Another episode with emotional depth.
Tunnel Episode 5 Recap
Officer Kim Sun Jae (Yoon Hyun Min) is desperate to engage on the murder from his former precinct but he is denied access. He calls his friend Coroner Mok to get him access to the crime scene photos. His friend promises to help. Sun Jae gets another phone call. He’s dismayed to learn it’s his father who is disappointed he’s not coming home on the anniversary of his mother’s death.
Flashback…Sun Jae comes too late to the hospital; his grandfather had died. In his Grandfather’s hand he finds a photo of Sun Jae and his mother. On the back the photo his Grandfather wrote “daughter, I’m sorry I didn’t catch the culprit”. Later suitcase in hand, Sun Jae tells his father that because he wasn’t going into medicine, he didn’t care about him. Sun Jae then vows to catch the killer and leaves his father’s house.
Sun Jae tells his father that remembering his mother without having caught the killer has no meaning. Sun Jae tells his father once the killer is caught, they can attend mother’s memorial service together.
While it is not crystal clear what happened to Sun Jae’s mother, this ups the emotional ante for Sun Jae. The importance of catching his mother’s killer could not be any clearer.
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) catches a ride with former partner and current boss Team Leader Chun (Jo Hee Bong). He shows him the motor vehicle report, with details of a white car. Kwang Ho informs Team Leader Chun the license plate number is 1988-born Kwang Ho. He tells Team Leader Chun how he met 1988-born Kwang Ho on his first night. Kwang Ho believes the only way he’ll be able to return to 1986 is to find 1988-born Kwang Ho. Team Leader Chun says there are no relatives but promises to track the car. Unfortunately, the cell phone is off. Kwang Ho asks if Team Leader Chun found out the whereabouts of Shin Yeon Sook (Kwang Ho’s wife waiting for him in 1986). Kwang Ho isn’t happy to learn Team Leader Chun has made to progress.
Professor Shin Jae Yi (Lee Yoo Young) gets a card from the little girl thanking her for helping to catch the man that killed her brother. Professor Shin smiles and the Dean notices. Professor Shin doesn’t share much but says the little girl will be okay with time. The Dean recommends that Professor Shin put herself first and stop giving others priority. The Dean says Professor Shin should date and have fun. Professor Shin shares there is one man, who she calls a stalker, that is interested in her.
Nice to see Professor Shin smile. Nice follow-up to the little girl in the previous touching episode.
Sun Jae literally bumps into Kwang Ho and Team Leader Chun as he exits the bullpen. Officer Kwak Tae Hee (Kim Byung Chul) explains Sun Jae is hyped up because a new body was found. In this matter, Kwang Ho agrees with his partner and head out after him. Team Leader Chun follow too telling Officer Kwak to come too.
In the car, Kwang Ho tells Sun Jae he knows about the serial killer Sun Jae is desperate to catch. Kwang Ho asks a key question – why is Sun Jae obsessed with catching the serial killer.
Sun Jae flashes back…2 years ago…Sun Jae interrogates the serial killer. There surveillance of the victim getting into his car. Sun Jae asks if he enjoyed murder. The serial killer lean forward and suggests Sun Jae amp up his game and find all the other bodies. Sun Jae doesn’t believe him but the serial killer is serious. Then he laughs in Sun Jae’s face. Sun Jae finds a case in a neighboring town where a missing person was never found. When the serial killer is transported he manages to escape. Sun Jae finds the injured officer who tells him the serial killer Jung Ho Young escaped.
Is that Sun Jae’s partner whose mistake provided the opportunity for the serial killer escape? Once again it becomes clearer Sun Jae’s obsession with catching this man. The serial killer was caught. But he escaped and has continued to murder since then. How many have died since the serial killer escaped custody?
Sun Jae doesn’t answer Kwang Ho’s question. Kwang Ho notices that Sun Jae is dressed in black. He asks if someone died. Sun Jae tells him to be quiet. Kwang Ho scoffs that Sun Jae doesn’t scare him.
At the crime scene, the police show Kwang Ho and Sun Jae the body of a truck driver who called for help. When the police arrived, he was dead. Kwang Ho examines the victim’s truck. He sees the victim was a boxer so he surmises the killer attacked from behind. Sun Jae takes picture of all the license plates in the parking lot (the police have detained everyone). Sun Jae spots a car with a broken head light. Sun Jae and Kwang Ho enter the room where the detainees are being held. Strangely none of them seem upset or interested.
Team Leader Chun, Officer Kwak and Officer Song Min Ha (Kang Ki Young) struggle to free their police van which is mired in mud. Another police van tell them the severe rains have closed the roads. They recommend turning around.
Team Leader Chun calls Sun Jae and informs him the roads are impassable and they can’t make it. Sun Jae is dismayed to learn the forensics team won’t arrive today. The signal between Team Leader Chun and Sun Jae fades, ending the phone call. Sun Jae tells Kwang Ho they are stuck here without backup. Kwang Ho tells Sun Jae they’ll be able to discern who the murderer is before the rain stops.
Kwang Ho and Sun Jae begin interviewing the detainees. The man with the broken headlight is more concerned about missing his boss’s son’s wedding than the dead man. The man claims the headlight was broken before he traveled and that he has no black box. The man from a training workshop claims he’s glasses got broken at the workshop. The baseball player with the record of assaults and drunk driving claims others are more likely suspects. Kwang Ho can’t believe it when Sun Jae checks out of the interrogation to find better signal strength for his phone.
But Sun Jae’s focus on signal strength puts the photos of the detainee’s cars on Team Leader Chun and Officer Song’s cell phones.
The actress enjoys yanking Kwang Ho and Sun Jae’s chains when she pretends to be the killer. Truck driver wonders why they are being detained. Creepy worker says the order of arrival was broken headlight man, the victim, the training workshop man, the truck driver, then the actress and baseball player.
Kwang Ho and Sun Jae wonder how to determine who or whom is lying. Sun Jae suggests they search the cars for weapons. They come up empty. They examine the body. Kwang Ho finds cement on the man’s head. Sun Jae follows the blood drop trail and finds a bloody cement brick in the toilet. They’ve found the murder weapon!
The creepy worker caves under Kwang Ho’s pressure and admits he fought with the cheap victim but didn’t kill him. He believes the truck driver killed the victim because he’s an ex-con.
Meanwhile back at the police station Officer Kwak tells Team Leader Chun that the truck driver is an ex-con. But even more damming is that the victim reported the truck driver’s negligent driving. Anyone else loving the old-school whiteboard that everyone is using now?
Freaked out by the attention the truck driver makes a run for it. Kwang Ho runs into the rain to stop him placing himself in front of the car. Sun Jae has a more direct approach. He aims his gun at the suspect, then shoots his tire out, immobilizing the car.
Something about Sun Jae’s steely face, holding a pistol while holding an umbrella in the pouring rain worked for me. I note he dropped the umbrella to fire two handed.
When they bring the truck driver back into the building the other suspects believe he’s the killer. He claims he isn’t. Frustrated when he’s about to be handcuffed the truck driver brandishes a mop threateningly. The doorbells ring, everyone turns to see what idiot is out in the rain like this…it’s Professor Shin! Love it! Everyone is distracted and Kwang Ho uses that moment to subdue the truck driver. Kwang Ho and Sun Jae ask why Professor Shin is there. Calmly she asks for a cup of coffee. The creepy worker rushes to get her one. She announces she knows who the killer is.
Sipping her coffee, Professor Shin states the killer left on the bus, passengers noticed him, and the police arrested him. Everyone in the room breathes a sigh of relief. Professor Shin wanted to let them know, so tension didn’t escalate while they were trapped by the rain. Professor Shin states she just barely made though her car was swept away by the river.
They remove the handcuff from the truck driver. The creepy worker apologizes and offers ramen for all. Everyone heads to the café. Sun Jae tells Professor Shin they need to talk. Kwang Ho is irked they talk without him. He knows something is going on between them.
Sun Jae (who is now completely dry) asks Professor Shin if the killer was caught. Professor Shin says no, she said that to put everyone at ease so they could catch the killer. Approvingly Sun Jae declares it’s like a mini behavior analysis lab. Professor Shin agrees. They stare into each other eyes. Someone looks at lips. Then Kwang Ho enters the room wanting to know what they are keeping from him. Professor Shin tells him what he’s imagining is correct and leaves. Sun Jae doesn’t say anything and leaves. Kwang Ho stands there frustrated that he can’t reveal the depth of his experience.
Good ratchet up of the tension between Sun Jae and Professor Shin. Subtle but there.
The police sit at a different table from the suspects. Kwang Ho tells Sun Jae and Professor Shin they need to determine the motive for murder. Professor Shin rises to find a restroom. Sun Jae follows. Kwang Ho shakes his head. He’s the only one that wants to work he grits out.
Outside Professor Shin stares at the rain. Sun Jae tells her the restroom was locked because it was a crime scene. He holds up the keys. She reaches for them but he pulls back. He says he’ll accompany her. She demurs. He insists claiming “I’m stalking you”.
Is that a swoon moment from Sun Jae? Loving it!
The broken glasses man bumps the broken headlight man spilling ramen over him. Kwang Ho helps clean it up. When Kwang Ho notices broken glasses and the man’s clean up skills, he tells Kwang Ho that his wife died 3 years ago. Kwang Ho wonders how the victim’s parents will feel to learn how and where their son died. Kwang Ho says it’s the hardest part of the job. The man staggers. He claims it’s low blood pressure. He steps outside.
On their first date (of sorts), Sun Jae escorts Professor Shin to the crime scene. She looks and ponders. Outside the restroom, she imagines the victim and killer smoking on the bench. She goes to the bench. She sees a full cigarette on the ground. She wonders what happened that made the person abandon the smoke.
Meanwhile back at the police station, Team Leader Chun gives Officer Kwak and Officer Song the victim’s call list and instructs them to interview those he called. Plaintively Officer Kwak and Officer Song look up from their ramen which they just poured the water on. Team Leader Chun orders them out into the rain. They leave their ramen for Team Leader Chun. Ha!
Sun Jae investigates outside and finds a bloody bag in a stream.
Officer Kwak and Officer Song talk to a boxing friend the victim called. He said the victim stated he was at a rest stop and was looking for a lighter so he could smoke. Officer Song asks who would want to kill his friend.
Kwang Ho tells Professor Shin he knows broken glasses man is the killer but can’t prove it yet. Professor Shin quips he should directly accuse him. That irks Kwang Ho who says she’s just like Sun Jae. Speak of the devil, Sun Jae rejoins them. He tells Kwang Ho he found evidence.
Flashback to moments ago in the rain…we see Professor Shin go through the bloody bag. In the wallet is a picture of broken glasses man, a son in army gear, and his wife!
Kwang Ho, Sun Jae and Professor Shin reenter the room with the suspects. Broken glasses man is sitting apart from the others. Professor Shin announces the real killer is still at large but he’s in the room. She says he killed because his child was killed by the victim. She walks forward and asks broken glasses man if he knows what she means. He grabs a knife. He puts it to his own throat. He says he didn’t plan to kill him.
Back at the boxing club, the man gives Officer Kwak and Officer Song a picture of a group of army buddies pointing out the victim. The man declares the victim kills a newer recruit (I’m assuming broken glasses man’s son) in a rage. We see the incident in flashback. We see broken glasses man and his wife see their son’s body in the infirmary. We see broken glasses man for details how his son was beaten to death. We see the victim lead away from the police. We see the wife run after the victim, stop him while sobbing that he killed her son. We see her fall to the floor in abject pain. Awk! Tears! We see the man weep over his dead son.
Now broken glasses man continues the story and says he told his wife they should forgive the man that beat their son. Tears streaming the man sobs that his wife couldn’t live anymore and dead shortly thereafter. He can’t believe he counseled forgiveness to his son’s killer!
Flashback to just before the murder…Broken glasses man sits on the bench next to the victim who is talking to the boxing club friend. He offers the victim a light. He recalls his wife confronting his son’s killer. He decides not to kill and stands to leave. But then the victim talks about how strong his punches are but his wrist was injured by a jerk in the past. Snap! You can practically hear broken glasses man decide in that moment his son’s killer must die. Broken glasses man asks what happened to the guy. The victim smirks that he killed him. Broken glasses man drops his unlit cigarette. The victim laughs, claims he was joking, and jogs to the restroom. Broken glasses man reels with hatred for the man that killed his son and now treats it like a joke. He goes to the restroom, picks up a cement block outside the door, and enters killing his son’s killer.
Very effective scene! What can I say, I felt for broken glasses man, his loss, and the injustice of his son’s killer living while those he loved did not.
The lights go out. Kwang Ho tells the others to leave the room. They exit rapidly. Sun Jae asks broken glasses man if murdering his son’s killer made it better. Did the pain subside? Kwang Ho is impressed that Sun Jae feels empathy for the victim (I hang my head in shame because I did not). Broken glasses man asks what Sun Jae wants him to say. Sun Jae says he understands because he too wanted to kill. Professor Shin and Kwang Ho stare at Sun Jae in surprise. Sun Jae admits he wanted to find the man the killed his mother and kill him. Sun Jae says that wouldn’t make his dead mother pleased. All she would want is her killer to be caught, admit his crimes and pay for it in a court of law. Broken glasses mean yells he does not care about that kind of justice. Sun Jae counters this makes him just like the killer. The man rages that it’s over now. Sun Jae counters it was over when he son was killed. The man quiets, reflects, and sobs that his wife knew life was over 7 years ago. She slowly pulled away and killed herself by withdrawing. Sobbing the man says he killed his wife too. Awk! Tears! The man says he did nothing. Sun Jae tells the man there was nothing to do. Sun Jae confesses he learned this after becoming a police officer. His father couldn’t reverse his mother’s murder. The man remembers sobbing over his son’s body. He sees the knife on the ground. He picks it up with the intent to kill himself. Professor Shin grabs the knife BY THE BLADE! Professor Shin and Kwang Ho intervene. Kwang Ho handcuffs the man. Sun Jae asks is Professor Shin is okay.
After the man is taking away, Kwang Ho declares that Professor Shin’s action was nuts. She snaps that she’s fine. Kwang Ho declares a woman shouldn’t be involved in police work. They can’t guarantee her protection. Professor Shin counters that she didn’t ask for their protection. Kwang Ho relents and asks if she’s okay. As he reaches out to her, she pulls away and says she’s fine. She leaves the room. Kwang Ho sighs.
As Sun Jae turns to leave, Kwang Ho asks if Sun Jae is desperate to catch the serial killer because of his mother. Sun Jae snaps it’s none of his business. Kwang Ho says he’s sorry. Awk! Tears! Sun Jae turns and looks at his partner. Kwang Ho says he understands Sun Jae’s obsessing with catching criminals. If he fails, he feels the victim’s family’s pain. The only thing that help, is catching the criminal. Kwang Ho moves towards his partner and offer his help…anytime, anyway. He’s sorry Sun Jae couldn’t attend his mother’s memorial service. He comments about the rain. Both men stare at the pouring rain.
Sun Jae’s father burns his mother’s name as part of the memorial service. He stands alone in the rain. Awk! Tears! Sun Jae’s father stares at his tie. Flashback to the tie his dead wife bought for him near the crime scene. Sun Jae’s father sobs as he stares at his wife’s dead body. Awk! Tears! OMG!!!!!!!!!!! Sun Jae’s father’s wife was killed by the serial killer Kwang Ho is searching for! Sun Jae’s mother was killed by the serial killer Kwang Ho is searching for! Sun Jae is the little boy Kwang Ho knew would grow up without a mother when he watched the memorial service from afar in the past. Writer Lee has hit a home run with this tie between our male leads!
What a stunning series of scenes with THE reveal that ties our male leads together. Bravo!
The next morning Team Leader Chun, Officer Kwak and Officer Song arrive at the scene. Kwang Ho is unhappy that Team Leader Chun sent Professor Shin because she almost got hurt. Surprised, Team Leader Chun says he didn’t send Professor Shin to the scene. Kwang Ho doesn’t understand how and why she came. They both wonder where Professor Shin is.
Sun Jae gives the father the picture of his family. He flips the picture over and reads his son’s words “Salute, I’ll come back”. Awk! Tears! The father cries. Sun Jae is supportively quiet.
Professor Shin walks to a bus station, her hand dripping with blood. That’s ridiculous, that her hand is oozing blood like that. It wasn’t last night. Sun Jae arrives and inspects her hand. He cleans her wound. He tells her she needs to ask for help, silence can be a bad habit. Sun Jae asks if she’s used silence as crutch ever since her parents perished in the fire. He admits he overheard at the hospital. Professor Shin downplays her story by calling it no big deal. But Sun Jae won’t let her diminish the past. He says his story is no big deal either. He asks if she wants to hear it. Professor Shin says she thinks knows. They stare into each other’s eyes.
Loving these two! If they can help each other heal, open up, find acceptance, friendship, and potentially love with each other, I’ll be thrilled.
Kwang Ho feels empathy for the father over losing his son. Team Leader Chun admits he suffered after Kwang Ho disappeared. Kwang Ho wonders how his wife is feeling right now. Kwang Ho doesn’t want her to cry.
Shin Yeon Sook (Lee Shi A) cries while she does laundry. She misses Kwang Ho desperately.
Team Leader Chun apologizes that he can’t find Yeon Sook. He explains her ID was erased and she cannot be located. Kwang Ho is shocked, unhappy, then angry to hear this. Kwang Ho gets out of the car and strides away. He tells himself as long as he finds 1988-born Kwang Ho he’ll be able to go home. He swears he will go back in time.
Hikers pass by the white car 1988-born Kwang Ho drove, oblivious that it’s there. It is covered in branches, leaves, and dirt.
I felt like I was in an Agatha Christie novel for the bulk of this episode. All the suspects in one location and our intrepid detectives (Hercule Poirot 1 and 2) interviewing and determining the guilty party as the episode progressed. When Professor Shin arrived (Miss Marple) things got more interesting. The only production issue that I could quibble having to create the rain on a sunny day. But you can’t control the weather. The episode highlights:
* Sun Jae reveals the background of his quest to catch criminals. I was inordinately pleased when Sun Jae shared his personal truth. Sun Jae had previously been tight lipped about everything. But in this episode, grappling with the anniversary of his mother’s death, empathy for the killer, Sun Jae took the risk and reveal the WHY behind his drive to catch criminals. The staging of the scene was compelling. Sun Jae in the forefront, the light behind him, confessing his story to the man, Kwang Ho and Professor Shin.
* Sun Jae’s mother is revealed to be a victim of the “dot” serial killer from 1986. That was a wow moment in this episode. Now we know that Sun Jae and Kwang Ho want to catch the same killer. It’s personal for both of our detectives. Kwang Ho is the original detective who pursued the “dot” serial killer. Sun Jae’s mother is the 6th victim of the “dot” serial killer. Before Sun Jae’s father meant nothing to me. Today, my heart went out to this man. When it was revealed the tie he wore was the tie his wife bought for him just before she was killed, I was gutted. I applaud that Writer Lee tied our detectives’ goals together that tightly. How long will it take for Kwang Ho and Sun Jae to find the connection between them?
* Sun Jae and Professor Shin inch closer. I can’t call these two darling, but in their own way, they are adorable as they dig each other. If you’d told me the term “stalker” could be a term of endearment, I wouldn’t have believed you. Even Kwang Ho picked up on the vibe between them.
* The father/killer’s story touched my heart. I can’t believe that Writer Lee is able to tug my heart strings in back-to-back episodes with the “crime of the episode” characters. One knock I have against procedural dramas is limited emotional connection with the crime being solved. When I saw that the victim was the man that beat the father/killer’s son to death in the army, I understood why the father killed him. I understood why he wavered and almost did nothing. I understood why the victim’s dismissive “I killed him” statement was the straw that broke the camel’s back, enraging the father to avenge his son’s death.
* All the detectives contributed. While unable to get to the remote location, Team Leader Chun, Officer Kwak and Officer Song contributed to the investigation. I like this team of detectives. I had to smile when Officer Kwak and Officer Song wanted to eat their ramen before interviewing the victim’s recent call but the recently reinvigorated old school ways of Team Leader Chun wouldn’t allow it. These guys work well together.
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) found an emotional connection with Sun Jae. These two have been like oil and water. Today a bridge between them was built. Kwang Ho offered sincere support to his partner. He understood Sun Jae’s burden and respected how Sun Jae used that to fuel the kind of police officer he became. Kwang Ho is old school and a chauvinist. He’s demonstrated his chauvinistic beliefs throughout the series. I had to comment today. When he directly told Professor Shin that she should not be involved in police work, it was because they couldn’t guarantee they could protect her. Kwang Ho is a caring chauvinist. Dominance of women isn’t the point, protecting them is. If cutting them off from “risky” activities is the way to do so, then so be it. Kwang Ho’s dismay at being shut out of conversations between Sun Jae and Professor Shin was fun to watch. But he was concerned about her too. His belief that he will return to his wife, is like a mantra he chants. I love his determination. Kwang Ho is a wonderful mix of a man, and Choi Jin Hyuk’s portrayal is perfection.