Vampire Detective: Episode 5 Recap


This episode had nothing to do with vampirism. Which is kind of disappointing since we’re halfway through the series. That being said, this episode also had a better standalone crime case than the previous episodes. So… that’s something, right?

Sorry for the overdue post. I usually put this up on Tuesday but I have a hard time concentrating on writing about a drama that has nothing to do with its premise anymore.

Case 5: The Actress Must Die to Live

A woman runs down a dark alleyway when she’s suddenly snatched by a stranger. Is she going to die? Is she our new victim?! Nope – she’s an actress, and the director calls “Cut.” The woman, Yoon Seol Ah (Goo Jae Yi), is whisked back to her van after the shot. Her older sister and manager, Yoon Young Rin, tells her to keep at it. Seol Ah is currently working with a renowned director who will surely help her win some awards and be taken seriously as an actress.

Seol Ah sighs, and then notices a gift box for her in the car. She opens it, and screams. Inside is a dead bloody bird with a needle stuck through it.


San heads to the prison to ask Jung Ji Woong about how Yo Na and Yoo Jin may know each other. But Jung Ji Woong is just a mysterious fount of useless information: he just says that San does not want to dig deeper. Dude, we knew that already. He adds that when the time comes, Yo Na will come looking for him. Until then, San should enjoy the fact that he can be out in the sun. Because, yunno, he is a half-vampire.

Meanwhile Goo Hyung has to filter through tons of clients with random requests: getting the number of a hot girl a guy met while drunk at a club, finding a missing dog, or stopping a dead man from haunting his wife. Goo Hyung is exhausted listening to all these ridiculous cases, and I have a half-hope that all these people would tie in to the case of the week in some oblique way. (Similar to in Sherlock Season 2, episode 2: The Hounds of Baskerville.) Spoiler alert: they don’t.

But finally Yoon Young Rin walks in the door and she asks our investigators to protect Seol Ah from her stalker. After all, the police highly recommended them to her for this task. Goo Hyung is definitely up for the task, as he’s a big fan of Seol Ah. Young Rin tells them of a case ten years ago when a crazed taxi driver killed two innocent female passengers with no relation to each other or to him, turned himself in bathed with their blood, and then claimed that he killed the women for Seol Ah. It was when Seol Ah was also still starting out as an actress, and this scandal really put her into the limelight.

Seol Ah is a tough cookie though. She may have become famous in the wrong way, but that doesn’t mean she is untalented. The investigators visit her in the shooting range, where she’s practicing how to use a gun so it’ll be more believable when she’s filming, and introduce themselves as her new protectors. Seol Ah is so not onboard with this, especially with Goo Hyung dressed up ridiculously in his pinstriped suit. She doesn’t like having people stuck around her, and she already has her road manager Min Soo.

Goo Hyung then asks if she’s aware that Lee Ki Hyung, the man who killed in her name, is now out of prison after serving his ten-year sentence? If he threatened her with a dead bird, then it’s most likely he’s going to attack her soon. Seol Ah gives in, but makes them promise that they do not seem like they’re her bodyguards.

Cue new roles for them! San poses as her scheduling manager (which, I didn’t know existed as a job) and Gyeo Wool is her new stylist (which is more believable). As for Goo Hyung, he’s been delegated to work behind the scenes and meet with Detective Park; he’s too flashy that he’d be too noticeable anyways, and he’s too much in love with Seol Ah. Detective Park gives Goo Hyung some information about Lee Ki Hyung over hotteok, and adds that he has men watching over Lee since he got out of prison. However they’ve been unable to contact him since.

San fits in just fine as a scheduling manager, but Gyeo Wool’s got her work cut out for her. She picks out clothes with too many studs on them, clothes that she would rather wear instead of Seol Ah. Those styles may be trendy, but Seol Ah is not one to follow trends. Gyeo Wool hates that Seol Ah is talking down to her and is so rude in front of everyone, but San reminds her that she’s playing a role. No one can know that Gyeo Wool is the one protecting Seol Ah, and so in this case Seol Ah is just treating her like the hired help she’s supposed to be.

Goo Hyung also brings the dead bird and gift box to the good doctor to take a look at, because this doctor is also the forensic scientist on this show. The doctor rightfully asks for more money now – these favors are getting a bit out of hand. Se Ra moans that the bird looks too much like the one she raised before, as she has a certificate in zookeeping. It’s becoming a bit of a joke on how many trades Se Ra and the doctor are involved in that I almost look forward to what other skills they just so happen to have on this show.

The doctor discovers a tarot card underneath that signifies Death. Birds in tarot cards signify advancement and popularity, so it’s possible that with the card, the stalker is threatening to take Seol Ah down from the top.

San waits with Min Soo, the road manager, for Seol Ah to finish her shoot, and they chat a bit. Min Soo is a bit weird, saying that he loves Seol Ah and is so happy to be her manager. It’s what he’s wanted his whole life. That’s so sketchy to me. Although it makes sense for someone to say that (especially since she has a huge fanbase), wouldn’t you think that San would be more suspicious of Min Soo for saying something like that? In any case, San doesn’t seem to care.

Seol Ah’s costar Park Joon Young arrives, and he is a sleazy bastard. He and Seol Ah used to date, but they broke up and now he can’t stop clinging on to her… and every other hot girl he sees. He tries to hit on Gyeo Wool as well, but she warns him that if he ever tries to hit on her again, she’ll remove the life line from his palm. Haha.

Gyeo Wool and San watch from the sides, and San can hear a distinct sawing sound. However the set is full of construction pieces and workers all over setting up the fake walls, so he can’t particularly pinpoint where the sound is coming from. Eventually it stops, and then San is distracted by the arrival of a supporting actress named Eun Chae. Gyeo Wool’s nose wrinkles in disgust over her overpowering perfume, and San has to nudge her so many times to shut her up.

Eun Chae is very aware that she is just around to make Seol Ah shine, which makes you wonder whether she has a serious grudge against Seol Ah or not. I say she does, but it’s also a bit refreshing to see someone so honest about her situation.

After another scene is shot Seol Ah orders Gyeo Wool to get her coffee. Oh, and to stir it with a silver spoon as she can taste the difference. Gyeo Wool hates being ordered around, so she makes the instant coffee and stirs it with the plastic packaging. She adds a dash of old cigarette tobacco too for flavoring, much to San’s amusement. Then, he hears it again. Boards are creaking, and something is straining against a rope. He looks around, and a wooden wall on the second story snaps from its rope. It’s right above Seol Ah, and San grabs Seol Ah out of the way just in time before she gets hurt.

Seol Ah is shaken, but doesn’t let anyone see it. Her sister comes rushing in from the office and wonders if it’s the work of Lee Ki Hyung. However, Goo Hyung points out that Ki Hyung hasn’t been home in a while. San and Goo Hyung look at the scene of the “crime” and he can tell that the rope holding the wall up was cut. He looks around at the sea of cast and crew surrounding the wall, looking for someone acting suspiciously. The real culprit targeting Seol Ah is on set, right now.

San practices in the shooting range, and is soon joined by Seol Ah. After what happened, she’s more motivated to find ways to protect herself against Lee Ki Hyung. He guides her on how to properly shoot a gun without any harness to help her, and she successfully hits the center of the target. Yay! She can shoot now! He gifts her with a mace, and the two share a cute moment that makes me think she’s got a crush on San now.

But more trouble arises. A sponsored outfit that Seol Ah was supposed to wear at her shoot tomorrow has been completely ruined with red paint and slashes all over. The threat is hitting closer to home now as someone clearly has access to her apartment. It might be too dangerous for her to move elsewhere, especially if the culprit is anticipating that move, so they decide that Seol Ah should stay at her home. But she wants San to stay too. Poor Goo Hyung – he wanted a chance to be with Seol Ah but she’s quite insistent that it just be San. And San can’t say no.

At least Goo Hyung learns something new as he and Gyeo Wool leave Seol Ah’s place: the doctor has determined that the needle piercing through the dead bird is an acupuncture needle. And it just so happens that Seol Ah needs to go to the acupuncture clinic every so often for treatment.

Oh – and so does Eun Chae, who needs it for beauty treatment. She will do anything it takes to be beautiful, as she isn’t a natural beauty like some people, because her job depends on it. It’s a bit of an unsettling conversation that she has with San, but he doesn’t quite know what to make of her yet.

As Seol Ah receives her treatment, a figure in dark clothing creeps into her curtained area. Simultaneously, Young Rin returns to her office to find a gift on her desk addressed to her from “someone who loves her”. She opens it to find a wind-up carousel. It’s very pretty, and looks harmless enough. She winds it up… and it explodes in her face.

Just then Seol Ah screams, discovering the intruder in her room. San runs after the masked person and corners him in the stairwell. It’s… Joon Young! That creeper just wanted to talk to Seol Ah. He just had to dress up like a crazy serial killer while he was at it. Ugh.

But someone did send a bomb to Young Rin, and Seol Ah sits by her sister’s bedside as she sleeps. The  homemade bomb was too small as it just injured her hand, so it leaves the investigators wondering if Joon Young was secretly working with Ki Hyung. San heads to Young Rin’s office with Goo Hyung to see if he can glean any clues while Gyeo Wool looks up on Joon Young’s background.

In the office, San spots a bit of blood from the incident and through his mind’s eye he sees what Young Rin did in the moments before it blew up. At the same time Goo Hyung discovers a small saw in the desk drawer, and it’s possible it could have been used to cut the rope on the set. In fact, this whole time it could’ve been Young Rin who was acting as Seol Ah’s stalker. She had access to the set and to Seol Ah’s house, and her jealousy over putting her own acting career on hold for the sake of her sister’s could have been too much for her to bear.

Seol Ah and Gyeo Wool have a moment together in the waiting area of the hospital, bonding over the fact that the both of them are probably more similar than they’d like to believe. After all they both hide their true colors from the world. Seol Ah had a particularly hard burden to bear because of the murders Lee Ki Hyung committed ten years ago, and because people thought it was a marketing ploy on her part, she had to develop an armor around herself so that no one could ever know how terrible she was really feeling.

Seol Ah later goes to a pojangmacha to meet with San. I feel like she thinks it’s a date, but in reality he just wants to pry on her relationship with her sister. He saw a scar on her wrist, and wondered if Young Rin perhaps caused it. Seol Ah shoos the question away by saying it was from an accident during a shoot. She trusts only one person in the world: her sister, and that’s because Young Rin stepped aside from the limelight for her. To do something like that was difficult, and so Seol Ah believes her sister would never do anything to harm her. Seol Ah at least is coming around to thinking that she can trust one more person in this world though, and that’s San.

The following day, San and the investigators still have an uneasy feeling about Young Rin. After all, Young Rin had very minor injuries from the bomb, and it’s possible she planted it on herself to throw suspicion elsewhere. She just made sure the bomb wasn’t going to be severe enough to seriously hurt her. They confront Seol Ah about it, and tell her about the small saw in the drawer, but Seol Ah refuses to believe it. She’s so mad that she dismisses them, refusing their protection or help in continuing the case. Of course, San isn’t really going to stop investigating.

Seol Ah heads back on set, which takes place in an abandoned construction site. The crew is rigging a car, so it looks like the scene has something to do with Joon Young saving Seol Ah from an exploding car. San and Goo Hyung arrive on set to watch, even though they have no reason to be there. Young Rin managed to pull herself out of her hospital bed to go on set too, as she’s worried about her sister’s well-being. The scene is rehearsed several times before the director finally calls “Action!”

Joon Young runs to the car door (as planned) and pulls it open. It’s locked (as not planned). The director calls “Cut” and the crew gathers around the car to see why it’s still locked. The crew member manning the explosion tries to stop the timer, but it keeps going. Oh crap. He yells for everyone to get out of the way, and they all scatter, leaving Seol Ah behind. What is she going to do!?

Seol Ah freaks out and looks around the car to see if there’s anything she can use to break open the door. Instead she finds Lee Ki Hyung’s dead body in the backseat! Suddenly San is beside her, and using his superhuman strength he breaks open the car door, pulls her out, and they run with less than a second to spare. The car blows up…

And we end up in a police station’s interrogation room. Detective Park is questioning the culprit, who turns out to be Min Soo, her manager. Min Soo was the son of one of Lee Ki Hyung’s victims, and when his mother died he bore a grudge against Seol Ah, thinking it was all her fault. He waited until Lee Ki Hyung got out of jail, then murdered the man. He then scared Seol Ah with the tattered dress in her apartment, and then tried to kill her by making it look like an accident on-set. But he wasn’t the only one. Oh no.

Eun Chae was involved too.

Eun Chae was forever jealous of Seol Ah and how she could never be number one. She felt that Young Rin didn’t pay enough attention to her as the manager of the entertainment agency, and really wanted to be the lead for once. San figures out that she was the one who sent the dead bird to Seol Ah, as she too went to an acupuncturist, and sawed off the rope on one of the set walls, then planted the saw at Young Rin’s desk. And how did San figure that out? Because he smelled Eun Chae’s distinctive perfume around the saw. Whut!?

What’s crazier is that after Young Rin and Seol Ah learn of Eun Chae’s motives, they then tell her that Seol Ah made it a condition on her contract that if she were to appear in this show, Eun Chae would have to be the main star. Whut!?!? I’m sorry – but don’t you think that’s something you could have told Eun Chae earlier?! So, you know, she wouldn’t be a dissatisfied employee?

So in the end, Min Soo definitely goes to jail, while Eun Chae’s fate is kind of left up in the air. After all, San revealed her involvement in the crimes only to Young Rin and Seol Ah, and not in front of any police witness.

And at the end of all this madness, San finally gets a call from Yo Na. Looks like she’s ready to meet.


I got none. I’m about to flip the table over this show. What the heck. Why is this show becoming a straight up procedural and pretty much leaving the vampire storyline in the back burner until it’s convenient? Why can’t this show make San more confused about his powers? Why is he so okay with them? And why did he seem to get dumber in solving mysteries after he got his superpowers? None of these cases are particularly difficult to solve, nor do they have enough twists to make it complicated. To say that this episode’s case is a lot better than previous cases is not saying much, considering it had such a low hurdle to jump over and best.

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