Never accuse Police Unit 38 for being boring because when it comes to turning the tables, this show practically throws those tables at you. And it doesn’t just fling one table. Just ask SungIl. He should know.
Police Unit 38 Episode 7:
After a very, very, very very very long recap by the drama of what’s happened in the last 6 episodes, we’re back to HakJoo’s (Burner) office, where SungIl is trying to comprehend just what the gang is trying to do with all 300 of his department’s cases.
He’s abashed at JungDo’s declaration of them working to collect all those taxes to stop his dismissal and mutters that he should do his job and asks to join, since he’s now got way too much time on his hands, having taken a break from work.
Sometime later, he’s pasting flyers all over the back window of some well-fed woman’s car, looking around like a rat, hahahaha! When the woman climbs out to take those fliers away, JungDo car-naps her car, hee.
MiJoo does what she does best, getting money from drunk men and BangShil (Wallet) just does things her gangster way, having her men stick the spray nozzle of a fire extinguisher in one tax-delinquent’s mouth, ha! HakJoo goes around throwing himself against cars (I hope he lives to 120) while JaWang (Keyboard) creates hundreds of those parking fine slips that the rest send to the car owners’ letter boxes, pfft.
The tax office gets busy with the surge of people coming in to pay their outstanding taxes, while JungDo and SungIl go collect the gang’s last commissions from their bank accounts.
JungDo laughs when he sees SungIl dressed in a suit, just like him, hee and as they walk down the sidewalk, they pick up HakJoo and MiJoo, and then ignore JaWang when he calls them “Hyung” and “Noona”. HAHAHAHAHHAHA!
They meet BangShil on the way and as they strut down the street, Seowon City Mayor Chun GabSoo gets notice of the recent influx of income through taxes and on a large screen display on a building near a busy intersection, the news reports that an additional 20 million dollars has been set aside for the city’s children’s education.
BangShil drives off later that night, after accepting JungDo’s gratitude for her help, leaving our taxman and his plebeian mates to drink to their success and enjoy grilled pork belly at the empty little shop that JungDo and HakJoo had once gone to eat at.
JungDo notices the smile on the elderly shopkeeper’s face, and the shopkeeper explains that from next week onwards, his granddaughter’s textbooks will be free. He attributes that to his taxes being put to good use and SungIl brightens to hear that.
In a personal little conversation, SungIl asks what JungDo’s going to do, now that they have no reason to meet, and JungDo just says that he’s going to do what all conmen do. SungIl’s changed a lot, since all he says to that is for JungDo not to get caught. Who knows, maybe later if he doesn’t get caught, and if he himself doesn’t get fired, they’ll meet again.
JungDo offers to get some drinks together later on in the future, and warns him not to buy things direct. Buy all expensive things through trusted and legal dealers.
The next morning, SungIl’s daughter taps SungIl on the shoulder, asking him what he’s doing sleeping at their gate. HAAA!
When his wife comes out, he stutters that she must have slept really well, since she never woke up even when he’d come in last night, washed up and even readied himself for work that morning. Hee!
She’s no fool and doesn’t buy his lies and pinches him as he walks off to work, but even though she’s over the top violent, she tells him, as she enters her car, to just quit if he really can’t take it. She can feed an extra mouth. Aw.
SungIl smiles as he walks along Seowon City Hall’s walkways, overhearing some co-workers wonder how 10 million dollars in tax arrears could have come in just within days. His smile slips when he senses the sombre atmosphere in his office and it’s completely wiped off the moment he sees Commissioner Ahn lording over his team. Commissioner Ahn’s done by the time SungIl comes in though, and on his way out, he advises SungIl to wear a suit tomorrow for his disciplinary hearing.
SungIl asks the other guys what’s going on and he has to pry it out of the team Maknae, AHN CHANGHO (LEE HAK-JOO), to know that his team had gone after Bang PilGyu. SungHee’s seat is glaringly empty and SungIl sighs, demanding to know where she’s gone to.
SungHee’s in a private meeting with City Mayor Chun GabSoo, where BangPilGyu’s contrite apologies for the media play on the TV in the background.
Outside, NohSeung tries to stop SungIl from barging into the mayor’s office. When SungIl just riles at him for not thinking at all, since he’s had first-hand experience with what went on between Bang PilGyu and their Senior MinShik years ago, NohSeung snipes that he was doing that exactly because he’d seen what happened to MinShik. He was afraid that SungIl would have gone off like MinShik if they’d all stood resolutely aside without helping again. Chastened, SungIl tells him to stay out and not get hurt. He has to get his pension.
Inside, SungHee takes all the blame, leaving NohSeung out of everything. She admits that she was doing it to save her superior and Mayor Chun offers a deal. If she’ll apologise to Bang PilGyu, face to face, he’ll drop SungIl’s disciplinary hearing. She agrees, so with just one call, the problem that SungIl and his team had all been agonising over for days is dropped.
Elsewhere, Commissioner Ahn eats with Bang PilGyu and sends him the Mayor’s apologies. Bang PilGyu informs Commissioner Ahn that Ma JinSeok paid his taxes only because he’d been conned by one of the tax officers, though he doesn’t put much stock in it, calling it the rants of a fool.
He goes on to talk about SungHee’s recent invasion of his house and asks in a hard voice that “it was simply the work of independent minded workers, right? Not because of the Mayor or Commissioner Ahn’s orders, right?”
Commissioner Ahn laughs at that, eyes shifty and everything and Bang PilGyu seems to buy it. However, he’s not going to let this incident go, because even though SungHee couldn’t do anything to him, she’d made him feel bad. He then reminds Commissioner Ahn that it’s been 6 years since “that incident” happened.
Lunch over, Commissioner Ahn calls Mayor Chun and warns him that Bang PilGyu keeps bringing up that incident from 6 years ago and probably thinks that they’re both going after him on purpose. Mayor Chun gulps and you can just see the wheels turning in his head. He tells Commissioner Ahn to set up a meeting for him and Bang PilGyu as soon as possible.
As SungHee drives, SungIl approaches the subject of her going after Bang PilGyu but SungHee just changes the subject, knowing that the recent influx of late taxes getting paid was all SungIl and JungDo’s work. She informs him that his disciplinary hearing is no more, shrugging in feigned ignorance when he asks how that happened. And since he’s not getting fired any more, she chirps that he should hang in there and become powerful enough to teach all those delinquent taxpayers a lesson without having to resort to cons. In return, she promises not to touch Bang PilGyu until he achieves that and SungIl wonders if he can ever become a commissioner.
SungHee assures that he can, seeing how their own commissioner is a guy who just goes “no, no, no, it’s impossible”.
And then we cut to Commissioner Ahn saying, “No, it’s impossible”. Pfft.
He’s speaking to someone over the phone about SungIl’s disciplinary hearing cancellation and swears to bring in the evidence required to order SungIl’s dismissal. He makes a call over the phone to the informant who’d accused SungIl of bribery and steps into a coffee shop to meet the hooded him.
The hood comes off and… it’s JungDo. What? Oh my blueberry cheesecake, hahahaha!
The show flashes back to when JungDo was in the holding cell and had called the tax office, accusing SungIl from Division Three of bribery.
Still ignorant, Commissioner Ahn eagerly asks JungDo for solid, tangible evidence that SungIl had accepted bribes and JungDo snorts in laughter, admitting that it was all a prank. Also, he came out today only because “an adult had called me. You know, I may be unemployed but my parents raised me right”. Uh huh. You cheeky little bastard.
Commissioner Ahn asks if he’s looking down on the tax bureau and JungDo just holds his status as a public officer against him, threatening to make a fuss in public.
The tax office gets a call from Park SangHo, the guy who’s been constantly bugging SungIl to give him a discount on his taxes. He calls to meet SungHee and manager NohSeung somewhere outside, claiming to want to pay his taxes. NohSeung’s perplexed, since he knows that Park SangHo’s a destitute who can’t even feed himself well, let along pay his taxes.
Still, NohSeung heads off, taking SungIl’s subordinate, ChangHo (who was sleeping) with him as a driver. SungHee gets the call that she’s wanted too and she heads off to the meeting place alone.
JungDo visits the city jail again, though this time to meet JaeSeong and not his father.
He starts off nice, acting the good little kid worried for his father’s friend, saying that he trusts that JaeSeong didn’t take any bribes. However, when JaeSeong asks him if he’s pitying him, his eyes turn cold, and he repeats what JaeSeong had once said to his father, word for word: “I know that you’re innocent, but you’ll probably never be able to get out.”
He snarls that his father will probably never get out of jail either, thanks to “somebody”, as he points his chin towards JaeSeong. He comes clean that Noh DeokGi sending in the tip about him scamming others was his doing.
JaeSeong sits up, livid, but all JungDo cares about is that he’s got two more people to bring down after JaeSeong. He then tells JaeSeong not to create a reason for JungDo to go after him, the exact same words that JaeSeong had been throwing at JungDo since he came out of jail.
In an underground subway station, NohSeung sits with ChangHo, chatting about ChangHo’s contract work that’s ending soon. ChangHo wants to be a police officer after his contract ends and NohSeung tells him not to sleep on the job there. ChangHo mutters that he doesn’t just sleep – he does that to ensure that the rest of the team doesn’t feel uncomfortable. He knows that they don’t take him as part of the team, since he’s only going to work there for a mere few months and so instead of burdening them as an eager, wide eyed bushy tailed newcomer, he just sleeps and lets them carry on with their work. Then he leaves NohSeung to go poo.
Park SangHo comes to meet with NohSeung, clutching a paper bag, nervous and hesitant, insisting that SungHee has to be there for him to pass the bag over. NohSeung grabs the bag from him and is stunned when he sees piles and piles of 50 dollar bills in it.
When he asks Park SangHo to explain the money, Park SangHo starts to cry, repeatedly asking him to get Chun SungHee here now.
ChangHo comes back from his poo break that moment and catches a guy stealthily taking photos of NohSeung with the money and bag.
They realise that it was a frame job and ChangHo runs after the photographer. Park SangHo tries to grab the money bag back from NohSeung, but the bag rips apart and the money goes flying. SungHee arrives just then and chases after Park SangHo who runs off.
ChangHo catches up to the photographer and pins him down, managing to keep him down by hitting him in the head with a rock. He takes the camera out to check its contents, but is then WHACKED in the head with a metal rod by someone else. OW! And What the Heck?!
Park SangHo falls down some stairs while running away and hobbles his way into a train, sobbing that he hadn’t done anything wrong. The doors close on SangHee the moment she spots him inside and as the train pulls away, he mouths “sorry” to her.
ChangHo is sent to the emergency centre, where even though emergency procedures and standard preventive actions have been taken, he’s still in a deep coma. Papa bear SungIl storms into the hospital, screaming to know what the hell happened to his team member. He marches out soon, intending to deliver the bad news to ChangHo’s family himself.
Park SangHo himself is hiding at home, downing paper cup after paper cup of soju. He watches the image of himself sprawled on the train station’s floor on the news, spilt money surrounding him.
As SungIl drives, he remembers the day MinShik had confronted Bang PilGyu years ago along with him, where he’d watched the whole thing worriedly as MinShik supplied Bang PilGyu with his name. He remembers the way he’d snapped at MinShik when he was framed for taking a bribe, and in the present, he sighs.
SangHo’s wife returns home from grocery shopping and asks SangHo how many packets of instant noodles she should cook. She doesn’t get a reply, so she looks all over the house, screaming when she sees SangHo lying prone on their bathroom floor, foaming at the mouth.
Meanwhile, DokBae gets a visit from someone in his police station and soon, he’s calling SungIl, saying that the perpetrator who’d landed ChangHo in the hospital has turned himself in.
SungIl rushes there, as Bang PilGyu eats with someone he addresses as Chairman. As SungIl climbs up the steps to the police station, Bang PilGyu narrates that South Korea’s a great place to live in. The best thing about it is that poor people will kill each other for rich people like them. SungIl stops in his tracks as Ma JinSeok, in handcuffs, turns to face him, and Bang PilGyu laughs that poor people are good because they’re easy to use.
In his office, Mayor Chun sits in his chair, looking like the world had collapsed around him. A long while later, he lets out a helpless chuckle.
SungIl pulls Ma JinSeok to the gents and confronts him, suspecting that he’s covering for the actual perpetrator. Ma JinSeok doesn’t deny it, just saying that he’s doing this as he has no other choice if he wants to keep his family afloat, because SungIl had destroyed his life with his con. SungIl asks if it was Bang PilGyu who’d set him up to this and Ma JinSeok spells it out for him: since SungIl’s people had dared to try coming after Bang PilGyu’s money, Bang PilGyu had set up the frame job using Park SangHo, in order to get them fired.
Too bad ChangHo had figured that out, and so they needed to get rid of him. In a flashback, we see that it was Bang PilGyu’s son who had inflicted that damning wound to ChangHo’s head. Therefore, Ma JinSeok had taken Bang PilGyu’s offer to take him back in exchange for him taking the rap for his son. Having said enough, Ma JinSeok walks off smirking, telling SungIl not to bother bringing the truth up with the chief of police there, since the chief of police is close with Bang PilGyu.
SungIl asks if money can really accomplish everything and Ma JinSeok stops in his tracks for a moment, just to shoot a wry smile in SungIl’s direction.
SungIl walks out, but he’s not given any rest as NohSeung calls soon after, wanting to quit as a way of taking responsibility for going after Bang PilGyu and letting things get this far. SungIl stutters into his phone, trying to get NohSeung to change his mind, but he’s too late and another phone call later, he’s informed that Park SangHo has passed away.
He attends Park SangHo’s funeral, and in the same hospital (?), ChangHo’s mother cries as she holds her comatose son’s hands. NohSeung packs up and leaves his office, taking everything with him and leaving his access pass behind. Urgh.
SungHee’s subjected to questioning and SungIl watches her from the side and tells DokBae the truth regarding ChangHo’s case. There’s nothing DokBae can do though, since his chief is pushing for them to close the case, now that they’ve got a confession. Just like at the tax office, if the higher ups want it, then the workers, like DokBae and SungIl, have no other choice but to accept and act according to their decisions.
SungIl sighs and sighs, as he waits for SungHee to come back from her questioning. She appears, anguished, and he asks her if she’s alright and SungHee says in a small voice that while she was sitting in the station, all she could think of were her last words to Park SangHo. She’d told him to go out and work. Her eyes go red and her voice trembles as she points out the irony that although she had wronged Park SangHo, she was about to go apologise to Bang PilGyu. She regrets everything that she’d done and SungIl lets out a heavy sigh once again as he watches her walk away.
SungIl gets into a cab and harks back to the time when his team had confronted Bang PilGyu years ago. Bang PilGyu had slammed them for trying to get him to pay his taxes and do his duty as a citizen, snarling that people like them had been able to live as they do only because of his donations and his pity. He sneers that he doesn’t owe the nation anything and instead, it’s the nation who owes him. Give me a moment, I might puke.
In present day, SungIl storms through the revolving doors of some apartment lobby and knocks on JungDo’s door. He repeats and repeats the question that has been bugging him – whether money can really accomplish everything – to a conman and even JungDo can tell that something terrible has happened.
SungIl murmurs that his junior had gotten really hurt and Park SangHo had been bought but he shakes his head and stops there, knowing that it all doesn’t make sense for JungDo. So, he comes out straight and direct, asking JungDo to help him with one more job, because he has to crush all those bastards.
Oof, what a doozy this episode was.
From the attempt to frame SungHee and NohSeung for bribery, to ChangHo’s head injury to Park Sang Ho’s death and then to NohSeung’s resignation, it’s way too many bad things happening at once for our beloved tax collector. To hear again the greedy rich crowing about using the poor and the plebeian like mere toys strikes deep at my heart, reminding me of the heart-wrenching articles I’ve read about Hell Joseon and how South Korea’s average youth see no hope in their future. To them, Korea’s a great place to live if you’re rich, but a terrible hell with no exit if you’re poor. SungHee’s one line in this episode – “I wronged Park SangHo, but I was going to apologise to Bang PilGyu” – summed it up the best.
Money is such a weird thing, because it’s a human construct – not something real, like the laws of the universe, but something made up by humans. Yet, it’s what drives our societies and makes people powerful enough to lord over others or weaklings to be used. It’s a great motivator for many of the things we do, unless you’re a hermit, and it’s what sets the structures in society to a great extent. I’m not saying that all rich people are greedy and ought to be punished because they’re rich – there most certainly are people who’d worked hard for their riches and rich people who do good things for others – but it stands that the rich are the ones with the resources and therefore the ability to unfairly rig the system in their bias, which is why so many countries strive to reduce their Gini coefficient or income inequality between its residents, because such unfairness will most certainly cause instability and chaos as the “worker ants” are forced to stew in more and more indignity. But I think the greatest thing that baffles me in this show is the government chasing for taxes from people who clearly don’t have the ability to pay them. I thought taxes were supposed to be a fraction of what you earn or possess, so how come they’re trying to get taxes out of people who don’t possess anything?
Anyway, enough of rambling and back to the episode. The writer impressed me when it was shown that it was JungDo who was the one who’d set up SungIl for bribery because I hadn’t even thought of that. In other words, JungDo was the one who’d pushed SungIl so far that he ended going against his nature and working with JungDo, thereby saving JungDo from jail. I have repeated this so many times before, but I remain impressed by just how well JungDo understands people (and because JungDo is the writer Han JungHoon’s construct, I am very impressed by him). I was less surprised by the Noh DeokGi reveal, but I liked that snippet confirming my suspicions anyway, haha. So essentially, JungDo put away his enemy and stumbling block himself.
I’m actually quite nervous about SungIl’s proposal to team up and con Bang PilGyu, since Bang PilGyu is so much worse, and has so much more resources and people that he can use to save himself or destroy others. Even though they’re both contemptuous towards others they deem lower than them, Ma JinSeok’s wrath is nothing compared to Bang PilGyu. Ma JinSeok’s reaction when contested is to simply sneer and provoke, showing a very raw kind of anger that doesn’t actually hurt anyone more than skin deep but when Bang PilGyu’s contested, his instinct is to crush and destroy, as this episode shows.
And no matter how smart or cunning he is, JungDo is always the one with the shorter straw, because what he does is against the law, no matter what his intentions and motivations are. Furthermore, all those commissions that he took from conning the taxes out of people, while agreed by SungIl, aren’t lawfully earned or even lawfully protected, because SungIl doesn’t have that kind of authority to okay it. If someone nasty takes hold of these, it can just look like JungDo and gang conning innocent people out of their money, so it’s actually very easy to bring him down. SungIl himself is at great danger, since all it takes to bring a public officer down is one incident of unlawfulness and SungIl’s already commited a crime by scamming Ma JinSeok. I also think that Commissioner Ahn and Mayor Ahn had done something wrong in the past, and are now being blackmailed based on that one incident to infinity and beyond by scum of the earth Bang PilGyu.
There aren’t any real truths in the world (or so I think) and what we consider the truth is just what is widely believed and agreed upon by the majority. Therefore, I need (for my heart to stop palpitating in nervousness and anxiety) JungDo to get a conman who knows the law book inside out, from front and back, because, you know, the thing that’s stronger than money are the laws that govern it, and the people that move according to those money. So if you get the law on your side, no matter what, you’ll win at life. Muahaha.
Also, I know that Dramabeans has picked up this drama, so I’ve actually decided to turn this series from recaps to IMPcaps the moment they’re all caught up. There’re only so many ways you can describe the colour purple and along with the other blogs that cover this show, I just didn’t want any more overlaps in content. And at the rate Dramabeans is covering this, I think we’ll be seeing IMPcaps here from next week onward!