Shadow Detective Season 1 Ending, Explained – Hulu’s korean drama “Shadow Detective” marked Taek Rok’s first achievement as he successfully tracked down and captured the drug mobster Mr. Cheon, who had been hiding from him for months. However, Mr. Cheon now faces imminent danger because he is an important witness against Chief Seo and is involved in illegal activities. During Team Leader Bae’s undercover investigation of the Hyun Seok case, he discovered connections between Hyun Seok and Officer Jin Han. Tragically, before meeting to discuss this matter, Jin Han garrotted Team Leader Bae, further escalating the risk for Mr. Cheon.
Who is the Killer in “Shadow Detective”?
Jin Han became defensive when Taek Rok probed his connection to Chairman Jang and discovered that Team Leader Bae had been following him. Jin Han made a sudden trip to Bae’s residence, where he found digital photos depicting Hyun Seok associating with Bae. To protect his cover from being compromised, Jin Han decided to eliminate Bae. Once an honorable officer, Jin Han now works closely with Chairman Jang out of fear of protecting those closest to him and acts as his spy in Geumo City.
As Taek Rok enters Bae’s home and discovers his lifeless body, he recalls The Friend whom he had seen running across highland trails with a strange gait. Hoping to notify Jin Han of Bae’s demise via a telephone call, Taek Rok soon realizes she is struggling for breath. During his call with Detective Sunga, Taek Rok unexpectedly learns that Jin Han has been hospitalized.
Tragically, Mr. Cheon takes his own life while fleeing the hospital. Jin Han assumes responsibility for both cases until Chief Seo intervenes and assigns Detective Kwak, under his influence, to investigate Cheon’s murder. Despite being warned not to pursue it further, Jin Han and his team persist in tracking down a hitman hired by Detective Kwak.
Upon seeing an assassin in an office building, Detective Kwak quickly alerts Chief Seo for swift action to be taken against him. Kwak attempts to flee, but Jin Han proves faster. Initially, with support from Chief Seo, Kwak continues undisturbed, but Jin Han resorts to aggression, threatening harm against Kwak’s family. Under duress, Kwak succumbs and confesses that Chief Seo had ordered Cheon’s murder. When Jin Han attempts to confront Seo himself, he finds that Seo has disappeared both from the office and the city of Geumo!
Sunga informs Taek Rok of Seo’s disappearance, prompting him to receive a phone call from The Friend, who proclaims freedom and abruptly ends communication between them. Taek Rok finds this news shocking until he learns that Kook Jin Han had been deceiving him all along as The Friend. After reflecting further, Taek Rok confides his concerns to Sunga.
Jin Han realizes that his actions were orchestrated to advance Chairman Jang’s redevelopment plans for Geumo City. With their mission nearly completed, Jang orders Jin Han to eliminate Taek Rok as an obstacle. Kyung Chan seizes Team Leader Bae’s diary but only discovers unintelligible codes. Taek Rok discovers and takes with him an abandoned camera hidden by Kyung Chan at Jin Han’s residence. Upon reaching the crime scene, he finds Jin Han holding Bae’s phone, suggesting his potential involvement in Bae’s murder.
Sunga and Kyung Chan manage to decipher the codes, uncovering identities associated with Chief Seo. Taek Rok then shares these names with Jin Han’s group of friends, who had come together for an offer presentation from Jin Han but became suspicious of his intentions and left abruptly. Upon hearing this news, Taek Rok contacts Jin Han directly, this time as “Friend.” They schedule a face-to-face meeting.
Taek Rok awaits Jin Han’s arrival when Sunga calls with news that an accusing woman has testified against him for murdering Hyun Seok. When Jin Han fails to arrive as planned, Taek Rok becomes the target of attackers sent specifically to silence him and catch him off guard.
Unveiling the Historical Link between Taek Rok and Jin Han
To evade Jin Han’s capture, Taek Rok takes drastic measures by diving into the water and swimming to a nearby island. However, his plan backfires as Jin Han’s thugs fail to apprehend him. Both Taek Rok and Chief Seo find themselves on the run, listed as most wanted by the FBI. Temporary Police Chief Chien-Yi gives Jin Han orders to handle all pending cases discreetly to avoid blame during the Geumo City renovation.
Jin Han begins searching for Taek Rok and recruits Sunga and Kyung Chan to assist him in his investigation, though he cautions them about being subject to Taek Rok’s constant surveillance. Taek Rok seeks information about Jin Han by purchasing a burner phone and regularly meeting with Sunga to gain more information. To defeat Jin Han, Taek Rok must also delve deeper into their pasts.
Jin Han seeks to advance his own interests by dismantling Chief Seo’s redevelopment committee, making way for Chairman Jang’s easy acquisition of projects. To achieve this, he confronts Director Ahn of Geumo City Hospital, using the threat of exposing any illegal activities of the committee unless both he and his son are cleared of any wrongdoing. Taek Rok discovers Jin Han’s past despite his appearance as an upstanding officer.
Jin Han has been accused of killing two of Taek Rok’s colleagues and close friends, but this is not his only murderous act. Taek Rok discovers an incident file about Choi Sung Hoon’s suicide at Chairman Jang’s company, which Jin Han reported as such. Taek Rok begins piecing together what may have occurred and suspects that Jin Han may have killed her on Jang’s orders to neutralize a potential threat to Jang himself.
Detectives inform Jin Han that they have been monitoring Sunga and Kyung Chan, noting their frequent visits to a specific location. Believing they could possibly meet Taek Rok there, they raid the location with Jin Han as an accomplice. However, Taek Rok is not present, and Jin Han can’t shake the feeling that Sunga and Kyung Chan may be playing games with him.
Chief Seo, who was reported missing, unexpectedly turns himself in and confesses his transgressions, providing evidence against Jin Han, including footage showing Jin Han with Bae’s phone and police searching his apartment where Bae’s phone was discovered. Jin Han is initially detained but ultimately released due to insufficient evidence of murder. However, upon being freed, Jin Han immediately orders the arrest of a police officer, Sunga.
Taek Rok had formed a close bond with Chief Seo, Bae, and Hyun Seok while spending time at Chief Seo’s rural house. Following the loss of two of them, Chief Seo expresses regret over his actions. Taek Rok assures him that change is always possible. Consequently, Chief Seo decides to come forward with his story and reveal the truth.
While investigating Jin Han’s past, Taek Rok discovers an unexpected link in their histories. They met for the first time when Taek Rok served as a visiting professor at Police University. Jin Han came from a less influential background and harbored bitterness towards those who achieved power through connections, despite excelling academically. Taek Rok encouraged Jin Han to surpass those with connections through hard work instead of connections. However, Taek Rok now feels responsible for Jin Han’s decline into amorality.
Shadow Detective Season 1 Ending Explained
Taek Rok is taken aback when he unexpectedly arrives at Mokro Tavern, where he is supposed to meet Hyun Seok. He discovers footage on Hyun Seok’s cloud account accessible through her burner phone. The footage shows Jin Han murdering Hyun Seok. With this evidence, Taek Rok confidently identifies Jin Han as The Friend and the murderer of Bae and Hyun Seok. Instead of sending it directly to Jin Han, Taek Rok sends it indirectly, surprising him even further. Jin Han accepts his actions!
During their meeting, Chairman Jang calls Jin Han and assures him that he will eliminate Taek Rok. However, Jin Han responds angrily, promising to kill Taek Rok himself or die trying tonight. It appears Jin Han is about to shoot Taek Rok when Taek Rok manages to calm him down by providing comforting words, reiterating that Jin Han won’t be a police officer in his next life. Before anything further happens, Taek Rok is suddenly shot in the back and declares hope that they may remain close friends even after leaving this world.
“Shadow Detective” introduces us to Kim Taek Rok, a seasoned investigator burdened with regrets and suffering from an anxiety disorder due to his profession. Officer Kook Jin Han stands as an embodiment of Taek Rok’s self-loathing by continually reminding him of his failures as “The Friend,” even after explicitly telling Taek Rok before being shot that it was Taek Rok himself who had caused harm and ultimately destroyed their lives.
Following Jin Han’s apparent demise at the end of season one, Taek Rok is left with another regret: the loss of Jin Han. With this in mind, Taek Rok may seek revenge against Chairman Jang for murdering Jin Han. Taek Rok had come to see Jin Han as potential friendship material and was eager for them to form a meaningful connection.