In the third episode of Voice we finally get to know the truth behind the gruesome murder case from three years ago. Jin Hyeok has a hard time believing Kwon Joo’s words, but her story seems too real to be a lie. Before all of that, they still have a pending issue – saving Ah Ram from his psycho family, but their story is not what it seems to be on the surface.
The episode picks up where we left off last week – Jin Hyeok and the team continue their search for Ah Ram, after checking out the wrong house. Ah Ram’s mother finds him hiding in the washing machine. She drags him in the living room, screaming at him, while the kid pleads for forgiveness. Kwon Joo and Jin Hyeok can hear their screams.
Jin Hyeok urges Kwon Joo to say something since they’re running out of time. He asks what she heard earlier, mentioning a xylophone, but she can’t picture it. Jin Hyeok tells her that if Kwon Joo can find Ah Ram, he’ll save him no matter what. He encourages her to concentrate more, but she’s still unable to recognize the sound.
Ah Ram’s mom, still holding a knife, demands him to stop crying. Jin Hyeok asks Kwon Joo to drag some time, while they search. Just when Ah Ram’s mother is about to attack him, Kwon Joo says they know where she is. That stops the woman in her tracks. She panics, taking the phone from Ah Ram and asking who she’s talking to. Kwon Joo tells the woman that police officers are already on the way and will get to her soon, having tracked her phone’s location (that’s a lie, though).
Jin Hyeok and Dae Shik are looking around the neighborhood for anything that might produce a sound similar to that of a xylophone. They see a wind bell (chime) hanging on one of the balconies.
They hurry to ask the guard about that flat, but he’s nowhere to be found. Jin Hyeok notices ceramic wind bells on the desk. People have gathered near the guard’s booth, so Dae Shik asks them instead about the suspicious flat.
Local ajummas tell them that it’s Jae Yon’s mom’s flat, but she only has a daughter, who got admitted to the hospital a long time ago. Jin Hyeok remembers Ah Ram telling them about an older sister, who was very sick and was sent to a hospital. The facts seem to coincide with each other.
Back at the Emergency Center, Sang Pil tracked the location of Ah Ram’s phone and got a profile check of his mother. The woman works as a housekeeper, has three adopted kids. The first one died, the second one is in the hospital and the third one is Ah Ram. Jin Hyeok and others head out to the new-found place.
Kwon Joo addresses Ah Ram’s mom – Oh Soo Jin (I can finally call her by her name), trying to calm her down, but the woman is still aggressive, asking why they’re treating her like that when she did nothing wrong. Soo Jin did what she could for her kids, having fed and clothed them. She tries to strangle Ah Ram, but Kwon Joo manages to stop her by asking if Soo Jin had a similar experience in her childhood.
Kwon Joo asks Hyeon Ho to look into Soo Jin’s family history, thinking she might be adopted as well. She then proceeds to talk with the woman, saying she understands why Oh Suk’s voice sounded so scared. It’s because she’s having a hard time right now and suffering. That gets a reaction from Soo Jin, she gets hysterical, muttering that this’s how you’re supposed to raise your kids.
Hyeon Ho confirms that Soo Jin really was adopted, but they haven’t received the files yet, so there’s no additional information available, just that she changed quite a lot of foster families, having a mental illness. Kwon Joo immediately addresses Soo Jin, trying to connect with her. It works, as the tone of Soo Jin’s voice changes.
We get a flashback of Soo Jin’s childhood, where she tries to escape the house, her face severely beaten. She gets to the front door, but is too scared to leave. Little Soo Jin begs her father to spare her, but he raises a wooden stick to beat her with it.
Back in the present, Soo Jin is crying, after remembering her past. Kwon Joo tells her that Ah Ram is going through the same hell she once went through. If something happens to the kid, she’ll spend her life in jail, but if she turns herself in, Kwon Joo will help her during the police investigation. Soo Jin looks at Ah Ram, they both now crying. He tells her that it’s all his fault and even though she hurt him, he won’t tell her it hurts anymore. Soo Jin, finally realizing what she’s done, begs Kwon Joo to help her, sobbing and trying to stop the bleeding in Ah Ram’s wound.
Someone opens the front door and the camera focuses on the wind bell that has teeth attached to it. Hearing the wind chime Soo Jin starts to shake in horror. Kwon Joo hears the man come inside.
When Jin Hyeok and the team get to the apartment, they find Soo Jin sitting alone in the room. They search for Ah Ram, but he’s nowhere to be found and Soo Jin is not in the right state of mind to answer their questions. Kwon Joo urges them to search for the kid, thinking he was kidnapped just before they arrived.
Dae Shik gets information about Soo Jin’s husband. They go after him, but Kwon Joo says that information they got doesn’t add up. Soo Jin told them about an old man, but the picture of her husband showed a young one. Jin Hyeok is sure that the husband is the culprit, so he tells Kwon Joo to stay put and they’ll handle the rest. When she insists, he gets angry and yells at her to go and find the kid herself then, disconnecting the call.
Hyung Ho gets information about Soo Jin’s adopted father, who was a dentist at the time. Soo Jin gets arrested in front of her neighbors. Kwon Joo calls her to ask if it was really her husband, who took Ah Ram, but the woman refuses to say anything. Kwon Joo thinks it was a different person, because, based on his footsteps, the man was shorter and limping. Soo Jin panics and denies it. Even after hearing that it might be the last chance to save Ah Ram, she’s unable to say anything, being paralyzed with fear after seeing the man in the crowd.
Dae Shik gets information about Soo Jin being abused as a child. Her adopted father was a dentist, she was married but later divorced her husband. Jin Hyeok remembers the wind chime with teeth attached to it in Soo Jin’s apartment. There were wind chimes and a dental bur (or a similar dental tool) in the guard’s booth. Jin Hyeok tells Dae Shik to go catch the husband, while he goes back and checks another lead.
Soo Jin is shaking in fear, still refusing to say anything about the man who took Ah Ram. Kwon Joo tries to reason with her, saying the man is no longer related to her in any way. There is no reason to take the blame for his actions, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ditch him.
Jin Hyeok looks around the guard’s booth. The man arrives seconds later, asking how can he help the investigation. Jin Hyeok asks if Soo Jin’s parents had ever visited her, but the guard doesn’t remember. When asked where he came from just now, the guard gives Jin Hyeok a drink and offers to show him the machine room, that he went to check some time ago. Jin Hyeok drinks the juice and follows the man. Oh man, don’t just drink some stuff from people you don’t know.
Kwon Joo tries to contact Jin Hyeok, but can’t. Dae Shik answers her that the team leader went back to the villa. After hearing that, Kwon Joo gets agitated, telling Dae Shik that the criminal is there and Jin Hyeok might be in danger. She informs him about Soo Jin’s father and that he was the one, who abused and killed the kids. Dae Shik turns the car around immediately.
Jin Hyeok follows the guard to the machine room. Kwon Joo’s call gets connected to Jin Hyeok, but the reception is so bad he can’t hear her. The guard is muttering about that one kid, who caused trouble for the whole neighborhood. Jin Hyeok thinks that kids shouldn’t be blamed, since they are kind and innocent, but the guard disagrees, saying that you have to educate your kids even if it means beating them up. He then proceeds to tell about his own daughter that keep disappointing him. That gets Jin Hyeok’s attention, but it’s too late since he gets dizzy, because of that juice he drank earlier.
Jin Hyeok falls on the ground, suffocating. The guard put Midazolam (a medication used for anesthesia or procedural sedation) in the drink and now takes out a syringe, that will kill him off for good. Jin Hyeok asks him how many people did he kill. The guard just says that he removed the trash from this world, they should be thankful.
The guard tries to inject Jun Hyeok with the deadly liquid, but Jin Hyeok easily overpowers him, revealing a hidden recording of their conversation just know. It appears that he saw the medicine earlier and only pretended to drink the juice he gave him.
The guard demands a lawyer and gets hit in his leg. Jin Hyeok hits him the second time for hurting the kids, but the guy still won’t say where Ah Ram is. Jin Hyeok counts to three and prepares to strike again, but Kwon Joo interrupts at that very moment.
Kwon Joo says they don’t have time for this. Just a while ago she heard Ah Ram, so he must be somewhere inside. Jin Hyeok turns on the microphone so that Kwon Joo can lead him towards the sound she hears. Ah Ram is tapping his finger on a metal bar, just like Kwon Joo had asked him to do earlier with his phone when he was too weak to talk. She continues to lead Jin Hyeok thru the machinery room until he reaches a dead end.
Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyeok to go a little further, but there’s only a wall up ahead. She insists that the sound is definitely coming from there, behind the wall, so Jin Hyeok breaks it with a sledgehammer. When he peeks inside, he sees a corpse of a little kid on the floor and Ah Ram, sitting in a cage, still tapping his finger. The kid is barely conscious at this point. Jin Hyeok breaks the lock on the cage’s door and gets Ah Ram out of there. The kid wants to talk to Kwon Joo, so Jin Hyeok gives him the radio. Ah Ram says he kept the promise and kept tapping his finger because he believed that she wound find him no matter how small the sound was. Kwon Joo thanks him with tears in her eyes, and the boy loses consciousness.
Jin Hyeok requests medical assistance. Back at the base, Kwon Joo turns off Code Zero, concluding the operation, and goes outside. Hyung Ho is impressed by their team leader. Sang Pil tells him that she took a course about voice profiling in America, and they are both admiring her. Nice to see there are people who like her.
Kwon Joo calls Soo Jin to tell her that Ah Ram is safe, they also arrested the culprit. The woman seems relieved to hear that. When asked what to tell Ah Ram, Soo Jin says to tell him he was abandoned. She won’t be able to see him anyway, so it’s best he forgets a mother like her. She asks to open a window in the police car and throws away the wind bell with her kids’ teeth, finally feeling free from the torture she had to go through.
Jin Hyeok carries Ah Ram to an ambulance that arrived outside. Dae Shik returns to the scene, asking his friend if he’s ok. The police arrest Ah Ram’s father. The neighbors are gossiping around and the culprit seems displeased at the attention. Dae Shik asks Jin Hyeok how did he know who the culprit was. We cut to Kwon Joo splashing water on her face in the bathroom, looking drained after such a case. She smiles a little after remembering Ah Ram’s words about how he trusted her to find him no matter what.
Kwon Joo meets Jin Hyeok in the hallway of the police station. He looks around, confirming they’re alone, and asks her how long has it been since she started hearing those weird sounds and who else knows about it. Kwon Joo tells him that at the age of twelve she was in an accident and was bedridden for two years, that’s when her hearing enhanced. Only she, her father and now Jin Hyeok know about it. He asks her to understand him, telling her it’s hard to believe in something like that.
Jin Hyeok asks Kwon Joo to tell him the truth about what happened three years ago and why she came here to find him. She starts her story from the very beginning – 25th December 2014, Friday. It was her first week working at the Emergency Call Center. She had argued with her dad that night. They received a robbery report of a party delegate’s house in Songjin-dong, activating Code Zero. Everyone at the center was in an uproar because of the politician involved, going as far as to request a helicopter to get on the scene.
That’s when Kwon Joo answered the emergency call from Jin Hyeok’s wife. We get to see the recap of the events that happened to the wife. Kwon Joo and her senior hear the murder taking place and dispatch a nearby patrol division. The police chief gets a call informing him that it wasn’t a robbery, but a dog had bitten a wire and caused the power outage, but the politician had already called the police. Kwon Joo’s senior tells the police Chief about the call they got from Jin Hyeok’s wife.
Kwon Joo gets a call from her father, whose patrol areas happened to be that of the crime scene. He just arrived and is looking around. She tells him to wait and not go alone since it’s too dangerous, but he ignores her. His partner went to celebrate his mother’s 70th birthday, so the dad’s patrolling alone.
Kwon Joo’s dad bumps into the killer and goes after him. Kwon Joo begs her dad to wait, but he tells her that he needs to catch him, otherwise what are police officers for. The chase continues, but dad is slower and limping. Dad takes a turn, but the killer’s nowhere to be found. He tells Kwon Joo that he lost the suspect, but the killer is hiding between the buildings. Dad asks Kwon Joo if she heard some other sounds, that’s when she hears footsteps behind her father.
A man in an expensive suit bumps into dad, causing him to fall on the ground. Dad notices blood on the man’s hand, asking about it. The man tries to attack, but trips and falls. Dad tries to arrest him, but the man overpowers him, landing a few painful blows. The man takes out a kettlebell and strikes Kwon Joo’s dad on the head multiple times, while Kwon Joo is listening through the radio laying on the ground.
A car with two men in it arrives nearby, signaling for the killer. As he goes away, he picks up the radio and answers Kwon Joo. He asks if she’s that cop’s daughter. Kwon Joo tells him to surrender since she heard his footsteps and will recognize him, but he just laughs, finding it funny that she could hear that.
Kwon Joo’s dad mutters something and gets the killer’s attention. She begs him to spare her dad’s life, but the killer says it’s too late already, the man saw his face and has to die. Kwon Joo screams that she’ll hunt him down and kill him if he lays a hand on her dad. The last thing she heard that night, was her father getting murdered by that bastard. Meanwhile, Kwon Joo’s senior gets reprimanded by the police chief about Jin Hyeok’s wife’s call and for dispatching a patrol division. The senior, trying to save himself, blames everything on Kwon Joo.
Cut to Kwon Joo’s dad’s funeral. She sits there alone, looking at her father’s picture. The news about Eunhyung-dong’s murder case are being shown on TV. The murderer has been caught and Kwon Joo watches the news completely emotionless, but when the suspect starts to talk, she reacts. She compares the voice of the killer and the suspect, but they don’t match. Another news report tells about her father, who died while chasing a hit-and-run suspect.
We switch back to the present, with Kwon Joo telling Jin Hyeok, that no one believed her when she tried to say that her father was killed by the same person as his wife. After the trial, she was summoned by the Secretary General Cha, the current commissioner of Seoul. General Cha demanded she withdraws her statement. He tells her that this case is enough of a headache already, how dare she add more trouble. If she continues like this, he’ll fire her and her father won’t be added on the role of honor. He gives her the last warning and leaves.
That’s when Kwon Joo realized that there were powerful people in the police force, trying to cover up the murderer. She left for the U.S. to get stronger and catch the real culprit. Jin Hyeok has a hard time believing her story, telling Kwon Joo that he still believes it’s Go Dong Chul who killed his wife. Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyeok that Dong Chul likely made a deal with the real killer. There’s a high possibility that the killer fled overseas after Go Dong Chul got released. Jin Hyeok asks her to bring concrete evidence, then he’ll trust her. Kwon Joo tells him that Go Dong Chul and the killer are in Sungwun now.
Cut to Yeongdong Industrial Complex. The killer brakes Go Dong Chul’s feet with a hammer. Go Dong Chul pleads for his life, but the killer tells him he shouldn’t have come to him in the first place. Dong Chul is severely beaten already. The killer strikes him once on the head with the kettlebell, but stops from landing any additional blows when he hears the police sirens nearby.
Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyeok that the deal between Go Dong Chul and the killer must’ve been broken, so Dong Chul went to meet the real culprit. That’s when Kwon Joo gets a report of a man who died from a fall. The man’s name is Go Dong Chul.
Phew, that was intense. Yet another solid episode, with ratings peaking at 5.7% based on Nielsen Korea. Thanks to Voice I’m already getting used to my healthy dose of adrenaline on the weekend. I didn’t expect more than half of the episode being spent on wrapping up Ah Ram’s case, but it was a nice change to the “one case – one episode” format. I liked how they presented this case, having multiple reversals and twists.
At first, I thought that Ah Ram’s mother had a mental illness and was the culprit. Then, when she called her “husband” (though it was later revealed that she called her dad), I thought that he abused his wife and kids, and the woman became crazy and tried to kill Ah Ram. Before the third episode, I didn’t even think of a possibility that she was adopted and was abused by her father. That was a big surprise for me and all of a sudden the story became tragic. I was even a bit sympathetic to Ah Ram’s mother.
There was an interesting case study about abused children. A big percentage of them (~40%) grew up and continued the pattern that their abusive parents had set for them. They abused their own kids and had aggressive behavior. Almost a half was able to stay away from abusive behavior, but grew up to be meek, weak-willed individuals, who had a hard time standing up for themselves. The last and smallest part was able to lead a healthy, normal life.
The statistic is merciless and scary. Ah Ram’s mother needed psychological help in her childhood, but didn’t receive any. She led a normal life until meeting her abusive father, that’s when she had a relapse of her mental disorder. While she committed a horrible crime against her adopted kids, she’s also a victim, and I feel sad she was unable to get help earlier.
I found it great that they revealed the truth about what happened three years ago so early in the series. It was heartbreaking watching Kwon Joo witness her father’s murder and then sitting all alone at the funeral. Jin Hyeok at least had friends and colleagues with him at his wife’s funeral, but Kwon Joo had no one. Lee Ha Na nailed that scene. There’s one thing I found kind of funny about that flashback. Was there really a need to alter the killer’s voice when we already heard the original in the first episode? That was so unnecessary when most people already figured out the actor playing the murderer.
I also liked the small change in Jin Hyeok’s demeanor towards Kwon Joo. While it’s hard to believe her story, deep down Jin Hyeok suspects that it might be true. At this point, he has a problem with himself rather than Kwon Joo. Being told that everything he knew about his wife’s murder case might be wrong, and all this time he was chasing the wrong suspect, must be really hard to deal with. I do have faith that he’ll gradually accept the truth and softens up towards Kwon Joo. They make a great team together.