Detective Song Ci (2022) - full transcript

During South Song Dynasty when the son of Yu died miserably in the wilderness, the Yu family buried him hastily. Song Ci, who found something unusual, sent people to monitor the house day and night. Unexpectedly, dozens of people ...

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[Tong Gu]

Miss Ziyuan, don't stop the music.

What's going on? Let's see.

What the hell is this?

A strawman? Where is Miss Ziyuan?

[Detective Song Ci]

Ghost! Run!

Your Majesty, the Governor of Jiaxing sent a
memorial saying that the Grand Preceptor fell ill.

It's been three years
since he returned home.

Now that he's ill,

I should pay him a visit.

Your Majesty, I will set out to Tong
Gu tonight to make arrangements.

Ghost! Ghost!

Ghost! Run!

Ghost! A ghost!

Lock down West Moon Tower
and notify Lord Song.


Lord Song.

My husband is dead.

Please do him justice.

Have you made any enemies lately?

I don't know.

After I returned from
washing clothes by the river,

I found him dead in the house.

Could you bring me a cup of water?

Please wait a moment.

The blood splatters

indicate that the assailant
attacked from behind the victim.

The murderer also used their left hand.

Lord Song, here's your water.

Thank you.


Arrest her.

Lord Song, what are you doing?

That's because you're the murderer.

There are three indicators.

Firstly, your shoes are dry.

This proves that you weren't
washing clothes by the river.

Secondly, there aren't signs
of struggle on the victim.

A single blow killed him.

Therefore, he must've been
killed by someone close to him.

Thirdly, the left side of
the victim's wound is narrow,

while the right side is wide and deep.

This indicates that the
murderer is left-handed.

Am I right?

He was a brute.

He deserved it!

When he beat me with a
wooden stick every day,

he should've expected this day.

Even if he committed a million misdeeds,

you don't have the right to
determine his life and death.

He didn't deserve to live!

Lord Song!

There's trouble at West Moon Tower.

It was freaky. Miss
Ziyuan suddenly vanished.

Such a pity. I bet a ghost did this.

Make way!

This must be severe.
Even Lord Song is here.

My Lord.

The girl who vanished is called Ziyuan.

She turned into a strawman before a crowd.

Only this jade was found at the scene.

Lord Song, you're finally here.

Miss Ziyuan was the
star of West Moon Tower.

I counted on her to keep my place running.

My Lord, you have to help me find her.

[Li Manor]

The carotid artery was swiftly
cut by the zither's string.

Blood won't splatter due
to the shallow wound.

There'll only be...

stains on the victim's clothes.

Dispatch all our men to
locate Ziyuan tonight.

We can't exclude the
possibility of Ziyuan's death.

- Go.
- Yes!

No one's here?

My Lord, we were patrolling the streets when
the incident occurred in West Moon Tower.

We found someone suspicious.

When we were about to make an arrest,

he turned into a strawman.

My Lord, I've seen this robe before.

If my memory serves me right, this
robe belongs to Councilor Li's son.

He often comes to West Moon, and
he's on good terms with Miss Ziyuan.

Was he here tonight?


He usually stays in Miss Ziyuan's
room until the next morning.

Today, he left after a brief visit.

He looked like he was in a hurry.

Han Fang, send someone to
stand guard outside Li Manor.

If there's anything
unusual, report it at once.


Lord Song!

Come in.

The Imperial Censor is here.

Invite him to the main hall at once.


His Majesty heard about the
Grand Preceptor's poor health.

He missed his teacher dearly.

In three days, he'll visit Tong Gu.

This is a rare and
significant event for Tong Gu.

Lord Song, as an official,

if you serve His Majesty well this time,

you'll receive endless rewards.


A huge event indeed.

The government office and I will do
our best to assist you, Lord Ding.

Lord Song.

You seem rather tired.

Did something happen?

My Lord, a strange case
occurred in Tong Gu last night.

I'm certain that this is a ploy,
though I haven't gotten any leads.

What happened? Can you tell me?

Last night, a woman...

My Lord!

Lord Ding.

My Lord, we discovered this
sachet after last night's search.

It has the same smell as that jade.
It should belong to Miss Ziyuan.

Lord Ding, please excuse me.
This is an urgent case.

Han Fang, keep Lord Ding company.


Lord Song, you've graced
my humble residence.

Please forgive me for not
welcoming you at the door.

Councilor Li, I came out
of the blue for a favor.

Oh? Lord Song, please take
a seat and elaborate more.

- Please.
- Please.

Councilor Li.

Last night, misfortune befell Miss Ziyuan
of West Moon Tower, and she vanished.

I found your son's clothes
near West Moon Tower.

I also found Miss Ziyuan's
belongings near your manor.

I wonder if you're aware of this.

My son is rebellious
and frequents brothels,

but I believe he doesn't
have the guts to harm others.

It must've been someone malicious

who framed my son out of jealousy
over his intimacy with the lady.

Where's your son now?

He caught a cold and has
been in bed recently.

I'm afraid he'll infect you.

I really can't let that happen.

How about this?

When my son gets better,

I'll take him to the government
office for questioning.

What do you think?

That'll do.

Thank you, My Lord.

Lord Song!

Who are you?

Just a commoner of Tong Gu.

I have a lead you'll be interested in.

What do you mean?

Don't glare at me. I'm
helping myself, not you.

It wouldn't hurt to check
if she's friend or foe.

Are you sure this is the way?

After that incident at
West Moon Tower last night,

someone saw Young Master Li
rush out of town on a horse.

So, I sneaked into Li Manor and
found out that he was missing.

This morning, I asked
those in the vicinity.

They say they heard a horse
galloping down this path.

This is the way to the capital.
What is he up to?

By the way, you mentioned helping yourself.

What does that mean?

Lord Song, I...

Last night, Ziyuan turned into
a strawman and disappeared.

Han Fang found another strawman that was supposed
to be Young Master Li near West Moon Tower.

So, this strawman is...?

- Untie the rope.
- Okay.

You said that he rode a horse out of town.


Is this Young Master Li's horse?

I'm not sure.

But I'm sure that his master is nearby.

Are you scared of the dead?

The umbrella.

The state of this body indicates
that he died from poison.

Bring parchment paper and soap water.

What's the parchment paper for?

If he was poisoned,

poisonous gas will linger
in his respiratory tract.

Covering his face with parchment paper
prevents the poisonous gas from escaping.

The soap water and silver
needle will reveal the truth.

The needle's color didn't change.
He wasn't poisoned.

His bones look intact and
his organs seem undamaged.

Bring the rice vinegar.

What's the rice vinegar for?

There is spring onion in rice vinegar.

Covering the body with
parchment paper and rice vinegar

will reveal internal injuries in the body.

I'm letting the body speak.

Grand Preceptor, His Majesty
heard about your poor health.

He has set out from Lin'an to visit.

In two days, he will arrive in Tong Gu.

I'm nothing more than a commoner now.

How can I bother His Majesty?

Lord Song, Councilor Li is here!

Come in.

My son!

You were fine yesterday!

Why are you dead now?

My son!

Councilor Li, I'm sorry for your loss.

I heard that your son rushed
out of town last night.

Do you know why?

My Lord.

Please let me take my
son home for a burial.

Your son's death is exceedingly odd.

This can't be an accident.

Before the case is solved,
the body needs to remain here.

The man is dead.

He should be buried and rest in peace.

Lord Song.

You keep my son in this cold morgue.

Have you ever considered our feelings?

I need to find clues from your
son's body and do him justice.

Don't you wish for that?

Of course, that's what I hope for.

I'll hunt down the murderer at all costs!

I must avenge my son!

Don't make a scene.

Your son's death has been
determined as murder.

This isn't just a family matter now.

Councilor Li.

Take a look at your son first.


My son.

Do you still want to take your son home?

My deduction is that someone killed Ziyuan

and placed incriminating evidence in
your manor before killing your son.

They orchestrated an impeccable lie.

Then, they made these
strawmen their scapegoats.

The strawmen?

Councilor Li, please go home.

As the magistrate of Tong Gu,

I will uncover the cause of your
son's death and do you justice.


I have a feeling that he knows something.

He seems like he's
reluctant to say something.

Keep an eye on him.


Keep an eye on him.


Sachets! Sachets for sale!


Heads. It has to be heads.

I think it's heads too.

Okay, both of you guessed heads.
Look closely.


I won again, kids.

The bun is mine now.

This old man is horrible.

Tricking kids?

Aren't you ashamed of yourself, old man?

Not you again.

Old man, are you still
upset over losing to me?

Want to have another match?

If you win this time, there'll
be plenty of buns for you.

- Keep your word.
- Yeah.

Bring it on.


- I'll show you.
- Okay.

Watch closely.


This isn't mine.

A bet is a bet.

I have nothing to lose anyway.

I don't want your belongings this time.

This lord has a question.

I made a bet with him that no one
in the world knows the answer.

No way. There can't be
something I don't know.

Lord Song, ask away.


Do you know what this is?

I've seen it somewhere.

Hey, think hard.

Oh, I remember!

This is a blood leech.

Stop eating. Tell us about it.

If you don't let me eat,
I can't recall properly.

Blood leeches are vicious insects.

They're from the western regions.

They like to live in plants and grass.

When they smell blood,

they'll pounce and suck a person dry.

Grass and plants?

[Tong Gu]

Give me the entry records
for the past two weeks.

Does that mean the killer is in Li Manor?

Acting rashly will alert the murderer.
We need to know their motive.

My Lord, why are we leaving Tong Gu?

Don't ask questions. Just do as I say.

What about Xuan'er?

He's still in the morgue.

If we don't leave soon, all of us will die.

My Xuan'er...

My Lady...

My Lady?


Lord Song, why are you here?

I have questions for you.

Do you know anything about
Councilor Li's family matters?

Lord Song, you think too highly of me.

Don't make it hard for me.


This place looks empty today.

Ziyuan, our best of the best, is missing.

The rumors about the strawmen
killing Young Master Li

has turned West Moon Tower
into the town's scariest place.

Who would ever dare come here?

I see.

All right, if you want your
business to be bleak forever,

you can keep your secrets.

Hey, Lord Song.

I'll tell you.

Word has it that Councilor Li came
to Tong Gu County 20 years ago.

When he came here, he was a pauper

begging on the streets for food.

Somehow, his business started flourishing.

Do Councilor Li and his
son have any enemies?

Councilor Li usually stays at home.

An honest man like him won't have enemies.

Young Master Li is a playboy,

but he isn't wicked.

I've never even heard of
him getting into fights.


What is it?

There are rumors about a strained
relationship between them.

When Young Master Li comes for drinks,

he would complain about Councilor Li.

People are saying that Young Master Li and Miss
Ziyuan conspired to get Councilor Li's property.

Councilor Li found out and killed them.

[Li Manor]

Notify Lord Song.


Constable Han!

It's me.

Why are you here?

What's going on in Li Manor?

You can explain yourself to Lord Song.


- My Lord.
- What happened?

I was watching this place

when I found her trespassing
in the middle of the night.

I followed her in, and here we are.

I suspect that she's
involved in these incidents.

Moreover, she must have ulterior
motives for following you around.

I'm here to uncover my identity.

That's why I've been
investigating this case with you.

Lord Song.

I was abandoned when I was a kid.

I've only got this jade on me.

I found out that Young Master
Li had an identical one.

More strawmen.

Has the entire Li family been murdered?

What's the murderer's motive?

Han Fang, go to the stables. Check
if there's an abundance of straws.

- Yes.
- Keep this in mind.

Don't touch them.

I'm going to check the other rooms.

My Lord, the stables are filled with straw.

That should be right.

The murderer used blood leeches
hidden in the straw to kill.

- Blood leeches?
- Yes.

I noticed that Li Manor imported a large amount
of straw into the city several days ago.

I thought that the murderer
had infiltrated Li Manor.

Yet, the entire Li family
was murdered today.

Seems like the murderer is someone else.

I checked all the rooms.

There aren't any corpses
or signs of rummaging.

Let's go.



The objects here seem disorganized,

but there's an order to them.

It's just like...

starting a chess game with the horse.

Ling'er, move the first
futon a step forward.

Han Fang, move the vase on
the left two steps forward.

Was I wrong?

Sturdy and malleable.

Starting with the horse.

Sudden haste

and sudden languidness.

A soldier in the back at service.

A battle of wisdom and courage will
tell the wise man from the fool.

I understand now.

The ancestral tablets of the Yu family.

Young Master Li was murdered first.

After that, the strawmen appeared.

Now, we're faced with the Yu
family's ancestral tablets.

What secrets

did the Li family hide?

Secrets? We'll find out
once we have a look.

Ling'er, don't touch it!

Lord Song!

Darn it. Let's go.

I wasn't burned to death.

You set a fire that burned down a manor.

His Majesty will arrive
at Tong Gu tomorrow.

Haven't you made enough trouble?

Lord Ding, this was indeed
a dereliction of my duty.

However, the people of Tong Gu are safe.

You're missing the point here.

This isn't a matter of the people's safety.

If His Majesty hears about this,
both of us will lose our posts.

Lord Ding, I'm a humble
magistrate of Tong Gu.

My primary duty is to serve
the people of Tong Gu.

What case can be more
important than His Majesty?

When His Majesty leaves Tong Gu,

you'll have plenty of time
to investigate your case.

Lord Song, as an official
of the imperial court,

you should discern what's truly important.

Lord Song! Lord Song, I know
the truth of the strawman case!

- Stop!
- The strawman is seeking me for revenge!

Tell Lord Song right away! Help me!

Please wait here.




The strawman murdered a man!


Councilor Li.

I know that blood leeches
killed you and your son,

but how did these insects
enter your bodies?

What's their connection with the strawmen?

I really have no clue.


I must've neglected some details.

Lord Song.

Don't bother me!

Lord Ding, Lord Song has
been stressed out lately.

Please pardon him.

He's stressed out?

What about me?

The imperial edict is weighing on me!

From now on, all of you
are under my command.

Lord Ding, this isn't appropriate.

The case hasn't been solved yet.

Tell everyone in Tong Gu.

Aiding the investigations of
the strawman case is forbidden.

Otherwise, they'll have to bear
the consequences with you two.

I'll repeat this again.

When His Majesty leaves Tong Gu, you'll
have plenty of time to solve the case.

Why are you still standing here?

Lord Ding, please reconsider.


From today on, all who speak about
the strawman case will be whipped.

The strawman is a ghost.

The Li family must've done
something wicked to draw a ghost.

- Move it.
- Please spare me!


Who is it?

Who's there?

It's me.

Lord Song!

You scared me out of my wits.

Why are you here?

I saw that it was bright in
here, so I came to check.

I'm trying to put myself in the
victim's shoes to look for clues.

Why aren't you asleep?

Oh, I went to train.

Why are you training in
the middle of the night?

I was polishing my crossbow skills.

- What?
- The crossbow.

Do it again.


I understand now.

Ling'er, take the incense
burner and follow me.

What's the incense burner for?

The incense burner.


I understand the murderer's methods.

What is it?

A wound is inflicted with something thin.

The smell of blood
entices the blood leeches.

They'll enter the victim's
body and feed on the flesh.

Then, a scene of the strawman committing the
murderer is staged to deceive onlookers.

Do you have any idea who the murderer is?

Let's go to Han Fang.

These people can't design such
an intricate murder method.

Oh, what a waste of time.

I thought I could find my
parents through the Li family.

I didn't expect that I'd be
involved in this strange case.

Oh, your words made me recall something.

We've been focusing on the Li family.

20 years ago...

The Yu family's register...

20 years ago...

Word has it that Councilor Li came
to Tong Gu County 20 years ago.

When he came here, he was a pauper
begging on the streets for food.

Somehow, his business started flourishing.

Do you think that the character
"Dan" is part of the word "Sheng"?

My Lord, are you referring to
King Sheng from 20 years ago?

Yes. 20 years ago, King Sheng
failed to usurp the throne.

His family was wiped out, including
his wife from the Yu family.

The Li family designed the secret chamber to
honor the ancestral tablets of the Yu family.

Is it because the Li family
was actually the Yu family?

Was the Li family murdered because
their identities were uncovered?

These are just speculations.

I'm going to browse the Yu family's
register again. There might be clues.


Lord Song, did something go missing?

A crucial piece of evidence.

The Yu family's register.

It's you again.

Hand it over.

[Geographical Maps of Mountains and Rivers]

A distraction.

Ling'er, chase after that person.

I'll protect Lord Song.

Lord Song, what's this
register of the Yu family?

My Lord, I found the Yu family's register
and their ancestral tablets in Li Manor.

The strawman case must be related to
King Sheng's case from 20 years ago.

What? King Sheng?


Lord Song, how many heads
do you have to lose?

His Majesty will arrive
in Tong Gu tomorrow.

Why are you raising King
Sheng's case with me now?

Since we're fellow officials
of the imperial court,

I'll ignore whatever you just said.

If you mention the strawman case again,

I'll have you removed from office.

Lord Ding, this is a crowded place.

His Majesty said that
a salute isn't needed.

Oh, I'll lead the way for His Majesty.

[Tong Gu]

- You're awake.
- I get it.

I understand.

What do you understand?

Ling'er, I know who's behind this.

The footprints he left in my
room last night gave him away.


What's the matter with you?

It's been 20 years since the
Li family moved to Tong Gu.

I'm 20 years old.

The Li family has a jade.

I have an identical one.

But the Li family honored the
Yu family's ancestral tablets.

Is my last name Li or Yu?

Ling'er, your last name doesn't matter.

You're the same person.

You aren't looking for your identity.

It's your true self.

Some things

need to be severed.

Has His Majesty entered the city?

Oh, Lord Ding and Constable
Han have gone over.


Let's go to Ding Guangli's room.

Lord Ding's room?

Lord Song.

It isn't here.

Search carefully.

I'm going to check over there.

It's not there either.

Ling'er, have you heard of this saying?

"A familiar sight won't draw attention."

That means it's hidden in plain sight.

On the left are the distinguished guests.

On the right...

Ling'er, check the plaques first.

It's not here.

Hey, Lord Song!

Be quiet.

20 years ago. The first year of Jiading.

Oh no.

Your Majesty.

When I arrived in Tong Gu, I went to
visit the Grand Preceptor immediately.

He's ill in bed, so he probably
can't welcome you in person.

I see. Many years have
passed since his retirement.

I miss him dearly.

Let's go.

My teacher.

I heard that you fell
ill, so I came to visit.


You killed the Grand Preceptor?

You'll lose your life soon.
Don't be concerned about others.

Speak. Who's the mastermind?

Your Majesty, are you okay?

I'm fine.

Steward Li!

Han Fang, stop.

Your Majesty, my apologies for the delay.

The rebels have been sieged.

Han Fang, how long do you plan
on being the claws of a tiger?

Five days ago, the Li family
imported a large amount of straw.

You were on duty that day.

Am I right?

Only the eyes won't deceive.

You said that you found Ziyuan's
sachet outside Li Manor.

I suppose you wanted to direct
my attention to Li Manor.

Yesterday, Councilor Li died
outside the government office.

You staged murder with a
puppet right before me.

That included the thief that
broke into my manor last night.

You orchestrated
everything to lure me away.


- Your Majesty, are you all right?
- Yes.

Han Fang, thank you for
sparing my life last night.

I don't know why you're
serving the mastermind,

but it's not too late to stop.

Han Fang, how dare you!

You tried to murder His Majesty!

Lord Ding, please calm down.

Han Fang isn't the insolent one.

It's someone else who has
stayed in Tong Gu for years.

They were only acting on orders.

Tell me! Who is it?

Your Majesty, we need to start with
the death of Tong Gu's Young Master Li.

I noticed many suspicious
details on his body.

However, Councilor Li was desperate
to cover up his son's death.

That didn't make sense.

Thus, there can only be one explanation.

Councilor Li...

was terrified of the murderer.

At the same time, a brothel girl who
had close relations with the Li family

suddenly went missing, which made me
realize the sole purpose of the murders.

Councilor Li, his son, and
Ziyuan were aware of the truth.

That's why they were murdered.

When I followed the clues to
investigate the Li family,

the entire Li family disappeared.

However, I uncovered the Yu
family's register in Li Manor.

[Yu Family Register]

The Yu family?

Yes, that's the family
name of King Sheng's wife.

The Li family was honoring the
Yu family's ancestral tablets.

Therefore, I speculate that Councilor
Li was a servant to the Yu family.

As for Lord Ding,

Your Majesty knows that his
last name is Yu, not Ding.

His name is Yu Guangli.


I considered many things, but
I overlooked you, Song Ci.

So what if you know the truth?

Wretched emperor!

The Yu family was nailed on
wooden stakes like strawmen.

You can have a taste of it today.

Han Fang, kill him!


Han Fang, murder is easy,

but a guilty conscience will haunt you.

Your Majesty, watch out!

My Lord.

I killed Ziyuan and the Li family.

I... I deserve to die.

Han Fang.

Yu Guangli, I never thought that
you'd bear a grudge for 20 years!

My father made a choice
between King Sheng and me.

King Sheng was a violent man.

Hence, my father chose
me to inherit the throne.

I never expected my father to send people

to kill King Sheng's family
to ensure my position.

In order to maintain the
stability of the imperial court,

I bore this guilty charge.

But the thought of King Sheng
keeps me awake at night.

I always think that I've done him wrong.

I told my father that

Yu Guangli, head of King
Sheng's wife's family, is loyal.

That's how you were permitted to remain in the
imperial court with the last name "Ding".

The stroke in "Yu," like a
blade, is removed to form "Ding".

I was hoping that you could
forget these past grudges.

Why else did you think you
could live to this day?

My Lord, Ding Guangli and the Li
family plotted a riot in Tong Gu

to avenge King Sheng.

I'm also a pawn planted in
Tong Gu by Ding Guangli.

However, Councilor Li wanted to back out.

Ding Guangli was afraid
that he would leak secrets.

So, he ordered me to
kill everyone who knew.

Your respect for life made
me realize that I was wrong.

My Lord, t-take care.

Lord Song, take care.

As a descendant of the Yu family,

I don't know if it was right of me to
aid our enemy instead of seek revenge.

Perhaps it's like what you said.

I should sever the past
and find my true self.

When that happens, I'll come back to you.