Netflix’s South Korean military drama series D.P. now returns with its second season after successfully raising questions about military malpractices in 2021’s first iteration. The plot in season 2 picks up only a few days after the events of season 1, as DP officers An Jun-ho and Han Ho-yeol are still reeling from the shocking suicide attempt by Cho Suk-bong. Following this tragic incident and the misinformation spread by the military in the media about Suk-bong having been mentally unstable, a second disaster was teased at the very end of season 1, in which Suk-bong’s close friend, Kim Ru-ri, also opened fire on his fellow soldiers. It is this event that comes into focus in D.P. season 2, along with the authority’s response that follows.
What Is Season 2 About?
According to South Korean law, it is mandatory for every male citizen to serve in the army for a minimum of two years before the age of thirty. The Netflix drama series D.P. presents the conditions and abuse faced by these soldiers, most of whom are there only to serve the mandatory period, as hazing and misuse of power hierarchy are very common occurrences. D.P. season 1 had mostly focused on a soldier named Cho Suk-bong, who was constantly bullied and harassed by his superiors in the army, particularly by a man named Hwang Jang-soo. Eventually, Suk-bong could not take the humiliation any longer and, after having deserted his post in the army, kidnapped Jang-soo before shooting himself in the face and attempting suicide. Although Suk-bong had survived the incident and was in a coma, it had left tremendous shock on the people around him, particularly DP officers An Jun-ho and Han Ho-yeol.
As part of the DP, or “Deserter Pursuit,” wing of the Korean Army, it was Jun-ho and Ho-yeol’s responsibility to arrest and bring Suk-bong back to the army camp before the deserter did something grave. Despite their best efforts, the officers could not achieve their intention and had to see Suk-bong shoot himself after repeatedly asking them why they had not done anything to stop his bullies before it was too late. Now, in season 2, Han Ho-yeol is seen cooped up in a hospital because of what seems to be acute PTSD, and the man even does not speak to anyone and only communicates through writing. An Jun-ho continues to serve in his military post, but he grows quite disillusioned with the state of the place with every passing day. Despite making promises to Suk-bong that institutional changes in the army were possible to bring about, Jun-ho realizes that the problems are far more deep-rooted than he believed them to be. After facing hazing and saving the expert hacker Gi-yeong from assault by his seniors, Jun-ho faces punishment once again.
On the other side, a military investigator named Oh Min-U is given the responsibility of burying the accounts of harassment and bullying in Cho Suk-bong’s case, and he cleverly prepares a statement that Suk-bong had been suffering from mental illnesses. Blaming these illnesses as the reason for Suk-bong’s violence, Min-U keeps trying to convince Park Beom-gu and Lim Ji-seop to sign the document. Around this very time, the South Korean military is shaken once more as another soldier, Kim Ru-ri, opens fire on his fellow soldiers one evening, leading to eight soldiers being wounded and two being killed before deserting the base with a rifle and hand grenades. Naturally, Park Beom-gu appoints Jun-ho and Ho-yeol to find and bring back the deserter before it is, once again, too late.
Why Does Seo-Eun Change Her Mind?
After Ru-ri goes missing, along with the guns and ammunition, the military immediately notifies the press and the public about the incident, and they bring in a special individual to make the announcement. Lieutenant Colonel Seo-eun is known for her ability to twist narratives and turn them completely in favor of the government, and now too, she successfully does so. Using specific words to paint the soldiers as peace-loving innocent men who were attacked by the criminal-minded Ru-ri, Seo-eun easily turns public sentiment against Ru-ri, and the real reason for his outburst is left unmentioned. Ru-ri was subjected to extreme bullying and hazing at his unit because of his physique, and he was constantly assaulted and even sprayed with insecticide. It was his outburst against this horrible torture and also the fact that the army was now branding his close friend Suk-bong as a mentally unstable individual that had made Ru-ri pick up his gun and start firing. But instead, the man is portrayed as an outright villain by Seo-eun, on the special instructions of the Army General, Gu Ja-woon.
As both the army and the DP officers try to find Ru-ri and bring him under control, the soldier himself runs a livestream in which he takes accountability for his actions but also lashes out against the system. Speaking out against the harassment he had faced and also revealing how he always feared for his life at the army camp, Ru-ri unintentionally manages to turn the narrative slightly to his side. However, Seo-eun’s skills with using the media are almost unparalleled, and when an incident takes place at Ru-ri’s house, she uses it to bait the man out of hiding. With all the personal details of Ru-ri out in the media, flocks of angry civilians, and especially family members of those soldiers harmed or killed by the shootout, crowd Ru-ri’s parental house and humiliate his mother. Knowing that the armed deserter was close to his mother, Seo-eun releases video of this incident through the press and waits for Ru-ri to return home and meet her.
A massive showdown takes place in front of Ru-ri’s house during this time, with the army force ready to apprehend the deserter as soon as he arrives. It is soon revealed that Gu Ja-woon wants Ru-ri to be shot dead, as this would make things easier for the army, but the man also does not want to give this order himself. Instead, he relies on Seo-eun, who has posted snipers in front of the deserter’s house and can order them to shoot him at any moment since she is the Lieutenant General. However, Seo-eun also happens to be the ex-wife of Captain Lim Ji-seop, who is now a great supporter of the principles followed by the DP squad. Despite their differences, Ji-sup constantly asks Seo-eun to help him and the DP team apprehend Ru-ri instead of letting him get killed by the army. The woman initially refuses to listen to this, but it all keeps adding up inside her head, gradually changing her mind. As is later revealed, Seo-eun also knew very well who was right and wrong, and she was just acting for the sake of the army.
But at the very last minute, Seo-eun does not give the snipers the order to shoot, and instead, Ru-ri is approached by Joon-ho. Ho-yeol crucially comes out of his PTSD-induced silence, and he starts to livestream the whole incident so that the army will not open fire on Ru-ri. There is still a chance to shoot the deserter after Ho-yeol’s internet is disabled by the army, but Seo-eun still does not give the order. She is now genuinely convinced that the deserter does not deserve to die, no matter what he did, and knowing about the actual reasons for his violence, Seo-eun decides not to listen to her superior’s orders anymore. Finally seeing the situation getting out of hand for the reputation of the army, General Ja-woon himself steps in and disarms Ru-ri when the deserter is comforted by his mother. Since he himself gets involved in the act, Ja-woon honors Joon-ho and Ho-yeol with medals instead of punishing them for marring his plan. However, Seo-eun has to face the ax as she is fired from her military post. The woman does not seem to mind much, and she instead takes this chance to change her profession and become a lawyer advocating for individuals wronged by the army.
Why Were Joon-Ho And Ji-Seop Sent To The DMZ Guard Post?
During all this time, the military had documented all the cases that it had manipulated with false evidence in order to save its reputation and not let anyone know of the malpractices, and these documents were stored on a secretive USB-drive in the possession of the corrupt military investigator, Oh Min-U. Seo-eun had known about this USB-drive, and before her dismissal from the army, the woman had managed to get hold of it, and she had given it to Captain Ji-sup. Although the contents of this USB drive were still a mystery to Ji-sup and the rest of the DP officers, the military’s search for them had already begun. Around this time, General Ja-woon assigns a specific task to Ji-sup, in which he has to travel to the northernmost part of the country at the DMZ Guard Post in order to investigate an old death.
Staff Sergeant Na Jung-seok had died from a strange accident some years ago at the DMZ GP, when he had supposedly stepped on an active landmine in order to save a subordinate soldier from death. However, the Human Rights Department was now raising questions as to whether this was indeed the case, and so Ja-woon sent Ji-seop to reinvestigate the case, and the captain took Joon-ho along. Things seem rather suspicious at the Guard Post, though, with irregular electricity and an all-over spooky environment. It is also revealed that clashes with North Korean soldiers also took place here many years ago, with soldiers from both sides crawling into the other’s territory through underground tunnels before unleashing terror. The landmine on which Jung-seok had supposedly stepped was also from the Korean War era, with many landmines at the site still not disarmed yet. The event, as reported by everyone at the GP, was that a soldier in Jung-seok’s unit, named Shin A-hwi, had accidentally stepped on a landmine, and in order to protect him, Jung-seok had then stepped on it himself. Although the sergeant believed that he had disarmed the mine, it soon exploded and killed Jung-seok.
However, sending Lim Ji-seop to reinvestigate this incident was part of a very clever ploy by General Ja-woon, who was aware that Ji-seop and Jung-seok used to be close friends. In fact, the sergeant had even called Ji-seop on the night before his death, and the captain always remained suspicious about how his friend had died. Now that he gets the chance, Ji-seop tries all means to make A-hwi reveal the truth, but the soldier refuses to cooperate. This makes Ji-seop rather violent, as he starts to beat the soldier up, and all of this is recorded by the CCTV camera in the room. Ja-woon had known that something like this would happen, and he had even kept a story ready about a senior army captain himself using violence after asking for a human rights investigation in order to stop Ji-seop from asking further questions. It was Ji-seop and his DP associates, namely Beom-gu, Joon-ho, and Ho-yeol, who had been concerned about the human rights violations in the army, and the General had made this plan to stop them.
On the other side, the investigator, Min-U, had figured out that the USB drive with all the classified information was now with Beom-gu since Ji-seop was at the DMZ GP, and he must not have carried it to a military base. Min-U now starts his own persuasion of Beom-gu, trying to coerce the man into returning him the drive. Beom-gu refuses to do this and is rather bemused when Min-U buys him a box of toys for the sergeant’s son. As it turns out, Beom-gu soon realizes that the box is filled with cash, and security camera footage from the toy store clearly showed Beom-gu taking the box from an unidentified man (Min-U). Therefore, security camera footage is used against both Ji-seop and Beom-gu in order to stop them from raising more questions and also to get the USB drive back. This whole situation takes a turn when Joon-ho gets hold of the USB drive and goes for a run, becoming a deserter himself.
As far as the death of Staff Sergeant Na Jung-seok is concerned, it is later revealed that the man himself was a bully who exploited and harassed his subordinates. The soldier Shin A-hwi was one such subordinate who Jung-seok often picked on, and on the night of his death, the sergeant had taken the soldier to the active minefield. Here, Jung-seok kept pushing A-hwi around, not caring whether the soldier might step on a mine. Soon, A-hwi retaliated, too, pushing Jung-seok down, which made the sergeant livid. Not noticing his steps, Jung-seok had rushed toward A-hwi and stepped on a mine, which exploded and killed him. It was in order to save Jung-seok’s reputation and avoid further problems for the army that such a false tale of his bravery was made up.
‘D.P.’ Season 2 Ending Explained: What Happens at the Court Trial?
The final drama in D.P. season 2 comes down to the day of the court trial, with prosecuting lawyer Seo-eun having filed a case against the military for gross malpractice and the general abusive attitude maintained at the camps. Gu Ja-woon himself becomes the lawyer of the defense, as he tries to still frame all the incidents in a manner to protect the army. It all comes down to the crucial evidence that is stored inside the USB drive, and towards the latter part of the series, it was in the possession of Ahn Joon-ho. Ho-yeol had then made a deal with Ja-woon and Min-U to get the military to call off Joon-ho’s arrest, promising them in return that he would bring the USB drive back. Ho-yeol sets about with this plan, but he also informs his superior, Park Beom-gu, about it.
No longer wanting to play along with the corrupt army’s demands, Park Beom-gu decides to take the whole blame onto himself, and he takes possession of the USB drive from Joon-ho. It is then Beom-gu who takes the drive to court and provides it as a piece of evidence. This USB-drive contained proof that one of the men killed by Ru-ri’s bullets could actually have been saved, but had instead died because of the army’s inability to react in time. In turn, Beom-gu gets arrested by the military police for having disclosed secret documents regarding the country’s security. The judges presiding over the case finally announce their verdict—they accept and acknowledge the claims made by Seo-eun and the families of the victim soldiers. However, the judges resisted taking any judgment right away, delaying the ruling as they still needed evidence with regard to some of the other cases. This stalled result is taken as a tie by Ja-woon, as he seems rather pleased about the case.
During D.P. season 2’s ending, it is revealed that Beom-gu is sentenced to military prison, while Ru-ri also stays imprisoned by the military. Joon-ho, Ho-yeol, and Ji-seop are seen visiting Beom-gu in prison as well. On his way back to the military camp, Joon-ho sees the old bully Jang-soo as well, but the latter man walks away, as if ashamed to recall his past actions.
In a mid-credits scene at the end of D.P. season 2, Joon-ho is visited by a recovered Cho Suk-bong at the camp. If any further season 3 of the series does arrive, then it is possible that Suk-bong will give his own testimony, and that might finally be used as evidence by the court. So far, though, no promise of institutional reforms has been made, even though the claims made by civilians have been acknowledged and accepted by the law.