38사기동대 Ep 4
Just as Jung Do and Sung Il are about to wrap up the Noh Deok Gi sting, Sung Hee – who has followed Sung Il – calls the police to report a fraud. She warns Sung Il to run if he doesn’t want to be arrested along with Jung Do, but he won’t leave and tries to explain to her that this is all part of a set up to get Ma Jin Seok.
The thing is, Sung Hee doesn’t want Sung Il to be involved with Jung Do and knows that he is being used even if he doesn’t know or believe if himself. The police haul off Jung Do and Sung Il in handcuffs. Things are looking bad.
Never underestimate the backup plans of a con artist. It’s called thinking outside the box. Gold and Burner easily grab the bag of money left behind at the house. Wallet and her assistant provide the getaway car as Jung Do slips down the police station hall and motions to Sung Il to follow him. “The car is here,” he tells a bewildered Sung Il, and they hop in. While Sung Il tries to wrap his mind around what’s happening, the rest of the con team congratulate themselves on a job well done.
As for Mr. Noh, the con team tells him that if he wants his money back, he has to cooperate, as in work with them to get Ma Jin Seok. He downs a Bromo-Seltzer at the indigestion of it all.
Sung Il and Sung Hee talk over drinks. He wants her to understand that he’s taking this route to get Ma Jin Seok. Even Commissioner Ahn is covering for Jin Seok, he tells her. Still, she wants him to back off; she is worried that he might get hurt. Sung Hee realizes how important it is to Sung Il to succeed in getting top tax evader Ma Jin Seok. It is a matter of far-reaching honor and pride since the halls of justice have let him down. Still, Sung Hee wants to make Sung Il’s life easier and at the same time get him away from Jung Do. She is determined to get the six million that Ma Jin Seok owes by the law for Sung Il’s sake.
Jung Do has followed them and waits outside the restaurant. When Sung Hee comes out, he greets her: “You can drink.” She coolly replies, “I can now.” Jung Do feels awkward. He asks when she started working for the government (after all, she studied art, he reminds her). She stiffly tells him that it was because of what he did to her. “Police officers stick to the law,” she tells him. Their exchange is short and, considering how he treated her in the past, unfriendly on her part. She also wants to protect Sung Il. “If we see each other, don’t even say hi. You disgust me,” she ends the conversation and walks off.
Sung Hee asks a supervisor in her office to up the profile of Ma Jin Seok’s case in order to catch him. The tax team meets and reviews the details and puts a high priority to go after him with the heavy arm of the law and arrest him.
Meanwhile, Jung Do outlines his team’s plan to also go after Ma Jin Seok. Alternating scenes reveal the two teams’ strategies: one by the law, the other by fraud – both have the same outcome in mind. It’s Sung Hee and the law versus Sung Il and the creative thinkers.
Sung Hee wants to prove to Sung Il that the law can be on the right side and work as it should to catch the thieves. But money is power and Ma Jin Seok has all the money.” When The tax team storms his house they are barred by his bodyguards. And money. It is an unsuccessful raid.
When Sung Hee returns to the office, Commissioner Ahn shows his corrupt colors and strongly discourages her from pursing Ma Jin Seok.
Here’s a twist that’s hard to decipher: When Wallet returns to her office, she has a visitor waiting. It’s Sa Jae Sung – the detective supervisor who met with Jung Do after he got out of prison and told him to stay clean. But it doesn’t feel good that he has trailed Jung Do and Wallet.
Jung Do proceeds with their real estate plan to get Ma Jin Seok. But there’s yet another glitch he didn’t see coming: Wallet steps back from the deal and tells Jung Do to use the real estate manager Noh Deok Gi. Jung Do doesn’t want to bring in an outsider but she is firm about being out. (She must want to distance herself from Jung Do after the visit from Sa Jae Sung for both their sakes. Or she hopes to force him to stop this dangerous swindling because she knows Jae Sung wants Jung Do to mess up so that he can bust him.)
Now Jung Do has to figure out what to do next. He barely gets home when the doorbell rings. It’s Sa Jae Sung. Jung Do is visibly nervous. Jae Sung is pushy and obviously holds something over Jung Do’s head. He may have more on him, but he definitely has something on Jung Do’s father, referring to him as a corrupt cop.
He makes Jung Do uncomfortable, slapping and taunting him. Then with a strong slap across the face he tells Jung Do that he’s on to him, but even if he locked him up now, he wouldn’t get much fanfare. If he’s going to break the law, do something big, okay? Sa Jae Sung and Jung Do’s father, were they once partners? What happened? Jung Do is shaken by his visit.
With Wallet out, Jung Do has to change plans. The scam team meets. They line up a new strategy: Ji Moo gets a job at the golf simulation club where Ma Jin Seok plays. Keyboard and Burner set up remote controls that Ji Moo can use to rig the game. With a rigged game, unlikely golfer Sung Il is ready to bait and scam Ma Jin Seok.
Speaking of Wallet, there is a scene where she may have second thoughts about dropping Jung Do. The politician on the air professes his commitment to the citizens of Korea. It sickens her, knowing that the average citizen is heavily taxed with no breaks while the wealthy are sheltered by the politicians. “Even though I’m rich, I don’t like it. It’s not fair,” she tells her assistant.
Sung Il shows up at the golf club and acts like he is casually playing a game. When he gets an Albatross (thanks to Ji Moo’s remote control action) he makes a loud announcement to get Jin Seok’s attention. Jin Seok is surprised to see the likes of Sung Il there. Sung Il acts surprised to see Jin Seok. The idea is for Sung Il to make Jin Seok think that he is a pushover. Jin Seok lays on the insults to push Sung Il’s buttons and to make sure he knows his place. “Kids with rich parents and kids with poor parents study in the same classroom. Equality is not a good thing.” Sung Il holds it in and responds, “Why don’t you compete with me?” Jin Seok snickers. But Sung Il uses his weaknesses to challenge Jin Seok. “I’d like to buy a car with your money. Are you in or not?” Jin Seok asks, “What are you going to bet?” Sung Il says that if he loses, he’ll give up coming after Jin Seok for back taxes– he will let him go. Jin Seok is sure Sung Il is a sucker public servant pushover. It will be like taking candy from a baby, but the stakes for Jin Seok are high and, positive that he is going to win, bites the bait and agrees to play for $1000 per hole. “Keep your word,” he tells Sung Il. “Let’s do it,” Sung Il shoots back.
It’s game time: why are Jin Seok’s shots so off? And how are Sung Il’s shots so on? Towards the end, Jin Seok becomes suspicious and looks over at the customer counter. He thinks he sees Ji Moo with something in her hand. She drops the remote into her soda just in time to avoid getting caught. Jin Seok pays up – says it’s like giving money to charity anyway. Sung Il says he’ll treat him to a meal; after all he can’t really take betting money as a public employee. “Let’s have a nice dinner. We’re friends now.” The golf win was only a stepping stone to winning Jin Seok’s favor and to lure him into bigger and better things.
Still playing the bumbling pushover, Sung Il casually takes a fake call and carries out a conversation loud enough for Ma Jin Seok to overhear. “No, I failed to get the money. Yes, I’m interested in the Hwaseong New Town thing. It’s a great opportunity to invest, big profits expected….” Sung Il plays dumb and spills information about his “friend” who has inside info about this property investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true. Noh Deok Gi is with Jung Do on the other end of the phone; in return for getting back the money he was scammed out of, Mr. Noh (Jin Seok’s real estate manager) tells Jin Seok that the Hwaseong deal is a sure investment, “it’s supposed to be a bonanza,” with a return five times the initial output and to go for it.
Ma Jin Seok is in hook, line, and sinker and asks Sung Il, “Should I invest in that?” He wants to meet with Sung Il’s “friend” in Hwaseong City Planning and offers to give Sung Il a cut for the tip. Sung Il arranges for a meeting in a couple of days.
In other matters, Sung Il bumps into Commissioner Ahn who tells Sung Il to take some time off. After all, his hearing before the Disciplinary Committee is scheduled and it doesn’t look good. He smugly tells Sung Il to prepare for dismissal. Sung Il, who has nothing to lose, tells the Commissioner that he is pretty sure he was the one who tipped off Ma Jin Seok that the team was on their way over to search the house. When Commissioner Ahn is brazenly unapologetic and unashamed about how he lives, Sung Il calls him by his first name, “Tae Wook, what happened to you?” But the Commissioner only replies, “Worry about yourself.” Yes, the Commissioner has turned to the dark side and likes the benefits. He promises to stick it to Sung Il so that he can never stop foot inside city hall again.
Next day Ma Jin Seok stops by Sung Il’s workplace and wants to meet the Hwaseong City friend today. He is suspicious that things are working out so smoothly. Sung Il feigns ignorance but Jin Seok, paranoid wealthy businessman that he is, is concerned that someone may be setting him up; it’s happened before. The way he takes care of that, he tells Sung Il, is to rearrange the appointment. If it’s a real deal, there won’t be a problem. If it’s fake, they won’t keep their word. Sung Il tries to hide his nervousness but this is throwing a wrench into the works. He stalls by saying that he’s at work and can’t take off just like that. Ma Jin Seok won’t take no for an answer, grabs Sung Il by the arm and says, “Let’s go.”
Sung Il calls Jung Do and wakes him up. Sung Il has to make it sound like a legit conversation and get Jung Do to assess and figure out the situation. “We are on our way to where you work, Hwaseong City Hall. Mr. Ma wants to meet.” A sleepy Jung Do mumbles that the meeting is the day after tomorrow. “He thinks he better talk to you today.” Sung Il must be thinking, C’mon Jung Do, pick up my meaning here. After a bit Jung Do jumps out of bed, eyes wide open now. “He changed the plan?” Sung Il tells him they’ll be there in an hour and a half. Rats.
In the meantime, Noh Deok Gi isn’t going down easily, not by those swindler punks. He calls Sa Jae Sung at the police station to report fraud and names Jung Do.
Jung Do jumps into action. Unprepared for this change of meeting time, he needs to move fast. He calls Keyboard and tells him that they’re dead if they mess this up. Suddenly the notorious truck of doom slams into Jung Do’s car and it spins out of control. Jung Do is hurt.
- This episode is packed full of connections and developments. It’s amazing what close ties the government officials and con artists have. Lawful lines are very blurry. Sung Hee is the only still with faith in the system and that may already be shaken. Still, she abhors Jung Do and his ways and wants to protect her friend and co-worker, Sung Il.
- I do like Wallet. I don’t like Sa Jae Sung. Good guys? Bad guys? Those generalizations don’t apply.
- The unpredictability and changes in plans makes me nervous. I’m sure that’s the thrill of the con game, but frankly, nothing has gone by any of original plans. It’s a tricky game of dare and risks.
- Wallet – I think she stepped out not because she is afraid of Sa Jae Sung but because she wants to protect Jung Do. Having done so, I think she is having second thoughts about stepping out because of her reaction to the news broadcast she saw. Taxes and protection for citizens? Nonsense. They only tax the small people and give breaks to the wealthy and their corporations. It’s not fair. Even though she is rich, she thinks the politics behind it stinks.
- I’m wondering about Jung Do’s father. Was he really a corrupt cop or was he set up and took the fall for Se Jae Sung? And what does Jung Do know about the real story of his father’s imprisonment?
- Will Jung Do make the meeting?
- There’s a glitch at every turn – Noh Deok Gi’s call, Ma Jin Seok changing the appointment, accidents – can’t everyone just get an hourly job on the up and up, pool their money, and live happily ever after?
- Seo In Guk makes this kdrama fun, thrilling, and oh so watchable (*grin*).