In this episode: The team takes on a new member and a new murder case, trying to figure out whether the victim was killed by her ex-husband or her next door neighbor.
Episode Guest Stars
(I apologize for the not-necessarily-flattering quality of these photos – I mostly work with GIFs, so it’s a little harder to screenshot good images than I thought. But the aim is really just to give names to faces here.)
(actor/K-pop idol, member of ZE:A)
***Recurring Guest Appearances: Tae Hangho, Kim Minjae, Yoon Jonghoon (mentioned)
An Important Note
I’ve tried my best to summarize everything in these recaps, but sometimes there are parts of an episode or the overall story that aren’t clear to me. I’m in Korea, so I have Korean Netflix – they have English subtitles for all the dialogue, but not necessarily all of the captions and titles they put in the show. I’m sure that sometimes I miss things, and sometimes I may arrive at the wrong conclusion. But I’ll make sure to highlight the parts where I’m confused or unsure about certain details.
***WARNING!*** THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE EPISODE/SERIES AHEAD. These recaps are written summary style – I’m writing as if I’ve watched these episodes for the first time, but this is primarily aimed towards people who have seen the series before and want to refresh their memory or find answers to certain questions. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SERIES AND ARE PLANNING TO, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
At long last, I can FINALLY introduce Season 2’s new permanent cast member: Lee Seunggi! As a celebrity in the Korean entertainment industry, he’s SUPER famous. He started out as a singer, then became a really popular actor, and now he also does some hosting and variety shows. He’s truly a triple threat. But in the alternate reality of Busted, he’s just some random guy looking to join the team. He tells them that he’s a former detective, and he wants to work with other people because he was starting to feel the limitations of being alone. The detectives are understandably wary of this newcomer because they haven’t had much luck finding a replacement for Kwangsoo – Sungjae betrayed them, and Hani rejected them in favor of the Genius Detective Team. So they do grill and troll him a bit; but to be fair, he comes in wearing a pretty ridiculous outfit that’s just asking for jokes.
This is admittedly not the best picture of Seunggi, but you really have to see this outfit to believe it.
In an effort to appeal to the team, Seunggi has brought them a case: a woman asked him for help because her ex-husband has been threatening her. She’s offered to pay a lot of money if they look into it, which gets the attention of the the perpetually poor team. They agree to work with Seunggi using this case as a trial, and they’ll accept him if he does a good job. Since the nature of this episode is quite serious compared to some other ones, I’m just going to go ahead and say that they get along well and end up accepting him into the group. Though given that he’s a permanent cast member, you probably saw that coming.
They all go to the woman’s house in Yeonhui-dong, only to discover her lying dead on the floor of her living room. There’s blood everywhere, and it appears she has been stabbed. Since the back door is unlocked, they’re able to enter the house and note the following details:
- The woman has a young son about kindergarten age named Min Sol, but he’s not at home.
- She took anti-coagulant pills for some reason. These prevent blood clotting, which would make it easier for her die from excessive blood loss if she were stabbed – which is apparently how she died.
- The table is set for breakfast, but nothing is eaten. So, we can assume the murder happened in the morning.
- There’s an empty container with a note from the next door neighbor thanking her for the food.
- Her computer is covered in blood, so she might have been trying to type something before she died. The password is her father’s birthday, which the detectives don’t know and can’t find for now.
- Based on photos in the living room, the woman’s father (Sol’s grandfather) did kendo. There are swords on display, but one is clearly missing… so it’s almost certainly the murder weapon.
- The woman’s job had something to do with cell phones, as there are various parts and models in her room.
A photo of the victim and her son.
The team also finds the victims’s phone and reads a text conversation with her ex-husband Min Sungwook. Contrary to what she had told Seunggi, her ex’s messages don’t seem like he was threatening her. It sounds more like he was worried about her living in that specific area, and he feared something would happen to her and/or their son. The texts reveal he had found another house and was trying to convince her to move there. They call him and inform him of his ex-wife’s death, and he says that he’ll be right over. (He also confirms that his son is at kindergarten and shouldn’t be in any danger.)
Jaewook sees a bottle of tire rim cleaner lying by the door. He starts spraying it around and sees that it makes a red/pink color in certain spots. Further spraying reveals a set of footprints leading out the back door. They follow the trail through the passageway and over to the house next door. Jaewook takes Sehun and Sejeong back to the victim’s house to wait for Sungwook. While they do so, they find a container of metal powder and figure out that’s what the spray is reacting to. Sungwook then shows up and is understandably distraught over seeing his ex-wife dead. In a somewhat bemusing moment, Jaewook sprays his shoes to check for metal powder while the guy is mourning and kneeling over her body… there’s a time and a place, man!
Revealing the footprints.
Quick side note: Sungwook calls his ex-wife by her given name Hyejin. Although the cast generally doesn’t refer to her by name, I will because it makes things easier for this recap.
Jaesuk, Jongmin, Seunggi, and Minyoung follow up on the next door neighbor. He’s not at home, but the landlady whom he rents the basement from lets them in. Though she seems quite surprised that he’s a suspect; according to her, he’s a kind young man who spends time with Hyejin’s son. The first thing they notice on upon entering his room is a giant board with a schedule and bunch of Post-Its. It seems this neighbor writes a lot of memos… and many of them are observations about Hyejin. The name tag on his work uniform is Kim Dongjun, and the uniform indicates that he works at a metal company – a place where it would be easy to get metal powder on your shoes.
There’s also a brief connection to the overall mystery of the season: they find this creepy looking website on Dongjun’s computer called “Death Blossom.” It worships the Flower Killer, and it has pages talking about various murder cases and methods of killing people. That is… not suspicious at all.
The “Death Blossom” website.
They note that everything in Dongjun’s room is very tidy and he appears to follow a strict schedule, which suggests that he’s already fulfilled his mandatory military service or he’s been in prison. They flip over his schedule board to reveal some disturbing news articles taped to the back. They’re about a murder that Kim Dongjun committed, and mention that he got a reduced sentence because he had depression. Dongjun has left handwritten notes that say “witness,” “12 years, and “Why.” One of the articles talks about a witness named “Min,” and that name is aggressively circled.
Seunggi suspects that the witness was Sungwook, which the man in question confirms to Jaewook’s group. When Dongjun was a teenager twelve years ago, he randomly killed three people for unexplained reasons. Sungwook was a witness and reported it. A flashback reveals that Dongjun attacked Sungwook and managed to slice him in the face before he was taken away by the authorities – he still has the scar for it. Because Dongjun was a minor and had a documented history of depression, the judge was lenient and din’t give him a life sentence. When he was released three months ago, he moved right next door to Hyejin. Sungwook knew this wasn’t coincidental, and he worried for his ex-wife and son because he was convinced that Dongjun would seek revenge.
While Jaesuk’s group is discussing the murder, Dongjun himself appears and is quite hostile upon finding him in his room. Of course he shows up right when they find the dark and disturbing secrets. When they question him, he says that Hyejin was a nice woman who was the first to welcome him to the neighborhood. He does know that she had some sort of illness, which is probably why she was taking anti-coagulants. He played with Sol this morning and sent him home around 8:40, then did some exercise. He believes that Sungwook killed Hyejin, and he’s aware that Sungwook’s last name is Min. He doesn’t know who the Flower Killer is, and claims he just happened upon the website.
The team compares notes and decide they need to check Dongjun’s alibi. Jaesuk’s group decides to look for some local CCTV cameras that would have covered the area where Dongjun was exercising and playing with Sol. They do meet some men repairing one, but they can’t access any of the footage because they don’t have permission. They remember that Tae Hangho said he could hack security cameras, so they decide to ask him for help. Of course, they don’t have the ten thousand dollars he always asks for. So much like Episode 2, they must beat him at a game to get him to do anything. (This time Minyoung’s designer bag is the collateral.)
This encounter’s traditional Korean game is ttakji. Basically, it’s a game played with folded paper tiles. Your opponent places theirs on the floor, and you have to hit it with yours using enough force to flip it over. Tae Hangho provides the group with different sized ttajki; theirs all range from super small to medium (“Citizen,” “Knight,” “Soldier,” “General”), while his is giant (“Emperor”). Of course. Each detective plays a one on one round with Tae Hangho, starting from the smallest sized ttakji. Whoever flips the opponent’s ttakji first wins the round, so Tae Hangho can confiscate theirs if he wins. But if any one of them succeeds in flipping his, the game ends there.
What ttajki look like.
How you play (though ideally, the one on the floor should flip over).
Seunggi manages to beat Tae Hangho after Jongmin and Jaesuk lose, so he agrees to return their bag. But because he can’t pass up an opportunity to irritate the team, he makes them play him again to earn his hacking skills for free. He quickly beats Minyoung, Jongmin, and Seunggi, but Jaesuk manages to pull off a win at the last crucial moment. Tae Hangho grudgingly concedes. While he’s starting up his computers, he gets another call from Yoon Jonghoon. Their relationship doesn’t appear to have changed since Episode 3, and Tae Hangho yells at Jonghoon for not answering his calls… but he quickly changes his tune when Jonghoon says he got a certain something, and they end the chat on good terms. Minyoung and Jaesuk try to question about it, but all he’ll say is that they talk often.
Once Tae Hangho hacks the CCTV, the group sees that Dongjun does indeed spend a lot of time at this spot by the park. As they comb through the footage, they see that the little boy Sol often visits him and plays with him. One clip from today grabs their attention: Sol has a wooden sword, and he runs at Dongjun and “stabs” him with it. Then Dongjun tells Sol something, but none of the detectives are proficient enough at lip-reading to figure out what he says.
CCTV footage of Dongjun talking to Sol.
Meanwhile, Jaewook’s team is on the hunt for a certain dash cam. Way back in the beginning of the episode, they passed a very noticeable orange car on their way into Hyejin’s house. While they were talking to Sungwook, they heard the owner of the car exclaim that the camera was broken and needed to be repaired. They realized that the dash cam video might show who came in and out of the house around the time of Hyejin’s murder. Thankfully, they encounter the car owner’s brother, who gives them the license plate number and the repair center’s information. When they get there, the worker on duty says that his boss is out and won’t be back for half an hour. But if they can figure out which dash cam is the correct one, they can look at it.
Unfortunately, finding it is not so simple. There’s a giant display with about a hundred dash cams, and there’s no indication of the car’s license plate number. Instead, each one is marked by a paper with a bunch of dots and blocks. Both Sehun and Jaewook muse that it would probably be easier to just wait the thirty minutes and talk to the owner. Ultimately, Jaewook figures out that you should connect the dots to separate the blocks into four rectangles, and then you can shade in the spaces in between to see the numbers. Since the license plate number they’re looking for is 4744, they should find one that has three of the same pattern.
The display of dash cams.
The solution to the puzzle.
When they check the dash cam footage, they see Sol leaving for kindergarten with his teacher – he went at 8:51, so about ten minutes after Dongjun sent him home. But they ALSO see Sungwook entering the house at 9:30… in different clothes than what he was wearing when he met them. And he leaves at 10:04 carrying a black bag that possibly contains the missing sword. Hmmm… The groups relay their new findings to each other over the phone and decide to have Jaewook’s group go see Sungwook at his workplace. Note that he’s a butcher at a slaughterhouse… so that adds an extra unsettling layer of danger to this whole story.
Jaewook’s group arrives and is surprised to see Kim Minjae there – the Seoul police is now officially investigating Hyejin’s murder, so he’s come to question Sungwook as well. They decide to work together. They spot Sungwook holding the bag from afar and call out to him, but he pulls the sword out and runs away. They follow him inside the building, only to be stopped by a group of very menacing looking fellow butchers brandishing meat hooks and knives. (It’s obviously just for their jobs, but it’s still pretty intimidating.) They will only allow the detectives in if they wear the correct protective clothing – white coat, gloves, hairnet, and mouth guard.
Meanwhile, Jaesuk’s group returns to Dongjun’s house to look for more clues. They see that the police have visited Hyejin’s house and designated it a crime scene. They also spot Dongjun sneaking out holding Hyejin’s bloody laptop. He sprints away from them, so they have to chase and catch him to get him to talk. Contrary to his aloof and and hostile behavior before, he seems panicked and downright terrified. According to him, Sungwook asked him to get the laptop and bring it to the slaughterhouse; he threatened to send him back to prison if he didn’t comply. Since the group is heading there to meet the others anyway, they decide to take Dongjun with them.
Jaewook’s group (plus Minjae) are finally allowed to enter the slaughterhouse. They must find both Sungwook and the sword that he hid, but this is made extra difficult because everyone is dressed in the same uniforms with face masks. After several minutes of searching, Minjae finds the sword hidden under a pile of raw meat (UGH SO UNSANITARY). Just in case there was any doubt this wasn’t the murder weapon, it has Hyejin’s father’s birthday engraved on it. They manage to capture Sungwook shortly afterward, and he confesses to killing his ex-wife. He was so angry over how she wouldn’t listen to him about Dongjun and was uncomfortable with her letting him babysit their son. So, he killed her an argument gone wrong and then tried to frame Dongjun for it.
Minjae arrests Sungwook right as Jaesuk’s group arrives on the scene with Dongjun. Sungwook becomes agitated and tries to attack Dongjun, shouting that he should have killed him. Dongjun says he brought the laptop, but Sungwook briefly looks confused and appears to not know anything about it. He insists that there’s no need to investigate further because he already confessed. Of course, saying something this usually means the authorities DO need to keep looking. The team can now unlock the laptop because they have the password – the birthday written on the sword – so they do so while Sungwook gets put in the police car and Minjae interrogates Dongjun.
The texts between Hyejin and Sungwook are also on this computer. The team has already seen most of them, but there’s a new one that appears to be Hyejin’s dying message. It’s written in a code with numbers and dashes like “7-3.” The team recalls that Hyejin worked with cell phones, so the code probably has to do with a cell phone keyboard; specifically, one for an older cell phone. Back in the days before smartphones, multiple letters were assigned to one number key. (I had one of these phones when I was a teenager, so now I feel super old.) When you were texting, you had to press the number a certain number of times to get the letter you wanted. For example: pressing “1” once would be “A,” twice would be “B,” three times would be “C,” etc. So a number like “7-3” means pressing the “7” button three times and seeing what letter it is.
Hyejin’s final text.
When the team figures out the code, they see a chilling message: “Sol killed me. Protect him.” Remember how there was security footage of Sol running at Dongjun and pretend stabbing him with a wooden sword? And then Dongjun saying something to him? Basically, he told him to go home and do the same thing with his mother… but with a real sword. Since Hyejin was taking an anti-coagulant, it made it easier for her to bleed out and die even from a stab wound by a kid who was just playing around. So she used her last remaining strength to text Sungwook, who came over and tried to frame Dongjun like we already knew. Then when that failed, he took the blame to protect his son.
What makes the whole thing even more frustrating is that the authorities don’t have sufficient evidence to convict Dongjun. He confidently says he was just playing with the kid, and there’s no way they can prove that he specifically told him to go stab his mother – despite the flashback confirming that’s what actually happened. Since Minjae doesn’t have a warrant, he’s forced to let Dongjun go for the time being. He warns that he’ll come looking for him, but it’s heavily implied that Dongjun will get away scot free. And he knows it, because he gives the team his most irritatingly smug smile. As he leaves, they notice he’s fidgeting with something. It’s a fountain pen, which seems harmless… but a flashback reveals that’s the pen he scarred Sungwook with before going to jail. So yes, he did definitely plan all this as revenge.
Personally, I found the end of this episode incredibly upsetting. How someone could go to all those lengths to orchestrate a killing, manipulating an innocent child who had absolutely no capacity to understand what he was doing… it’s just so twisted. I’ve seen this episode four times now, and I STILL get upset about it. I know it’s just a show, but watching Sungwook sob in anguish when he can’t even shield his child is truly heartbreaking. The episode actually ends with this statement: “In December 2018, the law was revised so that reduced sentences for the physically and mentally weak are not mandatory anymore.” This makes me wonder if this case was based on a real life incident, which would be really sad.
Next episode: The show ventures into the supernatural as the team is sent to investigate a string of mysterious deaths in a creepy remote village.
NOTE: All photos and GIFs are screenshots or screen captures from Busted! Season 2 Episode 5 on Netflix. Nothing belongs to me, and all images are used here for illustrative purposes only.