A steady installment that adds plenty of depth to an already exciting story.
This recap of Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 6 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
We start three years ago, where Jae-hui is attempting to stop a granddaughter’s consumption of strawberries at a greenhouse. When there, they stumble on a seemingly abandoned truck, finding with it trails of blood at the back door which continues through to a smoke-filled room complete with a hunched man and a burnt body. Meanwhile, Han-joon is talking to Prosecutor Han about cleanliness, as well as the more serious matter of Do Jun-ha’s arrest on charges of rape. Here, we find out some more details about the case, one that saw the culprit released because of illegally obtained evidence (which led to the suicide of Yeong-seop’s daughter), and the framing of Yeong-seop due to his drug overdose and admission of guilt that came despite a lack of memory.
Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 6 recap
Of course, Prosecutor Han does still have suspicions, pondering why Yeong-seop remained at the scene of the crime, taking a dose of drugs not adequate enough to kill himself. Han-joon informs his friend that he’s asking the wrong questions, stating that the prosecutor needs to start framing things in a way that doesn’t presume guilt, “because Choi Yeong-seop didn’t do it.” Naturally, Jae-jeong wonders how this conclusion could have been reached, so prods Han-joon for answers.
The profiler’s response is to take the prosecutor to the crime scene, stating that you can only learn about people and cases if you see them for yourselves. There, we find out the irregularities in the rather “clean” area, pointing to the presence of an accomplice. So the two head inside to properly dig around, with Han-joon explaining that Yeong-seop would have wanted to watch should he have committed the crime, something he did not due to his drug overdose. Again, the idea of a framing is mentioned, with the profiler adding that he doesn’t think it’s the real culprit’s first time committing arson. But what’s important to the police worker is finding the link between the three people, or at least it is until the noticeable escape of a man from the area causes a hasty chase.
Unfortunately, they cannot find their target, though they do get a chance to talk to an older man about a strange sight he saw of a person exiting the warehouse without his van on the day of Jun-ha’s murder. The next day, such information is fed back to Jae-hui, who is upset at the idea of Yeong-seop’s impending release due to her belief he was the perpetrator. There is a rather humorous side to this scene, however, as before long Prosecutor Han’s sister gushes over Han-joon, wishing to be set up with him.
At the detention centre, Jae-hui tails a quickly exiting Yeong-seop back to the crime scene, confused as to why he’d end up there. Meanwhile, Han-joon fields a call from Jae-jeong, hearing that his friend appears to be aware of the link between the three people involved in the ongoing criminal case. There’s a sinister twist here, though, as we see Prosecutor Han label a folder “Nam Han-joon” before he eerily looks ahead of himself.
When caught by Jae-hui, Yeong-seop drops both a hammer and his phone, lying down the latter object in a position where the officer can look at the video of Jun-ha’s murder playing on it. But he soon gets frustrated, asking why the police had to mess things up by failing to believe his testimony, and explaining that Jae-jeong will die because of Jae-hui. Then he escapes the area after knocking the police worker unconscious, leaving her completely alone into the night.
Afterwards, Jae-hui calls her brother to explain what happened at the crime scene, and warn him about the ominous statement regarding his potential death. The prosecutor is more interested in telling her sister what he’s found, but finds himself killed in his apartment just seconds later, startling Jae-hui, who remains on the call. Leaving the folder labelled ‘Han-joon’ on Jae-jeong’s chest, the culprit continues his work just as the profiler, along with Su-cheol, arrives (there does seem to be an accomplice outside the building too), with the latter having been told to “come right away” to the apartment by his boss.
Smelling the smoke, the two bang on the door in the hopes of entry, while the body (and important folder) burn slowly, and the murderer performs a ritual from above. When the pair of police workers do end up in the apartment, Han-joon rushes to the culprit, spotting the scar on his arm before the perpetrator’s window exit. Nevertheless, that detail isn’t the major priority for the profiler, as attention quickly turns towards extinguishing flames engulfing his friend, a task which tragically comes much too late.
Following on from scenes showing both Jae-hui and Han-joon’s first moments of grief, Do-won appears, explaining that Yeong-seop’s ID was found at the crime scene. Recalling his words, the police officer defeatedly sighs as we see the suspect watching from the background.
At the initial setup of the crime scene, Han-joon remains adamant that Yeong-seop did not commit the crime, even though his ID was found, citing the old burn scar that the suspect doe not have as the reason for why he is so sure. “I shouldn’t have tried to catch him,” the profiler adds, clearly taking the blame on his own shoulders. With that being said, Han-joon does suddenly remember that Jae-jeong had found something on the killer, so stands up in grief-stricken defiance ready to look for what could be a crucial link between the men who became tangled up in the Jun-ha case.
When seeing the picture of the junior judo competition that shows the link between him and Jae-hui, Han-joon exits the building without a word. Meanwhile, Jae-hui stands frozen outside, narrowly avoiding a chance meeting with the person she is now so heavily interlaced with despite being stood right next to him.
In the present, we return to Jae-hui and Han-joon’s tense conversation, with neither side budging on their side of the story, or their beliefs. There’s no trust present at all, causing petty escalation which sees both parties resort to rather childish jibes. However, the atmosphere changes once more when Han-joon mentions the dress shoes and benzine, in addition to the need for an investigation into the suspect’s alibi. Now, Jae-hui appears curious, a point proven by her prodding into the finer details of the case with her team back at the hospital. “You need to be more flexible with your investigations,” Du-jin mentions, wishing for his leader to be a bit more reasonable about how she uses the people around her. Though Jae-hui remains inflexible, accidentally referring to her fellow detectives as “incompetent,” which in turn forces some isolation.
As Jae-hui decides that she will check Yeong-seop’s alibi to make sure of the truth behind the case, Han-joon tries to avoid a babbling Do-won. At the cafe later on, the shaman presses Min-gyeong for the information needed on Lim Min-jun, discovering that Choekang Constructions hired him as a Director after they ran into issues during a bid, under the agreement that he would solve it. Other than that, the only intel is that the person behind the recruitment was a higher-up, but Han-joon looks to avoid any further prying by reminding his VVIP that she should be busy.
After Hye-jun is saved from a disastrous date, the police look for people who know Yeong-seop so that they can get a clearer picture of the case, a tactic that leads Jae-hui to the belief that their chief suspect was not behind the sewer murder. Concurrently, Han-joon’s group hatch a plan to catch Gopuri which includes Su-cheol pretending to be Yeong-seop, and sneaking the real man into the VIP room with a disguised Hye-jun. It’s an ambitious plan, one which almost fails when the barrister of Minamdang wakes up to find himself undergoing a colonoscopy under the wrong fake name, Choi Il-seop.
When Han-joon assumes the alias of Yeong-seop, he too flounders, failing to convince the nurses that he is an undercover detective, and ending up sedated. Meanwhile, Su-cheol accepts food from Na-dan, but gets followed by Jae-hui when she spots the barrister using the lift. Shocked, the detective frustratedly asks for Han-joon’s location, finding him shortly after even when no intel is given. What follows is a scene showcasing the effect of the sedatives on the shaman, which happens to be a clumsy kiss (leading to him being slapped back into his bed). However, the clunky pursuit does prove useful for Jae-hui, as she does discover why the group of fraudsters are in the hospital, hoping to find Gopuri.
In a brief moment of clear-headedness, Han-joon insists on proving himself correct to the detective, so asks that she guards Yeong-seop and gets his confession while he attempts to lure the killer in. “One of us will succeed,” he adds, before returning to his sedated self. Jae-hui agrees to join in with the plan, though tells her new allies that she will be the one to catch the killer, and not them. Shortly after, the detective shows that her heart is racing because of the person she continues to treat as a foe.
At night, Jae-hui brings Do-won up to speed, while a shady looking health worker listens intently in the background. When the prosecutor then visits Yeong-seop, Han-joon regrets his acts when high on drugs, feeling the weight of embarrassment. Those emotions do turn to curiosity though, as before long the group are listening in on the interrogation of Yeong-seop, where Jae-hui has floated around the idea of the suspect being used (in spite of his confessions).
As the interrogation continues, and Jae-hui wonders why Yeong-seop would kill Jae-jeong when there was no enmity between them, we cut to a flashback showing Prosecutor Han trusting the suspect, acknowledging that someone else had used his grief as a vehicle for murder. Then, we move towards the truth behind Yeong-seop’s return to the crime scene, which was that he was to fetch a phone that would see Jae-jeong’s life spared. In the present though, the hospitalised man holds out on revelations, perhaps because of the threat of more people potentially dying.
Latching onto the use of the word “just,” Han-joon surmises that Yeong-seop is not privy to the ongoings of the real criminal, while Do-won explains that the police don’t believe that the suspect is the killer based on the alibi checking they did, but they do believe he is aware of the perpetrator’s identity. Using Eun-hye’s death in an attempt to push the information out of Yeong-seop, both Han-joon and Do-won end up sharing the same thoughts around the murderer looking like a “saviour,” surprising the shaman’s associates.
Promising protection, Do-won asks Yeong-seop not to hesitate, just as the shady faux-nurse gives his accomplice a shot that causes complete shock. Meanwhile, Han-joon notices the scar on the worker’s arm when checking CCTV footage, vocalising the fact Gopuri is in the hospital. With Jae-hui also aware, the real criminal is chased around the hospital, ending up caught by Han-joon, who he immediately begins to choke. At that point, we head to the epilogue, which shows Han-joon antagonised outside of the funeral hall before Do-won intervenes, hoping to talk to the former profiler about his insistence on Yeong-seop’s innocence. In the background, the owner of the burnt hand watches, and the episode ends.