Episode 9 of Vampire Prosecutor Season 1 is a tale of gangland infighting and seriously dysfunctional family relationships. Which is kind of the same thing, isn’t it? It opens with a ridiculously obscure scene, jam-packed with confusing intercuts, shifting camera angles and flashbacks, that is supposed to set up the whole storyline, but only makes sense after you have seen the rest of the episode – twice!
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched yet, stop here.
Then on to the crime scene, where Detective Hwang (Lee Won Jong) immediately recognizes the victim as a mob boss and wants no part of it. The Vampire Prosecutor (Yeon Jung Hoon) is impatient with his cowardice, but when Prosecutor Yoo (Lee Young Ah) arrives late at the scene, she too looks a little shaken. In the autopsy room, she displays an intimate knowledge of torture techniques that stuns the rest of the team into silence. Recovering, Prosecutor Min demands an explanation, but she reminds him of his response to her questions in Episode 6 (if you too have experienced a trauma, don’t ask me anything). She vows to catch the killer, no matter what. He backs off.
Using family connections, she drops in on a local gang boss with questions, and concludes that her father is the likeliest suspect. He dumped (and perhaps killed?) her mom, and tortured people in front of her when she was a kid, so she has no problem with this. The Vampire Prosecutor also pays him a visit, disposing handily of 4 door guards, as Detective Hwang cleans up with handcuffs. He gets a little riled by the end of the fight, though, and Detective Hwang has to pull the last man out from under him before bloodlust kicks in.
We start to see his point about dating being a bad idea.
Daddy mob head beats both prosecutors to the punch when he brings in one of his underlings to confess to the murder. Prosecutor Yoo’s colleagues are duly stunned to learn who her father is – she’s not quite the naive goody-goody they took her for. The Vampire Prosecutor lets her deal with her daddy, but follows him out, only to be threatened if he beats up any more of the boys. Later, in another confrontation scene with his daughter, the mob head eerily echoes Attorney Yoon’s words from Episode 4 when he says, “If you go over the edge with greed, then you’re not able to judge your circumstances.” It’s another recurring moral of the series.
And speaking of Attorney Yoon, the episode wraps up with a visit to the phone booth (!) that was the site of her frantic call to the Vampire Prosecutor at the end of Episode 8. There’s a blood trail, but the blood tells him nothing, which means she is still alive. And we know the bartender didn’t take her (as I had started to suspect) because he was with Prosecutor Min when he got the call.
Although this episode is again packed with far too much detail for the time frame, it also features one of my favorite scenes in the series to date. A twist has revealed an entirely unexpected motivation for the murder, and undeniable proof of paternal love. The Vampire Prosecutor puts the evidence and the decision whether to prosecute into Prosecutor Yoo’s hands, and she tearfully confides her internal struggle to him.
In one of those fabulous moments of Korean yearning, he reaches out to comfort her, but stops himself. The movements of his fingers and the expressions that pass across his face are eloquent and perfect, as is the overall staging of the scene. It just doesn’t get any better.