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Defendant Episode 18 Recap (Finale)

It’s over for real!!

It was a well-written finale, which ties up most loose ends and leaves a tinge of longing after the ending scene</3

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Min Ho jibes about how it doesn’t pay to be a prosecutor because Jeong Woo can’t kill him despite wanting to, but that doesn’t matter to Jeong Woo because Ji Soo wouldn’t have wanted him to kill Min Ho. The press goes crazy with Min Ho’s appearance and Jeong Woo calmly nods, “The truth will be revealed soon.”

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In the interrogation room, Min Ho still remains arrogant but breaks a little when Jeong Woo steps out. He instructs his lawyer to find Yeon Hee, but doesn’t know that Yeon Hee is actually right in the next interrogation room. It was her who tipped Jeong Woo off and she explains that what Jeong Woo said the other day stuck with her, “To Eun Soo, Min Ho was a great father. He will live his life with those memories. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him who he really is.”

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Min Ho thinks that he still has a hold over Joon Hyuk, but a cut shows us that Jeong Woo has found evidence of the Deputy Prosecutor’s crime of covering up Seong Kyu’s murder. Part of the files were provided by Joon Hyuk, who has decided to help Jeong Woo. Joon Hyuk even hands the Nemo toy back to Jeong Woo, who tears up emotionally when Joon Hyuk explains why he hid the gift and the security footage. Joon Hyuk himself cries as he is filled with guilt, “I’m sorry, Jeong Woo.” He passes the recording of Min Ho saying to dispose of the knife with his blood on it. The impact of it is clear on both parties – the recording will incriminate BOTH Min Ho and Joon Hyuk; if he testifies at trial, he is sure to lose his job.

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As Joon Hyuk turns to leave, Jeong Woo presses on the Nemo and is taken aback to hear the recording – because he hears Ji Soo’s voice. Well played there drama, it never really occured to me that the Nemo represents not just the truth, but Jeong Woo’s only chance to hear Ji Soo’s voice. “Thank you Joo Hyuk, for letting me hear Ji Soo’s voice again.”

Min Ho plays ignorant to Ji Soo’s murder but knows the game is up when Jeong Woo plays the recording. Faced with no other choice, Min Ho plays the ‘insane’ game – act insane and get a psychiatry agency which will give them a testimony in their favour. Cheol Shik turns himself in because now that Min Ho is captured, he can be re-trialed.

Funny comic moment when he shouts, “Park Jeong Woo!!! I LOVE YOU BABY~” and then promptly trips. He even lounges in Jeong Woo’s seat and pretends to be a prosecutor hahaha.

Thanks to Eun Hye, Miryang finally meets the woman whom he was protecting. Tae Soo has also been reinstated. Jeong Woo pulls some strings, so that Cheol Shik can get back the same cell in Woljeong prison. Awww.

Jeong Woo picks up Ha Yeon from school and treats her to something nice – which in recent Kdramas, almost always means Subway. He promises to fetch her more often from school in the future but Ha Yeon tells him he will feel bad if he breaks his promise and that she’s okay even if Grandma picks her up instead. SO MATURE. I actually thought that she might mention Seong Kyu at this point but she didn’t. Alsooo, it just occurred to me that this is kinda a throwback/link back to the first episode. Do you guys still remember how he was a busy father and he couldn’t even remember if Ha Yeon was five or six, and he always got her a soft toy? I’m so glad that he has promised to change and yet Ha Yeon understands her busy father.

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In a little obstacle, the judge allows Min Ho to be evaluated before the trial, much to Jeong Woo’s chagrin (thus allowing the psychiatry report to be used in court). On the trial day itself, Min Ho acts inane but whispers to Jeong Woo, “What can’t money and power do in Korea?” His “mental instability” proves to be really useful, especially since the judge is already on Min Ho’s side.

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Joon Hyuk is first up to testify about Min Ho’s instructions to find the knife with Ji Soo’s blood. Min Ho’s lawyer objects on the basis that Joon Hyuk and Jeong Woo have been friends for 15 years, thus casting doubt on Joon Hyuk’s testimony. The two guys look at each other, and Joon Hyuk nods determinedly. Jeong Woo turns to the judge and reveals that although they are friends, he has charged Joon Hyuk for covering up and destroying evidence. When Jeong Woo asks why he’s tesifying, he replies, “I wanted to bring out the truth behind this incident which I have been hiding.” I know some people don’t feel the same way as I do, but I do feel quite happy with Joon Hyuk’s redemption. (There were commentators who wanted to throw Joon Hyuk in jail way more than Min Ho…)

Next up, Seok testifies that Min Ho was the one who gave him instructions to kill Lee Seong Kyu. Min Ho plays up the act by shouting that Min Ho’s dead and that he’s sorry. Based on Jeong Woo’s prompts, Seok states the details of Ji Soo’s death – on that day, he anesthesised Jeong Woo and held Ji Soo from the back. Cha Min Ho took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed her twice with her left hand. Omggg my heart breaks a little with this description, along with Jeong Woo and Tae Soo.

The judge grants an adjournment and the lawyer concludes that Min Ho has to pretend to be insane till the end – that’s the only way he can get out, and he has already talked to the judge.

Jeong Woo requests to question the Defendant (aha!) but the judge stops him, on account of the psychiatric evaluation. Err…….is corruption that prevalent?? It seems like Jeong Woo is at a dead end, but Yeon Hee turns up and testifies that “Seon Ho” is Min Ho. Jeong Woo asks why Yeon Hee takes him in despite knowing that he killed Seon Ho, and her reply starts to break Min Ho down. She pitied him because she loved him and he wasn’t always a bad person. He only became another person after his father’s abuse and she married Seon Ho. She’s only telling the truth now because how her son later remembers his father is important to Yeon Hee. “If Cha Min Ho is punished by the law as Cha Seon Ho, my son would remember his father as such a criminal.”

Min Ho starts to shake and a tear falls. Yeon Woo continues, “But…my son’s father is…” Min Ho shakes his head. “Cha Min Ho who is sitting right there. You are a good father to Eun Soo.” Min Ho replies, “I’m not his father. Cha Seon Ho is his father. The man I killed is the father of your son. I’m not his father.”It breaks my heart a teeny bit that he incriminated himself willingly for his son.

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Yeon Woo cries, “Please stop it. You had such a hard time living as Seon Ho. Let’s pay for what we did. I will tell Eun Soo how much his father loved him.” Despite Min Ho being a murderer, I do feel pity for him as he breaks down in silent tears.

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Jeong Woo makes his submissions and when asked for the sentence, he demands…he looks around at all the people who were with him these whole time + Yeon Soo, “A death penalty.”

Eun Hye carries out Miryang’s retrial. In the meantime, Min Ho gets sent back to Woljeong prison and demands for his room, only to be thrown into the punishment cell. Tae Soo stares at him evilly and mentions that he will be back soon. Min Ho (in his normal hair and no specs) hallucinates that his father has grabbed onto his leg again. He curls up into a ball and keeps apologising to his father.

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Joon Hyuk is also in jail and Jeong Woo visits him, reminding of their first day where Joon Hyuk said that they can never be shameful prosecutors. “I will wait for you, Joon Hyuk.”

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Min Ho is still in the dark cell, when he hears Jeong Woo’s voice. Jeong Woo mutters, “You can never live as Cha Seon Ho.” Min Ho tries to rub salt in Jeong Woo’s wound that that’s true, but Ji Soo died. Jeong Woo gives Min Ho the bad news that Yeon Hee will be bringing Eun Soo out of the country that day and he won’t be seeing them again. Jeong Woo will also not see him anymore. He walks away, ignoring Min Ho’s cries for a phone.

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Min Ho melts onto the floor and sobs repeatedly, “Eun Soo…Yeon Hee…” And thaaaat is the last we saw of him. I must say I do feel a bit reluctant to see Min Ho go.

With Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (aka I love you baby~) playing softly in the background, Jeong Woo and Eun Hye approach Mong Chi’s shop to buy some clothes for Eun Hye to thank her for what he has done. The doctor coos, “Honey~” and hops into the shop, while saying in a kiddy voice that they weren’t many crazy people today. Jeong Woo asks when this happens, and the doctor turns around with her usual doctor face and calm doctor voice, “It just sort of happened. You never know what will happen in life.” HAHAH.

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They all gather in a restaurant, which means Miryang’s retrial was successful. Cheol Shik arrives in a truck, “I’m~~ Optimus, Shin Cheol Shik.” Hahahah, this drama is cute. Jeong Woo smiles, “Let’s promise that we will never go to prison okay?” Eun Hye chimes in, “You can call me if there’s anything!”

She brings documents for motion of her dad’s retrial and that’s the last we see of her – walking determinedly into the prosecution. For those who are still unclear about this, we don’t know what her father did, but he is basically in jail for doing something to her mother, presumably murder (since she said her father couldn’t have done it because he was with her). Either in jail or already dead, I’m not sure, and she’s going to file a motion for him.

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It’s almost time to draw the curtains on our Defendant, as he brings Ha Yeon to visit Ji Soo. I must admit, I teared in this last scene, as Ha Yeon cries that she misses her mother and sings a lullaby for Ji Soo. Jeong Woo sings along and omg whose heart isn’t breaking as you look at these two faces?

They bury Ji Soo’s ashes and build a little tree on top, so that she can see the sky which she liked so much. Tae Soo smiles, “Don’t worry now, we’ll visit often.” Ha Yeon cute-ly adds on that she misses her mummy. Jeong Woo simply smiles. He takes a walk with Ha Yeon and promises to make the world a more beautiful and happier place, so that Ha Yeon can live in a better place.

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“Mummy is always watching us, so you and I should always smile and live with courage. Okay?” Ha Yeon beams and he takes her hand.

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In the next cut, we see the detective and Jeong Woo leading another investigation. Prosecutor Choi calls and Jeong Woo acts ignorant, “Why would I go after Chairman Park? You strictly told me not to.” He hangs up and says that they should only go after those whom their superiors disallow. I like this detective’s smile~~

He enters the building and the security blocks him (Note Lee Si-eon’s cameo here!! From Kill Me Heal Me!!). With my favourite Defendant instrumental music, Jeong Woo takes out his card, “I’m Prosecutor Park Jeong Woo” and winks at the camera. OMG the feels are real.

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I think there were little bits which could be better addressed. For example, just a simple 10 seconds scene of Ha Yeon talking to Seong Kyu would have been nice. Also, very odd to throw Miryang in jail for life-time. But as an ending, I am very satisfied. I always look out for plot in the finale and this is everything I want – an ending which still has some form of climax and conflict, ties up loose ends, leaves the viewers with a sense of longing and drama blues and a hint of continuity. I love that ending of Jeong Woo winking, it’s him in his best element as a prosecutor, confident and happy. Ji Soo’s death would forever leave an impact on him, but there’s a sense of finality to it and they are moving on, while keeping her in a special place in their heart.

As I’ve mentioned in the earlier recap, I like it a lot that Jeong Woo is the one who prosecutes Min Ho and that moment when he murmurs, “Death penalty” has a ring of poetic justice to it. He’s no longer the defendant; Min Ho is. The face-off between Min Ho and Jeong Woo has always been the highlight of this show and I think the drama played it out super well (although I still think that the middle towards the end wore me out). I was wondering what kind of ending would befit our psychopath murderer the most and I think I’m satisfied with this one – he doesn’t repent his actions (unlike 10000 dramas where the villain strangely turns around last-minute, oh wait Tae Oh does that too in Missing 9), but he feels the loss the strongest when he loses both Yeon Hee and Eun Soo. He is alone. Yet, he never once blames Yeon Hee for betraying him or leaving him. Instead, he cries and wants her to stay, and there’s something about this love which does make me more sympathetic towards Min Ho. Furthermore, he’s going to rot in his cell with memories of his father’s death haunting him – and who is he most afraid of? His father. So in a sense, Min Ho has been thoroughly punished indeed. He lost his two loved ones and the only one accompanying him now is the one he fears the most. If he hasn’t gone mad before, I think he would go mad soon enough.

Ji Sung always has a charming magic, and when this magic ends, you feel a little empty inside. That was how it was like when I finished Kill Me Heal Me (and I still remember crying each time each persona disappears…imagine crying four times over what is essentially the same guy….), and here, I admit to wiping a tear away and smiling when the final scene arrives. I won’t have drama blues, just because I don’t wish to relive any of the moments here (since it’s pretty depressing throughout) but I await eagerly for his new works.

It’s not just Ji Sung, I think the other actors and actresses should rightly be recognised for their work as well. Needless to say, Uhm Ki Joon is yet another brilliant actor who carries out his psychotic role super well and even manages to carve out a (somewhat) three-dimensional villain for the viewers (although I do think that his psycho-self seems more of a ‘nature’ rather than ‘nurture’). I liked Uhm Hyun Kyung’s acting a lot too and even Oh Chang Suk. They are able to do that -tears welling up in the eyes- slowly quite well. It’s a pity that Yoo Ri didn’t get much chance to flourish her skills but I think in the rare screen time she gets, she does a decent job. And oh the kid, Shin Rin-Ah! I’ve already caught a glimpse of her in Legend of the Blue Sea and I always look forward to her scenes. She will go big, this one!

As for the drama itself, I think it’s pretty strong in the sense that the twists were good and the suspense was nicely done. However, 16 episodes of it prove too much for me and sometimes, the illogicality or exaggeration of certain legal elements makes me roll my eyes (especially when Joon Hyuk was conducting his investigation). But I had a good time the past few weeks and even when I watch that ending a second time, I still feel that pang of it’s over! It’s over guys. Thank you for being here with me and I hope my recaps/reviews were of some help!

<3thoughtsramble

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2 Comments

  1. I was weeeeeping during the scene where they’re talking to Ji soo’s tree or even at the cremation centre. I honestly thought the judge might just be abused by power and money and help out Cha Min Ho, but I’m so glad the wife testified. It was a lil sad when Cha Min Ho tears up in court. The optimus Prime scenes are hilarious! But the ending though, all of them living happily ever after. I’m sad it’s over but I’m also happy because it was so nerve-racking to know how it’s all going to be solved!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was tearing too! I can’t believe how much corruption there is in Kdramas’ world. It’s like the villains’ trump card in almost every current drama. Thanks for all your comments and for being here watching the drama along with me!~~

      Liked by 1 person

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