio recording of her husband’s sex tape. In the morning, her kids find a mysterious envelope at their door containing pictures of their father with another woman.

Dae-suk visits Tae-joon in jail. He confirms that if Tae-joon helps out with Han-wook’s case, then Moo-il Group will help him in return.

COMMENTS

Ohhhhh, Tae-joon — you are definitely not to be trusted. There is some shady business dealings going on, and it seems like the sex scandals are merely a distraction from the corruption that lies beneath that pretty face.

Speaking of sex scandals, I have to remind myself that this episode was filmed at least a month or so ago, since it seems like it could have been inspired by the recent sexual assault scandals that have been occupying the media as of late. I really enjoyed the dichotomy of Hye-kyung at once standing up for Eun-joo, pointing out that rape is still rape even if the victim was once a prostitute — but then having to deal with the personal scars of thinking her client might have once slept with her husband. I love watching how strong she is as she fights to maintain her image as the “lawyer” instead of “wife of a disgraced prosecutor,” but I definitely can understand her breakdown in Joong-won’s arms. She has to be strong for everyone else in her life, pretending it doesn’t bother her, but who gets to be strong for her?

I unabashedly love Hye-kyung, but she is (if fans of the original will pardon the expression), no “saint.” She’s idealistic and determined, following her instincts — but there’s also a petty humanness to her that keeps her from being perfect. Really, it seems there is so much more to every character than we’ve seen so far, but I’m trusting the show to gradually reveal each character’s layers in due time.

I’m still waiting to see what they’ll do with Joon-ho, because right now he just sort of floats in and out a couple of times each episode, more proof of the ticking clock against Hye-kyung than anything else. Not just reminding her (and us) of the six month deadline, but also that she’s late to start her career and, despite her age, is theoretically no better than someone fresh out of the Training Institute. I want to sense a real competition between them, and believe that there’s a real desperation behind their attempts to prove they belong at M&J. Basically I just want Joon-ho to step up his game and realize that his pretense at pleasant politeness isn’t going to cut it.

Then again, if there’s one complaint about this show I can make, is that there is a woeful lack of Kim Seo-hyung each episode. She’s such an amazing actress and I want more scenes of her and Jeon Do-yeon together. The reluctant mentoring relationship between Dianne and Alicia from the original version was one of my favorite relationships, and I’m really hoping they’ll somehow recreate that in this version as well.

Mostly, though, I continue to be thrilled at the artful balance of keeping true to the original series, yet making this show still seem unique and fresh. Provided they keep up this magic combination, and Jeon Do-yeon continues to prove that she’s the queen, then there’s a strong chance this show will maintain its level of excellence until the very end.

 
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50 July 20, 2016July 20, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 3

by odilettante

We meet another member of the M&J family as well as a member of the Tae-joon/Hye-kyung family, and let’s just say that sometimes families are hard to love. Or at least certain members of the family, whether they’re related by blood or legal means, can make life more difficult in various ways (but what goes around, comes around). Even so, no matter how difficult they are, there’s still the pull to love them — even if “love” means doing whatever it takes to protect your family, including lying, bribery, or threats of bodily harm.

EPISODE 3 RECAP

Tae-joon’s lawyer meets with Hye-kyung to ask her information regarding her husband’s case, all in an effort to win their upcoming appeal in court. They haven’t been able to find Amber, the women at the heart of Tae-joon’s scandal, but he thinks they can win if they prove Tae-joon didn’t accept any bribes. He asks for Hye-kyung’s help to find proof that Tae-joon was somewhere else on the date that the prosecution says he was taking bribes.

The next morning, as Hye-kyung digs around in the boxes she hasn’t yet unpacked, looking for her daughter’s soccer shoes, Tae-joon calls her from jail. He apologizes on behalf of his lawyer, telling her that he won’t be bothering her any more. Then he asks about the kids, but Hye-kyung simply tells him they’re doing fine. He apparently hasn’t talked to them in a long time, and even though Hye-kyung says she’ll tell them he called, she doesn’t.

Hye-kyung finds what she thinks are her daughter’s shoes, but the shoebox actually holds an assortment of old paperwork and memorabilia. One of the items is a flash drive with a home video of Tae-joon and the kids preparing a celebration for Hye-kyung’s birthday. The time-stamp on the video is exactly the same date and time that the lawyer is looking for, and she calls him, telling him she has proof that her husband was elsewhere that night.

As she arrives at work the next day, an older man with his arm in a sling rushes onto the elevator with her. As they ride up together, he eyes her carefully, recognizing her as Tae-joon’s wife. He adds that since she’s wearing her wedding ring, she must still be on good terms with her husband. Hye-kyung jokingly asks if he’s thinking of hiring her as his lawyer, and he says that’s not a bad idea.

She reports to Joong-won that Moo-il Group has decided to meet all their demands (so Eun-joo will get her apology!), but they’re both distracted by the elevator man’s exuberant greeting to the rest of the law firm staff, who are all delighted to see him. Joong-won goes to meet him with an “I thought I told you stay at the hospital.” Hye-kyung whispers to Dan, wondering who the man is, and Dan tells her that’s Seo Jae-Moon, the civil rights lawyer who founded M&J law firm — and is the father of Joong-won and Myung-hee. Oooohhh, family drama!

Papa Seo reclaims his office, tossing aside all of Joong-won’s papers and personal items. He’s especially annoyed with the artwork from an up-and-coming artist, tearing it down to put up the painting that he’s been lugging around. The Seo siblings don’t seem particularly thrilled to have their father back.

Perhaps their lack of enthusiasm is because he’s in the news right now, being accused for drunk driving. Joong-won grumbles that their father’s prestige as a lawyer has long faded — even if he founded the firm and brought them their long-term clients, he’s causing too much trouble and should be removed from the firm’s list of employees. Myung-hee takes a more open-minded approach, telling Joong-won they should just treat him like one of their clients. It’s easier if they keep a professional distance.

Papa Seo dances into the office, happily revealing some antique gifts for his children — giant prayer beads for Myung-hee to help her win her cases, and, for the feigning-disinterest Joong-won, an ancient Chinese die to help him make decisions. Myung-hee has to nudge him to take it, and Papa Seo says that Joong-won needs something like that since he seems to make such terrible decisions.

Joong-won is ready to prove that his father isn’t the best at making decisions, either, but Myung-hee intervenes to ask what happened during the car accident. Their father insists that he only started drinking after the accident, and so there’s no way the police can prove he was drunk before it. The reason there’s also assault charges filed is because he resisted what he declares was an unfair arrest and abuse of power (which is also how he hurt his arm).

Even though Joong-won is embarrassed by the publicity of the case, Papa Seo is pleased with the free advertising for their firm. He decides he wants the pretty and arrogant Hye-kyung to represent him in court, but Joong-won protests that they should keep family business within the family. But Papa Seo says that he’ll take care of most of the details — all Hye-kyung has to do is just stand there.

During their meeting, Hye-kyung shows him footage Dan has found of the incident. Papa Seo certainly looks drunk as he walks into the traffic, trying to avoid the cops. He’s ready to explain away that his blood alcohol level was higher due to nerves and other biological factors. As for the assault charge, he points to his broken arm.

But Hye-kyung points at the video footage, revealing that the arm the officers twisted behind Papa Seo’s back was actually his other arm. He’s amused by how intelligent she is, but reassures her that he’ll be taking care of his own court case — all she has to do is sit there. He promises to tell her his defense strategy if she answers a question he has for her.

Agreeing, Hye-kyung sits back, waiting for Papa Seo’s question. He leans forward and very seriously asks her if she’s slept with Joong-won. Laughing, she tells him “no.” But he doesn’t readily believe her, knowing how his son’s expression changed when her name was mentioned.

In return, he tells her that his strategy for court is to declare that it was an illegal arrest, since the officers arrested him when he wasn’t drinking and driving. As she leaves the office after their meeting, he adds that he saw her husband on the news. He reassures her that a lawyer should always be in the news — it’s good for business — and she watches him swallow a couple of pills.

Thanks to his father commandeering his office, Jong-won’s now camping out in the conference room. Hye-kyung finds him there, and Joong-won asks how his father treated her. She holds a finger to her lips, reminding him of the attorney-client confidentiality. But Joong-won isn’t bound by any confidentiality agreement, frankly confessing that he doesn’t like his father and Papa Seo only chose her so he can get more media play.

Tae-joon’s lawyer calls Hye-kyung. He’s thankful for the home video evidence, but he has a few questions about the necklace shown in the video — the gift that Tae-joon had prepared for her. Does she still have it, and more importantly, can she find the receipt for the necklace. They need to prove that Tae-joon purchased it and it wasn’t a bribe.

At home, Hye-kyung digs through all her belongings, hunting down the necklace. Hahaha, the “Jaws” theme plays on her phone — it’s her mother-in-law, downstairs with all her luggage. She’s ready to move in and help take care of her grandchildren, especially since Hye-kyung is too busy with work.

She pointedly looks around the messy apartment, and when her gaze lands on the jewelry that Hye-kyung dumped out as she searched for the necklace, her mother-in-law says that if Hye-kyung is struggling to make ends meet, she can always lend her some money.

Finally, Hye-kyung is able to locate the necklace from the video. She takes it to the store to try and find a copy of the receipt, but there’s no record that her husband purchased it. Hesitating, she tries another name — Cho Guk-hyun, the developer from whom the prosecution is claiming Tae-joon received bribes. To some relief, that name isn’t on file, either.

Tae-joon’s mother is laying on the guilt super thick, sighing that it’s a pity her son is locked in jail where he can’t see his family or eat a good home-cooked meal, and that she can’t visit him as much as Hye-kyung can. It’s almost a relief when Amber calls since it means Hye-kyung can avoid her mother-in-law, even if it’s only to deal with Amber demanding money if they want her help with Tae-joon’s appeal.

Hye-kyung visits Tae-joon in jail, but she doesn’t even break stride as she marches up to him and slaps him hard across the face. She’s angry that Amber called her, but Tae-joon explains he needs Amber to testify that she tricked him.

She pulls out the necklace, asking who gave it to him. Was it a bribe? Did he even intend to give it to her in the first place? Furious, she demands to know if Tae-joon really thinks life is unfair because he’s accepted this necklace as a bribe, along with money and sexual favors. He insists that he only received the necklace, and he knows he shouldn’t have accepted it, but he just wanted to give her something special.

Scoffing, Hye-kyung asks if he thought of her when he was sleeping with Amber, then. Tae-joon says that Amber was just a one-time mistake — he’s not the horrible person she thinks he is. But she refuses to be treated like a fool.

This time it’s Tae-joon who gets angry, telling her that there are people out there who believe in him. Hye-kyung: “People like Cho Guk-hyun?” He explains that the kickback he received was just a fraction of the one billion dollar development agreement, reiterating that he never wronged anyone but her.

She’s still determined to figure out who bought her the necklace. Tae-joon says that it’ll be under her name, since Cho Guk-hyun would have known Tae-joon would be giving it to his wife. But Hye-kyung refuses to take the necklace back — he can give it to Amber.

At the courthouse, Prosecutor Park plays the video footage of Papa Seo resisting the cops. One of the cops in question is on the witness stand, and confirms that Papa Seo was officially drunk per the breathalyzer. Papa Seo keeps telling Hye-kyug how to respond in the case, and even though she does as bidden, her annoyance at being a glorified puppet is evident.

She finally pulls rank as the assigned lawyer, and gets the witness to admit that he arrested the defendant illegally. Then she snaps at Papa Seo to sit down and be quiet as he keeps hopping up to tell her what to do. They’ll lose this case if it’s left up to him.

Amber calls Tae-joon, telling him that she thought Hye-kyung would cooperate since she seems like the kind of wife that would do anything for her husband. But Tae-joon says he’ll take care of it, much to Amber’s delight.

Hye-kyung’s kids ride up in the elevator to their apartment, and Ji-hoon shows his sister the surveillance camera he’s hidden in the potted plant just outside their door. He hopes to catch whomever is leaving them the photos of their father. When they enter the apartment, they find their grandmother passed out on the floor, and they frantically call 911 as they try to get her to regain consciousness.

Surprisingly, it’s Papa Seo who tells Joong-won that Hye-kyung is at the emergency room, and he watches carefully as his son rushes off to the hospital to be with her. He realizes that his father has tricked him once he discovers Hye-kyung is in the waiting room — it’s not Hye-kyung who’s the patient, but her mother-in-law who was rushed to the hospital due to her heart condition.

Joong-won fills in on his father’s case while Hye-kyung attends to her family, since Tae-joon is released on four days parole to be with his sick mother. Papa Seo sighs, saying that Hye-kyung’s absence must be why there aren’t as many reporters around today. Myung-hee also shows up to help defend her father, but he says that he’ll take care of it himself. He’s not worried about the witness the prosecution has brought to the stand — he and the witness are old friends.

But he’s ready to spring across the table and strangle him when the witness declares that prior to the accident, Papa Seo was at a gathering where he had at least six shots of whiskey. Back at M&J, Papa Seo sprawls out at his desk while Joong-won grumbles that his father’s friend certainly doesn’t seem that close after all. Papa Seo suddenly remembers that he accused the man of illegal inheritance, and then orders all the documents on his company so he can sue him for perjury.

Joong-won eyes him thoughtfully, then asks if his father is sick or has anything else he’s hiding. He promises to keep it confidential as his lawyer, not even telling Myung-hee. But Papa Seo insists that he’s fine — there’s nothing wrong. In return, he asks Joong-won if he only hired Hye-kyung and kept her around because he’s in love with her. Joong-won’s offended by that assumption and leaves without answering, but considering Papa Seo’s amusement at his son’s reaction, it would seem he got his answer.

Chief Prosecutor Choi visits Tae-joon’s mother, who’s flattered by the attention (and the giant bouquet of flowers). She pleads with him to help prove that her son is innocent, and he pleasantly reassures her that’s what he came for.

Except it’s all a lie, because Chief Prosecutor Choi still holds a grudge against Tae-joon, remembering the time when Tae-joon made him work when his own father was dying — he never even got to say goodbye. He tells Tae-joon that it’s all over — he should just give up and cancel the appeal. If he does, Chief Prosecutor Choi will let him out early on parole. But only if he stays away from the prosecutor’s office forever.

Tae-joon isn’t wiling to give in that easily, though, reminding Chief Prosecutor Choi that he once told Tae-joon to rely on evidence, not on the smooth words of a lawyer.

Hye-kyung arrives at the hospital and she passes by Chief Prosecutor Choi. They pointedly ignore each other. She stays with her mother-in-law, falling asleep in the bedside chair only to wake up when her phone rings. She looks for Tae-joon, but he’s nowhere to be found.

Amber is at an underground casino, growing more and more frustrated by her bad luck and lack of money. She grumbles about the fact it’s taking Tae-joon so long to send her money when she suddenly gets a call from him. She’s surprised that he has her number, and hurries to cash in her chips as she rushes out of the illegal casino.

She asks him when he’s going to send her money, and he tells her there’s no need. She’s suddenly taken captive and brought to a secret location where Tae-joon is waiting for her like some gangster boss. He tells her that once he gives her money, she should immediately leave the country and never bother Hye-kyung again. After all, no one knows he’s out on temporary parole right now, and if something were to happen to her, no one would ever find out. That sounds like a threat.

At a bar, Joong-won drinks and idly plays with the decision die his father gave him, sighing that he’s pathetic because he can’t make a decision. Hye-kyung joins him just then, and he marvels at the power of the die — he was just wondering if he should call her.

He’s been trying to figure out his father — why he’s mistreating his family, why he’s insisting he wasn’t drunk at the time of the accident. He wonders if Hye-kyung knows anything, but she reminds him of the client confidentiality agreement.

In the morning, Hye-kyung apologizes to Papa Seo for not being able to represent him in court yesterday. He swallows a few more pills, and she tells him that she knows he didn’t drink like the witness testified, but she also knows that he might not remember what happened. His stumbling around wasn’t because of alcohol, as she points out that he’s taking medication prescribed to Alzheimer’s patients.

Papa Seo growls that she’s wrong — he doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. When Hye-kyung counsels him to stop trying to hide it and tell the truth, he says he doesn’t want people pitying him, and orders her to never mention it again.

So she immediately tells Dan? Pffft. Dan assumes Papa Seo went to the bar to drink after the accident to make everyone think it was drunk-driving and instead hide his Alzheimer’s, but Hye-kyung thinks he doesn’t really remember going to the bar at all. She needs Dan’s investigative help to prove that Papa Seo wasn’t drunk before the accident.

Thanks to Dan’s findings, Hye-kyung reveals in court that Papa Seo was stopped prior to the accident to go through a drunk driving checkpoint. The police officer admits it’s true, but there was an error with the breathalyzer — it kept showing no alcohol in his system, although Papa Seo’s physical appearance made it clear that he was drunk.

But Hye-kyung points out that in between the first breathalyzer, which showed no alcohol in his system, and the second test which was hours later, there was ample time for Papa Seo to go to the bar and drink. Papa Seo is practically glowing at the promise of their win, but Hye-kyung orders him to tell his family about his condition.

He bounces into the M&J offices, informing his children that he’s officially resigning from the firm and handing it over to them. Oh, but he’s not retiring — he’s opening his own firm, taking all his clients with him. He gloats that he’ll retire when he dies and in the meantime, he’ll be making loads of money.

Hye-kyung finds him packing up his office, and reminds him that he promised to tell his children the truth. He shouldn’t be this proud — what if something more serious than a car accident happens next time? Papa Seo muses that one of the benefits of Alzheimer’s is that recent memories are the first to fade. He realizes that he doesn’t hate Joong-won now, which means their animosity must have been a recent thing. He reveals that Joong-won is a very cold, heartless lawyer, which she’ll find out if she keeps working with him.

He dabs the tears from his eyes as he admits that nowadays he’s reminded of his late wife and a time when the children were younger — the days that he’d neglect them in order to help make the country a better place through his civil rights cases. Nowadays, though, his kids are doing well — he doesn’t want to be a burden to them by telling them the truth about his health.

However, he does reveal that Tae-joon was caught in a trap. The sex video is just a distraction from the fact that Tae-joon was betrayed. Papa Seo can’t tell her any more than that, but does warn her that she should be more understanding about her husband’s failings. When you’re trying to protect your family, something is bound to break.

Joong-won stops by Hye-kyung’s office, cheerily thanking her for helping him get his office back. He offers to escort her to the hospital, adding that he should properly greet Tae-joon.

Hye-kyung goes to get her car from the parking garage, and slams on the brakes when Amber steps out in front of her. She immediately locks all the doors as Amber tries to open them. Amber shouts through the window that Tae-joon tried to kill her last night, warning her to never see Hye-kyung again.

But she had to see her to warn her that Hye-kyung is in danger because Tae-joon will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Hye-kyung just drives off as a frustrated Amber screams after her.

Joong-won and Hye-kyung arrive at the hospital where Tae-joon and the kids are having dinner with her mother-in-law. Tae-joon’s smile fades when he sees Joong-won.

COMMENTS

I know I really ought to dislike Tae-joon — or at least keep him at arm’s length as I eye him suspiciously — but all of a sudden I somehow want him to be in full gangster mode all the time. This is likely more due to the intense and oh-so seductive chemistry of Yoo Ji-tae than the character of Tae-joon, but I have to admit I think I can see his side of things. Just a bit. A little bit. If seeing means staring into his beautiful, scruffy face, then yes.

Or, uh, something like that… Yeah…

I was never fond of Peter in the original series, so it’s definitely bewildering for me to kind of want to root for Tae-joon, even knowing that he’s a deeply corrupt bastard. But… he also loves his family, which is a good thing, right? And wants to make sure this scandal doesn’t affect his wife and kids, so maybe a little under-the-table bargaining — or straight up threats — is worth it. Maybe? Ahh, I’m so confused!

But what I’m not confused about is how much I love every second Jeon Do-yeon is on my screen. We’re only three episodes in and I’m already sad that sixteen episodes will seem like not enough in the presence of such a goddess. It’s a good thing I love her and her command of the small screen, though, because I’m actually missing the other characters. What’s the point in having Lee Won-geun be in all the posters when he’s barely had any screentime (or no screentime, as in this episode)? And I’ll continue to complain about the waste of the magnificent Kim Seo-hyung until she finally gets an episode centered around her. At least Nana actually got a few seconds this episode.

But we finally got to meet this version’s “Jackie!” If there was ever a genre that would be able to perfectly fit in an elitist, judgmental, holier-than-thou mother-in-law who thinks her son is too good for his wife, well, it’s definitely a k-drama. I’m a little surprised that they went with her health issues so early on, but I hope it means it’s just an excuse to keep her living at Hye-kyung’s and being the busy-body who continually butts heads with her daughter-in-law.

I find it interesting how the show is cherry-picking certain cases from the original series and not just taking each episode in order. It helps the show to continue to feel fresh instead of merely a rehash of what’s been done before, since it’s not an exact, faithful retelling. Yet it still manages to keep the key, critical elements that make me go, “Yep, this is definitely The Good Wife.” It’s a fine line, and one that I still worry might go too far to one side, but so far I’m impressed by the pacing and the ability to make such familiar elements feel so natural in their new environment. If my only real complaint is that I don’t get to see enough of the other characters all the while totally loving the ones who do get the main focus, well, then clearly this show is doing something very, very right.

 
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25 July 21, 2016July 22, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 4

by odilettante

Tae-joon’s bail hearing draws ever near, and the deciding factor is Hye-kyung — does she really want her husband back in her life (and her home)? Chief Prosecutor Choi continues to do his best to muck things up for his nemesis, and Joong-won’s charmingly boyish face disguises his ruthless desire to win, no matter what the cost. Also, David Lee is delightful even when not dressed like the Devil.

EPISODE 4 RECAP

Hye-kyung visits Tae-joon in jail, and he warns her that will need her testimony for his appeal — his trial for bail is in just a couple of days, and the big question is whether or not she will welcome him back with open arms.

The Seo siblings are busy crunching numbers, trying to figure out who they can afford to keep and who they’ll have to let go. Myung-hee brings up their new hires, but Joong-won doesn’t answer. Watching from a distance is Joon-ho, who can recognize the signs of pending lay-offs. He’s confident they’ll keep him on, but Hye-kyung looks a little nervous.

She and Joong-won meet with Lee Eun-joo, a pretty lawyer working for a conglomerate of landowners, and basically everyone is fighting over a plot of land that is in a prime location for redevelopment. She represents the current landowners while M&J represents the development company. Hye-kyung has done her homework and knows the carefully calculated ways Eun-joo has managed to get the majority of landowners on her side — and on the side of getting a hefty profit.

But David Lee pops his head in, asking to see Hye-kyung. He’s working on a divorce case with a client who’s requested Hye-kyung’s support. Annoyed, Hye-kyung tells him she’s working on another case, but as convivial as his demeanor generally appears to be, he informs that he’s not asking for her assistance — he’s demanding it.

Yeon-joo is amused by the fact that Joong-won has hired Hye-kyung, whose age and reputation as Tae-joon’s wife will surely damage the firm’s reputation. Yeon-joo also clearly flirts with Joong-won, and it seems they’ve had a thing in the past, although he focuses on the business at hand.

Frustrated, Hye-kyung escapes to her office where she bemoans the fact that all her effort she put into the studying up on Yeon-joo’s case is wasted because the firm just wants to use her to console clients. Dan advises her to ask David to add her name as one of the lawyers on the divorce case. He probably won’t do it, but it can’t hurt to ask.

David’s in the middle of his spiel about how brutal the divorce court will be just as Hye-kyung arrives at the conference room. The previously uninterested client rises to greet her, introducing herself as Shim Eun-sook. She apologizes that it might be difficult for Hye-kyung to work with her, but she nervously tells her that she’s thankful for any help Hye-kyung can give.

Eun-sook admits that she’s thought about divorce before, and even met with lawyers. But then her husband would ask forgiveness and she’d decide to stay with him. Except now she’s decided to end things for good.

As the office consoler, Hye-kyung listens with a sympathetic expression, but she’s distracted when she sees Joon-ho take her spot on the real estate development case. Their client laughs at the price Yeon-joo is requesting, saying it’s impossible. Oh, and that CEO of the development company? None other than Cho Guk-hyun, the developer that Tae-joon was reported to have taken bribes from.

Hye-kyung is barely able to pretend to be interested in David’s divorce case until Eun-sook reveals that her husband is none other than Chief Prosecutor Choi. Well, well, well. That certainly changes things.

Of all the people at the firm, Eun-sook thought Hye-kyung would know exactly what she was going through — that’s why she asked her to take part. She begs Hye-kyung to help her find some leverage to use against him, since she knows she’ll lose if they don’t.

Speak of the devil — her husband suddenly arrives at the conference room, but he ignores his wife’s attempt to introduce everyone and instead orders Hye-kyung to meet with him in private. As she steps out, she murmurs to David that he had better put her name on the case. Ha!

Chief Prosecutor Choi assumes that Tae-joon is somehow behind Hye-kyung’s involvement in his wife’s request for divorce, but Hye-kyung retorts that he must be utterly clueless about how his wife truly feels. He threateningly advances on her as he warns her that there is no way he can divorce his wife — they have to stay together for his sons.

He forcefully grabs her wrist, warning her that he’ll make sure Tae-joon doesn’t make bail. He adds that the envelope he left at her door was just the beginning of the evidence he has that will tear her family apart, but of course Hye-kyung has no idea what he’s talking about.

Joong-won sees Yeon-joo out, and she’s in hardcore flirting mode as she tells him they should meet to discuss the case — privately one-on-one, of course. He pleasantly obliges, but he’s distracted by the sight of Chief Prosecutor Choi’s grip on Hye-kyung.

As soon as he bids Yeon-joo adieu, he enters Hye-kyung’s office, calmly informing that the prosecutor had better release Hye-kyung’s arm or he’ll be charged with assault. Chief Prosecutor Choi leaves, warning Hye-kyung to tell his wife that this time, he won’t go easy on her. She’s clearly rattled by the encounter, but reassures Joong-won that she’s okay.

Joong-won brings Hye-kyung to someone who calls himself her “fan,” and it’s none other than Cho Guk-hyun. He greats her pleasantly, reassuring her that Tae-joon’s situation will all be resolved in due time. Even though Tae-joon investigated his business at one time, he still respects the fallen prosecutor.

Hye-kyung can’t stop thinking about the fact that this was the man who bribed her husband, and even Joong-won and Myung-hee seem a little uneasy with his connections to Tae-joon. When he requests Hye-kyung join their defense team, Myung-hee reassures him that they have more experienced lawyers available. Nope. Guk-hyun only wants Hye-kyung.

Ji-hoon and his sister watch the mysterious DVD they found left by the front door. They don’t know who put it there since Ji-hoon forgot to set up his hidden camera. It’s secret footage of their father meeting with Guk-hyun. Ji-hoon tells his sister that they can’t show their mother — she might hate their father even more if she sees it.

Myung-hee isn’t thrilled to have Guk-hyun as her client, but Joong-won defends him, reminding her that they don’t really know anything about what happened with Tae-joon’s case. Besides, Guk-hyun is bringing in a ton of money to the firm, provided they can get Yeon-joo’s clients to agree to the settlement — which Joong-won promises he will make happen, no matter what.

Joong-won’s ultimatum worries Myung-hee, but it seems the settlement should be an easy conversation to have with Yeon-joo over a glass of wine in her apartment. She asks if he wants to see her new tattoo, then turns around so he can unzip her dress, revealing a tattoo that trails down her backbone. Joong-won asks if she’ll settle for a lower amount, and she flirtatiously tells him that he’ll have to find out after she takes a shower and then slips into something “more comfortable.” Uh-huh.

As soon as she disappears into the bedroom, Joong-won quietly and quickly opens her laptop, downloading her case notes onto a flash drive. Just then Myung-hee calls him, telling him to turn on the TV. The news is still reporting on Tae-joon’s scandal, and Joong-won assumes Myung-hee is worried about Hye-kyung’s notoriety affecting the image of their law firm.

But what he should really be worried about is who took the photos of him and Hye-kyung at the hotel (back when they were asking for the evidence in the rape case). Seems like there’s another potential scandal brewing, this time with him at the center of it.

Yeon-joo appears in her bathrobe, amused by the news report. She didn’t know he had a thing for “older” women. He pleasantly tells her he’ll have to take a rain check, and he’ll text her his client’s agreed-upon settlement amount. Then he calls Hye-kyung, apologizing for making her the subject of another potential scandal. She just rolls with it — she knows it will be forgotten in a few days, especially when Tae-joon’s bail hearing will distract everyone. Even so, Joong-won says it will be best if they keep their distance from each other, at least for a little while.

The next morning, he barges into his sister’s office, telling her that those pictures were innocuous. She’s still miffed that people will indelibly link their firm with infidelity — which might make David Lee happy, that’s not the image she wants for them. She orders Joong-won to fire Hye-kyung.

Joong-won stubbornly defends Hye-kyung, saying that those pictures implicate the both of them — if Hye-kyung has to quit, then he’ll quit, too. At least Myung-hee agrees to give Hye-kyung another chance, but she admits that as much as she’s concerned about the firm, she’s more worried about how this will affect her brother personally.

Dan is incredibly amused by the “scandal,” playing dumb as Hye-kyung desperately explains the true story behind the photos. But then she gives Hye-kyung a tip — don’t try to explain too much in detail. It makes her look guilty. Hee.

Chief Prosecutor Choi’s lawyer is there to meet about the divorce, and the lawyer smugly reveals that since Eun-sook signed what essentially amounts to a prenup, she has no property rights and no chance of alimony, and therefore it’s ridiculous to give her custody of the kids since she has no income. Eun-sook simply responds with: “Triton Fields.”

None of the lawyers know what it means, but apparently the threat of revealing the truth about it should be enough to get Chief Prosecutor Choi to actually attend the next meeting. If he has problems with her telling everyone about Triton Fields, then he can just sue her. After all, it’s what he does best.

Chief Prosecutor Choi arrives unannounced at Tae-joon’s prison cell, and orders the guards to confiscate all the “contraband” — primarily the books and case files that Tae-joon is currently studying. He warns Tae-joon that he should have left his family alone, but Tae-joon points out that he could say the same thing to the prosecutor.

He gets right up in Chief Prosecutor Choi’s face, chuckling as he tauntingly says that he can’t blame Eun-sook for wanting a divorce — it must be a nightmare living with him. Now, after all the years he’s made other people suffer, it’s time for the prosecutor to enjoy his own medicine.

Chief Prosecutor Choi warns Tae-joon that he’ll make sure Tae-joon doesn’t make bail and that any of his prison privileges will be revoked. Basically he’ll make his life a living hell. As he leaves, he hands Tae-joon a paper with the article about Hye-kyung’s “secret affair” at the hotel, smugly informing him that it seems Tae-joon’s wife is awfully busy these days.

Hye-kyung is busy — busy working. She stays up late working on Eun-sook’s case at home, but when her daughter Seo-yeon asks if the affair stories are true, she reassures her that it was just a misunderstanding. Seo-yeon’s worried her parents are going to get divorced, and Hye-kyung admits that she did visit a divorce lawyer when she was first angry with Tae-joon, but now she’s trying to accept things the way they are.

Hye-kyung visits Tae-joon in jail, where he fills her in on Chief Prosector Choi’s sudden power trip. The reason he called her down was to warn her that it might be more difficult to stay in contact with her now that his privileges have been taken away. He also wants to talk about her testimony for his bail appeal, especially considering what he’s read in the papers recently.

She tells him nothing happened, and even if it did, she’d inform him first instead of letting the news tell him. Unlike him, she’s not the kind of person to lie or hurt her family in that way. As she stands to leave, she hesitates for a second, then asks him if he knows anything about Triton Fields. That gets his attention, and he leans in, intent on finding out how much Eun-sook might know — or might be willing to tell Hye-kyung.

As she’s leaving the jail, she runs into Tae-joon’s lawyer who’s just arriving. They sit down to discuss the importance of her testimony in order to get him released on bail. She tells him about Cho Guk-hyun becoming a client of M&J, wondering if he had anything to do with it, but he denies any involvement.

He’s more focused on the importance of her testimony coming across as sincere. If her actions or expression belies her words, then Tae-joon has no hope for bail. She reassures him that she’ll only tell the truth, but the lawyer says that some truths may seem truer than others. Hye-kyung will be the one deciding what the truth his, however.

Tae-Join flips through photos of Joong-won and Hye-kyung at the hotel while his lawyer reassures him that it doesn’t look like anything they need to be concerned about. Tae-joon crumples up the photo as he tells his lawyer that no matter what, he’s getting out on bail.

Yeon-joo has gathered her landowning clients together to discuss the settlement, however she’s irate when Joong-won hands her the amount he’s willing to offer — and it’s market rate. That’s because he just got confirmation from Joon-ho that one of the elusive landowners, currently living in Japan, sold them his large parcel land at a reasonable rate. Yeon-joo’s clients no longer have the leverage they used to.

Joong-won walks the defeated Yeon-joo to the elevators, and she asks if he went through her laptop — it’s the only way they could have found the Japanese landowner’s contact info. Joong-won apologizes, but he had to win this case, no matter what. She wonders if Hye-kyung knows what he’s really like — no matter how he tries to hide it, she’ll find out eventually. And then she’ll come to despise him, just as Yeon-joo does.

Once again, the divorce lawyers meet, but this time Eun-sook is much more in command of the meeting. Chief Prosecutor Choi keeps trying to bring up the agreement Eun-sook had signed previously, but every time he does, Eun-sook brings up details about Triton Fields. It’s a most effective bargaining chip, because Chief Prosecutor Choi would rather acquiesce to his wife’s settlement demands than have her reveal anything more about the mysterious Triton Fields.

The divorce papers are eventually finalized, and the M&J lawyers and Eun-sook are left alone to sign the paperwork. Chief Prosecutor Choi has agreed to all of of Eun-sook’s demands, provided she signs a non-disclosure agreement. Eun-sook hesitates a second, realizing that today is Tae-joon’s hearing for his bail. Then she sets down her pen, asking David to step outside for a moment.

Aw, he looks genuinely crushed to be kept out of the gossip loop, but as soon as he leaves, Eun-sook tells Hye-kyung that her husband tapped Tae-joon’s phone, and she saw the files saved on his computers. All she knows is that it has something to do with Triton Fields. With a final wish that everything will turn out well for Hye-kyung, Eun-sook signs the divorce papers — and the NDA.

Tae-joon waits for his hearing in the courthouse VIP room, and Prosecutor Park stops by to greet him. He warns Tae-joon that Chief Prosecutor Choi will be doing everything he can to stop Tae-joon’s bail request. It seems a little odd that a prosecutor is revealing information to a supposed criminal, but Prosecutor Park says he can tell which way the wind is blowing, and Tae-joon is sure to gain back his position and power.

He then leans in, asking if Tae-joon has been meeting with Guk-hyun. But Tae-joon just lunges towards him, yanking the phone from the prosecutor’s pocket and revealing that it was a set-up to record incriminating evidence.

Prosecutor Park apologizes, explaining it wasn’t his idea. But Tae-joon knows that Chief Prosecutor Choi is the one behind it all. He warns Prosecutor Park that he’d better be prepared in case Tae-joon wins his trial, since he can make life difficult for the prosecutor once he’s a free man. But he’s willing to let bygones be bygones if the prosecutor does him a small favor.

Guk-hyun congratulates Joong-won on winning the settlement, adding that they’re similar in that way. I’m not so sure that’s a compliment.

When he runs into Joong-won in the bathroom, Guk-hyun’s bodyguard/drver/assistant tells Joong-won that he hasn’t seen his boss look that elated before. Joong-won says he’s heard that the man used to know Tae-joon, and he admits he did, way back when. He was actually a main factor in bringing Tae-joon and Hye-kyung together fifteen years ago.

Tae-Joon’s bail hearing is closed off from the public, but that doesn’t mean a crowd of reporters don’t hang around in the hallways. Chief Prosecutor Choi reiterates that Tae-joon is a flight risk and shouldn’t be released on bail, but Tae-joon’s lawyer insists that his client is innocent, so there’s no reason for him to flee. Besides, Tae-joon wants nothing more than to return to his wife and children.

It’s time for Hye-kyung’s testimony. Up until this moment, she’s been unsure of what she’ll say, and once she’s in the witness seat, she affirms Tae-joon’s lawyer’s statement that she wants her husband to return home to be with his family.

Chief Prosecutor Choi asks her if it’s true she’s met with a divorce lawyer. She snarks back that of course she has — she’s a lawyer herself, and in fact, she just met with a divorce lawyer this morning, as the prosecutor should well know. But Chief Prosecutor Choi repeats himself, specifically asking if she met with a lawyer with the intent of divorcing her husband.

Hye-kyung admits that when her husband was first arrested, she met with a lawyer to see what her options were. But does that mean she’d consider getting a divorce? Does she still love her husband after his sex scandal?

She confesses that she loved him, and if he’s asking if she still loves him as much before the scandal, then the answer is “no.” But she can’t give a definite answer whether or not she’ll divorce him over it. Is it possible to define one’s feelings?

She loves her husband, but she also hates him. Her feelings for him may fluctuate each day, but what is certain is that she wants her husband to return home to her and her children. That’s all that really matters when it comes to determining whether or not he should be released on bail.

Once the judge releases her from the witness stand, Hye-kyung strides confidently out of the courtroom without once looking at Tae-joon.

Joong-won finds Hye-kyung sitting outside the courthouse, waiting for the judge’s verdict. She just wants it all to finally be over so she can move on without being constantly in the press. Joong-won’s been researching into what happened to bring Hye-kyung and Tae-joon together fifteen years ago, and he carefully asks her how they met.

It was when she was at the training institute — Tae-joon was giving a special lecture about the prosecution department, and she was annoyed that he gave her a low grade. That just brings up memories of all the times she and Joong-won spent together trying to study and survive their years in the training institute, and soon they’re laughing and joking about old times.

Joong-won wonders if she wishes she could return to do those days. Of course she does — she wishes that this was all a dream and that when she wakes up, she’s a student once more. But she can’t go back, can she?

Just then her phone rings. It’s Tae-joon’s lawyer, ready to tell her the judge’s decision about Tae-joon’s bail.

That night, Hye-kyung and her kids nervously await Tae-joon’s arrival. Il-joon happily greets his father at the door, but Seo-yeon can barely look at him.

Joong-won stays late at the office, still looking into what happened during the car accident fifteen years ago. Joon-ho knocks on his door, happy to reveal that he’s working late on the negotiations Joong-won assigned him — although the wind gets slightly knocked out of his sails when Joong-won off-handedly tells him that he only picked him because Hye-kyung was busy.

But Joon-ho knows how to manipulate the situation, bringing up the fact that unlike Hye-kyung, who has to focus on her family since her husband is now released on bail, he can work late to make sure everything is finished. He then makes a few “innocent” remarks about the photos that were taken of Hye-kyung and Joong-won, and how they’ve known each other since college.

Joong-won sees straight though him, though, warning him that Hye-kyung is a gifted lawyer who doesn’t have to stay as late and work as hard because of her innate abilities. After Joon-ho leaves, Joong-won focuses on his research into the car accident that happened fifteen years ago, when Hye-kyung hit Guk-chul’s now-assistant Kang.

Hye-kyung’s son studies the footage of the hidden camera he placed in the plant just outside their front door, in hopes of figuring out who’s been leaving them the mysterious packages. When a cleaning lady bumps the plant, the camera shifts and the front door is no longer in the center of the frame. Assuming the footage is a lost cause, Il-joon leaves. But the camera manages to pick up the image of man who looks like he’s trying to sneakily — and professionally — break into their front door.

COMMENTS

I feel like admitting how much I love this show is already getting repetitive, but I don’t think it’s a sentiment that is going to change any time soon, so: I love this show.

Each episode makes me more and more excited to see not only how the deeper corruption is unraveled, but also how Hye-kyung tries to keep a grip on her outer life even though she may have no clue what to do with her inner life. I was going to say that I could watch an entire show of just her tearing apart the prosecution and making them pay for any pain and frustration they’ve caused her — but that’s basically what I’m already getting, anyway.

I just love how in command she is, even when we know that her inner world is filled with doubts and insecurities. She loves her husband, yes, maybe. Or she did at one time. And maybe she does even still, to some degree. But surely having to build a metaphorical shield around herself to deal with the daily barrage of gossip has forced her to wonder if he’s truly worth it — or if she even really knows him.

I’m still conflicted about Tae-joon. He’s a corrupt, lying, cheating bastard, yet it seems like he does genuinely care about Hye-kyung. I’m not exactly sure what happened with the car accident fifteen years ago, but clearly he made it so she wouldn’t take the fall for injuring a man, and managed to earn the man’s loyalty in return. Or is he merely continuing to pay for that loyalty. Are all his years of corruption and taking bribes just so he could protect Hye-kyung? It certainly seems as though some of it was, but I don’t buy for a second that the sex scandal can be somehow pinned back on Hye-kyung. That’s all on him.

This is also the first episode where I really felt the connection — and unspoken longing — between Joong-won and Hye-kyung. Watching her face when they meet up and talk, seeing how she relaxes and how genuinely she smiles, I can’t help but hope that somehow they’ll be able to rekindle their law school romance. Buuuuuuuut then I’m reminded that Joong-won, in his ruthless quest to win at all costs, may not be all that much better than Tae-joon. And Hye-kyung definitely deserves the best.

Which is why the show seriously needs to spend more time with Dan and Myung-hee. I’m glad Myung-hee is getting a little more screentime, but I just really want the ladies to be friends and solve cases together because Hye-kyung needs friends she can trust. And I think I can trust them. I think. Then again, I’m not sure of anyone in this show. Everyone has their morally grey depths — some darker than others, perhaps, but no one is pure and perfect — not even Hye-kyung.

 
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21 July 27, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 5

by odilettante

Confronting the ghosts of the past is never easy, especially when you discover those ghosts aren’t exactly friendly ones. Hye-kyung realizes just how much her husband’s scandal has changed her daily life, while Tae-joon has to make a decision about his future. To everyone’s surprise and delight, Joon-ho actually gets to leave the office and do lawyerly things, reminding us that he’s not just another pretty face. (Except he totally is.)

EPISODE 5 RECAP

Ji-hoon returns to his room in time to see footage of the mysterious man trying to break into their apartment, but his sister arriving home apparently scared the man off. He saves the video on his phone and gives it to his father, trying to keep it secret from the rest of the family.

Dan delivers information about Tae-joon that Joong-won requested — including some information and photos that aren’t exactly available to the general public. He asks her what it was like working for Tae-joon, and she pauses a moment before she explains that he’s the smart, loyal type who has a lot of friends.

Joong-won is surprised by her positive impression, but she adds that Tae-joon also has to have anything he wants — be it a person or a case, he has to win it all. Which means that he also has a lot of enemies. Joong-won flips through the documents on Tae-joon, and included are some photos from the hidden camera of Tae-joon meeting with Guk-hyun.

Tae-joon is happy to be home, even if “home” is now a smaller place than even their newlywed apartment. It’s also strange for him to be the one to stay home while Hye-kyung goes off to work, and as he washes the breakfast dishes, he tries to casually ask if Chief Prosecutor Choi’s ex-wife mentioned anything else about Triton Fields.

Annoyed, Hye-kyung tells him that Chief Prosecutor Choi tapped his phone, and that’s all she knows. She warns him to not put his family in harm’s way as he investigates further.

At the office, Dan delivers a huge stack of files to Hye-kyung’s office. She also advises Hye-kyung to show no mercy now that Tae-joon is back in her life. If she starts to forgive him just because he’s her husband and the father of her children, there will only be more tragedy.

Dan offers to set her up with other men, specifically asking her what she thinks of Joong-won. But Hye-kyung laughingly protests that they’re just friends — in fact, he might be the only friend she has left. Joon-ho finds her just then, and says that he thinks her son is waiting for her in the lobby.

Except it’s actually one of her son’s friends from their old school. Hye-kyung is surprised to see Jae-yeol there, but he tells her that he has a problem, and thought she could help him — as a lawyer.

At home, Tae-joon finishes all the household chores, and then sits down to contemplate the phone his son left him. He starts to watch the video of the man attempting to break into the apartment, and immediately rushes outside — to find Joong-won there, with his hand poised above the doorbell.

Hye-kyung reassures Jae-yeol that he is, indeed, covered by attorney-client privilege, so anything he says to her will be confidential. Relieved, he starts to tell her about another friend, Dong-hyun, who suggested that they steal test papers from their teacher’s office.

But just as they were breaking into the office, Jae-yeol ran away when he saw the security guard arrive. He’s worried, though, because the next morning there were police cars at the school and he can’t get in touch with Dong-hyun.

Hye-kyung asks Myung-hee if she can give Jae-yul a ride home. She can already predict that Myung-hee isn’t happy she’s wasting time on personal matters when she should be focusing on her clients, and promises that she’ll work harder on her cases. Myung-hee says she can drive the boy home, but Hye-kyung better seriously think about why she became a lawyer in the first place.

Joong-won and Tae-joon sit down over a cup of coffee, and after the initial pleasantries, Joong-won tells Tae-joon that they’re now legal counsel for Guk-hyun, who also just so happens to have been a name frequently mentioned in Tae-joon’s bribery case. Yet, somehow, Guk-hyun avoided prosecution. Joong-won knows that it’s related to the car accident long ago, adding that if he had been there that day, it would have never happened.

He advises Tae-joon to speak to Guk-hyun — privately, one-on-one. No lawyers around. With thinly veiled politeness, Tae-joon thanks him for coming all the way here just to give him advice, but Joong-won makes it clear he’s only there because of his desire to protect Hye-kyung.

After Hye-kyung drives Jae-yeol home, he asks her to talk to his mother, hoping the mothers’ friendship back then will help smooth things over. She recalls luncheons with the other students’ mothers (where they would spend quite a bit of time trying to one-up each other). That time, Jae-yeol’s mother was still trying to fit in with the new neighborhood ladies, but now Hye-kyung finds her comfortably hosting a luncheon outside.

The women are surprised to see Hye-kyung, but Jae-yeol’s mother is able to act like a proper hostess and greet her politely, apologizing that she didn’t keep in touch after Hye-kyung moved away. As the other women start to whisper to each other about Tae-joon, Hye-kyung explains that she’s not there for a social call.

In private, she explains the situation with Jae-yeol, and his mother frets about her son’s sudden change in attitude. Hye-kyung also asks about Dong-hyun’s mother, and Jae-yeol’s mother scoffs that Dong-hyun’s mother now acts like she’s the boss of all the mothers. Just then the other guests rush inside to reveal that the cops are taking Jae-yeol away.

His mother runs outside, demanding to know what’s going on. As the whole neighborhood watches, Hye-kyung steps in and declares she’s Jae-yeol’s lawyer, asking if they have a warrant for arrest. They do — for murder.

Tae-joon asks his lawyer if they can prove that the Prosecutor’s Office is behind the attempt to break into the apartment, knowing that it big another big scandal. Not to mention Chief Prosecutor Choi would likely then leak the wiretapped conversations. It would be a messy fight, causing a huge scandal for both sides.

Just then Ji-hoon arrives home, and reveals the other documents the mysterious person has left for them. Tae-joon and his lawyer wonder if the hidden footage of his meeting with Guk-hyun was actually something Guk-hyun was aware of (and perhaps he’s responsible for leaving these documents instead of someone at the Prosecutor’s Office).

When Ji-hoon hesitantly shows him the photos of his father with Amber, Tae-joon confidently declares that it’s not him. He swears they’re photoshopped with the sole intent of tearing apart their family, and gets Ji-hoon to promise to keep it a secret from Hye-kyung and Seo-yeon.

Dan’s found out more information about what happened the night Dong-hyun and Jae-yeol broke into the teacher’s office to steal the test. The murder happened when Jae-yeol pushed the security guard as he was trying to run away, and the man fell down the stairs, fatally hitting his head.

She wonders why Hye-kyung is so invested in this case, and Hye-kyung explains that of the mothers in her neighborhood back then, Jae-yeol’s mother was her closest friend. Then again, Jae-yeol’s mother was the first one to cut off contact after Hye-kyung moved away due to Tae-joon’s scandal. Dan shrugs, pointing out that betrayal is just a part of life.

They meet with Jae-yeol at his holding cell, and he pleads with them to get him out. He insists he didn’t do anything to the guard — he ran away as soon as he saw the guard coming. He begs her to talk to Dong-hyun who will confirm what he’s said is true, but Hye-kyung reveals that it’s actually Dong-hyun who’s saying Jae-yeol pushed the guard.

Hye-kyung takes the case to the Seo siblings. Joong-won doesn’t think it’s a clear enough case to win, but Myung-hee is confident that Jae-yeol’s rich parents will be able to afford their fees. Hye-kyung knows that her personal relationship with the client might affect the case, and suggests they assign another lawyer to take the lead — which also leaves her more time to deal with Guk-hyun’s case.

But Joong-won says that she should just focus on Jae-yeol’s case for now. Hye-kyung wonders if she’s done something wrong to be taken off Guk-hyun’s case, or if it’s maybe because of some connection with Tae-joon. He reassures her that he just wants her focused on the murder case right now, promising he’ll keep her name listed as one of Guk-hyun’s lawyers while he works the case.

That night, when Hye-kyung arrives home, she finds out that the passcode has been changed. Tae-joon answers the door, apologizing that he forgot to tell her, but she just wants to know why it was changed in the first place. It also looks like Seo-yeon has warmed up to her father as she happily plays video games with him.

Alone in her bedroom, Hye-kyung starts to change her clothes when Tae-joon knocks on the door. She hurriedly puts her shirt back on as he enters. It must be odd to return home and then be treated like a stranger.

He’s already heard about Jae-yeol’s case through their kids (who heard about it from their old friends). He thinks that Hye-kyung is too good for Jae-yeol’s family to help them with their case, especially when they completely ignored her after she left the neighborhood.

But Hye-kyung points out that everyone abandoned them after his scandal. He tells her that he’s doing everything in his power to prove his innocence so that his family can return to the life they once had. He still has a lot of powerful political connections, and once everything is straightened out, he’ll be able to leap up that political ladder, once again gaining influence and respect.

Hye-kyung wearily asks what it is he wants her to do. Tae-joon: “Trust me — like you used to.”

Dan and Hye-kyung visit the school to do some investigating, and Dan is amazed to realize that this kind of fancy school was once a daily part of Hye-kyung’s life. They stop in their tracks when they see a familiar face — it’s Joon-ho, playing soccer with some of the students. He’s the lawyer Joong-won has assigned to take the lead on this case.

He’s already done some research of his own, mostly by getting information from the students. Jae-yeol sounds like a good kid, but not necessarily the best student. Even though Dong-hyun was the class president, it seems he’s also a bully, and Joon-ho says they should try to pin the blame all on him instead of Jae-yeol.

While he and Dan investigate the scene of the crime, Hye-kyung finds Dong-hyun by his locker. He quickly scrambles to put the lock back on, and as Hye-kyung pleasantly greets him, she’s interrupted by his overprotective mother who stands between them.

Dong-hyun’s mother sneers that this is the first time they’re meeting since Tae-joon’s scandal, and that Hye-kyung must be really struggling as a lawyer to decide to pick up Jae-yeol’s case. She snarks that Hye-kyung should be more focused on taking care of Tae-joon’s scandal, and then drags her son away.

At Jae-yeol’s trial, the detective reveals that he arrested Dong-hyun at the scene of the crime for admitting that he and Jae-yeol tried to steal the test papers, but it was Jae-yeol who pushed the security guard. The detective declares that, in his years of experience, teenagers typically don’t lie about such situations.

When it comes time for Joon-ho to cross-examine the detective, he balks for a second, his mind going blank. He has to go back to the table to look at his notes, then asks the detective why Dong-hyun only said who pushed the guard the morning after his arrest for stealing the test. That gives him plenty of time to come up with a convincing story, right?

The detective says it’s because he originally didn’t want to betray his friend, and that takes the wind out of Joon-ho’s sails. He has nothing further to say, and sits down at the table, the figure of defeat. Sitting next to him, Hye-kyung tries to encourage him, telling him he’s doing well for his first trial, but Joon-ho grumbles that she shouldn’t act like she’s his superior.

Dong-hyun takes the witness stand, testifying that Jae-yeol just asked to meet him at school that night. He had no idea that Jae-yeol actually wanted to steal the test. Furious, Jae-yeol leaps up and grabs Dong-hyun by the collar, yelling at him for lying.

Back at M&J law firm, Joong-won asks Hye-kyung what happened, and she admits it didn’t go very well. She knows Joon-ho did his best, considering it was his first trial (all of his other cases were settled out of court), and she did her best to help him. But Joong-won says that he assigned Joon-ho to this case so Hye-kyung could prove that she’s better than Joon-ho — she shouldn’t be helping him, she should be taking over!

But Hye-kyung doesn’t want to bring their office politics into a case that’s about defended a teenager from going to jail for murder. Joong-won tells her to stop thinking about others and only look after herself, but she’s still determined to try and find the most beneficial way out for everyone — including Joon-ho.

As she leaves Joong-won’s office, she’s surprised to see Driver Kang waiting there. It’s been years but they still remember each other. She genuinely asks after his health, and he says he’s doing well. He’s just waiting for his boss — who’s waiting for Hye-kyung in her office.

Guk-hyun grins at Hye-kyung, cheekily stating that he’s heard she knows his driver. Also he’s sad that she missed their meeting today. Hye-kyung, in her best professional voice, informs him that Joong-won was there representing the firm while she took care of some personal business.

He wants to ask for a favor, though — Tae-joon is apparently too busy to meet with him, so he wants her to give him a box of herbal medication. She can tell Tae-joon that it’s a gift from Guk-hyun’s driver. Oh, and she also better inform her husband that he can’t guarantee what will happen if Tae-joon continues to avoid him.

At home, Hye-kyung is lost in thought, remembering the car accident back then. A phone call from Dan breaks her out of her reverie — Dan says that the test papers haven’t been found at the scene of the crime, and both Dong-hyun and Jae-yeol insist they didn’t take them.

She starts to head out to investigate further, and Tae-joon asks if she wants him to come along. But she reminds him that, per the terms of his bail, he’s not really allowed to go anywhere.

Hye-kyung also remembers to tell him about the gift Guk-hyun left for him, adding that Guk-hyun is requesting Tae-joon contact him. As she leaves, Hye-kyung tells him that they should soon have an honest conversation about everything, instead of merely pretending to be happy.

Hye-kyung arrives at Dong-hyun’s home, and his mother answers the door. But she has nothing to say to Hye-kyung and is about to slam the door in her face when Hye-kyung tells her that the police will soon investigate the missing test papers. She invites Hye-kyung in, and then makes herself a generous glass of Scotch on the rocks.

Dong-hyun’s mother laughs as she recounts how Hye-kyung’s life was ruined by Tae-joon’s scandal. She asks if Hye-kyung knows how all their old friends were actually happy to see her and her husband taken down a peg or two, since they all hated how arrogantly Hye-kyung and Tae-joon used to act.

But Hye-kyung calmly ignores the snide little remarks and instead focuses on Dong-hyun, asking if he knew where the key was to the locked cabinet that held the test. His mother just gulps down her whiskey, insisting that Dong-hyun is a model student and perfect son so he wouldn’t need to do anything like that.

Speaking from personal experience, Hye-kyung pleads with her to ask her son the truth, since she knows that she’s wondering if her son is really guilty. Just like Hye-kyung was filled with doubt about her husband when the scandal broke. But Dong-hyun’s mother angrily declares that Tae-joon and her son are nothing alike, and orders Hye-kyung to get out.

Who needs keys when you know someone who can pick locks? Dan easily gets them access to the school while Hye-kyung marvels at her ability. She asks why Tae-joon fired her from the Prosecutor’s Office, and Dan says that she was caught investigating an old case that he had closed, and decided to quit instead of be punished for it. She advises Hye-kyung to leave him while she can.

As the women walk through the darkened hallways of the empty school, Hye-kyung is trying to figure out where the test papers would have been hidden, given the short amount of time between being caught by the security officers and then the police arriving. She’s convinced that they must be in Dong-hyun’s locker, but as soon as Dan starts to pick that lock, a sound further down the hallway sends them scurrying around the corner to hide.

It’s Dong-hyun’s mother, who heads directly to her son’s locker. Hye-kyung steps out to confront her. She reminds her that she won’t solve anything by hiding her son’s guilt. When she tries to physically push Hye-kyung away, Dan pins her to the lockers so Hye-kyung can open Dong-hyun’s locker and reveal the stolen test papers. Dong-hyun’s mother breaks down weeping, still unable to accept her son’s guilt.

In the morning, Hye-kyung and Joon-ho meet with Jae-yeol’s parents outside of the detention center where Jae-yeol is about to be released now that they have proof Dong-hyun was the one who stole the papers and pushed the security guard. Jae-yeol will just have to serve community service for being an accomplice in stealing the test.

Grateful, Jae-yeol’s mother tearfully thanks Hye-kyung, promising that she’ll keep in touch. But Hye-kyung knows those are just empty words, although she appreciates the sentiment. Dong-hyun’s mother rushes up at that moment, and the power dynamic is reversed as she gets down on her knees to plead with Jae-yeol’s mother to save her son.

Hye-kyung celebrates her win over a couple of drinks with Joong-won, although she tipsily confesses that she always thought she was a good person, so it’s been a surprise to find out how many of her old “friends” actually seem to have always hated her. Joong-won dismisses them as fair-weather friends, saying it’s easy to forget the good times when you’re afraid of losing your precariously held social status.

Thanks to a little drunken courage, he reveals that back at the Training Institute, he had a huge crush on her. She’s shocked to hear that, because he only ever treated her as a friend while they were classmates, and he admits that near the end of their training he was going to reveal the truth.

Meanwhile, Tae-joon sits at home, studying the box of herbal medicine. He then dumps it out to reveal a phone at the bottom of the box, which he uses to call Guk-hyun. He agrees to talk to Guk-hyun provided he leaves Hye-kyung out of it. Guk-hyun reiterates that they need to stick together to win against Chief Prosecutor Choi, who’s really no better than they are.

Back at the bar, Hye-kyung still refuses to believe Joong-won’s belated confession, especially since he had lots of different girlfriends while they were at school together. Then she admits that, these days, she’d rather know the truth about everything, even if it’s ugly. Joong-won agrees, rendering her speechless when he adds that he especially agrees when it comes to finding out the truth about her.

Both Hye-kyung on her way home and Tae-joon sitting alone at home recall the night of the car accident. It was dark and rainy, and Tae-joon was driving as he pulled to a stop at a light. He recognized a gangster he was trying to catch as a prosecutor, and then sped off after him, but the pouring rain made it difficult to see and he crashed into the man we know as Driver Kang.

When they saw the man lying bloody and unconscious in the street. Hye-kyung tried to call 911, but Tae-joon pleaded with her, letting her know his career will be ruined. Only the two of them knew what happened, and so long as they kept a secret, he was confident nothing would happen.

Pausing outside her apartment door, Hye-kyung recalls them switching spots so she was in the driver’s seat, and Tae-joon reassuring her that he would make sure everything was taken care of. Her phone rang — it was Joong-won, who was standing in the rain with a giant bouquet of flowers, wondering where she is, but Tae-joon ignored the call.

Hye-kyung reassured Tae-joon that she would do all in her power to help him, and that everything would be fine if they were together. Then she pulled him close for an embrace.

In the present day, Tae-joon and Hye-kyung stand on opposite sides of the apartment door, hesitating until they finally reach for their respective handles.

COMMENTS

The car accident sub-plot is definitely intriguing, not the least because it’s novel to this adaptation. It also helps ground everything by adding something that’s so familiar to Korean dramas, since tragic backstories are nothing new and are almost welcome to help remind me that this is not the American version. I also feel like this potential love triangle (although I hesitate even calling it that, since there are so many layers to this so-called “triangle”) has more meaning and depth than I was expecting. While I still don’t trust either of the guys, I feel like I can understand the struggle Hye-kyung must eventually go through when she starts to figure out the truth of how she really feels.

I mean, clearly it’s easy to go the Dan route and just repeatedly warn to her to leave Tae-joon already because he’s totally bad news and only going to make things worse for her. But there’s a deep connection they share over that accident, a secret that binds them together, a secret that if revealed could ruin all of their lives. That’s dangerously exciting, even if it’s probably the worst possible reason to get into a relationship with someone.

Then again, while Joong-won is slowly winning me over with his understated and (possibly) unrequited love, part of me still thinks he’s suspicious for reasons I haven’t fully formed yet, but most likely due to his sudden urge to leap on the chance to protect Hye-kyung at this point in her life when he apparently couldn’t before. I’m sure she’s grateful for the second chance at a career, but she doesn’t seem the type who needs to be protected, y’know? She could have probably figured out her life without his continual help, especially when he tries to help her in ways that go against her personal beliefs.

Not to mention that all my years of drama watching have trained me to instinctively accept that the second lead never wins, especially the second leads with unrequited love and terrible timing. But I still kinda want Joong-won to rekindle whatever crush he had on her and fan that flame — if only because I want to see more of my beloved Jeon Do-yeon smiling in each episode.

But I’m also happy that there’s the glimmer of promise we’ll see more of the ensemble — yay, Joon-ho actually got to do more than just pop into Hye-kyung’s office and smirk! Now I’m waiting for Myung-hee to finally have her day in court, too (literally). Until then, I’ll be satisfied with more investigations where Dan gets to perform some dubious legal acts alongside the tenacious Hye-kyung. Forget Joong-won or Tae-joon — the only one I really want protecting Hye-kyung is Dan.

 
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42 July 28, 2016July 28, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 6

by odilettante

What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to die? And can the definition of “life and death” truly be settled in a court of law, in just one day? Hye-kyung finds herself in a case that forces her to consider these questions — as well as the importance of love, honesty, hope, and forgiveness.

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

Hye-kyung is just about to open her front door when she gets a call from Papa Seo, asking for her help. By the time Tae-joon opens the door from the inside, she’s nowhere to be seen.

Papa Seo has gotten into an accident by randomly walking out into the street, causing a car to swerve and crash to avoid him. He refuses to tell anything to the police officer, insisting that his lawyer will be arriving soon. And so she does, but she sighs when the cop asks her if Papa Seo has been drinking or taking medication, since she knows he doesn’t want anyone to know about his Alzheimer’s.

One of the doctors at the hospital is an old friend of Joong-won and calls him, giving a heads-up that his father is here with Hye-kyung. Joong-won immediately tries calling her, but she’s already on the phone with the man who crashed his car to avoid Papa Seo. They’ve agreed to settle provided Papa Seo pays for the car repairs and medical bills.

She tells Papa Seo that he really needs to let his children know about the accident, and especially about his condition, but he begs her for a few days more while he figures out how to break the news to them. Showing him the missed call from Joong-won, she points out that his son might already know.

Joong-won arrives at the hospital just as Hye-kyung is preparing to leave. He steps out of the elevator as she turns around the corner of the hallway to answer the phone, letting Tae-joon know that she’s been delayed by a client. She spots an angry man further down the hallway, furious that the doctors are going to be taking his wife off life support.

Papa Seo just has some minor injuries, but they’re still waiting for the test results to come back to ensure everything is fine. Joong-won sits down by his father’s bedside to wait, and his father wakes up from his nap to ask if Joong-won is only interested in money.

He doesn’t seem at his most coherent as he rambles about handing down his law firm to trash like his son, who once won a case by postponing a trial on behalf of a toy company that made toys with lead, causing many children to die of lead poisoning as the trial dragged on and on. Didn’t Joong-won learn any ethics in the Training Institute, or was he taught to only be concerned about his client’s money?

Joong-won isn’t going to sit still for this, and he angrily reminds Papa Seo that even if his father fought for his cases with his conscious, he spent more time at work than caring for his family. But Papa Seo just sadly says that he never thought his son would be so blinded by money — and then he falls asleep.

Stepping outside of the hospital room, Joong-won remembers how triumphant he was when he finally got the last lead-poisoning family to settle, winning the case. But his sister and father were not as enthused.

He spots Hye-kyung in the hallway, filling out paperwork. She easily lies that Papa Seo fell in his bathtub and only called because she’s the first contact in his speed dial. She then reveals that she’s been filling out an injunction for patient Lee Hyo-jin, who’s currently in a vegetative state and due to be taken off life support tomorrow.

Joong-won doesn’t think the legal order to stop the hospital from removing life support has much merit, considering that it seems she’s previously refused life support and her family is in unanimous agreement to take her off it. But Hye-kyung reveals Hyo-jin is also eighteen weeks pregnant — if Hyo-jin is taken off life support, then the baby dies, too. Hye-kyung is convinced that they should take on the case for Hyo-jin’s husband, and Joong-won, while doubtful, agrees.

When she finally arrives home, Tae-joon meets her in the doorway. He’s been waiting up to tell her something, but Hye-kyung will only agree to talk to him once he finally tells her the truth about everything.

In the morning, Myung-hee demands to know what happened at the hospital that made Joong-won file an impossible-to-win injuction, because Hyo-jin’s husband isn’t actually her legal husband — they’ve just been living together, so he has no legal rights in her life. However, Joong-won is still confident, since the man is the father of Hyo-jin’s baby.

Myung-hee then chides him for not visiting Papa Seo in the hospital. She’s already talked to their father, adding that Papa Seo told her he’d rather Joong-won doesn’t visit. Joong-won just rolls with it, not mentioning he was already there, and as soon as Myung-hee leaves, he opens up his laptop to reveal he’s been researching Alzheimer’s Disease.

Due to the injunction, the Justice Department has set up an emergency courtroom in the hospital. It’s Hyo-jin’s brother against Hyo-jin’s defacto husband Na Joong-ki (and father of the unborn child), and tensions are high between them as her brother blames her boyfriend for her current state.

The judge begins the hearing, annoyed that the brother’s counsel isn’t here yet. She’s the kind of judge who keeps to the strict letter of the law, and if his lawyer doesn’t arrive soon, then the brother will have to defend the case himself.

As Hyo-jin’s brother nervously awaits his lawyer’s arrival, Joong-won presents the case: Hyo-jin had a severe head injury nearly two weeks ago and is currently in a vegetative state, but she’s also pregnant. The baby is still healthy, but Hyo-jin’s family wants to pull the plug, meaning Hyo-jin and the baby will die. Even though Joong-ki never registered the marriage, Joong-won is there to prove that Joong-ki has the legal right to decide what’s best for Hyo-jin and the baby.

Hye-kyung is also hurrying to the hospital to join Joong-won at the hearing, but she stops to help an extremely pregnant woman out of her car and carry her belongings into the hospital. It turns out that the pregnant woman is none other than the opposing counsel, Lee Soo-hyun.

Soo-hyun and Hye-kyung arrive at the makeshift courtroom just then, and as Soo-hyun takes back her belongings, she starts right in with her argument that Hyo-jin is already dead, having never regained consciousness since her accident. Plus, her family is in complete agreement to give her the dignity of death by removing life support.

Hye-kyung springs up to object, but Soo-hyun dismisses her claim that Joong-ki is Hyo-jin’s closest family member. It doesn’t even matter that Hyo-jin is pregnant — there’s no real chance that the fetus could survive an attempt give birth.

Joong-won asks an experienced doctor, who reveals that if they keep Hyo-jin on life support, the fetus can grow enough to have a 15-20% chance to survive a cesarian section. When Soo-hyun questions him, she reveals that the other doctors in the hospital only predict about a 3% chance, discrediting the other doctor’s skill.

But the doctor refuses to be badgered, and firmly declares that he would be willing to give the baby a chance, confident in his abilities. Then it’s time for Joong-won to cross examine Soo-hyun’s expert witness doctor, and he steam-rolls the man with rhetorical questions about the value of life and how, even if there’s one-in-a-million chance, shouldn’t they do all they can to save a life? Worried that the judge is about to decide in favor of Joong-won and his client, Soo-hyun fakes labor pains to buy some time.

Hye-kyung does all but roll her eyes, and when Joong-won points out Soo-hyun’s faking it to extend the hearing, Soo-hyun counters with his original argument that all life is valuable. Which he then snarks that, according to her argument, her baby isn’t alive yet, since it’s just a fetus. At any rate, the judge allows for a recess.

Dan meets with Chief Prosecutor Choi, who offers her the chance to work for him by gathering all the information she can find on Tae-joon. He won’t pay her because he can instead blackmail her with his knowledge of what really happened when she worked at the Prosecutor’s Office.

Back at the hospital, Hye-kyung asks their medical expert why he believes the odds of survival are more than one-in-a-million. He explains that he used to think there was never a chance for recovery, but then he had one of his vegetative-state clients randomly wake up one day after being in a coma for ten years. Maybe it’s simply coincidence, but he believes that it was the power of love, thanks to her family who stayed by her side all that time.

Joong-won sees his father’s hospital room, but continues walking past to go visit Hyo-jin. Hye-kyung finds him there, wondering if life support is more for the patient’s family than the patient — it gives them hope, after all. Joong-won personally believes they should follow Hyo-jin’s original wish to remove life support, but Hye-kyung is the idealist who, as a mother, would be willing to do anything to save the baby.

They sit down to have a drink with Soo-hyun (who admires the fact they’d look good as a couple, hee!), and she’s surprised that such a shark like Joong-won was willing to take on a case defending the rights of a fetus that only has a slim chance of survival. Especially since he used to be the kind of lawyer who had no concern about dying kids when it meant winning a settlement. That seems to surprise Hye-kyung, although she doesn’t say anything.

Then again, Soo-hyun knows this isn’t just about the baby. It’s really about money. Hyo-jin is due to come into a hefty inheritance if her sickly father dies before she does. But if she dies first, then the money will go to the other members of the family. Soo-hyun assumes that Joong-won just took the case to get his hands on some of those millions. Hye-kyung insists that neither she or Joong-won knew anything about the money, but is surprised to hear Joong-won calmly discuss the details of Hyo-jin’s will.

Soo-hyun points out that if the baby is born, then it’s like Joong-won and his client won the lottery. Hye-kyung is shocked by how shameless Soo-hyun is acting, but Soo-hyun suggests that they come to an agreement — keep Hyo-jin on life support for the baby, and have Joong-ki agree to give the inheritance to Hyo-jin’s family. As Soo-hyun leaves to discuss the settlement with her clients, she tells Hye-kyung that it’s clear she’s a rookie — that’s okay, though, because she’ll get hardened in a few years.

Tae-joon is at the hospital to visit his mother (one of the few places other than home he is allowed to go), and is surprised to find Dan waiting for him. She reveals that Chief Prosecutor Choi has hired to her to dig up information on Tae-joon, and Tae-joon offers to hire her on as well. She’d basically be a double-agent.

Joong-won finds Joong-ki at the ICU, unable to tear himself away from the window where he can watch Hyo-jin. He stares in wonder, marveling that it looks like she’s sleeping and will wake up any moment. Joong-won brings up the money, but Joong-ki doesn’t seem to care — or know — about the inheritance, promising he’ll find a way to pay the lawyer’s fees.

Returning to the makeshift courtroom, Joong-won is more determined than ever — there will be no settlement. Soo-hyun just shrugs — that means Joong-won’s client will lose it all. She calls Joong-ki to the stand, and makes a great display of how she understands how difficult it must be for him right now, but isn’t he making things more difficult by refusing Hyo-jin’s right to a dignified death?

Joong-ki argues that even though he’s not legally her husband, he knows Hyo-jin better than anyone else, and she would have changed her agreement for no life support once it meant saving the life of her child. He angrily reveals that her family were no better than strangers to her, yet they’re the ones who get to decide whether she lives or dies, and not him, the one who loves her and was planning to marry her.

But Soo-hyun reveals that, on the day of Hyo-jin’s accident, the couple had gotten into a fight. She shows the judge a text message that implies Hyo-jin was breaking up with him. Desperate, Joong-ki tries to explain it was all a misunderstanding, but it’s enough for Soo-hyun to prove that Joong-ki has no legal right to speak for Hyo-jin. Joong-won points out that Joong-ki can still speak for his child, but the judge reminds him that a fetus has no legal rights.

Soo-hyun’s basically won the case, and she refuses Joong-won’s request to agree to the original settlement. He just needs to accept the fact he actually lost.

Hye-kyung tries to comfort Joong-ki, who’s sitting dazed in the empty hospital courtroom. He begs Hye-kyung to still try and help him save Hyo-jin’s life. He wanted to tell her after she woke up from her coma how sorry he was and ask her forgiveness.

But instead all he can do is sit by Hyo-jin’s side and weep as the doctors officially remove the life support. Hye-kyung and Joong-won also watch, and later as Joong-won leaves the hospital, he passes by his father’s room where Myung-hee has joined him for dinner. But he doesn’t stop and go in to visit with them.

Hye-kyung is haunted by Joong-ki’s declaration that the last memory Hyo-jin has is of their fight, and when she gets home, she and Tae-joon sit down together to speak honestly.

Tae-joon reveals that Guk-hyun has never directly blackmailed him about the car accident, but did use that connection to build a special relationship with the prosecutors to give him unique consideration when his business practices were revealed as corrupt. Tae-joon swears he never took bribes — just the necklace, which Guk-hyun purchased because he knew Tae-joon wanted to buy it for Hye-kyun.

As for his infidelity, it was all a set up — nothing to do with Guk-hyun. The reason Guk-hyun is so determined to meet with Tae-joon is because of the upcoming appeal, and Guk-hyun is being pressured by Chief Prosecutor Choi to falsely testify that Tae-joon received bribes.

Tae-joon is relieved to finally tell Hye-kyung the truth — he hadn’t before so as not to worry her unnecessarily. He just wanted to protect her and the children. But Hye-kyung accurately pinpoints the fact that Tae-joon is more interested in protecting his greed than his family.

It’s something she should have paid more attention to back when he covered up the car accident, but she ignored it because she loved him. She points out that if she had dealt with it then, then they may have been happier, even if they weren’t as well off financially.

Dan reveals to Chief Prosecutor Choi that she’s already been in contact with Tae-joon, and she’ll work for him provided he gives her the recordings from when he tapped Tae-joon’s phone. It’s the only way she can gain Tae-joon’s trust.

Joong-won is drinking away his worries, staring at an old list of his graduating class at the Training Institute. Papa Seo had circled Joong-won’s name and then then added a handwritten note: “Become a greater lawyer than I.”

He gets a call from a panicked Joong-ki, begging for his help. He rushes to the hospital, where the doctor reveals that even though she’s not responsive, Hyo-jin is still alive despite not being on life support. There’s still basically no chance that she’ll actually wake up, but Joong-won takes it as the miracle he needs.

The next morning, Dan appears on Tae-joon’s doorstep to give him a copy of the phone recordings. She refuses his offer to come in for a cup of coffee, just asking that he deposit her fee ASAP.

Joong-won and Hye-kyung meet with Soo-hyun, who says that her clients will agree to the settlement of maintaining Hyo-jin’s life support provided Joong-ki relinquishes the inheritance. But Joong-won points out they’ve already removed the life support, and Hye-kyung says they’ll instead settle for the medical fees associated for having a baby, plus living expenses for the baby until it graduates college.

When Soo-hyun balks at the amount, Hye-kyung smirks, reminding her that she once declared that there’s only a 3% chance of the child surviving. Resigned, Soo-hyun agrees to discuss the settlement offer with her clients, but Hyo-jin’s brother is too busy arguing with the memorial hall staff, insisting that he was told his sister would die within thirty minutes once her life support was removed. Plus he has the outrage of the family elders, furious that he’s trying to bury his sister before she’s actually dead.

Without much choice, he agrees to the settlement, and Soo-hyun sighs at her loss. But she doesn’t take it personally, just as she hopes Hye-kyung understands that all her actions previously were about trying to win the case. As Joong-won walks her out, Soo-hyun marvels that he seems to have changed quite a bit.

Hye-kyung calls Joong-ki, letting him know that Hyo-jin’s family agreed to settle. With grateful tears, he stares at his comatose wife, happy to know that there’s still a chance for her.

Myung-hee asks Hye-kyung if there’s anything wrong with Papa Seo, and Hye-kyung cautiously says that he’s not very well, but he wanted to tell his family himself. Hye-kyung has a question for Myung-hee, too — is it true that Joong-won won the lead-poisoning case by waiting for more children to die in order to get a settlement?

Myung-hee affirms that it’s true, and it even damaged the firm’s reputation. But Joong-won didn’t really have a choice — the fee from that case helped to pay off the debts Papa Seo had accrued.

At home, Tae-joon listens to the phone recordings of him and Guk-hyun, who points out that Triton Fields is a paper company created to money laundering. But Tae-joon, on the phone recording, tells him that he just needs evidence of those who stole money.

Papa Seo is busy looking through some of the firm’s documents while Joong-won visits him at the hospital. He asks his son if it’s true he visited the day he was admitted to the hospital, and then tells Joong-won not to take any of his half-asleep babblings to heart.

He becomes serious for a moment when he tells Joong-won that he should be good to his family and the people around him. Lately, Papa Seo has been regretting that he wasn’t, and then he hands Joong-won a document to sign. Flipping through it, Joong-won discovers that it’s a power of attorney for an Alzheimer’s patient — Papa Seo. He avoids his son’s glance and Joong-won wordlessly signs it.

Hye-kyung later finds Joong-won brooding in his office, but she’s happy to let him know that Hyo-jin will be transferred to a specialist hospital. She commends him for saving the lives of their client and her unborn child. When he brings up his father’s illness, she apologizes for not telling him sooner.

But he doesn’t hold it against her — he knows his father would have counseled her not to say anything to his son who kills people for money. Hye-kyung protests that phrasing, but Joong-won admits the main reason he took Hyo-jin’s case was to prove to his father that he could act like a human rights lawyer, too.

Even so, everyone assumes he took the case in order to get a slice of the inheritance. So he’s exactly what his father thinks of him in the end, anyway. But Hye-kyung believes in him, telling him that he’s a good person. He jokes that she’s also fallen for his acting skills, but she’s being sincere.

He suddenly leans over and kisses her, softly adding that she makes him want to be a good person whenever he’s around her. His kiss becomes more passionate, and soon she’s kissing him back. But then she gently pushes him away, leaving his office in an apologetic daze as she says that it isn’t right.

When she reaches the parking garage, she stops and then immediately turns around to go back upstairs. She keeps repeating to herself that it isn’t right, but there’s a nervous excitement as she returns to the office. Joong-won isn’t there, though, and Joon-ho pops up to ask if she needs anything. Of course he’d still be there at the office that late.

Hye-kyung quickly makes an excuse and hurries back to the elevator, just missing Joong-won emerging from the opposite elevator. Urgh. When Joon-ho reveals that Hye-kyung was looking for him, he calls her, but she doesn’t answer, even though she sees his name on her caller ID.

Joon-ho finds Hye-kyung’s brooch on the floor of Joong-won’s office. He’s no dummy as he puts two and two together, realizing something is going on between them.

When Hye-kyung arrives home, she hesitates a moment, then enters Tae-joon’s office. He’s still up, listening to the phone tap recordings, and without warning Hye-kyung climbs into his lap and begins kissing him. She starts to unbutton his shirt, and even though he’s at first surprised by her actions, the two enjoy a sexy night together.

COMMENTS

Ablhtlaskgdhas. Wait, let me rephrase that. *deep breath* Fdjasldkfjdagh. Whoops, let’s try that one more time: OMG the kiiiiiiiiiisssssss!!!!

When this episode first began, I was worried at first because I knew from the original series that this medical case was a mildly convoluted one that I never fully grasped, so I was dreading the thought of having to explain it to anyone else. (Thankfully, it made more sense to me in this version. Whether or not I was able to make it clear to everyone else, well, I tried.) However, it also meant I knew — in theory, at least — what should happen at the end of the episode. Let’s just say I am so, so, so happy they stayed true to the American version because this means the whole relationship confusion will be taken up a notch or two or ten (not that it needs to be more confused than it already is, but I was ready for that passion to suddenly break through Hye-kyung’s careful reserve). Things are only going to get messier, and I cannot wait.

I’ve touched on this before, but I really love that Hye-kyung’s character is still so idealistic. Even in the earliest episodes of the American version, I don’t remember Alicia having such an innate trust and hope in people, but I find it refreshing that Hye-kyung believes that somehow she will find a way to make sure the good people win. I love seeing how emotionally invested she is with each of her clients (and her coworkers!), even though I know that’s a sure path to burn-out.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so nervous about the fall-out from her romantic confusion. She definitely deserves better than Tae-joon (despite how smoldering Yoo Ji-tae can be) and Joong-won has yet to really prove himself worthy. But Hye-kyung is still a woman with needs and a heart that wants to love and be loved, and I somehow want a happy ending even though I also want to her find her stride as a lawyer. It’s all very confusing, but it’s confusing in a way that means I can understand what Hye-kyung is going through. I mean, I totally had an empathetic adrenaline-rush butterflies-in-the-stomach moment after her kiss with Joong-won. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was shouting at the futility of the star-crossed (er, elevator-crossed?) lovers — until I had to fan myself over the sexiness of her kiss with Tae-joon. *reminds herself for the nth time that Tae-joon a terrible person, but dammit Yoo Ji-tae y’all*

Also, can we talk about the fashion? I’ve been loving how they’ve been dressing the characters (Hye-kyung and Myung-hee particularly), and I’m always curious to see what sort of statement the clothes will make each episode (apparently vertical stripes are “in”). I know it’s pretty common for a drama to showcase fashion, but considering how on point all of Alicia’s outfits were in the original series, I’m happy that Hye-kyung gets to rock an awesome wardrobe each week, too.

 
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26 August 3, 2016August 3, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 7

by odilettante

New hairstyles generally signify a new era, and for Hye-kyung, her bangs definitely mark a new phase in her life. It may not be exactly clear what this phase is yet, but Hye-kyung seems determined to prove she’s more than just “the good wife.” Almost as determined as Tae-joon is to win his trial, or Chief Prosector Choi is to make him lose the trial, or Guk-hyun is to maintain his corrupt control, or Joong-won and Myung-hee are to keep their firm afloat, or Joon-ho is to prove he’s better than Hye-kyung, or… well, let’s just say everyone on this show is very determined.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

In the morning, Tae-joon rolls over to discover that the other side of his bed his empty. He looks around for Hye-kyung, but she’s in her room, hanging up her dress. As she does so, she remembers the kiss she shared with Joong-won. Tae-joon assumes last night means she now believes him in, but she avoids his attempt to embrace her as she hurries off to work.

She also apparently stops at a salon along the way, because by the time she arrives at the office, she’s sporting a new set of bangs. Distracted by the images of her “happy family” on her screensaver, she goes to Joong-won’s office. The two of them just stare at each other, neither one able to speak, until Myung-hee interrupts, informing Joong-won they have a visitor.

That visitor is a financial consultant who goes over the various ways M&J can streamline their expenses without having to lay off any of their staff. But Joong-won can’t stop thinking about Hye-kyung and their kiss and he abruptly leaves the meeting, to the surprise of Myung-hee.

Once again, his timing is off — he arrives at Hye-kyung’s office just as she’s leaving. Ahhh, it’s agonizing the way they stare at each other, their eyes full of the words their lips hesitate to say.

Tae-joon plays the phone tap recordings for his lawyer, who wonders how the prosecution office got ahold of it when they weren’t even the ones who tapped the phones. The best guess is Guk-hyun recorded the conversations himself in an effort to have collateral to ruin Tae-joon, but Tae-joon vows that he’ll meet with Guk-hyun before he can become a witness in Tae-joon’s trial. Based purely on the fierce glint in Tae-joon’s eye, I wouldn’t want to be in Guk-hyun’s shoes.

As Joon-ho and Hye-kyung head up the elevator to meet with another lawyer, he cautiously asks her if she had a meeting with Joong-won last night — did they perhaps have an urgent matter to discuss? Hye-kyung denies that it was anything important, but Joon-ho just says that he’s envious of their close friendship. Yeah, friendship.

They’re at another law firm to meet with one of Hye-kyung’s old classmates and fellow lawyer, Jang Dae-suk, but they arrive just in time to see him and boxes of his documents being led away by the police. When they request to see their (suddenly new) client, Prosecutor Baek Min-hyuk introduces himself.

Hye-kyung demands to know why they arrested Dae-suk, and Prosecutor Baek cooly tells her that Dae-suk killed someone. If she wants to know more, she should ask her husband — it happened when Tae-joon was Chief Prosecutor.

Speak of the devil: Tae-joon calls her just then, asking where some real estate documents are. He reveals that Prosecutor Baek’s nickname is “The Butcher,” who ruthlessly and fearlessly investigates all of his cases. He warns her that if he’s involved, it must be something truly terrible, but before she can ask him more about it, she’s escorted in to meet with Dae-suk.

He insists that he never killed anyone, despite what the prosecution says. The body is of a witness from an old embezzlement case who was then put into witness protection, and since Dae-suk was one of the few people who knew who she was and how to find her, he’s a prime suspect. However, Dae-suk admits that someone else knew the witness’ identity — Guk-hyun.

Dan investigates into the identity of Yoo Hyun-jung, the murdered witness, revealing that she used to work for Guk-hyun’s development company as a bookkeeper, and was to be a prime whistle-blower witness against the company until she suddenly disappeared a day before the trial. Then two years later, her body was found.

Other than the fact that Dae-suk was one of the few people who found out the witness’ true identity, the key evidence pointing to him as the murderer are strands of carpet fibers found on her body that match the carpet from the law firm he worked at back then. Myung-hee finds it suspicious that a lawyer would kill someone to try and win a trial, but Hye-kyung suggests that Dae-suk is being used by the prosecution to get the names of who were involved in the case back then.

When it’s revealed that Dae-suk wouldn’t easily be able to afford the lawyer fees, Myung-hee tells them she’ll decide on whether or not they take the case after she discusses it with Joong-won. Dan and Joon-ho both know this means the firm is still struggling financially, and Dan sighs as a couple of men take away the fancy cappuccino maker from the break room. Now they’re just left with cheap coffee from a packet.

Myung-hee and Joong-won aren’t only worried about the cost of taking on a case that may not be financially rewarding, but that this case could possibly put them at odds with their client that does pay them, Guk-hyun. Even though Joong-won, too, is a friend of Dae-suk, they can’t risk losing their largest client, and Joong-won advises that they wait to see if Guk-hyun brings it up first. They can decide who they’ll want to represent then.

Over their cups of packet-coffee, Dan asks Hye-kyung if something has happened between her and Joong-won. They seem more awkward and distant than usual, but Hye-kyung insists that they’re just acting like employee and employer.

Dan’s not buying it, and she warns Hye-kyung that there are lay-offs looming and Hye-kyung should be doing all she can to prove she should stay. After all, everyone else is using Hye-kyung — or at least her notoriety — for their benefit, so why can’t she use someone, too?

Joon-ho tells Joong-won that Dae-suk has asked that M&J take on his clients until his own case is sorted out. Joon-ho’s a pretty smooth talker as he neatly convinces Joong-won that he should be able to take on Dae-suk’s role in a railway union case (the case he and Hye-kyung were originally planning to meet with Dae-suk in the first place).

At home, Tae-joon thinks back to his wife’s recent hot-and-cold behavior towards him. The doorbell rings, and it’s Prosecutor Park. Interesting.

Hye-kyung stops by Jong-won’s office to let him know she’s leaving a little early to be with her family since tomorrow is Tae-joon’s trial. She then hesitatingly brings up the subject of what happened last night. Taking the blame for what happened, she asks that they not speak of it again.

He wonders if it’s just because she’s married, but she counters that it’s because she doesn’t want to lose his friendship. He points out that she wouldn’t lose him — if anything, they’d grow even closer. He’s about to make a sincere confession when she cuts him off, telling him she likes being a lawyer and working at M&J. For the first time, she feels like she’s finding herself through her work.

He’s her boss and she’s his employee, and she doesn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize her career. He admits that he also likes having her at M&J, so he agrees to not speak of the kiss again. As she walks away, Hye-kyung reassures herself that she did the right thing. Yet somehow neither seem that happy about it.

Joon-ho pops into Joong-won’s office, using the excuse that his request for a company loan to help pay his student loans was denied in order to confirm that M&J is having financial trouble. He also confirms that he’s still competing for a job at the firm

Over a family dinner, Ji-hoon asks his father if he can go to the trial tomorrow and be a character witness. Seo-yeon worries that Tae-joon will go straight to jail if he loses the trial, but he reassures them that he’ll definitely win and they’ll see him for dinner tomorrow night.

Sitting in her bedroom, Hye-kyung can’t stop thinking about Joong-won’s gentle declaration that they won’t talk about what happened. She’s shaken from her revery by a knock at the door, and Tae-joon enters and sits down next to her on the bed. He asks if he’s sleeping there to night, hint hint, but she shrugs him off, telling him she’s tired.

But as he leaves her bedroom, he remembers the condoms he found in her dresser when he was looking for the real estate documents. Clenching his fist in sudden anger, he imagines her sleeping with Joon-ho. It’s eerily reminiscent to how Hye-kyung imagined him sleeping with Amber.

Hye-kyung suddenly recalls Dae-suk’s murder case, and asks Tae-joon what he remembers about Guk-hyun’s embezzlement case. Thanks to the witness conveniently going missing, Guk-hyun was declared innocent. When she asks if he knows anything about the witness being murdered, he promises that he doesn’t, reiterating that he never took bribes from Guk-hyun.

In the morning, Hye-kyung carefully applies her makeup and studies her elaborate engagement ring before pulling it out of the box and slipping it on her finger. But when Tae-joon calls for her, asking if she’s ready to go the courthouse, she puts it back in the box.

They arrive at the courthouse and are immediately surrounded by journalists shouting questions and cameras taking hundreds of photos. But the couple stoically ignores them as they walk hand-in-hand up the steps. The judge is an old friend of Tae-joon, who seems more interested in the fame this case will bring him than anything else, although he promises that he’ll judge fairly.

During his trial, Tae-joon gives a passionate and eloquent speech, confessing that he’s a sinner for cheating on his wife. He takes the blame for pain this trial will cause his family, but he is also determined to spend his life making it up to them.

Joong-won is just leaving his office when he runs into Driver Kang, who was dropping off a package for Hye-kyung, courtesy of Guk-hyun. Joong-won investigates the package to discover that the shopping bag is packed full of cash.

Tae-joon’s lawyer requests that they put Tae-joon back on the stand, since there is more evidence that couldn’t be revealed originally. Tae-joon testifies about the development complex, revealing that he suspected permits were granted illegally. When he investigated it, he discovered that the development company was using a paper company, Triton Fields, to launder slush funds.

But he didn’t charge them then, knowing they only had evidence of minor crime. This was corruption that went deeper, and when he found proof that a high-ranking politician was somehow involved, Chief Prosecutor Choi told him to stop investigating. Because he refused to stop, he was then arrested for supposedly taking bribes himself.

He originally didn’t testify about this because he was worried the prosecution would go after his family. But now he’s decided to stand and fight. He looks over at Hye-kyung, declaring that he has the strength now, knowing his family believes in him.

Chief Prosecutor Choi’s cross-examination focuses on Tae-joon’s sexual relations with Amber, which Tae-joon’s lawyer protests is irrelevant but Chief Prosecutor Choi insists the bribes are directly related. Hye-kyung receives a text from Joong-won, asking her to call him as soon as he can. She slips out of the courtroom as Chief Prosecutor Choi shouts after her his accusations that Tae-joon slept with Amber more than once.

Joong-won wants to know why Driver Kang delivered a bag with a hundred million won in cash (approximately $100,000), asking her to use it for Dae-suk’s trial. She’s about to tell him she hasn’t heard from Guk-hyun, but that’s because he’s waiting for her at the courthouse. He greets her cheerfully, asking how her husband’s trial is going.

Super investigator Dan has discovered that the money is a personal request from Guk-hyun, who is willing to pay them under the table. But Joong-won says that they’ll count it as part of his (taxable) legal fees, and Joon-ho offers to take on Dae-suk’s case provided Myung-hee approves.

Hye-kyung and Guk-hyun sit in the backseat of his parked car as he explains that he doesn’t understand why everyone is accusing Dae-suk. He’s paying her in cash so no one — especially the prosecutors — will know that he came to her for help. She has one question for him, though: did he kill Yoo Hyun-jung?

He suddenly leans in and smiles, admitting that he did it. Her testimony would have affected too many people, so he had to make sure it didn’t happen. But since Hye-kyung is his lawyer, that means she has to keep his confession confidential. Guk-hyun admits that Dae-suk is innocent of sharing information, too — Guk-hyun found out the witness’ new identity from someone else. He laughs when she asks who it is, telling her he should just make sure he’s found innocent. Like her husband.

Meanwhile, Tae-joon’s lawyer tells him that they need Hye-kyung standing by his side if they’re to win the trial and override the scandal. He calls her, only to be surprised to see her emerge from Guk-hyun’s car. As he drives off, Guk-hyun leans out the window, shouting his support for Tae-joon’s innocence. It’s almost a taunt.

Hye-kyung marches into the M&J office, requesting Myung-hee give her Guk-hyun (or, rather, Dae-suk’s) case. Joon-ho smirks as he reveals that he’s already been assigned to the case, reminding her that she’s too busy with her family and husband’s trial to take on another.

Myung-hee agrees with Joon-ho, but Hye-kyung persists, insisting that her husband’s trial is his problem, and that she’ll be sure to win this case if Myung-hee just gives her a chance. It looks like Hye-kyung won her argument, and the now case-less Joon-ho watches in silent frustration as she orders Dan to help her track down information about Hyun-jung’s murder.

In his office, Joon-ho picks up Hye-kyung’s brooch he found in Joong-won’s office, and his frustration turns to smiles as he realizes the bargaining chip he now holds. He returns to Myung-hee’s office to update her about the railway case that he took over from Dae-suk, adding a little passive-aggressive reminder that he was prepared for Dae-suk’s murder case, too.

He then cautiously brings up his hypothesis that Hye-kyung has romantic feelings for Joong-won, but Myung-hee abruptly cuts him off before he can explain what he saw the other night. She tells him that it’s none of his business, adding that he should continue his work and not focus on others. But it looks like she’s been having her own suspicions about Hye-kyung and Joong-won, too.

Dan confronts Joon-ho, warning him that it won’t do him any good to win the job competition by bragging about himself and putting down Hye-kyung. Myung-hee doesn’t like tattletales. He’s a hard-working lawyer, and he should be more focused on the fact that he’s doing well in his work insteads of paying attention to what everyone else is doing.

He starts to point out that Hye-kyung uses her connections to get what she wants, but Dan shuts him down. She reveals that even though Hye-kyung could have it easier if she relied on her personal connections, she chooses the harder path of proving herself through her work and talent.

On the drive home, Tae-joon calls Guk-hyun, telling him they need to meet.

As Hye-kyung is about to drive home as well, Joong-won intercepts her in the parking garage. She wonders what he’ll do if she has to accuse Guk-hyun as the murderer in her attempt to prove Dae-suk’s innocence. She knows that it won’t help the firm’s image — or bottom line. But she’s willing to do whatever it takes.

Tae-joon gets a text from Guk-hyun — it’s a picture of Hye-kyung and Joong-won talking in the parking garage, and even though they’re just talking business, it’s implied that they look awfully cosy for just being coworkers.

Myung-hee demands that they decide right now which of the new hires they will keep. Joong-won is willing to wait, though, because if they let someone go, it might be difficult for that person to find another job right away. She snidely asks her brother if he’s just waiting for Tae-joon’s trial to be over so he can have a chance with Hye-kyung, and Joong-won agrees they’ll make a decision about which new hire they’ll keep by next week.

Hye-kyung returns home, surprised to discover that Tae-joon has gone to church. He’s sitting in the near-empty sanctuary with his lawyer, but he’s also constantly checking his watch. When it’s time, he walks out of the sanctuary up a flight of stairs to the roof where Guk-hyun is waiting for him. He tells Tae-joon that the prosecutors are breathing down his neck thanks to Hyun-jung’s murder, but Tae-joon calmly tells him he has nothing to do with that case. Oh, but that’s not how Guk-hyun remembers it.

Hye-kyung arrives at the church only to find Driver Kang keeping watch in the hallway. He’s shocked to see her, too, advising that she leave, but his glance up the stairs reveals where his boss might be. Hye-kyung knows that she’ll find her husband there, too, and even though Driver Kang calls after to stay there, she begins to ascend the stairs.

As much as Guk-hyun wants Tae-joon to return to his position as Chief Prosecutor, he wants even more that his name be removed from any association with Tae-joon’s trial. Tae-joon advances a step, asking if the reason Guk-hyun went to see Hye-kyung this morning was just to provoke Tae-joon. He insists it’s just because Tae-joon keeps telling him what a great lawyer she is, so he just wants her to represent him. Then he brings up the picture he sent Tae-joon, reminding him that his men are watching her 24-7.

In response, Tae-joon punches him in the face, sending him flying to the ground. Furious, he grabs the gangster by the collar, leaning him over the railing of the building as he tells Guk-hyun to leave Hye-kyung alone. Guk-hyun just points out that it must mean Hye-kyung is important to him, and if Tae-joon loses the trial, he’ll lose her, too.

Then he looks over and calls out Hye-kyung’s name, which gets Tae-joon to release him and drop him back on the roof. Hye-kyung stares at the bloodied Guk-hyun as Tae-joon steps forward towards her. In disgust, she turns to leave, but Tae-joon grabs her wrist, begging for a chance to explain.

She waves him off as she leaves, telling him to just do whatever he likes. Angry, Tae-joon tells Guk-hyun that their conversation is over — he can go to the prosecutors and tell them whatever he wants.

Alone in her car, Hye-kyung starts to cry. Tae-joon returns to his spot next his lawyer, who notes Tae-joon’s bloodied shirtsleeve. But Tae-joon just stares straight ahead at the preacher.

Dan delivers reports on Dae-suk’s case to Joong-won. She notes that he’s distracted, asking him what he’s thinking about. He tells her he’s pondering his emotions — calculating the risks, wondering what would happen if he acted the way he wanted, knowing that he never will for fear of what would happen.

Seductively leaning over him, she asks if he wants to feel something. Then she stomps on his foot — how does thatfeel? Joong-won: “Painful.” As she saunters away, Dan tells him he should act decisively — even if it hurts, at least he’ll know.

Hye-kyung sits on her bed, flipping through the contacts on her phone. She stops when she sees Joong-won’s name but she doesn’t call him. She doesn’t need to, because her phone rings and it’s Joong-won.

Tae-joon arrives home just in time to hear her agree to meet Joong-won. He demands to know where she’s going, but she tells him that she doesn’t expect him to tell her where he’s going, so he shouldn’t expect her to tell him either. He insists that he met with Guk-hyun to protect her, but she doesn’t consider him lying about what he’s doing and hitting people to be very honorable actions.

She tells him that whenever she looks at him, it makes her feel tired and guilty. As she leaves the house, she wonders why they still have to live together. Tae-joon hurries after her, asking if she’s found someone else to take his place. Annoyed, she asks if he would forgive her for sleeping with another man just because he slept with another women.

He insists it isn’t like that — he just wants to be able to trust her. But Hye-kyung tells him not to bother, adding that she doesn’t trust him, either.

As she enters the elevator to ride down to the parking garage, Tae-joon asks her what will happen to them if she leaves like this. But she just wearily wonders if they even have a future. He races down to the parking garage to stand in front of the car, preventing her from leaving. But as soon as he walks to the driver’s side to talk to her, she drives away.

COMMENTS

All the crackling chemistry between Jeon Do-yeon and her two leading men is driving me insane, but, like, the good insane where I just want something to happen. Anything to happen. I just need this tension to finally be relieved! I’m not even sure who I’m rooting for, unless it’s Hye-kyung. To be fair it’s probably always going to be Hye-kyung, because she is incredible and I love her new hair.

I feel like I ought to mention that in the American series, Alicia’s hair was also nearly a character in its own right, and she got bangs in the third season. Which was also the season where things began to, ah, heat up, and so I’m even more anxious because if this show is being loyal to the original in terms of hairstyle, then these bangs mean more than just Hye-kyung taking a new, firmer stance on how she controls her life. She’s no longer just the housewife-turned-lawyer who’s trying to make ends meet for her family — she’s now proving that she’s a good lawyer and worth something beyond the recognition her name gives her. And I love it (and her amazing hot pink stilettos!).

This show started out good but each week it gets better and better, and more and more compelling as I’m drawn into each little detail. There are so many important glances, expressions, music cues, use of shadow and light and color — everything feels like it has meaning and importance, grounding each character in not just who they appear to be, but also who they really are under their facades. Because it’s not just Hye-kyung hiding behind her mask, appearing to be the “good wife” for the cameras and for the sake of her husband’s trial, yet in private revealing herself to be the hurt, angry, passionate woman she truly is (and can we blame her?).

Tae-joon has his mask of being the wrongly persecuted prosecutor, who faltered once, but for his love of his family promises to never do it again (yeah, right). Joong-won is the ruthless shark of a lawyer who must hide his pining for Hye-kyung. Joon-ho appears to be the “perfect son” type who cheerfully does whatever his bosses ask, staying late to finish up his work and eager to prove himself — but he’s also fearlessly manipulative, even if it doesn’t get him as far as he would like. Dan is still an enigma, but that is likely because her mask is stronger than the others on purpose. And then there’s Myung-hee, who’s holding this firm together despite her brother mucking things up, and honestly I’m not sure what mask she’s wearing but maybe if she got a little more screentime, I could figure it out (please, show; we’re already halfway through — let me have more Myung-hee!).

 
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20 August 4, 2016August 4, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 8

by odilettante

Can someone just choose to become a “good” person, despite years of being anything but good? Or is goodness an innate quality one is born with, and any effort to change will reveal itself as pointless? Is “good” merely relative and in the eye of the beholder? So many questions, so few answers as our characters struggle through each of their personal journeys, trying to reconcile what their instinctive motivations and past actions, and if they can (or even want to) be “good.”

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Hye-kyung starts to drive-off from the parking garage, leaving Tae-joon behind. But when she sees that her children followed after them and are standing next to Tae-joon, watching her go, she decides to stay. She reassures her children that everything is fine between their father and her — they just had a little argument is all. She then answers Joong-won’s phone call, apologizing that she won’t be able to join him for dinner.

Tae-joon apologizes for his actions earlier, reassuring her that he has nothing to do with Dae-suk’s case — he’s not the type to help a murderer. He just asks that she wait until after the trial before she makes any decisions.

The next morning, Joon-ho is in full-on kiss-up mode as he delivers some reports to David Lee, who tells him that the decision to keep him or Hye-kyung will be made next week. Joong-won tells Hye-kyung the same thing when she stops by his office to apologize for bailing on him the night before. She requests that she only be judged on her work performance alone so far — and nothing else.

Dan has found some evidence that will make the carpet fiber evidence in Hyun-jung’s murder irrelevant. Hye-kyung is able to argue in court that the search-and-seizure warrant was issued after the police actually searched the car that was used to move her body, making any evidence found at the scene obtained illegally.

Hye-kyung requests that the court move to strike all the evidence associated with that search-and-seizure be ruled inadmissible, and despite Prosecutor Baek’s protests, the judge must follow the letter of the law and rule in agreement with Hye-kyung. Afterwards, a frustrated Prosecutor Baek asks if she’s willing to let a murderer go free that easily. But Hye-kyung warns him that he better not act so rashly to circumvent the law if he really wants to catch the killer.

Dae-suk thinks Hye-kyung is nothing less than an angel in the way she argued for him in court. Even though the carpet fiber evidence is thrown out of court, they still have to explain how Dae-suk was able to find out Hyun-jung’s carefully hidden identity.

He confesses that he found out her true identity in order to try and get her to help his case — even if he had to bribe her — because Guk-hyun had promised to pay him enough to help him open his own firm if they won the embezzlement trial. But he insists that he hasn’t received anything from Guk-hyun, and when Hye-kyung asks him if he has any ideas who else might have leaked the victim’s identity, he remembers that while Prosecutor Baek was in charge of the witness examinations, Prosecutor Park was the one who was the lead for the trial.

Back at the office, Hye-kyung discusses the case with Joong-won. He knows that she’s worried Tae-joon is somehow related to the murder, but he reminds her that the Hye-kyung he used to know would fearlessly tackle the case and deal with anything she discovered, whether she liked it or not. Besides, there’s still a chance that Tae-joon is innocent. Hye-kyung apologizes for using him to vent about her worries regarding the case, but Joong-won cheerfully reminds her that that’s what friends are for. And they’re friends. Yeah. Uh-huh. Friends.

Hye-kyung meets with Prosecutor Park to ask him what he remembers about Guk-hyun’s embezzlement trial. He sighs that he lost the case because the witness disappeared. Everyone except for Prosecutor Baek assumed that Hyun-jung had been bribed by Guk-hyun to stay away, while Prosecutor Baek did everything he could to try and find her.

He insists he only ever knew her by her alias and had no way of contacting the witness. But what about Tae-joon? After all, he was Chief Prosecutor — did he know her true identity? Prosecutor Park just smugly says that this must be the real reason she came to him, adding that Tae-joon was too busy back then to pay attention to details about the witness.

But as soon as Hye-kyung leaves, Prosecutor Park calls Tae-joon to let him know he told her exactly what Tae-joon asked him to. Then the prosecutor calls Chief Prosecutor Choi to report that Hye-kyung is suspicious of her husband, and they should try to summon Guk-hyun to figure out who leaked the name of the witness.

Tae-joon’s mother is still in the hospital, which makes it convenient for him to arrange meetings under the pretense of visiting her — this time with Joong-won. He has information about Dae-suk’s case that would be helpful for Hye-kyung, but considering how delicate things are with them right now, it would be easier for Joong-won to mention it to her.

He knows that Prosecutor Baek was in a relationship with the murdered witness Hyun-jung, which he only found out about after she disappeared and the prosecutor went crazy trying to find her. Handing over a file of information, he tells Joong-won to give it to Hye-kyung to help her win her case.

Joong-won suspiciously asks if he was the one who leaked the witness’ information to Guk-hyun, but Tae-joon denies it, repeating that he had nothing to do with that case and is therefore innocent. He then leans in, reminding Joong-won that by helping Hye-kyung win this case, he’ll also be helping her stay at the firm.

As Joong-won sits in his car, looking over the documents Tae-joon gave him, he sees Prosecutor Park enter the hospital. Prosecutor Park seems to be playing both sides as he reports that Chief Prosecutor Choi wants to bring in Guk-hyun and offer him reduced charges if he reveals Tae-joon’s connection.

But Tae-joon stops him from further discussing it when Joong-won enters the hospital, demanding to know if, despite the fact he wasn’t directly involved in the case,Tae-joon feels any guilt that someone died because he was defending Guk-hyun. But Tae-joon says regret is for the weak — by protecting Guk-hyun, he was able to save the lives of many others.

Joong-won wants to know if Hye-kyung agrees with that line as thinking, but as he walks away, Tae-joon calls after him, reminding him that he knows Joong-won is also notorious for doing everything it takes to win. So he should know that by winning, it only opens up other possibilities. He sits in his car, thinking about the fact that they will be deciding on whether to hire or fire Hye-kyung this week, and if she wins this case, it means they’ll likely keep her. Resolute, he drives to the courthouse where Hye-kyung is waiting for the trial to begin.

She reassures Dae-suk’s wife that they’re doing all they can to prove her husband’s innocence, then is surprised by Joong-won’s sudden appearance as he tells Dae-suk’s wife that they will definitely win. Oh, and he’s taking over as the trial lawyer on this case.

Before the trial officially commences, Joong-won informs the judge that he has evidence that Prosecutor Baek should be removed as the prosecutor due to personal connections. In his hand — thanks to Tae-joon — is a sworn affidavit from a staff member at the hotel where Prosecutor Baek and Hyun-jung repeatedly met.

Prosecutor Baek admits that the affidavit is correct, but it’s a personal matter. He demands to know how Joong-won got ahold of such information — was it Guk-hyn? But Joong-won smugly says that he’s bound by attorney-client privilege. The judge declares that having personal involvement with the victim doesn’t necessarily negate the prosecutor’s ability to do his job, but Joong-won begins to argue that her murder could have been a crime of passion — Prosecutor Baek could be the real killer.

In response to that, Prosecutor Baek grabs Joong-won by the lapels and then punches him in the face. Joong-won fights back and the guards have to separate the two lawyers tussling in the middle of the courtroom.

They’re left to cool down in one of jail cells, and Joong-won marvels over Prosecutor Baek’s ability to throw a punch. Prosecutor Baek says that even though he’s known of Joong-won’s notoriety to do whatever it takes to win, he hadn’t thought he would go this far. He asks Joong-won if it’s true that only accepts cases that are profitable and if he loans money to the fellow judges and lawyers on his baseball team.

Joong-won seems unaffected by these accusations until Prosecutor Baek says that the rumor is he only hired Hye-kyung is because he’s sleeping with her. As for him, he spent two years of his life searching for Hyun-jung, which is a level of devotion that Joong-won will never understand.

But Joong-won knows that Prosecutor Baek feels guilty for Hyun-jung’s death because she would have been alive if he hadn’t used her as a witness for Guk-hyun’s case, and now he’s desperate to find someone to blame. Prosecutor Baek tells him that he loved Hyun-jung and would have done anything to save her life. Since he can’t turn back time, that means he’s determined to find her killer.

While she waits for Joong-won to be released from the holding cell, Hye-kyung watches the news on the police station TV. Guk-hyun has been brought in to give a testimony about Tae-joon’s trial. Chief Prosecutor Choi is there to gloat about it — well, technically he’s there for Prosecutor Baek, but he can’t resist digging in the fact that her husband’s trial will now be doomed with Guk-hyun’s testimony. Hye-kyung refuses to show that she’s bothered by him, cooly informing him that she has her own work to do.

After Joong-won is released, she asks him if he provoked the fight on purpose — he knew Prosector Baek would react once Joong-won argued it was a crime of passion. He admits that it’s true, but he didn’t anticipate the prosecutor would react that fiercely.

Hye-kyung hesitates a moment, then admits that there’s something that she’s regretted all her life, wondering if she made the right decision. She flashes back to the moment after that car accident with Driver Kang years ago, when she decided to stay by Tae-joon’s side. But all she tells Joong-won is that she doesn’t want him to have regrets. Joong-won simply says that he just wanted to make sure they won because that’s the best for everyone.

Back at the office, Dan asks him about his bloody lip, and he says he got in a fight. He muses that when he was younger, he used to think he had to fight to get whatever he wanted. But now it seems like even though he wins, he doesn’t feel good about it — but he doesn’t like losing either. He sighs that he’s no different from Tae-joon, but Dan points out that the sheer fact he’s able to think about the costs of winning all the time differentiates him Tae-joon.

The next day, Prosecutor Baek and Hye-kyung meet before the judge in his office. Prosecutor Baek has submitted as evidence the GPS data of the car’s whereabouts the day Hyun-jung died, but Hye-kyung argues that because the judge dismissed any evidence related to the illegal search-and-seizure of the car, the GPS data should be thrown out. It all comes down to whether or not the judge believes the GPS is part of the car or just a digital information unrelated to it, and finally the judge accepts it as evidence.

Tae-joon visits his mother — and this time it seems like that’s the only reason he’s at the hospital. She’s worried about how Tae-joon is settling back in with his family, knowing how stubborn Hye-kyung can be. Hahaha, it turns out she was the one who was responsible for the pack of condoms in Hye-kyung’s dresser, and she bashfully explains how she hopes they’re sharing the same room again.

Hye-kyung meets with Dae-suk, informing him that it won’t be easy to weaken the GPS evidence, since it shows that the car was at Dae-suk’s firm on the day that Hyun-jung disappeared. He swears he had nothing to do with it, and he was away from the office playing baseball that day. The only other person who knew about Hyun-jung’s identity was his wife.

When he sees how interested Hye-kyung is in this fact, he stutters that there’s no way that his wife — who was his assistant at that time — could have had anything to do with Hyun-jung’s death. But Hye-kyung has to visit Yu-mi before the prosecution finds out. He begs her to leave his wife alone, even if it means him taking the full blame for Hyun-jung’s death.

Tae-joon meets with a congresswoman who pours on the flattery as she tries to find out more about him and whether or not he’ll win the trial. Afterwards, he waits for a phone call from a mysterious someone, where he tells them to proceed as planned.

Joong-won finds Guk-hyun waiting for him in his office, and the way Myung-hee glares at him from across the hallway from her office makes it clear that his presence is not wanted. Guk-hyun is sporting a bandage on his cheek from his tussle with Tae-joon a few nights ago, but what really matters is that he point-blank tells Joong-won that he found out Hyun-jung’s identity from Dae-suk’s wife.

He tells Joong-won to pass along the message that his men will be moving Yu-mi to a safe place — one that’s far away. He sets down a briefcase full of cash, adding that it seems like Joong-won needs money these days. Guk-hyun tells him to just turn a blind eye to everything for a few days, because Tae-joon will also be out of Joong-won’s hair once Guk-hyun testifies against him.

Joon-ho thanks Dan for her advice to stop acting so anxious to please because it’s awarded him the railway union case, but Dan just warns him that he’s being too obvious with how he’s been trying to suck up to all the other lawyers. She walks away from him to answer her phone — Hye-kyung is waiting outside Dae-suk’s office to meet with his wife, and she wants Dan to find out how much the prosecution know about her.

When she sees Yu-mi, she hurries out of her car to intercept her so quickly that she leaves her phone on the seat. The women go up to Dae-suk’s office that is under renovation, so they have to rely on the portable construction lights to see anything. Hidden behind one of the tarps is a strange man with a scar on his face and a knife in his hand.

Worried that he can’t reach Hye-kyung, Joong-won finds out from Dan that she’s meeting up with Yu-mi. As he rushes to Dae-suk’s office to find her, frantic that she’s not answering her phone, he calls Guk-hyun to ask if he sent one of his men to kill Yu-mi. But Guk-hyun says there’s no reason he needs to know, and instead focuses on his meeting with Prosecutor Park.

They’re in a private area of a club, and Guk-hyun assumes it has to do with the testimony he’s giving the prosecution’s office. When Tae-joon suddenly arrives, Guk-hyun stands up in surprise and worry — but there’s no way to escape thanks to Tae-joons burly guards blocking the door.

Hesitantly sitting back down, Guk-hyun listens as Tae-joon flips through information about Guk-hyun’s family and all the money he’s embezzled under their names. There’s no guarantee the prosecutor’s office will be able to protect him if all his crimes — including murder — were revealed, and Guk-hyun nervously laughs as he tries to bargain with Tae-joon, promising to not testify if Tae-joon promises to cover up his mess. But Tae-joon refuses.

Meanwhile, Yu-mi is crying as she confesses that she told Guk-hyun about the witness’ identity in exchange for money — Dae-suk was so desperate for funds to set up his new firm that Yu-mi thought she was helping. But she didn’t know it would end in Hyun-jung’s death.

Hye-kyung sees the shadow of the man with the knife, and she quietly tries to get Yu-mi to leave the office. But the man chases after them and they end up running down the stairs to escape, but the door leading outside won’t open. Hye-kyung tries to protect Yu-mi by swinging her purse at scary Scarface to keep him away, but he grabs her arm and holds the knife to her throat, ordering her to move out of the way.

She refuses, pleading with him as she promises she won’t call the police. But she freezes when Scarface asks if she’s acting like this because she’s supported by her husband.

Guk-hyun scoffs at the idea that Tae-joon would be trying to come clean and become like a new person, but Tae-joon says it’s none of his business — all he needs to know is if Guk-hyun will obey his orders or not. Just as it looks like Tae-joon is willing to use his burly men to help coerce Guk-hyun into agreement, Joong-won calls him.

Joong-won has reached Dae-suk’s office — it’s empty but he knows someone was there because Yu-mi’s purse is on the ground. He calls Tae-joon, furiously asking where Hye-kyung is, adding that if he’s hurt her, he’ll kill him. That’s enough for Tae-joon to realize that Guk-hyun’s men may have hurt her. Seeing that he now has the upper hand, Guk-hyun cockily says that if he wants to make sure his wife doesn’t get hurt, they could talk without the burly bodyguards.

In response, Tae-joon grabs a fork jams it deep into the back of Guk-hyunn’s hand. Ow, ow, ow. Writhing in pain as the blood-spattered Tae-joon calmly looks on, Guk-hyun calls off Scarface. The women gasp in shock after the would-be assassin leaves, and Joong-won rushes into the stairwell, relieved to find them alive as he hugs Hye-kyung and apologizes over and over.

At the police station, the women give their report of the incident just as Prosecutor Baek suddenly arrives. He accuses Joong-won for hearing about the attempted murder from Guk-hyun, desperately wondering why Joong-won refuses to tell him anything about who killed Hyun-jung when he’s broken attorney-client privilege before.

Before Joong-won can say anything else, Scarface arrives at the police station to confess that he was the one who killed Hyun-jung. Prosecutor Baek assumes that Guk-hyun put him up to it for a hefty sum of money, but Scarface just smiles as the prosecutor tries to hit him.

Sitting in his car, Joong-won attends to the cut on Hye-kyung’s wrist. She thanks him for coming to save her even though it breached the attorney-client privilege. She wonders what will happen to Guk-hyun, and Joong-won says he’ll be indicted but because one of his underlings is taking the blame for the murder, there’s not real way to pin it on Guk-hyun unless that attorney-client privilege is breached.

Just then a news report on the radio reveals that Guk-hyun committed suicide in the Han river. Even though his body hasn’t yet been found, there are plenty of witnesses who saw him driving his car straight into the river. This causes complications for Tae-joon’s trial since it’s implied that Tae-joon was responsible for the suicide. Chief Prosecutor Choi asks the judge for Tae-joon’s trial to rescind his right for bail.

Meanwhile, while preparing for a press conference, Tae-joon’s lawyer gets a call from the congresswoman, worried about the effects of this latest Guk-hyun rumor. It makes Tae-joon look bad after she already vouched for him to the rest of the political party.

Tae-joon is pleased to see Hye-kyung arrive at the press conference. Even though she said she would wait until after the trial, she asks him what really happened with Guk-hyun. He sort of glosses over the details, but just says that he realized he got in too deep with Guk-hyun before he realized it was too late. But now he has a chance to change and become a good person, and he needs her next to him for that to happen.

She honestly hopes that he’ll change and become a better person, but she’s not sure if she needs to be by his side. The press conference starts, and she watches from the hallway as her husband reveals the deeper corruption that have him falsely accused for taking bribes and his determination to reveal the truth of the matter regarding Guk-hyun.

Myung-hee barges into her brother’s office, asking if he’s seen the news about Guk-hyun. She’s worried about the reputation of their firm, but Joong-won at least reassures her that he got his fee upfront and in cash. He then wearily sighs — he thinks it’s impossible to become a good person. Every time he tries, it never seems to work out. He studies the decision die his father gave him, then calls Hye-kyung.

This is no business call — he wants to let her know, before he regrets it, that he nearly lost his mind with fear and worry when he thought Hye-kyung was hurt. He wants to become a good person for her. He’s tried to keep it hidden for both their sakes, but he can’t do it any more.

She tries to interrupt his confession, but he says that he needs to say it even if he’ll regret it later. She tells him what she reads right now are not confessions of love and romance, but a plan. She can’t live off her emotions — she has two children to care for and her husband’s scandal to deal with. It’s easy to say “I love you,” but if he wants to be with her, he has to let her know what he plans to do after that.

Tae-joon’s lawyer tells her that the press conference is nearly over and they’re ready for her to join her husband on stage, and she hangs up the phone. Tae-joon expectantly waits for her to walk out onto the stage, but she stands undecided when she sees that Joong-won is calling her back.

COMMENTS

I don’t know if it’s too much to hope since the news report said no body was found and he seems like the wily type who would fake his death, but I do hope this is the last we’ve seen of Guk-chul. I feel like he’s worn out his welcome as a foil to our leads, and as Tae-joon (and the fork) revealed, he’s not the most terrifying one here anymore. Every week, Tae-joon seems more and more like bad news… but I find that gangster!Tae-joon makes for compelling television. So even though I want to yell at Hye-kyung to take the kids and run far, far away, I also can’t wait to see what intense scary thing he’ll do next (and may I just express my eternal gratitude for whomever decided he should always wear his shirts with the top two buttons undone?).

This does mean I’m finding myself more in the Joong-won camp, even though with all the repeated warnings about how ruthless he can be, he also makes me worry. Although, if he’s aware of the conflict between his desire to win at all costs and his desire to become a “good man,” then like Dan said, he’s already a step ahead of Tae-joon. I’m impatient to hear what his plan is for after the “I love you.” I want to know what Hye-kyung will say. I want just want fewer secret-longing glances and more kissing, really. That’s all.

It was only a minor part of the show this episode, but I’m intrigued by the hint that Tae-joon will be getting into politics. This makes me hope we’ll get our own version of Eli Gold, although I’m still bummed that the supported actors still haven’t had much to do and we’re already halfway through, so maybe it wouldn’t be wise to add in another interesting (and beloved from the original) character. I mean, you’d think I’d be tired of complaining that there’s not enough Myung-hee, but… there’s just not enough Myung-hee!

That said, this was a really, really great episode, and I enjoyed how it balanced the personal drama with an interesting case and wove the underlying scandal through it, too. Each moment was riveting and even though I’m conflicted over how I feel about the characters, I also know that I’m supposed to be conflicted. Everyone is painted in shades of grey and it only becomes more and more confusing as it’s gradually revealed what depths they’ll go to get what they want. Now the question remains whether or not Tae-joon and Joong-won can really become a “good person” — and if Hye-kyung will remain “the good wife.”

 
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29 August 10, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 9

by odilettante

Decisions, decisions, decisions. After that cliff-hanger from last week, Hye-kyung must decide with whom her loyalty lies, and Myung-hee (and Joong-won) must decide which one of the new hires they’ll keep on permanently. More importantly, though, the supporting cast actually gets to leave the office and actually do more than just smirk at Hye-kyung and hand her folders. It’s about time.

EPISODE 9 RECAP

Hye-kyung’s hesitation over whether or not she should go to her husband or answer Joong-won’s call is taken from her (literally) by Tae-joon’s lawyer as he grabs her phone so Tae-joon can escort her onstage. Joong-won sees the press conference — and Hye-kyung standing next to her husband — and leaves her a voicemail, saying that she’s right. They should just leave things as they are.

But then after a moment’s thought, he calls back and leaves a passionate message, telling her that his plan is to love her. He’s loved her for someone time already, and when they meet in person again, they can discuss it. But if she’s bothered by his confession, she can just ignore this message and they’ll act like nothing has happened. Still, he begs her to call him if she misses him or feels anything for him, too.

Chief Prosecutor Choi arrives at the end of Tae-joon’s speech, where he declares he will fight against the corruption that slandered his name, and is led back to prison since his bail has been revoked. He hugs his wife, thanking her for supporting him — while all the reporters continue to photograph “the good wife.” Tae-joon’s lawyer listens to Hye-kyung’s voicemails, and deletes the second one from Joong-won.

Back at the police station, Chief Prosecutor Choi explains to Tae-joon that they’re looking into Guk-hyun’s mysterious death. But Tae-joon isn’t focusing on his nemesis’ threats — instead he can only think about Hye-kyung’s hesitation before joining him onstage, and her ringing phone. Chief Prosecutor Choi also informs Tae-joon that he’s looking into the internal case files that disappeared when Tae-joon was chief prosecutor.

Hye-kyung finally listens to her voicemail — but the only one that’s left is the first one, where Joong-won told her that she was right and they should forget anything happened. She bites her lip to maintain her composure as Tae-joon’s lawyer tells her she’s free to visit her husband — the interrogation is over.

At the gym, Joong-won runs his heart out as he pays more attention to his silent phone than the television playing Tae-joon’s press conference again. The news report emphasizes Tae-joon’s loyal wife, and Joong-won sighs as he realizes Hye-kyung isn’t calling him.

Back at work, Joong-won and Hye-kyung share a long glance, but Joon-ho interrupts it since they’re all on the way to Myung-hee’s office. She tells the new hires that they’ve been doing well, but she and Joong-won will be making a decision soon on whom to keep on permanently.

Even though Hye-kyung wins her cases, Myung-hee thinks she gets too emotionally involved with her clients in her does whatever it takes to prove that they’re innocent, even if it goes against the firm’s original wishes. Whereas Joon-ho always follows the firm’s wishes.

Hye-kyung is ballsy enough to defend herself, pointing out that her clients were glad she was so passionate on their behalf. But Myung-hee says Hye-kyung has been lucky to have clients who have actually been innocent — what would she have done if they were guilty? Being a lawyer isn’t just about winning cases — it’a about making profits.

While Joon-ho smiles to himself, Myung-hee admits that while they still haven’t officially selected which one they’ll choose, she can offer to introduce Hye-kyung to another firm. But Hye-kyung stands her ground — she’ll work until the end.

Afterward, Myung-hee admits to Joong-won that her opinion of Hye-kyung may change depending on how she reacts to Myung-hee’s warning. She also brings up the fact that, now that Guk-hyun is dead, Tae-joon will be more likely to be declared innocent — and Hye-kyung will be more likely to stay by her husband’s side. She tells her brother to just give up on his hope of getting together with her, but he brushes her off, calmly informing her that he and Hye-kyung are just friends.

Joon-ho meets up with his buddies at a club, preemptively celebrating his belief that his job is secure. A few beers (and some hilariously awkward dancing) later, he meets a pretty girl who offers him a party drug, telling him he’ll feel even better soon.

In the middle of the night, Hye-kyung’s phone rings, waking her up. It’s Myung-hee, calling her into the office for an emergency case that they need to work on right now. Joong-won calls Joon-ho, who’s extra bleary-eyed thanks to whatever drug his lady friend gave him. He finally answers his phone and groggily tells Joong-won he’s on his way to the office, but the drugs are kicking in and he can barely stand to get dressed.

Dan arrives at a the scene of the crime to investigate for Myung-hee, only to discover that one of the detectives working the case is an old acquaintance. She tells him she was just passing by, but when she tries to duck under the police tape to follow him, he reminds her that she belongs on the other side. She says that she’ll just watch, adding that she could be useful in helping him catch the murderer.

The woman who was killed is Jeong Si-yeon, a college student who worked as a babysitter and who was killed in her employer’s apartment. The detective assumes the husband did it because the knife is from the kitchen and the alarm was disabled. But Dan points out that the fatal head wound was made by something other than the kitchen knife.

Hye-kyung arrives at M&J law firm just as the husband gets there, too — he got the phone call that something happened just as he was leaving the movie theater, where he was spending his evening. He’s not sure what’s going on, though. His wife, Chae-yeon, is close friends with Myung-hee, which is why she called her for help.

While Myung-hee talks with Chae-yeon, Joong-won interrogates the husband, Park Jung-jin, who admits he was probably the last person to see Si-yeon alive. He’s surprised when Joong-won tells him he’s the most likely suspect, and that he’ll be taking a polygraph. But Joong-won says it’s only so they can figure out how best to defend him court.

Dan calls him, warning him that the police are on their way to arrest their client, so he better hurry up. As he watches the husband take his polygraph test, he tells Hye-kyung that the prosecution will decide in the next 48 hours whether or not to charge him with murder. If they do, the trial will take at least a year or two.

Hye-kyung thinks he’s innocent, because he seemed so genuine in his surprise at why he was called to the law firm. Joong-won says that he hopes that’s true, because it’s easier to defend someone who’s actually innocent. The police arrive just then to arrest him for the murder of Si-yeon, and the clock starts ticking on that all-important 48 hours the lawyers have to convince the prosecution their client is innocent and doesn’t need to go to trial.

Hahahaha, all through this, the happily drugged Joon-ho tries to touch Hye-kyung and Joong-won, but Hye-kyung — who seems the only one aware of Joon-ho’s odd behavior — keeps slapping his hand away. At the Prosecutor’s Office, she and Joon-ho run into Prosecutor Park who cheerfully tells him that he’ll be the prosecutor for this case.

Knowing Jong-won’s ways, Prosecutor Park predicts that the polygraph shows Jung-jin is innocent, and the two men walk away to further discuss the case one-on-one. High-as-a-kite Joon-ho stumbles to follow after them, but Hye-kyung drags him back, asking if he’s drunk. He just seriously tells her that he knows she’s a good person, so it breaks his heart.

Sighing, she tells him that she’ll get him a taxi and make excuses that he’s sick in case anyone asks. He’s hilariously adorable as he follows her like a puppy. Aw, then later as she oversees Prosecutor Park’s interrogation of their client, she does the mother thing as she texts him, asking if he got home safely.

Tae-joon’s lawyer meets with him in an interrogation room, letting him know that he gave Driver Kang money to go back to his hometown, so that’s all taken care of. But to his surprise, Tae-joon solemnly says that he promised his wife that he would start new, and he considers going to prison to be an act of atonement. He reassures his lawyer that he won’t being to prison without a fight, though.

Prosecutor Park goes through Jung-jin’s statement that he sat through a couple of movies, asking if he has the ticket stubs as proof, but Jug-jin says he threw them away. Surprised, the prosecutor wonders if he didn’t at least keep the free ticket the cinema give out due to one of the movies not playing correctly, but Jung-jin says he didn’t think the interruption was worth complaining about.

Except the interruption was just a fabrication on the part of Prosecutor Park, who’s pleased to have caught Jung-jin in his lie. As he leaves the room for a break, he tells Hye-kyung that it will be easier if their client confesses. Hye-kyung asks Jung-jin where he was, if he wasn’t at the cinema, but Joong-won enters the room just then and shuts off the feed recording them, much to Prosecutor Park’s annoyance from where he’s watching next door.

Jung-jin hesitates as he tries to explain where he really was that night, adding that they may not know what it’s like to be unemployed. Hye-kyung understands, though. After all, she was out of work for fifteen years. It turns out he has a secret office that he’d been using as a placee to come up with a phone app — and also as a place to get close to the victim, Si-yeon.

He’d asked her to help him with his work, but they also got physically close — at least according to the nosy neighbor that Dan has found when she went back to the scene of the crime. She texts that information to Joong-won, who confronts Jung-jin. He denies it, only admitting that he asked her to help him write out a storyline for the game. She only went to his office a couple of times.

Hye-kyung is ready to go investigate the office, and Joong-won hurries after her, asking if the reason she wants to investigate it herself is because she feels uncomfortable around him. He reassures her that nothing will happen again, and she cuts him off, telling him she knows. But right now, she’s going to work.

The detective is about to rush off, too, but Dan stops him asking him why he’s ignoring her. He reveals that when Tae-joon was still the chief prosecutor, he had an internal investigation to determine who was taking bribes — which resulted in many staff investigators being fired, herself included. Suddenly, the prosector’s office wants to reopen that case — but the record on Tae-joon is missing, and no one can get ahold of any of the other investigators that have since retired.

Dan denies any knowledge of Tae-jon’s records, and then reminds him that he could still use her help catching Si-yeon’s murderer. He tells her enough that she warns Joong-won the police are headed to Jung-jin’s secret office. He calls Hye-kyung, telling her to get out of there because if they find her inside the office, she could have her attorney’s licensed revoked.

He frantically speeds over to the building as she tries to use the ten minutes she has to find any evidence that will help them in their case. Joong-won reveals that Si-yeon was likely hit on the head with a laptop, and is relieved when Hye-kyung says that Jung-jin’s laptop looks untouched. He orders her to get out, but she wants to look around more, finding a hairbrush and bra, evidence that a woman has spent plenty of time in the office.

Joong-won arrives just as the police do, and he ducks into the stairwell to run up while they wait for the elevator. Hye-kyung realizes that it will look bad for their client if the brush and bra are discovered and goes back into the office to get them. Hahaha, Joong-won buys her time by racing up to each floor and pressing the elevator button, causing the elevator full of cops to stop at every floor. Genius.

As Hye-kyung waits for the elevator to go down, she worries that Joong-won is no longer on the other end of the phone. The elevator doors start to open, but before the police can see that Hye-kyung is standing there, Joong-won suddenly drags her around the corner. Aw, she looks kind of proud of him as he tries to catch his breath.

Back at the firm, Myung-hee asks if Hye-kyung took the evidence because she thought Jung-jin is innocent. Hye-kyung surprises her by admitting she doesn’t know if he is or not, but she remembered what Myung-hee said before: it’s not her job to judge the clients, but to instead to her best to assist them.

Myung-hee seems impressed that Hye-kyung took her words to heart, and when Joong-won asks why she’s bothering in the first place when she’ll just hire Joon-ho, she tells her brother that she’s still deciding. Speaking of Joon-ho, where is he? Wasn’t he also supposed to be working on this case?

Before Joong-won can call to check on him, Dan calls to reveal that, according to the CCTV footage, the last person to get home right before the murder was Chae-yeon, Jung-jin’s wife. Oooo, new suspect! Now it’s time for Myung-hee’s friend to take the polygraph.

Hye-kyung sees a still drugged-and-dazed Joon-ho sitting at his desk, staring blankly at his laptop, but before she can check on him, her phone rings. It’s Tae-joon — he says he just missed her voice, and he asks how the kids are handling the news. She says that he should call them and let them know how he’s doing. He doesn’t need to worry about her.

After she hangs up, she sees one of their coworkers walk over to Joon-ho’s office, and she hurries to intervene. She sets up her work station in his office in order to stop anyone else from coming in, making it look like they’re both working on the same case even though Joon-ho is still happily out of his mind.

Finally, the drug wears off, and Joon-ho wakes up from his stupor at a little past midnight. His first concerns is if the bosses know, but Hye-kyung reassures him that she didn’t tell them. He’s surprised, since it would have been the perfect opportunity to throw him under the bus and make sure she got the permanent position. She just tells him that she has enough enemies — she doesn’t need another.

He marvels at how nice she is, reminding her that he’s competitive. So is she, though, and they agree to play fair until the end of their competition. It’s cute how they cheerfully shake hands with each other. Aw, when Joong-won marvels at how friendly they’re acting, Dan reminds him that that’s the reason he likes Hye-kyung.

Myung-hee pulls him aside to discuss the fact that her friend could have killed the babysitter, and Joong-won says that she can defend Chae-yeon and he’ll defend Jung-jin. They just won’t share information with each other. If they only choose to defend one, it will mean that their client’s marriage will likely crumble. Amused, Myung-hee points out that he’s never been one to care about their clients’ personal lives before.

At least one hopeful sign is that Chae-yeon’s laptop doesn’t show any mark of having been used to hit someone on the head. Dan finds another lead when she discovers a lawyer’s business card in one of the notebooks Hye-kyung took from Jung-jin’s office. Hye-kyung is surprised when Dan immediately calls the number — it’s 1 am, after all. Dan: “Lawyers never sleep.”

In the morning, Jung-jin nervously waits for Hye-kyung to arrive so Prosecutor Park can continue his interrogation. When she appears, the prosecutor cheekily wonders if he’ll actually confess today. Ha, this time Hye-kyung turns off the camera feed herself.

She asks Jung-jin if she knew that Si-yeon met with a lawyer to discuss giving up a child for adoption. She asks him to be honest with her, and he admits that while he’s hidden things from his wife, he has nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, he couldn’t have gotten Si-yeon pregnant because he had a vasectomy.

But someone must have, and Hye-kyung wonders if they can out if anyone went to the hospital with her when she was getting check-ups due to her pregnancy. Dan figures out that the nosy neighbor is the most likely culprit, based on the hospital staff’s description.

Nosy neighbor admits that he did take her to the hospital because she was too embarrassed to go alone. She told him the baby’s father was the husband of her employer, but he told her that he wouldn’t leave his wife for her, which made it difficult for her.

Dan asks Nosy Neighbor if he’ll come down to the police station to give a statement, then asks if he’d mind changing into something a little less casual, so the prosecutors will take him more seriously. As he steps into the bathroom to freshen up, Dan quickly looks around the apartment for his laptop — which looks like it could be the murder weapon.

Afterwards, Prosecutor Park follows Dan and Hye-kyung out of the police station, marveling that they’ve managed to find the real culprit and free their clients. He turns to Dan, thanking her especially for her hard work — but he calls her Ji-young. She tells him her name is Kim Dan, and he laughingly says that he’s bad with names, but once again calls her Kim Ji-young instead of Kim Dan.

Jung-jin and Chae-yeon are reunited and free of all charges. It turns out that Ji-yeon used Jung-jin’s office as a place for her and her boyfriend, the nosy neighbor, to go for fun sexy times. Once she got pregnant, they argued about what to do with the baby — abortion or adoption — and killed her while avoiding being caught by the CCTV.

Myung-hee wonders if it’s true, but Joong-won points out that it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not — what matters is that their clients are considered innocent. He marvels at how mysterious marriage is, and Myung-hee pointedly tells him that no one really knows what goes on between a husband and wife — sometimes they get back together after a conflict.

He then asks if she still thinks that they should hire Joon-ho. When she asks if he’s still gunning for Hye-kyung, he denies it. They should simply hire whomever is the better lawyer.

Over their now-traditional celebratory drinks, Dan tells Hye-kyung she shouldn’t worry about the firm’s decision. This case put her in a new light. Besides, she could have a friend call Joon-ho and pretend to scout him to another firm so he’ll willingly quit M&J.

Hye-kyung tells her that she wants to win fair-and-square. Besides, after being out of the business for so long, she wants to know if she has the skills to make it as a lawyer. If she has to quit, then she will.

Dan goes to the prison to meet with Tae-joon, where she informs him that the prosecution office is looking for the missing file, which Prosecutor Park seems to know about ince e called her by the name she used to go by back then. Tae-joon tells her not to worry about it, and she warns him not to make another mistake like the one that landed him in prison. He also tells her not to worry about Hye-kyung — he’s taking care of her now.

Joon-ho and Hye-kyung wait nervously outside of Myung-hee’s office, waiting to hear who will stay on and who will be let go. When Joong-won, with a serious face, asks Hye-kyung to step into the office first, Joon-ho smirks, knowing that the first to go is usually the one who will be fired.

Except Myung-hee surprises Hye-kyung by welcoming her to the firm, apologizing that she’s about to become a lot busier. Stunned, Hye-kyung thanks her and Joong-won, and then dazedly returns to her office. Joon-ho sympathetically tells her that she’ll find another job soon, but as he enters Myung-hee’s office, Hye-kyung does a little smirking of her own.

Dan is waiting for her, and Hye-kyung informs her that they’ll be working together a lot from now on. Yay!

Tae-Join’s connections report back that Hye-kyung got the job. He and Tae-joon are waiting for Prosecutor Park, who reassures them that he’s sorted out the missing internal file business and Tae-joon has nothing to worry about. Then he hits record on the camera that is set up, which is focused on Tae-joon’s face, and the interview begins.

COMMENTS

Ugh, that deleted voicemail. It kills me. I’m not even going to talk about it because that’s how painful it is, knowing there’s this gigantic misunderstanding blocking Joong-won and Hye-kyung’s longing glances. So let’s think about other things instead, shall we?

I believe this is the first drama I have knowingly seen Lee Won-geun in, and I’ll admit I wasn’t really sure what to make of him. He’s tall and pretty, to be sure, but other than appear out of nowhere to smirk and deliver files, I wasn’t really sure what to make of him. I certainly had no idea how hilarious he could be, and even though I know it wouldn’t fit the story, I could definitely watch him act high-as-a-kite for a few more hours. Just sayin’.

But his predicament — however amusing it might be — definitely helps delineate the differences between Joon-ho and Hye-kyung. If the roles were reversed, Joon-ho would have undoubtedly pointed out that Hye-kyung was under the influence and incapable of doing her job, using it against her to remove her from the case and, likely, the firm. No matter what advice Dan may give him, he’s still the type of guy to reach for any opportunity he can to make sure he comes out on top. Whereas Hye-kyung makes sure to cover for him (and seems genuinely concerned for his well-being), knowing that whatever is going on isn’t normal but also isn’t really anyone else’s business. They are in this fight together, and it would seem cheap and unsportsmanlike to have him disqualified on a technicality.

Then again, Hye-kyung has something she needs to prove, too — that she could win (or lose) based purely on her own merits (or lack thereof). She doesn’t want to treated special because of her name, or her age, or her connections. She wants to know that she is fully capable of succeeding in the career she once use to dream about before Tae-joon was in the picture.

But even when he’s not around, he’s somehow always in the picture, isn’t he? If it didn’t seem too “conspiracy theory,” I’d almost wonder if he somehow set it up for that girl to give Joon-ho a drug that would prevent him from working for a day just to prove that Hye-kyung is the better option to hire on permanently. Tae-joon does seem to have his fingers in a lot of pots and still has a ton of connections that anything seems possible, really. After all, he’s able to inspire the loyalty (or fear) in others that will make them lie, cheat, and steal for him — I could imagine him using that power however he sees fit. As long as it benefits his family, that’s all he cares about. Although, it might be more accurate to say as long as it benefits him, and by extension his family, that’s all that matters.

 
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47 August 11, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 10

by odilettante

So many bombshells are dropped this episode, forcing Hye-kyung to figure out just how much honesty she really wants from the people around her. However, the most exciting part of this episode is that we finally get lots and lots of Myung-hee, who proves that she’s the boss (or one of the bosses) of M&J law firm for a reason.

EPISODE 10 RECAP

Myung-hee informs Joon-ho that he’s being let go, and he’s completely shocked. He dazedly says that he worked hard and did his best, but apparently it wasn’t enough. Hye-kyung tries to talk to Joon-ho after he leaves Myung-hee’s office, but he just brushes her off. Hye-kyung admits that even though she “won,” she doesn’t feel that comfortable about it. Dan reminds her that she’s earned it, though.

Joon-ho’s only the first of the day’s lay-off announcements, however. Ha, it looks like someone didn’t take their newly unemployed status very well, as Joong-won dabs at the coffee that was apparently thrown into his face and all over his once-crisp white shirt. He calls Hye-kyung, who’s nearly home, and he says he didn’t have a chance to properly congratulate her.

She asks how it’s going at work, and he watches one irate newly ex-employee being dragged out by security, all the while shouting about the injustice of so many good workers being let go but the boss’s girlfriend gets to stay. Joong-won just tells Hye-kyung that they can forget about what happened and remain just as friends and colleagues. He also reminds her that she’s a capable lawyer who earned it through her hard work, despite what anyone else might say.

Her kids give her a big congratulatory hug when she gets home, but she’s more surprised that they even knew about her being permanently hired on. Tae-joon called them, and also said that she would take his case, too, because she’s such a good lawyer. In the privacy of her bedroom, she pulls out her phone. But the first name her fingers to go in her contacts list is Joong-won, although she doesn’t call him.

Hye-kyung meets with Tae-joon in prison, asking if he’s responsible for getting her hired on at M&J. He denies it, but she persists, asking why he told the kids she would take his case. That’s because his lawyer (who I suppose deserves a proper name now) Oh Joo-hwan has now joined M&J, bringing along his client list — which includes Tae-joon. So he’s now officially one of the firms’ clients, and therefore Hye-kyung can be his lawyer.

She’s not pleased by this, since it makes it look like all her hard work was for nothing, but Tae-joon insists he did it for her and the kids. He knows that she can’t afford to become unemployed while he’s in prison. Even though he was confident she would be hired on based on her skills, he still wanted to play it safe.

But if she doesn’t want to defend him as his lawyer, she doesn’t have to. He tells her that if she wants, she can just pretend he doesn’t exist. Of course, he wants her to stay by his side, but it’s not like he’s going to force her. Ugh, what classic manipulative behavior. Hye-kyung tells him that she won’t do anything she doesn’t want to do, and she certainly won’t do anything just for him. With that, she walks away.

Back at the firm, she helps Joon-ho pick up his belongings that fell out of his “I’ve been fired” box. She apologizes for what happened, and he bitterly asks if she’s sorry she beat him, or if she’s sorry for what she did to win. He hands over the brooch he found in Joong-won’s office, and she quickly explains that it’s not what he’s thinking.

Joon-ho says he’s not the one who has an old friend or husband to go to for a job. He’s had to instead rely on hard work to get where he is. He regrets trusting her, even if it was only for a moment. Hye-kyung leaves him to gather his belongings alone, and he exits the building with one last bitter “do you really mean it?” when Dan says that she’ll see him around.

Lawyer Oh makes his official greeting as one of Hye-kyung’s new colleagues. She snubs his attempt at a handshake, instead asking if proving Tae-joon’s innocence is so important that Lawyer Oh would go this far. He explains that having her by her husband’s side makes him seem more innocent and pure, which is why he’s had her appointed at her husband’s lawyer.

Ignoring him, she goes to ask Myung-hee if they only kept her because it meant getting Lawyer Oh, and Myung-hee asks if it matters — Lawyer Oh is an excellent lawyer who will bring in many clients (and their money) to the firm. Myung-hee reminds her that she doesn’t judge by connections — she really did choose Hye-kyung after deciding she was the best fit for the firm. It was just a bonus that it worked out for everyone.

Feeling defeated, Hye-kyung tries to hold back her tears as she slowly walks to her office. She passes by Joong-won’s office, and stares into the empty office, struggling to hide her emotion when the effervescent David Lee bounces by.

Joong-won’s busy judging a mock trial for a bunch of law students. Or rather, he’s busy playing a game on his phone, barely paying attention to what the potential lawyers are arguing. Haha, it looks like he’s doing this as a favor for Soo-hyun, who apparently has given birth since the last time we saw her and now has a super cute baby.

One of the law students is frustrated with how Joong-won is ruling the “court,” claiming he’s favoring the prosecution. After class, Soo-hyun tells him he should be nicer to the students, just like he should be nicer to his clients. Then she knowingly asks about Hye-kyung, and suspiciously watches him walk away after his brisk “she’s fine.”

Over drinks, Dan tells Hye-kyung she shouldn’t feel guilty about keeping her job, even if Tae-joon did have something to do with it. She told Hye-kyung before that she should use all the connections she had, anyway. Plus, she can consider this part of her alimony, since it’s not like she could get anything else if her husband’s in prison.

Hye-kyung’s determined to wallow in her depressed funk, so Dan snatches her phone, threatening to call Joong-won and tell him that Hye-kyung is drunk and asking for him. Ha, I love how everyone is trying to still set the two of them up. Hye-kyung says she was just momentarily confused, wondering if she could follow her heart and forget her responsibilities as a wife and mother. She was scared, knowing that if she went to Joong-won, there was no turning back.

She sighs as she admits that she thought she was better than her husband, and she looked down on lawyers that only cared about money. Dan says that she is different, but Hye-kyung says she was only being arrogant. She’s planning to make up with Tae-joon — it’s not that she trusts him, but no one’s perfect. Besides, she has to think of her kids, and they want their father.

Dan asks if she could forget about right or wrong or responsibilities, what would she really decide to do? Hye-kyung takes a sip of her alcohol, and then firmly says that she would try to start over again with her family. Dan’s not buying it, but lets it slide since it seems to make Hye-kyung feel better about her decision.

Hye-kyung wonders why Tae-joon would fire such an excellent investigator over a simple transgression of looking into a closed case, and Dan just says there were also personal reasons. Just then her detective buddy Kim Mu-yul (who apparently isn’t a detective but an investigator for the Prosecutor’s Office) joins them at the bar.

Hye-kyung takes that as her cue to leave, and Mu-yul warns Dan that the internal investigation has discovered Tae-joon’s missing files, but it’s suspicious how little corruption is mentioned within the reports.

On her way out, Myung-hee stops by her brother’s office to tease him about his convenient interest in judging law students when the rest of the firm is focused on Tae-joon’s case. They joke about the mock trial details (based on the “Hansel and Gretel” fairy tale) until Joong-won cautiously brings up Hye-kyung.

Myung-hee knows what he’s going to say, and reassures him that she won’t pressure Hye-kyung into taking on the case if she doesn’t want to. Besides, with Guk-hyun gone, Tae-joon will win anyway. The prosecutors can at least try to make a mockery of him, and as Mu-yul hands over a subpoena to Dan, ordering her to be a witness in Tae-joon’s trial, he explains that’s exactly what they plan to do.

Myung-hee introduces herself to Tae-joon, declaring that she will be representing his case personally since it’s such an important trial. Lawyer Oh balks at this (because he wants Hye-kyung), but a glance from Tae-joon makes him keep his mouth shut.

She lays out the case: Guk-hyun’s disappearance means all the original accusations are based on circumstantial evidence, but Myung-hee knows about the internal investigation file compiled on Tae-joon. She warns him the prosecution is looking for it to find more ammo to use against him. Tae-joon isn’t worried, though, and smugly tells her that they won’t find anything worthwhile in it.

Myung-hee thinks different, and as she and Lawyer Oh leave the Prosecutor’s Office, she knows that there must be something incriminating in that file. She reassures Lawyer Oh that they’ll win the trial, but if there’s anything about Hye-kyung in the file, he’s ordered never to speak to her about it.

Dan tells Hye-kyung that she’s now a witness in Tae-joon’s trial. Hye-kyung starts to ask about what she found in Tae-joon’s file, then thinks better of it. She ruefully admits that she used to always want to know the truth, but she’s discovered the truth is more painful than it’s worth.

Dan asks her if she wants Tae-joon out of jail, and the way she asks makes it seem like she can alter her testimony to either help or incriminate Tae-joon. Hye-kyung says yes, if he’s innocent. She doesn’t want to know anything more than that.

During the trial, Chief Prosecutor Choi’s confidence is overwhelming when he calls Dan to the witness stand. He asks her what was the last case she worked on for the Prosecutor’s Office, and she says it had to do with a tip someone gave them that public officials were being bribed with sexual favors from call girls, and then blackmailed afterwards.

Even though no names were used in tracking the public official’s information, Dan affirms that one of the call girls was Amber. However, there wasn’t enough information about the clients to find out their identities. For example, one client was a judge with three daughters, and as Dan goes into detail about this “unnamed client,” Tae-joon’s judge looks mighty shifty since he’s known to be a judge with three daughters.

Dan explains that if she released information about the rest of the clients, innocent people could be hurt due to false assumptions. Myung-hee springs up to declare that sexual favors are irrelevant to the bribing case and the contents of the file shouldn’t be released without thought of whom it might unintentionally damage.

The squirming judge immediately agrees with her and dismisses Dan as a witness, telling Chief Prosecutor Choi that he’d better find something else to use as evidence than just trying to stir up a scandal for no good reason.

Class ended, Joong-won’s eager law student trails after him, desperate to know why he overruled all her objections except one and to figure out what she did wrong during the mock trial. He sighs and tells her that she needs to learn to simply accept whatever the judge says — a judge is an honorable position of respect, and if you want to win, you have to appease the judge.

The student is surprised that the trial is based on the whims of the judge’s mood instead of evidence, and Joong-won explains that a judge’s personal feelings will affect their final decision, even if the official ruling is based on evidence. The student is a fast learner as she turns on the aegyo, asking her mock judge for more “real life” trial tips.

Hye-kyung has been rebuffing Mu-yul’s efforts to talk to her, but he finally goes to see her at her office to tell her that two pages are missing from Tae-joon’s file, and Chief Prosecutor Choi is convinced the missing pages are proof that Tae-joon was bribed. Hye-kyung wearily tells him that if he wants to talk to her, then he can get a warrant.

Prosecutor Park sighs when he sees Dan waiting for him. She demands to know exactly how much he knows about the missing two pages, and he reveals that he knows when she called herself Kim Ji-yong, she sold intel from the Prosecutor’s Office and then when Tae-joon found out, she slept with him so he wouldn’t tell anyone.

He hid the pages because he still wants a job once Tae-joon is freed, and then asks her if she still “sees” Tae-joon. Dan insists she only slept with him once, and for her, sex is nothing special. Prosecutor Park wonders if Dan has been helping Hye-kyung because she feels guilty for her actions, then warns her that she should cut her ties with Hye-kyung before Tae-joon is freed. The original investigator who opened the case has mysteriously disappeared, and Prosecutor Park implies that the same thing could happen to Dan, too.

As Tae-joon is escorted to the courtroom, Hye-kyung waits in the hallway for him. The guard and Lawyer Oh step aside to give them privacy, and Hye-kyung tells him that she’s decided to believe what he said about becoming a better person. It’s not because she likes him — it’s strictly for the benefit of their family.

She also requests that he be honest with her so she can stop wondering what he’s hiding, and he tells her there’s one more thing he’s been keeping from her. The trial commences, and Hye-kyung’s absence is noticed by Lawyer Oh. Whatever truth Tae-joon told her is something she must take a moment to process, apparently.

Chief Prosecutor Choi plays a video confession of the late Guk-hyun, where he declares that Tae-joon was really the greedy one — he was just a pawn. Myung-hee springs up to object, and she and Chief Prosecutor Choi argue back-and-forth about the legality of using the video footage considering the mysterious circumstances of Guk-hyun’s death. Chief Prosecutor Choi seems to win the argument by insisting that Guk-hyun’s testimony would be the same even if he was able to walk through the door right now.

Just then someone enters the courtroom — it’s Guk-hyun! He’s alive! And what timing! He’s the “one thing” that Tae-joon was still hiding from Hye-kyung. That night when Tae-joon stabbed Guk-hyun’s hand was also the night when Tae-joon cooked up the plan to make it look like Guk-hyun committed suicide, with the full intent of using Guk-hyun later to discredit Chief Prosecutor Choi.

Joong-won is still overseeing the mock trial, but he’s distracted by watching the news of Tae-joon’s trial on his phone. The law student finally gets his attention when she requests that he remove himself as judge since she believes he can’t act arbitrarily. He patiently explains again that he has nothing against her personally, but she interrupts to declare she wants him removed because he likes her.

She uses the evidence that he met with her in private and gave her tips on how to win the trial. He’s taken aback, but he can’t really argue against her request.

Guk-hyun is put on the witness stand, and Lawyer Oh stands up to question him but Myung-hee is the one who beats him to the punch. Hee! Guk-hyun declares that he faked his suicide to go into hiding because the prosecution forced him to lie in his testimony, but his sense of honor wouldn’t let him stay away when he heard what they were saying about Tae-joon. Pffft.

Myung-hee requests that the prosecution’s video testimony be thrown out of court, but Chief Prosecutor Choi furiously insists that Guk-hyun is perjuring himself right now. In the end, the judge decides to throw out both sets of testimony, declaring them unusable for the trial.

Afterward, Myung-hee tells Tae-joon that if he’s planning any other funny tricks like that, to tell her ahead of time. She doesn’t like surprises in court.

Hye-kyung, waiting outside the courtroom, gets a message from Lawyer Oh that the judge will soon make an official sentencing. At home, Tae-joon’s mother and the kids impatiently flip through the channels, wondering why the news hasn’t reported anything. Hye-kyung calls them, telling them she hasn’t heard the verdict yet either — but based on the way Chief Prosecutor Choi angrily storms out and the way Myung-hee gives her a little nod, she knows that Tae-joon is free.

The kids and Grandma are delighted and they dance with joy. As the reporters pester Tae-joon with questions and take endless photos, he pulls Hye-kyung into a hug, thanking her for her support.

At the firm, Dan and Joong-won watch the news report. Myung-hee calls him to let him know they’ll be throwing a celebration party later, and Dan carefully watches Joong-won as the news replays Tae-joon and Hye-kyung’s hug.

David Lee greets Hye-kyung when she returns to the firm, congratulating her. She tells him that she’s not going to get a divorce, but he just tells her to let him know when (not if!) she changes her mind. Hahaha, I’ve missed Grandma’s “Jaws” ringtone! She’s calling to let Hye-kyung know that she’s arrived at the firm with the kids to join the party. After Hye-kyung hangs up the phone, she picks up her brooch that Joon-ho returned to her — the one that fell off during her kiss with Joong-won.

Dan interrupts her reverie to congratulate Hye-kyung. She’s heading out, and explains that it’s not because she doesn’t want to see Tae-joon — it’s just because she doesn’t really care for the firm’s parties.

Tae-joon, out of his prison blues and back in a snazzy suit, runs into Prosecutor Park at the courthouse. He tells the prosecutor that he’ll see him again soon at the Prosector’s Office — looks like Prosecutor Park’s betting on Tae-joon will pay off.

Myung-hee checks in on Joong-won, wondering when he’ll join the party. One of the assistants passes along a message from the law student, telling him she’ll buy him dinner to make up for the way she treated him during the trial. Myung-hee is amused by the thought of Joong-won dating a college student, but Joong-won just watches as Hye-kyung’s kids run up to her at the party.

Grandma tells Hye-kyung that she’s proud of her for keeping the family together — they’ve weathered the storm and can now enjoy a time of peace. Aw, it’s a little sad how clueless she is, but it’s nice seeing the kids so happy.

Hye-kyung slips upstairs to Joong-won’s office, where he congratulates her, then teasingly asks if she’ll still be coming to work since she no longer needs to support her family. She tells him she’s worked too hard to stay here to leave now. Damn straight. As she signs her employment contract, she asks him how he first got to know Dan.

She used to sell information when she used to work at the Prosecution’s Office — he even got some intel from her back then. Some of the information was false, though, because she was using it as bait to catch some heavyweight criminals. It took him awhile to figure out who she really was because she used a fake name, but when she was fired from the Prosector’s Office, he managed to convince her to join M&J.

Hye-kyung asks if she went by the name Kim Ji-yong, having remembered it was the name Prosecutor Park called her, and Joong-won affirms that it’s true. He then sincerely congratulates her on her return to law — she feels like the Hye-kyung he used to know. Aw, there’s just so much understated meaning in their simple business-like handshake.

Mu-yul arrives at the party to ask Hye-kyung about the missing pages from Tae-joon’s file. He’s figured out that it has to do with an affair Tae-joon had, but Hye-kyung, annoyed, asks him if he came all the way here to just to tell her that. Yes, because for Mu-yul, the truth is the most important thing — isn’t that how it is for Hye-kyung, too?

Dan runs into Tae-joon as he’s arriving and she’s leaving the party, and she tells him that Hye-kyung is is a good person — he shouldn’t make her suffer any more. The congresswoman is there as well, thrilled about Tae-joon’s innocent verdict, and eager to talk.

Mu-yul tells Hye-kyung that he hasn’t been able to find out anything about the affair except for the name of the woman. But he’s been unable to find anyone in Tae-joon’s life who has the name Kim Ji-yong, so he thought he would ask Hye-kyung just to be sure. Stone-faced, Hye-kyung tells him that she’s never heard of that name before.

Tae-joon arrives at his celebration party, and Hye-kyung watches from the second floor as he works the room. As everyone else cheers him, she turns and walks away.

COMMENTS

Oh, Tae-joon. You are a sexy charismatic force, but you are a terrible human being. The way he manipulates and uses the people around him is enthralling and infuriating — he’s so incredibly good at it, but I fear for everyone caught in his web. Who knows how much further he’ll be able to extend it now that he’s free and is able to regain the power he once had?

I’m already in anticipatory anguish for Hye-kyung and Dan. I treasure their friendship — not the least because it seems like they don’t have many people in their lives they can trust and be honest with — and now that’s being taken away from them. Perhaps Dan should have been honest from the start, but then again, so should have Tae-joon. If he was so easily appeased by Dan sleeping with him to hide the fact she was selling information (and misinformation), then it means that Amber was not the “one time mistake” he keeps claiming it was. (Then again, are any of us really surprised? Yeah, I didn’t think so.)

However, I am thrilled that Myung-hee finally gets to take that step into a mentorship role, and I really hope we get more scenes with her and Hye-kyung together. Hye-kyung needs someone to lean on — or at least trust — since apparently everyone else around her is a liar or wants something from her. It’s kind of amazing that she’s been able to stay as idealistic as she is, all things considering, but I’m wondering if she’s finally reaching her breaking point. She started out believing in the truth, but now she’s discovering that the truth only seems to beget more hurt and lies.

Finally, thank you, show, for giving me the Myung-hee court scenes that I’ve been craving! I loved watching her do her thing as Tae-joon’s lawyer — especially when she demanded that he treat her with the respect she deserves. I love that she’s determined to protect Hye-kyung, even though a few weeks ago she didn’t want to keep her around. But Hye-kyung is now a part of her firm, and therefore she is a part of Myung-hee’s defacto family. Honestly, seeing Kim Seo-hyung own her scenes (like the boss she truly is) in this episode makes me wish even harder that they had utilized her so much earlier. Bt at least the frustration over Hye-kyung’s and Joong-won’s ill-fated barely-begun romance has now been overtaken by excitement in watching Myung-hee mold Hye-kyung into the kick-ass lawyer she’s meant to be.

 
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23 August 17, 2016August 17, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 11

by odilettante

What’s more important in winning cases? Is it skill? Perceived image? Sheer determination? All of the above? Hye-kyung finds herself asking these very questions as she struggles to find an answer. Tae-joon also has to figure out where he now fits in the scheme of things, and let’s just say “scheme” is the apt word choice here.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

After Hye-kyung leaves the party, she returns to her apartment. She sits in her empty kitchen, contemplating a family photo and living space, and then begins to ruthlessly box up her husband’s belongings.

Tae-joon texts her an picture of him with the kids, happy at the party, wondering where she is. Instead of responding, she calls an apartment broker to show her an empty apartment that’s available right now.

Once she selects an apartment, surprising the broker with her haste to sign the contract, she calls Tae-joon and gives him the address to meet her there. He knowingly chuckles at the implication that she wants to meet with him privately, but before he can leave the party, the congresswoman asks to speak with him. She’s full of flattering praise for his family, but Tae-joon takes a rain-check so he can go meet with his wife.

Lawyer Oh is mildly distressed about the lost opportunity to speak to the city council, but the congresswoman reassures him that the best thing for Tae-joon is his wife. With her by his side, he seems like an incorruptible prosecutor and powerful politician. But without her, he’s just some man who’s had an affair.

As she waits for Tae-joon at the new apartment, Hye-kyung slips her wedding ring off her finger. When he finally arrives, full of confidence that sexy-fun-times are ahead, he’s surprised to see the stack of boxes in the middle of the empty living space. Hye-kyung tells him she’ll send the rest of his belongings later.

He’s dejected, reminding her that she said they’d work everything out for the kids. But when she brings up Kim Ji-yong, he has nothing to say. Stuttering in surprise, he asks who told her, and how many other people know about it, but Hye-kyung wearily points out that he’s more concerned about how she found out than how she feels about finding out about it.

He swears that it happened so long ago that he forgot about it, that it meant nothing to him, and he didn’t want to tell her because it would unnecessarily complicate things. Besides, didn’t they promise to work on their relationship? Didn’t she already forgive him?

Hye-kyung’s not accepting his flimsy excuses, though. Desperate, he explains that there are people scrutinizing their every action to find any reason to attack them and create a new scandal. They need to think about the kids — would it be right to put them through all that again?

Frustrated, Hye-kyung yells at him for using their children as an excuse for his problems. Trying a new tactic, Tae-joon says he’ll do whatever she wants — if she wants him to quit being a prosecutor, he’ll do it. But Hye-kyung tells him she’s heard enough and she leaves. After she’s gone, Tae-joon finds her wedding ring on the counter.

The firm has a new case, and it’s another high-profile one: they’re going up against a major pharmaceutical company in defense of the victims who believe that an antidepressant is the root cause of their family members committing suicide. Myung-hee thinks it will be good publicity if they win win this case right after winning Tae-joon’s — plus it will be good to help the victims’ families in the process, of course.

She puts Hye-kyung in as second chair since she’s previously researched the drug. Hye-kyung is a little stunned and nervous about her lack of experience in court, but Joong-won says that his sister wants someone who will be able to distract the jury from the pharmaceutical company’s charismatic lawyer.

Hye-kyung gives Dan the cold shoulder when they pass on the stairs, much to poor Dan’s confusion.

As she’s busy researching the case to prepare the trial later that afternoon, Myung-hee asks Hye-kyung to meet with their client, Do Han-na. She’s the daughter of the victim who committed suicide and then murdered his wife after taking the antidepressants, and the only family member of the other victims who were willing to sign on to the lawsuit.

Han-na is still worried about how much the trial will focus on her deceased parents and their personal life, asking if there will be a lot of photos of her family at the trial. Hye-kyung gently reassures her that while her testimony may be difficult, they’ll do all they can to win and make it worth her while. Han-na says that she only agreed because she knew her parents would want someone to speak for them and defend their honor.

As soon as Myung-hee and Hye-kyung arrive at the courthouse, reporters surround them. One asks about Tae-joon, and Hye-kyung informs them, with only a slight hesitation, that her husband is her largest supporter. She also explains that this civil case isn’t about the potential settlement money, but to get the drug banned from the market and prevent further deaths.

It’s odd seeing the M&J lawyers on the plaintiff side of the courtroom after being so used watching them go up against the prosecutors. As they settle in, Myung-hee explains that the pharmaceutical company has hired one of the best lawyers, and this is a case where the lawyer’s charms will greatly influence the outcome. Which is why she wants Hye-kyung to take the lead on the opening argument.

Surprised, Hye-kyung protests that Myung-hee would do better as the main speaker. Myung-hee agrees (hee!), but a good lawyer knows to use any resource to help their case. And Hye-kyung’s a resource who will help them win over the jury. Nervous, Hye-kyung excuses herself to use the restroom, where she practices her opening statements in the mirror.

“Jaws” theme song! But Hye-kyung just ignores her mother-in-law’s call.

As she returns to the courtroom, she meets a man struggling to walk up the stairs. She asks if he needs any help, and he reassures her doesn’t — until he realizes he’s left his bag downstairs. He asks if she won’t mind retrieving it for him, and she agrees — but as she searches the waiting area, no bag is to be found.

The man arrives at the courtroom and introduces himself as Son Dong-ho — the pharmaceutical company’s defense lawyer. Ha! The judge and jury arrive, and the judge begins the trial, but Myung-hee, worried about where Hye-kyung is, asks if they can wait a moment. Instead, the judge says that Lawyer Son can begin the opening arguments.

Just as he starts to address the jury, Hye-kyung slips into the courtroom. Lawyer Son greets her, and Hye-kyung quickly realizes that he purposefully sent her on a wild goose chase.

He explains to the jury that he suffers from a disability called “tardive dyskinesia,” which means that sometimes he’s unable to control his muscle movement, so they shouldn’t be thrown off by odd his behavior. He shows them a bottle of pills that help him regulate his spasms, revealing that it’s from the same company that made the antidepressant. He then reveals that his symptoms get worse when he’s flustered, so he tries not to lie — or listen to people who lie.

Hye-kyung keeps objecting, so finally the judge has them approach the bench. She argues that Lawyer Son is using his condition to garner sympathy with the jury only to benefit his client. The judge agrees that Lawyer Son should keep the pharmaceutical company out of any personal explanations of his condition, but also that both lawyers should play by the rules. No fancy dramatics from either side.

As they walk back to their desks, Hye-kyung quietly asks Lawyer Son if he thinks he can win by playing such games. He just smiles at her, pointing out that she’s already upset by his tactics, which means they’re working.

Back at the firm, Hye-kyung continues to ignore Dan, but when she warns her that Hye-kyung’s mother-in-law is waiting for her, it’s enough to make her pause to steel herself before she enters her office. Mom can’t understand why Hye-kyung kicked Tae-joon out right after he was released from prison, assuming that she must be seeing another man.

Hye-kyung seems to know it’s a losing battle trying to explain anything to her mother-in-law, especially when she refuses to listen to anything Hye-kyung might say. She’s just concerned about the children, that’s all — think of how excited they were to have their father back home. Now how will they feel? Hye-kyung is confident they’ll understand, but Mom’s barbed comments still hit their mark.

Chief Prosecutor Choi and Prosecutor Park are enjoying dinner. Or at least Prosecutor Park is, as Chief Prosecutor Choi is on the phone, arguing against hiring Tae-joon back as a prosecutor. Whomever is on the other end of the phone says that he should have won the case, then, which is enough to cow Chief Prosecutor Choi and make him grumblingly accept.

But as soon as he hangs up, he orders Prosecutor Park to find more information on “that woman” so they can convince the disciplinary committee that Tae-joon isn’t fit to return. Oh, speak of the devil! Tae-joon arrives to spoil, er, I mean, join their dinner, making a point that he’s returned to the prosecutor’s office, and has support from many different people (including Prosecutor Park!).

That night, Hye-kyung explains to her kids about her separation from their father. They’re surprised, because they thought with the case over, everything would be better. Aw, they seem to still have hope that somehow their parents will get back together, but Hye-kyung gently tells them she’s not sure what will happen. She needs time to think it over, and also that they should keep news of the separation a secret.

They all start to cry, but it’s even worse when her kids cry as they explain that they want to support their mother and make her happy, because it makes me cry, too. Hye-kyung apologizing, while crying, of course. *sniffle*

A very tipsy Tae-joon arrives back home to his tiny apartment, which his mother has been busy setting up for him. She asks if he saw Hye-kyung on television, where she said that her husband is supporting her. She orders him to straighten things out with his wife. Later, he watches the news interview, rewinding over and over to the moment where Hye-kyung hesitates before saying her husband is her greatest supporter.

The trial continues, and this time Myung-hee questions their medical witness. But Lawyer Son’s supposedly uncontrollable actions are more interesting than the doctor’s dry and technical explanation of how the antidepressant drugs may have attributed to the desire of the victims to commit suicide. Myung-hee can tell she’s losing the jury’s attention.

Lawyer Son has no such problem, because his first question to the doctor is about sex. The jury is in the palm of his hand as he gets he doctor to agree with him that it’s possible the actions the victims took were actions that they were already thinking about, and not a direct the result of the drug.

During a break, a cleaning woman reports to Myung-hee, revealing that the jury room likes Lawyer Son much better since he seems more relatable than Myung-hee. Time to put the victim’s daughter on the stand and win the sympathy vote.

As pictures of the once-happy family are displayed on the screen, Han-na explains to the jury that she’s all that’s left, and she doesn’t care about compensation. She just wants to ensure that no one else has to lose their family members. Hye-kyung can see that they’ve swayed the jury to their side, and steps down.

Lawyer Son’s line of questioning reveals that Han-na’s father worked in an office filled with women, and that the night her mother died, women’s underwear was found in his briefcase. It’s a different size from her mother’s, and Lawyer Son argues that it was a crime of passion based on guilt from an affair.

Han-na insists her parents didn’t have any issues, and Lawyer Son says that such intimate personal troubles usually remain between a husband-and-wife — there’s no need for her to know about it. Besides, if his life was so perfect, then why did her father take antidepressants in the first place?

Myung-hee knows that they’re on the precipice of losing, and as the lawyers leave the courthouse, Hye-kyung confronts Lawyer Son. She accuses him of being too harsh to Han-na. He tells her that skills are what win cases — not good intentions. But that just makes the women more determined than ever to win the case.

Lawyer Oh arrives at Tae-joon’s new prosecution office that looks like it’s barely been set up. He’s pretty much been given a vacant storage room in the basement, likely thanks to Chief Prosecutor Choi wanting to make a point and a power-play. But Lawyer Oh promises that he’ll soon be in a better office, reminding him that the congresswoman wants to see him today — along with Hye-kyung. Tae-joon says that Hye-kyung is busy at court, but he’ll meet with the congresswoman anyway.

When Hye-kyung and Myung-hee return to the firm, they confer with Joong-won, who points out that their tactics so far have been incredibly boring. Jury trials are relatively new (and therefore rare) in Korea, and the strategy that has served Myung-hee in a normal trial-by-judge won’t work here. They need something that will get the jury’s attention.

Joong-won helps them coach their boring doctor witness by asking him about the libido side-effects of the drug. The doctor insists that he won’t lie on the stand, but when Joong-won declares that since the doctor hasn’t completely fulfilled their contract with them so he’ll only pay the doctor half his fee, the doctor reluctantly agrees to review his study on the drug.

The next day at the trial, the doctor admits that one of the side-effects of the drug is a lowered libido, which Myung-hee uses as evidence that the victim wouldn’t have had interest in an affair. That actually catches Lawyer Son by surprise, and as Hye-kyung smirks at him, he silently expresses his admiration for M&J’s new tactics.

Even more eye-catching is their footage of mice on the drug, where they pretty much just tear each other apart. Ugh, so much blood. The jury is definitely paying attention now, and Lawyer Son slips Hye-kyung a note, pointing out that she seems to have figured out that skills are more important than one’s conscience.

While they wait for a verdict, Joong-won reveals that word has already gotten out about the antidepressant’s vicious, libido-lowering side-effects. That means the pharmaceutical company is going to take a beating in the stock market (and also means that they’ll be more likely to settle).

Hye-kyung tells Joong-won that she understands what he means, now, about protecting their clients instead of their own personal beliefs. He protests that he just said it to make sure they got paid, and her belief in their clients seem to have worked for her other cases. Hye-kyung still hopes to one day be able to protect both her idealism and her desire to serve her client.

That just reminds Joong-won of how, in law school, Hye-kyung refused to give up on her “client” during their mock trials, even when it was one in the morning and everyone else was ready to go home. She’s surprised to realize that Joong-won was her opposing counsel back during that mock trial, and at the end, the professor told him he wasn’t cut out to be a prosecutor thanks to her.

Amused, she apologizes for the way she acted back then, but he says he was impressed by her, adding if she figures out how to balance her idealism with supporting the client, to let him know.

Lawyer Son calls M&J to inform them that his clients have agreed on a settlement, warning them they won’t win much if they decide to continue on with the trial. Myung-hee keeps her cool as she sets up a meeting time, but as soon as she hangs up, she high-fives Joong-won and Hye-kyung, who are also thrilled to know that they’ve won.

Joong-won asks Hye-kyung to have dinner with him (as just a “friendly” celebration, I’m sure), and she agrees. But as she’s heading to her office to tell Han-na the good news about the settlement, she runs into the pretty law student who’s been waiting for Joong-won. She’s delighted to meet Hye-kyung because she’s heard so much about her, and she’s even more excited because tonight is her first real date with Joong-won.

A fact he seems to have forgotten until he comes down the stairs to see her there. He apologizes to Hye-kyung, inviting her to join them, but she politely declines. Aw, Joong-won looks a little dejected as he watches her return to her office before he’s dragged away by the law student.

Dan asks if she’s free for their traditional post-win drinks, but Hye-kyung ignores her. As Dan tries to get her attention, Hye-kyung calls her “Kim Ji-yong,” adding that they’re only coworkers from now on. Dan tries to explain why she didn’t tell Hye-kyung about it sooner, but Hye-kyung doesn’t care about her excuses and dismisses her.

Tae-joon and Lawyer Oh meet with the congresswoman, who, with her ceaseless smile, promises that politics is way more interesting than dalliances with women. Pfft. She also promises that it will improve his relationship with his wife, making them partners in this new adventure. Afterwards, Lawyer Oh admits that he thinks the congresswoman has an inkling of Tae-joon’s marital troubles, so he’d better get the problem sorted out ASAP.

Taking offense at how Lawyer Oh phrases his life as a “problem,” he tells Lawyer Oh to relay the message that his wife and his life are nobody’s business, and if the congresswoman doesn’t like how he’s handling it, then she can just forget about him.

Over dinner at a fancy restaurant, the law student brings up the rumors about Joong-won and Hye-kyung. Before he can say anything, she greets the waiter in Spanish and they chat pleasantly, much to Joong-won’s bemusement. This is clearly not the first time she’s been to this restaurant.

Hye-kyung drinks alone, having purposefully ignored Dan on her way out of the office. At least she’s keeping the celebratory drinks tradition alive?

Joong-won surprises his date by seeming unimpressed that her father is a big name in real estate (which means he’s also incredibly rich, too) — that’s not the usual reaction she gets. He says it’s because her other dates are too intimidated, and he calls over the waiter, semi-jokingly requesting the most expensive bottle of wine.

Hye-kyung returns home to find Tae-joon waiting outside. He wants to talk, but she says they’re finished talking. She refuses to look at him as he follows her around the apartment, and he informs her that he’s found a good marriage counsellor to help them reconcile. He admits that he knows she’s angry with him, but they can’t continue like this.

If they can just get through this rough patch, then he can be in a position of power where he can change the country. Sighing, Hye-kyung tells him that she’s never wanted that — all she wanted from him was that he be a good person. He reminds her of how much he’s changed (I mean, he’s no longer hanging out with gangsters like Guk-hyun), but Hye-kyung says he’s never once changed.

Ever since the day of the fateful car accident, she’s believed that he’s been standing up for justice. She gave up her dreams and future to be with him, and Tae-joon says he understands that she would be angry at him for that. But then he tells her that this isn’t the time to be angry — she just needs to listen to him. Ugh.

Hye-kyung points out that he automatically seems to think that she’ll forgive him, and he reminds her that they can’t separate because of the children. But she tells him that the Hye-kyung who took the blame for that car accident years ago, and who thought sacrificing for him for that long was a sign of love, no longer exists. Instead, she’s discovered that she’s more important than he is. Woo! You go, girl!

He tries to stop her from walking away, arguing that they’ve lived together for fifteen years — neither one is more of the victim than the other. But hye-kyung demands to know what he’s done for her. If he loves her, as he says, what exactly has done? Has he even wondered what she’s wanted? Has he ever put her first in his life?

His only response is to angrily demand what it is she wants from him. What she wants is for him to tell her something that will make her believe him. Instead, he brings up Joong-won, declaring that she just wants him to leave so she can be with someone else.

She follows him out to the elevator, and he insists that he only cheated on her one time, but she fell in love with someone else. Who’s committed the greater sin? He was sincere in his apologies, but she was the one who didn’t believe him.

She points out that she’s the one who is always supposed to forgive him when he asks, and to forget when he does anything wrong. She has to stay by his side as “the good wife” so he can maintain his image. He tells her that she’s getting too hysterical and they should talk later. But she calmly informs him that she’s not hysterical. In fact, is the first time she’s been able to see clearly since she met him fifteen years ago. Then she orders him to leave.

COMMENTS

Here’s your weekly reminder that Tae-joon is the worst. (Still hella sexy, but then so many manipulative bastards are, alas.) I’m glad that Hye-kyung is finally calling him out on his BS and realizing how blind she’s been towards him. There may have been some actual fist pumps of victory in that final scene when she stands up for herself.

I’ve generally been loving how the show has been able to stay so faithful to the original version and yet still add a fresh take on everything, but for once, I’m not sure how happy I am about it. It largely has to do with how I associated Lawyer Son’s American counterpart with the actor that portrayed him, and feeling that the original show was able to masterfully use Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease as an interesting plot-point and character trait, and so to see an actor portray someone with a disability because the original actor had that disability feels somehow cheap to me. Then again, there is never enough positive representation of disabilities in Korean media, so I’m conversely pleased to see that they kept this character and case (and I think Yoo Jae-myung is excellent in his portrayal). What can I say? I’m a walking conundrum.

My other issue is the law student. She’s very faithful to her American counterpart, but her role feels so… unnecessary. Or, if she is necessary, then I wish they would have tried to make her a little more unique. I suppose I should just be pleased they kept to the Spanish roots instead of foisting awkward English on us, because at least that made it a little original (er, not original-original, but at least fresh by dramaland standards). Then again, she’s one of the most classic drama characters we’ve met — the gorgeous, rich, young (genius, probably) student who’s attracted to the lead, but the lead just so happens to be in love with someone else. So she should actually feel comforting, in a brief second-lead kinda way.

Maybe that’s why she feels so hollow to me — she’s like any other standard k-drama character, and in this show that has given us incredible, multi-dimensional characters that have taken on a new life apart from their American counterparts, she feels too paint-by-numbers. I want her to be more than what she seems, but I also know that she’s really just there to help us get from point A to point B, so it’s ridiculous to be so invested. Again, conundrums.

But those are just minor quibbles and really it has more to do with how much I appreciate the original version. Because, in case it isn’t clear yet, I adore this version (in some ways, more than the original). I’m clinging to it as tight as I can, all the while wishing my wardrobe was as excellent as Myung-hee’s and Hye-kyung’s, and that I had the same pink lipstick Hye-kyung wore in the beginning of the episode because it perfectly matches those hot pink stilettos of hers I so covet. I also wish I had an ounce of their inner strength and poise, and if I ever get in a jam, they’re definitely the pair I’d want to represent me. Basically, if this drama suddenly became “The Good Lawyer and Her Kick-ass Law-firm Boss-mentor,” then I’d be one happy viewer.

 
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44 August 18, 2016August 18, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 12

by odilettante

I don’t know how many times I can keep saying that this show just gets better and better (or how that’s even possible, considering how excellent it’s been since the first episode), but it does, and so here I am, saying it again. After all, sometimes bold statements like that are what’s needed in order to win a case — or a heart.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Myung-hee meets a tall, handsome, and charming stranger at an art gallery who seems more interested in her than any of the paintings. There’s definitely some reciprocal flirtation going on, and he invites her to dinner with him, hoping to spend some time with her before she finds out too much about him. She questions if his profession is legal, but, unfortunately, it is — he’s a process server, and he hands her a summons.

Lawyer Son meets with the M&J lawyers to discuss the pharmaceutical settlement. He offers $10 million to be distributed among the victims — provided M&J cancel their lawsuit. It’s not as much as they were hoping, but he reminds them that there’s no such thing as punitive damage in Korean law, so it’s the best they would be able to hope for even if they go through the court.

Hye-kyung reminds him that they also want the company to remove the drug from the market and issue an apology to their client. But Lawyer Son says they can take the offer or leave it — his clients aren’t going to agree to anything else.

Suspicious, she asks him if there’s more to this settlement than he’s letting on. But Lawyer Son just reiterates that no one really knows what goes on between a married couple. As she should know — after all, isn’t her relationship with her husband different than what people really think?

Grandma is spoiling the kids with snacks as she tries to eke out some information about what’s going on. The emotional manipulation is overwhelming as she sighs over how much their father misses them and is so sad to be in such a small apartment away from them (hey, Tae-joon had to learn from someone, right?).

The kids rally around, though, and insist that they’re doing fine. Whatever is going on is between their parents is strictly between them. Still, it looks like Grandma might be getting to them.

Dan’s investigation into the settlement reveals that before their meeting, Lawyer Son went to see Han-na’s mother’s psychiatrist, and then requested that he be put on the witness list. They’re surprised to realize that Han-na’s mother was seeing a psychiatrist, but apparently it was a secret to everyone.

Joong-won thinks they can get the witness dismissed by claiming it’s illegal for a doctor to disclose private conversations with a client, and then notes Hye-kyung’s distracted reaction. He can tell there’s something strange going on with the way she’s ignoring Dan.

Seo-yeon shows up unannounced at the law firm, and at first Hye-kyung is worried something happened to her daughter, but Seo-yeon’s just desperate to know if her parents will be getting a divorce. Hye-kyung gently explains that she and Tae-joon need time to figure things out, just the two of them.

Once she realizes Grandma has been filling her daughter’s mind with worries over what parent she’ll have to choose in the divorce, Hye-kyung tells Seo-yeon that Grandma isn’t privy to all the details. She also asks her daughter to keep her notified whenever Grandma stops by the apartment.

Hye-kyung then goes to David Lee’s office. He reassures her that everything she tells him will remain strictly confidential, and she reveals that she’s separated from her husband and wants to know what her options are should she want to file for divorce.

Her first question is about child custody. Because her children are teenagers, they will be old enough to decide which parent they want to live with. That means Hye-kyung better try winning them over if she wants them to choose her. Oh, and grandparents have no say in the matter, either.

However, David Lee recommends that she hold off filing for a divorce until the drama around her husband’s scandal and trial starts to die down. Instead, she should just stay separated and try to decide if she really wants to get divorced.

Myung-hee shows Dan her summons to appear in court for a parole hearing. She defended a rapist ten years ago, believing he was innocent, but it turns out he was guilty. Even though she still defended him, she wasn’t able to muster up the same enthusiasm, and he blames her for his thirteen-year prison sentence.

Dan understands that the summons is actually a threat — Myung-hee is to testify on his behalf at the parole hearing, or worry for her safety in three years after he gets out. She points out that no matter what Myung-hee decides, it’ll be a headache either way, so she recommends taking care of it as soon as possible.

Joong-won studies his $8,000 bottle of wine — a gift from the pretty law student. Myung-hee gasps at the price and declines his invitation to drink it with him, saying she’s too intimidated to appreciate it. He should find a friend to share it with. The first “friend” that he thinks of is Hye-kyung, though. Instead of calling her, he puts the bottle away, still unopened.

Hye-kyung finds her mother-in-law holding court with her friends and of course talking about Tae-joon. She requests to speak to her in private, and Grandma notes that Hye-kyung looks angry. That’s because she is — she tells Grandma that she’s not allowed to come over uninvited. If she wants to visit the kids, then she must call Hye-kyung first.

Furthermore, she has no right to try and take the children away from her. But Grandma insists that Tae-joon deserves to raise his children. Hye-kyung cuts through her boasting of how great her son is, telling her that Tae-joon is someone who took bribes and had an affair — does she really think someone like that deserves to raise their children?

Grandma defends Tae-joon, calling Hye-kyung crazy. Realizing that she won’t make Grandma see the truth about her son, Hye-kyung finally warns her that if she wants to see the grandkids, she must ask permission first.

Tae-joon calls Joong-won, asking if they can meet today. As Joong-won is on his way out, Hye-kyung tells him that the judge in the pharmaceutical case wants to meet with them. Joong-won says she’ll have to go without him because he’s meeting with a prosecutor right now. When she asks which one, he tells her it’s Tae-joon.

Concerned, she follows him into the elevator, warning him to be careful. He reassures her it’s just about a case Tae-joon is working on that is related to one of his clients. But Hye-kyung tells Joong-won that she and Tae-joon have separated, and Tae-joon might have the wrong idea about Joong-won. The way they look at each other during this scene makes me extra angry that she never received his second voicemail.

When she gets back to her desk, she calls Tae-joon, asking to know why he really called Joong-won. Tae-joon says he’s just trying to be a good prosecutor, but she warns him that their problems are just between the two of them.

Myung-hee, Hye-kyung, and Lawyer Son meet with the judge. He’s there to reprimand Lawyer Son for calling in a new witness this late in the trial, and Myung-hee says that the witness shouldn’t be allowed due to doctor-patient privacy laws.

But Lawyer Son says the law allows for revealing information if it’s in the best interest for the public, which this trial is. Finally, the judge agrees to allow the witness, making arrangements for a closed court so the information will remain private for his and the jurors’ ears only.

Tae-joon tells Joong-won that their meeting right now is completely unofficial. It’s to warn him that he believes Joong-won has bribed judges, and Tae-joon is there to ask him for help in getting rid of the corrupt judges. Joong-won denies that he’s ever given or accepted bribes, but Tae-joon says that he’ll not press charges if Joong-won reveals what judges he’s bribed.

Joong-won continues to deny it, informing Tae-joon that no matter how hard he investigates, he won’t find proof of what he’s looking for. Tae-joon warns him that it won’t look good if his wife’s boss is found to be corrupt, but Joong-won asks him if he’s deliberately targeting him.

Tae-joon then asks about Hye-kyung, and Joong-won says she’s doing well. Tae-joon asks if she’s doing well at work, too, but Joong-won just smiles and asks if he was thinking of some other situation. This meeting seems to have been more about what wasn’t said, but at any rate, the gauntlets have been thrown down and battle lines are drawn.

Once she returns the office, Hye-kyung brusquely tells Dan to investigate the witness. Dan tells her she wants to explain what happened between her and Tae-joon. She says it meant nothing to her, and it was before she met Hye-kyung. In fact, until she met her, she’d forgotten the whole thing happened.

But then when she got to know Hye-kyung, she realized how much she enjoyed working with and talking to Hye-kyung. That was when she felt bad about what happened. Hye-kyung angrily tells her that she shouldn’t have tried to befriend in her the first place. Dan simply says that they were friends, and she’s never had a friend before.

Hye-kyung points out that lying and deceiving isn’t exactly friend-like behavior, and Dan apologizes. She’s never really been afraid of being hurt or hurting others. Remorse never meant anything to her, but with Hye-kyung, she doesn’t want to see her get hurt on Dan’s behalf.

But Hye-kyung is still angry at the thought of being used, of being the fool who discussed her private life with one of the women who had an affair with her husband. She tells Dan that, in order to survive working together, they should just pretend like they don’t know each other. But Dan says that she’ll quit instead.

She immediately goes to Joong-won, telling him she’s quitting. He assumes it’s just one of her ploys to demand a raise, and sits back in surprise when he realizes that she’s being serious. He tells her that he was actually considering her for a promotion, but Dan reminds him of one of her hiring conditions — to be able to quit whenever she wants.

She doesn’t explain what happened, just that her past has finally caught up with her. She promises to at least stay until he can find a replacement. Oh, and did he know that Hye-kyung and Tae-joon are separated with little chance of reconciliation? She hopes he doesn’t have any regrets this time.

Myung-hee’s out grocery shopping, and as she looks through the produce, she’s startled to find the handsome process server suddenly appear. She suspiciously asks him if it’s just a coincidence that he’s there, and he swears it is — he’s actually there to serve paperwork to someone else. Aw, Myung-hee’s so cute as she giddily smiles to herself while watching him serve a very reluctant client.

Lawyer Son questions Han-na’s mother psychiatrist, who reveals that she was afraid her husband was trying to kill her. She told him that she thought he was seeing another woman. The psychiatrist apologizes, explaining that he thought it was just a delusional disorder at the time, not really believing it would come true.

He also adds that, in his professional opinion, it’s not unusual for a couple to have deep emotional turmoil — passionate love can so easily turn to passionate hate. Gee, I wonder if Hye-kyung knows anything about that.

As Hye-kyung prepares to cross-examine the psychiatrist, Han-na nervously grabs her arm, begging her to leave it alone. Noting Han-na’s distress, Myung-hee tells the judge that they didn’t have time prepare for this witness and requests an extension.

Back at the law firm, Han-na admits that she thought her father might be having an affair. But because he was so good to her mother, she just assumed she was wrong. She’s now worried that this lawsuit was started for no good reason, and asks about the settlement. Hye-kyung tells her that if they give up now, then the pharmaceutical company wins — the drug will remain on the market and possibly cause others to commit suicide, too.

But Han-na’s sacrificed enough already for this trial, and now she’s done. As Hye-kyung follows after Han-na to try and convince her to stay, Dan tells Joong-won that she’ll find a way to make sure the psychiatrist’s testimony will be excluded — no matter what. He can think of it as her parting gift.

Hye-kyung begs Han-na to keep going for the trial — to think of her family and friends. But Han-na says that her parents’ honors are already tarnished, and if she continues with the trial, it will only get worse. Hye-kyung reminds her that if she stops now, then that will be the memory everyone has of her parents — but if she continues, she can give them the justice they deserve.

Han-na confesses that she didn’t know her father was on antidepressants in the first place. Even though she thought he was having an affair, she didn’t try to find out if it was true because everything seemed fine and her parents seemed happy. But apparently she didn’t know anything at all. That’s normal, though, as Hye-kyung points out that everyone would rather take happiness than face the truth. But avoiding the truth won’t change anything, and she’s confident that Han-na will one day understand her parents.

Hye-kyung reports back to Joong-won that she’s convinced Han-na to stick with the trial. She wonders if they should have settled though, just to wrap everything up, but Joong-won, in his unending confidence, says there’s no point in settling when they can just win the case.

He offers her a drink, and he pours his fancy expensive wine into a couple of coffee mugs. Hye-kyung asks how his meeting with Tae-joon went, and Joong-won says he just gave a statement regarding a case. He told Tae-joon that she was doing well, and Hye-kyung sighs, wondering if she made the right choice for her children.

Joong-won pours her some more wine, and Hye-kyung compliments it, asking if it’s expensive. He says it is, and then tells her that it was about $80 for the bottle. Sure, if you drop a few zeros. He watches her leave and his longing gaze continues to kill me.

Dan calls, letting him know that she’s got enough evidence to get rid of the psychiatrist. Yeah, a whole backseat full of evidence. Joong-won tells Myung-hee they’ve got some big intel to discredit the witness, but using it would be illegal.

At the trial, Hye-kyung cross-examines the psychiatrist, asking why he waiting until the trial was nearly over to contact Lawyer Son. He explains that he only just discovered the deceased was his patient. Hye-kyung suddenly changes tactics, asking him about the sexual assault cases at least two of his prior patients have charged him with.

He squirms a little but insists he’s innocent. Lawyer Son objects to the line of questioning, and this time Myung-hee steps up to ask if he recorded his sessions with Han-na’s mother. She requests the recordings be submitted as evidence and when the judge asks the psychiatrist about the recordings, he nervously explains that last night a thief broke in to his office last night and stole all his files and recordings relating to Han-na’s mother.

Thanks to Dan, we know he’s telling the truth, but everyone else — including the judge and jury — seems to think that’s a pretty convenient excuse. Myung-hee presses the issue, pointing out there’s no way to verify the psychiatrist’s claims. Lawyer Son asks for an extension so they can figure out who stole the records, but the judge is annoyed by how ridiculous this trial has been and dismisses his request. He’ll allow enough time for the lawyer’s final arguments and then the jury will decide.

Lawyer Son requests a recess to discuss settlement terms, and Myung-hee seems satisfied that they’ve won. Hye-kyung sees Dan sitting in the back of the court, and it seems like she might have an idea how those files mysteriously disappeared from the doctor’s office.

Myung-hee is thrilled that the pharmaceutical company is meeting all their demands, and Joong-won is also thrilled that they’ve made enough commission to put the firm in the black. Hye-kyung walks Lawyer Son out after signing the settlement agreements, and he tells her that he’s had fun and hopes to see her again soon.

She tells him not to be disappointed about the results of this trial, but he just laughs, pointing out that Hye-kyung is nowhere on his level. In fact, she actually lost. The pharmaceutical company was more concerned about making sure there wasn’t any bad press to damage the launch of their new antidepressant (with fewer side effects). In fact, they were willing to pay as much as $30 million — twice what was agreed on in the settlement.

But Lawyer Son tells her that even though she lost, he can tell that she’ll be a lot of fun to go up against next time. Dazed, Hye-kyung just watches him walk away.

Dan’s found a potential new place to work, thanks to her friend (girlfriend?) who works in the Prosecutor’s Office. She happily tells Dan that they need a new investigator, and they really wanted her since one of the companies they’re investigating is M&J.

That stops Dan in her tracks, and when she sees who she’ll potentially be working for, she turns on her heel and walks away. Angry, she asks her friend why she didn’t tell her that she’d be working for Tae-joon. She immediately returns to M&J and marches into Hye-kyung’s office, cooly apologizing for the fact that she can’t quit just yet.

The pretty law student calls Joong-won to invite him to dinner to meet her father, but he excuses himself because he’s too busy. He then thanks her for the wine — he shared it with a friend, and suggests that next time, the “three” of them should have a beer together. Well, at least he’s being kind of clear that he’s not interested, especially since his “busy” plans mean getting a celebratory beer with Hye-kyung.

Myung-hee tells Dan that she’s decided to be honest in her testimony at the parole hearing, even if it only postpones her problem for another couple of years. She’s surprised to see the handsome process server at the firm, and she asks if he’s there to serve someone or if it’s just coincidence. Actually, he’s there to drive her to the parole hearing, and then take her dinner afterwards, if she wants.

Over their beers, Hye-kyung wonders if, even could she go back in time and change things, she would still have regrets. She’s decided that, from now on, she’ll follow her heart, since it seems like there will be regrets no matter what. Joong-won offers the advice that someone (aka Dan) gave him, which is to just go for what you want right away, no excuses, and then sort out the consequences afterwards.

She asks if he’s still dating the pretty law student, and Joong-won says he’s not ready to see anyone else right now. Hye-kyung studies him thoughtfully, then asks why he left her that voicemail. He tells her it was because he likes her, but she’s confused, because she only heard the first one, where he said they shouldn’t be together.

He tells her he left another one, asking her to meet him and they could make a plan in person. He said he’d wait for her call. He’s affronted when it seems like she doesn’t believe him, and she says their timing has always been off. He suggests that they can reset their timing to be on the same page now, and he takes out his phone, setting the timer for thirty seconds.

The seconds tick down and they sit, silently staring at the phone, but at the literal last second, Hye-kyung hits the stop button. Joong-won takes her hand.

They go to the front desk and Joong-won is surprised to find out the hotel is completely sold out, except for the costly royal suite. Undoubtedly feeling his timing to continue to tick away, he says he’ll take it and hands over his credit card. As they get on the elevator to take them to the top of the hotel, they discover that some kid has pushed allllllll the buttons.

The elevator stops at every single floor as they slowly make their way upstairs. It’s just the two of them in the elevator, and Joong-won gently takes Hye-kyung’s hand, followed by a quick kiss. As the doors continue to open and close, they lose themselves in their embrace and hungrily kiss each other.

By the time they reach the hotel room, Joong-won sighs in exasperation because the key card isn’t working. Of course. He tells Hey-kung he’ll be right back to get it fixed, but she just grabs his wrist to take the key from him, and manages to unlock the door. She opens it and Joong-won follows her into the hotel room.

COMMENTS

Instead of butterflies in my stomach, I think they must be hummingbirds. No one is going to judge me if I rematch those last few minutes of the episode over and over and over again, right? To finally have that tension between them released and in such a wonderfully shot and edited scene makes me so happy. Although, I’m pretty sure the use of elevators in this show is going to kill me. First it was the elevators of lost chances, where Hye-kyung and Joong-won would just miss each other as one is leaving and the other arriving. Then it was the elevator ride down, filled with realizations and secret longing. And then, most gloriously, the elevator ride up, filled with unfettered kissing and the release of pent-up of aforementioned secret longing.

Myung-hee gets a love interest, too! Although I’m probably just happy to see her outside of her legal life. She goes to art galleries! She shops for groceries! She’s a real person who does more than run a law firm! While the parole summons may seem like a minor thing (perhaps just to introduce that Clark Gable lookalike love interest), I did enjoy seeing her anguish over figuring out how to respond, and regret how she handled it in the first place. In a way, I felt like I got a glimpse of Hye-kyung in another ten years, since I could definitely see her believing in her client, only to be horrified to realize he’s actually a habitual rapist after all and then losing her will to defend him (and no doubt being secretly glad he got those thirteen years in jail). So much of this episode helped to ground Myung-hee as a well-rounded person who does so much more than sit at a desk and worry about how to pay her staff, and I am grateful.

As much as I could gush about the women on this show (and I could probably do that all day), I find myself appreciating Joong-won more and more. I loved that he never once held it against her that she really mentioned his voicemails (even though he didn’t know she only received the first one). He gave her the choice, and by his estimation, she made it clear they won’t be together. He respected her space and did everything he could to make sure they maintained a proper employer-employee relationship. But as soon as he found out — directly from her — that she was separated from Tae-joon, he decided to take his chance. It’s pointless to pine from afar when you can get a direct answer, even taking the risk that it might not necessarily be the one you want to hear.

I feel like I ought to be concerned about Tae-joon’s determination to prove Joong-won is accepting bribes and exert some sort of control over him, but given the choice about worrying over that or rewatching kisses, well, I think it’s pretty clear what choice I’m going to make.

 
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22 August 24, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 13

by odilettante

Riddle me this: if someone is murdered in the woods, but there’s no body, witnesses, or evidence, is it still murder? That’s what Hye-kyung has to figure out as she goes head-to-head against a familiar face. In other news, Tae-joon continues to prove that he’s an unredeemable bastard (no surprise there), and a welcome cameo totally steals my heart.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Hye-kyung packs up her kids’ belongings for a school overnight trip, and then calls Tae-joon to remind him that he’s to pick them up to stay the night with him. When he attempts to converse with her further, she just hangs up.

Prosecutor Park gives Tae-joon a new case that’s been handed to him — a murder with no body, witnesses, or evidence. The main suspect is pop artist Gu Byung-ho, who, after his second marriage, retired from the art world and essentially became a recluse. However, his stepdaughter Min-chae has publicly declared that she’s convinced he killed her mother.

Guess who’s representing Byung-ho? None other than our beloved M&J law firm. Myung-hee is against it, believing (along with most of the country) that Byung-ho is guilty. But Joong-won argues that their client is innocent until proven guilty, and besides, cases like these are what make being a lawyer actually fun.

Hye-kyung delivers some paperwork to Joong-won, and after she leaves, Myung-hee notes the cold way Joong-won was acting towards her. He insists he was just trying to remain professional, but Myung-hee scolds him, telling him to at least treat Hye-kyung like everyone else. Then she invites him to a family dinner with Papa Seo, but Joong-won declines, saying he has to prepare for a client meeting tonight.

Or, in reality, meet Hye-kyung down by the river to give her a giant bouquet of flowers as a way to “apologize” for treating her “badly” before. But at least their ruse is working, since Myung-hee hasn’t figured it out yet. As they hold hands and stroll along the river, she asks if they’re taking Byung-ho’s case, and whether or not he really killed his wife.

Joong-won admits that they are, and thinks that Byung-ho probably did it. But Hye-kyung knows first hand how much the press can twist things around, and if he didn’t really kill his wife, then Byung-ho might be suffering right now. Joong-won asks if she’s suffering, and Hye-kyung just smiles as takes his hand, telling him “no.” Awwwww.

The next day at the office, Joong-won is surprised to find a strange man lounging in Hye-kyung’s office. It turns out that he’s Hye-kyung’s brother, Kim Sae-byuk (a cameo by Yoon Hyun-min), recently arrived from America. Hye-kyung is also astonished to see him there, but he pouts as he explains that he just broke up with his ex and decided to come back to Korea for a little holiday.

Everyone at the firm assumes that Byung-ho is guilty, including Lawyer Oh who originally asked to be on the case (because even is someone actually did the crime, doesn’t mean they’ll lose the trial). But when he suddenly requests to be taken off for “personal reasons,” Joong-won asks Hye-kyung to join him. It would also give them a chance to show Myung-hee that they can work together. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Byung-ho arrives at the firm, and is delighted to meet Hye-kyung, telling her that after watching her husband’s case on TV, he would like to draw her and her husband — in the nude. Oh man, this client is gonna be a trip.

He nonchalantly gives his side of the story: he was in his studio, which is secluded from any phones or television, and had no idea that his wife went missing until much later. Dan shows him a photo of a rope that was found in the house that has his wife’s blood and skin cells, but he says that his wife often tied together wood for the fireplace with such rope, and perhaps she cut herself at that time.

Hye-kyung asks about his stepdaughter, Min-chae, and he says that she never liked him, so of course she thinks he killed her mother. He insists he didn’t kill anyone, then asks if Hye-kyung thinks he did. She calmly informs him that, as his lawyer, he’s innocent until proven guilty.

He takes that to mean that she’ll defend him, no matter what her personal suspicions are. Much like staying with a husband who she knows has had an affair. Ugh, what a creeper. But Hye-kyung is professional and agrees to represent him.

Ji-hoon helps Tae-joon with the dishes, and then hesitantly asks his father why the hopes of reconciliation didn’t work and he’s living in a different apartment. Tae-joon cautiously tells his son that he didn’t treat Hye-kyung well, and when Ji-hoon asks about other women, Tae-joon says that he’ll talk about it more when Ji-hoon is older.

Seo-yeon needing help with the computer helps to end the conversation, but poor Ji-hoon looks like he’s about to cry at the realization that perhaps his father isn’t the hero he once used to be.

In Hye-kyung’s apartment, Sae-byuk cleans up, jokingly explaining that was his job back in America. Aw, he was a house-husband? So cute. When Hye-kyung asks why he broke up with his partner, Sae-byuk blames communication issues. Then he apologizes for not coming to her sooner, and offers a big ol’ hug. Take it, take it!

Instead, she answers the phone, and it’s Joong-won, discussing tactics for the trial. Sae-byuk perks up at this, since he could sense there was something between them back at the office. He approves of Joong-won, calling him “sexy” (and just his type, hee!), and reminding her that he was against her marrying Tae-joon in the first place.

Hye-kyung ignores him, despite his desperate attempt to get her to confess that she’s in a relationship with Joong-won. She simply reminds him that she’ll be at court when Tae-joon brings the kids home tonight, and for Sae-byuk to be nice to him.

When Hye-kyung arrives at the courthouse, she’s surprised to see Joon-ho there, too. She asks him if he’s been hired on a new law firm, but he tells her proudly that he’s a prosecutor now — and it’s all thanks to her. Or rather, her husband, who was the one who suggested he apply to the Prosecutor’s Office (and then undoubtedly had a hand in getting him hired). Oh, and he’s also the prosecutor for Byung-ho’s case. Surprise!

Joon-ho interrogates Byung-ho about his relationship with his wife and what happened the night she disappeared, and Byung-ho is completely carefree as he answers (a little too carefree, honestly). Prosecutor Park reveals that even though Byung-ho insists that he was alone in his secluded studio for three days, he actually had a couple of visitors. He also adds that it’s only a matter of time before the police find her body, so he might as well confess now.

Joong-won intervenes, telling the prosecutors that they can have his client’s written statement, but for now, his client is simply being framed for murder. Joon-ho smugly says that they’ll see about that. Ooooh, the puppy knows how to bite! Or at least nip.

Tae-joon tells Hye-kyung that she should just leave the case to Joong-won, since it won’t look good for them to go up against each other — and it won’t look good for her to defend a murderer, either. Hye-kyung points out that there’s no evidence of murder, but Tae-joon warns her that he’s going to win this case. Besides, didn’t she used to care about her clients’ innocence more than winning cases?

But Hye-kyung reminds him that he used to say she was the better lawyer and it was a waste having her stay home. Or was he just lying when he’d say that she was smarter than he was? Tae-joon points out that he has fifteen years experience on her, and is confident that he’ll win.

She walks away, but when he sees Joong-won waiting for her, Tae-joon calls her back to talk about the kids — while purposefully caressing her shoulder. She just tells him that her brother is there, so he can drop off the kids whenever he likes, and then turns to join Joong-won. He asks if she’s okay going up against her husband. She says she will be, and even requests to take the lead in the trial.

Back at the firm, Joong-won fills Dan on Joon-ho’s new role as a prosecutor. He knows this has to do with the Prosecutor’s Office investigating him, and Dan agrees to look into it.

Sae-byuk is enjoying Hye-kyung’s massage chair (that I’m just going to assume David Lee talked her into buying) when the kids arrive back home. They’re delighted to see their uncle, but Tae-joon is not so thrilled. As Tae-joon packs up some of his belongings that were left at the apartment, Sae-byuk asks him what happened between him and Hye-kyung.

Neither men are very fond of each other, but Sae-byuk knows that Tae-joon never approved of his personal lifestyle. Tae-joon asks if he’s still with a man, but Sae-byuk tells him he’s never broken the law or cheated on the person he loves, so there’s no reason to look down on him. If Tae-joon will even look at him at all, that is.

As he follows Tae-joon to the door, he warns him that if he hurts his sister again, he’ll kill him. Tae-joon just tells Sae-byuk to stay out of his family’s personal business. Except that he is Hye-kyung’s brother, which makes him family — and once she divorces him, Tae-joon will be the one who’s no longer family. Tae-joon tells him that he’ll wait for Hye-kyung for however long it takes.

Dan invites Joon-ho to join her a drink to celebrate his new job. She tells him to give her a call if he gets good intel, but Joon-ho wonders what’s in it for him. Whatever he wants, apparently, and they toast to their new (and possibly illegal) partnership.

The lawyers file in to the courtroom to prepare for the trial (and Hye-yung practically rolls her eyes at the carefree way Byung-ho marvels at the size of the room). Hye-kyung approaches Joon-ho to formally congratulate him, telling him she hopes everything works out. He casually agrees, clearly reveling in his newfound power as a prosecutor.

The judge arrives and demands everyone in the courtroom surrender their cell phones, warning them they’ll be kicked out if they’re caught with one. Joon-ho begins by questioning Byung-ho’s accountant, who reveals that his wife asked him to bring a copy of the company books to her the day she went missing.

But when Joon-ho’s line of questioning starts to hurt their case, Prosecutor Park steps in to show that Byung-ho was spending an extravagant amount in “entertainment expenses,” which is what Byung-ho’s wife wanted to investigate.

Next on the witness stand is Min-chae, and her tears emphasize the emotional confession that her mother told her she regretted marrying Byung-ho and was worried he might kill her. He would become abusive when they would discuss money issues — getting angry and throwing things, and then he’d escape to his studio. Aw, Prosecutor Park gives Joon-ho a proud thumbs-up.

When Hye-kyung asks Min-chae why she didn’t try to intervene when her mother was so worried about her welfare, Min-chae says she didn’t know it was that serious. She just thought her mother would divorce him. Hye-kyung glances back at the courtroom to see Tae-joon sitting there, watching.

Then she asks Min-chae why she assumes her mother is dead — there’s no proof of her death. Then again, if she’s missing, proof of inheritance will be impossible, and perhaps Min-chae just doesn’t want Byung-ho to be in control of the business finances. Joon-ho objects and the judge tells her she doesn’t need to answer, but Min-chae insists that she has her own business — she doesn’t need her mother’s money. She just wants to find her mother, dead or alive.

Afterwards, Hye-kyung tells Byung-ho that it’s not looking good for them, and they should change their strategy. He should admit to murder, claiming there were extenuating circumstances. More amused than anything else, Byung-ho agrees that’s a good idea. Ha, then they get in trouble with the judge because Byung-ho took a selfie in court after he was supposed to surrender his phone.

Frustrated by his devil-may-care attitude, Joong-won and Hye-kyung go out to Byung-ho’s studio to talk to him. He’s pleased to show off his paintings, especially the one he’s been working on — his wife as Wonder Woman. He admits that she would always threaten to divorce him if he painted her, but he figures if he puts this one up in an exhibition, she’ll return.

Hye-kyung asks him why he’s acting like this when they will probably lose, and he says it’s because he believes his wife is just hiding. But if he acts like he doesn’t care, it will make her show her face sooner. Hye-kyung looks as though she doesn’t believe him, and he admits that there were times he wished his wife were dead, but he swears he never touched her, and that she’s alive and hiding.

Prosecutor Park meets with Dan, handing over the alibi they’ve found for Byung-ho. He tells her that he’s giving it to her because, as a prosecutor, he doesn’t want to see someone innocent go to jail. But the real reason is that he’s annoyed by Joon-ho and wants to see how well he’ll do when there’s more evidence against them. Oh, and about Tae-joon and Hye-kyung — has something happened between them?

Dan just tells the nosy prosecutor that she’ll look it over. After she does, she immediately calls Joon-ho to ask if it’s true that the prosecution is hiding proof of Byung-ho’s innocence, and a surprised Joon-ho asks how she knew about that. That’s enough proof for her, and she gives it to Hye-kyung.

It’s a traffic citation that shows Byung-ho’s car was at a specific intersection the night his wife disappeared. He denies that it’s him driving, instead saying it’s the coffee delivery girl who borrowed his car when her scooter broke down. He just really loves his coffee, y’know?

At any rate, it gives them a foothold, and they submit the speeding ticket as evidence. But Hye-kyung finds it suspicious that Tae-joon, sitting in the back of the courtroom, seems pleased by this. She springs up to demand a break to talk to her client, but when that is denied, she requests to question Byung-ho further.

She asks if he’s ever stepped outside of his studio, and he confesses that he did leave one night to go gambling. He admits that he has a gambling problem, and wanted to win a little more money to buy a ring for his wife. That has the prosecution scrambling, and Tae-joon is not looking so pleased.

Afterwards, she asks Tae-joon if he leaked the traffic citation on purpose, but he’s just amazed that she managed to side-step being caught by it. Just then a bunch of reporters rush up to them, asking what it’s like to be on opposite sides of the courtroom. Tae-joon charmingly tells them that he’s just watching since he’s actually working on another case.

The reporter asks if Hye-kyung gets any tips from Tae-joon, and she smiles as she denies it. He puts an arm around his wife’s shoulders as he encourages the reporters to watch the case and see how hard both sides are working. Aw, Joong-won has his sad puppy dog eyes as he watches them smile and pose for the reporters.

Breaking news reveals that Byung-ho’s wife’s (dismembered!) body has been found, and Tae-joon privately tells Hye-kyung that the prosecution believes that Byung-ho’s wife went to his studio to confront him about his spending habits, and that’s when he killed her. He hid the body in the area around the studio, instead of the holiday cottage where the investigation originally took place.

Tae-joon reveals that he leaked the speeding ticket on purpose to get them to prove that Byung-ho never left his studio, but Hye-kyung was too quick for them. He muses that Hye-kyung knows him too well, but she scoffs, telling him that if she really knew him, she wouldn’t have spent fifteen years with him. Oh, burn.

He then asks if they believe Byung-ho’s alibi — after all, he was a gambler, embezzler, and a womanizer. Hey, look who’s talking. Hye-kyung points out that Tae-joon asked her to believe in him when no one else did. She also questions the way he’s investigating — only going about finding evidence to prove he’s right rather than find out the truth.

Byung-ho is shocked and saddened (or appears to be shocked and saddened) that his wife’s body has been found, thus proving that she was killed. Hye-kyung asks him to finally tell them the truth, but he insists that he thought she was alive.

Joong-won questions him on his wild ways, and Byung-ho says it’s just part of being an artist. They haven’t been able to convince any of the other gamblers that night to testify since they’ll be indicted for illegal gambling, so Hye-kyung once again encourages him to confess since it won’t look good for them at the trial. But Byung-ho insists he never harmed his wife.

Myung-hee pulls Hye-kyung and Dan into her office, warning them that whatever personal rift they’ve got going on could potentially hurt this case, and thus hurt the firm. She doesn’t care what the problem is between them — she just needs them to do their jobs and work together.

Ji-hoon watches the news report about the case, where the reporter talks about how loyal and supportive Hye-kyung has been for her husband. Meanwhile, Seo-young and her friend hang out in her bedroom. Uncle Sae-byuk brings them a snack and then spies on what they’re looking up online.

He finds Seo-young’s friend a little suspicious and tries to ask Ji-hoon about it, but Ji-hoon’s too distracted by his parents’ personal lives. Despite what the news reports may say, he knows that his father was involved with someone else.

Tae-joon is relaxing at home (because apparently everyone gets a massage chair now) when Lawyer Oh stops by to update him on his political future. But Tae-joon wants to focus on being a prosecutor first. He’s also concerned that Tae-joon is living apart from Hye-kyung, Lawyer OH reveals that the night of press conference, he deleted a voicemail from Joong-won confessing he likes her.

Lawyer Oh reiterates that Hye-kyung is vital for Tae-joon’s success, and thus by association, Lawyer Oh’s success. Tae-joon reassures him that he has no plans to break up with Hye-kyung, knowing that she’ll come back to him.

Later, Tae-joon calls Joon-hom ordering him to go through all their evidence again to see if there’s anyone else who could be the murderer. Joon-ho tries to explain that he hasn’t been home in four days, but Tae-joon hangs up. Sighing, Joon-ho unpacks his bag and settles back down at his desk.

Dan’s waiting for him when he finally leaves the office. She compliments him on his great acting regarding the speeding ticket. She’s glad that he seems to be settling in at his new job, but she’s also disappointed because she thought they had an understanding.

In order to make it up for her, he hands over an envelope with the account records Tae-joon asked him to read through. She takes it and walks away, and the two spend the evening in their respective offices, pouring over the account books. By the morning, they’ve both discovered something interesting.

The stepdaughter’s company, which supposedly produces strawberry jam, is really nothing more than a paper company which managed to spend nearly five million dollars. Hye-kyung theorizes that the real reason Byung-ho’s wife wanted to look at the account books wasn’t because of his gambling, but because of her daughter’s slush fund.

In the courtroom, Hye-kyung questions Min-chae about the business. Min-chae argues that she was supported by her mother, with her full approval, but Hye-kyung finds it strange that Min-chae kept withdrawing company money even after her mother disappeared.

Plus, despite being open two years, her jam company has no assets except for the bank account. Min-chae starts to stutter a little as Hye-kyung asks if her mother called her the night she disappeared, angry at her instead of Byung-ho.

Joon-ho goes to the medical examiner to get the results from Byung-ho’s wife’s autopsy, only to find Dan is already there. Of course. But the medical examiner reveals that the victim’s body (or what they found of it) was preserved due to pesticide, yet the soil where the body was found didn’t have any. There is a place where insecticide can easily be found, though — in fruit orchards, such as strawberry fields.

Further investigation reveals that the rest of Min-chae’s mother’s body is buried at the strawberry field, and Min-chae’s immediately arrested for murder. That means Byung-ho’s case is now irrelevant.

At the courthouse, Hye-kyung compliments Joon-ho on the hard work it took to investigate multiple suspects. Joon-ho marvels that she actually sounds sincere, which she declares she always is. But he pointedly ignores her proffered hand, and instead of a shaking it, he just walks away.

Byung-ho thanks Hye-kyung for proving his innocence, but she tells him that actually prosecution cancelled their indictment. To repay her, he gives her one of his paintings — it’s of her as Alice in Wonderland.

She has one last question: did he really kill his wife? The trial is all over now, but she just wants to know the truth for her own personal benefit. He simply reminds her that she spent her life misunderstanding others, so why would she want to continue?

Well, at least his painting should be worth something, as Joong-won points out. Thanks to this trial, the artist’s work is now rocketing in price. Hye-kyung confesses that she really does feel like Alice in Wonderland — everything she thought she knew was a lie, and now nothing is for certain.

That night, Sae-byuk tells her that he’s heard from his boyfriend, and he’ll be returning to America soon to work through their issues. She tells him it’s not easy finding a good man like that, and he asks if she’s happy. Taking a moment tot think about it, she admits that when she’s with “that person,” she doesn’t feel like a wife and mother — she’s just herself, with no other worries in the world.

So, yes, she’s happy. But that doesn’t mean her life is any easier. She wonders if she’s being too selfish, but Sae-byuk thinks she might just be in love. Aw. He knows that her kids are important to her, but he just wants her to be happy from now on.

COMMENTS

I love seeing Hye-kyung allow herself to be vulnerable with her family and yet build her firm and capable wall around herself whenever her husband shows up. It can’t be easy for her, but I really respect how determined she is to not let Tae-joon continue to manipulate his way back into her life. But then I also really love seeing her be honest and emotional with Sae-byuk. Or maybe I just really love Sae-byuk, because Yoon! Hyun! Min! Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

My eternal gratitude to the director for pulling in whatever favors to get this cutie to cameo (they’ve worked together previously on Heartless City and Witch’s Romance), and especially to play Hye-kyung’s brother. I wonder if Sae-byuk will try to visit more often now the he knows that Tae-joon is pretty much out of the picture. I hope so, for my sake at least.

For perhaps the first time, I truly believe that Hye-kyung is finally finished with Tae-joon. Of course she’ll still need to deal with him for their children’s sake and when they encounter each other through work, but I feel like she’s reached the point where there’s no real way he can redeem himself. Which is fine with me, although I have a feeling that since the show keeps hammering on how important she is to his future career, there’s definitely more angst to come.

But Joon-ho’s back! Yay! I figured he would be, but it was fun to see him remind everyone that he’s no longer the kiss-up new hire. He doesn’t have to be polite any more. I just hope Tae-joon doesn’t destroy him, although I’m totally okay with him being paired with Prosecutor Park for all their trials.

Unfortunately, there was hardly any Joong-won in this episode. And by “hardly any Joong-won,” I mean no kissing. None! To think they left us hanging with that hotel room and to only have one little handholding moment is such a disappointment. Okay, not a disappointment, because it was super cute. But if they think that elevator kiss was enough to tide me over until the end, they are wrong, wrong, wrong!

 
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15 August 25, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 14

by odilettante

Reputations are everything. They can make or break a career; build up or tear down relationships; spur a nation to love you or scorn you. Hye-kyung’s image of integrity and loyalty has been the saving grace for her husband, her children, and her career. But reputations do not necessarily represent who we truly are inside, and she will have to decide if she wants to forge her own way in pursuit of happiness or continue down the respectable path as “the good wife.”

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Tae-joon gets a call from the congresswoman essentially warning him that they’re looking into his personal life and that it would be beneficial if he and Hye-kyung stay together — or at least not do anything that would diminish his chances to proceed in politics. Tae-joon reassures her that he’s taking care of it.

The Seo siblings and Hye-kyung watch in pained horror of footage of an office worker hanging himself in his cubicle. He was one of their clients in a case about a large company unethically laying off some of its workers, but he committed suicide a week before the trial date.

Hye-kyung suggests using the office worker’s wife as their first witness — her testimony, coupled with the footage of her husband taking his life, means that they’re guaranteed to get plenty of press and discredit the company’s reputation.

In doing so, the company will be more likely to settle in their favor. Joong-won isn’t so sure it’s a good idea to show her the video of her husband’s death, but Hye-kyung is firm as she tells him that she’ll convince the woman to agree.

Her phone rings, and this time her ringtone is a cute kid telling her to answer the phone. Hye-kyung steps out to take the call since she knows that it’s one of her kids, leaving Myung-hee and Joong-won to discuss Hye-kyung’s recent ruthless, take-charge attitude.

During a meeting at the Prosecutor’s Office, Joon-ho reveals that in his research into M&J, he’s discovered that the judges on Joong-won’s baseball team have all ruled in favor of M&J in their court cases. It sounds suspicious, but Prosecutor Park reminds them they can’t just charge someone without specific evidence of bribery. Not to mention that the wrong step on their end could mean ending up on the judges’ bad side. But Tae-joon tells Joon-ho to continue his investigation.

Myung-hee’s on the phone with Joong-won, updating him on their office workers settlement case. He’s in the middle of lunch with Hye-kyung (room service at a hotel, and don’t think I don’t see that unmade bed in the corner). She puts him on speaker when Dan arrives to let her know that the lawyer for the company is none other than everyone’s favorite, Lawyer Son.

Hye-kyung’s phone rings and she scrambles to silence her distinctive ringtone, but it’s too late. Both Dan and Myung-hee heard it and know exactly who Joong-won is with right now. Busted!

Seo-yeon is calling to ask permission to go to her friend’s birthday party today, and Hye-kyung agrees. She then gets a call from Myung-hee, who demands to know where she is. Hye-kyung simply says that she’s having lunch with Joong-won, which is the truth (just not the whole truth). She orders Hye-kyung to return to the office ASAP.

Back at the firm, Hye-kyung strategically waits until she sees Lawyer Son arrive before she turns on the footage of the worker committing suicide. When he enters the conference room, she leaps up to greet him, explaining she was just reviewing the case. But Lawyer Son is unfazed, telling her that she won’t win that way. He does seem genuinely pleased to see her again, though.

Myung-hee is ready to discuss settlement amounts, but Lawyer Son says that the voluntary lay-off terms were completely legal. Hye-kyung points out that the workers who chose to stay were essentially bullied into taking the severance package. Plus, the high-ranking people responsible for the company losing so much in profit (and therefore having to lay-off so many people in the first place) still have their jobs. So it seems only fair that they at least pay a generous settlement.

Lawyer Son believes that lawyers should be above such moral judgement, and lays out the settlement he’s willing to offer. It’s not enough for Myung-hee, and they agree to go to trial. Hahahaha! The judge is none other than the same judge who oversaw the pharmaceutical jury trial.

Sighing, he waves Hye-kyung and Lawyer Son over to the bench. Even thought it’s his misfortune to see them again, he asks that they at least behave themselves. Lawyer Son smoothly tells him that he only agreed to take this case because he know such a “fair and just” judge was presiding, and Hye-kyung quickly agrees. Haha, he’s even more alarmed by their attempt to butter him up.

The suicide footage is shown in court and the widow is put on the stand. She reveals that her husband hated his work environment, but he couldn’t quit because the severance package wouldn’t be enough to pay for their on-going debt. She starts to cry as she confesses that she was the one who told him to try and keep his job. She had no idea he was struggling so much.

Lawyer Son’s cross-examination reveals that her husband regularly went to a psychiatrist due to the depression caused by his work environment. Except Lawyer Son tries to argue that the depression could have been caused by any number of factors, and his suicide may not have been directly related to his job. Instead, his decision to take his life could have come from a side effect of one the drugs he took to manage his depression.

That drug is the same drug from the pharmaceutical case, where Lawyer Son once argued had no side effects. Hye-kyung springs up to object, and the judge just sighs.

Tae-joon meets with Myung-hee in her office. They’re pleasantly professional as they make small talk, and Tae-joon says that he thought about becoming a lawyer for the money, but decided to become a prosecutor because he hated watching criminals get away with their crimes.

He’s here to warn Myung-hee about the investigation they’re doing into M&J — specifically Joong-won’s potential bribes via his baseball team. He doesn’t think she is personally involved, and if Joong-won confesses and reveals the names of the judges he bribed, Tae-joon promises to cut him a deal. And if he’s wrong? Well, then, he’ll just apologize. Well, gee, that sounds fair, even though M&J might not recover from any negative publicity related to the case.

Back in the courtroom, Hye-kyung is insisting that it’s wrong for Lawyer Son to use the very same arguments she made against him during the pharmaceutical case, even up to the footage of the rats she had found. The judge is just like, “I know, I know — I was there, too.” But Lawyer Son doesn’t see an ethical problem with it since he no longer represents the pharmaceutical company, and the judge accepts the drug side-effects as evidence.

After the court recesses for the day, Joong-won and Hye-kyung try to think of other tactics they can use to make it clear the company’s work environment was directly related to the suicide. Lawyer Son stops to tell Hye-kyung that he was disappointed that a nice lawyer such as her would make the widow watch her husband’s death, just to try and win a case.

Hye-kyung defensively asks him why she can’t use the same tactics he does, but Joong-won intervenes, informing Lawyer Son that she was just following his orders. Later, he tells Hye-kyung that a lawyer’s reputation is everything to them, and it’s important for Hye-kyung to maintain her image. But everyone knows he’d pull a stunt like that if it meant winning the case, so it won’t hurt him.

Myung-hee drags Joong-won out of a very important PPL meeting to let him know that Tae-joon is investigating him. He reassures her that he hasn’t done anything wrong, but Myung-hee orders him to stop seeing Hye-kyung. She knows that Tae-joon is only being this ruthless in looking into their firm because of Hye-kyung.

She doesn’t care that Joong-won says they’re actually getting serious. Joong-won is just another high-priced lawyer — Tae-joon is the nation’s beloved prosecutor. She’s fought too hard to protect this law firm and its image — she’s not about to let Joong-won throw it all away.

Dan offers to investigate Tae-joon to see if his threat is real or not. She meets up with Joon-ho, and she first asks if he can get her more CCTV footage of the day the office worker died. In return, he asks if she’ll try to get him copies of the internal files from cases he’s worked on. She agrees, but only if he gives her a specific list.

He came prepared and hands over a list of the cases (and judges) he’s looking for. That was easy. A little too easy, perhaps.

Hye-kyung’s headed out for the day, and when she tells Joong-won that she’s going home to have dinner with her kids, he asks if he can join her. He still hasn’t really had a chance to meet her children and thinks it would be good to get to know them over dinner. She says that now isn’t the best time, though, and vaguely suggests trying again later.

Seo-yeon continues to beg her mother to go visit her friend’s brother who lives far away. She swears he’s a good guy — he even recently got his cosmetology license! Hye-kyung is concerned that her daughter hasn’t tried to make local friends at her new school, but she relents and tells her to call if she’s going to be late or if there’s any sign of trouble.

Dan gives Joong-won the list of cases that the prosecutors think Joong-won bribed his way to winning. But it’s not just to let him know what specific cases the prosecutors are investigating — it’s also to ask him for copies of the files. That was what she agreed to hand over in return for the CCTV footage. She tells him it’ll be easier this way.

Joon-ho and Dan meet to make the exchange, and he suspiciously asks if she altered anything in the files. She tells him he’s one to talk — he’s already tried fooling her once before. He insists that he was just following orders. She tells him to call her if he wants to make any more deals.

Ji-hoon is busy fixing his mother’s computer when Joong-won pops into her office, introducing himself. He’s coming on awfully strong as the “friendly ajusshi” and Ji-hoon politely but awkwardly excuses himself once Hye-kyung’s computer is ready. Aw, it’s okay Joong-won. At least you tried.

After going through the CCTV footage, Dan finds another employee who had decided to stay on and endure the harassment. She’s the only one who didn’t join in to sue the company, despite the firm’s efforts to include her. In fact, she won’t take their calls at all.

Dan manages to trick her into a face-to-face meeting, and asks her if she knew that her coworker who committed suicide was taking antidepressants. She did, but she also knows he wasn’t taking the specific drug Lawyer Son is arguing causes side effects that led to her coworker’s death.

But when Dan asks if she’ll testify, the woman refuses, insisting there’s no way she can be part of the trial. Dan finds it strange that she’s able to afford a new car despite being unemployed, and with the threat of getting the Prosecutor’s Office involved, the woman finally reveals that she was paid-off to hide the fraud she found while going through the company’s accounts.

This puts M&J in a bit of a quandary. If they use the coworker’s testimony, they’ll risk revealing the fraud and putting the company out of business, making it impossible for their clients to be paid their settlement. Myung-hee leaves it up to Hye-kyung to decide what they should do — seek justice or make sure their clients are paid.

Hye-kyung chooses to use witness, and when she reveals this in the courtroom, Lawyer Son leaps up to object and ask for a short recess. He says that since it’s a last-minute addition to the witness list, they haven’t had a chance to prepare.

But the judge sardonically points out it’ll be easy to question the witness after she’s already testified, which makes Lawyer Son request a recess to discuss a settlement with M&J. Hah! Hye-kyung’s gloating smile is a thing of beauty.

Joong-won confronts Tae-joon at the courthouse, asking if his investigation is really going to change things. He insists that he did nothing wrong — Tae-joon’s the guilty one. Oh, we’re not talking about bribes anymore, are we?

He tells Tae-joon that Hye-kyung would have had a happier life if she hadn’t been with Tae-joon. But Tae-joon scoffs at the idea that her life would have been so much better with Joong-won. Finally Joong-won just tells Tae-joon to go ahead and hit him, if it means Tae-joon will stop wasting everyone’s time on this investigation. But Tae-joon says that if Joong-won bribed a judge, he should go to jail. Yeah, but who’s the one that’s actually been to jail, hmm?

Lawyer Son knows that M&J is in a difficult place between revealing the fraud and losing the money, or keeping quiet and allowing the company to use their funds to pay their clients. But Myung-hee and Hye-kyung point out that they really have nothing to lose if Lawyer Son doesn’t agree to their settlement. Either way, they won’t get the money, but at least if they go to trial they can take down a corrupt business.

That’s the last thing Lawyer Son’s clients want, and they all know it, so he agrees to M&J terms. Once again, Hye-kyung walks him to the elevator, and he once again chuckles when Hye-kyung tells him not to be disappointed that he lost. Oh, his clients may have ended up paying more than they wanted, but they still have a company, which is all he cares about.

He’s really enjoyed going to trial again with her, though, and offers to give her a job at his firm for twice what she’s making at M&J. Hye-kyung points out that he doesn’t even know what she makes, but he doesn’t care — he knows she has the potential to become a truly great lawyer, but she won’t be able to achieve that at M&J.

Returning to her office, Hye-kyung sees that she’s had some missed calls from Seo-yeon, as well as a voicemail, but the the voicemail is just static. She calls Ji-hoon to check if Seo-yeon has returned home, but he hasn’t seen her. Hye-kyung decides to not be too concerned yet and agrees to go to lunch with Joong-won in celebration of winning their case. Myung-hee, frowning, watches them leave the office together.

Jong-won’s first stop is a batting cage — he needs some practice before his team’s game next week. They make a friendly bet about who will pay for dinner, and then enjoy their afternoon at the batting cage and playing whack-a-mole.

They’re ridiculously adorable as they happily play around, and Hye-kyung confesses that just like how Joong-won wants to be a better person whenever he’s around her, she feels like she’s her true self when she’s around him. Aw, my heart.

Over lunch, Hye-kyung keeps obsessively checking her phone, waiting for her daughter to call or text. As they drive back to the office, Hye-kyung requests Joong-won to stop at her daughter’s school. Seo-yeon’s classmates tell Hye-kyung that they saw her leave with an older guy on a motorcycle — they just assumed that it was her brother.

Hye-kyung calls Tae-joon in worried concern, telling him about the mysterious motorcycle man and the fact she hasn’t been able to contact Seo-yeon, wondering if she’s called him. She hasn’t, and he immediately orders Prosecutor Park to use their connections to trace her phone and the numbers of any recent calls his daughter has made.

Joong-won offers to help Hye-kyung look for Seo-yeon, but she tells him that she just wants to wait at home instead. After Hye-kyung leaves, he puts in a call to Dan, asking her to find Seo-yeon. Dan calls in favors to track Seo-yeon’s phone and find out where exactly it was last used.

In the meantime, Prosecutor Park has discovered that one of Seo-yeon’s recent contacts was a boy that Tae-joon had previously sentenced to juvie, and who was recently released for a night as a reward for his good behavior.

Tae-joon arrives at Hye-kyung’s apartment, where she eagerly greets him in hopes he’s heard something. He reassures her he has his people looking for her. But when he reaches out to comfort her, she turns away.

Dan’s tracked the cell phone to an old abandoned building. She cautiously makes her way down the stairwell and discovers that there’s no cell service in the basement. Truncheon at the ready, she bursts into the room, only to find a young man in the midst of giving Seo-yeon and her friend a perm.

As Dan drives her home, Seo-yeon explains that she must have accidentally pocket-dialed her mother. She didn’t mean to make anyone worry — her friend’s brother was just perming their hair for her friend’s birthday party. Once they arrive back at Seo-yeon’s home, she begs Dan to come with her to explain what happened, but Dan tells her to let her mother know she came back by herself and not mention that Dan did anything.

Hye-kyung, Tae-joon, and Ji-hoon are relieved to see Seo-yeon, and as they pull each other into a tight family hug, Joong-won watches from his car across the street. He drives off, but Hye-kyung recognizes his car as it goes by.

Joong-won and Dan are in subdued spirits as they nurse their drinks. He asks her what she thinks about marriage. It’s something other people do, but she doesn’t think it’s for people like them. He admits that he’s jealous of Hye-kyung’s family, wondering what it would be like to have someone care that much for him, or to want to be with someone more than anything else in the world.

Dan tells him he could get married if he wanted to, but it depends on if he just wants to be married or if he wants to be married to someone in particular. He admits that he’d want to be with Hye-kyung specifically, but wonders if it’s too complicated, because he also has to worry about the effect it has on his sister and the firm — is it worth fighting Tae-joon?

He wonders if he’s being a coward or just practical. Dan asks if he knows what Hye-kyung wants, and advises him to ask her.

Hye-kyung walks Tae-joon to the elevator, thanking him for his help today. He then brings up the possibility of reconciliation — “just for the kids.” But she sighs, telling him it’s not the time or place to try and push his agenda.

She then gets a call from Myung-hee, asking to meet her nearby at a coffee shop. It may be outside the office, but Myung-hee is all business as she tells Hye-kyung about Tae-joon’s investigation into Joong-won and the effect it will have on the firm. She wants to respect Hye-kyung’s private life, and without saying it directly, she essentially warns her that continuing to see Joong-won will only cause trouble for the frm.

Hye-kyung walks home, lost in thought. In the morning, she surprises Tae-joon by showing up at his office. She tells him she left him something on his desk.

When she arrives at M&J, her first stop is Joong-won’s office. She tells him that she spent all night thinking of all the reasons that they should break up. She has her family, husband, and career to worry about. But then she realized that she wasn’t thinking about what she really wanted, and she doesn’t want to lie to herself anymore.

She tells him that she wants to be with him, if that’s okay with him. By way of an answer, he gently pulls her into a hug. Awwww. Meanwhile, Tae-joon opens up the envelope Hye-kyung left for him. He is not pleased to discover that it contains signed divorce papers.

COMMENTS

I want so dearly to believe that this is the start of a “happily ever after” for Hye-kyung (who totally deserves some happiness in her life after all the sacrifices she’s made), but the intense violins and Tae-joon’s silent fury at the end makes me think we’re still in for a world of trouble. His entire future is dependent on her continuing to play the devoted wife and mother, and if she’s decided that’s no longer the role she wants to play, well, then, he doesn’t have much to lose. We’ve already seen the lengths Tae-joon will go to manipulate situations to his advantage, yet somehow I get the feeling we’ve only scratched the surface of what he’s capable. We just hadn’t made the bear angry enough yet.

But I really do love that Hye-kyung has made a decision, and I hope she isn’t somehow persuaded to go back on it. This clearly wasn’t a decision she came to on a whim. She knows that there will be consequences, but she’s willing to risk it all for the chance of true love and happiness. Hopefully Joong-won is on the same wave length, because even when everything comes crashing down, provided they are working together, side-by-side, I have faith that they could build a new life together.

He makes me nervous, though. I know he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win in court, but will he do whatever it takes to win in love, especially when there’s more to it than fun luncheon romps? Just because she’s decided to choose him — or rather, choose her own happiness — doesn’t mean she’s necessarily forgotten that she still needs a plan. Although I do appreciate that he’s trying to show he’s serious and wants to be a part of her kids’ lives. He’s really awkward and terrible at it, but he’s trying! Despite his eagerness, I also respect that he tries to honor her boundaries when it comes to her kids. Joong-won is not perfect (then again, who is on this show?), but I love that he really respects her boundaries and never tries to push her when she’s made it clear something is off limits. He may not think he’s the marriage type, but he’s already got a step up on her actual husband when it comes to not pressing the issue.

Maybe it’s a good thing that there are only two episodes left, because it means that whatever destruction Tae-joon will try to bring down can’t last for too long. I hope. I’m not even sure that I’m totally convinced Joong-won is all that innocent in his bribery cases, but I also don’t know if I could handle Hye-kyung being hurt again by someone she loves lying to her, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. “Innocent until proven guilty,” right?

 
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15 August 31, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 15

by odilettante

“Once a cheater, always a cheater.” So says David Lee, the divorce expert, and if you think Hye-kyung being forced to face her past mistakes is reserved strictly for her choice in men, well, you’d be wrong. But it also gives us a chance to see how far she’s come since the beginning, both professionally and personally. It also gives us a chance to see her wear those gorgeous pink stilettos one more time before the show ends.

EPISODE 15 RECAP

Tae-joon hides the divorce papers in his desk drawer as the rest of his staff arrive in the morning (and Joon-ho brings him coffee!). He may not be thrilled Hye-kyung’s decision to divorce, but Hye-kyung, for once, seems to actually relaxed and happy as she goes about her work.

The joy is short-lived, however, when Myung-hee discovers that a previous client is suing their law firm. It’s a divorce case that Hye-kyung worked on when she was first hired, and she and David Lee managed to get their client Jung Yoo-jung got a generous settlement — a third of her venture capitalist husband’s company, as well as sole custody of their child.

Myung-hee tells her to look into it, and then also asks if she’s made her decision about Joong-won. All she wants to know is if Tae-joon will indict her brother, and Hye-kyung admits that he likely will. Aw, but it might be worth it considering the way she and Joong-won exchange happy glances from across the office.

David Lee insists that lawsuit against the firm is ridiculous. Jeon Dong-mn is claiming that M&J faked evidence against him to force his wife Yoo-jung to decide to divorce him, and then M&J sold one of his companies at a loss when it came time to split the assets. The only reason they won the divorce settlement (which the husband didn’t originally want to do) was by investigating him and photographing him kissing another woman.

Since it was Yoo-jung who hired M&J, and they came to the agreement she originally wanted, they’ll need to ask her if she knows why her ex-husband is suddenly suing them. David offers to call her but Myung-hee interrupts, telling Joong-won to take care of it. Instead, she wants to know if David purposefully hired the woman in the photo in order to trap the husband, but he swears he did no such thing.

Hye-kyung is delighted to see Soo-hyun and her cute baby at the office, but is surprised when Soo-hyun reveals that she’s actually representing Yoo-jung. Their ex-client and her new client is now suing the law firm for $10 million (the supposed worth of the company that was sold) — oh, and she’s also reconciled with her husband.

Joong-won grumbles that Soo-hyun had promised to lecture at the law school until her child was grown, but she says it’s too hard to resist a juicy case that could net her client $10 million (and give her a hefty commission in return). Soo-hyun and a petulant David exchange a few pleasantly-masked barbs at each other, but Soo-hyun is confident that she’ll win since she can prove that M&J falsified the evidence used to convince Yoo-jung to get a divorce.

She gives the M&J lawyers a chance to talk over her offer of a settlement, asking Hye-kyung to keep an eye on the baby while she goes to the bathroom. Hye-kyung pulls out the phone that was left in the baby carriage — and set to record audio — and politely hands it over to Soo-hyun, since she wouldn’t want to “forget” it. Soo-hyun is impressed that Hye-kyung is growing wiser to the sneaky ways of the legal world.

When Myung-hee and David start to argue about lawsuit, Joong-won and Hye-kyung quietly excuse themselves and retreat to the his office, taking Soo-hyun’s baby with them. Hye-kyung finds it suspicious that Soo-hyun is being so upfront, assuming that they’re missing something. But Joong-won knows they followed the letter of the law in the original divorce case, so there should be no real grounds for complaint.

Hye-kyung remembers it clearly — not only was it one of her first cases at the firm, she wanted to make sure Yoo-jung won against her husband who cheated on her. That brings up the subject of Tae-joon, and when she offers to help Joong-won with the Tae-joon’s investigation, he reassures her that he’ll handle it. Soo-hyun returns just then, marveling at how the couple with her baby seem like one big happy family. Don’t jinx it!

When Joong-won meets up with Dan later, he thanks her again for helping find Hye-kyung’s daughter, and then asks how Tae-joon’s investigation is going. Now that he and Hye-kyung have decided to be together, Joong-won’s determined to stand and fight fairly for his honor. His normal confidence seems muted as he wonders what will happen if he loses, but Dan just admires the fact he’s acting more like a human being and less like cut-throat lawyer.

Since no settlement is reached, the lawsuit against M&J goes to trial. Soo-hyun brings her baby to the courtroom, which doesn’t not amuse the judge, although it would seem it generally does get her some sympathy points from other judges. The first witness is Yoo-jung, who declares that her husband told her that the woman he was caught kissing was someone who was hired by M&J in order to seduce him and get evidence for divorce.

She says that she only went to M&J for advice, since her marriage wasn’t doing well, and David told her that divorce is the only option. He showed her the photo of her husband kissing another woman, and told her to get as much money out of the divorce as possible.

He also told her that there would be no point in trying to reconcile with her husband because he’d just continue to cheat on her. However, she originally did want to reconcile with her husband, a fact which Soo-hyun declares to be proof that M&J forced her client into an unwanted divorce.

Prosecutor Park and Joon-ho have looked through all of Joong-won’s trials, and while they agree that there seems to be some suspicious activity, there’s only circumstantial evidence that the judges might have been bribed. Prosecutor Park recommends they stop the investigation, because if they go further, it will only get unwanted public attention once it’s made known they’re investigating his wife’s firm.

But Tae-joon is adamant that this has nothing to do with his wife and has everything to do with the integrity of the justice system, and orders them to dig deeper.

Soo-hyun puts David on the stand, asking if he paid the woman in the photo to purposefully seduce Yoo-jung’s husband. He firmly denies it, despite how many ways she tries to rephrase the question. He seems genuinely affronted that Yoo-jung is suing him, and from his seat in the witness stand, he chides her for ignoring his friendly advice.

Suddenly a woman stands up in court — it’s the woman from the photo, and she testifies that she was told she would be paid if she seduced Yoo-jung’s husband. David requests a recess since the were not aware of the witness and need time to prepare. He’s bewildered by the fact the woman would commit perjury, insisting he never paid her.

However, it turns out M&J did pay her. In order to get evidence to help Yoo-jung gain full custody of her child, Dan had originally hired the woman to flirt with Yoo-jung’s husband and ply him with drinks, so she could get evidence of him driving while intoxicated. She was surprised to see him kiss her instead, and so that’s the evidence she originally handed over. Of course, Dan has buried the trail leading back to M&J, so the only proof Soo-hyun has is the woman’s testimony.

Myung-hee doesn’t trust David, and asks Joong-won if they should fire him after this lawsuit is wrapped up. He points out that David has been profitable for the firm, and if they let him go, it might cause issues with other lawyers. But Myung-hee knows that he’s specifically worried about Hye-kyung, and she tells him that she won’t fire Hye-kyung based on personal matters. If if affects the firm, however, she won’t be so lenient.

Joong-won reassures her that if it comes down to that, then he’ll be the one to leave. That’s not the answer she was expecting, and as she leans back in surprise, Joong-won calmly tells her that he thinks being with Hye-kyung is the best decision he’s ever made. He’ll also make sure to take care of the lawsuit with Tae-joon and do his best to keep the rest of M&J out of it.

Hye-kyung’s kids head off to school, and after she specifically warns Seo-yeon to check her phone and answer it whenever she sees her mother calling, Seo-yeon grumbles that she knows. That nice “unnie” already told her to make sure she keeps her mother updated of her whereabouts.

Hye-kyung asks who she’s talking about, and Seo-yeon hesitates, since she was told not to mention it, but finally reveals that Dan was the one who found her that day and brought her back home.

This surprises Hye-kyung, but doesn’t seem to do much to thaw her animosity towards her coworker. Although she doesn’t completely ignore Dan’s polite nod when they meet in the court house parking lot later that morning, so I suppose that’s something. But Dan’s only there to get information about Ji-yeon (the woman in the photo) and her car.

Ji-yeon is put on the stand, and David reveals that they’ve never met before, so then he asks how she knows that M&J hired her to seduce Yoo-jung’s husband. She was just told through her work to specifically seduce him, but it could have been anyone who requested it. He particularly wants to know how Soo-hyun’s clients tracked her down in the first place. Did she, perhaps, contact Yoo-jung’s husband directly?

Soo-hyun keeps leaping up to object, but David points out it’s awfully suspicious that Ji-yeon suddenly appeared as a witness, and this might have more to do with the $10 million than the divorce.

As the court recesses for the day, Soo-hyun sweetly informs Hye-kyung that she’ll be the next one on the stand, and she’s not the type to lie under oath, now, is she.

Ji-hoon is at his father’s office to work on a school project, and as he takes pictures, he cautiously asks if he can show them to his mother. She once said that he looked best when he was tracking down criminals — which is what he’s doing now, right?

Tae-joon agrees, but tells his son that sometimes, in order to do the right thing, you have to do the wrong thing first. Naive Ji-hoon thinks that’s somehow wrong, and you should only do “right” things — especially if one is a prosecutor and can have the power to tell people to do “right.” Oh, you sweet, innocent child.

David plops a contract down on Hye-kyung’s desk — a little present for her, just a little document he’s put together in case she decides to get divorced that will help her get the best settlement possible. It’s really just an excuse for him to bring up her upcoming testimony, and she smiles, reassuring him that she’ll handle it. Besides, she’s already given Tae-joon her divorce papers.

Hye-kyung finds Dan in the break room, and the younger woman instinctively moves to leave the area but Hye-kyung asks her if the photos are real. Dan reassures her that they aren’t doctored. Hye-kyung then starts to say something else, but then changes her mind and walks away.

On the witness stand, Hye-kyung affirms that she only was responsible for the paperwork in the divorce case, and that they did not hire Ji-yeon to seduce their client’s husband. But Soo-hyun points out she was also emotional help for Yoo-jung, comforting her in her distress since she could relate to the feelings she was going through at that time (y’know, when her husband’s scandal was still top news).

Hye-kyung defends the firm, declaring they only did what the client wanted them to do (settle the divorce) and now the client is suing them for the decision that was made in the past. Hye-kyung pointedly looks at Yoo-jung as she says that there won’t be much of a future unless they take responsibility for their decisions.

Lawyer Oh is concerned about Tae-joon’s investigation into Joong-won. He thought things would improve if Tae-joon became more powerful, which is why he’s been supporting him so faithfully. But now Tae-joon is too focused on revenge, turning Hye-kyung into his enemy. He warns Tae-joon that he won’t have many supporters left if he keeps this up. After Lawyer Oh leaves, Tae-joon studies the divorce papers Hye-kyung gave him.

He waits for Hye-kyung in the parking garage, since he assumes she wouldn’t want to see him at home. She tells him that next time he can just call her, and then mail the divorce papers after he’s signed them. He asks if she wants him to stop investigating Joong-won, and she warns him that whether or not he stops the investigation, she’s not going back to him. If he does continue, then she’ll fight like hell against him.

Tae-joon asks if she has any feelings left for him, and she sighs as she informs him that this isn’t about her feelings, it’s about his unjust investigation. She’s fighting for her company and those who are wrongfully suffering because of her. If Joong-won is guilty, she’ll take responsibility.

He accepts this answer and leaves, telling her to say “hi” to the kids for him. But as soon as he reaches his car, he calls Lawyer Oh, asking him to trust him one last time. He then calls Prosecutor Park, ordering him to quietly put as many people on Joong-won’s case as possible. This isn’t personal — it’s about removing corrupt judges. Yeah, keep telling yourself that, buddy.

Alone in the spare room, where Tae-joon used to sleep, Hye-kyung sits and quietly thinks to herself. Then she calls for her children, telling them she needs to discuss something with them.

Hye-kyung is back on the witness stand, and this time Soo-hyun has moved past the divorce argument and is using evidence that the tech company they sold in order to distribute assets was sold at a deep loss. Hye-kyung repeats that she was only responsible for drawing up the documents, and Myung-hee calls for a short recess since they weren’t prepared for this new argument.

Myung-hee still can’t look at David without giving him the death glare. He pouts that he did everything on the up-and-up, and that it seemed best at the time to sell the tech company since profits are so unreliable from them. As the person who prepared the contracts, Hye-kyung recalls a conflict-of-interest clause that states the firm is not liable for mistakes made in the asset distribution.

This is a surprise to Soo-hyun, who scrambles to look through the contracts. Yoo-jung says she doesn’t know — she just signed what they told her to sign. The court takes another recess to look into the clause.

Except that Myung-hee can’t find it in their files. Hye-kyung insists that she knows there was a clause — she was there when Yoo-jung signed it, and she signed it as well. But it was her first week at the firm and she admits that she might have misfiled it, and can’t recall where she might have put it.

It’s not looking good, but then Dan and David burst in, the precious clause in their hand! They found it in one of Joon-ho’s desk drawers. Whew. Except when Hye-kyung looks at it, she realizes the signature doesn’t completely match hers.

In private, she tells Myung-hee of her suspicion that the clause has been fabricated, but Myung-hee confirms that Hye-kyung remembers signing the document (just not that exact one). She tells Hye-kyung that a witness just tells the truth as they remember it, and it’s up to the prosecution to poke holes in their evidence. To her credit, Myung-hee looks uneasy about choosing to use a potentially false document.

Joong-won reports that Soo-hyun turned down their offer to close the case, and the fact that she laughed at him and said she’ll see him court makes him assume that she’s got something on them, although he doesn’t know what it is.

Noticing Hye-kyung’s despondent attitude, he asks if she’s okay, and she tells him that she feels like she’s made a lot of mistakes, becoming a burden to her coworkers. He reassures that documents go missing all the time, and what that matters now is that they’ve found it. That’s not as reassuring as you might think, buddy.

Joon-ho’s by himself at the bar, drinking his sad, lonely glass of whiskey, when Chief Prosecutor Choi approaches him with an offer.

In the morning, the trial resumes, and Soo-hyun provides copies of the contracts to show that the signed clause was forged. As her witness, she calls forward Joon-ho. Hye-kyung and Myung-hee are both shocked to see him, knowing that nothing good will come from this. Soo-hyun shows him the two different signed pages from the contract, and he studies them carefully, then cheerfully admits they look exactly the same to him.

That’s not the answer Soo-hyun was expecting, and she asks if Joon-ho is perjuring himself because he works under Tae-joon and feels obligated to protect his boss’s wife. But Joon-ho says that he was recently transferred to a different department, and therefore has no reason to be loyal to anyone at M&J.

Afterwards, Hye-kyung thanks him for his help, but he says he only told the truth. He then reveals that the new department he transferred to is Chief Prosecutor Choi’s. I feel like there ought to be some underlying threat or warning there, but Joon-ho looks so cute and squishy, I can only assume he just wants to tell her that there’s no ill-will and he’s happy to have a job. That’s all it is, right? Right?

Soo-hyun and her clients arrive at M&J law firm, and Soo-hyun sweetly says that she’s currently getting the ink from the clause analyzed. But Hye-kyung has something to show Yoo-jung. It’s a photo of her husband kissing the other woman, except this is a more recent photo, taken by Dan just a couple of days ago when she was trying to get evidence that the lawsuit was just a ploy for money. Once the husband got the settlement, he was going to divorce Yoo-jung and run away with Ji-yeon.

He tries to argue that the photo was from before their reconciliation, when M&J tried to frame him, but Yoo-jung recognizes the shirt he’s wearing in the photo as one she gave him just last week. Slapping him in the face, she tells him that the lawsuit is over — she’s out.

Soo-hyun pouts that she lost (insisting she just wanted the money for baby formula, pfft!), but she admires the fact that Hye-kyung has become more fierce since she last saw her. It suits her. Hye-kyung smiles, admitting that she likes her new attitude, too.

In the morning, news of Joong-won’s investigation by the Prosecution Office breaks, and Hye-kyung arrives at the office to find everyone scrambling as phones ringing off the hook. Myung-hee juggles phone calls from worried VIP clients. She tells Hye-kyung to go to the baseball field where Joong-won has his weekly game and to warn him of what’s going on.

She calls him to let him know she’s on the way, and he tells her there’s no need to rush. He’s busy with the game and it’s so crowded, anyway. Except that all of his usual judge and lawyer teammates, fearing the scandal of being associated with him, have suddenly discovered they can’t make it, and he’s the only one on the baseball field.

Chief Prosecutor Choi finds him alone in the locker room, and offers him a deal. He suggests that he and Joong-won team up to fight their common enemy, Tae-joon. Oh, and if he doesn’t help out the proseuctor, Joong-won will surely go to jail.

But Joong-won refuses. He’s not interested in working with the prosecutor, and not even the threat of prison will make him change his mind. As the prosecutor leaves, he runs into Hye-kyung on the baseball field. She just rolls her eyes at his snarky little “I didn’t know you liked baseball” comment.

Joong-won finds her waiting for him, and as he hesitantly brings up the case against him, Hye-kyung tells him that she’ll represent him.

COMMENTS

First of all, let me just say that I find Yoon Kye-sang 1000x more attractive with his hair unstyled. So thank you for that, show.

On a less-shallow note, I’m loving the new Hye-kyung. She’s spirited and confident, even when faced with her mistakes. I genuinely felt her fear when she realized that she was about to cost the company millions of dollars due to a simple clerical error, and then likely lose her job she’s worked so hard to keep. But it must be nice to know that someone has her back, no matter how, ah, shady the means. (I’m just assuming it was Dan who actually forged her signature, because I feel like Dan and her morally grey view of right and wrong would be willing to do that if it meant saving the firm and helping Hye-kyung keep her job.)

Also, I’m super excited to see Hye-kyung officially go head-to-head against Tae-joon in the courtroom. I hope she destroys him, except I know that he must be a good lawyer (bribes can only take you so far, y’know). Tae-joon is still fascinating to me, although I don’t think there’s a chance he’ll be able to redeem himself. He’s thoroughly painted himself as the villain, set out to destroy the very thing that he wants simply because he can’t have it.

Except he seems to have lost sight of the fact that by publicly declaring war against her (or against M&J, which is essentially the same thing), he’s destroying his career as well. Perhaps in his twisted, egomaniacal mind that’s somehow romantic? Or maybe he just can’t believe that this person who, for so long, believed everything he told her and trusted him completely, now can see him for who he really is: power-hungry, selfish, and manipulative. The man who would let Hye-kyung take the fall for a car accident fifteen years ago so it wouldn’t damage his burgeoning career is not going to suddenly be reformed. His character definitely makes for compelling viewing, but as a viewer who just wants Hye-kyung to live happily ever after (with or without a man), I wish he’d release his toxic grip on her, once and for all.

But where Tae-joon seems to be hardening his heart, Joong-won seems to be softening his. I just love how shocked everyone is by his new attitude, surprised that he can actually be “human.” I don’t want him to go to prison, but I appreciate he’s not willing to be sucked into any under-the-table deals. Funny, though, that even as Joong-won seems to be determined to be an upright lawyer thanks to Hye-kyung, she’s starting to learn that it’s useful to be able to bend the rules a bit.

Although she still has her integrity, which is something I love about her. Honestly, the guys could both suddenly disappear and be locked up forever if it means that Myung-hee and Hye-kyung can work together forever and ever, with Dan (reconciled with Hye-kyung, of course) as their chief investigator. Maybe they could steal Soo-hyun and convince her to work with them, too. Now I’m sad there’s only one episode left, because I just really want to see more of these amazing women being awesome both in the courtroom and in their personal lives, while wearing gorgeous shoes that I dearly covet.

 
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48 September 1, 2016September 1, 2016

The Good Wife: Episode 16 (Final)

by odilettante

The Good Wife pulled in its highest rating yet (6.2%) for the finale, breaking its heretofore usual “Saturday night slump.” Perhaps everyone wanted to make sure they had the chance to watch Hye-kyung in the courtroom one last time as she goes up against her husband to defend the man (and law firm) that have now become an important part of her life.

EPISODE 16 RECAP

As they sit in the stands of the empty baseball field, Hye-kyung asks Joong-won about the rumors of him bribing judges. He admits that he used to lend money to the guys on his baseball team — nothing illegal, just helping out a friend and teammate. He would also help out on cases for a lowered fee, which led to rumors of him doing favors for other lawyers and prosecutors.

It’s all in the past, though. He hasn’t loaned money recently, and he’s never bribed a judge. He just never bothered to stem the rumors when they started, thinking anything that would help the firm gain new clients would be a good thing.

Hye-kyung asks him for the names of a some powerful judges that was on the team that Joong-won never worked with before, and therefore the prosecution can’t touch.

Tae-joon has already heard that she’s taken on Joong-won’s case, and asks if she’s there to negotiate. But instead she’s there to tell him to only speak to her directly about the case and not spread rumors through the media. She name drops the judges Joong-won just mentioned, adding that she’s received calls about them, and Tae-joon tells her those aren’t the ones they’re investigating.

She insists that somehow there was a media leak, but it didn’t come from her. Which means the prosecution is going to look responsible for leaking the names of judges they’re investigating.

Joong-won meets with Dan, asking her to continue her investigation and find out exactly which judge and lawsuit the prosecution is looking into. Joong-won’s a little nervous, though, because it’s not like he was always the most ethical lawyer.

The DA treats Tae-joon and Chief Prosecutor Choi to lunch, but it’s more to complain about how his phone keeps ringing off the hook about Tae-joon’s case. Tae-joon insists that corrupt judges should be punished, but the DA is shocked to discover that he’s going up against his wife’s firm.

Things get officially serious when Prosecutor Park arrives with some other prosecutors and boxes to confiscate Joong-won’s documents. As his men paw through Joong-won’s office, creating a mess and causing a ruckus, Hye-kyung demands as Joong-won’s lawyer to meet with Tae-joon and discuss the case. She wants to know what her husband’s strategy is, and it’ll be easier to find out face-to-face.

The prosecutors offer Joong-won a one-time deal of just indictment if he tells them the name of the corrupt judge, but Joong-won resists, pointing out that he’ll lose his license to practice law. Tae-joon smirks as he asks if Hye-kyung is recording their conversation, but she points out blackmail is his go-to strategy, not hers. Ha!

She tells the prosecutors that she’s willing to discuss settlement since the case will irreparably damage the firm’s reputation, but first she needs to know the names of the judges they’re looking into. Tae-joon rattles off a bunch of names, but they’re not the ones Hye-kyung knows about. However, Tae-joon seems satisfied, and tells her that he’ll see her later.

He reveals to Prosecutor Park that they only really came because he wanted to see Joong-won’s face as he listed all the judge’s names. He got a flicker of a reaction when he mentioned Judge Moon’s name, so that’s the judge they’ll investigate further.

M&J firm is in turmoil as the senior employees discuss what to do about Joong-won. Meanwhile, he sits in his office, aimlessly tossing his baseball into the air. His clients don’t want to work with him right now, so he doesn’t have anything better to do. Myung-hee tells him that currently the status of the firm is tenuous — the staff is nervous and the clients are skittish.

He offers to step down in his role as co-president and Myung-hee accepts his offer. Now he’s nothing more than one of M&J’s clients. David is eager to pounce on Joong-won’s misfortune, however, and asks if he can have Joong-won’s office since he no longer needs it. But Myung-hee firmly tells him that this is just temporary — Joong-won will be back once the case is over.

As Joong-won packs up his personal belongings, Hye-kyung stays late to work on his case. He pops into her office, asking if she wants to take a break and learn how to play baseball. Baseball date, take two! They’re super adorable as they throw the ball back and forth, and it’s so refreshing to see them laugh and smile together.

Dan meets with Joon-ho over a drink, but as she’s asking him what case Tae-joon is focusing on, Prosecutor Park appears to tell her that she’s out-of-line asking for information about an on-going information. She says it was just conversation between a couple of friends, but Joon-ho’s sad puppy dog face makes it obvious this was a set-up. Dan glares at him, offended by his betrayal, as Prosecutor Park has her arrested and led away in handcuffs.

When she arrives at the office the next morning, Hye-kyung is surprised to find out that Joong-won is no longer a part of the firm. Myung-hee reiterates that it’s only temporary, and that unfortunately, due to the nature of the case, the firm can’t really help him beyond having Hye-kyung assigned to his case.

Myung-hee asks that she inform her first if Joong-won is actually guilty so she can prepare the firm, but Hye-kyung reminds her that due to client-attorney confidentiality, she can’t reveal that information. Fair enough, and Hye-kyung’s next task is to go get Dan from jail.

She first stops at the courthouse to see Tae-joon, demanding that he release Dan. He tells her that they’re preparing the summons, and Myung-hee will be the first to go on the witness stand. But Hye-kyung firmly orders him to make sure Dan is released by the time she arrives at the police station or she’ll accuse the prosecutors of false arrest. As she leaves, Tae-joon warns her that Joong-won is not as innocent as she thinks.

Although her face is predictably unreadable, it seems fair to say that Dan’s surprised to see Hye-kyung is the one picking her up at the police station. She reveals that, as a favor for Joong-won, she was looking into Tae-joon’s investigation, and she assumes she was arrested in their attempt to get more information. If Hye-kyung wants to know more, she should ask Joong-won directly.

The women ride along in stiff silence until Dan tells her to drop her off at a bus stop. Hye-kyung then asks her why she didn’t tell her about finding Seo-yoon, and Dan says she just didn’t want it to be awkward between them. She helped because she could, that’s all. But Hye-kyung tells her a sincere “thanks,” giving me hope that this friendship can be restored.

Myung-hee meets with Tae-joon, who implies that Joong-won stepped down out of guilt to prevent the firm’s reputation from being too tarnished. She doesn’t seem to believe that Tae-joon just wants to warn her to not protect her brother, for the sake of her firm.

Hye-kyung muses over the case, and it looks like she may have some doubts about Joong-won’s innocence. She calls Chief Prosecutor Choi and offers to make a deal — she wants to know exactly what judge and trial the prosecutors are investigating. Joon-ho slips Dan the information, and then sadly tells her that this is the last time he’ll be able to help her.

Hye-kyung gets home late that night, surprised to see her son still up, waiting for her. He’s seen the news about the case, wondering if Tae-joon is the prosecutor. He tells his mother that she hopes she wins, which delights her.

The next morning, Myung-hee asks Hye-kyung what her strategy is to defend Joong-won — she doesn’t care if he’s innocent or guilty, she just wants to know how Hye-kyung is handling it. Hye-kyung points out that if she tells her, then she’ll be involved in the case, and she specifically said she was going to stay out of it to protect the firm. But Myung-hee’s realized that it’s more important to support her brother as her family and colleague. Aw.

Hye-kyung stops by David’s office — she knows he’s on the witness list. He reassures her that he’s got it handled, but Hye-kyung insists that they prepare his statements. Hahaha, Myung-hee watches in amusement as he petulantly follows Hye-kyung to the conference room, grumbling that he’s her senior and shouldn’t be bossed around by her.

Joong-won is there to discuss the case as well. They’ve found out the specific lawsuit the prosecution is focusing on as proof of bribery is a tax-rebate case that Joong-won won, even though he thought they’d lose. When Hye-kyung asks if gave Judge Moon any money, he admits that he loaned him $5,000 — which the judge has yet to pay back.

Privately, Hye-kyung asks if he really has given bribes. He insists that even if the judge’s rulings went his way, there was no bribery. But he’s been worried about her finding out about the case, since he knows it makes him look suspicious. She tells him that the law is vague, but so are relationships, and she doesn’t believe he’s the type to bribe anyone.

The morning of the trial, Joong-won and Hye-kyung are swarmed by reporters. Hye-kyung tells them that the prosecution’s claims are unfounded, and that while there was money exchanged, the amount was too small to be considered consequential.

As the trial commences, Prosecutor Park brings his first witness to the stand: Myung-hee. His line of questioning makes it seem like Joong-won purposefully took over the case she was working on right after he learned that Judge Moon was presiding.

But when Hye-kyung questions her, it’s revealed that Joong-won took over the case because she was sick at the time, and hospitalized with uterine myoma during the time of the trial. It was a condition she wanted to keep confidential, so her brother offered out of the kindness of his heart take over her caseload. Oh, and his off-the-charts confidence in winning the case is normal for him, no matter what the case or who the judge.

Except Joong-won is shocked to discover that Myung-hee was sick back then. She tells him that she’s always respected him as a lawyer, and the reason she asked him to step down as co-president of the firm was for his own protection. Aw, big sisters are the best. Myung-hee’s time as a witness is over, and she tells Hye-kyung it’s all up to her now.

The next witness is David, and he plays up his foppish character as he explains that an interview where he described Joong-won as someone who was willing to do anything — including commit a crime — to win a case was just trendy hyperbole, and that the discount they gave Judge Moon for his divorce case was due to them working in the same field.

When it’s Hye-kyung’s turn, she reveals that M&J have given “industry” discounts on services to others in the legal field, and if the prosecution is looking at the cheap rate they gave Judge Moon for his divorce, then they should also look at the rate they charged for Tae-joon’s case.

Afterwards, David is impressed by how fierce Hye-kyung was during the trial. Hey, it’s all in a day’s work.

Tae-joon asks to meet, and it’s not to talk about the case. He’s heard from the kids that Hye-kyung told them about the divorce. She admits it was hard to tell them, but they understood. She asks when he’ll return the signed documents, and she reassures him that he’ll always have the chance to spend time with their children.

But Tae-joon has another reason to see her, and hands over pictures of Joong-won giving a thick envelope of money to Judge Moon. Tae-joon says these were taken a day after Joong-won found out that they were investigating the judge. Hye-kyung realizes that Chief Prosecutor Choi was actually working with Tae-joon the whole time.

Tae-joon says he’s just proving that Joong-won isn’t the innocent person she keeps insisting he is. He’s determined to open her eyes to the truth, but she just sighs, reminding him that he only starts his investigation after deciding who’s guilty, and then sets traps for that person. But Tae-joon says he’s merely waited for Joong-won to fall into his own trap.

He reassures Hye-kyung that she did well, though, and they’ll offer to cut down Joong-won’s sentence once he reveals the other judges he’s bribed. Amused, Hye-kyung asks if he’s got it all figured out already, and Tae-joon dramatically tells her that he’s only doing it because he was worried about her. He warns her that she shouldn’t bother going to the trial tomorrow — she’ll only be embarrassed in court.

Instead, she points out that he’s not doing this out of concern for her. He’s really only thinking about himself, and would instead love to see her be defeated in court.

The next morning, Hye-kyung is sitting at her spot at the defense table, and Tae-joon warns her that he’ll be conducting the witness questioning today. He calls Joong-won to the stand, and asks him about his recent meeting with Judge Moon. Oozing confidence, he reveals the photo of Joong-won handing Judge Moon the envelope of money, and when Joong-won admits that it’s true, Tae-joon acts as though the case is practically closed.

But he laughs in disbelief when Joong-won says the money is for a UNICEF fund that the judge set up. It’s an awfully suspicious coincidence that Joong-won donated money right before the trial started. Joong-won explains that years ago, he defended a company that caused the deaths of many children, so now he tries to donate to charity as a way to ease his guilt.

Ohhhhh, it turns out it was all Hye-kyung’s idea! Back in her one-on-one meeting, she predicted the way Tae-joon would try to trap them, and ordered Joong-won to purposefully meet with Judge Moon to give him the money, knowing that one of Tae-joon’s men would photograph it as evidence. But she has evidence of her own — the receipt from UNICEF for the amount Joong-won donated.

Afterwards, Tae-joon congratulates her, but she points out the trial isn’t officially over yet. But he knows that she’s won. Damn straight she has. She asks him he still thinks Joong-won is guilty. Tae-joon: “Of course he is.”

Later, she meets with Chief Prosecutor Choi, who warns her that Tae-joon’s career is now at risk due to this case. She tells him to sort it out with Tae-joon, but he hands her an envelope of photos of her and Joong-won looking awfully cozy. If she doesn’t cooperate with him, he’ll release the photos to the press.

But Hye-kyung cooly informs him that he can release the photos, since she’s already started the divorce proceedings with Tae-joon and is currently in a relationship with Joong-won. She’ll take responsibility for her choices, and Chief Prosecutor Choi should pay closer attention to his.

As she leaves, she runs into Joon-ho, waiting outside for his boss. He immediately calls Tae-joon, letting him know that she left the prosector. Chief Prosecutor Choi calls a reporter friend, promising a good story, but he first runs into Tae-joon and Prosecutor Park. Joon-ho slides over to stand next to Tae-joon, making clear where his loyalty lies.

Myung-hee calls Hye-kyung, letting her know the prosecution has dropped their charges, but Tae-joon is arresting corrupt judges that he’d been quietly investigating while everyone else was distracted by Joong-won’s case. Myung-hee: “He’s a scary man.” No kidding.

Hye-kyung then receives a text from Chief Prosecutor Choi, letting her know that the photos won’t be released. Except he wasn’t the one who sent them, because he’s sitting in an interrogation room at the prosecutor’s offices. Tae-joon joins him, handing back his phone — he just needed it to text someone. Ohhhh, you sneaky bastard.

That means that he’s completely unfazed when Chief Prosecutor Choi tries to use the photos as leverage, in an attempt to convince Tae-joon to ignore the evidence that he’s been using the slush fund to bribe judges. Off the record, Tae-joon warns him to keep quiet about the photos and threatens him to give up the original copies.

Joong-won returns to the law firm, much to the delight of his staff. Aw, and David made a cake that looks like the traditional block of tofu to celebrate his boss’s freedom.

His first stop, though, is to see his sister, thanking her for everything she did. Aw, she starts to tear up, warning him that he makes her nervous, the way he works, and is always worried that something might happen to him. He tells her to let him know if she’s ever sick again. Despite how much they bicker, it’s sweet how the Seo siblings clearly love each other.

But it’s not time to unpack his boxes and settle into his office. He knows he’ll be reprimanded by the Bar Association, so he might as well take a little sabbatical. Hye-kyung will still keep on working, though — her fifteen year break was a long enough rest.

Tae-joon pulls out the envelope of photos from his desk and rips them up. Still sitting on the bottom of the desk drawer, though, are the divorce papers.

When Hye-kyung returns home that evening, she finds Tae-joon waiting for her. He admits he originally focused on the corrupt judges, but only investigated Joong-won because of her. She’s relieved he’s finally being honest

But he continues, telling her that he can’t give her up. He won’t sign the divorce papers because he needs her. Not just for his career, but also because he’s realized that she makes him “human.” He can’t live without her, and even though she might not feel the same way, he’s sure that she’ll realize that he’ll be beneficial to her, too. He promises that he’ll let her live her life however she wants. He begs her to keep their relationship going just a little while longer.

Hye-kyung practically recoils from his fancy words, telling him that he should think about someone he cares about and try to figure out what he can do to help them. Because that’s what she plans to do. Then she turns and walks into the apartment, leaving him behind.

Three months later, Myung-hee watches a news conference where Tae-joon declares his intention to join politics. He says he could have only made it with his wife at his side. Hye-kyung steps onto the podium, smiling in support of her husband. Wait, what?

But as soon as they’re in the hallway, away from the press, her polite smile drops and she tells Tae-joon to deliver the documents she requested to her office. It’s clear that their marriage is now nothing more than a business agreement between the two of them.

Hye-kyung arrives at the courthouse in time for Dan to give her an envelope of evidence, and the two women stride into the courthouse together (yay!). They meet up with Joong-won, who must have ended his sabbatical, and he asks if she’s going to win. She smiles confidently as she tells him “of course.” Hye-kyung stands strong and proud behind the defendant’s table, ready to tackle her next case.

COMMENTS

Would it be weird to give a drama a standing ovation? Because despite the fact I recoiled in horror when I saw Hye-kyung join Tae-joon on that stage (nooooooooooooooooo!), especially after she made it clear that reconciliation was never going to happen, I actually loved the ending. Loved it.

As someone who’s only seen up through the fifth season of the American version (you could say I lost the, ah, will to continue), I’ve only heard about how that version ended. Let me just go out on a limb and declare that this ending is a million times better. Sure, there might still be plenty of questions left unanswered and details to tie up, but all that matters is that Hye-kyung is happy and confident and showing the world that she’s a truly excellent lawyer, which is really all I’ve wanted for her since the beginning.

How much do I love that Hye-kyung gets to be Joong-won’s knight in shining armor? So much. So very, very much. And I loved that he sat back and humbly allowed Hye-kyung to take charge, trusting her as he simply followed her orders. It’s Tae-joon who didn’t realize how smart his wife truly is, underestimating how well she knows him, too. Then again, he’s still sneakier than we could possibly ever imagine, but I feel like I can almost forgive him for refusing to divorce her for the sake of his career since I’m just going to assume that he’s come to terms with the fact that that Hye-kyung and Joong-won are in love and will live happily ever after, no matter what (and lalalala I can’t hear you if you dare argue any differently).

I did not expect this show to make me cry, but the last few minutes got to me. I’m tearing up again just thinking about the Seo sibling reunion and Hye-kyung’s confident walk down the hallway with Dan and Joong-won at her side. I’ve grown attached to these characters the past few weeks, but I hadn’t fully realized just how emotionally invested I’ve been. My only real quibble with the show, in fact, is that we didn’t get to spend as much time with the minor characters. But in order to do that, then the main characters would have had to sacrifice some of their screentime, and I only want more of them, too! If ever there was a show that I wish could have been a few episodes longer, it was this one.

All in all, this was a very satisfactory adaptation. It managed to remain true to the spirit of the original, yet also managed to bring a new depth and character exploration that kept it fresh (and riveting). Even for someone without any familiarity with the source material, it was a solid show from start to finish. I’m so grateful to the entire cast and crew for making a drama that truly makes me sad to say “goodbye.”

So thank you, The Good Wife — you were truly great.

 
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