Café Minamdang – K-Drama Episode 7 Recap & Review

Idol Detectives

Episode 7 of Café Minamdang starts with Han-jun still trapped in a chokehold. Hye-jun sees this through the CCTV and alerts Su-cheol, who comes to Han-jun’s aid. Gopuri bolts and manages to elude Su-cheol with a few frantic tricks.

After Han-jun regains his breath, he rushes to Yeong-seop’s room with Jae-hui. On his last legs, Yeong-seop repeats his daughter’s name. Sympathising, Han-jun pretends that her spirit is there to comfort Yeong-seop.

This seems to be the push Yeong-seop needed because he finally admits that he’s never killed anyone. Then he warns that Gopuri will replace him, and the murders won’t stop. Ominous words delivered, Yeong-seop passes away and the doctors are unable to revive him.

There is still some hope in the form of Gopuri’s blood, which was left under Han-jun’s nails during their fight. Han-jun, always one for dramatics, threatens to wash it away unless Jae-hui apologises for not believing him all this time. She’s forced to concede.

Jae-hui is annoyed at Han-jun, but as she later tells Do-won, she’s angrier at herself for being so blinded.

The spark of hope that came with Gopuri’s blood is smothered when the police find no DNA matches. It doesn’t help that Yeong-seop’s phone record shows that his last call was made to a burner phone and his autopsy results reveal no unusual chemicals. Plus, there was no CCTV in the underground lot where Gopuri escaped.

At the police station, Jae-hui barely stops the chief from quietly closing the case to avoid a media frenzy. But he only gives her one week to make progress or he’ll give the responsibility to another team.

At Café Minamdang, Han-jun identifies Kang Eun-hye and her white heels as the key to their investigation. Previously, Gopuri choked his victims, untied a gopuri knot as they burned and then chucked the knot into the fire with them. Bu this time, Gopuri wrapped up Eun-hye’s burnt body with the unravelled knot. As Su-cheol elaborates, this means he’s likely to be someone that knew her.

After the detectives go out for a team dinner, Jae-hui and Detective Jang go for another round that ends with heartfelt apologies and a real bond.

Jae-hui and Do-won get to Eun-hye’s parents first the next day. Han-jun sends Su-cheol to find Eun-hye’s friend instead. Su-cheol’s head start is aided by the thief that Jae-hui stops to catch on her way to the friend.

When Jae-hui and Do-won do finally make it to the friend, she tells them that Eun-hye had been accepted as a trainee at an entertainment company two months ago, a fact Eun-hye had been keeping from her dad. Do-won wears a troubled expression when the friends says that the company in question was Joyce Entertainment.

Jae-hui has her own set of troubles when the friend reveals that she’s already told all this to Su-cheol. The reprimanding call Jae-hui makes to Han-jun only ends in him mocking her. It’s the last straw for Jae-hui, who then sends the production director of Fraudbusters into Café Minamdang to expose Han-jun.

Han-jun almost falls into her trap, but his profiling skills help him come out unscathed, with even the production director having fallen for his act. That is, unscathed until his mother walks into the café, shock plastered across her face. She saw the Fraudbusters livestream and is distraught by both Han-jun’s profession and his lies.

Back at the station, Jae-hui logs into Eun-hye’s Instagram account. A message from another Joyce Entertainment trainee pops up. They say that they saw everything, but they were too scared and pretended not to.

Jae-hui wants to set up a meeting with the anonymous trainee, but Detective Kim says that it will be difficult because Joyce Entertainment is owned by Park Jin-sang, the third son of Choekang Insurance’s chairman, Park Dong-gi.

Over at Minamdang, Su-cheol lists Jin-sang’s long list of crimes and Hye-jun runs through his bratty reputation. He constitutes one third of the ‘Three Mad Dogs’ along with Gyeong-ho and Choekang Group’s Cha Seung-won. According to Hye-jun’s info, Joyce Entertainment should have gone bankrupt long ago, but they’ve received many investments.

Hye-jun has also hacked into Eun-hye’s messenger account. The last person she contacted was Jin-sang himself, who came across like he was some sort of pimp.

Do-won’s earlier reaction becomes clearer when he meets Jin-sang privately and the two are obviously well acquainted. Do-won threatens to turn Jin-sang into a suspect if he doesn’t hand over every piece of information he has on Eun-hye.

The tense interaction has Jin-sang arranging a meeting with an actual shaman. Han-jun and Su-cheol follow Jin-sang there and watch as he participates in a ritual for Eun-hye. Their suspicions are raised when Jin-sang unravels a gopuri knot, but they can’t get a clear view of his forearm to check for a burn scar.

Needing more information, Han-jun asks Min-gyeong to recommend his services to Jin-sang. Meanwhile, things are looking dire for the detective team. Jin-sang refuses to cooperate without a warrant and their chief hands over the case to Team 3 before the week is even up.

All this leads to everyone turning up at Joyce Entertainment the next day for the company’s big audition. Na-dan joins the line of eager participants while Hye-jun hacks into the company’s CCTV and server. Inside, Na-dan also sneaks away to bug Jin-sang’s office.

Detectives Na and Kim also try to join the group of participants, but Detective Kim accidentally flashes his police ID, and they are promptly rejected. Detective Jang already has a contingency plan that ends with him and Jae-hui in sparkly outfits as the duo, Jenny and Jinny.

Meanwhile, Su-cheol escorts Han-jun up to meet Joyce Entertainment’s CEO, Gang Hae-seong, who Han-jun will assist to pick stars out of the crowd. Han-jun pays him little mind, instead focusing his attention on Jin-sang.

Han-jun reaches out to Jin-sang for a handshake and finds that Jin-sang has bandaged his forearm, supposedly because of a golfing injury. Han-jun is about to peel a corner of the bandage off when Joyce Entertainment’s Gu Tae-su interrupts. Tae-su focuses on Han-jun for a beat too long before announcing that he’s brought up some suspicious people he found in the building.

The suspicious characters turn out to be Jae-hui, Detective Jang and Na-dan. Tae-su overheard Na-dan calling the other two detectives upon recognising them.

Detective Jang doesn’t bother to hide his excitement when he spots Han-jun and almost blows things up further. Luckily, Han-jun gets the situation under control and convinces Jin-sang that ‘Jenny’ and ‘Jinny’ were aspiring actors he advised in the past.

The auditions commence. Na-dan makes a great impression but Han-jun passes on him. Jenny and Jinny on the other hand, gain his seal of approval with a trot number.

Tae-su confirms his earlier inkling that Han-jun was the police officer from three years ago. Jin-sang, still with the others, messages him with the instruction to get rid of Han-jun immediately.

Han-jun goes to the bathroom and, as he’s washing his hands, Tae-su sneaks up behind him with a needle raised.

The epilogue revolves around the white heels, which Tae-su gifts to Eun-hye. When she walks away wearing them, he looks over to Jin-sang, who has been watching the whole interaction.

The Episode Review

Okay, so a week later and Jae-hui is still grating against my nerves. It’s not helping that Oh Yeon-seo doesn’t share the same comedic talent as her co-star. With better timing and expression, she might have turned a scene like the one where she sets Fraudbusters loose in Café Minamdang into a favourable moment for her character.

It may sound impossible but take a second to remember the way Seo In-guk handled Han-jun helping Gyeong-ho avoid charges and you’ll get the picture.

This far in, the pacing feels a little off. I’d attribute this to the premature introduction we were given to the central mystery thread. The drama might have benefitted from a longer run of seemingly unconnected cases (resembling the first episode) that played up the Minamdang crew, who are by far the show’s strong point.

Even so, I’m having a decent time because when the crew is allowed to shine, they don’t hold back.

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