On to the proper start of a new chapter for Ten. And from here onwards, “F” is pushed to a backburner that happens to be located in the deepest basement. Each series from ep3 on will be self sufficient as a story on its own. That is one thing I like about dramas in the thriller genre, since it is difficult to sustain ONE crime for “n” series, it makes more sense to have a crime-of-the-day approach. Works for attention deficit viewers like me.
We opened into a lecture hall, where a professor (probably a forensics expert) was talking about the details of police and forensics work to a group of (newbie?) policemen and women. After the lecture, he went off to have lunch, a haircut, had his shoes shone and back to his office. Minutes later, a gun went off. (has he committed suicide??)
Cut to…a phone buzzing, rudely waking a sleeping Ji-hoon. He saw the sms and got out of bed, leaving his (ahem) nekkid bed partner behind…(see? i never believed that he was sorely grieving over his dead fiancee).
Ji-hoon attended the funeral of the dead professor, who also taught him when he first joined police school. Ji-hoon was the teacher’s pet btw. An attractive lady also attended the funeral, and placed a white rose on the coffin. A student (the current teacher’s pet) read the professor’s eulogy (or suicide note, depends on how you look at it, since the professor wrote it). The note made reference to having being stabbed thrice and also stated the death (or suicide) date.
Ji-hoon probably had doubts about the suicide of his professor, so he went back to the crime scene (the office) to have a look-see. The student (same one who read the eulogy) accosted him, but when he recognised Ji-hoon as the ex-star student, he turned deferential immediately. The student insisted that professor could NOT have commited suicide, since as a forensics expert, he hated messy crime scenes. But Ji-hoon countered that all evidence pointed to suicide, the prints on the gun, the handwritten suicide note (cum eulogy), the cctv footage and the gun powder residue on the fingers.
Nonetheless, Ji-hoon REALLY harboured some doubts. Probably cos he also knew the professor as well as Mr Student. He double checked with the forensics patholgist, who confirmed everything pointed to suicide…but for a niggling detail (heh, there we have it..). She explained that most people who chose to shoot themselves would point the gun closer to the temple, unlike in this case…which resulted in some scorched marks on the head. (eew)
With a receipt (for a seedy motel) he had picked up in the professor’s drawer, Ji-hoon went on to investigate. In the motel room, he noticed a novel with its covers ripped off and with blood splattered on it. Mr Student called excitedly and said he is now at a crime scene and wanted Ji-hoon to take a look.
Ji-hoon traveled to a really seedy part of town and onto a rooftop apartment, where there was this HUGE blood smear (or pool) on the ground and walls. Ji-hoon asked Mr Student how in the world he found this place and Mr Student said he too, was at the motel (before Ji-hoon). He found an envelope with the ripped up novel in it and followed the return address printed on the envelope to here (the crime scene). At this moment, Fedex delivery appeared (ok, no..it’s a courier), looking for a guy named Yang Sang-man. Ji-hoon lied that’s him and took the parcel meant for Mr Yang. Turns out, the parcel contained the same novel. And the handwriting on the envelope was the same which Mr Student picked up.
Police were called in and so was Team Ten (minus Do-sik?! where the hell is my pitbull detective??). Min-ho and Ye-ri reviewed the cctv of the post office(s) which delivered the parcels and a cloaked man in hats, gloves and sunglasses (ya, we get it, you wanna appear INVISIBLE) was seen to deliver the parcels.
Ji-hoon and Mr Student talked to the building owner where the crime scene was located. The room was rented and paid fully in cash, the owner couldn’t be bothered about the tenant since s/he had no rent owing…so basically owner couldn’t furnish much info. So Ji-hoon and Mr Student left to re examine the professor’s office, leaving Ye-ri, to scout out the crime scene in her usual oddball ways.
At the professor’s office, Ji-hoon noticed that a book seemed to be missing on the professor’s shelf. The last number the professor called on his phone was 011-992-1131, which was an invalid number. A lottery ticket was in the wastepaper basket, with some numbers circled in red on it. But those numbers were not winning numbers for ANY weeks. (ok, so these are the CLUEssss)
Cue back to Ye-ri, who decided to immerse herself in the vic’s lifestyle to find out more about him/her. She sat in the old rocking chair and noticed that the magazines on the table were those published in the early 90s, the TV set and fridge were old models, and there was even a Basic Instinct poster on the wall. Behind the poster was more blood splatters. Unless the murderer pasted the poster to hide the blood splatter (logically, it is useless..there are MASSIVE amount of blood on the floor, walls, etc..remember?)…the crime scene is not a crime scene at all. It is a STAGE, set in 1992.
Ye-ri relayed the info to Ji-hoon and Ji-hoon had an eureka moment when realised that string of (fake) tel number pointed to a police case file — 1992 – 011131. Back to the office and Min-ho to dig out that case file. (and i am missing Do-sik…where art thou?)
Case file 1992 – 011131: Pimp Yang Sang-man and a rival, Jung Nam-soon, quarrelled over territory and resulted in Yang being butchered, chopped, and tied together with fishing tack to fit into a suitcase, which was then thrown out into a lake. (of course suitcases resurfaced…there’s carbon monoxide/dioxide released during decomposition..why do murderers NEVER realise that?).The professor (then a detective) was in charge of the case, and he closed it in 2 days time by proving that Jung Nam-soon was lying about his alibi (he said he was fishing). The evidence of the crime scene eerily mirrorred what were also found at the staged crime scene.
Team Ten and Mr Student returned to the staged crime scene, and noted there were 2 differences between the staged scene and the photos from the police file. A lady heeled slip-on instead of a man’s thonged slipper was found. And the bag of fishing equipment contained equipment meant for deep sea fishing, not freshwater (lake) fishing. (seems to me that whoever staged the crime scene is giving out the message that the professor had accused the wrong guy way back in 1992).
Needless to say, this also meant that the professor was corrupted. The next piece of evidence which surfaced was a suitcase found in a lake. And since this was also a piece of staged evidence, it didn’t contain a body…but it had a female wig, a dress (with a number pin (#4), usually for prostitutes), a pair of red slip-ons (same as the one found at the staged crime scene), and a knife. With all these evidence suddenly popping out on its own, it was natural to assume that the convicted “murderer” planned this. Too bad, he was still in jail and would only be released a few weeks later. So then…WHO planted and planned all these?!
Comically, Min-ho volunteered to dig for information at the brothel (lol). He TRIED to add gruff and street wise like Do-sik, but failed — miserably. The prostitute he was interviewing literally had him tied round her pinky. (lol) But he did managed to get the information he wanted. The number tag #4 is usually worn by a girl who is popular and thus a pimp’s favourite money tree. The woman who wore #4 in the 90s was named Kim Soon-ae. Her pimp was Yang Sang-man. But she had migrated to the States 20 years ago, after the death of her pimp.
Ji-hoon immediately thought back to the mysterious lady who attended the professor’s funeral, and set Min-ho off to locate her. Ji-hoon went to interview Jang Nam-soon, and said he knew the professor framed him for a crime he didn’t commit. Jang Nam-soon claimed he no longer felt any hatred towards the professor. In fact, he had taken to metal crafting to take his mind off revenge. (how zen…) Ji-hoon, who was no stranger to revenge, did not believe Jang Nam-soon would let an injustice go so easily.
Meanwhile, Ye-ri was riffling through the mails which Jang Nam-soon received from the outside world, and noticed there were many mails in the same handwriting of the novel sender. Jang Nam-soon also had the same novel delivered to him. Was Jang’s penpal murderering by proxy? If so, then the next logical target would be Kim Soon-ae, the woman at the center of the whole lie.
Team Ten managed to locate Kim Soon-ae, who was safe (for now?). Ji-hoon confronted her and told her to come clean. She was the one who murdered Yang Sang-man, right?
And so, this was Kim Soon-ae’s story. She was a young prostitute then, very popular with men, and so Yang Sang-man’s favourite. Too bad, she was not careful and got herself pregnant. She knew that her pimp will not let her “retire” as claimed, if she agreed to an abortion. She knew that her “sisters” who were pregnant were murdered viciously when they tried to escape. So she had no choice, but to kill Yang. She was willing to own up to the crime, but the professor took pity on her and decided to push the blame on another pimp – Jang Nam-soon. She left for the States shortly and her child had now grown up. (it is not explicitly stated, but i think professor is the father of the child)
Ji-hoon and Team set off to find the mysterious pen pal of Jang’s.Ye-ri and Min-ho interviewed an ex prison inmate who used to share the same cell as Jang, He recalled that Jang had asked him to mail an item to somebody when he was released. Turns out…the “somebody” was the penpal. But, the address of the penpal…is professor’s office. Ji-hoon assumed that the item was a handcrafted gun (not surprising, since Jang is good at metalworks). But he was wrong. The item was a statue of a feather.
Back in the professor’s office, Ji-hoon took up the feather statue and discovered a handwritten note from Jang underneath. So the whole story clicked into place: the professor staged the crime scene to allow Kim to escape with their (?) child, but he was tormented with guilt as he knew he had sentenced an innocent man to imprisonment. He approached Jang in the guise of a penpal, and encouraged Jang to find reason to live. (imo, hypocritical) Jang, with the penpal’s advice, took up metalworks and really found peace in his creations. When the professor received the feather (a symbol of lightness, being freed from guilt/burden/hatred), he felt doubly guilty. (ironic) And decided then and there, to end his life as a form of punishment.
The professor left his bike for Ji-hoon, and a cryptic message to “follow and retrace his steps”. So off Ji-hoon went and re-visited the same resturant, same barber and same shoe shiner the professor went to on his last day. He recognised the shoe shiner as the man who had been mailing the packages to Jang. Turns out, the professor had engaged his help and also told him if anyone rode his bike in, to pass the person a thumb drive.
The thumb drive contained a video image of the professor, who congratulated Ji-hoon for solving the case. (he has so much faith in his star student) The professor then goes on to show how he will stage his own suicide, and make it that teeny bit suspicious so that Ji-hoon will latch on to it.
Jang was finally released from prison, and Ji-hoon let him meet Kim Soon-ae. On the side, Ye-ri looked on and was uncomfortably reminded of “F”, and how Ji-hoon had wrongly assumed that “F” was now caught and in prison.
First off, where’s Do-sik? It feels kinda incomplete that Ten team is missing their best detective. I think it could be Kim Sang-ho’s schedule happened to clash with the drama filming, so the production team skipped him for the episode. (yeah, he will be back, don’t worry).
The professor suicide story is way tame in comparison with the gory opening of Ten 1. Nevertheless, the themes of revenge and guilt wraps up the “F” storyline nicely. Ji-hoon is someone totally consumed by revenge and he is willing to go to all lengths, even if it means incriminating himself, to catch “F”. So for him to meet Jang, a man who was accused of a crime he didn’t commit, is like holding a mirror up to himself — but with an alternative ending. Like Ji-hoon, Jang has perfect reasons to take revenge on the person who falsely accuse him of a crime, however, he chose not to pursue and found an inner peace instead. In contrast, Ji-hoon set out to hunt down the murderer of his fiancee, and in the process turned himself into a semi-monster. Of course Ji-hoon will never be able to understand how Jang can just let things go, thus he actually had a mini freakout when he realised Jang was NOT the murderer and the professor really committed suicide.