Have you ever wondered how a person becomes a murderer? Then watch this episode and you’ll see how Jung Ho Young became a serial killer and what drove him to kill these women. Episode 9 dropped a big surprise, showing the viewers that the story still has a lot of twists and turns. The director promised that the second half of the drama will significantly pick up the pace and he surely didn’t lie.
Year 1992. Yeon Sook has finished work and takes a taxi home, hurrying to her daughter. A drunk driver falls asleep at the wheel and causes an accident, by crashing head-on into Yeon Sook’s taxi. She wakes up all bloody and calls out to the taxi driver, who’s unconscious. She crawls out of the vehicle, thinking that she must hurry to little Yeon Ho.
She calls out to Kwang Ho, thinking that since he left her, she was left all alone and she doesn’t want to leave her daughter alone as well. She calls out Kwang Ho’s name once more before passing out on the empty road with no one to help her.
Kwang Ho is at home crying while looking at Yeon Sook’s picture. He stayed awake the whole night and doesn’t pick up Sun Jae’s phone call in the morning. The guys at the station wonder if Kwang Ho is sick since he’s never been absent for so long before. Sun Jae goes to ask Sung Shik about him, specifically mentioning Yeon Sook as a possible reason for his disappearance.
Sung Shik is surprised that Sun Jae knows that name and explains that she was Kwang Ho’s wife. Sung Shik explained that Kwang Ho was desperately looking for her and suddenly found out that she died 20 years ago and she was raising their daughter, whose current whereabouts are unknown.
Sun Jae goes to Kwang Ho’s apartment and finds the door open. Kwang Ho is sitting on the floor, looking completely drained of life. He tells Sun Jae to go, even after hearing about Jung Ho Young’s new murder. Sun Jae asks him if he thinks that Yeon Sook will come back if he sits here doing nothing. Kwang Ho finds his words ridiculous in this situation. What does it matter now that Yeon Sook is dead, even if they find Jung Ho Young nothing will change.
Sun Jae is hurt by his words, thinking that Jung Ho Young killed countless people including his mother, so how can he say something like that. He tells Kwang Ho that the fact that Yeon Sook died while he was chasing the guy is even more of a reason to catch him. Nothing will change if he stays locked up and does nothing. Sun Jae mentions Kwang Ho’s daughter, telling him that both of them struggled when they lost a family member, but for his little girl, it must’ve been hundred times more terrifying to lose her mother at such a young age and be left all alone.
That gets through to Kwang Ho, who asks what he should do now. Sun Jae tells him to find his daughter, solve the case and go back to prevent it all from happening. His words seem to affect Kwang Ho, who gets filled with new resolve to catch the guy and save Yeon Sook. Sun Jae seems relieved that his friend returned to his normal self.
Jung Ho Young changes clothes to match a delivery service employee and goes out after reading the article about the recent murder in the newspaper. Kwang Ho and Sun Jae arrive at the police station, immediately asking if Jung Ho Young was located. Sung Shik starts the meeting. The recent victim is a Hwayang University student, Lee Seo Yeon, 25 years old.
Tae Hee and Min Ha checked the CCTV in buses that were running around the time of the murder and she wasn’t in any of them. It takes 20 minutes to get from the bus stop to her house, so she disappeared within that time. The woman was strangled with her own stockings and the murderer left the crime scene clean yet again. This time though, they have a witness – a chicken restaurant owner who saw the victim while making a delivery. A car was moving too slow, so he went ahead of it and saw the victim.
Sun Jae thinks that Jung Ho Young might’ve been in that car. The witness only saw that the car was a black sedan. Jung Ho Young also used a sedan to pick up his victim two years ago, but it was white. The suspect might’ve changed the plate number and color of his car. Sung Shik orders Min Ha and Tae Hee to search the CCTV near the crime scene, while Kwang Ho and Sun Jae check the results of the autopsy.
As they go out of the station, Kwang Ho asks Sun Jae what he has to do to find a missing child. Sun Jae, the kind soul that he is, has already contacted a friend in the missing person team, so they’ll receive some information soon enough. Kwang Ho wonders what Yeon Ho looked like and Sun Jae hopes that she resembles her mother, since she’s a girl. Burn! XD His attempt to cheer him up helps and Kwang Ho smiles for the first time in the last few days.
Jae Yi is at the University, reading about the latest victim. She remembers how she said Sun Jae was the trigger for the recent murders. She considers calling him but decides against it. She walks out and sees kids playing jump rope. That triggers yet another childhood memory – little Yeon Ha and her mom playing jump rope.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mok explains the cause of death of the latest victim to Kwang Ho and Sun Jae. The woman died from suffocation and it was a long and painful death that caused many internal bleedings. Sun Jae doesn’t understand why the murderer started to kill so frequently. Kwang Ho comments that murderers don’t have reasons for committing murder. He checks the victim’s heels but finds no dots.
They go out to talk alone and Sun Jae wonders if Jung Ho Young might’ve changed his methods since the two last victims didn’t have dots on their heels. Sung Shik calls to tell them to meet at the crime scene. Just as he’s about to leave the police station, the victim’s brother comes in. He came to take her belongings and blames himself for not giving her a ride back home that day, but Sung Shik tries to comfort him. A small package gets delivered to Sun Jae.
Meanwhile, Jae Yi finished her lecture and one of her students asks if the uncaught criminal she mentioned before was Jung Ho Young. The students are worried because the last victim was a student at their university. Jae Yi suggests talking about it. She asks a student to spill a red nail polish on her. When the deed is done, she explains that there once was a man who spilled ketchup or red paint on women.
They didn’t report him and a few months later he stabbed a woman for real. He did it to see the red liquid. If Jung Ho Young hadn’t been caught two years ago, no one would’ve known that there was such a killer among them. He strangled the women for his pleasure. Jae Yi asks when did he first start to kill and why he chose these victims, but her question remains unanswered as the students hurry to the next lecture.
Min Ha and Tae Hee are looking through the CCTVs, but can’t find anything, while Kwang Ho and Sun Jae are checking the bus stop near the murder scene. Kwang Ho notices a sign nearby and is surprised that the murder happened near Division 18. Sun Jae’s mother was also murdered near that division. They go to the place and Kwang Ho explains everything to Sun Jae.
They notice a single CCTV near a field and asks the farm’s owner to view the footage. On it they see Seo Yeon walking down the road and Jung Ho Young following her. They go to that place and check nearby car’s backbox, where the criminal’s car is recorded. Later that evening they manage to locate Jung Ho Young’s car and two police cars are sent to chase after him. Everyone prepares to leave the police station, but they suddenly hear a phone ringing.
The sound is coming from the package that was delivered to Sun Jae. He opens the box and finds a ringing phone inside. It’s Jung Ho Young, calling to say that he did kill Seo Yeon, but has nothing to do with the Haein River case. He ends the call, promising to contact Sun Jae later. The police patrol stops Jung Ho Young’s car, but the driver says he didn’t stop as they asked because they called out a different plate number. Indeed there was a different plate attached to the man’s car, so Jung Ho Young was smart enough to cover his tracks.
Min Ha finds the location of the phone booth Jung Ho Young used to call Sun Jae and our duo goes to that place. The next morning an investigation headquarters for the recent murders has been set up at the police station. One of the higher-ups arrived at the police station, making everyone antsy. Just then Kwang Ho arrives with his nonchalant attitude.
They get reprimanded for doing a bad job and everyone at the police station gets assigned to the case. Jae Yi gets included in the investigation as well. Sun Jae calls Dr. Mok to tell him that Jung Ho Young called and lied about his noninvolvement in the Haein River case. He asks the doctor to examine the autopsy reports of the six victims. After ending the call, Dr. Mok wonders if the king can be caught. Wait, what?
The police station is busy when Jae Yi arrives. Everyone gathers for a meeting where they summarize all the information they have on Jung Ho Young. He killed six victims in total with the first one dating back to 2009. The first victim was his own wife who had an affair. His next victims were all young women in their twenties.
Jae Yi adds that all of the victims were wearing skirts and she discovered three similar cases from 30 years ago. Kwang Ho adds that there were 3 more cases that she doesn’t know about. Back then Jung Ho Young was brought in as a suspect but got released because his parents provided an alibi for him.
Tae Hee wonders how come Kwang Ho knows so much about what happened 30 years ago as if he was there. He answers that Sung Shik told him about it since that was his first case back then. Sun Jae found out that after Jung Ho Young moved to Seoul with his family, he was admitted to a mental hospital where he spent eight years, even though he didn’t have a mental illness. After his first six victims from 30 years ago, he didn’t mark any of his recent victims.
Kwang Ho and Sun Jae meet with Jung Ho Young’s wife’s relatives. They ask why did the sister report Jung Ho Young back then and she answers that Ji Eun told her something disturbing about her husband. Ji Eun told her that Jung Ho Young choked her with stockings while she was sleeping.
At first, she thought he was joking, but she almost died one time. When she asked why he did it, Jung Ho Young answered that all the other girls liked it. Sun Jae asks if the sister knows the reason why Jung Ho Young was in a mental hospital. One time when Ji Eun asked him, he got furious, asking if she’s going to lock him up too.
Jae Yi meets with Jung Ho Young’s doctor at his mental hospital. It appears that he didn’t have a particular illness, but got admitted against his will because his family wanted it. We see a flashback of young Jung Ho Young locked up in a cell, having a fit of anger. When he goes to the door, asking to be let out, he hears his mother talking with the doctor.
She said that her son is crazy and isn’t even human, so there’s no need to treat him like one as long as he stays locked up. At first, the doctor didn’t understand how a mother could say something like that about her son, but Jung Ho Young gave her the answer himself. He told the doctor that he killed the dogs to see what was inside of them, but he got bored.
That’s when he got curious what it would feel like to kill a human. His sister liked being strangled, he said. She was smiling when he choked her. After finding out what he did, his parents admitted him to a mental hospital to keep him away. Jae Yi asks if he ever mentioned anything about women in skirts, but the doctor can’t remember, so Jae Yi asks her for any recordings they have of him.
Jung Ho Young calls Sun Jae again, wondering how long it’ll take for them to trace this phone this time. He hangs up, but Sung Shik was able to track the location – Younji-dong. They arrive near the phone booth and Sun Jae gets another call from Jung Ho Young, who tells him to do his homework next time.
The next day Jae Yi listens to Jung Ho Young’s recording that she got from the mental hospital. He sang a song about how a woman should forget her loneliness and smile at him, having an eternal dream of her and him. At the police station, our team has narrowed down the possible location of Jung Ho Young and Kwang Ho suddenly cracks an old joke only he and Sung Shik understand. The others wonder what’s gotten into him at such a tense moment.
Dr. Mok calls Sun Jae and asks to meet. He explains that the corpse from the Haein river was different from others. The woman was killed immediately unlike others, so there’s a possibility that the culprit for that case might be someone else. Sun Jae shows Dr. Mok the pictures of victims from 30 years ago, but he thinks that there’s not enough proof to connect these cases to the recent ones.
Dr. Mok thinks that Jung Ho Young kills without a reason while the cases from the past seem different. When Kwang Ho insists that the culprit from the past also killed without a reason, the doctor smirks and asks how would he know that. As our team drives back to the police station, Kwang Ho remembers that one of the victims 30 years ago was also killed near Haein River.
They visit Yoon Da Young’s roommate (the recent victim from Haein River), but she doesn’t know any useful information, other than that her friend worked at a hostess bar. Sun Jae receives a call from Ji Eun’s sister, who remembered that there was a house Ji Eun and Jung Ho Young planned to move into after marriage. Kwang Ho and Sun Jae go to Kyungshin-dong, thinking that Jung Ho Young might be hiding there.
They search the area that’s currently under redevelopment and check the abandoned houses. They find the place where Jung Ho Young was staying at and call the others for backup, while Sun Jae and Kwang Ho hide in his apartment. Sun Jae gets a call about Yeon Ho, but it’s too hard to locate her without any extra information. They limited the search to 70 kids since there are too many of them with that name.
Sun Jae asks what Kwang Ho will tell his daughter when he meets her and he answers that he’ll apologize to her first and foremost. Suddenly they notice Jung Ho Young returning home, but he notices their reflection and flees. They chase after him, but the guy hides and runs away. What a sneaky bastard!
The other officers search the area and suddenly Sun Jae receives a phone call from Jung Ho Young. He threatens to kill Jae Yi unless they leave him alone. Sun Jae hurriedly calls Jae Yi, but she doesn’t pick up, so he goes to her house. He arrives at the same time as Kwang Ho, who returns home. They meet Jae Yi as she goes out to throw away the trash. Sun Jae’s angry and anxious that she didn’t pick up the phone, which surprises the other two.
Jae Yi explains that she was listening to the recordings and didn’t hear her phone. She invites them inside for a cup of coffee. Kwang Ho is quite comfortable inside, while Sun Jae’s the awkward one. It’s a fun contrast. Sun Jae’s suddenly very shy and doesn’t know what to talk about at first, but then decides to ask about the reason why Jung Ho Young denied killing the Haein River girl.
Kwang Ho understood that it was just an excuse on Sun Jae’s part to start a conversation and leaves the two future lovebirds alone. Sun Jae adorably tries to stop him from leaving by grabbing his leg, but it doesn’t work. Kwang Ho is happy to give the two of them some privacy, but his face falls as he remembers Yeon Sook. Sun Jae asks Jae Yi to be careful and not go out alone.
Dr. Mok is talking with his colleague. She says that there’s no medical examiner who’d know about the incident from 30 years ago that he’s interested in. He explains that he wanted to compare the medical examination notes from those cases with the recent ones. It might’ve helped them to figure out if Jung Ho Young was the killer back then too. His assistant thinks that all the recent murder cases, including the Haein River case, are all Jung Ho Young’s doing. Dr. Mok smiles at her words.
The scene suddenly switched to late evening/night, where a man violently strangles a young woman in a kids playground. It none other than Dr. Mok, who says that he’s different from the likes of Jung Ho Young, who kill mindlessly. He doesn’t kill people without any reason.
Damn, that last scene was disturbing. I didn’t want to believe that Dr. Mok had something to do with the killings until the very end, but now there’s no denying it. I hoped he wasn’t the killer because that would honestly be predictable and because he seemed to be the only one with whom Sun Jae had a friend-like relationship before Kwang Ho appeared. Oh well, he does fit the image of a serial killer, but what’s with medical examiners in dramas? They always end up either psychopaths or serial killers or both.
The thing that did surprise me is that we have two serial killers with identical MO operating at the same time. Not only that, they are both obsessed with women in skirts. What’s the probability of something like that to happen? Almost none, but it surely added the tension, especially because the good guys didn’t catch the first one and have no idea that there a second criminal near them.
It was interesting to get a glimpse of Jung Ho Young’s past and his possible motivation for his killings. That song he sang might hold the key to his motive. I do agree that his murders seem more impulsive and not calculated. If the Hwayang serial killer from 30 years ago is Dr. Mok, then the fact that he marked his victims might show that his victims were carefully chosen. He marked them because each kill was important and held a reason behind it. It’s quite great how the writers are trying to show that while the two killers have striking similarities, their mindset is different.