Lies, lies, lies, full of lies. Conmen tell lies and lies are bad. but why do I feel so heartbroken that they’re leaving already?
Police Unit 38 Episode 16 Final:
Before Mayor Chun even called SungHee, JungDo and SungIl had met up with BangShil and MiJoo, where JungDo had shared yet another of his own plan with BangShil, one that hasn’t even been passed through Chairman Wang. She looks at him for a moment, and then agrees to it and he tasks MiJoo with helping BangShil with this operation.
SungIl stops them before they leave and tells them that if anything unfortunate happens, they’re free to flee and live their own lives. This operation’s a big one, with big consequences, because even then, JungDo hadn’t come completely clean to them.
Once the ladies leave, SungIl worries about JungDo getting hurt, obviously knowing more than JungDo had told them and JungDo flippantly asks, “so what”. He’s a conman after all.
Outside, BangShil tells MiJoo to think well about her escape route, because she knows that this operation has a huge chance of failing.
In her car, JiYeon asks her mother what she plans to do and BangShil turns that question back on her. JiYeon replies that whether as a daughter or as a secretary, she thinks that doing as per Chairman Wang’s orders is the right thing to do. BangShil sighs an agreement, repeating those words. What does that even mean?! A betrayal?
From City Hall, SungHee calls and tells SungIl that Mayor Chun knows about the relationship with JungDo and we’re back to the moment we left off last episode.
JungDo himself gets a call and he heads out, without even telling SungIl anything. He rushes into his car.
Choi ChulWoo gives JaeSeong his money and JaeSeong tells him that Bang PilGyu killed MinShik. The one who covered it up was Mayor Chun GabSoo.
MiJoo walks off, thinking about BangShil’s words and refuses to pick up her phone, which was from HakJoo.
HakJoo and JaWang are currently in the hospital eating, or at least trying to eat in JaWang’s case. HAHAHA, JaWang has such difficulty eating that HakJoo has to help him, albeit very unwillingly and carelessly, Pfft.
JiYeon meets with a reporter while MiJoo walks into some building. At the same time, BangShil gets a call in her own office from Chairman Wang, telling her to cut ties with JungDo. She says that she’ll do that, but in reality, she meets with the reporter that JiYeon had called over.
While SungIl sits in HakJoo’s office, just pleading that nothing goes wrong, JungDo’s words about waiting until he’s called plays over and over in his mind. At the same time, BangShil tells her reporter that the tip she’s giving right now will aid in catching a conman. What? This better be a con! I mean, you just met him earlier that same day! You can’t turn on him so fast! Or ever!
JungDo goes to meet with Secretary Kim and makes a fuss outside Chairman Wang’s meeting with Commissioner Ahn, indignant that he’s not allowed a meeting with Chairman Wang. Commissioner Ahn hears that and asks Chairman Wang if he’s just going to ignore him. Chairman Wang reluctantly sniffs that it’s a fate that’s already ended, putting Commissioner Ahn back at peace. Secretary Kim’s security even punches JungDo in the stomach to make him shut up.
JaeSeong tries to make another deal with Choi ChulWoo, asking for another 5 million for tantalising information about Yang JungDo. Choi ChulWoo thinks that Yang JungDo is beneath him but JaeSeong tells Choi ChulWoo that Ma JinSeok hasn’t even spilled JungDo and SungIl’s names yet, meaning that there’s still nothing to pin them to the cons they’ve been doing and so they have nothing that can send them to jail and out of their sight.
Choi ChulWoo understands and decides to take the deal. However, JaeSeong wants that money right now in cold hard cash, since that’s the only thing that’s trustable. Choi ChulWoo gives in and gets it from his loan shark people, the people that JungDo had talked about when he and his gang were discussing Choi ChulWoo’s profile episodes ago, touching the dirty money that he never once publicly touched.
He then calls the Police Commissioner and confirms that Ma JinSeok isn’t saying anything. He passes the phone to Sa JaeSeong who speaks to Ma JinSeok directly. He tells Ma JinSeok that he got the 10 million proper this time and Ma JinSeok asks what he should do now then.
JungDo leaves the failed meeting with Chairman Wang and goes off, driving faster and more nervously with each second.
Ma JinSeok gets told to spill and so he tells the Police Commissioner that he’ll tell him who ordered him to pull the con. EESH!
JaeSeong throws his car keys at Choi ChulWoo’s secretary and orders him to move the money over because it’s too heavy for him to carry himself. Before he leaves, Choi ChulWoo says that he’s just lending him the money for now. It will come back to him anyway, so be careful, always. He then calls Mayor Chun and says that he has something surprising and brings up Kim MinShik. That gets Mayor Chun’s attention and he demands to know where Choi ChulWoo is now.
The Police Commissioner walks out of the interrogation room with his team of detectives just as JungDo gets a call from someone, confirming that he’s on his way… to somewhere. SungIl sits in HakJoo’s office, just waiting and waiting, completely anxious. Ma JinSeok gets released from jail and asks the person he’s calling where he should meet him.
Apparently, it’s JaeSeong that he calls, while the guy is still loading up on the money. The money properly loaded, JaeSeong decides that he’s too rich right now and gives Choi ChulWoo’s secretary a $50 bill and pats him on the back. The man doesn’t do anything, though he must think JaeSeong a vermin for he rolls his eyes so hard I fear they’ll drop out.
And JaeSeong drives off, creepy smirk on his face.
Police Commissioner and his men arrive at HakJoo’s office, where they arrest SungIl for his part in the con as revealed by Ma JinSeok. He asks where JungDo is but doesn’t get an answer and so he puts SungIl in handcuffs and takes him away.
JungDo watches all this in a car nearby, near tears with frustration. He never reveals himself, only watching SungIl get taken away, but he follows after the police cars as they leave.
Mayor Chun arrives at Choi ChulWoo’s office, angry but also nervously contrite, and asks just how much he knows. Choi ChulWoo replies that he knows that Bang PilGyu killed MinShik and that he’d covered it up. In return for his silence, he wants Seowon City and Mayor Chun’s life returned to him.
JungDo stops at a roadside, to get to JaWang’s place. Huh? He planned something! He did! He searches the premises and calls JaWang, asking where something is, who doesn’t know why JungDo wants whatever it is he’s looking for. Eventually, JungDo finds the object he wants and he peels out of there.
SungIl undergoes interrogation with Police Commissioner who demands to know where Yang JungDo is but he remains quiet on that issue. He asks the Police Commissioner if he’s working for Choi ChulWoo and increasingly agitatedly blusters that public officers like them should be working for the people who pay their salary with their taxes, not for a few rich individuals. The Police Commissioner laughs in exasperation.
Commissioner Ahn is still with Chairman Wang in what must be the longest lunch ever and agrees to Commissioner Ahn’s request for “donation” to Mayor Chun’s campaign. Commissioner Ahn suggests all sorts of round-the-bush ways of sending that money over, like a book publication event of all things, but Chairman Wang waves that all aside. He’ll send the money directly in cash. He’s a businessman after all. He calls for Secretary Kim and asks how much money he has right now and calls to have all of them taken out right now. Commissioner Ahn is taken aback by the abruptness, but he welcomes it without question.
Mayor Chun begs Choi ChulWoo to release him, because he wants to be a great mayor, and even gets on his knees but Choi ChulWoo just remarks that he’s already a good mayor. To him. He dismisses Mayor Chun coldly.
Sa JaeSeong arrives at his meeting with Ma JinSeok and they’re both full of smiles. But Ma JinSeok’s smile melts the moment he finds that Sa JaeSeong didn’t bring the money as Sa JaeSeong has decided to go back on his words to split the profit in half with Ma JinSeok. He even threatens to have Ma JinSeok locked up again if he dares rebel. Huh, Sa JaeSeong really doesn’t give the money and just tells Ma JinSeok him to live a good life. Ma JinSeok surprisingly just takes that betrayal calmly, only cursing Sa JaeSeong out.
On his way out, Sa JaeSeong calls someone out to treat him to wagyu beef and tells the guy to call him Chairman Sa from now on. Lol, I should be disgusted with his behaviour but why is this so amusing instead?
In the interrogation with SungIl and the Police Commissioner, SungIl doesn’t make any excuses for his actions but asks the Police Commissioner to hear him out.
Chairman Wang wonders how Commissioner Ahn will deal with the Maseok-dong land and Commissioner Ahn replies that he doesn’t have to worry, sure that he has Choi ChulWoo under his thumb now. Chairman Wang tells Commissioner Ahn to pass his car keys over and they joke about expanding his small car trunk, where the illegal money will be going into.
Mayor Chun sighs in his car while Commissioner Ahn leaves with Chairman Wang watching over him. He confirms the boxes in his car and drives off.
In her office, SungHee gets a call on her personal mobile phone. She hesitates to pick it up but ultimately does anyway. It’s from Mayor Chun, calling himself “Appa”. He laments that he thought that he only needed to deal with the devil once, but now he realises that taking that deal meant having weights chained to his legs for life. He asks her yet again what kind of mayor he is, but he interrupts her and mutters, in a moment of complete self-awareness, that if he were a good mayor then she wouldn’t have held those conmen’s hands. He apologises for disturbing her and she interrupts, calling him Mayor Chun. But he just tells her to work well and cuts the call. Aw.
SungIl tells the Police Commissioner everything he wants, who just asks if that’s the truth. He wonders what SungIl wants him to do now. SungIl just tells him to do his job – the job that he should be doing. He’s giving the Police Commissioner a chance now.
Commissioner Ahn pays Mayor Chun a visit and says that he’s persuaded Kim SangJin, or rather, his big boss. Mayor Chun just sighs that Choi ChulWoo knows everything and Commissioner Ahn steels himself and rapid-fires all the ways he’ll take care of it. Mayor Chun lets his anger boil over and with a defeated slam to the table, he wonders just how far they have to go for everything to end. Commissioner Ahn says that they should go to the very end. Mayor Chun agrees, though he suspects it’s just so that Commissioner Ahn can get to be vice-Mayor.
Commissioner Ahn is back to his composed self and before he leaves, he tells Mayor Chun to hang in there. The Seowon city that he wants to show Mayor Chun – they still haven’t seen it yet.
BangShil waits in her office and Chairman Wang comes in. He asks when something or someone will be released and she says now. “So fast?” is his reply.
The Police Commissioner ponders in his office while Choi ChulWoo plays Baduk. Mayor Chun rubs his forehead and even Commissioner Ahn looks deep in thought while driving.
MiJoo walks into a random store and asks to watch the news.
Sa JaeSeong opens his car boot to find it empty and at the same time, news reports on the television screens all over Seowon city announces that it has been revealed that Chun GabSoo’s party accepted $10 million in illegal contribution. It’s even revealed that that money came from Choi ChulWoo and that part of it came from Choi ChulWoo’s underground activities. Pfft, it even announced to the entire world that Choi ChulWoo owes the city upwards of a $100 million.
A flashback to the past shows BangShil speaking with the reporter, offering to give him a tip about the real conmen in society. At the same time, MiJoo had arrived at the police station, ready to report some illicit activities.
In the present, Sa JaeSeong gets caught, without even knowing what hit him.
Pfft, JungDo watches the news in his car with Ma JinSeok. There’s no bad blood between them and as Ma JinSeok makes to leave, JungDo tells him to play nice from now on. Miracles happen because Ma JinSeok laughs that he’s a changed man.
And then, JungDo’s whole con is unravelled in spectacular fashion.
JungDo had set Ma JinSeok on Sa JaeSeong’s tail and had learnt that Sa JaeSeong had gotten some money from Choi ChulWoo. Ha, the thing which JungDo turned JaWang’s office all over for turned out to be an illegal device that lets him copy Sa JaeSeong’s electronic car key’s electromagnetic frequency. JungDo then used that on Sa JaeSeong’s car and transferred Choi ChulWoo’s money himself to his own car while Sa JaeSeong was busy in the coffee shop with Ma JinSeok. He’d then brought that money straight to Commissioner Ahn’s car. To the innocent public, that just means that Choi ChulWoo had given Mayor Chun money through Commissioner Ahn, using Sa JaeSeong and JungDo as brokers.
In one fell swoop, all the baddies are caught, although it means that JungDo also gets implicated in the crime with no legal ways to escape.
We get another flashback to when JungDo was explaining his plan to BangShil and MiJoo. MiJoo and BangShil had been told about the entire plan, everything from Chairman Wang playing double-spy to requiring a second broker. MiJoo had asked who’d take the fall as the second broker and JungDo had lied that he’d bought someone for it. Urgh, my heart, it breaks.
He never buys anyone to do the dirty work for him, and in his interrogation with the Police Commissioner, SungIl reveals why. It’s because for the whole plan to stick, they need an informant from within the “ring” that transferred the money. And JungDo’s planning to be both the fall guy and the informer. That’s how far they had to go to even touch those weasels at the top.
In the present, the Police Commissioner sighs, thinking back to SungIl’s words to show those bastards up and to show the people whose side the law is on. The rest of the gang watches JungDo’s face shown clear on the news and while MiJoo curses under her breath and BangShil reels, JaWang and HakJoo are completely confused, since they never even had a clue.
The Police Commissioner makes his choice and calls for SungIl’s release.
In a bittersweet meeting, JungDo crosses paths with SungIl along the corridors of the police station. SungIl apologises but JungDo says that there’s nothing to be sorry for. He’s a public official while he’s a conman, so it’s natural that he should go to jail. JungDo even comments that while he couldn’t keep his half of their promise, SungIl should keep his and remain an employed public official. They then go their different ways but JungDo turns around suddenly and asks SungIl to take care of his father when he comes out of jail because there’ll be no one else he can rely one. He thanks SungIl, calling him “hyung” and turns to go. *Sobs*
SungIl himself has tears in his eyes, and he keeps looking back at JungDo, but JungDo walks on, resolute.
Mayor Chun stares at a still of JungDo on the news on his TV, with the captions below blaring that JungDo has admitted to the whole story about the money transfer and he gets a call from Choi ChulWoo who demands to know how he’ll clean it up. Mayor Chun says there’re 3 ways – First, he can throw Commissioner Ahn under the bus and save himself, or Choi ChulWoo can come clean about what happened 8 years ago and abandon Mayor Chun while he saves himself or, thirdly, they can all just die together.
He asks Choi ChulWoo what he should do. Choi ChulWoo prefers that neither the first nor third method goes through, meaning that he’s willing to cut Mayor Chun off. Mayor Chun mutters that he thinks differently and he slams his phone down.
Choi ChulWoo calls for his Police Commissioner dog and his secretary mutters that he’s uncontactable.
JungDo goes in for interrogation with the Police Commissioner and the first thing he says to him is “long time no see”. He wastes no time and admits that he took the money, from Choi ChulWoo to Mayor Chun, through Sa JaeSeong.
SungIl goes to Mayor Chun’s office and laments that in the end, this is how it ends. Mayor Chun asks why he thinks that way, when there’s no evidence on him, still believing that there’s nothing to pin it to him. SungIl says that JungDo is now in interrogation and mutters that it’s all over now. He turns to leave after a deep bow.
Mayor Chun calls out “SungIl ah” and then stands to rise. He says that he has something to say and comes clean about MinShik not committing suicide. From the horses’ mouth, once again, it’s confirmed that Bang PilGyu was the one who killed him and Mayor Chun who covered it up.
SungIl just sighs that he knew it too.
Mayor Chun stares at him, shocked that he knew and shocked that he stayed still anyway. SungIl admits that he’d wanted to punch him but couldn’t because he had something to do – he had to finish what MinShik started.
SungIl calls “Hyungnim” to return back to where he was long ago. Back then, he was cool.
And then he leaves with yet another deep bow.
Mayor Chun finally sheds tears and he gets a call from SungHee. SungHee chooses the most heart-breaking moment to reply to his question of what kind of Mayor he is. She says that he was really consistent, from how he treated her mother to how he’d treated the city. He was a really bad husband to her mother and that’s why they had no choice but to leave. She pleads him not to make Seowon City and the people in Seowon City like her mom.
By the end of the day, Mayor Chun is completely drained.
He calls for a press conference and in narrative, he tells SungHee to get all the taxes Choi ChulWoo owes them.
In the press conference he admits to everything in the news report and even more, like how he’d held Choi ChulWoo’s hands all those 8 years while he was mayor, having believed that it was the way to make the people’s lives better. But now, he knows that it’s all a lie. Sacrificing his conscience and doing things illegally won’t achieve that.
Commissioner Ahn watches the news in his car and helplessly informs his wife that he’ll be home late tonight. He then laughs in defeat, sighing, knowing that his high flying career is no more, not after he’d betted on the wrong horse.
And then Mayor Chun officially pulls himself out of the election.
SungHee bursts into Choi ChulWoo’s room and announces that her tax collection team will be starting the search and seizure right away. Her team carries out their work while Choi ChulWoo sits resolutely in his chair, finally a lame duck.
Time passes and as Choi ChulWoo plays baduk alone outside, SungIl comes to join him, both smiling at each other, one in victory and one in prideful but helpless defeat. SungIl has become chief again and says that he’s here to say something. But Choi ChulWoo’s has paid all his taxes already…? That’s not enough, because he hasn’t heard heard it officially spelled out yet.
SungIl: “Local tax of 9.27 million dollars and national tax of 91.72 million dollars, for a total of 100.98 million dollars. Your total tax of 100.98 million dollars… has been paid in full. It took you a while, huh.”
And then he leaves, like a badass.
The tax department is back in business and SungIl looks hilarious in his white shirt. The news talks about yet another money dump at K University, which had suffered from a corrupt director. No one knows who threw that money, but rumour has it that the director had been a victim of a real estate scam recently.
Pffft, as SungIl walks towards the TV, his subordinates all look at him, like they know that it was his work. He shares grins with SungHee, while the news compares the recent happening to what happened to Bang PilGyu years back.
BangShil watches the news and grins at her daughter. So do MiJoo, Hakjoo and JaWang in HakJoo’s office. Aw, the little family unit didn’t break up!
Meanwhile, JungDo has his lunch in the jail canteen that he shares with Sa JaeSeong. Sa JaeSeong gets a nasty glint in his eye and stalks towards JungDo, knife in hand. He’s stopped by… SungIl? What?
HAAAAAA!!!! Nope, he gets stopped by Park WoongCheol, actor Ma DongSeok’s character from the writer’s previous drama, Bad Guys, heeee!!!!
Park WoongCheol punches Sa JaeSung straight in the face, delivering a blow that sends him rolling over a table. JungDo turns around to see this Park WoongCheol and in surprise, utters, “SungIl hyung!”
Park WoongCheol thinks he’s crazy and JungDo hears from the guards running over to break up the fight that the guy’s name really is Park WoongCheol.
“Aw, I was so close to getting out!” gripes Park WoongCheol.
Police Unit 38, over and out. The End.
AWESOME! I just- AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, let me let it out first. IT’S SO AMAZING I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! IT’S JUST WONDERFUL, AWESOME, FANTASTIC, CRAZY, APT, AMAZING, TOUCHING, DAMN GOOD, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! I AM NUTS HERE BUT
In a corner of my heart, there’s now a shrine for writer Han JungHoon and a side shrine for Ma DongSeok, Seo InGuk, Song OkSook, Heo JaeHo, Go KyuPil, Lee SunBin and Choi SooYoung. And then a smaller shrine for all the rest of the bad guys, where Ma JinSeok with the cute cheekbones sits front and center. Hee.
Fine, JungDo in jail was a bit sad but lol, but that’s a logical conclusion and I’m actually surprised that the writer went there, regardless of whether he’s in there for a short stint or a long stay. And how hilarious was it that Ma DongSeok reprised his role as Park WoongCheol from Bad Guys in there. PFFFT, the meta, I cannot.
Still, to see SungIl JungDo’s plan take off, and Choi ChulWoo taken down a notch or maybe 100 million notches lower is so, so damn invigorating and refreshing.
I’m pretty sure that 38 has had its off moments like every drama out there, but for me, I don’t remember any one. This is gonna be placed right up there in the crystal cabinet of the Best Dramas I’ve Ever Watched.
I like how 38 paces its story, going fast and furious when they’re in the middle of a con, like how real cons happen and pulling back during its set-up episodes, which it also uses to breathe life into its characters and I basically adore how it converged from outright slapstick humour and little cons from here and there to becoming the writer’s/a true statement to society with such a heart-warming purpose driving the gang. And they even stay together after the con!
Sure, not everything is explained, like what actually happened to JungDo’s mother, who the heck is Chairman Wang and how in the world did Ma JinSeok turn over a new leaf? The latter is like the greatest mystery in the universe to me, because it just flies in the face of my understanding of people. I maintain that for people to change like that, there has to be a complete perspective change and I want to know what that was for Ma JinSeok.
Still, this was a pretty darn good show, from writing to directing to acting to sounds. JungDo would never have been so charming and adorable if it wasn’t for Seo InGuk’s suave and cheeky portrayal and he wouldn’t have been so relatable if Seo InGuk couldn’t look like a fragile piece of glass, about to shatter into smithereens when it counts.
We wouldn’t have been with Baek SungIl all the way, if Ma DongSeok hadn’t been able to pull off the floundering teddy bear act or if he hadn’t been able to show the steely resolve of a quiet, patient person livid and furious at the injustice of today’s society. He’s like the embodiment of the saying “still water runs deep”.
Of course, we wouldn’t even be one with the gang if even one of them hadn’t played their roles well and took us out of the moment. I don’t ever think there was a moment when any one acted out of character when the cameras rolled, even when they were just in the background as a blurry figure. It’s wonderful that every one of the team members are professionals in their own right and them working together was a true collaboration rather than one where JungDo dictated and they just did their jobs like brainless minions. Even this episode, JungDo never dictated them. He conned them. Each one had their own quirks and personality, and the writer actually shows that by giving them little moments that spoke about them without ever needing anything distracting like an exposition narration, and each one was a master in his/her own right. When the gang gets into action, it’s not a one-man-show but a six-(wo)man-show and that makes it all the more wonderful.
I loved that the women in this series were strong, from powerful and rich BangShil, to independent MiJoo to righteous SungHee to Bang Shil’s daughter Choi JiYeon who barely has any lines whatsoever but is still able to show that she’s not someone you can bully and it’s interesting that at the beginning of the series, she was always outside HakJoo’s office, waiting for her mother while in the latter end of the series, she’s actually in HakJoo’s office, listening to all their plans as part of the gang.
In fact, in that episode where Ma JinSeok reappeared, BangShil left the room while she still stayed on. Come to think of it, they never explained why JiYeon speaks so formally to her mother, even when they’re alone. Is this a hint that there may be season 2? Because I would really like that you know.
The bad guys themselves are no limp, wilted vegetables themselves and are either awesome to hate, scary with their self-confidence or downright creepy. I think special props goes to Jung InKi, or whom I personally call Gapdong, for playing his character Sa JaeSeong downright hateful, with those nasty smirks that sends goose bumps down my spine. Of all the characters in the story, I want to strangle his neck the most. Ma JinSeok is adorable, the end, though I think it was more the actor’s cheeky portrayal towards the end. Kim HongPa aced his role as Bang PilGyu, the dog on a power trip and Lee HoJae was insufferable as Choi ChulWoo, the one who believed he was invincible.
Ahn NaeSang pulled off his confused and well-meaning but ultimately corrupt Mayor Chun role perfectly and Jo WooJin played Commissioner/Director Cha amazingly despite only debuting in 2011 through the movie Mama, playing him simply corrupt in the earlier half and then revealing his real crocodile-like character in the latter half. If they were real people, I’d be more scared of Commissioner Ahn than Mayor Chun any day, because he’s a smart guy, with little to no scruples when it comes to getting what he wants. He’s deeper down the rabbit hole than Mayor Chun when it comes to becoming corrupt while having good intentions (of sorts).
Of course, side characters that went off too early like Oh ManSeok as Park DeokBae, Lee HakJoo as Ahn ChangHo and Kim ByungChoon as Kang NohSeung were well played, never spoiling the world of 38 where we escape to every Friday and Saturday. Also, I think the writer really likes inserting his actors’ names into the names of his characters. See Lee HakJoo. He has the same first name as our conman HakJoo and I always get confused between Ma JinSeok and Ma DongSeok and I have no idea how many times I have written Mayor Ahn, because Ahn is actor Ahn NaeSang, Mayor Chun’s, real family name but the Ahn in the drama belongs to Commissioner Ahn, his right hand man. See how confused I got?!
Sigh, I should end this soon. Long story short, I’m going to miss Police Unit 38, with its twists and turns and I can’t believe I’m saying this but, I want the conmen to come back.