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Stranger 2 -- Episodes 3 & 4: Sketchy Political Maneuvers

As much as I loved seeing Chief Prosecutor Kang Won Cheol (Park Sung Geun) reprise his role from last season, I was quite disappointed by how quickly he dismissed the drowning case as an accident as a favor of a favor when he knew full well there was probably more to it than met the eys. I would hate to think the one clean higher-up from last season, and the one superior Shi Mok may have let himself get corrupted.

One thing is for sure he seems more invested in bringing the Hanjo Group down than anything else, and rightfully so, but I hope he won't do it at the cost of his conscience or integrity because Lee Yeon Jae seems to be dangling in front of him through Oh Joo Sun (Kim Hak Seon), the former Judge turned lawyer turned undercover consultant to the Hanjo Group.

When I heard there was going to be a second season to Stranger, I was curious to see what role Seo Dong Jae would have and consistent with his suck up to the boss or anyone with the power to advance his career; he tries to ingratiate himself to Woo Tae Ha with three potential police corruption cases one of which had ties to Chief Choi from her time as Chief of Police under the prosecution branch's jurisdiction where Dong Jae currently worked. A case about a former chief prosecutor's death ruled as a heart attack after a drinking and driving incident, making Dong Jae suspicious since he knew the former prosecutor didn't drink since his body couldn't tolerate it.

As sketchy as Dong Jae is, the one thing he isn't is stupid. Whatever his motives may have been bringing the potential corruption cases to Woo Tae Ha gets him exactly what he wants the opportunity to re-investigate the cases under the purview of the Criminal Legislative Division, at the Supreme Prosecution Office and with Shi Mok despite his efforts to work on the cases on his own. I, on the other hand, found Woo Tae Ha's interest in the former prosecutor's case quite interesting mainly because he doesn't share that particular case with Shi Mok and especially when he tells Dong Jae to leave Chief Choi out of the case and go after her boss Director Kim (Ha Sung Kwang). Woo Tae Ha does, however, involve Shi Mok in the other potential police corruption case about a police officer's death ruled a suicide also under Chief Choi's jurisdiction, which I found even weirder. Something about Woo Tae Ha feels quite ominous for sure.

I'm almost conflicted about Prosecutor Kim Sa Hyun (Kim Young Jae); I'm not too sure to feel about him as the second in command to Woo Tae Ha; something about him seems unscrupulous. I wonder it's the reason why Woo Tae Ha picked him despite Shi Mok's objections. I almost borderline not like him, but I find Chief Bit and Tae Ha even less likable. I am not sure what the police or prosecution expected, but their first council meeting was a total disaster, and more so, the prosecution undoubtedly lost the first round. They came off defensive with only Shi Mok, asking the relevant questions. And even though the police made valid points, I was surprised they didn’t already have a firm plan on how they would validate the legality of warrants.

Clearly, none of the higher-ups are interested in reform; it's all politics and bound to bring out the worst in both sides, as each is determined to win at all costs. It looked like Chief Choi wanted Shi Mok on this council, so Tae Ha or whoever decided it was better for them if he was on their side. Choi, too, must've thought she could manipulate him. I wonder why. But then everybody is trying to manipulate everybody else. One thing is for sure, using Shi Mok as a means to an end never boded well for anyone that's tried. I have no doubt he will be able to turn whatever tricks they try to his advantage. The corruption on both sides is so blatant it's almost suffocating, but thanks to Shi Mok, Yeo Jin, and Detective Jang, we have breathing room, and I cannot wait to see them do their thing. As they say in politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. As expected, the power struggle brought out the worst on both sides. Luckily Shi Mok and Yeo-jin aren’t the types to be blinded by that struggle even if they are pitted against each other. I was glad to see I misjudged Yeon Jae. She isn’t after revenge, but she does seem to be walking the fragile line between good and evil to stay in the game. Dong Jae (he is good) is still as sly as a fox, if not worse this time around, but as they say, anyone who trusts a serpent deserves its bite.


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