After eight weeks of tense mind games galore, “Why Her?” has come to an end. Oh Soo Jae (Seo Hyun Jin) grapples with the horrible loss she endured in last week’s episodes while Choi Tae Guk (Heo Joon Ho) ramps up his plans to secure his hold over the country once and for all. With everyone against Soo Jae, including Soo Jae herself, who will survive this final battle? Read on to find out!
Warning: mention of suicide and spoilers for episodes 15-16 below.
1. The disciplinary hearing against Soo Jae
It’s almost ridiculous how Choi Joo Wan (Ji Seung Hyun) immediately frames Soo Jae as the reason for the death of Choi Jae Yi (Han Joo Hyun). His daughter is barely cold in the grave, and here he is already assigning blame. It’s almost hilarious. But Choi Tae Guk runs with it and calls up every prosecutor and wealthy politician he knows to set up a disciplinary hearing ASAP with the goal of Soo Jae’s disbarment. It’s a deluded way of showing grief, but like father, like son. Both men need someone to blame, and Soo Jae is a convenient thorn in their side.
Everyone is put on digging up Soo Jae’s dirt, her handling of past cases, and anything that could be used as ammunition against. Naturally, they don’t have to look far because for all Soo Jae’s scrupulous handling of her cases, she was never the nicest lawyer around, and there are too many people willing to testify against her. Soo Jae knows what’s coming and demands a public hearing. She stoically sits as her list of sins is read out before the entire nation: from the way she tore Park So Young (Hong Ji Yoon) to shreds with barely a few words to her handling of Kim Dong Gu’s (Yu Gene Woo‘s/Hwang In Yeop’s) case all those years ago. And she isn’t the only one being ripped apart.
2. Director Baek’s confirmation hearing as Minister of Justice
Director Baek Jin Ki (Kim Chang Wan) has stayed quiet all these years despite knowing the extent of Choi Tae Guk’s crimes for one reason: to amass power such that he can get justice for what happened to his daughter. When Choi Tae Guk asks him to ensure that any appeal Soo Jae files against her disciplinary hearing is rejected, Director Baek readily agreed, knowing that he will do no such thing. In return, he asks that Choi Tae Guk appear as a witness to his hearing and lie about him being innocent of bribery. But when the confirmation hearing comes around (occurring at the same time as Soo Jae’s disciplinary hearing), Choi Tae Guk does a complete 180 to admit that Director Baek did commit bribery. Worse, he says that Director Baek has been holding a “grudge” against him over his daughter “supposedly” being assaulted by Choi Tae Guk’s son and those of Assemblyman Lee In Soo (Jo Young Jin) and CEO Han Seong Beum (Lee Kyung Young).
Director Baek loses all cool to roar that they are guilty and that he’ll see that justice is done. Choi Tae Guk laughs that he has no evidence. And Director Baek knows he’s lost. There was blood recovered from the earring found in Han Seong Beom’s house (which was stored in a garbage bag in the walls?) Apparently, according to the drama, it is common for construction workers to store garbage in the walls of a home that they’re renovating? Sounds like a housing violation and fire hazard waiting to happen. But little DNA could be extracted from the bloodstain to aid identifying the sexual assaulters that night. Director Baek thinks he’s done for. But help comes from an unexpected quarter.
3. Betrayal at the 11th hour
Ah, what would a good legal drama finale be without betrayal in the final hour? Choi Tae Guk thinks he has it made at this point. Director Baek is out of the picture, Soo Jae is on her way out of the legal profession, and he’s about to become the true face of power behind the puppet leaders set to run the country’s government and financial sector. He’s so cocky that he even gives his fingerprints to Soo Jae’s right-hand Song Mi Rin (Lee Joo Woo) while firing her. He meets with his long-term faithful secretary Ha Il Goo (Jun Jin Gi) who has just lost his son and orders him to take the blame for any crime Soo Jae reveals over the course of the hearing.
By the look on Ha Il Goo’s face as Choi Tae Guk leaves, he’s finally hit a breaking point. So it’s no surprise to us – though certainly to Choi Tae Guk – when he shows up at Soo Jae’s trial with a mountain load of evidence against Choi Tae Guk. And what he reveals has everyone gasping.
4. How Park So Young and Jeon Na Jung died
It’s nice to see “Why Her?” going back to the beginning to tie this show together. So Young’s case was the linchpin for the set of events that took Soo Jae on this path, and now we finally find out how she died. It turns out that she was indeed pregnant with Choi Tae Guk’s child (yuck). It’s one thing to hear it, but it’s another to see them together on the rooftop before her death. It’s even stranger when Choi Tae Guk is gentle, even tender, with her although she’s been blackmailing him for money so she can have an abortion and leave the country. He clearly felt something for her, evidenced in his building anger when she repeatedly mocks his interest in her and asks for money over and over.
So Young works herself up into a temper, threatening to jump off the building if he doesn’t give in. Choi Tae Guk is clearly worried approaching her with pleas to get down from there, but So Young repeats that she wants the money. Something in Choi Tae Guk’s face finally shuts down, and the hand he stretched out to help So Young pushes her off the building.
So, it turns out that Ha Il Goo wasn’t behind So Young’s death or Jeon Na Jung’s (Hwang Ji Ah’s) either. Because Joo Wan and his friends didn’t kill Na Jung after all. She was alive, albeit badly injured. Choi Tae Guk noticed this when he ordered his son away, and he couldn’t afford to have a witness. So he killed her. And Ha Il Goo recorded everything out of fear that the deaths would be pinned on him. The hearing collapses as all the judges, prosecutors, and police officers at the hearing are revealed to have colluded with Choi Tae Guk to obfuscate the truth for many, many years. The sole voice of reason is sleazy ex-Professor Seo’s ex-wife Shim Min Joo (Lee Jin Hee) who notes that no one there is qualified to judge Soo Jae and that Soo Jae wouldn’t have had to do what she did if everyone else had been upright. Choi Tae Guk watches in disbelief as his empire crumbles before his eyes. And Soo Jae finally smiles.
5. Choi Tae Guk’s death
The next day, it’s a bad time to be Choi Tae Guk. People flee his law firm in droves, and his former associates pretend they have nothing to do with him while undergoing their own hearings for crimes. Choi Tae Guk returns to his office the next day and stares out of the same window that used to show him the land he would have complete control over. Downing a ton of pills, several heft doses of alcohol, and some snacks, he calls Soo Jae, laughing bitterly that she’s the only one who picks up.
Despite their history, Soo Jae is able to tell something is off when he starts slurring. Choi Tae Guk quietly states that he isn’t ashamed of how he lived his life and that Soo Jae never bested him. These are the last words of a man who will perhaps never understand what he did wrong. And in a world that has only ever rewarded his behavior, it isn’t hard to see why. Soo Jae calls the paramedics, and that last one-shot scene where Joo Wan and the medics discover a regal but dead Choi Tae Guk is probably the best scene in the entire drama because of how well it is shot, panning out of the same window he looked out of and that we look through in our last glimpse of him.
Afterwards, Joo Wan is left to pick up the pieces and run what is left of the law firm, but he breaks down in his father’s office imagining him standing there. This is actually a good moment that should really have been explored earlier because seeing Joo Wan imagine his father’s back to the window, always so strong, is such a good depiction of this father-son relationship where both would do anything for the other. And they always did the worst things.
Gong Chan (Hwang In Yeop) and Soo Jae’s relationship settles into a healthier dynamic after he rescued her from taking her life and brought her back to fight and win against Choi Tae Guk. Six months onward, they seem quite happy together. Soo Jae has begun her own law firm and continues to be an associate professor, imparting the importance of not being a successful lawyer but a moral one. Choi Yoon Sang (Bae In Hyuk) barely had any relevant screen time in this entire drama to the point where it was a waste of a character. He gets a hug from Soo Jae for handing over his father’s files (which he finds so easily that it seems like he could’ve done it any point earlier). We don’t even see his reaction to his father’s death. What a shame.
“Why Her?” wasn’t perfect and veered far off what its initial episodes promised, but Seo Hyun Jin’s and Heo Joon Ho’s powerhouse performances saved the day and made the weekend that much more exciting. Soo Jae continues to have serious chemistry with Yoon Se Pil (Choi Young Joon). May we someday see these two in another drama with a love line. But that’s another story, and this one, Soo Jae’s story, has come to a reasonable, satisfying end.
The legal aid team remains friends, and life continues onwards for Soo Jae and Co. The darkest is behind them. Their lives are now fully theirs. And that’s one of the better endings a legal thriller could get!
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Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she works as a lawyer, fangirls over Ji Sung, and attempts to write the greatest fantasy romance of all time. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!
Currently Watching: “Alchemy of Souls,” “Insider,” “Jinxed at First,” and “Café Minamdang.”
Looking Forward to: “Adamas,” “Island,” “Little Women,” “Big Mouth,” “Chaebol’s Youngest Son,” “Carter,” “Queen of the Scene,” and “Black Knight.”