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Police Unit 38: Episode 9

Our swindler has shown us many faces, but the tiny cracks in his facade give us a glimpse of something rawer beneath. The question of what’s real and what’s not becomes vitally important this hour as the seeds of doubt are planted in Sung-il’s mind, and he has to decide whether he can trust his young teacher. But man, I so badly want this…this brojusshimance to be epic. EPIC. So will the real Yang Jung-do please stand up?

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

Rewinding a bit, we go back to the performance the con-team put on for the benefit of President Bang’s daughter, Minah. Sung-il chides her for being involved with counterfeit goods, but she tells him it’s only her first time here. The “enforcers” bundle Madam Noh away, but not before she shouts Sung-il out for skimming off her himself.

Min-ah takes note while Sung-il plays his part to the hilt and tells her that the woman’s talking bats. He leaves her with his card, which identifies him as a team leader from the Cultural Heritage Administration. From the van, he watches her tuck it away. Bait taken. Sung-il grins bashfully when Madam Noh compliments him but his mood is soured by Commissioner Ahn summoning him back to City Hall.

Sung-il arrives to find Ahn chumming it up with a hoobae. He’s been newly promoted as Chief Kang’s replacement, Ahn says smugly. Sung-il’s congratulates him and notes the preferential treatment without a hint of irony. He declines to join them for drinks, and Ahn keeps prodding him about what’s got him so busy. Ugh even his voice makes me want to punch him.

Ahn tails Sung-il out of the building. He makes a quick call to a Detective Kim about how he’s about to uncover a scam. He doesn’t notice passing Sung-hee, who overhears that very snippet. She spots Sung-il getting into his car, and Ahn, eyes locked on Sung-il, getting into his.

But Sung-il’s busy on the phone with a call from daughter Ji-eun, and Sung-hee can’t get through to him. She tries Ahn instead, stammering that she needs to talk to him urgently. But he just hangs up on her, saying he’s busy.

At the Freezer, Mi-joo’s phone rings, and she does a double-take to hear Sung-hee’s voice. Frantically, Sung-hee tells her that Commissioner Ahn’s got wind of them and is following Sung-il to their lair as they speak.

Mi-joo immediately relays this to Jung-do, who stops laughing and plunges into action. Meanwhile, Sung-il enjoys a leisurely conversation with his daughter and then his wife, which at any other time would be totally sweet, but right now has me yelling at him. Ahn stays firmly on his tail, telling his contact gleefully that his scammer’s a public official.

Jung-do, Hak-joo and Mi-joo empty filing cabinets and throw all the evidence into boxes and bags. Jung-doo douses everything with paraffin, phone plastered to his ear all the while as he tries to get hold of Sung-il. Hak-joo breaks a vase (antique?), and yells in frustration.

Both cars pull up at the warehouse and Sung-il heads in, where OMG FINALLYYY he finishes his family call and gets Jung-do’s. Jung-do urgently tells him not to come—he’s got his Commissioner and the cops on his tail. Freezing, Sung-il cuts the call.

Heading back out to scope the scene, he doesn’t notice a man coming up behind him. The man tells Sung-il the other car’s been following him from City Hall, and introduces himself as one of Jae-sung’s detectives. Jae-sung wants to see him, he says, but Sung-il resists until the baby-faced cop threatens to get Hak-joo instead.

Another man intercepts Commissioner Ahn and tells him to go back quietly. Spotting the handcuffs in his jacket, Ahn realizes the guy’s a cop—another of Jae-sung’s men.

Madam Noh and the others reach the smoke-filled hideaway where a worried Jung-do still can’t contact Sung-il. Ja-wang wonders if he got nabbed by someone.

We catch up now to last episode. Through the glass of the meeting room, Jae-sung leans forward and asks Sung-il, “How much do you know about Yang jung-do?” He tells Sung-il to stop getting played by him, “Otherwise you’ll end up like me.”

After a long pause, Sung-il simply thanks him and tries to leave, but Jae-sung snarls at him to sit and listen. He tells him how Jung-do acted the fool for years just to get him behind bars. He’d set up the supposed bribe by depositing money into the account of a brother Jae-sung hadn’t even seen for twenty years.

Jae-sung says there’s no way Sung-il met Jung-do by chance, and what would make him think of such an unlikely scheme as scamming for taxes in the first place? Sung-il thinks back to their first encounters, and Jung-do’s convenient offer to get him Ma Jin-seok. Jae-sung correctly surmises that they must be after President Bang’s 50 million dollars this time.

But what does Sung-il plan to do when Jung-do dumps him and runs away with that money, as he inevitably will? “You’re not scamming with Jung-do, you’re being scammed by him,” Jae-sung says. With a hooked smile, he invites Sung-il to switch sides.

Sung-il finally returns to the Freezer, and Jung-do stops in his tracks when he sees him. Both wear solemn expressions, and Jung-do asks why he didn’t pick up his calls. Sung-il cites work, but Jung-do sharply snaps back: What work? Did he get caught by the police? Sung-il denies it, and says he’ll handle the problem of Commissioner Ahn so as not to compromise the team.

Jung-do, tone still edgy, says that he’s worried about Sung-il, not them, and orders him to be careful. “I won’t go to prison, and you won’t get fired—we have to keep that promise. Alright?” he says. With a heavy sigh, he turns away.

A flashback shows Sung-il receive a recorder from Jae-sung’s man. If he brings evidence of Jung-do framing him, Jae-sung promised to put the conman away when he gets out. But Sung-il asked why he should betray Jung-do like that. Scowling, Jae-sung had asked if he’d rather believe that fraudster, then.

Back in the present, Sung-il hasn’t moved and Jung-do sighs, sensing something’s off. Tone still subdued, he tells him that he’s been grateful for Sung-il’s help and goodwill, and tells him not to worry too much—they’re in this together. He offers a crooked half-smile and returns to his papers.

It’s Sung-il’s turn to sigh. Lit with trust, his face is almost childlike as he promises Jung-do, “I’ll be better.” Jung-do looks at him in surprise and says he’s already doing fine, but his smile is lighter when he leaves. Sung-il remains troubled, though, and fingers the recorder.

At the office the next day, Sung-hee tries to have a word with Sung-il, but he pre-empts her saying he already knows what she wants to say. But you don’t, though! Let her talkkkk! Telling her not to worry because he’s got everything in hand, he heads out.

Sung-hee’s called to Commissioner Ahn’s office. While she makes coffee, he suddenly asks, “How far do you know?” She plays off the question with an innocent face, but he points out her shaking hands. “You knew, didn’t you?” he tries again. He tells her the police are onto Sung-il, but if she gives him up, she can save herself. She considers his words, and smiles knowingly. She says she has no idea what he’s talking—

He cuts her off: “You understood.” She only smiles. He gives up and dismisses her. Alone, he concludes to himself that they’re definitely in it together. “Aigoo, what’ll I tell our mayor?” he mutters smugly to himself. Well if that ain’t proof…

The tax bureau receives an unwelcome visitor in the form of President Bang. Surveying the office, he comments on all the familiar faces, while the workers look away in barely-veiled antipathy. With a self-satisfied smile, he tells them that he’s here for his public hearing.

He catches Sung-hee returning from Ahn’s office and greets her especially by name. Her jaw sets but she says nothing. With a jovial chuckle, he lets himself into Ahn’s office where the men greet each other with loud laughs. Sung-hee tries to stay close, but Ahn, with a pointed look at her, closes all the blinds.

Going into the hallway, she tries to phone Sung-il again, but he rejects the call. Agh why you do dat, papa bear? Sung-hee bites her lip in consternation, and this time tries Mi-joo, who’s at the hideaway. Going out of earshot of the others, she answers the call uncertainly, addressing her as “unni”.

Unhappily, she passes the phone over to Jung-do, where he sobers on seeing Sung-hee’s name. Sung-hee wants to meet with him now. Surprised, he agrees. Mi-joo looks a little devastated as he makes a move right away. Taking refuge in flippancy, she asks why he’s listening so well to Sung-hee—he never listens to her. He blinks, and then explains good-naturedly that the situation is different, but she retorts asking if it isn’t the situation, but the person. Laughing, he ruffles her hair on his way out.

Madam Noh, who’s been here all this time, gives Mi-joo a keen look and comments that it must suck to give so much to someone who doesn’t even know how she feels. Mi-joo rolls her eyes and Madam Noh tells her that she can like someone as much as she wants, but she mustn’t think that that person is obliged to accept her feelings, “Because then you would be really too sad,” she finishes, smoothing down Mi-joo’s hair with a kind smile before heading out herself.

Jung-do takes a moment in his car, where it looks like he has to psych himself up for his meeting with Sung-hee.

Commissioner Ahn examines President Bang’s papers and recommends a specific law firm. Then, Ahn confides that he has something to tell Bang that he hasn’t yet reported to the mayor.

Over cold drinks, Jung-do repeats Sung-hee’s report back to her: The police are onto their scam, Commissioner Ahn and President Bang are meeting right now, and so Ahn will probably spill the beans to him? She pleads with him to stop before they get caught, but his nonchalance frustrates her. She’s concerned that Sung-il will get hurt, but he waves her worries away with far too much confidence.

His words are so glib, she remarks with an ironic smile. She wonders if he feels any sense of responsibility at all. He was like this “that day” as well, “Talk comes too easily to you. Because of that, you hurt the people around you.” He finally looks down, her words erasing his casual grin.

She gets up to leave, but he grasps her arm and she turns back. It was never glib, he says—not with her. She stares at his serious face. Shaking off his hand, she says she has just one question. Why did he do that, back then? He could’ve just broken up with her normally, but why did he have to tell her he was a swindler? Glibness stripped away, he says nothing.

At this most inopportune of inopportune moments, Ho-seok’s car pulls up to the same coffee shop. At this point, I totally expect his driver to turn out to be one of Jung-do’s people. After dispatching him for coffee seasoned with abuse, Ho-seok’s attention is caught by Jung-do inside. Oh noooo.

Just as Jung-do is about to speak up, he notices Ho-seok approaching behind Sung-hee. He groans to himself and steps past her. Plastering his face back on, he breaks out his saturi and greets Ho-seok with a hearty bellow. Sung-hee looks on bemused…and even more so when Ho-seok addresses her as Jung-do’s—or rather, Cho Hee-joon’s—wife.

Jung-do rallies quickly. Laughing for cover, he strolls up close to Sung-hee and tells her to act mad and leave. He sets the scene for her by giving her a loud rebuke, and both Sung-hee and Ho-seok stare. Jung-do pauses his rant expectantly and the silence stretches.

Finally—although not perhaps to his relief—Sung-hee asks hesitantly what happened to his appointment with the Chinese investor. Picking up the ball, he says the guy…rescheduled…or something… He trails off, adding that his word to Ho-seok was more important than a mere 100 million dollar investment.

Ho-seok gapes, and Sung-hee rounds on him. Freezingly polite, she says her husband lost a sure investor because of him. Jung-do’s grin stretches from ear to ear in admiration. So Ho-seok had better…buy him a really expensive meal, Sung-hee finishes lamely. Catching herself rambling, she cuts herself off and leaves, cringing. Jung-do nearly breaks his face from grinning.

President Bang thinks about Commissioner Ahn’s warning that he could be the swindlers’ next target. He calls up Ho-seok to ask if there’s been anyone strange around him lately. Ho-seok says no, while nearby, Jung-do gets a coffee. He ends the call with “I love you, daddy” which is, well, a little bit disturbing from someone like him. He tells Jung-do that Dad told him to be careful of being conned. Jung-do chortles.

Ho-seok wants to make it up to him for his lost investor, but Jung-do turns him down. He’d rather keep things friendly, he says. Determined not to miss out, Ho-seok pushes that he actually wants to invest for his own sake, since the returns are so good. But he puts off the rest of the conversation to tomorrow, because right now he’s got return to his waiting wife.

On his way out, he suddenly pops his head back in to say that tomorrow’s dinner should be a double-date. Ha! He’d be cute if he didn’t have impulse control issues.

Sung-hee arrives home that night to find Jung-do waiting for her. He had to talk to her but couldn’t get her number, so he just came instead, he explains. He breaks into lols again and asks why she told Ho-seok to buy him something delicious. Embarrassed and defensive, she retorts that she saved his hide, but he just keeps poking at her, enjoying it all far too much. She tells him she’s too tired for this so he should just say what he needs to say and go.

“You’re going to have to eat with me,” he tells her. She stares at him, horrified, and yells that he should have refused, “Just tell him I died!” He blames her for not leaving like he told her. The immaturity level is epic and hilarious, as he tells her he’s said what he had to say so now he’s going, kthxbai.

At his offices, Sung-il remains troubled by Jae-sung’s words not to get played by Jung-do. He stares at the recorder and finally dumps it in a drawer. Madam Noh calls to say that Min-ah’s made a move, so they should too.

At the Freezer, Sung-il tells the gang that they’ve laid good groundwork so the finish should be relatively straightforward. He instructs Madam Noh to return to their antique shop with a real and valuable antique piece of a specific glaze. Ji-yeon and Ja-wang he instructs to get a bunch of cheap stuff that looks antique.

As a woman who collects antiques to avoid paying tax, they need Min-ah to believe they’re equally unscrupulous officials. To show her, they embark on a scheme of sneaky back-door dealing, strategically in her sights while making it look like they’re hiding it. Thus, in one shop, she sees Ja-wang receive a fat envelope, while Ji-yeon stuffs one into her bag in another.

Red-handed Ji-yeon chases Min-ah down, as if to explain, but she just smiles knowingly and waves her on. We cut back to the meeting earlier, where Madam Noh had asked, after they show her their lack of scruples, what then? “Then we make friends,” Sung-il replies.

Now Sung-il emerges, valuable vase in hand. He nods at Ji-yeon and follows behind the other woman. He prepares to cross paths with her, but hesitates when he remembers Jae-sung’s warning that Jung-do will throw him away.

Shaking it off, he picks up speed, but all of a sudden, President Bang appears from a side-alley and joins his daughter. They continue in Sung-il’s direction, and he covers his face with an arm for fear that President Bang might recognize him. They knock shoulders by accident as he passes, and Bang calls at him to halt. He should apologize to an elder, he reprimands angrily. Turning very slightly so as not to show his face, Sung-il bows.

Sung-il reaches Ji-yeon and Ja-wang. He calls the operation off, and walks past without stopping. At the other end of the corridor, President Bang asks his daughter the same question about whether there’s been anyone odd around her lately, but she also hasn’t noticed anything.

Ji-yeon reports their failure to Madam Noh. Madam Noh looks thoughtful, and mentions that she spoke to Mr. Kim (President Wang’s guy in prison) earlier. It’s time to slowly shift their alliances, she tells Ji-yeon. They are swindlers, after all.

In prison, Jae-sung receives a visitor whose identity is hidden from us. He smiles widely on seeing them, telling them they made the right choice. As a public official, he’s more reliable than Jung-do after all.

Jae-sung’s warnings continue to make their relentless circuits around Sung-il’s head, against Jung-do’s reminder that the two of them have to keep their promise to each other. Once again, he finds himself at Jung-do’s door and the younger man invites him in with a grin. He asks about President Bang’s unexpected appearance, and Sung-il tells him that, luckily, he went unrecognized.

Sung-il asks Jung-do if he remembers the detective Jae-sung. But Jung-do stills when he asks if he knew the detective was in prison for taking bribes. Sung-il brings out the recorder. The detective gave him this, he tells Jung-do, placing it on the counter. He recounts in detail what Jae-sung said to him about Jung-do using him, and that he plans to throw him away. And that he’ll take Jung-do down if Sung-il brings him evidence of his frame-job.

Expressionless, Jung-do asks why he’s revealing all this. Sung-il, face creased with worry, says he couldn’t believe the detective and wanted to hear from Jung-do. Jung-do growls in frustration, but just moments later, he confirms that the detective’s got it right.

“I am using you, ajusshi” he says, eyes dark.

COMMENTS

Argh I don’t know where to start because I want to say three things at once! One, everything I was going to say about this episode just got swept away by that endingggggg hrgjghjlfj jlflarf! Two, Seo In-gook is very, very good because three, did you see how once again, there was that tiny moment where you can see him deliberately put on his face? For a character we’re constantly second-guessing, “The Real Yang Jung-do” is surprisingly easy to discern. There’s a pleasing level of meta to it too, because of course, you’ve got Seo In-gook acting the whole time and on multiple levels. First, he’s the actor playing the role of Jung-do. Add to that, Jung-do playing Jung-do-playing-a-role, which we can only discern within the context of his original Jung-do character. Confused, yet? (You’re being con-ceptioned, that’s what.)

There were three major points this hour where Jung-do was being real and it counted: when he turned serious with Sung-hee, when he told Sung-il they had to keep their promise to each other, and at the end here, this moment just before he lies to Sung-il about using him. Or…it’s not quite a lie, but it’s not quite the truth, either. It’s been clear over the course of the show that Sung-il affects Jung-do, and I think it’s worth contrasting him to Jae-sung. What’s interesting about the detective is that among all the corrupt officials, he actually isn’t guilty of his bribery charge. But he’s also a pretty nasty person, at least to Jung-do, which forms the root of the difference between the two men and why Jung-do has opposite feelings about them. Even though Jung-do is using Sung-il, he’s come to respect and care about him, so he just might not throw him under the truck…or at the very least, he’ll feel bad about doing it. At this point, I think even Jung-do doesn’t know what he’ll do.

But what I really, really love about this episode are Sung-il’s choices. Like when he tells Jung-do that he’ll do better, it’s a moment where he chooses to stand by him and believe good of him, without asking and without checking. And again at the end, I just LOVE that Sung-il brought his worries straight to the source. Not because I believe in Jung-do, but for what the act of faith towards baby bear tells us about Sung-il. You can teach papa bear to con but you can’t make him evil. I love that.

I talked last time about the hole in Jung-do’s heart, and I think it shows itself increasingly when he’s with Sung-il or Sung-hee. He might be an accomplished trickster, but there’s a sensitive little boy lurking inside who can live another way—if only the world were not so cruel. So in a way, he’s a product of circumstance. That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the game (because he does, far too much), but that in better circumstances, his energies would have been directed differently. But the implicit trust Sung-il places in him brings the little boy in him out. I actually think Jung-do deliberately sabotages himself. He wants people to think he’s a piece of crap precisely because any attachment on his part clearly endangers his whole swindler’s persona.

I don’t think we needed the love triangle aspect with Mi-joo (sigh), and wish we could scrub that out of the episode and storyline altogether. From Jung-do’s face, I’d guess that he knows exactly how she feels but feigns ignorance because it’s less cruel, since he doesn’t return her feelings. I don’t believe he’s dense about a woman’s interest in him, not when reading people is his most important skill. But these unwilling interactions Sung-hee has with him are just plain delicious, because they’re both hilarious and unpredictable, and totally wrongfoot our otherwise eternally-suave Jung-do. He’s smitten even if he’ll never admit it.

I have to say once again just how much I like Sung-hee. It’s those impish little smiles that really get me. They’re absolutely uncynical, yet everything about them says, “I’ve got your number so you can’t play me, but I’m going to enjoy watching you try.” She’s resourceful and focused, although I do think sending a text when you can’t get hold of someone on the phone is a thing people need to do in dramaland. I also feel like we got pretty solid confirmation of her relationship to Mayor Chun, but I wonder if Sung-il knows. After all, he’s such a surrogate father to her, and clearly he used to be close to the mayor.

Our villains are layered and interesting, too, their personalities suggesting quite specific histories. For example, Commissioner Ahn has these little mannerisms that make me think he was a nerdy outsider who was bullied as a kid, and who now takes pleasure in bullying others. His dogged pursuit of Sung-il, his attempts to nail down Sung-hee, his cozying up to powerful people—all of them point to an insecure man who delights in the idea of his own power. The three Bangs are also quite fascinating (and terrible). It’s surprising that someone as shrewd and clever as President Bang doesn’t expect more of his children, until you realize his vast narcissism (by which I mean the actual personality disorder) and self-satisfaction make him dangerously short-sighted. In that context, the adult kids having a child-like relationships with their father is actually not surprising at all.

Like festerfaster said, the quality of the foreshadowing in this show is really masterful, playing on the basic brain-trick of creating assumptions despite incomplete information. As much as people get conned by Jung-do in-show, we’re getting “conned” by the show itself. And that’s pretty cool, because who doesn’t love being taken for a mindscrew?

 
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jung do is adorable <3

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That entire restaurant scene was priceless ?
SIG's heart eyes should be illegal.

Please let Sung Hee in on the shenanigans writers!

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i'm also waiting for this. sung-hee needs to clear up her past pain so she can have some fun too!!

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SIG’s heart eyes should be illegal.

They really should. I still haven't recovered from this one . It's almost a relief this drama only lets us have Jung-do and Sung-hee in little bits, because if we were treated to his hearteyes too frequently, I'd probably need to go lie down.

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*sigh*

SIG should be illegal.
Both of them. Song Il Gook and Seo In Gook. *triple sighs*

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Nah, I think they should be legal and purchasable. At least by me.

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I like how you think oshi! Haha

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Thanks Saya!

I'm so pleased and amused at the organic way Sung Hee and Jung Do get thrown together, how Sung Hee somehow decides to help Jung Do much to his amazement, and how the two finally cannot ignore each other anymore, or how real their previous attachment was.

"As much as people get conned by Jung-do in-show, we’re getting “conned” by the show itself." - I really like how this is a masterful show on the masterful con and for once I'm not at all upset at being tricked! Scam me and con away!!! :D

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I lol so hard reading your comment, GB. especially this:

...Scam me and con away...

Me too! When it comes to JD, he may frisks me as well.. *winks*

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LOL! You can offer to frisk him! :D

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Oh my gosh. I love this recap. Your comments are so insightful and I really liked your reactions in between the recapping. I think it's my fav recap ever!!! Thank you Saya!

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Gahh my mind is being twisted and screwed all over. I love how their con is set-up in the show, and through the directing with interweaving shots. I realised the director/writer likes having the character explain the con as the con plays out in actuality. It's like a show and tell which is hella effective.

And I think Seo In Guk isn't an actor, he's a con artist. FOR SURE. One moment he's all like swaaag then the next he's all puppy eyes. Ugh it's so amazing.

And Ma Dong Seok is truly a bear. I love how he's so big, yet so timid. I watched him in Bad Guys, and the transformation is insane.

and Mi Joo (Real name Sun Bin I believe!) is like my girl crush. She's so cool.

Gah I just love the whole cast. Can't wait for more episodes and recaps!

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OH and this is one of the loveliest recaps I've read! (And there are many) Everything you wrote in the comments I was like YAS YAS ME TOO!! And the way you described how the whole episode played out was really masterful too (must not have been easy!) Thanks Saya!

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Re: Lee Sun-Bin
She seems to be doing well and I wouldn't be surprised to see more of her.
Asianwiki says she is 22 and has a total of 4 acting credits, all from this year. One way to spin that is that she spent 21 years learning to act and it's starting to pay off.

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For a virtual newbie, LSB is doing a better job acting than many popular A-list actresses.

Wouldn't be surprised if we see her career on a sharp trajectory going forward (other PDs certainly have taken note of her talent).

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"Madam Noh tells her that she can like someone as much as she wants, but she mustn’t think that that person is obliged to accept her feelings." - Can Madam Noh go around to all the dramas and tell this to all the 2nd leads?

I don't think there will be too much of a love triangle. Even if Mijoo is really in love with Jungdo, she seems like she has enough self-control to go the annoying "You HAVE to love me!" route. Maybe she'll settle for Hakjoo? :-)

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Mi Joo will travel back in time and become a member of a Joseon era female intelligence agency ... Oooh, actually I wouldn´t mind seeing Lee Seon Bin in a sageuk next as a female superagent.

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Saya, I have said this before and I will say it again, you write wonderful recaps. Your comments section makes me really think about what I was thinking about but couldn't exactly put in words.

SIG is taking things up a notch every episode. And MDS is adorable. I basically like everyone in the cast. And yes like you said, we did not need a love triangle, but it wouldn't be kdrama without that.

Are we sure about the Mayor and Sung Hee's relationship? I did not quite catch that!

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You are not the only one who did not notice any sort of connection :)

I might be wrong but I felt like they have heavily implied that Sunghee comes from a poor background...having a mayor as a father (or something of the sort) does not seem very working-class. Or maybe the police officers just meant that it was odd that Jungdo was with a girl that was not filthy rich and I read too much into it.

I'll try to be more attentive now whenever Mayor Chun shows up!

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I somehow feel like Sung-hee and the mayor might be related, but maybe as an uncle/niece rather than father/daughter. That might explain the difference in their social status, and makes sense if Sung-hee's parents were poor compared to the rich mayor.

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or divorced parents...

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which would explain the last name. maybe the mother distanced herself, so she had to struggle with Sung Hee, but SH stayed on good terms

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Either that or something like the Mayor ending up marrying Sung-hee's widowd mother (after Sung-hee was pretty much grown up) - don't see too much of an inkling of a father/daughter relationship, even if they want to keep things "professional" at the office.

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I didn't catch it at first either, BUT before he was the mayor, Chun worked with Sung-il as a tax collector. (I remember somebody being surprised that Sung-il had, a long time ago, been friends with the mayor. So maybe he was just a poor guy, who lucked into, or was backed by money into successful politics.

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We've had a little discussion about Sung-hee's relationship with the mayor in ep.7 (starting comment 13) :-)

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Thank you for the recap! Loved your comments, especially the implied link between Sung-hee and Mayor Chun! Hadn't caught that till you pointed it out.
I absolutely loved the restaurant scene. MORE of that, please! <3

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Yeah, I didn't catch the potential Mayor/Sung-hee relationship until it was pointed out either. Which makes me wonder what was up with that - somehow her being his daughter seems unlikely, considering she seems like she started off poor and he's rich.

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If she's related, and hiding it from co-workers, she could also be hiding her wealth from both co-workers and boyfriends. Not the first time in kdramaland.

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I have an off topic question guys. Please help this drama addict. My internet connection is having issues these days. Can you tell ne of a subbing site that has sub videos of kdramas with a lesser size? Plus if the internet disconnects in the middle , it will start right from where it stopped rather than reloading the page a million times.

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Most drama sites like dr*m*fire, myasi*ntv etc load their videos pretty fast and those don't cut out once they load. Though of course, that depends on the severity of your problem!

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Thanks pogo. I will check the latter. I do currently use the first one but it does cut. Though i agree, it mudt be because of the issue. Is there another site which has parts rather than a single full video?

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try gooddr*m* or dr*m*g*l*xy?

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Great! Thanks.

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Dramanice

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I have terrible connection issues too...
... so I binge-download when things are working so I always have something to watch when the connection is down.
Chrome (at least on a PC) lets me restart failed downloads without losing progress, so it's no big deal if a download dies 5 or 6 times -- which they often do.
An extra benefit of this approach (and a big hard drive) is that if I like a show enough I can keep it and re-watch without ever having to depend on the internet again.
Sites that let you download include
myasiantv.to,
dramacool.to,
dramanice.in.
(But don't go anywhere near dramas-cool; they try to get you to download malware)

Hi-res (720p & 1080p) files don't usually take longer to download than 360p files. Maybe they have the big files on better servers on the other end???

PS: my connection has gone down & back up twice while I was writing this and trying to post it. Thank you, cable company.

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It's funny how this show that does not focus on a romance is actually the one with my favourite ship currently in dramaland. I just love the build up of Jungdo and Sunghee's relationship and I am eager to see more of their past (even if it is just a glimpse).

The look Jungdo gave Sunghee while she was lying to that man-child for him made me all gooey inside. You could read his adoration all over his face. It means so much that he couldn't control his expression at that moment considering he is someone whose whole life revolves around "wearing masks".

I love all the details put into showing the scams. The writer is really good at keeping us on our toes and feeling like we are "in" on the plans just to eventually realize that we have been kept in the dark on certain details.

I love this show so much!

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It’s funny how this show that does not focus on a romance is actually the one with my favourite ship currently in dramaland.

Same here! I think the fact that the show lets us have things between them only in very restricted bits just whets my appetite for more. The simultaneous 'oh crap' expression on their faces when they realised Bang Ho-seok had caught them, and then Sung-hee acting like a really polite but put-upon wife, it was just perfect. And the million things still bubbling under the surface on both of them.

Like I said below, I'd wondered how Sung-hee was going to enter the picture con-wise, but never thought she'd go in headfirst as Jung-do's wife!

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what´s more is their conversation, after the initial surprise, started seeming natural and obvious, as if it wasn´t that hard to assume the roles of a married couple. as if it was something they´d played out in their minds before and now searching their memory to repeat it. thats´something there.

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I know, right?! They just fell into the roles of a longtime bickering couple without even needing to make much of an effort about it.

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When romance is done well it isn't the focus of the show to start with. It's always best when it burns slowly and then brightly.

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Totally agree! Sort of like the X-Files (Mulder and Scully), The Office (Jim and Pam) and Harry Potter (Ron and Hermione); at least in my opinion.

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X files was my favorite until they stretched it thin. It was interesting until there was tension.

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I agree and ship them so hard too.

Love how sunghee is an unintentional part of the con now. But I love how jungdo is when she's around the best. I hope we delve deeper into their story.

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whatever happens, Jung Do and Sung Il must stay friends. I will never accept anything between them :(

that scene with Sung Hee and Jung Do´s eye movements and his smile just melt me. How can he be like this, and then all foreshadowing the next moment? which one is real? Is the "con artist" also a role he has had to assume?

playing such a layered character is what Seo In Guk was born to do. But he does it with scary, vigorous realism that I get shaken. he is convincingly cute and innocent, and then he is just as convincingly rebellious, cunning, threatening... which one is the realest? I cannot tell.

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but seriously what use is for Papa Bear to hide his face when his body shape is something you´d recognize even behind a thick curtain?

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And then you have to think, is Seo Inguk real? Maybe he's really a chaebol jerk in real life and has been ACTING the growing-up-poor, easygoing guy we see on variety, and this is all part of his plan to take over the world. Which, come to think of it, I don't think I would mind.

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plausible. I would believe anything, and yet I wouldnt trust a thing at this point. because he is so dangerously slick that if he told me - as Seo In Guk or as Seo in Guk playing Jung Do [playing a swindler] or asa swindler playing Seo In Guk or whatever, that there is a pink elephant sitting in a tree, I would look out of the window to see it.

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ALLL HAIL EMPEROR GUKKIIIE!

Whatever he wants...

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Yes, at this point I'm more worried about the team than about everything blowing up in their faces. But you can't hurt teddy bear ajusshi, Jung-do! Thank goodness Sung-hee's there to stick up for him.

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I read somewhere recently (sorry - can't remember where), a comment by another actor - or PD - that Seo In-Guk was the most natural actor anyone had ever witnessed. His natural body movements and facial reactions are like he ISN'T acting - just being real in the moment. This is momentous talent - truly innate in its preposterous excellence. WOW. I say this knowing I will reveal my age but I was in the drama department at Vassar College when Meryl Streep was there. We were in several plays together. Not only is she a wonderful person, her acting was so awesome even back then that the rest of the cast would sit on the stage with our mouths open watching her rehearse. We knew we were in the presence of greatness - and it proved true. I feel that same reaction when I watch Seo In-Guk. What a glorious career he has ahead of him - and all of us will be the beneficiaries of it!!!

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Wow, you were in plays with Meryl Streep? That's so awesome. *bows 90 degrees*

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@ lunatic4kd

Yeah lunatic4kd, that's the way I feel when I watched Meryl Streep (friends said long ago I looked a little like her! LOL) in her movies. She totally becomes the character she plays and all of her own quirks are subsumed in the role. She's one of the most convincing actresses I've come across. And you got to act with her!!! :D

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Hi @GrowingBeautifully - the photo you sent me through email when we were conversing as HealerBeanies tells me you certainly DID look a lot like Meryl. I was going to mention it to you then!
Anyway, the coolest thing is how sweet and funny a person she is in real life -she always showed up for rehearsals with a tin of freshly baked cookies or a pizza from our favorite off-campus pizza place. She was generous, kind, caring, humble and screamingly funny. I don't think we've ever seen her comedy talent fully explored.
But back to Seo In-Guk. Isn't he just awesomely amazing in this drama????? Fun to be back in the DramaBeans thread with you. Always fun!

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Same here dear @lunatic4kd, always lovely to read you and see your unmitigated enthusiasm and love for all things K-entertainment.

And yes, Seo In Guk has impressed me greatly since The King of High School Savvy, and is even better in this show. Here's to happy watching with you!

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Meryl Streep?!!

I'm mind-blown by both the comparison and the fact that you actually saw her live all the way back at the start of her career - not many people have that privilege! That is such a compliment to SIG indeed...

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you know, there is this song that starts playing in my head when I watch Jung Do twirl everyone around his finger without them knowing. it is in estonian but it translates something like

"Because you´re ir-re-sistible
this is unbelievable
I somehow agree to everything again.
All that comes your way
cannot be cured of getting addicted
you have irrefutable power."

"Vastupandamatu" aka irresistible is the name of the song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A47DijMNU-c

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"coffee seasoned with abuse"

lmao I'm dying @the accuracy of that line. If I were the driver, I'd be hoping it gave him severe indigestion.

At this point, it's pretty clear we're on a ride, though what isn't clear is why Jung-do has now got his game face on for Sung-il. I have a feeling Jung-do has some kind of Xanatos Gambit up his sleeve, and that part of it depends on him Dumbledoring Harry - oops, I mean Sung-il - into believing he really will be sacrificed on the altar of their con.

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Also, we've been wondering for a while now just how Sung-hee would get drawn into participating in the con since she was so principled and hated Jung-do's guts.... but how it came about is a stroke of brilliance.

She wouldn't have actively participated in the con of her own volition, but neither was she about to implicate her chief - and I LOVE that it's basically fate that forced her hand into supporting the con by pretending to be Jung-do's wife (and the look on his face.... he could not be more obvious that he wouldn't mind it being real).

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They can really go crazy with this show. There is an infinite amount of possibilities on how the story will go since everything could be a con. For all we know, Sung Hee is the greatest con artist of them all or Jung Do is actually an undercover official posing as a con artist to gain the trust of that guy in prison. So many scenarios swirling in my head.

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ROFL Jung Do was so so so so sooooooo pleased. Hahahaha. The look on his face was so similar to the one he got when he first got the surprise of meeting her at the freezer. It was as if he knew they'd meet again at some point (a grand plan?) just not at THAT point at THE freezer. That smile of his, obviously so pleased with fate. Hahaha. Precious.

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The expression on his face as he watched Sung-hee talking to Bang Ho-seok.... that was somewhere between ridiculously pleased to get her in this situation, and proud husband.

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Yes. With sprinkles of hearts. Ahhhhrghhhh

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This drama continues to blow me away!!!! Twist upon twist upon twist! Kudos to the writer and director and awesome use of awesome cast. Simply - WOW!!!!!

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Thank you Saya for the wonderful recap! Am with you on the mind-f that is this drama and how the writers keep us all on our toes. I'm constantly guessing Jung-do and his motivations, yet somehow Sung-hee manages to put a slight crack on his façade. SIG is so good - Jung-do maybe my favorite bad guy to root for after Min (meta!)

I'm most worried about Sung-Il and how he will keep up with all these swindlers around him. I like the parallels and contrast with Sung-hee, on how she is trying to do the right thing after being "swindled" by Jung-do while he does the opposite to get after guys that evade the rules.

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I feel like Commissioner Ahn is a frustrated ventriloquist. Notice how his lips barely move and his teeth stay closed when he's talking?

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ROFL

bahahaaa

BUT WHY????

and where is his doll

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LOL

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Omg yes!! I kept thinking there was something a bit odd about the way he talks and that is exactly it!

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lmao mary, you nailed it -- I kept grasping for the right way to describe him. Every time he gets all smugggg I want to just punch his face in. Oh wait, I already said that.

It's actually even more appropriate, because he's a wannabe puppeteer, but he's BAD at it. Frustrated ventriloquist, indeed!

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NOOOOOO now I cannot unsee!

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You guys have been so quick with the recaps to catch up! Thank you for all of your amazing hard work.

This episode was fantastic, particularly Sunghee's part in it from trying to help Sungil, to playing the angry wife, to the "Just tell him I died!" bit. She has a point with the last; couldn't her "wife" character have ended up struck by a convenient truck of doom? Just imagine Jungdo trying to explain it to his mark through crocodile tears.

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dont jinx it with the truck

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Oh god that better not be a foreshadowing of some sort.

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We've steered quite clear of the usual kdrama tropes here, I think (hope?) we're safe from Truck of Doom!

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Thanks for the great recap Saya.

Glad to know that I'm not the only one thinking there's probably more to the driver than merely serving as a doormat to the evil chaebols. I can't really explain it but ever since he was shown I had a strong hunch that he's playing a bigger role in the overall story than what we've been shown so far.

By now everyone knows that Bang senior and junior are bad guys (no pun intended), why the necessity to show them treating their staff like crap again and again? Often times the driver also serves as a henchman to Mr. Evil which is not the case here and they basically neglect his existence while scheming and plotting in the backseat.
To emphasize Bang's self-complacency? Maybe, but IIRC the driver's reaction was also shown here and there for a second. And if I've learnt anything watching this drama then it's that every seemingly minor scene and character is relevant.
Either that or I'm just paranoid. Lol

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oh you mean like our swindlers´ plan and Jung Do´s separate plan aren´t the only plans in action and there might be several agendas with a multitude of agents at work criss-crossing with other agents and agendas? and the driver is some kind of an agent?

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at this point, if the driver *isn't* something, I'd be disappointed!

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Wonderful, wonderful review Saya! ??

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Omaigad... I couldn't stop laughing during that little wife-husband ruse. I absolutely love the way Jungdo watched Sunghee fumbled for a lie like she was the most interesting woman he has ever met. And how come he sound so petulant with her?? Aaahhh, too much cute..

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I couldn't stop laughing over the "you need to have dinner with me" ruse. How in the world did she deduce that he meant 'dinner' with Ho Seok and not just "to eat with him" that night. They are totally on the same wavelength! Like a 10-year old couple, they finishes each others' sentences which is uhmayzing given they've already been separated for 6 years! And the bickering! Sooo cute. Like 6 yrs of absence never happened. And his "the neighborhood hasn't changed much" is so metaphorical of how they, at least the way they respond to each other hasn't changed much at all.

I love you writer-nim.

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When he said "You need to eat with me", there was a bit of a cut in the editing and the next part is Sung-hee reacting violently. I think he explained what he meant but the cut is to highlight her hilarious reaction.

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Thanks for the wonderful recap, Saya!

I looove, love Jungdo and Sunghee. Jungdo has too many fake face that he put everytime he con people, so when we see him so genuine with Sunghee, it was wonderful. He finally let his true feelings come out. He even called her "Gashina", like... yes! I'm waiting for a whole four years to hear him speak that word again in a drama hahaha.
About Mijoo, I actually knew she must've been feel something for Jungdo, deep down, since that episode when Sunghee came to the warehouse for the first time. She quickly looks at Jungdo reaction. And I think it's natural for a human being like her to like someone she's close to, she trusts in. We never knew about her family, but that time when Jungdo says to Sung Il that she's actually nice, it's just her heart is broken, means, that Jungdo knows her so much and care for her, and because of it, Mijoo likes him. I don't think the "love triangle" will take over the plot to the point of annoy us, and Mijoo is not the evil second female lead who will try to destroy the OTP. It's all very lowkey.
My love for Seo Inguk is getting stronger and stronger every year.

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Yang Jung Do should meet Lee Min and have sme coffee together. There's nothing more terrifying than having Two most dangerous - and extremely smart and attractive Psycho villains working together.

And they can resurrect The Bromance once again.

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Gah, I spazzed so hard over those scenes after the episode aired so I feel like I am really repeating myself but damn it, JungHee couple is the best :D.
As a lot of people pointed out, you can tell that Jung Do is really smitten by her and it is just so cuuute. The way he looks at her, so full of love. It is just so cuuuute. (Okay, I am repeating myself but cant help it ! I need to find someone who will look at me like that, duh).
I really like how at the restaurant, we went from serious conversation between two ex lovers to a hilarious married couple con. Sooyoung and Seo In Guk are really killing it :)
So yeah writer, I need moooore. Weirdly, they are the best romance in KDramaland for me those days. The fact that those scenes are so rare in the drama makes me crave for more I guess. Okay, I surrender so now moooore !

And yeah, Sung Hee is awesome (no wonder JD fell for her). I am aware that some people found her annoying at the beginning because she acted like a "party pooper" but thanks to the recent episodes, it seems more and more jumped ships so yeah, more love for SH, haha. No but seriously, I just love how she doesnt take BS from anyone. She is not only a smart woman but confident and with a lot of wits. Plus, she is adorably hilarious. I wonder if she was also like that in the past with JD and so, even if she tries hard to act cold and indifferent, she cant help it when she is with him :)
So yeah, JungHee couple all the way ♥ !

And I dont think Mi Joo is really a threat or part of a love triangle. JD clearly doesnt feel anything other than a sibling like feeling for her. Well, the writer can always screw with us so never say never, huh.

About Mayor Chun, it is certain he is related to SH. It is too weird and frankly, I think it will be kind of a let down if he turns out to be her uncle instead of her father. The latter is so much more impactful in my opinion. At the same time, maybe it is too easy to guess they are father/daughter so another twist could totally awaits us. I love and hate it so much XD.

And yeah, I can understand BSI in that episode. Even if the corrupt cop is bad, he does have a point : why trust a con artist ? I am not saying JD is bad but he has clearly an agenda of his own so even if he feels something sincere for BSI, he is the kind of guy not to let that disturb him. So not a really trustworthy person, ha.

Thanks a lot for the recaps and comments :D. I really enjoy reading them (especially when someone mentions Sooyoung or Sung Hee XD)

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Saya, I really love the way you put this series beautifully into words! Often times, I thought, ah, that's exactly what I wanted to say.

Like, "did you see how SIG deliberately put on his face?". So true! It's those tiny hints from his eyes, his lips, his shoulders, his arms, even the way he does with his tongue that speaks a lot on his emotions and his reactions. That's why replaying scenes with SIG feels will never be enough because you will always find something new. Well, that is maybe just my justification to enjoy his beautiful face more and more.

That said, I LOVE the restaurant scene so much. SIG and Sooyoung are truly hilarious together I was lol-ing a lot. PD-nim may give them the least screen time together, but they still successfully sell the romance, beautifully and organically.

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aaaw poor Mi-Joo! so she's being doing all that not just for money, but also for Jung Do. apparently, Jung Do already knows how she feels - remember the time JD introduces her to Sung-Il? he says something like "she's like that because she's been hurt emotionally". oh man. it wouldn't have been nice not to have this love triangle, but, you know, it wouldn't be realistic. after all, who wouldn't fall in love with the criminally attractive Jung Do? huhu.

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I just had a wild thought! And I'll repeat it in recap comments of episode 10 when we get there because I want to see how many of you agree with me. What if this entire swindling career of Jung-do's since he got out of prison is to win Sung-Hee back and make it up to her for what he did? I'm getting "Thomas Crown Affair" vibes from this drama. Will we see an ending like that? How wonderful would it be if all the twists and turns add up to Jung-do proclaiming his love through clear intention and plotting all the way through?

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nope. that would be a very simplistic view. there is definitely a bigger agenda.

I am more inclined to believe Jung Do himself is being played by some big tycoons and they are using him. Hopefully Sung Il and Sung Hee and the Team will find figure it out and free him.

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I also think JD is being conned himself. In a previous episode the chairman in prison or Mr. Kim(?) said that JD thinks he's still on it or something along those lines. My money is still on the driver. lol ;-)

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...And that’s pretty cool, because who doesn’t love being taken for a mindscrew?

Yes, you're right. Who doesn't indeed? This drama is simply wonderful to watch and addictive.

Thank you for the recap, Saya~!

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LOL this comment reminds me of that time I did confused Song Il Guk and Seo In Guk. Back when I decided to watch AM1997 without knowing any of the actors, I read that the male lead is Seo In Guk, but my mind kept telling me that it is Song Il Guk, and I was like "but he's old, how can he play a high schooler?" but that thought still lingered in my mind when I was about to start watching AM1997. Turns out it is actually a different person with the name Seo In Guk which in a few episodes later, I fell in love with.

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This comment supposed to be a reply for Gaeina Lee about Song Il Guk and Seo In Guk but I dunno why it is here

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I know this is a mistake, but I'm cracking up @the thought of the triplets' dad playing a high school student :D

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Dropping a comment before reading other comments.

1. Mi Joo's love triangle part is necessary for the plot. To explain why, however, would be much like a spoiler.

2."Jung-do takes a moment in his car, where it looks like he has to psych himself up for his meeting with Sung-hee." I also think he's psyching himself over Mi Joo's transparence, but mostly he's thinking about meeting Sung Hee. It took me forever to move on from that scene as it took me forever to move on from your sentence, saya.

3. Seo In Guk. It's crazy. It's reaaaaaaallly crazy how he manages to convey honesty as jung-do. And yet because he's jung do, i still feel like baek sung il and am doubting. Gaaaaaahhhh!

This weeks episodes are the best so far.

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Seo In Guk is amazing with facial expression and emoting with his eyes, especially when Mijoo confronts Jungdo about his willingness to go to Sunghee when she calls but not her, and when he watches Sunghee jumping on his bandwagon to play his wife. Honestly those two moments were some of my favorite in this episode, along side that small assuring moment between Sungil and Jungdo. Amazing really.

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Really on point commentary by Saya (kudos!).

Mi-joo having feelings for Jung-do is hardly surprising and I don't mind this "love triangle" as MJ's feelings play a role and this LT isn't the focus (plus, MJ isn't the type to let her feelings for someone and the subsequent rejection become the focus of her life and the determinate factor in how she acts.

One the other side, while a part of me thinks JD is a bit nuts for not reciprocating MJ's feelings, can see why he had fallen for Sung-hee (it's that "little boy" in him that's attracted to a goodie-two shoes like SH, and not MJ, who is alike JD in too many ways).

The remark about SIG acting coming in many layers (acting as JD acting in various con-man roles/personas) also holds true for the other members of the gang.

In a way, this reminds me of Tatiana Maslany in "Orphan Black" - not only acting as a # of different clone characters, but even acting as a clone (in disguise) acting as another clone (where you can see that TM doesn't merely act as the other clone, but changes a few little things so you know she is acting like a clone acting like another).

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The thing is, Jung-do and Mi-joo could be an absolutely amazing couple..... but in another drama, not this one. I would love it if these partners-in-conning really did become a couple, but not while Sung-hee is around. And you're right that Jung-do probably is most drawn to her because of her straight-arrow nature (and yet she never comes off as insipid and sanctimonious).

The mention of Tatiana Maslany reminded me of Grace Park in Battlestar Galactica, where she also played clones (long story), and occasionally played one of them impersonating another - for a segment where they were introducing yet another new character played by her, the makeup team said they wouldn't even have to do much since she'd end up differentiating the characters through the slightest shifts in body language and expression.

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Ah, Battlestar Galactica. Remember marathoning through all the seasons; loved that show. That's a good comparison; Grace Park was great in that role.

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That entire ensemble cast was flawless- Grace Park was a touch green at first and it showed, but by season 2, she was tearing it up. There was so much greatness in that cast, it should have been hogging all the Emmys.

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all these cons give me so much life <3

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