SungIl learns this episode that scamming isn’t easy, especially for goody two shoes like him, as he feels his share of womanly strength and learns just how bad he is at acting. The gang’s also set up this episode, with JungDo barely getting them to cooperate and there’s more to JungDo than he seems. I don’t just mean his skills. Well, he’s a professional con man after all. There’s always more to them than the eye can see.
Police Unit 38 Episode 3:
Driven to anger by his injustice, SungIl arrives in time to save JungDo’s ass and DokBae simply tells him to get in the van like he’d expected SungIl to come earlier.
SungIl gets hilariously specific about separating Money from Taxes, which to JungDo are both the same thing, and he warns JungDo not to try anything stupid. DokBae ends the little session by warning him not to con ever again. Ha. He’s going to do just that though?
The next day, SungIl’s fellow manager-colleague, NohSeung, whispers to SungIl that there’s a television producer looking to do a documentary with him. SungIl waves it off, sure that it’s for the other Baek SungIl from Division 1 but NohSeung insists that the producer specifically wanted him (“the hefty, scary-looking Baek SungIl”). The persistant tax evader from the other day comes to their office again and SungIl runs off, leaving NohSeung to deal with him, heh.
His other team members tell him as much, and SungIl actualy brightens… but JungDo appears at that moment, casually sipping on coffee, acting like the director of a broadcasting station. HA HA! SungIl even face-desks, like that’ll hide him!
They go out, with JungDo chuckling the whole time and SungIl shooting daggers at him. They’re seen by SungHee, who stares at their back views, as if she recognises JungDo but can’t place where she’s seen him.
JungDo gives SungIl a lift in his car and asks for 10% of the tax arrears that he’ll be conning back for them as service charge. SungIl balks at that amount (but… that’s what the service tax at restaurants are like…) and JungDo asks if he trust him. SungIl doesn’t, of course, and JungDo makes that a point – they’re both in this because of the money, not because they believe each other.
JungDo tells SungIl that they’re about to set up a team, since a heist like this isn’t possibly done alone and brings him to meet the first member of the team – Burner, or JANG HAK-JOO (Heo JaeHo). He’s also known as the guy whom SungIl had threatened with a chair the other day, ha ha! At their meeting, the roles are funnily reversed, with SungIl all meek and HakJoo displeased.
The next member is JUNG JA-WANG (Go GyuPil) or Keyboard, a guy who creates beautiful phishing websites, who is balding and whose name literally means Sperm King. Pfft. JungDo had met him when they were in jail. This guy also has a ton of porn in his room.
SungIl is then introduced to Jo MiJoo, who has the ability to tell a guy’s marital and financial status just from his attire and body odour. She cons vulnerable men at clubs out of their money. In Korean, she’s what one would call a Flower Snake or, in English, a Gold-digger.
She’s hanging out on a building’s rooftop, smoking, when JungDo comes along with SungIl. SungIl is all politeness but she’s brusque and rude, pulling JungDo aside and reminding him that she doesn’t work with people she doesn’t know. As she leaves, JungDo calls after her to be at HakJoo’s (Burner) office at 7 if she’s interested in the job and defends her attitude from SungIl’s remarks, explaining that she was once badly hurt.
JungDo offers to go meet their next member (Wallet) alone but SungIl demands to go along, insisting on being the leader of this group.
Wallet is NO BANG-SHIL (Song OkSuk), a lady with an icy cold interior hidden under polite veneers. She and her daughter, CHOI JI-YEON (Kim JuRi), are in the middle of admonishing a guy who owes them money. When the guy’s hands shake while picking up the cup of jujube tea that BangShil had freshly made and offered, BangShil asks JiYeon to help him… and she does by throwing that steaming cup of liquid in his face. Wow. He’s then dragged out by the guards and BangShil is informed that someone is here to meet the “Real Estate Guru”.
Outside, SungIl repeatedly turns down JungDo’s offer to meet her alone, all bravado until he sees the poor guy from before dragged out and babbling down the hallway. But it’s too late to back out, because they’re called in. Haaa!
BangShil asks how they know her nickname from before she had menopause and when she asks why they’re here, JungDo smiles at SungIl, just waiting for him to explain like he said he would. But all SungIl does is stutter and then pass the buck to JungDo. Pfft.
JungDo doesn’t beat about the bush, asking her if she would like to invest 6.2 million bucks in their venture. She scoffs to hear that amount come out of his young mouth, demanding to know how she’s supposed to trust him with that money. JungDo smartly tells her that if she wants trust, she should go to church and says that it’s a lucrative gig. If she’s so hesitant and has such cold feet, then she’s no lion but just a meagre mutt. He name-drops “Chairman Wang”, which changes everything because she suddenly sits up and orders him to tell her how he knows Chairman Wang.
She orders her daughter to call her men in black in and to call Chairman Wang’s lacky (Mr Kim). SungIl nudges JungDo, when he sees a knife hidden in one of the men’s pants. Eeps! But JungDo’s not fazed at all, cheekily poking fun at SungIl’s terrified state.
A phone is frantically passed through jail (the guards even run. Who is this Chairman Wang?) and it reaches Chairman Wang’s cell. Chairman Wang’s lackey receives the call and BangShil asks if they know of a Yang JungDo. To her astonishment, the lackey tells her to do her best for JungDo, for JungDo had once saved Chairman Wang’s life.
She demands to know who he is and JungDo answers plainly that he’s a con man. Heh, Sungil warily eyes JungDo.
SungIl ambles back to his office late at night and is caught by SungHee. She wonders who the person he’d left office that morning with and was he snaps at her not to be so nosy. He apologises a while later, blaming it on him being sensitive because of work and she asks if they can’t give up on Ma JinSeok’s case. She likes him as a boss and wants to work a long time with him. If they gave up on Ma JinSeok, then wouldn’t he be safe?
SungIl tells her not to do that for him, because if she continues to do so, one day she’ll find that she’ll be lying to herself and settling for the wrong things.
A new day opens and our gang of con professionals stream into HakJoo’s (Burner) office, griping about this and that and basically not being very friendly to each other. HakJoo welcomes Mijoo who looks at him like he’s a cockroach. They both manage to insult JaWang, and BangShil manages to offend everyone there.
JungDo appears and senses the unhappiness in the air, so he gets straight to work and explains the reward amount that they will get if they pull this off. It is 600, 000 dollars for all of them, which means a personal taking of 120, 000 for each group (because BangShil and her daughter are one group) and BangShil declares the money too little to be worth her time.
So JungDo stands and asks if she would settle for 6 million. He calls out the total amount that they’re to swindle out of Ma JinSeok – 6.347 million dollars – if they include local, national and their service tax. He challenges her to take it all for herself if she can and now she’s interested.
She asks what she should do first in order to get that money for herself, which is when SungIl walks in, apologising for being late, and JungDo’s reply is for them to recycle the leftover (he means SungIl, haha).
He takes SungIl out and tells him that he has to do his part in order for the con to work and SungIl’s docile manner has him laughing, assuming that it’s because of his impressive display of power the day earlier at BangShil’s. SungIl insists that he doesn’t get scared (“you just don’t’ know me well!”) and maintains that it’s because JungDo is the expert. That’s why he’s accepting everything he says.
MiJoo works on voice phishing with SungIl and despite his initial confidence, he can’t even get the sentence “your mother’s been in a car accident” right and gets hanged up even before he says anything else, ha!
JungDo tries to teach him how to turn on the charm on the ladies, assessed by his ability to get their phone numbers. It’s basically a lesson on paying attention to details. He teaches SungIl to pay attention to what the ladies wear, what occupation they’re most likely to be in and even their smiles. Observe around you and remember what you see. Keep it in your head.
With JaWang, SungIl’s job is to create a fake police pass using glue. I just don’t understand why they don’t print it out, all prepared.
HakJoo’s lesson is on how to get money out of car drivers by faking an accident and his body throw onto an oncoming car shocks SungIl.
HAHAHAH, every time he has those lessons scheduled, he scampers out of his office the moment the work hours end like a dog’s chasing him.
While the others work on SungIl, BangShil gets a headache, wondering just how much stock to put in Chairman Wang’s lacky’s words.
Over the next few days, SungIl wastes more burner phones, gets slapped repeatedly by women who are freaked out by him and gets reported for trying to scam drivers because he jumps out too early and walks towards then rolls over the hood of stationary cars. Hahaha!
But finally, he succeeds at voice phishing and getting a woman’s number.
His team, meanwhile, continue to miss his absence as they work without him, which is when SungHee sees him walking together with JungDo very clearly and goes worried.
One fine day, JungDo calls him for a meeting at HakJoo’s warehouse and SungIl creeps into his wife’s room to steal her car keys, getting the shock of her life when she turns to sleep with her eyes open. HA HA HA!
He calls in sick for work and unbeknownst to him, SungHee, who had told him to rest, is following right behind in her car.
The other con professionals get tired of waiting for SungIl, who’s late again, and JungDo suggests that they start first.
JaWang passes out compiled details about Ma JinSeok and JungDo reads off it, announcing that Ma JinSeok owes 5.77 million dollars in tax and has 22 businesses all over Gangnam area, though he owns none of them on paper. They’re all registered under the names of homeless men and all the businesses change their names every three months. In this way, he keeps the Individual Consuption Tax, Surtax and even the Property Tax that club owners are supposed to pay. Plus, he fakes his credit card slips so that he can pay less tax.
In his personal life, he lives like a monk. He wakes up at 7am, checks the real estate sites and even the civil complaint site. He’s so careful that he even checks the cadastral maps (maps purposely created for taxing purposes) before buying land. He uses a 2G phone that’s un-hackable, is great at golf (enough to win 7 out of 10 times) and doesn’t drink or get tempted by women. I’m… impressed by his discipline. I kind of feel like he should keep that 6 million… heh. Oops.
With that information, they conclude that they can only get to him either through real estate or golf (how do you con with golf?) and even then, fraud through real estate is difficult, because he has Noh DeokGi, the guy who’s a whiz at real estate, on his side, even passing on information that allows Ma JinSeok to save taxes.
JungDo therefore quips that they should get him on his side, because otherwise Ma JinSeok is invincible, proposing that they con Noh DeokGi. At around this time, SungIl reaches their meeting place and goes in, unaware that SungHee is on his tail.
JungDo and his gang sighs when SungIl finally gets in, late again. SungIl pops out a notebook to take notes, saying that hard work beats talent (because he has no talent at swindling people and therefore has to work hard).
SungHee finally makes her presence known and she’s stunned and upset to see JungDo. Even MiJoo’s eyes widen to see her. SungHee worriedly informs SungIl that he’s in the company of conmen and SungIl’s weak, “I know” does nothing to soothe her distress. He has no choice but to go with her when she threatens to call the police and JungDo releases a breath at the absurd situation. BangShil leaves the room, incredulous.
Outside, SungHee presses the issue, trying really hard to get SungIl to see that he’s being conned. She goes into this long and detailed explanation about how swindles work and becomes increasingly agitated when she mentions JungDo and him swindling her in the past.
SungIl’s reply that he knows that they’re all swindlers floors her and she demands to know what he was doing in there then. SungIl’s answer that he’s working with them doesn’t mollify her at all.
She changes tack and implores him not to have anything to do with the people in that warehouse if he loves his wife and daughter. Frustrated, she storms off.
In her car, she thinks back the when JungDo had “broken up” with her and told her that he was just trying to con her out of her money. He said that he had never liked her and never did anything for her from his heart. She was tearful and disbelieving, asking why he’d never asked her for money then, if that was what he was after and he had scoffed that it was because she had none. Had he known, he wouldn’t have approached her.
Chastened, SungIl asks JungDo what his relationship with SungHee was and JungDo replies that she was a girl who had liked him.
That night, JungDo updates his record of burner phones that he has and searches through his luggage to find them all. He comes across pictures of him and SungHee and they put a smile on his face, but when he sees his family photo, that smile melts.
He calls the other guys and tells them that they’ll be proceeding as planned.
The next day (or a few days later), SungIl arrives at work to find that SungHee had taken the day off. He then scuttles off, calling JungDo and telling him to start their operation now.
JungDo calls MiJoo, who’s currently working as Noh DeokGi’s personal assistant, and she answers smoothly while making coffee for the guy with, “okay, I’ll be home early then, Mum.”
A few minutes later, JungDo gives JaWang a call, telling him to start the programme that would send Noh DeokGi continuous messages that money is being transferred out of his account, 10 cents at a time.
Noh DeokGi gets those messages and is completely bewildered. He calls MiJoo over and she tells him exactly what those messages mean, putting him in a panic as she marches off to go call the “police”, a smirk on her face.
HakJoo (Burner) then calls Noh DeokGi, posing as someone from the Financial Advisory Service. He spins this tall tale about someone having gotten Noh DeokGi’s bank details on his hands (oh, you mean your friend JaWang?) and tells Noh DeokGi to remove all money from his bank account and take it home. That way, he’ll be able to “reduce his losses”. Oh, by the way, he’s to follow everything that “their staff”, whom they’ll send to his house, tells him to do.
As Noh DeokGi goes to collect all his cash, SungIl gets antsy, on his way to Noh DeokGi’s house. JungDo, over the phone, tells him to relax, since it’ll be over soon.
Noh DeokGi at least has the presence of mind to call someone he knows about the situation at home but is unfortunately interrupted by JungDo’s arrival. JungDo’s super smooth as he explains just how banks could face this kind of problems (heh) and Noh DeokGi falls for it, hook, line and sinker, even leaving his money behind to go withdraw all the money in his other accounts at JungDo’s “advice”.
As he rushes out, MiJoo follows, feeding him a story about her friend once ignoring such a thing and having had all his/her money stolen.
SungIl arrives, muttering and tripping over his lines. (“I’m Baek SungIl with Gangnam’s Serious Crimes Squad. No, I’m Kim DongMan.”)
He continues to trip over his lines the whole time he walks from his wife’s car to Noh DeokGi’s door, which is when we see SungHee pull up behind him and calling the police, reporting a scam.
Uh oh. That’s what happens when you don’t deal with loose ends, though I’m pretty sure our team of professional scam artists will make it out alive.
With the team assembled, we get our first look into how well they work together this episode. Admittedly, while JungDo has shown flashes of brilliance and attention to detail, this con wasn’t really that elaborate or smart. No bank will ever encourage you to take your money out (because they all do business with your money) and if there was ever a problem they’d freeze that account internally. Also, their con would have been busted if Noh DeokGi had called his own Relationship Manager at that bank, someone at the bank who works 1-on-1 with you, someone a guy living in a bungalow in the middle of Seoul like him should have, immediately upon receiving those messages. In short, banks aren’t that lax with their security people. Don’t ever fall for these kinds of cons.
But, this doesn’t mean that my faith in JungDo’s ability to con is failing because like in last episode where he actually asked for a name from the National Tax Agency before he went to visit Cho SangJin and in this episode where he checked everything about Ma JinSeok and even what drives him shows his attention to detail before he even starts his cons.
Talking about drives, the whole reason JungDo is such a successful con man is because he can quickly and accurately recognise what drives a person and attack him from there. For example in this episode when Noh BangShil (Wallet) was ready to walk out because the reward amount was too small and he had simply challenged her to take the full amount for herself if she could. Money doesn’t make the world go round. Greed does. And that example also explicitly shows why you can’t trust a con man because they even con themselves.
This episode, the comedy was served by SungIl the good citizen trying his hand at scamming others and failing so terribly at it, ha ha, while the heart was delivered by SungHee. There definitely is something between SungHee and JungDo and it’s much more than just a scammer-victim relationship. If he’s still keeping her photos and smiling at them years later, she must have somehow entered his heart, which means that it wasn’t a scam any more. Also, if his smile is wiped away simply because he saw his family photo, there’s a secret in JungDo’s backstory that we’re not allowed to know yet. By the way, what’s that about him saving the life of Chairman Wang? Who is Chairman Wang in the first place? Makes sense that this mystery will be spread over the entire series.
I just hope that SungIl isn’t cheated out of both money and time from this pack of wolves.
*Jung JaWang’s name may not actually mean “Sperm King” if you read the Hanja (Chinese character) version (and most likely it does NOT), but if read in Hangul, where everything is written in Korean alphabets, phonetically, “Jung-ja Wang” = “Sperm King”. Lol, this reminds me of Episode 6 of KBS’s variety programme “I am a Man”, about men with interesting names.
And since this show is going to be playing with money a lot, I just want to ask whether you guys would like to read those amounts in US dollars or in Korean won. I basically do the very simple translation by cancelling the last three zeros in Korean won to change the money to US dollars. But, I kind of prefer the money in dollars because seeing all those zeros in won…