Police Unit 38 Ep 14

In order to keep the hopes of a dear old grandpa and his precious granddaughter alive, our conmen settle in to bring down the big bad, with a certain familiar someone’s help. “Can he be trusted not to betray them?” SungIl worries.


Police Unit 38 Episode 14:

As per the previous episode, Chairman Wang requests to meet JungDo and BangShil takes him to HakJoo’s office/warehouse.

Choi ChulWoo plays Baduk out in the open, and corrupt police officer JaeSeong comes along to interrupt his winning game. JaeSeong tries to force friendly ties, saying that he was close to Bang PilGyu but Choi ChulWoo just calls him the cop that went to jail for bribes. It hits JaeSeong’s pride, but it doesn’t matter because he’s mainly here to offer a tasty bit of information in return for a grand total of $5 million. Too bad Choi ChulWoo isn’t interested at all.

He tries to persuade Choi ChulWoo by saying that his information will give him the power to drag Mayor Chun by the nose and Choi ChulWoo just chuckles that he respects the guy he just dismissed like a dog the other day. JaeSeong doesn’t get a deal, so he goes off, but not without informing Choi ChulWoo that JungDo has been released.


Chairman Wang finally visits HakJoo’s office, where he calls JaWang a monk (and JiYeon just bluntly replies that he’s just losing hair, ha), offends HakJoo and pulls JungDo’s ear for not coming to welcome him at the gates of prison. Hahahah, he manhandles JungDo around like a dad and only stops when SungIl arrives. He calls SungIl, the guy who fights like a wimp, a wrestler. Hee.

JungDo introduces Chairman Wang to SungIl and he finally has a face to the guy he’s been helping in conning people out of their tax arrears.

Mayor Chun goes to meet Choi ChulWoo and his face falls when he sees a certain someone there – his competition in the upcoming elections for Mayor of Seowon City. However, he leaves the room, giving Choi ChulWoo and Mayor Chun some time alone.

As he takes his seat, Choi ChulWoo reminds Mayor Chun that JungDo has come out on parole and to therefore keep on his toes because it’s likely that JungDo will go after them again. First things first, keep an eye on SungIl again.


Choi ChulWoo smirks that Mayor Chun’s numbers in the pre-election opinion poll are not enough to guarantee him a second term and Mayor Chun laughs and asks if that’s why he’s scoping out the competition. However, Choi ChulWoo isn’t interested in the other guy, since the one he’s been working with and created a system so beneficial for him in Seowon City with is current Mayor Chun. He offers to spend some more money on Mayor Chun’s campaign, sure that free towels and stuff will secure them votes.

The lunch with Mayor Chun, Choi ChulWoo and the competition comes to an end and Mayor Chun asks his rival if his campaign is going well. Well, it’s not going anywhere since he doesn’t have much money, save for the mortgage he got on his house.

However, the rival states that he’s not here to get Choi ChulWoo’s money. He just wanted a face to the guy who owes the state the most in taxes. He swears to make Choi ChulWoo pay his taxes if he becomes mayor, because that’s the way to eliminate the privilege amongst the people in the city. Huh. Mayor Chun just lets out an amused scoff.

SungIl sits with Chairman Wang’s secretary while the Chairman himself flips through a leadership book titled “taking people with you”, of all things, nearby.

Secretary Kim’s warning to SungIl to persuade Chairman Wang rather than ask him for favours makes him think back to when JungDo and BangShil were giving him tips. Chairman Wang doesn’t people who lie or pretend, sound haughty or grin, aren’t eloquent and who beat about the bush. SungIl must have confidence and don’t trail off and must not repeat himself. HAHAHHAA, what a guy. At least he knows what he wants – someone who’s sincere and unpretentious.

Therefore, SungIl comes out directly in the meeting and says that he wants Mayor Chun to lose the election. That’s the only way they’re going to get Choi ChulWoo to pay his taxes. Going after a few others who owe fractions of what he owes in order to make up the loss doesn’t cut it in SungIl’s book, because he’s more interested in revoking Choi ChulWoo’s privilege than getting the money.

“The world is like this. With people with full pockets, we emphasize privilege more than duties. With people who have empty pockets, we emphasize duty more than privilege. It should not be like this. Privilege and duty should be evened out. Whether he’s a chairman or the owner of a small diner.”


That’s what gets to Chairman Wang and he asks what he should do first.

SungIl tells him to celebrate his release from jail by donating a huge amount to Seowon City Hall. That way, the reporters will flock to him and SungIl tells him to strike while the iron is hot and give as many interviews as he can. In his interviews, give thanks to Seowon’s infrastructure and its people for making it possible to grow his company. That’s the way Mayor Chun will notice him.

After that, SungIl’s plan is to have him to step away from the mike and do some media play. Ha, SungIl has really grown, because he correctly read that the way to Mayor Chun’s heart is through public welfare. “Even though it’s just talk,” he adds.

Mayor Chun does bite the bait they threw and calls for a private meeting.

Chairman Wang meets him and warms him up, then goes for the kill and declares that he actually doesn’t care about Seowon City. He says that he cares more about Mayor Chun and throws the ball in Mayor Chun’s court, asking him which money source he’ll choose. Him?

In other words, SungIl is asking Chairman Wang to offer to sponsor Mayor Chun.


SungIl understands that Mayor Chun may not take the offer up immediately since he’s currently funded by Choi ChulWoo but he’s certain that Mayor Chun will at least think about it. After all, Chairman Wang isn’t like Chairman Choi.

In the meeting with Mayor Chun, Chairman Wang promises not to demand obedience in exchange for the money, since he’s there only to offer a long lasting friendship.

However, in the pre-scam meeting with SungIl, Chairman Wang has doubts about the plan, since sponsorships are not easy things. It’s like drugs – once one gets in, it’s hard to get out.

SungIl tells him not to worry, since something will happen to Choi ChulWoo. And it all starts with JungDo meeting with Choi ChulWoo, in order to pull a feint.

JungDo meets with Choi ChulWoo who reads his newspaper outdoors, dressed in an ordinary windbreaker and looking like your average retired grandpa. He discloses that he’s going to make Choi ChulWoo cough up the $100 million he owes the city and when Choi ChulWoo tells him to go ahead and even offers to help him, JungDo asks him to just pay it. No deal, so JungDo just cheerfully warns him to take care of his money real well. Ha, when Choi ChulWoo smirks that JungDo should go back to jail to learn more manners, JungDo just replies that he was born rude.

“Stop cosplaying the poor. It looks real bad when all you do is steal from others. I should go. Bye, the man who owes Seowon City more than anyone.”

That feint is important to SungIl’s plan because just knowing that JungDo is out is sure to put Choi ChulWoo on guard. So, using the 6th stratagem in Sun Tze’s Art of War, “make a sound in the east and strike in the west”, he’ll make Choi ChulWoo think that they’re going after his $100 million in taxes.


That’s fine with them because what they’re really after his money source, Kukjin Construction. They plan to tear it down, put a stop to the Maseong-dong redevelopment plan and save Grandpa and Dami’s diner.

Gramps himself is released from jail and the first thing he sees in his diner is our con-gang playing with Dami, and his granddaughter full of smiles, aw. She runs into her grandfather’s welcoming arms once she sees him and Gramps hugs her like there’s no tomorrow, trying to take in all of his precious grandchild. Our gang takes that as their cue to leave and before he leaves, SungIl warmly promises to come by the diner tomorrow for dinner.

In the background, JungDo narrates that if the city won’t take care of the people who don’t pay much taxes, then they, the conmen should. After all, gramps does his duty to the city, even if that meant living a hard life. If someone has done their duty as a citizen, then their rights should be protected. That’s… what’s fair.

And once again, our gang strut down the lane coolly, like the badasses that they are.

Choi ChulWoo the lousy citizen eats with his minions, and ex-Commisioner-Ahn. Should we call him Director Ahn now?


Choi ChulWoo demands to know why they’re taking so long to evacuate Maseong-dong and his left hand man gives all sorts of excuses, along with Cho SangJin. He’s not interested in their talk and when Director Ahn just says that he’ll take care of everything, Choi ChulWoo tells his other minions to work like him, responsibility. He then chases them out, commenting that food is wasted on them.

Once alone, Choi ChulWoo brings up his meeting with JungDo and ever the good worker, Director Ahn just replies that he’ll take care of that. Hum.

The gang gathers again in HakJoo’s office, where JungDo introduces them to the con-plan he’d made in jail. It’s something that will take quite a bit of time, but its risk is low.

JungDo worries over the plan needing so much time, which they don’t have enough of if they’re going to stop the Maseong-dong operation and SungIl offers them a counter-plan for the “distraction in the east”. Hee, his plan is so good that he even gets compliments from BangShil this time!

SungIl laughs and asks if they really thought he wasted the two years away and is determined not to muck it up this time. However, JungDo takes issue with him being the one approaching their target since it puts him at danger. Instead, he decides to bring in… JinSeok JinSeok Ma JinSeok. Wow.

That makes SungIl very nervous and JungDo assures him that though the person himself is hard to trust, they should trust his fury towards Bang PilGyu and Choi ChulWoo.

JungDo laughs that Ma JinSeok is a better man than they think, since he did all that only to make a living. Ma JinSeok tries to persuade SungIl too, saying that he went to jail expecting to be taken care of by Bang PilGyu once he got out but instead, Bang PilGyu himself is now in jail leaving him without a source of income. He says that he won’t be aiming for the small chaps at the bottom of the ladder any more but will aim for the big guns at the top. And then, he’s going to live nicely after that. Pfft.


JungDo smiles at BangShil, implicitly asking if it’s okay to trust Ma JinSeok and she gives him this YOU’RE-CRAZY look.

In the end, she just mutters that her only responsibility is to fund them and tells Ma JinSeok to do well before she leaves.

JungDo tries to persuade SungIl again, saying that there’s nothing more certain than someone who’s in it for the money. Uh…

Also, doesn’t SungIl trust him?

Faced with that last line, SungIl gives in.

Ma JinSeok is tasked with carrying out SungIl’s plan, which is to lure in Cho SangJin.

As per the plan, Ma JinSeok goes to Cho SangJin wearing the latest fashion and sporting the most expensive threads, making him wonder how someone who was supposed to be a beggar ended up earning so much that he became a rich man.


In this plan, they’re aiming to lure him into pulling a loan scam.

JungDo narrates that while Choi ChulWoo is the real owner of Kukjin Construction, the owner on paper is Cha MyeongSoo, and his finances, managed by Cho SangJin. Therefore, they’ll target both Cha MyeongSoo and Cho SangJin at the same time by egging them into inflating the company’s profits and making then taking out an illegally large loan from the bank. If they fall for it, they get the evidence they need to create a nationwide scandal that will put Kukjin Construction in bad light.

A company that started with a scam is going to be destroyed by a scam. Haa.

That amuses Ma JinSeok and he agrees to mark Cho SangJin as they requested. So he pops out wherever Cho SangJin is several days in a row, even while he’s on the road, hahahha!

And as is becoming a signature of 38’s, the editing flits from present to the future and back like dye in water.

Ma JinSeok appears around him so often that Cho SangJin grabs him and asks to meet, since he’s one of the guys who sticks to money, ensuring that conmen don’t starve to death. Hee.

Cho SangJin asks Ma JinSeok how he’s making so much money as SungIl had expected and Ma JinSeok dithers and hesitates (on SungIl’s command, to which Ma JinSeok had said, “just like when you told me about Hwaseong New Town?” Haaa!) and then spills details about the loan scam that he’s pulling with his “Hyung’s company”.

It goes like this: He and his “Hyung” inflates their export profits, gets a trade insurance company to guarantee them and then just go around getting scam loans from the banks, to a total of $20 million.

Ha, he laughs that since he’s lived his whole life wrongly, he’s just going to continue doing illegal stuff and then just leave the country.

He leaves Cho SangJin with a small quip, “after all, you and your childhood friend Cha MyeongSoo are the one’s running that company. What has Chairman Choi ChulWoo done? Hmm? He doesn’t do anything.”


That last line is crucial to their operation, because that’ll make Cho SangJin think and doubt the way he’s living. Once that seed of doubt is implanted, Ma JinSeok brings up Maseok-dong as per SungIl’s plan. That’s the project they’re egging Cho SangJin to use for his scam.

As expected, Cho SangJin doesn’t take the offer up but he does ponder over it. Ain’t nothing like greed to push one into hell and our conmen just have to wait for that to happen, since they’re crocodiles who wait in the bushes for their prey to come by, not lions who chase after their prey as SungIl said in the pre-scam meeting. Huh, SungIl really has grown!

The scam to get Cha MyeongSoo aboard is also left to SungIl to plan for and he decides that since Cha MyeongSoo’s such a wimpy guy, he’ll just take the easy route, but it’s one that needs MiJoo to go out into the field and show her prowess as a flower-snake (gold-digger).

Once fine day, she finds Cha MyeongSoo drinking at a bar and entices him out. That’s when HakJoo comes along to punch the living daylights out of him and to deposit him in HakJoo’s office where JaWang is, tied to a chair looking all beat up and acting like a fellow kidnapped-victim.


Hee, the moment Cha MyeongSoo awakes, gang-boss Baek SungIl comes in with his cronies. Pfft, JungDo looks so funny in that flowery shirt. Come to think of it, why do gangsters like flowery shirts?

They go to put on a show for Cha MyeongSoo by pretending to beat the hell up out of JaWang. Only thing is… HakJoo ends up doing it for real. Oops…

Heh, that’s enough for Cha MyeongSoo to break into sobs and he tries the “do you know who I am” schitz so SungIl takes that opportunity to punch him. And then he asks JungDo for pliers so that he can pull Cha MyeongSoo’s teeth out. HAHAHHA. Too bad they don’t have any because “the guys upstairs borrowed them” so SungIl settles for a hammer.

That’s not all they’ve prepared, because SungIl brings up Cha MyeongSoo’s embezzlement and threatens him with death, snarling that they’re working for Choi ChulWoo. HA.

He accuses him of stealing $50,000. That number was chosen on purpose because it’s lower than the actual amount of money Cha MyeongSoo stole. It’s sure to make him nervous about when our guys will be coming after him when they “find out” about the rest of the other $100,000.

Since Cha MyeongSoo doesn’t say anything, SungIl lets JungDo “kill” the guy but before the deed is done, he conveniently gets a call from Chairman Choi, telling him to let Cha MyeongSoo go, hur. SungIl lays the threat on thick, telling Cha MyeongSoo that if they ever find out that he’d stolen more than $50,000, they’ll really kill him.

Hee, the moment Cha MyeongSoo scampers out, they rush to release JaWang, who coughs out some sobs and beats HakJoo. Hee.


JungDo spells out what Cha MyeongSoo will most likely do – the worry about his $100,000 embezzlement will eat him up and first, he’ll worry about how he’ll live now and then about his survival in the future.

Hee, in their pre-scam meeting, SungIl gets praised for a job well done by JungDo and he waves it off. Pfft, but he’s not above chirping “did hard work just overtake talent?” I see your falling smile, Yang JungDo!

But all those hard work in those two years was worth it, because SungIl finally understands what cons are all about: If you make someone unhappy and nervous about reality, then they have no choice but to enter the crocodile’s mouth.

“Isn’t it fun? This a con.”

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!! He’s really grown. Though not enough yet, I think.

After the meeting, SungIl confronts JungDo alone and asks him if Ma JinSeok is really trustable. JungDo just smiles and asks him if he remembers what Ma JinSeok was like when they first saw him. SungIl remembers, but doesn’t understand what that’s supposed to mean and JungDo just mysteriously smiles that it’s okay then.


At Kukjin Construction, Cho SangJin and Cha MyeongSoo stick together like flies to freshly deposited dung and Director Ahn sees that from his office. He calls Choi ChulWoo, telling him that he’s gotten a call from someone they’ve worked with before two years ago.  He claims to know what our gang are up to: Loan scams.

Choi ChulWoo chuckles and requests to know their hideout.

JungDo waits for SungHee near her house and from his awkward smile, she knows that they’ve already started their operation and that he came because he was feeling sorry towards her. She’s fine with them doing what they’re doing and wonders what they’ll do, on the odd chance that her father doesn’t take Chairman’s Wang’s hand after leaving Choi ChulWoo.

She really wishes that would happen – that he’d become an honest mayor who doesn’t take dirty money – but sighs that she also really doesn’t know what he’ll choose.

It’s late at night and SungIl is still in HakJoo’s office, heaving and sighing over the details of his plans. I bet he’s really concerned about the Ma JinSeok variable. He leaves to go wash his face and gets a call from Ma JinSeok. He instructs him to tell Cho SangJin to fudge the sales figures for Kukjin Construction in advance and warns him not to try anything funny.

But the moment he turns the corner and re-enters HakJoo’s office, Choi ChulWoo is there, surely having overheard everything. Uh oh. Choi ChulWoo finally has a face to the public official who keeps wanting to pull him down.

SungIl calls JungDo in the middle of his meeting with SungHee to inform him about this new hitch in their plans and now serious, JungDo heads off to the office, a frown on his face.



Okay, that didn’t even surprise me. I think that 38 has been pulling the surprises out of their hats so much now that I don’t even expect anything and just go along with the flow. This is the good kind of detachment, where I just trust the writer to deliver. That’s all I ever want and need my dramas to have: Writer that delivers + Actors that deliver + Director that delivers + Sound Director that delivers = An awesomely, fantastic Drama that delivers. Isn’t that just paradise?


And then it’s a ramble from here on because even I confuse my own-self.

This episode really, really was homage to all the hardworking citizens out there and a hit back to all the rich who abuse their privilege. Maybe it was luck or maybe it was  on purpose but it reflects the wave of unhappiness that the Korean people themselves have been feeling, especially with the recent Lotte scandal, the Nut Rage Scandal and the most tragic Sewol sinking. The (some, of course not all) young in South Korea are getting increasingly disillusioned, calling their own country Hell Joseon, which is such a tragedy in itself because if one loses hope, that’s the start of a rapid fall. Maybe it’s not just the Koreans who are unhappy with today’s system, since I see this almost everywhere else in the world.

Honestly, I don’t know what justice is. We’ve been told since young that fair’s fair, but… the world has never been fair, so what does fair even mean? If you really think about it, there’s a lot of dissociation between what we’ve been told and what the world actually is and maybe what we’ve been told so far – that you’ll be treated as well as you’ve lived or hard work brings rewards – is nothing but a lie that’s been told over and over again so that we don’t lose hope and keep moving forwards. But then again, isn’t that what life is all about? And maybe that’s the ultimate responsibility of governments – keeping our hopes and dreams alive, helping to unravel the potential of their people.

I’m pretty sure that JungDo and gang is doing this one con because of their belief in justice but I’m not so sure about Chairman Wang. I don’t even know where he comes from or what he does. Why is he interested in keeping justice instead of abusing his power like other rich people is beyond me and the above is perhaps my way of reasoning that out – he needs society to live in order to ensure the success and continuity of his company. I’m getting confused here. I think I’m subscribing to Bang PilGyu’s theory of why he has to go to jail, although I’m not interested in plundering the people.

I did write that SungIl hasn’t grown up enough yet, mainly because while it’s true that he’s mastered Chapter 20 in the book of cons, he hasn’t gotten yet to the chapter about the psychology of people out of the context of conning them. I might be wrong in saying this, since people are so unpredictable anyway, but I personally don’t trust Ma JinSeok. A person who’s tasted the high life is not going to be able to escape from its lure easily and be able to live a “gentle life” after that unless he has a total shift in perspective. Anger will not be enough to keep him happy eating plain rice for the rest of his life when he’d once indulged in abalones on a regular basis. He may have been betrayed and he may be betrayed again, but if Choi ChulWoo can give him that life… Do you remember what Ma JinSeok was like the first time you saw him? I remember. And that’s why I don’t trust him.

To end off, I really want to know who Chairman Wang is. He’s so mysterious and such an unknown variable – what does he do? What motivates him? Who is he? Why’d he get into jail? Why was a guy who apparently wavers in the face of justice in jail in the first place? Why did his secretary go to jail 4 times? Why? Why? Why? How’d he get caught if he was so rich?

How’d BangShil know him?

Ugh, this coming weekend is the end of this show. What am I going to do after this?

2 thoughts on “Police Unit 38 Ep 14

  1. When I first saw Ma Jinseok come out, I cheered out loud, but come to think of it, I don’t know why. You’re right, he’s not to be trusted. The previews for next week show that someone has betrayed the team, but it would be too obvious if it was MJS.

    The writer is definitely making a statement about the corruption in Korean government right now. He’s saying that even these lifelong, self-confessed crooks are better than the corrupt government officials who profess to do what’s right. Who knows, maybe he’s right in inferring that we need people to go around the law to fix things. My family knows some politicians in Korea who are good people, and watching them I can see that it’s damn near impossible to fight against money.


    1. Heh, you’re not alone. I cheered too. I was like “JinSeokie with the cheekbones!” LOL. The actor’s kind of endearing.

      There’s always the appeal of a Robin Hood like hero but that’s the thing – once you’ve got some dirt on you, you’re vulnerable to attack. And then there’s another kind of hypocrisy that I’m seeing nowadays in that people who do go around the rules but are not caught are praised as successful people while people who do the same but get caught are scorned. Of course, I’m not saying that everyone who’s got some kind of power is corrupt like how your family’s friends are good people.

      Ugh, I don’t know. The world has gone to the dogs. But then dogs are cute too…


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