We continue from ep3’s story of the missing driver on the highway, which has morphed into a tale of double kidnappings…and more.
Synopsis (Missing on the Highway: Justice cont.):
After evading capture by the police, fugitive Tae-joo hides himself in an unused store room, and pours alcohol over the wounds he received while escaping. The kidnapper calls again, and Tae-joo begs him to release his kid and asks him what is his relationship to Chae-lin. The kidnapper ignores Tae-joo’s questions and asks instead whether Tae-joo has alerted the police, since they are now at his house. Frightened, Tae-joo stammers no. The kidnapper informs Tae-joo that his wife will receive a “pleasant surprise” in the mail today, and hangs up.
Back at Tae-joo’s house, the police are on high alert, waiting for the kidnapper to call. The phone rings and Dae-young motions for Mrs Han to pick it up only after the police secured the connection. Mrs Han picks up the phone…
…and it’s Tae-joo on the line. He asks immediately whether she had received any parcel today. Mrs Han says no, but the doorbell dings. While Mrs Han goes out to sign off the parcel, Dae-young picks up the phone and tries to persuade Tae-joo to give himself up. Juz then, Mrs Han screams offscreen.
She has received a bundle of hair from the kidnapper. S/he has also took a pic of the baby’s (Yoo-bin) shaved head. Included in the parcel is a warning letter not to let Tae-joo give himself up to the police. Mrs Han yells at Tae-joo (the phone is still in Dae-young’s hands, btw) to run and not confess. Tae-joo hangs up immediately.
Back at M’s base, Soo-hyun and Seo-joon start their investigation on Chae-lin. They review the TV news programme which shows the video of Chae-lin committing suicide — by setting herself on fire. (yikes) Soo-hyun suddenly asks what time was the news programme on TV. Surprised, Seo-joon answers it starts at noon. Soo-hyun then points out the obvious — on the footage provided to the news station, the CCTV showing a Chae-lin on fire states that it’s 11am. So someone muz have sneaked out the footage and gave it to the news station within the hour.
To investigate further, Soo-hyun makes a trip down to the police station which handled Chae-lin’s suicide. The detective assured Soo-hyun that the CCTV they had is the un-edited version. However, Soo-hyun finds the shooting angle of the CCTV shown in the news report vs the CCTV the police has is different. He suspects that someone may have recorded Chae-lin’s death on another camera and gave that copy to the news station. Seo-joon calls, she manages to retrieve some old photos from Chae-lin’s Facebook — she appeared to be rather chummy with Tae-joo.
In order to prove his point that only an insider can manage to send the video footage to the news station, Soo-hyun invites the Police Comm to the pharmaceutical company’s (heavily guarded) building. The security guards are pretty confident that with that number of cameras around the building, nobody can leave or enter it without being spotted — until Soo-hyun does juz that. He travels down from the rooftop to the lobby, without appearing in a single CCTV. Soo-hyun later shares with the Police Comm that he also discovers that Chae-lin has already started burning even before she strikes the lighter. He strongly suspects Chae-lin was murdered. The Police Comm gives permission to reopen the case.
A visit to Dr Kang and several gruesome burnt body pics later, Soo-hyun learns that Chae-lin muz either already have something extremely flammable on her, or she was standing on something that ignites very fast. Cos the flames spread upwards to her throat and face within seconds, literally burning off her airway. Soo-hyun revisits the rooftop of the pharmaceutical building and retraces Chae-lin’s steps, where she purposely chose to stand on a round platform in a grass patch. He also remembers her anxiously looking at the clock on the wall, as if expecting someone, or waiting for something.
Dae-young, meanwhile, continues his investigation on Tae-joo and his link to the kidnapper. He believes that Tae-joo’s house muz be rigged with a spy cam, since the kidnapper knew when the couple would return home in order to present them with his teddy bear bomb scare. One of the officers manages to find a hidden camera within a framed baby shower’s gift. Dae-young traces the gift to a specialised giftshop. The owner claims that they do not give out such presents, but Dae-young says that the limousine driver hired by the giftshop had presented it to Mrs Han. The owner then remembers that he used to have a part time driver by the name of Park Jung-myung, who worked only for a week and quit. The period of his employment coincides with the time Mrs Han received the baby shower gift for Yoo-bin’s first month celebration. Dae-young mutters to himself that the picture on Jung-myung’s CV looks really familiar…but he can’t remember where he has seen it.
We cut to a scene where a man hurriedly packs 2 vials of liquid (used for injections) into a bag. Offscreen, a man calls for “Teacher Kim”. “Teacher Kim” dumps the bag into his locker…where he keeps a red clown suit.
Driving back to M base, Dae-young keeps going back to Jung-myung. After some investigations, he realises the name/ details on the CV are faked. Juz then, a truck cuts his lane and Dae-young swears that he will put the driver in jail — cos he notices no license plate on the truck. But the truck also triggers a memory: Dae-young remembers where he has seen Jung-myung — he is that truck driver who reported Tae-joo missing from his black car.
Dae-young relays the info back to Seo-joon, to ask her to dig up the police statements. Seo-joon reports in a conference call that the truck driver is a Kim Min-jae, who grew up in Hope Orphanage, is ex-military but quit his post 3 years ago. Current whereabouts unknown. The trio deduce that Min-jae must have set Tae-joo and the whole kidnapping shenigan up in order to alert the police to re-investigate Chae-lin’s death.
Seo-joon continues to dig around online for information on Chae-lin, and manages to find out that Chae-lin had filed a complaint in the past for unfair employment practices. According to the report (which was later dropped by her parents), Chae-lin claimed that the pharmaceutical company has ostracised her and made her work alone handling data entry in their warehouse — when she has a degree in Pharmacy. Soo-hyun visits the union office, where the officer reveals that Chae-lin’s parents have asked to close the case because Tae-joo produced “incriminating” evidence of Chae-lin “offering sexual favours” to her bosses for promotion. That piece of “evidence” is a video of Chae-lin performing a raunchy striptease. Tae-joo had pointedly requested for Chae-lin parents’ presence during negotiations, and had warned them he will broadcast the video on the company’s official channels in order to “alert” other male bosses who had received “similar invites”. Livid with rage and embarrassment, Chae-lin’s parents choose to protect their daughter’s modesty and close the complaint case.
Soo-hyun pays a visit to Chae-lin’s psychiatrist who has treated her for depression. The psychiatrist claims that Chae-lin voluntarily stops the treatment as she was pregnant.
At M’s base, Dae-young and Seo-joon review the videos which the kidnapper (Min-jae) sent to Mrs Han daily. Seo-joon picks out a bank calendar on the wall and Dae-young sees a reflection of several other kids in the background on the silver balloon hanging over Yoo-bin’s cot. Seo-joon decides to narrow down the location where Min-jae is holding Yoo-bin using these clues. Dae-young urges Seo-joon to hurry, as he has a gut feeling that Min-jae is planning something else.
Tae-joo, meanwhile, receives another call from Min-jae. He breaks down and wails that he will do whatever the kidnapper wants and even claims responsibility for Chae-lin’s death, if the kidnapper can return Yoo-bin. Min-jae agrees to release Yoo-bin if Tae-joo can persuade Chairman Yoo to confess to murdering Chae-lin at the IR (Investor Relations) Meet tomorrow.
While searching for the locatino where Min-jae is holding Yoo-bin, Seo-joon discovers the link Min-jae has with the pharmaceutical company. Some years ago, 3 children had died after receiving a flu vaccine from the company. One of the kids was Min-jae’s son. Upon receiving this information, Soo-hyun goes to the prosecutor’s office for more details. The prosecutor in charge of the case claims that an employee had secretly reported that the vaccine had used an unapproved drug, which was the cause for the kids’ deaths…and not a “production line fault” as claimed by the company. The witness also claimed to have collected sufficient evidence (2 bottles of the poisonous vaccine) to indict the company. However, on the day where the prosecutor was supposed to meet this witness to retrieve the evidence, s/he didn’t turn up. Eventually the case was closed, unresolved. Soo-hyun asks for the meeting date — it coincides with the day Chae-lin was murdered.
Soo-hyun guesses that Chae-lin could be that witness, and was silenced. M team also deduces that Min-jae is not only bringing up Chae-lin’s murder, but also the pharmaceutical company’s malpractice. In which case, Yoo-bin and Chairman Yoo’s son (Se-joon) are in danger, since they are not the “tool” for revenge, but the “goal” for the revenge mission.
Finally, Seo-joon tracks down the location where Yoo-bin may be held. It is an orphanage operated by one of Min-jae’s ex-soldier friend.
Tae-joo calls Chairman Yoo (who is in a cab), trying to persuade him to go along with the kidnapper’s order — to confess their crimes at tomorrow’s IR. Tae-joo threatens that if Chairman Yoo doesn’t agree, he will harm Se-joon. But Chairman Yoo retorts that he knows Tae-joo has lost Se-joon, and refuses to help. He hangs up. But we see that Chairman Yoo has also received a separate instruction from Min-jae — to follow another set of orders, if not, Se-joon will be killed.
Chairman Yoo stops the cab in front of an orphanage, and walks in…to the same room where Yoo-bin is held. (uh-oh) He picks up a vial of liquid (a flu vaccine… THAT poisonous vaccine) and injects it into Yoo-bin…
…while Tae-joo watches and wails in despair. He had received a video call from Min-jae when Chairman Yoo walks into the room and witnessed the murder of his own son.
The police reach the orphange (after Chairman Yoo had already done his dirty deed and left), to find a crying (and feverish) Yoo-bin there. But no Min-jae. He’d escaped beforehand.
Seo-joon sends a string of text over to Dae-young/Soo-hyun. The pharmaceutical company has violated individual privacy rights, as Chairman Yoo and Tae-joo had installed a spy software in their employees’ laptops. Thus, they were already aware that Chae-lin was the witness who was about to report them to the proesecutor. In a private chatroom, Tae-joo had asked Chae-lin to go up to the rooftop and stand on the assigned spot for a few minutes. In return, he would return the strip tease video he had swiped from her phone earlier. Chae-lin had did juz that, and Chairman Yoo had ignited the platform remotely as Tae-joo had set up another camera to record Chae-lin’s movements. However, Tae-joo was filled with remorse for being an unwitting accomplice to Chae-lin’s murder; he took that video to the news station, hoping to expose Chairman Yoo. (which didn’t happen, since police classified the case as suicide)
The police manage to trace Min-jae’s car to the hospital — where he delivers an unharmed Se-joon to Chairman Yoo, and allows himself to be arrested. However, Min-jae chooses not to speak during the interrogation. Dae-young correctly guesses that Min-jae doesn’t need to be outside to carry out his revenge anymore, cos Tae-joo will follow-up from there. Min-jae smiles in response, and starts telling Dae-young a little of his backstory. His girlfriend (Chae-lin) was pregnant during the time he was posted to Iraq for duty, but on his return, he lost his son to the poisoned vaccine and later, Chae-lin. (btw, the sexy striptease? methinks the recipient is Min-jae, while he was on duty in Iraq)
Tae-joo calls Ji-soo (his one-time mistress and Chairman Yoo’s secretary) to bring his locker keys to him. Both of them manage to succssfully fool the detectives tailing Ji-soo, until Soo-hyun realises their trick. By now, Tae-joo has opened his locker and retrieved a USB drive. He hears Soo-hyun approaching, and squishes himself into a cabinet to hide.
Soo-hyun notices the opened locker, and guesses that Tae-joo is nearby…he approaches the cabinet…and a phone rings…
…it’s Soo-hyun’s phone. Dr Kang calls to tell him of the poisoned vaccine compounds. (we don’t get to hear what it is) Soo-hyun chooses not to expose Tae-joo juz yet and walks away.
After interrogating Min-jae, Dae-young’s underlings approach him with the clown suit and other personal items collected from Min-jae’s locker. Suddenly Dae-young remembers something — he rushes back to the interrogation room and confronts Min-jae. Dae-young points out that during the time Min-jae and Tae-joo are both at the cemetary for hostage exchange, Mrs Han had received another video on her phone. Min-jae can’t be at 2 places at the same time, there muz be an accomplice. Min-jae smiles, and refuses to answer.
And Min-jae’s accomplice is none other than Ji-soo, who approaches Mrs Yoo to bring Se-joon for a checkup. (ohno…)
The IR Meet convenes, and Chairman Yoo promotes the new miracle drug meant for diabetics. Only to have Tae-joo barge in, shouting that it’s all a scam. There is no drug being developed, and the company is the reds — he has the records in the USB to prove it. Juz as Tae-joo is dragged away by the security and Dae-young’s team, the screen flashes to show Ji-soo holding Se-joon. Chairman Yoo yells at her to stop, but Ji-soo insists that Chairman Yoo confesses his crime — releasing an untested vaccine and causing the deaths of 3 innocent children. Chairman Yoo brushes the children’s deaths aside as “pure bad luck” to allay the growing concerns from the investors. However that angered Ji-soo.
She gets ready a needle to inject the poisoned vaccine into Se-joon (while Chairman Yoo flails and screams around in panic)…but before she can do so, Soo-hyun rushes in. He has noticed earlier that Ji-soo is likely in a room within the same hotel which is hosting the IR Meet. However, instead of stopping Ji-soo, Soo-hyun goads her on — even though Ji-soo clearly is having second thoughts about killing Se-joon.
Frustrated, Soo-hyun grabs the needle from Ji-soo’s hands, intending to inject the contents into Se-joon himself. Ji-soo screams in horror. Dae-young arrives in the nick of time to restrain Soo-hyun. Soo-hyun explains coolly that Dr Kang has informed him that the “vaccines” have been swopped out for vitamin shots.
All our baddies (Min-jae, Ji-soo, Chairman Yoo and Tae-joo) are arrested on charges of kidnapping, murder and general mayhem. Seeing that Tae-joo looks really miserable, Dae-young informs him that Yoo-bin is ok — he received only a vitamin shot, and not the poisoned vaccine.
Back at M’s base after the case’s closure, the trio complete their case reports. Out of boredom, Dae-young starts reviewing the CCTV footage of Soo-hyun in the locker room (where Tae-joo had hidden). He is shocked that Soo-hyun chose to walk away, even though he knew Tae-joo was in the room. However, Dae-young doesn’t confront Soo-hyun about it, and lets the incident slides — for now.
Heh, the surprise element in M extends even to the tiniest details. I am referring to the tel calls — earlier we assumed the kidnapper will call Mrs Han, but no, it’s Tae-joo. Then again later when a phone rings while Tae-joo cowers in the cabinet…only it’s Soo-hyun’s phone. But the cleverest twist is truck driver Min-jae turning from an one-off witness, to playing the perpetuator. Such careful planning of twists and turns means the viewer really needs to pay attention to not only the action on screen, but also the dialogue. Brilliantly crafted storylines, imo.
I also find Soo-hyun rather interesting. He has been popping pills before confronting the criminals — as though those pills are suppressants for his inherent violent tendencies. Although he knows Ji-soo is holding onto a vitamin charged syringe, his behaviour is still rather scary. He actually seems to enjoy taunting the criminals and pushing them over the edge. In fact, I think Dae-young has started noticing too. Previous case, Soo-hyun purposely delays shooting Min-chul and Seok-gyu, as though he wants to watch a drama unfold. This time, Dae-young witnesses Soo-hyun’s excitement at pushing Ji-soo into a corner and later walking away from Tae-joo’s hidey hole. (and let’s not forget Soo-hyun’s slight smile when he chooses to not expose Tae-joo)
Is Soo-hyun addicted to violence? Is that the reason why he was kicked out of FBI? M will likely give us more clues down the road.