Created by Jun-hee Han, the South Korean military drama show ‘D.P.’ follows two “Deserter Pursuit” officers on their assignments and unveils the bleak truth behind the Korean army regarding its serious bullying issue. Soon after Ahn Joon-ho’s enlistment in the army, Sergeant Park Bum-gu notices his promising potential and moves him to the D.P. team, where he works alongside his partner to track down army deserters and bring them back for their legally mandated two-year service. As Joon-ho investigates case after case with his superior officer Corporal Han Ho-yul, he witnesses the military hazing culture’s harsh effect on different individuals.
Depicting the consequences of Cho Seok-bong’s actions after the first season’s end, the second season is ripe with political themes, moral values, and the show’s signature comedic air. If you’re curious to see where this new installment takes Joon-ho and if it brings any significant change in the military, here is everything you need to know about the ending of the second season of ‘D.P.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
D.P. Season 2 Recap
The second season picks up shortly after the first one ends, with higher-ups looking to cover up the intense interdepartmental bullying/abuse that led Seok-bong to desert the army and commit suicide after taking his bully hostage. Although Bum-gu isn’t on board with the idea, his superiors compel him to hush up the incident by putting the entire blame on Seok-bong by citing his mental illness. Meanwhile, Joon-ho’s commander assigns him a new partner, while Ho-yul remains within the medical wing, suffering from major PTSD symptoms.
Just when it seems like the military may successfully brush Seok-bong under the rug, one of his friends, Private Kim Ru-ri, snaps under his superiors’ endless, cruel bullying. Armed with his gun, Ru-ri opens fire on his comrades and flees. Following the incident, Ho-yul, carrying immense guilt about Seok-bong, returns to the D.P., unable to sit this out. Paired together once more, Bum-gu assigns Joon-ho and Ho-yul Ru-ri’s desertion case while Lieutenant Colonel Seo-eun leads the investigation against him.
Seo-eun, under General Goo Ja-Woon’s orders, seems adamant about catching Ru-ri without tarnishing the military’s name, hence spreading misinformation about the shooting’s details. On the other hand, Bum-gu’s D.P. team, alongside Lieutenant Im Ji-sup, tries to ensure Ru-ri stays alive, unwilling to repeat their mistakes from Seok-bong’s case. The investigation ends with a horde of armed officers holding a distressed Ru-ri armed with a grenade at gunpoint.
Nevertheless, after going against orders, Joon-ho and Ho-yul save Ru-ri with his mother’s help, leading to Ru-ri’s arrest with the General’s promise of a fair trial. Even though the General is annoyed at the outcome, the army awards Joon-ho and Ho-yul for their bravery so as to maintain an ethical public image. However, Seo-eun is promptly fired for her inability to terminate Ru-ri on time for the army’s longtime benefit.
Afterward, Joon-ho and Ho-yul continue on with their duties as the D.P. Still, each case they work on reminds them of the inhumane conditions of lower-ranking officers in the army. One of the cases revolves around Jang “Nina” Seong-min, a gay drag queen who dies after exhaustively trying to escape the military, where he received brutal abuse due to his sexuality and gender presentation. Nina’s case is particularly conflicting for Ho-yul since Nina was the same man who stabbed Ho-yul years ago.
Meanwhile, Ji-sup and Bum-gu get their hands on an encrypted USB containing classified information about the military with Seo-eun’s help. Once the General realizes the same, he sets Ji-sup up by involving him in an investigation about his old friend’s death at the DMZ, knowing it would make him snap. After orchestrating the perfect crime, the General uses incriminating footage against Ji-sup and Bum-gu in exchange for the USB.
Nevertheless, after Joon-ho, sent to retrieve the USB from the decoder, realizes the depth of everything the military is covering up, he goes AWOL. While The General and Oh Min-woo try to track down Joon-ho with their squadron of soldiers, Bum-gu and Ho-yul try to arrest Joon-ho first to ensure he at least remains alive.
D.P. Season 2 Ending: Does Ho-yul Arrest Joon-ho?
Toward the end of the season, in an ironic but apt twist of fate, Joon-ho, the Deserter Pursuit Officer, becomes a deserter himself. Throughout the second season, Joon-ho struggles with the first season’s events, particularly Seok-bong’s incident and Shin Woo-suk’s suicide. As such, when he sees Woo-suk’s sister, Hye-yeon, heading the army class action case against the military, something shifts inside him. Although Joon-ho rarely finds himself on the receiving end of the abusive bullying within the barracks due to his position as a D.P., he still has some experience with it.
More importantly, he has seen the way several soldiers have been driven to violence, inflicting it either upon themselves or others because of the military’s negligence regarding the grave power abuse issues. Hye-yeon’s call to action makes Joon-ho realize he can’t remain complicit in a broken system without trying to fix it. Therefore, even though Bum-gu and Ho-yul advise him against it, Joon-ho takes matters into his own hands and steals the USB. He intends to hand it off to Hye-yeon to use as evidence in the trial.
However, this mission sets Joon-ho on a dangerous trajectory once the General discovers his location. Min-woo and his plethora of field soldiers ruthlessly hunt down the former D.P. officer on his train ride to Daejeon, where he has set up a meeting with Hye-yeon. After being attacked by more than a dozen soldiers, Joon-ho, a stellar fighter, barely manages to escape with his life. Ho-yul, who helps Joon-ho escape arrest by detaining Min-woo, finds it difficult to sit around while his closest friend faces down such an enormous enemy.
As such, Ho-yul manages to find dirt on his commander, using it to blackmail him into providing him with a statement damning to the General’s career. Consequently, Ho-yul gets Joon-ho’s arrest warrant lifted on the condition that he be the one to bring him in. This way, Ho-yul can prevent other soldiers inclined to kill Joon-ho from going after him. Although Ho-yul can see the injustice within the army, he doesn’t believe Joon-ho can put an end to it on his own.
Moreover, Ho-yul is scared for Joon-ho’s life more than anything. In the end, Ho-yul catches up to Joon-ho while the latter is on his way to the trial. Simultaneously, Sung-woo, Joon-ho’s former senior officer with a grudge against him, locates Joon-ho. The trio gets into a fight, where Sung-woo gets subdued, leaving Ho-yul with Joon-ho. When Ho-yul asks Joon-ho to hand him the USB drive and come with him to put this entire thing behind them, Joon-ho reveals he doesn’t have the USB drive. Although Ho-yul catches up to Joon-ho, without the USB, he has no reason to arrest him.
Does Joon-ho Release The Classified USB Files?
The entire class action lawsuit against the military, helmed by a vengeful Seo-eun with Ru-ri’s case as the primary focus, hinges upon Joon-ho’s ability to provide the plaintiff with the classified USB files. Although Seo-eun has a star witness for her case, Ru-ri himself, the General silences him with his power, leaving Seo-eun barely any defense before the case even starts. However, her ex-husband, Ji-sup, steps in against the General, already spiteful about the DMZ incident.
Seo-eun tries to stall the trial until Joon-ho arrives with the damning evidence using Ji-sup as a witness to provide an inside perspective on the matter. Still, since Ji-sup doesn’t have any hard proof to substantiate his arguments, the case almost entirely shifts in the military’s corner, with the General representing himself as the attorney. Therefore, everything changes when Park Bum-gu finally arrives with the classified files. As it would turn out, Joon-ho’s dedication to revealing the truth had moved Bum-gu into action, who came up with a plan to distract their enemies.
Due to the USB’s design, no one can transfer or copy the files out of the thumb drive. Still, Joon-ho finds a way to create a decoy by exchanging the military USB chip for an ordinary one and vice versa. As such, the USB Joon-ho gets caught with turns out to be a fake. Likewise, Bum-gu uses Hye-Yeong’s help to keep Min-woo occupied, knowing the Warrant officer would trail her after realizing Joon-ho doesn’t have the drive.
Bum-gu brings the USB as evidence to the court himself in the end. Seo-eun presents the files as proof to back Ji-sup’s claims up. The files have records that prove the military allowed one of Ru-ri’s victims to die due to negligence in dispatching medical attention. Similarly, other records revealing numerous military coverups, including Seok-bong’s case, are released to the court.
Who Wins The Army Class Action Trial?
Through the army class action lawsuit against the military several soldiers’ families hope to gain compensation for the army’s malpractices and mistreatment of soldiers. Several of the deserters Bum-gu and his D.P. team have caught during their service were victims of this abuse. The show also makes it a point to highlight the gross after-affects of the military’s subscription to the abusive status quo. As such, this trial presents one of the most significant moments for several characters alongside the narrative.
Seo-eun’s argument is simple: the military should be held responsible for all the ways their lack of action has harmed their soldiers. Through Ru-ri’s case, Seo-eun wants to depict how the inhumane conditions within the barracks drove an individual to such mental distress it ended in a bloodbath. Although Ru-ri is never portrayed as innocent, his case presents the perfect example of how the military refuses to take any accountability.
The system is rotten and feeds off a hierarchical cycle of abuse, and change needs to happen. Nevertheless, change is always gradual. The same is proven when the court comes to a ruling that ends in a tie. Although the court recognizes the military at fault in several cases, it calls for a lack of evidence in others. Ultimately, Seo-eun wins some cases, but Ru-ri’s isn’t one of them, and the latter goes away to prison. A fifty-fifty tie, although not a win, isn’t a loss either.
The season ends with Bum-gu behind bars for leaking classified government files. The Sergeant accepts the arrest with his head held high, having known this would be his fate from the start. He encourages “his boys,” Ho-yul and Joon-ho, to fight for a better future and advises Joon-ho to finish the rest of his service with integrity. Ho-yul, already discharged from duty, parts ways with Joon-ho, who returns to the barracks for his last year of service.
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