It’s the familiarly ugly BTS of the glitzy, glamorous world known as Showbiz.
A high school student mugs for her final exams, and her friend messages her a soundtrack of a popular song “Rebirth“that is going viral around the net. The high schooler grows despondent as she finishes the track, and stands up abruptly from her cubicle.
She calmly walks to the window of the library…and jumps.
Elsewhere, Rebirth is gaining attention as a “suicide-song” (very much like The Ring). Many who heard it lose their minds and end up killing themselves. Cheo-yong’s team gets handed the case by Inspector Kang. Ha-yoon breezes in juz as the guys (some of whom have heard Rebirth) are discussing the case. Ha-yoon, who is totally unaware her skin tight biker’s clothing is getting some bug-eyes from the guys, chips in that the suicide victims may already have pre-existing problems that are exacerbated by Rebirth‘s lyrics.
The team prepares to interview the singer of Rebirth — a singer turned actress, Yoon Se-ya [kooriyuki: hey it’s Ji-won the horrible from Warm And Cozy!] — when they received news that Se-ya has gone missing. At Se-ya’s home (which she shares with her chaebol boyfriend), Ha-yoon spots signs of a quarrel. Se-ya’s boyfriend admits to having a heated argument before Se-ya left for a press conference (supposedly to deal with the rumours of Rebirth being cursed), but he claims that they made up before she left.
However, a few hours later, Se-ya’s CEO call him to ask him if he has seen Se-ya. She didn’t turn up for the press con. That’s when he starts to worry that Se-ya has been kidnapped. Se-ya’s CEO (CEO Yoo) makes his appearance at Se-ya’s home juz then, and berates Se-ya’ manager for not looking after her.
The CCTV of the basement carpark reveals Se-ya being taken away by a man. The police easily unearths the identity of the kidnapper as one Chu Jun-su: Se-ya’s fan who had been arrested once for stalking her. At the same time, Cheo-yong notices that Se-ya’s car has tell tale signs of being driven out from the carpark, even though her boyfriend claims she hardly uses the car nowadays.
Jun-su’s hideout is discovered on the same night. (so efficient!) Cheo-yong and team prepares to break-in and rescue Se-ya. Na-young volunteers to walk through the walls to recce the place first. When Cheo-yong hears her screams, he discards all stealth and bashes down the door. They find Jun-su’s corpse in the apartment.
The pathologist tells Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon (+ Na-young) that Jun-su has been stabbed with a blunt weapon repeatedly, but showed no signs of struggle before death. Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon are puzzled — does it mean that Jun-su has been drugged? But no traces of alcohol/ drugs are found in Jun-su’s blood.
Cheo-yong follows up on the second lead: Se-ya car’s last known location. The GPS leads them to a deserted area with a path to a building marked by an angel stone plaque. After Cheo-yong, Ha-yoon (and Na-young) get down from the car, strange things begin to happen.
The windscreen wipers activate themselves, and Rebirth blares from the car’s radio. Dried leaves begin to swirl in an unnatural pattern towards the area where the stone plaque is located. And yes, a ghostly figure stands where the leaves are floating to. (though only Na-young + Cheo-yong see her)
Spooked, but unable to figure out what the apparition wants, the team returns to finding clues the usual (aka via the humans) way. Cheo-yong re-interviews CEO Yoo to find out more about Se-ya and also to update him on the death of suspect Jun-su. During their conversation, Na-young spots a shadowy figure eavesdropping on the conversation, and tries to trail after the eavesdropper. She loses him in the Planning Dept, but decides to hang around to see if she can spot him/her.
Na-young finally finds her man — but he turns out to be a normal gossip monger, who recounts to his colleagues what he has overheard from the CEO’s office about Se-ya. Seems like Se-ya’s career is bugged by a series of bad luck. Whenever she appears on stage to act/ promote her album, mishaps happen. A lighting prop will come off, she gets into minor accidents, etc. Rumours begin to spread that she is “cursed”. And her recent disappearance (as reported by gossip monger) adds fuel to this belief.
Miffed that she wasted her time, Na-young is about to poof back to the station to rejoin Cheo-yong when she spots the same apparition. The ghost beckons her to the recording studio, where Rebirth begins to play. Juz then, CEO Yoo appears. The ghost disappears, but Na-young witnesses CEO Yoo snapping a CD in half and throwing it into the trashcan. The cleaning lady appears not long after, and empties the trashcan.
Certain that the CD contains a vital clue, Na-young hurries back to the station. However Cheo-yong is still otw back from interviewing CEO Yoo. Remembering that the shaman had told her that possessing Ha-yoon can only happen once a week (how convenient), Na-young decides to try her luck. And yes, Ha-yoon gets possessed.
In Ha-yoon’s body, Na-young mobilises the team to hurry to the trash collection point in Se-ya’s company to search for the broken CD. Cheo-yong arrives not long after, and recognises Na-young (in Ha-yoon guise) immediately. But he too, looks for the CD…and finds it.
Tae-gwang assures everyone that he can repair the damaged CD and retrieve the contents. However, the CD contains only a high-res version of Rebirth. Disappointed, the team decides to re-focus on Jun-su. Juz then, Cheo-yong receives a call from Manager Do (CEO’s right hand man). He claims that he witnessed CEO Yoo and Jun-su in a heated discussion at the carpark on the night before Se-ya’s disappearance.
Cheo-yong goes through the carpark’s CCTV and verifies Manager Do’s claims. Tae-gwang stands up from his desk and accidentally hits the Play button on his mediaplayer. A garbled version of Rebirth blares out. Tae-gwang apologises and says he has reversed the soundtrack. The team asks him to play back the weird sounding track again and begin to spot a new set of lyrics, where the “singer” pleads to be released from the “prison of stone Angels”…
The new clue leads everyone to think of the stone angels plaque where Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon (+ Na-young) visited recently. They troop to the abandoned building behind the stone plaque…juz as CEO Yoo steps into a similar looking warehouse with Se-ya tied to a chair.
Of course they are at different locations: Cheo-yong taps on the walls of the buildings and discovers a section that sounds hollow. He takes a hammer to it and reveals a body buried under the cement and bricks. Forensics confirms that the body belongs to Kim Yeon-jin, and she has been buried alive.
In Yeon-jin’s wallet (found on her), Ha-yoon shows Cheo-yong a selca: Yeon-jin and Se-ya were friends. In Yeon-jin’s stomach, the pathologist retrieves a badly corroded SD card.
Meanwhile, CEO Yoo wakes up tied and bloodied on a chair. His assailant is none other than Manager Do.
Background checks on Yeon-jin reveal that she and Se-ya were once trainees under CEO Yoo’s company. However, 6 years ago, she disappeared. The team believes that CEO Yoo probably killed both girls, since Se-ya’s boyfriend also claimed that CEO Yoo had been pressuring Se-ya over her re-contract. During a midnight raid on CEO Yoo’s office, Ha-yoon also discovers a possible murder weapon used on Jun-su. However, Cheo-yong feels that CEO Yoo can’t be the perpetuator.
We cut to CEO Yoo…besides Manager Do, another figure walks in — it’s Se-ya. She calmly explains why she instructed Manager Do to kidnap him — cos CEO Yoo had told Se-ya to own up to not being the original singer for Rebirth and all her previous albums…
Similarly, this is what Cheo-yong suspected. He asks the team to compare Rebirth’s singer with Se-ya’s voice — the results show that both belong to different people. The pathologist calls Cheo-yong and tells him that she has given Jun-su further checks as per his instructions. Jun-su’s brain reveals an unnatural level of insulin … his murderer had injected him with an insulin overdose before stabbing him. And Manager Do (whose shaky hands and strong chocolate breath) is a Type 1 Diabetic. Pretending to report on Se-ya’s case and CEO Yoo’s involvement, Ha-yoon manages to trace Manager Do’s handphone location.
Back to Se-ya and CEO Yoo: CEO Yoo sneers that Manager Do has been made used of. Juz like how Se-ya had made use of Yeon-jin and cast her aside. Manager Do is shocked at CEO Yoo’s mention of Yeon-jin — he assumed Yeon-jin had left for the States 6 years ago. Se-ya smiles coolly and explains that no, she had murdered Yeon-jin.
As we know, Yeon-jin and Se-ya were trainees under CEO Yoo. However, CEO Yoo favoured Se-ya cos she is prettier, and decided to boost her fame by making her a all-rounded singer-actress. Unfortunately, singing is Yeon-jin’s forte. So CEO Yoo made Yeon-jin the “background” singer for all Se-ya’s albums — basically, it’s Yeon-jin’s voice, but Se-ya’s face that gets printed (and sold) on the album cover.
Angered that this arrangement keeps prolonging, Yeon-jin decides to reveal the truth to the media. Se-ya of course, feels threatened. On the evening before Yeon-jin is to meet with a reporter, Se-ya pretends to agree to the interview, and offers a drink as a conciliatory gesture. Yeon-jin drinks the juice and keels over, barely conscious but not dead. She struggles to retrieve the SD card of a videocam nearby while Se-ya makes a call to CEO Yoo.
Se-ya tearfully explains to CEO Yoo that she has “no choice” but to “do that” to Yeon-jin, if not, the company (and more likely, herself) will go down in flames. CEO Yoo agrees to help Se-ya dispose of Yeon-jin. Juz as Se-ya completes her story, Manager Do keels over clutching his throat — like Yeon-jin, he has been poisoned by Se-ya, after his “usefulness” expired. Se-ya then pours gasoline over both CEO Yoo and Manager Do, and is about to throw a light on to them when the police appear.
The police are unable to shoot cos of the 2 hostages, so Na-young tries to blow out the lighter’s flames. She actually succeeds. However, something catches Se-ya’s eyes — it’s Yeon-jin. Yeon-jin walks menacingly towards Se-ya, and the latter drops the lighter and starts screaming her head off. Cheo-yong and team step forward to arrest the 3.
Imprisoned, Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon show Se-ya the contents of the SD card which Yeon-jin swallowed prior to her losing consciousness. It detailed the happier memories when both girls were in their early teens and juz entered CEO Yoo’s company as trainees. However, it also had incriminating footage of when Se-ya poisoned Yeon-jin. Se-ya, however, is unrepentant and blames Yeon-jin for her “forcing her hand.”
Epilogue: Remember that annoying Do-hyeon from ep3 who got away scot free? He gets kidnapped one night by this bunch of mysterious vigilantes, who serve justice on him, and hang him.
Inspector Kang meanwhile, is investigating another case — from ep2, where a man is captured and tortured by some mobsters (?)
Really, what took Cheo-yong so long to realise that Se-ya may not be the “original” singer of Rebirth? But Ha-yoon raised one interesting qns at the end of ep4: who was the one who released Rebirth on the internet? Clearly CEO Yoo and Se-ya have no interest in reviving Se-ya’s “singing” career, since the original singer is dead.
If it was Yeon-jin who somehow managed to defy ghostly impediments (remember how difficult it is for Na-young/ Soon-ae to even lift a piece of paper?), then she muz be a super ghost. My guess though is the group of shadowy vigilantes who somehow caught wind of Yeon-jin’s murder and wanted the fact known. And they may be the same group whom Inspector Kang is pursuing.
At least, if it IS them, we don’t get the annoying demon mastermind from Cheo-yong I who is, imo, a laughably lame excuse of a puppeteer.