It is indeed a tangled web of deception in a seedy network of vested interests. I don't think that was ever much doubt from Day 1 who were involved in the cover-up of the murder of art college student, Yoo Jin-su. The guilty parties were named early and they mobilized in unseemly haste with tried and true obstructionist tactics to ensure that the truth behind the 5 year old murder would stay buried. In fact, the biggest mystery seems to be identity of the one who sent the surveillance video that gives Lee Dae-chul his alibi and is the catalyst to the reinvestigation. The timing is certainly interesting and it does beg the question... to what end? Considering what this show is about and where it's going, I have trouble believing that the sender is motivated by altruistic concerns.
Of course I don't think any of us believed for one moment that the "bad guys" would be resting on their laurels doing nothing while others were busy trying to uncover their secrets. It's a dirty business and as long as there are those willing to make a fast buck, dirt can be thrown around to discourage those who are seeking the truth.
I am sure Kang Do-chang knows exactly what consequences await him at the end of this journey. He doesn't need Yoon Sang-mi to point out the ramifications. He's thrown down the gauntlet and by stirring up this hornet's nest, he is setting himself up to be ostracized by the rest of the force because he is putting the entire organization under the spotlight for professional misconduct. In an ideal world he would be hailed a hero for standing up for his principles, for the little guy and for justice. But this is not an ideal world and key individuals within the law and justice system aren't motivated by the rule of law. There's also some ambiguity regarding Oh Ji-hyuk's pummeling of Eun-hye's pimp, Park Hong-du to get him to cough up information. Does the end justifies the means? At least in the mind of Ji-hyuk when the stakes are high and the bad guys are playing dirty he seems willing to cross the line. But then he too has nothing much to lose and he's in a race against time.
To a large extent Do-chang's biggest battle is not a legal or investigative one. As I've said previously, this is a show about people and what drives them to act in specific ways. Individuals have a rational and irrational side that come into play when backed into a corner. This is in part why even the best laid plans can come unstuck. Of course it's easy enough to manipulate someone into doing your bidding. Or talk them into it. But it's just as easy for someone else or a different set of circumstances to come along and unravel all of that. That's the unpredictable side of a conspiracy. At times it's a case of pushing all the right buttons to get the right reactions.
That was the case with the late Detective Jang Jin-su's widow who was in all likelihood dragged into the fray by Team Leader Nam. There's no pretence on her part that she's a grieving widow. All she probably cares about is dead detective's good reputation and whatever compensation came out of his demise from the line of duty. So in her case, she would do anything to protect that income stream even if it means throwing Nam Guk-hyun under the bus.
In this episode more facts about Yoo Jin-su came to light during the defence counsel's presentation of
the newly acquired evidence. The link between the deceased and Lee Dae-chul was (to my memory) established via the testimony of her college friend who wasn't included in the original investigation. It seems that Lee Dae-chul's daughter Eun-hye is actually a talented artist herself and her father was trying to get advice about how he could support her daughter's talent. It was a tragic piece of revelation considering what might have been for Eun-hye if her father had not been implicated in a crime he didn't commit. But perhaps there's still hope for her if Lee Dae-chul is found innocent and they get some kind of compensation for what they've had to suffer.
The tenuous relationship between Oh Jang-tae and the now Justice Minister Yoo Jung-Ryul via his brother Yoo Jung-seok was given more space in this episode during his confirmation hearings. It's a fascinating cat and mouse game with each side maneuvering to prove that they have the upper hand in this dynamic. Oh Jang-tae is certainly no fool and he's nobody's pawn. We are led to believe that it's an expedient relationship that goes back many years from when Dad, Oh Jong-suh was still among the living. I have no doubt that there's plenty of skeletons in that closet there's waiting to be uncovered by the willing. In fact I have my sights set on Dad and/or Oh Jang-tae for Ji-hyuk's father's murder. Jang-tae certainly made it no secret that he hates his cousin so I'm sure there's a hint of something sinister in the background.
My own view at this point in time is that Jang-tae killed Jin-su unintentionally so finding the killer is not really the aim of this game. The primary aim is to find enough evidence to get Lee Dae-chul off the hook and for the rest of us to understand the complex relationship between all the key players in this conspiracy.