The Killing Vote – K-Drama Episode 4 Recap & Review

Seok-joo Knows Something

Episode 4 of The Killing Vote begins with a flashback. Eight years ago, Mu-chan and Jin-soo see a girl’s brutally murdered body. She’s Seok-joo’s daughter. He turns up on the scene himself and is, naturally, distraught. Later at his house, Seok-joo watches a video of his daughter while Mu-chan and another officer investigate. Mu-chan is then enraged at a criminal set free by the court, but Seok-joo stops him from making a scene.

At present, we see Mu-chan being faced with all the reporters. Min Ji-young watches him on a screen from her car. Min-soo watches it from his bed, accompanied by a woman. When she distracts him, he beats her up with a bottle. Once he’s done, he throws an expensive watch down at her.

Despite Hyun’s protests, Mu-chan faces the reporters and apologises for his lies. He then claims that Gaetal is not a hero and he will catch him at all costs. When the reporters bombard him with questions, Hyun screams about a fire to distract them and then runs off with Mu-chan.

At the special investigation unit, Jin-soo explains to the team why they were lied to. Of course, they aren’t very happy about the situation. They then get the call about Bae Gi-chul’s wife’s death. Meanwhile, Gaetal watches the whole thing and laughs.

At the prison, Seok-joo and the police warden discuss the situation. Seok-joo makes subtle threats to make sure the warden doesn’t throw him under the bus. The prison guard, Park Chul-min, enters and hands Seok-joo a copy of Joo Hyun’s resume. While on the way to his cell, Seok-joo stops walking and soaks in the sun. Chul-min gets impatient and begins to beat him up.

Seeing as the whole country knows his face now, Hyun gets Mu-chan to stay at her apartment. He and Min get off on the wrong foot and argue about her involvement in the case. While talking about the masked man at Seok-joo’s house, Min says he smelled like the scent of fireworks. Mu-chan guesses it’s the smell of gunpowder. They argue about whether Gaetal is right or wrong.

Min says only those who have watched their loved ones’ get murdered and then had the criminal walk free would understand. Mu-chan says he’s been through the same thing. Min storms off and Hyun tries to placate her. She reminds Min to come to the police station and give her statement along with Ji-hoon the next day.

After Mu-chan deals with an angry phone call from the police chief, Hyun pours out beers for them. Mu-chan spots the scar behind Hyun’s ear when she takes a drink. She says she got it in the car accident that killed her parents when she was 20. She then asks Mu-chan what happened between him and Seok-joo.

A flashback shows the police suspect a man with an intellectual disability of raping and killing Seok-joo’s daughter. Jin-soo tells Mu-chan that the man had several charges of sexual assault but all victims were paid off by the chairman of Samdo Steel. The man’s father is the chairman’s driver and his mother is the chairman’s housekeeper. The chairman’s wife is the new assemblywoman, Min Ji-young.

At the final trial of the court case, a mess up with one of the pieces of evidence — a plush toy owned by Seok-joo’s daughter — turns the verdict and the man is declared innocent. Later on, we see the man with the intellectual disability selling street food when Seok-joo approaches him, knife in hand.

At present, Mu-chan blames himself for everything. He and Hyun then decide to find the school kids who took the video of him escaping the car. They then get a text alerting them to the death of Bae Gi-chul’s wife. The post-mortem reveals that she struggled a lot and the murderer had to use a lot of force. This leads Mu-chan to think it’s a different person from the masked man at Seok-joo’s house, who was clearly trained in martial arts.

At school the next day, Min-soo looks out the window and watches young female students exercising and playing sports. Ji-hoon sees him doing so.

The woman who was in bed with Min-soo goes to a shop and tries to sell the watch she got from Min-soo. Assemblywoman Ji-young enters and slaps the woman, who is an actress. She gives her a bag with a watch worth 100 million won. When the actress scoffs at it and threatens to reveal everything about her son, Ji-young leaves and her guard slashes up the actress’ face.  

At school, a couple of students begin to bully two others. They even begin to use the killing vote method but then Min and her friend stand up to the bullies. When one of the bullies goes to attack her, Ji-hoon steps in to protect her and gets hit instead.

Mu-chan comes back to the unit’s office and apologises to his team. They let him off with the promise of beef. They figure that Gi-chul’s wife’s murderer could have been hired by someone or simply pretending to be Gaetal. In the security footage of Gi-chul’s funeral, Mu-chan notices the taxi driver who had driven Gi-chul the night of his murder.

Just then, Hyun gets a phone call about Min and rushes to the hospital. At the hospital, Ji-hoon is in bed with his arm in a cast. Min just has a scratch. She notices one of the doctors trying to take inappropriate photos of a patient but Ji-hoon stops her from reacting. He says she can’t do anything without evidence. Hyun reaches the hospital and meets Min-soo, who informs her about the situation.

She also meets Ji-hoon’s grandmother, who is a doctor at the hospital. When they leave, Ji-hoon’s grandmother tells him to stay away from Hyun and her family, since she’s a cop. Meanwhile, Chul-min shows the prison warden the letters Seok-joo has been receiving from his ‘number one fan’ and advises the warden to get rid of him.

Hyun meets with Chae Do-hee and it’s clear that they know each other. Turns out, Do-hee was the one who exposed Hyun as the whistleblower. Hyun knows she has Gaetal’s contact but the latter refuses to give it up. They argue and Hyun leaves. Do-hee deletes Gaetal’s email ID from her phone.

Chul-min meets with Mu-chan and shows him the letters written by the Number One Fan. He’s been sending Seok-joo these letters for years. When he tries to take money from Mu-chan for the letters, the latter arrests him for violating postal laws instead.  

At the office, Mu-chan hands Hyun the letters and asks her to analyse the data. She does so and reveals that they were all sent from different places. As per the content, she is absolutely sure that this writer is Gaetal because he has written about the first two victims of the killing vote. However, there seem to be some pages missing. Hyun realises that Seok-joo must have removed them and wants something from them in return.

In the prison’s security room, Mu-chan meets with the prison warden who tells him Seok-joo has been seeing a doctor for asthma. He tells the warden to leave the room and then watches Hyun speak with Seok-joo through the security footage. She plays a music record that she found in Seok-joo’s house and he seems to enjoy it. She brings up the letters and he admits to destroying some pages.

He gives her an official proposal — he will help if they let him out of prison. Later on, we see that Seok-joo does indeed get released from prison. Flashes from the previous scene show Seok-joo telling Hyun about how the country works on a vertical hierarchy system, which is why criminals are let go. He then implies that Gaetal’s next target will be from the military.

At present, we see Seok-joo exit the prison and turn to look at Hyun, who is waiting for him.

The Episode Review

Episode 4 continues with The Killing Vote’s slow-paced but intriguing plot. What’s interesting is the number of different characters involved. Each is like a different puzzle piece and we don’t quite know how they fit in yet. Min-soo seems absolutely deranged and Ji-hoon comes across as a dark horse. These gaps in the web are a great way to keep the mystery going and keep viewers engaged.  

The K-drama is doing a good job of portraying a world filled with corruption, injustice and people who are just plain bad. Seok-joo’s description of the social hierarchy and the systemic culture of rape, while chilling, is very accurate to reality. The moral arguments continue, as seen with Min and Mu-chan’s disagreement over Gaetal’s actions. It is these insights about society and ethics that truly make the show a gripping one.

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Read our season 1 review of The Killing Vote here!

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