Another big con, another set-up episode. This is a chance for us to see slick and charming Seo InGuk be at his cheesy best. But, as usual, he never steals the spotlight completely, because our other fraudsters are great enough to stand on their own.
Police Unit 38 Episode 8:
“I need to crush them all. Let’s do one more job.”
JungDo’s ready to shut the door at that ridiculous request, but then asks about the amount they’re supposed to con – $50 million. He looks at SungIl, incredulous. The higher the amount (of money to be conned), the higher the risks, and he asks if SungIl can handle those risks. SungIl replies that he has to.
JungDo asks the rest of the gang (minus BangShil (Wallet)) whether they’re willing to play and they all claim to be busy until JungDo tells them that they’re looking at $500,000 in commission. Heh, JaWang (Keyboard) declares his love for JungDo right there and then.
The small fries’ participation confirmed, JungDo calls up the shark BangShil who’s surprisingly easy-going and even agrees to participate, knowing full well that they can’t do anything without her money, the “beggars/paupers” that they are. HA!
She’s also surprised that there’s someone who actually owes that much in tax and asks to know who that tax delinquent is.
Bang PilgGyu the tax delinquent sits for lunch with Mayor Chun, laughing and giving the Mayor a perfunctory apology for stirring up so much trouble. Mayor Chun is not amused, and lists the hits that poor innocent people have taken – his subordinate is in a coma, his manager lost his job and a poor innocent citizen had lost his life.
Bang PilGyu doesn’t think that he went too far though. He relates this story about a dog that he’d once kept for 6 years biting his hand one day and quotes his Chairman’s warning not to let the dog go unpunished, because if he does, the dog will bite him whenever it gets displeased. He implies that it’s the same thing that’s happening here. It’s not that he’s striking out for no reason. It’s because Mayor Chun’s people first bothered him.
Mayor Chun looks at him like he’s dog poo and reminds him to remember his place. He’s not the Chairman and Mayor Chun doesn’t owe him his life. He only owes him as much as Bang PilGyu had helped him. In other words, “don’t talk to me like I’m a dog, you dog”. He warns Bang PilGyu to speak politely to him and Bang PilGyu just retorts that he doesn’t know how to, since he’s never learnt how to. Learn then, unless you’re proving to me that you’re an old dog who can’t be taught new tricks. The old dog just threatens Mayor Chun with that incident from 6 years ago.
The briefing to con Bang PilGyu is well underway, with JungDo heading it as usual. He brings the others up to speed, about Choi ChulWoo, his illegal pyramid scheme and Bang PilGyu being his right hand man and CEO of WooHyang Construction, a subsidiary of WooHyang Group. That’s all they have on the old man though, and absolutely nothing else except for his photo.
JungDo thus decides to target his children – his son Bang HoSeok and his daughter Bang MinAh, CEO and advisor of UN Communications. Those two are not easy targets either though, because they’re hermits like their father and rarely leave home. SungIl wonders what Bang HoSeok even does, seeing how he doesn’t even go to work, and lol, it’s shown that he just plays monopoly at home with real money. Bang MinAh does surface twice every week, though it’s just to tour around Insadong’s antiques stores.
With no way to attack head on, they focus on the company where two of the three Bangs work. UN Communication, according to SungIl, is an illegal pyramid scheme, where the employees are made to buy and sell products stolen from department stores. They are also encouraged to bring in their friends and other acquaintances if they can’t meet their sales targets, with job promotions as incentives. Anyone who can’t afford the initial capital to buy the products they’re supposed to sell is directed to the company’s lender, whose CEO is Choi ChulWoo. Oh, this system disgusts me.
In order to start the con for Bang PilGyu’s money proper, our fraudsters will have to work on catching the attention of at least one of the three Bang’s and MiJoo suggests entering UN Communications, because that way, they’ll at least have a chance to get closer to one of the siblings.
In City Hall, Commissioner Ahn can’t let SungIl’s disciplinary hearing go and commands someone to go search who had ordered its cancellation. Hearing that it was the Mayor isn’t enough for him, since Commissioner Ahn thinks that Mayor Chun is on his side and he just asks that guy to dig deeper.
He gets to his office and is told by slimy Baek SungIl that Ma JinSeok had claimed that he was conned into paying his taxes by his name-twin teddy bear Baek SungIl. That just sounds ridiculous on all levels and Commissioner Ahn asks for our SungIl’s recently closed cases to be brought to him. A flashback shows that the tax delinquents of those cases were all conned into paying and Commissioner Ahn frowns, getting the feeling that something fishy went on with all those cases. He calls one of those tax delinquents to confirm that they’d repaid their taxes and the con-victim says that no such thing ever happened. Uh oh.
MiJoo enters UN Communications as a new recruit and from day one, she starts raking in the sales, going from ordering 30 boxes, to 50, 100, 150, 200 and then all the way to 400 at a time, all paid with BangShil’s money, making JungDo and gang sick with the numerous vitamin C drinks she buys. Ha!
Within a month, she’s hitting Gold status and catches Bang HoSeok’s attention. He comes to visit while she’s at work and the manager points Bang HoSeok in her direction. Goal achieved.
Heh, the gang has also found a way to get rid of all the unwanted purchases – donate them to the elderly.
Bang HoSeok calls his elder sister and informs her of MiJoo’s sales prowess. Soon after, MiJoo’s UN Communications supervisor is fired, because MiJoo had done better than her and had gotten promoted, having attained Diamond status, the highest rank a sales person can attain in that company.
SungHee goes to visit ex-manager NohSeung and stops in her tracks when she sees NohSeung in the lift, garbage bag in both hands. They go out and sit on a bench, and while NohSeung jokes that the bruise he’s spotting near his eye is definitely not the work of his wife’s, SungHee is a lot more serious. She’s come to apologise to him in person and he tells her not to, since he was the one who started everything.
He notes that nothing has changed even though 2 people have gotten severely and fatally hurt and he sighs that Mayor Chun must still be in cahoots with Bang PilGyu, when he’d thought that their relationship was over 6 years ago. That’s the first time SungHee has ever heard of such a thing and she asks what that means, stunned.
Six years ago, when the team was at Bang PilGyu’s house to paste repossession stickers, all it took was for Bang PilGyu to call Mayor Chun right in front of their faces for the entire operation to get called off.
JungDo pays another visit to his father in prison and informs him that he had sent JaeSung to jail. He mutters that it’s one down, two more to go and faced with his father’s usual silence, he stands up to go. But, this time, his father lets out an audible sigh and JungDo sits up, anxious. His first words to his son in years are “don’t do it”.
Tears welling in his eyes, JungDo searches his father’s face, then remarks that he’s gotten so old. He tells his father that he’ll handle it, a clear signal that he won’t be stopping any time soon, and then he escapes, leaving his father sitting in his chair still as a statue, unseeing and muttering “don’t”.
Mayor Chun broods in his office, bothered by Bang PilGyu’s earlier words. Bang PilGyu had threatened to repeat the incident from 6 six ago, asking Mayor Chun to guess who’ll be the one hurt now. Mayor Chun stares at him, barely masking his terror, and asks what he wants.
Bang PilGyu wants to call for an open court to discuss his tax issues.
At the office where SungIl never is, one of his subordinates starts to get frustrated upon learning that Bang PilGyu is calling for a public hearing. Baek SungIl from Division One starts asking why that’s a problem when calling for a hearing is every citizen’s right.
That’s the cue for the frustrated employee to start rambling in anger, as he blames Bang PilGyu for all the bad things that have happened recently. Calling for a public hearing means that there’s a chance that Bang PilGyu will never have to pay his taxes and also a chance for Bang PilGyu make himself sympathetic to the public, which is so disgusting considering what he’d instigated.
Baek SungIl asks how the recent unfortunate incidents are Bang PilGyu’s fault, pushing SungIl’s subordinate to come up with the evidence and SungIl’s subordinate just asks if he’s become toilet paper from cleaning up after Commissioner Ahn.
They start to go for a fight and SungHee stops them, railing at her colleague that nothing changes even if they fight between themselves. Bang PilGyu will get the best lawyers and go scot-free. They’ll never be able to get his taxes. Nothing will ever happen to people like Bang PilGyu and there’s nothing that they can do. That’s what the world is like. She stalks off, defeated, and runs into SungIl.
She’s informs SungIl of Bang PilGyu’s plan to get a public hearing and from his remark that it won’t happen, she realises that he’s doing yet another con. She tells him that the Mayor has Bang PilGyu’s back and his silent response makes her sigh that he’d known all of these earlier.
At her wits end, she asks if conning Bang PilGyu is really the only way to get him.
MiJoo lounges in her swanky new office, having been promoted to Deputy Head at UN Communications.
Her new position secures her occasional lunches with Bang HoSeok (where Bang HoSeok brags about how lovable he is to his wife) and with that, JungDo proposes that they start their big con.
MiJoo goes for lunch with Bang HoSeok as per JungDo’s plan and puts him in a good mood, getting information about his sister that way. Apparently, she’s into ceramic antiques, having figured out that they’re exempt from inheritance tax and that information goes straight to BangShil and JaWang, who are responsible for targeting that lady.
MiJoo, meanwhile, is tasked with baiting Bang HoSeok into meeting JungDo, who’ll be acting as an antique magnate based in China. JungDo wants her to name-drop him only and MiJoo frowns, wondering if that’s enough.
“If fools don’t gather at the smell of money, we’d all be starving to death, MiJoo-ya”, is JungDo’s answer.
As expected, Bang HoSeok the fool asks to meet JungDo in person.
Their next act goes into play and JungDo has rented a whole ballroom, complete with banquet tables and dozens of background actors. HakJoo (Burner) and his minions also participate. Hur, the scale of this con is already making me hurt for BangShil’s bank account.
Bang HoSeok hits a minor snag when his father calls, asking why he’s not at a family dinner. Bang HoSeok mutters that he’s sorry he couldn’t go as he has to do some work and ends the call with “I love you Daddy”.
Bang PilGyu mutters to his daughter, confirming HoSeok isn’t doing anything stupid, right? And Bang MinAh oh so lovingly sighs that her brother is always doing stupid things. The glare that HoSeok’s wife gives her sister-in-law, HA!
HakJoo prepares the background actors for JungDo’s big speech, leading them through all the over the top reactions they should do. This is actually another con in itself, since all those background actors believe that they’re here for some drama or movie shooting, and sincerely clap, whoop and cheer even during rehearsals, HAHAHAHAH!
JungDo arrives to the ballroom before HoSeok does, so HoSeok gets to see the loud cheers and applause JungDo gets the moment he walks past the doors. The heightened atmosphere pulls him in and he remarks to MiJoo that JungDo must be a really huge businessman.
Meanwhile, BangShil sits in HakJoo’s office, demanding ideas to deal with Bang MinAh. It’s SungIl who comes up with a plan first and while he hesitates to explain it to her, she has her daughter snatch his notebook from him and reads it for herself. Ha! And then she looks at him, surprised that he’d actually come up with whatever plan he came up with.
JungDo goes up on stage as an artefact magnate, and proceeds to explain his business, DongHwang Culture Art Product Exchange. He passionately speaks (in satoori) about digging under China’s grounds and attaining precious art that way like digging for sand at a sand dune, sure that there’re loads of antiques in there, given the country’s long history and its numerous empires and dynasties. Those artefacts, which must include gold and jade, surely worth millions in dollars each, are sure to reap in tremendous profits and so, he promises that anyone who invests in his company will see fantastic returns, hyping up the crowd with calls of “YES! YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!” after screaming about 100% profit per month. Pfffft!!!! I can’t believe that Bang HoSeok is falling for something this cheesy.
JungDo brings his entire speech to its climax and leads the crowd into cheers and screams for their future riches. HAHAHAHAHHAHAAAAA!
SungIl starts to explain his plan to BangShil, her daughter and JaWang, but not until after numerous repetitions of “because Madame Bang okayed it”, lol. He finally gets to the point, which is to rent out an antique shop in Insadong and then wait for Bang MinAh to appear.
Bang MinAh does come into their shop and, hehehe, it’s BangShil who appears as the shop’s owner. She’s brusque and snaps at Bang MinAh to be polite to the antiques for they’re much, much older than her and then proceeds to take a vase out and wax poetic over it.
Bang MinAh finds a price tag under the supposedly priceless antique and puts it down, smirking at BangShil for trying to sell her a cheap copy. That’s part of the plan though, because SungIl’s plan was never about selling anything to her. It’s just a way for them all to see her face clearly and to get to know what she looks like. That’s done by having a bunch of guys supposedly from the Ministry of Culture coming into the shop and asking for BangShil while Bang MinAh is there, which also gives SungIl the excuse to come in then with JaWang and JiYeon (BangShil’s daughter), all of them acting as investigators.
After the cheesy speech, Bang HoSeok meets with JungDo and JungDo explains “DongHwang’s Secure Repayment Plan System”, where one gets 500% profit in one cycle and 1000% profit in a year. Heh.
Bang HoSeok asks to meet JungDo elsewhere for a meal and JungDo keeps him hanging as he talks nonsense about checking his schedule – he has a very important lunch meeting with a Chinese magnate tomorrow and has to celebrate his wife’s birthday in the evening. The day after, he’s free though, as soon as he cancels a meeting with an annoying potential investor that never pulls through. Heh.
When JungDo goes home, JaeSeong’s minions are there to follow him, catching him with MiJoo.
JaeSeong himself is in jail and meeting with Bang PilGyu. He begs Bang PilGyu to get him out and dangles the carrot that the guy who had put him in there is up to something. That’s not a carrot big or sweet enough for Bang PIlGyu, so he just walks off after laughing at JaeSeong.
JaeSeong’s minion comes by next and asks why he didn’t just spit out that Bang PilGyu’s son is getting conned and JaeSeong snarls that he’s dealt with enough bastards like Bang PilGyu to know that saying that won’t guarantee his exit. Instead, he tells his minion to bring to him “the rat that’s stuck right next to Yang JungDo”.
That rat is SungIl and JaeSeong asks him just how much he knows about Yang JungDo.
Ooh, another set up episode. But with Police Unit 38, I don’t really mind it that much, since there’s always something going on.
The higher the stakes the higher the risks and the more you do, the more you’re likely to get found out. It’s a little careless on our conmen’s part to not even inform their tax delinquents that they’ve paid their taxes but if those delinquents knew that they’re conned by a public agency, imagine the shit-storm that’ll most likely occur. And I actually think that some of them don’t even know that they’ve been conned, ha. It’s scary that Commissioner Ahn could get catch SungIl’s weakness like that.
Conning $50 million out of a guy that closed is not something easy to do, but conmen are not conmen if they’re afraid of taking risks and this bunch here are amazing in the way they just go straight for the kill without hesitating.
I love that this team is made up of people who are obviously experts in whatever they do and don’t need hand holding but while they’re good on their own, JungDo as their leader elevates the whole thing with his planning and understanding of people’s greed. Looks like SungIl is finding his inner fraudster too, haha. I was actually impressed that he’d created a whole situation just so that they could all get a good look and therefore recognise who they’re going to con, though I’m a little perplexed as to how they knew which lady was Bang MinAh. I thought she was a hermit. I dunno, I guess those guys have their ways. After all, they conned $6 million.
And if you can’t attack head on, find the side road, because a system is only ever as strong as its weakest link. With Bang PilGyu’s con, it’s like working on the principles of the 15th stratagem as described in Sun Tze’s Art of War, though rather than Lure the Tiger off its Mountain Lair, it’s more like Lure the Dumb Cub Out of its Hole and Agitate the Parent like that with Bang HoSeok. And they’re just doing the same thing with Bang PilGyu’s daughter. Haha. That family is actually a very clear example of why dynasties fall – the later generations just don’t keep their guard as high up any more. HA!
I think I smirked when Mayor Ahn put Bang PilGyu in his place, reminding the dog that he’s a dog too. They’re both corrupt bastards, but it seems like Mayor Ahn really wanted to do good work but took the devil’s hand in order to get the power needed to carry out the reforms he wanted. He’s like the embodiment of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. You know, all these dramas make me wonder if politics in South Korea is really that corrupt and I haven’t read a single news piece that assures me that it isn’t that way. But it’s an insult to simply think that every public officer and politician is corrupt there.
I love, love, love this show, it’s like The Good Wife, but wrapped in laughing gas. No less thoughtful or strategic but much more hilarious. And next week will be IMPcaps, don’t forget! The recaps for 38 stops here and thanks for reading all these time.