Stranger 2 Review: Episode 4

After three episodes leading us to the setting up of the police-prosecution council, the first intense meeting happens in this episode. Lee Yeon-jae comes closer to getting entangled in this police vs. prosecution conflict. Sergeant Song’s death becomes even more mired in controversy as more and more people start to dig into the truth behind his apparent suicide. Will this case become the weapon prosecution gets to wield against the police, as proof of their corruption? Or will it end up cutting them, too? 

The police-prosecution joint council meeting starts off on a good note, with Chief Choi (Jeon Hye-jin) noting that Yeo-jin (Bae Doo-na) and Detective Jang (Choi Jae-woong) are already familiar with a member on the prosecutors’ side—Shi-mok (Cho Seung-woo). But Assistant Chief Woo (Choi Moo-sung) starts to ruin the goodwill by starting off aggressive, giving off the impression that the meeting is a waste of his time. The two sides settle on four agendas for the meeting—deciding who has the power to lead and terminate investigations, as well as the authority to request warrants, and finally, establishment of a senior civil servant corruption investigation unit.

To make their point, Yeo-jin and Chief Choi from the police side cite several examples from the past to prove that prosecutors refuse to issue warrants in order to protect their own people. To bolster their arguments, Detective Jang mentions the case his team is working on right now, involving a rental scammer. He recounts how the police worked day and night to catch the scammer and succeeded, but their efforts might go to waste because the prosecution is yet to request an arrest warrant for the suspect. He also mentions how despite existing laws, prosecutors routinely boss them around and look down on them.  

In the face of these well-researched instances of abuse of power, the prosecutors’ team, mainly Woo and Prosecutor Kim (Kim Young-jae) seem to flounder. They resort to being loud, going in circles with their arguments, and giving flimsy excuses. In short, Woo and Kim act exactly like the police accuse prosecutors of acting. In the midst of this tug-of-war, Shi-mok remembers the case of a fellow prosecutor being demoted after refusing to give special treatment to a senior.

Shi-mok raises some crucial issues—that the police and prosecution face the same external pressures, and both are equally vulnerable to misusing their authority. He stresses on the need for an additional step to review police reports for fairness. Even Shi-mok and Yeo-jin end up exchanging barbs. Eventually, the meeting comes to an end on a frustrating note—with the prosecution dismissing the police’s concerns walking out. Yeo-jin seems mad at Shi-mok, too, and both teams are so overwhelmed that they go out to eat something spicy after. Hilarious. Woo tries to look into the rental scam case Detective Jang mentioned, worried that the delay in issuing a warrant might cause unpleasant repercussions for his team.

Meanwhile, Yeon-jae (Yoon Se-ah) is dealing with two different crises at the work and home fronts. Her brother Lee Seung-jae seems intent on pushing her out of the company, by hook or by crook. Supporting him is the CEO of the newspaper Sungmoon Daily, Kim Byung-hyun, who buys up shares in the Hanjo Group and publishes defamatory articles against Yeon-jae in his newspaper in an effort to bring back her father as the chairman. The role of Kim Byung-hyun saw Tae In-ho in a surprise cameo. I’m not sure if this role will materialize into something bigger or if this is just a special appearance, but I would love to see more of Tae in this show.

Yeon-jae is asked to ensure her father stays out of this turf war, seeing as he’s still the most powerful man in the company. But let alone talk to her about the business, Lee Yeon-beom doesn’t seem interested in even meeting his daughter. This seems strange, because Lee was quite the doting dad in the last season. But, as the show implies, if he truly believes she conspired with her late husband to usurp the business, then I guess it’s understandable why he would avoid her.

After trying and failing to get Shi-mok to work with her, Yeon-jae tries using Dong-jae (Lee Joon-hyuk) to get to her father. Dong-jae doesn’t exactly succeed, but he does bring Yeon-jae crucial information that points to the fact that all may not be well with her father. Dong-jae also reveals that the case of the dead lawyer Park Gwang-su—that he initially revealed to Woo Tae-ha to convince him to dig up dirt on Chief Choi—is also related to Yeon-jae, because Hanjo was trying to recruit Park just before his sudden death. This only serves to add to her stress. 

It was only a matter of time before Chief Choi found out that Seo Dong-jae is looking into the Segok Police Station case. Immediately, she sends Yeo-jin digging up the case. It obviously doesn’t take our talented inspector Yeo-jin to realize that something is very off about the death of Sergeant Song. She manages to find out that Song was being bullied by his colleagues, and his body was found by the same men who harassed him. As she shares her doubts that the suicide might well be a homicide, Chief Choi groans in frustration. This reaction tells me that she might really be unaware of the shady nature of this case, although, going by experience, I wouldn’t trust anyone in this show except our reliable duo. 

Now that both the police and prosecution sides are actively digging into the case of Sergeant Song’s death, the next episode is likely to focus on the two officers who were convicted for bribery and later released. Who killed Song, and for what reason, seems pretty clear at this point, but we are yet to know how the murder was planned. It also remains to be seen if Chief Choi, along with the rest of the police administration overseeing this case, closed it due to negligence or protect their own department. The extent of Chief Choi’s role in this case will determine the trajectory of her arc. However, a case that looks simple on the surface might be hiding secrets underneath. As with each progressive episodes, I’m bracing myself for some spectacular twists next week!

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Indoor Enthusiast (Esha) is a staff writer at Kdramapal. She is responsible for bringing all the latest happenings in Kdramaland to the readers of the site. You are likely to find her going on rants about how Ji Hae-soo from It's Okay That's Love and Sung Bora from Reply 1988 are the best heroines to grace our screens. Thrillers like Secret Forest, shows about female friendships, a la Age of Youth, and rom-coms with sprinklings of feminism, like Because This Life Is My First, hold a special place in her heart. She lives in India and spends all her free time reading books. Indoor Enthusiast can be reached at [email protected]