Here, have some cute. What’s a drama with Seo InGuk and Ma DongSeok without the adorableness?
For Episode 1’s recap, head over to Dramabeans. I am seeing a disturbing trend here…
I am crazy for taking this up, but here’s the recap for episode 2 of this zany, wacky caper with a heart. I feel conned for taking this up already.
Police Unit 38 Episode 2:
After his daring appearance before BAEK SUNG-IL (Ma DongSeok) and getting waved off, YANG JUNG-DO (Seo InGuk) strolls off with a smirk, telling someone over the phone that the job’s done. What a cheeky bastard, heh.
Bummed by his scam, SungIl goes for drinks with his long-time detective buddy PARK DOK-BAE (Oh ManSeok) who acts like any good friend and repeatedly ribs him for getting conned. DokBae wonders if the guy who scammed SungIl was the same one who had scammed all his other colleagues and offers to lend a hand in catching the weasel. He asks if SungIl still has the number of the scammer and SungIl nods his head.
In a prison somewhere, JungDo visits his father and worries about his welfare. No matter how much he talks though, even getting disappointed and exasperated, JungDo’s father doesn’t say anything and instead, wordlessly returns to his cell voluntarily. JungDo has to try and hold back the tears that the rejection brings.
He leaves the prison and gets a call from “ahjusshi”, SA JAE-SEONG (Jung InGi).
He goes to meet Ajusshi at a park where several plain clothes offices try to conspicuously blend into the surroundings, sticking out like sore thumbs so badly that even JungDo asks about them. Heh, they’re apparently JaeSeong’s subordinates, which means that JaeSeong himself is either a police officer or a detective. JaeSeong sighs when he hears that JungDo’s father still isn’t talking, lamenting that he had been such a talkative person before his heartbreak.
He asks JungDo how he’s been doing and when JungDo tells him that he’ll think of the future only after he’s done with “this thing”, JaeSeong interrogates him and warns him not to contact his inmate-friends unless he wants to go back to jail. It’s a little heart breaking when JungDo replies that he only has those inmates as friends. He doesn’t even have friends from the army because he isn’t qualified for military service because of jail.
JaeSeong gets a call on his walkie talkie that his suspect has arrived and he tells his guys to get to work. With JungDo, he shares that to police officers, no matter what circumstances they may have, people who do bad things will be treated as criminals and will be caught and punished, regardless. If everything could be blamed on circumstances, then there would be no such things as bad guys in the world. He urges JungDo to walk the straight road and not get caught by him, because he won’t turn be closing any eyes.
In his office, SungIl is stuck with a particularly persistent tax evader, who harasses him to cut his tax (or fine), as if SungIl has that kind of power.
A seemingly long-time acquaintance of SungIl and his colleagues, a tax accountant whom SungIl’s fellow manager from the next team, KANG NOH-SEUNG (Kim ByungChoon), calls Hyung, comes to visit the office, calling out for SungIl. He loudly mentions the punch SungIl had delivered the other day and brings him out, saying that there’s a way to resolve the issue.
As they walk, the Tax Accountant Hyung compares people to ants. He calls the rich Queen Ants and the lawmakers their Male Drones. He asks SungIl what kind of ant he thinks he is and SungIl replies that he’s a big ant, HA!
Tax Accountant Hyung laughs and corrects him, saying that SungIl is a Soldier Ant as a public officer whose main job is to protect the integrity of the Republic of Korea. Then he gets to the real reason he’d brought SungIl out, asking why SungIl-the-Soldier-Ant is going against the Queen Ants. He says that SungIl should get his taxes from the thousands of other Worker Ants, pointing out the working class people across the street, who should just be resigned to their fate and pay their taxes obediently, leaving the Queen Ants alone to manage the economy and the Male Drones to sow its seeds. What?
SungIl simply mutters that he doesn’t agree but whatever and wonders where he’s being brought to as he follows Tax Accountant Hyung through a restaurant’s hallway.
Tax Accountant Hyung stops at a private room and SungIl’s shocked and disgusted to see Ma JinSeok when he looks up. He tries to get away but Tax Accountant Hyung pulls him in to seat, urging him to let bygones be bygones. Ma JinSeok slides over a document and a car key, telling Sungil to accept it and be a good dad and Tax Accountant persuades him with the logic that JinSeok should be focusing on reviving the economy and not wasting his time dealing with taxes like this. (What kind of bullshit are you spouting? It’s not like he files his tax papers himself, his accountants do it for him. Also, what do you mean reviving the economy? You mean him doing his job like the all the other, oh, I don’t know, people who work in the world? *Huff*)
As expected, SungIl laughs in disbelief and asks if Ma JinSeok is the Queen Ant Tax Accountant Hyung was talking about, scoffing that this ant sure looks like he can lay a lot of eggs, pfft. He walks out without taking the bribe and Tax Accountant Hyung chases after him, trying to get SungIl to take the money and leave JinSeok alone.
SungIl sighs, upset, asking his Hyung who they’re supposed to collect taxes from then and Hyung has the gall to tell him to get it from the poor – the poor who are nice and obedient; the poor whose fate is to endure that. SungIl’s deeply disappointed in his Hyung, telling him that whatever other people’s fate are, that’s not for him to decide.
SungIl gets a call from DokBae and follows him through the corridor of a rundown building. SungIl hilariously worries about their safety the whole way through.
DokBae opens the door at the end of the corridor to reveal a bunch of gangsters. He not so politely says that he’s here for some information and Kim SungOh (Squee!!! Oh man, that reminds me that I still have the last episode of ‘Yang BaekHee Has Returned’ to recap) peers out from behind a computer. Their Big Boss (Park SungWoong) appears from his room and SungIl hilariously has to choose that moment to wear his specs just to see what’s going on.
A few pushes later, they’re all eating Jajangmyeon, with Kim SungOh meek and spitting out where our guys can get their required information from. Heh, DokBae tells SungIl to find those people himself, since he himself is tied up cracking down gangs and SungIl whines about it, asking how he could go there himself.
Haha, Park SungWoong offers to send those guys a polite call to inform them that he’ll be coming, with blood dripping down his nose. DokBae calls Sungil by his nickname, Holiday Mother-in-law, and tells him to man up. Apparently, Holiday Mother-in-law was a nickname that he had gotten in the past for being as scary as a mother-in-law on holiday, though he’s now such a pushover, pfft.
JungDo’s at a car dealer, testing out some cool rides, specially pushing them to their limits. When JO MI-JOO (Lee SeonBin) asks what he needs all those cars for, he simply says that they’re insurance, since he can’t afford to go back into jail again when he came out to achieve something. What? What is that thing, JungDo?
SungIl hesitantly hovers around a butcher’s shop before telling the butchers that “Mr Gye BongDong” had told him to go there. A butcher brings him down underground through the butchers’ workshop, where SungIl looks around apprehensively at all the sawing and sharpening of knives. He looks so funnily out of place in there, though he is as big-sized a guy as the other workers there.
The head honcho checks that he’s a detective and asks him questions related to his case, to which he answers obediently and politely like a kindergartener. The head honcho and his guys laugh a little at him, seeing through his detective disguise since no detective is actually that polite and obedient.
He asks if SungIl is looking down on them just because they sell burner phones and tries to mess with him but SungIl doesn’t have any of it and is soon swinging a chair at them, heh.
He gets the files that he wants and meets DokBae at a convenience stall where he’s eating instant noodles. SungIl spins his tall tale about going against 30 over guys alone and DokBae just humours him, knowing his friend better than to believe his words at face value. There’s something funny going on with the group of guys behind them but I have no idea what it is and DokBae knows what but doesn’t spit it out.
DokBae instead tips SungIl that there was file belonging to Noh JoongSik that was recently found by his colleague. The interesting thing is that it was commissioned by a guy in jail and has both SungIl’s name and Ma JinSeok’s name on it. There’s another slimy Baek SungIl in SungIl’s organization… don’t tell me this is a case of Baek SungIl Again.
Meanwhile, JungDo sits in a convenience store elsewhere and broods over the name Cho SangJin, remembering his inmate friend’s request for him to be dealt with. That very Cho SangJin, who turns out to be Tax Accountant Hyung, is now across the road demanding a low-ranked policeman to rearrange all the other cars so that his gets the best spot. Really?
JungDo sees a young girl eating instant noodles and her brother fingering some coins nearby. He buys them another bowl of instant noodles for the boy and some chips before he goes on his way, asking someone to get him a list of employees at the National Tax Agency.
He then goes shopping, getting a suit and tie and the entire she-bang. As he leaves, he catches the eye of a lady.
Cho SangJin riles at a female employee for not faking a rich guy’s spending receipts well enough and insults her with all sorts of sexist remarks. Geez.
JungDo appears at his office for a meeting, introducing himself as Cha JaeWon from the National Tax Agency. As Cho SangJin sends a short text to his acquaintance asking if he knows of a certain Cha JaeWon, JungDo calmly lists out all the rich people that SangJin had helped dodge taxes. Cho SangJin sighs when he receives a text reply that there is a Cha JaeWon working in the National Tax Agency and he tries to sweet talk JungDo into letting him off the hook, which is when JungDo changes tune and smiles that they’re both in this together… and Cho SangJin laughs, assuming that JungDo’s yet another tax collector he can bribe and count on to turn the other cheek.
Back home, JungDo chats with Cho SangJin on his burner phone.
DokBae gets the call that the burner phone used to scam SungIl has been activated and he calls SungIl to tell him the location of his scammers. SungIl practically flies out of his office and steals his wife’s delivery vehicle to go catch the crook.
That very crook in question is busy sending Cho SangJin his bank account number so that he can send the “bribe” for Cha JaeWon there.
SungIl’s wife calls him repeatedly, demanding him to send the car back, since she really needs it and JungDo gets news that the bribe is already deposited into his account through internet banking. HA.
JungDo leaves his house just as SungIl reaches his apartment building. SungIl searches around the lobby for the one who scammed him… and manages to slam straight into the very guy himself. From the short phrase, “it’s okay” that JungDo utters, SungIl connects the voice to the face and realises that this is the one who took his money.
JungDo realises just as much and with a cheeky little smile, runs off. They go on a high speed chase that turns from a chase on legs to a chase in cars when DokBae turns up with his car.
They proceed to turn the roads of South Korea into their personal racing tracks, their car tyres screeching and squealing the whole way through.
JungDo even manages to change cars but that doesn’t miss SungIl’s eagle eyes and off they are, chasing him again.
DokBae’s other colleagues join in the race and soon, they have JungDo cornered after purposely crashing into his car a few good times.
JungDo sees that there’s no way out… so he decides to gun it for DokBae and SungIl’s car. Too bad DokBae has balls of steel and guns it too and it’s only in the last second that JungDo manages to swerve out and crash into a lamp post. Wah waaah.
He gets arrested by the police but his disgusted looks are for SungIl.
CHUN SUNG-HEE (Choi SooYoung) gets a call from her colleague, the lady who saw JungDo after his makeover, mentioning that she’s seen the fraudster who had conned her.
In the police station, SungIl calls his director to brag that he’s caught the conman who had conned his wife and is rudely hanged up on, hee.
JungDo gets his particulars taken down by DokBae, who throws that interesting document his colleague had found at him and asks why he’s conning those people in the list. He even throws in the tidbit that JungDo had targeted the wrong Baek SungIl such that when JungDo replies that he’s conning all those men because they’re bad people, SungIl chirps in to say that he’s worse, heh.
When DokBae scolds him for conning 5,000, 000 won from a guy who only had 5, 000, 020 won in his account, SungIl corrects him, saying that JungDo had returned 1, 450 won, HAHAHA!
They ask why Ma JinSeok is in the file when he isn’t a corrupt public official like the others and JungDo just replies that he’s a bad guy. He brightens to note that SungIl should know who Ma JinSeok is, since he’s a tax collector and actually tries to charm his way out of jail time by offering to get that 60, 000 million won from him, stating that he has a great idea to do just that. Too bad SungIl is not swayed.
SungIl and DokBae go for a dip at a bath house and while SungIl worries about his 5, 000, 0000 won, DokBae tells him that he’ll turn JungDo over to the prosecutors tomorrow, so SungIl still has a day or so to change his mind.
The next day, SungIl heads for work and SungHee stops him mid walk, fussing at him for not answering his phone and asking if he can’t just go home right now. He, of course, dismisses that and walks into this office, only to be greeted by weird looks from his colleagues.
It turns out that SungIl had been framed for taking bribes and all his colleagues save for SungHee don’t believe his innocence.
He gets a call from Commissioner Ahn and heads to the golf field where he is. He pleads his innocence and supplies the name of the one he suspects to have sent in the “tip”, Ma JinSeok. Commisioner Ahn is not that interested in his excuses and calls his golfing partner over, who turns out to be Ma JinSeok himself.
He tells SungIl to apologise to Ma JinSeok for his insolence and brings up SungIl’s senior, MinShik, reminding him how MinShik had gone down. He sighs that MinShik was too stubborn and snarls at SungIl for acting the innocent, law-abiding public officer when he’s taken bribes.
SungIl understands what that means and as he walks away, he recalls all the times he hadn’t believed in MinShik’s innocence and had pushed him aside, even ignoring him when MinShik was walking out the office, all his belongings in his hands.
He heads off to his next job, which is to oversee the repossession of a poor guy’s everything for not correctly paying his taxes. He can’t look at the guy’s daughter in the eye when she looks at him with big innocent eyes.
He murmurs to SungHee that the law is like a bully. It’s weak for the strong and strong for the weak and leaves SungHee to oversee the rest while he escapes.
He gets a call from DokBae, informing him that he’s on the way to hand JungDo over to the prosecutors and SungIl ponders in his car, JungDo’s words about Ma JinSeok still living in the lap of luxury even when he’s evaded so much taxes replaying in his mind.
JungDo sighs in DokBae’s police car at his shitty situation, which is when SungIl opens the door and asks if he really can fulfil his promise of getting that money from Ma JinSeok.
JungDo doesn’t even need to think and says that he can, if SungIl helps.
AHHAHAHAHHAHAHAAAAA!!! RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!
Now that the setup is all done, we’re ready to get into the meat of the story, which is to see Seo InGuk charm his way into our hearts and minds, er, I mean, charm his way to our crooks’ money.
The part about the law bullying the weak and being a sword for the rich really stuck, especially in light of the release of the Panama papers and the report in 2015 by Credit Suisse about the world’s richest 1% holding as much as 50% of the world’s entire fortune. Couple those with what happened in the 2008 financial crisis, can you blame me for being not sympathetic to the plight of the rich guys who con the system here? Go do your thing, JungDo. Let me feel the vicarious relief.
Actually, the law doesn’t side with the rich. It sides with smart guys and it’s just that the rich have the resources to hire smart guys while the poor (I’m not saying that they are stupid) may be too busy trying to survive to figure out those complicated tax rules and SungIl’s team’s most recent case highlights that. To see a poor guy getting screwed over just because he didn’t understand the rules and filed his taxes wrongly really broke my heart. And this is yet another case where we need smart JungDo to come save our money, muahaha.
There seems to be more to JungDo than meets the eye, what with his father who won’t talk and his father’s friend who’s working in law enforcement. I wonder if it’s disappointment in his son that lead to his father not talking or something else that made his heart break that badly.
In fact, I think that JungDo’s father himself was conned and the impact itself was devastating enough to take JungDo’s mother from them and put his father in jail. That may just be my over active imagination, though. And if my theory is right, I think that’s why JungDo turned to conning others and it seems like he specifically goes after the big guys, or people who can handle the con while treating other vulnerable people, like the kids, quite nicely, sort of like a Robin Hood kind of character.
I’m a little surprised that SungIl could tell who JungDo was, when he’s never actually seen his scammer’s face. But I guess when you’re hit that hard by a scam, you remember everything about your scammer.
The way the commissioner so blatantly set up SungIl is so scarily daring and not subtle at all that I’m a little bit disgusted, actually. And, also, he’s the skinniest, physically frailest bad guy I’ve ever seen. But that’s beside the point. When will the bad guys ever learn that you don’t ever pick on someone’s pride? Because that’s always the thing that will push people to act in ways that bring them down. That guy over at Master – God of Noodles should know.
I also really like the way they’re not going all zany and zippy fun and are taking the time to relate these characters to us ordinary people. The somber tone at least helps me to take this show seriously enough, something that will probably come in handy near its middle where most dramas tend to take a downturn when it comes to fun and instead choose to hit right in the feels.
In any case, CONNNN!!! CON ALL THE CHEATERS!