Special Affairs Team TEN 2 - Episode 9 (Recap)

After a confusing episode 8, episode 9 is as straightforward as TEN ever gets. It is about a biological virus that is like a criminal and a criminal that is like a virus, and in which antibodies, be they biological or more psychological, promise salvation from pain. The TEN Team continues to function as one and the bonds between them seem as strong as they were last season, before ... you know, THAT happened. But, alas ... we all know that two of the members know something that has the potential to destroy this harmony ... and may well endanger the bonds once again, even destroy them forever. But what to do with such a secret? Do we protect the people we care for by concealing the truth that we know will hurt them? Or do we trust in love, healing, and coping abilities, the antibodies of human life? TEN 2 is slowly coming to the end of its second season and I am certain: it will not be pretty.
Special Affairs Team TEN 2 - Episode 9
감염 - Infection
Cars with sirens flashing are rushing through the night. Pandemic alarm in Seoul! A swine flu type virus is spreading ... thankfully, it is not as deadly as its 2009 equivalent. But still, the virus can kill if there is no antibody, so people are advised to go to a hospital as soon as signs of infection appear.

People in bio hazard suits and masks exit the cars. It is an emergency team from the Korean CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). They ride an elevator and enter an apartment ... a man is lying on the floor there, in his own blood. He is dead. And he is covered in big, red spots.

감염 (Infection)

Yeo Ji-hoon is in Boss-Boss' office. He is informed that the first Korean person to be infected with the virus has been murdered (Oh wait ... there is a nameplate on Boss-Boss' desk ... finally! His name is revealed! Haha, at least to me. It is 정우식 (Jeong Woo-shik). Hello there, Boss Jeong. Nice to properly meet you). Whoever killed him is likely to be infected soon - and it will become one of their cases. Ji-hoon asks whether they are taking on the case to stop the virus - or to reduce someone else's responsibility, i.e. catch the criminal. Boss-boss Jeong Woo-shik is mildly amused: well, it's both, really: Catch the criminal and stop the virus. Ji-hoon (who has done something to his hair ... it's redder? shorter? It looks darn good!) remarks that the criminal is the virus itself... "It's interesting", he concludes and seems very pleased.
Min-ho is entering the apartment of the dead man (Hwang Sung-min, Age 44, investment analyst with a golden thumb) ... which is completely empty. The CDC has moved everything out and left them with zero evidence! How the hell are they going to solve this? Do-shik is in a bio hazard suit - and Min-ho remarks that he is maybe overreacting a bit there? The virus doesn't spread by air. Do-shik does the funniest little move and says: "I'm an important person", while Min-ho goes "omo", and steps back surprised. That right there? The reason why I adore this show.
Ji-hoon and Autopsy Lady look at the body, which is placed inside a plastic (or glass or whatever) coffin. The first attack on him happened in the bedroom. However, the stab wounds around the lower abdomen were not fatal; he was killed by a blunt weapon, with sharp edges, which was smashed against his head. This happened on Saturday, between 8pm and midnight. And there is something strange, Autopsy Lady says ... there are several old wounds around the neck and wrist - continuously repeated wounds that healed over and were inflicted again and again ...
Ji-hoon is meeting with a female representative from the CDC in his office (Yoon Seo-hyung). She is a sexy and stylish woman, though without much aigoo if I may say so. Plus, she has deer-caught-in-the-headlight eyes. Is she blinded by his sexiness? He is in SUPER-arrogance mode towards her, which is a total turn-on to watch, but probably not to experience. He confronts her about the complete clean-out of the victim's apartment, which is making his investigation very difficult. She tells him that it is her job to stop the infection, and that he should also consider it his duty to protect 10 citizens instead of finding one criminal (what she really means is that he should stop complaining and serve her). But Ji-hoon counters: "But that one criminal can spread the virus to 10 different people." Yeah, baby! You've won the first battle! Well done, Ji-hoon.
She seems impressed with his intellect (and I am sure his looks and his extreme sex appeal) and goes on to explain the virus to him: it is an unusual strain of influenza. It has a very short incubation period, around 24-48 hours. Patients need to be treated within 48 hours of infection, otherwise, the mortality rate goes up to 60%. Ji-hoon nods and checks his watch, satisfied: Then there will be people with signs of infection soon.

He thinks that's a good thing? she says, kind of shocked. Of course, he counters, because the criminal will also be among the ones with signs of infection. Alright, the CDC woman likes what she sees and hears (who wouldn't) and moves in downstairs, into the TEN Team's meeting room, after declaring that they'll work together. Ji-hoon just sighs.

All the victim's stuff has been moved to a storage facility ... and poor Ye-ri has to check it all. She is also suited up, but removes the mask pretty quickly. Which is a good thing, because I like to indulge in her beautiful face. She looks at everything and takes pictures with her tablet. And ... she finds a box full of BDSM gear. That explains the strange wounds on the victim's body. And I love her facial expression. The logo on one of the leather straps says "S Bar".
Ji-hoon goes to check out what the CDC people are doing in his meeting room. He seems quite intrigued that there are a lot of commonalities between an epidemiological and a criminal investigation ... ultimately, both are there to reveal secrets. The CDC woman (is she flirting with him?) wants to know whether a job that reveals the secrets of others isn't making him bitter sometimes? But he shrugs it off. "Not really", he says, "it's always been interesting to me. You never know what you will find next".
And his eyes come to rest on the pictures of the BDSM gear that the CDC people have put onto their virus-spread whodunnit board.

전열 (Spread)

Back at the apartment of the victim, Do-shik and Min-ho are connecting some dots. First of all, the murderer knew that there were no cameras in the stair case - he did not ride the elevator. Second, Do-shik has a photo of the shoe profile of the intruder, which he studies intently ... before he orders Min-ho to check for police reports in the building, quickly! He then goes to the front door and fiddles around with the spyhole ... which falls out, to the ground. Min-ho is back to report that indeed! There were a lot of reports to the police from around here.
Do-shik says: "Burglars!". Min-ho is impressed that he knew (and so am I). Do-shik now shows Min-ho how the burglar moved through the apartment, swiftly and economically, following the signs the forensic team has put on the floor. He must have observed the target for a long time. Then, he struck, fast, wearing typical burglar shoes that do not make any noise. But then, an unexpected visitor turned up ... And he killed him? Do-shik thinks that's strange - because burglars don't do that, so ... but Min-ho puts his finger on his sunbae's mouth and says "shhhhhh!" And finishes the sentence for him: "You will ask him when you catch him". Do-shik is impressed that Min-ho knows what he wanted to say (and so am I). Cuteness overload deluxe.
Do-shik pays another (ex-)burglar a visit. He is a locksmith or something and goes by the name of Sweeper. I love Do-shik's connections to the underworld ... Do-shik wants to know whether anyone has offered Sweeper stolen goods recently? He believes him when he says no (after studying him intently for a few moments) - but now, he needs him to look at the tampered spyhole-thingy. From how the tampering was done, Sweeper concludes that the guy has been in jail a lot; well, quasi lives in jail. So ... who would it likely be, Do-shik wants to know? Sweeper is only convinced when Do-shik says he really wants to help the criminal who needs to go to a hospital or he could die. Sweeper takes out a little book with (burglar) names in it, starting to flick through it ... when Do-shik just grabs the whole book and leaves.
Ye-ri notices entries for a "dinner" in the victim's calendar; always on Fridays. But the last one, before he was murdered, did not seem to have taken place ... he was home all day and there are no card transactions either. Min-ho calls to let her know that a burglar was in the victim's house and to ask her whether anything seems to be missing from his belongings? Yes, there are things missing: the phone, the PDA, a camera, and jewelry. She hangs up (on a cutely almost phone-kissing Min-ho) and thinks about what else is missing ...
... and there is something! The bed cover! The mattress standing there is bare. When Ye-ri checks the vacuum cleaner, there is not filter in there. So it looks as if somebody erased his/her tracks.
The CDC woman knocks on Ji-hoon's door: there are newly infected people! 8 of them to be precise, in two neighbouring apartment complexes. There are no relations between the subjects ... so it's highly likely that the suspect has spread the virus himself, to all of them.

While pondering the new info, Ji-hoon gets a phone call from Do-shik: 15 people are left on his list of potential burglars. Is there anyone from Shin Jung Don, where the infected people are? Ji-hoon wants to know. No, there isn't, says Do-shik. But he sends the list to Yeo Ji-hoon anyway. And when Ji-hoon has a closer look at the names, he gets it immediately: The suspect is a delivery man! He infected housewives and children as well as security-guards ... all of them people that are at home during the day. There is but one on the list that fits this profile: Jang Suk-bum (who also delivered a package to the victim's house on the date of the murder)
They go to Jang Suk-bum's place next - Do-shik and Min-ho suit up and go in. The apartment seems empty, but all of a sudden, the toilet door is busted open, and a feverish man, full of angry red spots, staggers out, calling for their help, trying to grab them ... mild panic ensues, when both Do-shik and Min-ho start screaming and try to escape the man's groping hands.

They bring the burglar to a hospital, where he gets better pretty quickly. Suk-bum and Do-shik hit it off right away. The burglar says he didn't kill the guy and Do-shik believes him. Cause Do-shik knows how burglars roll, bro. He went in at 11:10, Suk-bum continues, and discovered the body, whom he identified as the owner subito (because he had been watching him for a month). Of course he ran out immediately. Do-shik is interested to hear whether anything weird or unusual caught his eye when he was watching him for a month? Yes, a woman would occasionally be there ... but only on Fridays. Well, it is preeeetty clear what it means if a woman comes in and out that fast, the burglar says. He kisses the air and has a coughing fit. Does he remember her face, Do-shik wants to know. And the burglar, calling him hyung-nim now, says of course he does, cause his nickname is Human Scanner.
Ji-hoon gets a phone call from Autopsy Lady: There were large amounts of Yohimbine found in the victim's body. That's an aphrodisiac, Ji-hoon knows (why does he always know that chemistry stuff? Nerd). Back at their offices, they are meeting in the computer area, cause their meeting room is taken by the CDC. Ji-hoon debriefs them. The night Hwang Sung-min died, he had a visitor - for whom he prepared himself with an aphrodisiac. They are guessing it must have been the woman with sunglasses, who is seen on CCTV tape in the elevator, every Friday. Their meetings are marked as "dinner" in his calendar ... question is what was consumed, right? But ... why was she there on a Saturday this time, and not on a Friday, as usual? The problem is, says Ye-ri, that his phone seems to be missing from his things - and there is no way to get is call-history. So how do they find her? But Ye-ri has an idea ... they should start at "S Bar". A place where people go to meet sex partners.
But instead of eagerly rushing there with her, Ji-hoon says they may not need to go find her. It's been 48 hours: She'll show herself soon on her own.

잠복 (Incubation)

Ji-hoon is discussing the state-of-the-investigation with the CDC woman, who is glad that they stopped the infection on one side at least (that would be the burglar). But a new infection route could appear anytime. It is particularly worrying that the woman who has been infected is so silent! She seems to be in hiding, Ji-hoon remarks ... probably until she can hide no longer.
"Have you found the items that the burglar stole?" the CDC woman wants to know, cautiously and casually.
Oh ... he says no, but you see it in his face that he thinks that's a weird question. And it is. Suspicious CDC woman! And he sends Do-shik and Min-ho to the burglar's place right away, to look for the stolen goods. The camera is there, the jewelry ... but no phone. And no PDA. Hmmmm ....

Ji-hoon and Ye-ri are in the garage, walking towards his car ... when he notices the CDC woman talking to an official looking guy in a car, all hush-hush. She bows deeply when she gets out and leaves the garage, without noticing him. What is she hiding?
They are at "S Bar"! The owner is really forthcoming with information. They find out that Hwang Sung-min is no longer a member here after he was kicked out a year ago. The bastard was too violent! One client almost died because he chocked her so much her neck almost broke. Ji-hoon demands a list of all the women Hwang Sung-min was involved with - and gets it right away. But when Ye-ri shows the owner the phantom image of the woman from the elevator, he says he has never seen her. 
They are meeting with one of the women from the list next. Woah, she is hitting on Yeo Ji-hoon, like massively! Love the very uncomfortable faces Ye-ri keeps making when the camera is not on her ... The woman has a weird-creepy laugh. Oh yes, she knows Hwang Sung-min intimately - they "hit it off together" back then. So ... she was the slave. And don't they know the slave is always in power? "You were playing with your life", Ji-hoon remarks with a wry smile. She compliments him on being in command so much (is she offering to be his slave?) - but she also does not know the woman in the phantom image. She just comments that his style seems to have changed a lot since back then.
Min-ho and Do-shik are at the hospital, waiting ... Do-shik is convinced that the elevator-woman will show up here (it must be the hospital to turn to when infected). They wait ... when Do-shik suddenly says: "I heard Director Yeo visits Song Kyung-tae often". Min-ho nods and says: "Yes. He visits often ... but I have no idea why" - "Any other secrets?" Do-shik wonders out loud, but when Min-ho wants to know what he is talking about, he says "nothing ... nothing".

The funny burglar appears! He laughs at Do-shik for not yet having found the woman. He then continues to say that she looks quite nice, but was very mean ... she smashed his head with a golf club. Waaaait a minute ... how does he know that??! He shows them on the crime scene video that Do-shik has on his tablet - there was a putter next to the body. No, he didn't see the knife - only the golf club. And Do-shik, who understands that someone seems to have removed things from the crime scene, asks him what else is different on the video. The cover on the bed! the burglar says pretty quickly. There were blue bed sheets.
So: after Jang Suk-bum left in a hurry and before the CDC came ... somebody came back and removed the bed sheets? But why? Why not directly after the kill? Questions, questions, questions ... and then ... a woman walks, or rather staggers into the hospital ... it is THAT woman. She collapses on the floor as the emergency team rushes to her help. The plot thickens.
Ye-ri talks to a former boss or colleague of the woman (Lee Ji-soo). She was always daydreaming, it seems. And she had a difficult life - they used to be rich but her husband lost all the money. He is working as a taxi driver now. Their relationship was very good and sweet though. He would always wait for her when she ended work late. Ye-ri briefs Ji-hoon on this. It was around the time when her husband got into economic trouble that the "dinner" schedules started. So she cheated on her husband for a year, Ji-hoon concludes. No wonder considering the hardship he gave her. But why would she murder the guy she cheated him with?
They take saliva samples from the (timid) husband (Kim Joo-chul) as they are checking the house for ... the murder weapon, I guess? Do-shik tells him that his wife is the prime suspect in a murder case and ask for his cooperation. Where was his wife on Saturday? Kim Joo-chul doesn't know because he was working. But she was probably home, as always on Saturdays. Is there anything suspicious? Do-shik wants to know. No, says the husband. Who tests positive for virus infection and needs to go to the hospital. Min-ho, who comes out of the house, says they haven't been able to find anything interesting, no murdering golf club either. They talk sympathetically about the poor husband, who must be under shock about the murder and is infected, until Do-shik notices a sticker on the back of his taxi. And realizes from it Kim Joo-chul was lying to them (I don't fully understand this, but I am guessing the sticker says something about the days he is working on?)

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Min-ho has new evidence for them. According to the taxi's GPS, Kim Joo-chul was at the murder victim's house on that night between 9 and 10:10pm. Oh-oh ... he seems to have known about the affair, then .... But what is more, the next day, from 2:20 to 3:15 am, he was at the crime scene again! Okay, everything falls into place now. Context, motive ... it's all there!
"Affair, passion, murder ... this is like a makjang", Do-shik says.
But Ye-ri thinks that Lee Ji-Soo is still very suspicious (apart from the fact that she was cheating on her husband). If she were a honorable person or at least someone who doesn't have to hide anything, she wouldn't have waited to go to the hospital for that long when the infection started. Ji-hoon agrees: The way it looks, it was not Kim Joo-chul (the husband) that gave the virus to his wife. Rather, it was the other way round: Lee Ji-soo gave it to Kim Joo-chul. Both need to come in for questioning.

변이 (Change)

Ji-hoon is interrogating Kim Joo-chul and tells him straight up that his alibi for Saturday night is a lie - they know he was near Hwang's apartment. Was he following his wife? And what was he doing there for more than an hour? Kim Joo-chul doesn't even try to deny anything. He was there because he couldn't believe his wife was having an affair: he wanted to see it with his own eyes.
"And you just went home?" Ji-hoon aks, "that's hard to believe..."
But Kim Joo-chul says that seeing his wife with another man changed everything - there is nothing else that he can do. For her, or for himself.
"So --- why did he go back at dawn? You murdered him, right?", Ji-hoon wants to know. But the husband denies that he did.
Ye-ri is is with Lee Ji-soo. She notices the strangle-marks on the woman's neck, which Lee Ji-soo tries to cover up (in vain). Ye-ri wants to know how she got infected. The virus is just out there, says  Lee Ji-soo. Lies, Ye-ri knows: She got it from Hwang. What is their relationship? Just colleagues, says the woman. Ye-ri tells her that they know she goes there every Friday ... So what was she doing there last Saturday? She wasn't, the woman lies ... she went home after work. Is there anyone who can confirm her alibi? Like her husband? Yes, Lee Ji-soo thinks he was home ... but she went to the other room and didn't talk to him. How strange, Ye-ri goes ... because her husband was in fact near Hwang's apartment, chasing her. But the wife also denies that she killed him.
Do-shik comments after the interrogations that they both say that they didn't kill him - but they both look like they did. Indeed, both seem to by lying. But they have no evidence.
In comes the CDC woman, with an interesting piece of information: Kim Joo-chul wasn't infected. He has antibodies! So it was not Lee Ji-soo that infected him. And it was not him that infected her. The only way she could have got it was through Hwan. So she was there ... for sure.

Ji-hoon tells her that only two people could have gotten her infected: her husband or Hwang Sung-min. However, seeing her husband has antibodies, it must have been Hwan. She murdered him, right? And she confesses... Yes, she killed him. In the bedroom, with a knife, she stabbed him into the stomach - and then, she killed him with a golf club, in the living room. When Min-ho asks her for the motive, she says she already confessed ... why does he need a reason?
Kim Joo-chul is interrogated by Do-shik, who tells him that his wife has confessed. But the husband interrupts him ... and says that no, he did it. Why? Because the bastard cheated with his wife. He doesn't remember the details of the kill (harhar, I so don't believe you). He went back in the morning to clean up, after he was feeling calmer. And he threw the weapon (= the golf club) into the Han River. Indeed, this is where the weapon is found. And the NFS results confirm: the fingerprints on putter are indeed Kim Joo-chul's.
Great. So they are back to square one. One and one equals zero, Ji-hoon says: both of them confessing is like nobody is confessing. And they lack evidence, due to the CDC's meddeling. But ... waitaminute! There is evidence left, somewhere ... the missing bed sheet, the stuff the burglar stole, the murder weapon ... but also the (missing) phone and the (missing) PDA. They need all this. Now. And who would know about it?
That's right ... our burglar friend! So, Do-shik asks him for the phone and the PDA. He gave that to the CDC woman, the burglar says ... but ... he didn't give her this! And he secretly hands Do-shik a memory card from the PDA. And what about the phone? That? Far too cheap to be interesting at all, says the burglar.

So ... who has it? The dodgy CDC woman! Ji-hoon steps into the meeting room. The CDC is packing up, I guess the case is solved for them. She wants to congratulate him on the good work, but he holds up the memory card. She was after this, was she? It contains advanced information from the analyst. A ranking of the stock value of major companies. It is worth a lot. And she took the victim's phone in search for it? Give it, woman. It contains evidence. And Yeo Ji-hoon needs it.
Only to find something not at all pretty. Hwang sent Lee Ji-soo a certain video that he took ... we do not get to see it. But we hear her cries, his grunting, and her begging to stop because she cannot breath.
The team is kinda depressed after that. Well, they were wrong. She didn't have an affair. But she was a slave - a true slave. Who could be used any time, at his will ... from the moment he gave her money to cover for her husband's debt. That money ensured that he did not have to go to jail for fraud. But it also made her a slave trying to save her husband. When she did not turn up for the Friday engagement as usual, Hwang emailed her the video ... and another one, in which he rides her husband's taxi.

감염의 끝 (The end of infection)

Ye-ri is in the room with Lee Ji-soo once again. She tells her that they know how she suffered for her husband. But why didn't she say anything? It would have counted as extenuating circumstances! But the woman wants to make it clear that yes, she might have been suffering in the beginning ... but she started to enjoy it, more and more. But the tear that slips out while she say so doesn't make her words all that convincing.

The team comes back together. Ji-hoon has told the husband that his wife didn't cheat on him - but was trying to save him. It seems the husband doesn't know about the video - and he seems to have been doubtful about his wife having an affair. Both things together make it unlikely that he killed Hwan. So ... is he trying to cover for her? It seems as if all he wants is to protect and save her. And Ye-ri now also understands why the wife hasn't said anything: because she does not want her husband to find out about the slave-thing. So rather than being about hate, this is about love: they are both protecting each other. They will have to get the husband to stop lying.
And that is why Ji-hoon shows the slave-video to the husband. What we did not know yet is that it ends with her begging the Sadist to not tell her husband, as he has promised. And they are done now, right? But he just laughs a dirty laugh as he switches off the camera, and says: "What do you mean? This is only the beginning!"

Ji-hoon tells the almost crying husband that they have not yet told the wife about his confession. Because the moment she finds out about this, she will also know that HE knows about what has been going on. And this would be the most terrible thing for her ...  she'd rather have him suspect her as a cheater. It is up to him how he will protect her, Ji-hoon says. And gets the results he wanted. Kim Joo-chul stops lying about killing Hwan.

He confronts his wife as if he were very, very angry about the affair. He tells her that he will never forgive her. Never. So his way of protecting her is to pretend not to know the truth. But when he wants to leave the room, she apologizes to him. Particularly for keeping secrets. And tells him everything.

We get a flashback to Ye-ri and her in the cell. Ye-ri tells her: "Hwan was like a deadly infection to you. He made you a host and kept you infected. You were afraid of spreading it to your husband. But ... there's something you do not know. Your husband had the antibodies. Antibodies that could kill the virus. So ... are you going to keep this a secret again? Or are you taking this opportunity to stop the virus together?"

And the TEN Team watches the two of them sitting across the table from each other. Will they be able to beat the virus together? Do-shik wonders. Min-ho nods, but says: "It won't be easy - the virus has many variants".
"But it's still worth a try", Ji-hoon says, and leaves the room. Min-ho follows.
When Do-shik and Ye-ri are alone, Do-shik asks: "Nam Ye-ri-ssi ... shouldn't we make a way for Yeo Ji-hoon to find out the truth?"
"That's cruel", Ye-ri says.
"If Director Yeo find out the truth about Song Jyung-tae ... could he handle it"? Do-shik wonders.
And Ye-ri says, with her sad half-smile: "We should also tell Director Yeo that there are antibodies out there."
And we see Ji-hoon standing there in front of his office, all darkness in his eyes.

Final Thoughts and Comments

Excellent way to connect the case to the larger story, once again! TEN works best when it is about the team and, by extension, about Yeo Ji-hoon's demons. I am not saying it doesn't work well when it is just about solving weird cases (because it does work well) - but the episodes are most satisfying for me when they have a double meaning and are full of those interactions where characters talk about one thing, but we keep hearing something completely different. In that regard, Episode 8 was maybe the weakest of them all so far (though 6 wasn't all that good either). Episode 9 did manage to remind me of the elephant in the room really well though. I guess it is little things that do it, like the interaction between Do-shik and Min-ho at the hospital. No longer than maybe 60 seconds ... but oh, what a reminder of what must be on Do-shik's mind constantly! And also, making me question how much Yeo Ji-hoon actually knows; or at least suspects. And then, of course, the ending ... Ye-ri is ready to tell him, and has been for a while now. She thinks he can handle it - if he knows that there are people there for him. That's them, that's her. It is the lies that are dangerous. And keeping the truth from somebody is only making the virus spread.

As for the case, I thought it was pretty straightforward but still sufficiently twisted to keep me interested. I loved the character of the burglar and his interaction with Do-shik. Just brilliant. The central piece, a husband and a wife, who love each other very dearly, but still bring pain to each other for a variety of reasons, is realistic and really very sad, but resolved nicely when they get a "new" beginning in the investigation room. One thing that remains un- or at least underexplained is the exact role the CDC woman played ... who told her to get that stockmarket info? And what did Yeo Ji-hoon do with the memory card? (I hope he invested accordingly, will get immensely rich, and will then marry Ye-ri ... or me). But I guess this really is of no big importance for the overall case, so let's not keep wondering about it for too long. Three more episode!