‘Shadow Detective’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Who Is The Friend?

Previously, in “Shadow Detective,” Taek Rok managed to bring back Mr. Cheon, the drug mafiosa, from hiding, but his life is still in danger as he is a key witness to Chief Seo’s illegal activities. Team leader Bae had been investigating Hyun Seok’s case secretly, and he found ties between Hyun Seok and officer Jin Han. He had asked Taek Rok to come over to his place to talk about it, but shockingly, Jin Han garroted Team Leader Bae before he could meet Taek Rok.


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Jin Han Working For?

Jin Han had noticed team leader Bae following him, and when Taek Rok asked him about his ties with chairman Jang, he got cautious. He barged into Bae’s house and saw his pictures with Hyun Seok on his computer. He had no choice but to kill him if he didn’t want to blow his cover. Jin Han was a righteous officer in the past but had to join hands with Chairman Jang to protect his family. He had come to Geumo City as Jang’s spy and had been carrying out a mission.


Taek Rok enters Bae’s house and finds him dead. He sees someone running out and notices that the running pattern is similar to that of The Friend, whom he had seen running in the mountains. Taek Rok is heartbroken that team leader Bae died because of him and calls Jin Han to inform him. However, he notices that Jin Han is short of breath. He calls detective Sunga to ask if Jin Han is still in the hospital, but she has other news for him.

Cheon tried to run away from the hospital and, in the end, got himself killed. Jin Han opens investigations in both cases, but Chief Seo interferes and assigns Cheon’s case to detective Kwak because he works for him and is the one who successfully carries out the mission of Cheon’s murder on Seo’s order. Though Jin Han was told not to work on Cheon’s case, his team still found the hitman hired by detective Kwak. 


Detective Kwak sees the hitman in the office and immediately informs Chief Seo. Kwak tries to run away, but Jin Han is quicker and catches him. Kwak is not intimidated at all as he has Chief Seo’s support, but as soon as Jin Han gets violent and threatens Kwak with hurting his family, he confesses that Chief Seo had ordered him to kill Cheon. By that time, Chief Seo had disappeared from the office and Geumo City.

Sunga informs Taek Rok that Seo has run away, and he gets a call from The Friend right afterwards. The Friend tells Taek Rok that he is now free and that they won’t be talking anymore. Taek Rok has many questions for him, but he hangs up the call. The Friend is none other than Kook Jin Han, who has been fooling Taek Rok all this time. Taek Rok already has his doubt about Jin Han, and he mentions it to Sunga as well.


Jin Han meets Chairman Jang, and it is revealed that Jang has told Jin Han to do all of this because he wants more shares in the Geumo City redevelopment project. The mission is almost complete, and Jang wants Jin Han to get rid of Taek Rok if he becomes a nuisance. Kyung Chan steals team leader Bae’s diary to look for clues, but all they find are some cryptic codes. However, Kyung Chan has planted a secret camera in Jin Han’s house, and Taek Rok retrieves it. He sees Jin Han with Bae’s mobile phone, which had been missing from the murder scene, and it is enough to confirm that Jin Han killed him.

Sunga and Kyung Chan decode the cryptic codes, and they all turn out to be the names of Chief Seo’s acquaintances. Jin Han has gathered all of those acquaintances to make them an offer, but Taek Rok sends them the decoded names from the ledger. They think that Jin Han is trying to trap them and leave the meeting. Taek Rok predicted this and called Jin Han, but this time, he called him “Friend” instead of Jin Han. Now that the secret is out, they agree to meet each other face-to-face.


Taek Rok waits for Jin Han to arrive and, in the meantime, gets a call from Sunga that a woman has testified against him. She claims to have seen Taek Rok killing Hyun Seok. Taek Rok understands that he has been trapped and that Jin Han is not going to come to see him. Instead, he sent a bunch of thugs who attacked Taek Rok out of the blue.

What Past Connection Does Taek Rok And Jin Han Have?

Taek Rok jumps into the sea to save himself from the thugs and swims to a nearby island. The thugs were unable to catch him, which ruined Jin Han’s plan. Taek Rok becomes a fugitive, along with Chief Seo, so both of them are wanted criminals now. A temporary police chief has been assigned, and he tells Jin Han to take care of ongoing cases quietly because he has heard that Geumo city is soon going to go through redevelopment, and he doesn’t want the police department to be responsible if anything goes wrong.


Jin Han has opened an investigation to find Taek Rok and has kept Sunga and Kyung Chan on his team. However, he warns both of them to be careful because they have a lot of eyes on them since they are close to Taek Rok. Taek Rok has acquired a burner phone and also meets with Sunga, who gives her an update on what’s going on at the police station. Taek Rok has to find out more about Jin Han if he wants to defeat him.

Jin Han’s target is to dismiss the redevelopment committee set up by Chief Seo so that Chairman Jang has no obstacles in getting the projects, which in turn will benefit Jin Han. He meets Director Ahn of Geumo City Hospital and threatens to submit proof for all those who are involved in the illegal activities of the committee, or he and his son will have to pay for all of their previous crimes. Jin Han pretended to be a righteous officer, but Taek Rok discovered his past, and it was not clean.


Jin Han has killed two of Taek Rok’s colleagues, who were also his good friends, but it is not Jin Han’s first time. Taek Rok finds a case file about Choi Sung Hoon, who worked for Chairman Jang and had committed suicide. Jin Han was the one who reported his suicide, but after connecting the dots, Taek Rok discovers that Sung Hoon had become a threat to Jang, and Jin Han could have killed Choi on Jang’s orders.

Sunga and Kyung Chan have been under watch, and the detectives notice that both of them have been frequenting the same place, and they are on their way to the same place, as the detectives inform Jin Han. The officers assume that they must be there to meet Taek Rok, and they raid that place with Jin Han. However, Taek Rok is not there, and Jin Han feels that Sunga and Kyung Chan just played with him.


Chief Seo is nowhere to be found, but he surrenders himself all of a sudden and confesses to all his crimes. Moreover, he has brought evidence against Jin Han. He submits the video of Jin Han carrying officer Bae’s mobile phone and the officers searching Jin Han’s place. They find officer Bae’s mobile there, and Jin Han has to undergo an interrogation, but he gets released for lack of evidence of murder. After coming out, he orders to arrest officer Sunga first thing.

Taek Rok had visited Chief Seo’s countryside home, where he would often hang out with the chief, officer Bae, and officer Hyun Seok. Now, two of them have passed away. Chief Seo was there as well, and he opened up to Taek Rok about regretting what he had done. Taek Rok told him that it was still not too late if he wanted to repent for his mistakes. This is the reason that Chief Seo came back and confessed everything.


While investigating Jin Han’s past, Taek Rok discovered that they had a past connection. Taek Rok was a guest lecturer at the Police University when he first met Jin Han. Jin Han was a top student, but he did not have a powerful background. That’s why he always resented those with the power which would eventually sit in top positions owing to their connections. Taek Rok had advised Jin Han back then to work hard and become more powerful than those with connections. Taek Rok thinks that it is his fault that Jin Han turned out this way.

‘Shadow Detective’ Season 1: Ending Explained

Taek Rok visits the place named Mokro Tavern, where Hyun Seok wants to go with him, and gets a surprise. Hyun Seok had left his burner phone there, and Taek Rok found the video of Jin Han killing Hyun Seok on his cloud account. Now, Taek Rok has solid evidence that Jin Han is The Friend and the murderer of Bae and Hyun Seok. However, he sends the video to Jin Han himself first because he wants to talk to him, and Jin Han agrees to have a real talk this time.


Jin Han is on his way to meet Taek Rok when he gets a call from Chairman Jang. Jang tells him that he will take care of getting rid of Taek Rok, but Jin Han curses at him and tells him that either he will die or will kill Taek Rok tonight. Jin Han has a gun pointed at Taek Rok as soon as they meet. He blames Taek Rok for ruining his life because of his careless advice. Taek Rok tries to calm Jin Han down, and it works when he tells him to not become a police officer in his next life. Jin Han is about to cry when someone shoots him from behind, and he collapses. His last words to Taek Rok before losing consciousness are that he wants to become his friend in the next life.

“Shadow Detective” Season 1 introduced us to veteran detective Kim Taek Rok, who has a long career and an equally long list of regrets. He developed an anxiety disorder because of his work, and he always blamed himself if anything went wrong with anyone because of his working style. Officer Kook Jin Han was a personification of his regrets as he reminded Taek Rok of his past mistakes as “The Friend.” All this time, Taek Rok only had it in his mind that he ruined people’s lives, but before getting shot, Jin Han told Taek Rok to his face that he had ruined his life.


The first season ended with Jin Han supposedly dying, and Taek Rok was left with one more regret. If so, we can expect Taek Rok to avenge Chairman Jang, who is likely to be Jin Han’s murderer. Jin Han wanted to be Taek Rok’s friend, and Taek Rok almost thought that he was one.

See more: ‘Shadow Detective’ Episode 5 & 6: Recap And Ending – Who Attacks Team Leader Bae?

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Neha Bhondve
Neha Bhondve
Neha not only loves to write entertainment articles but is also a Korean culture and language enthusiast. In her free time, when she is not exploring the world of entertainment, she likes to explore new people and new places.

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