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Police Unit 38: Episode 13

Patience is a skill that all the best conmen need to master, and it’s a virtue that is tested in our scammers repeatedly on this show. As we hurtle towards the final week of bad guys pitted against the truly evil, we try to keep up with the master swindler and his canny crew, and enjoy the ride with the sure knowledge that our own patience will be rewarded with an explosive payoff.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Sung-il testifies in court against Jung-do, and the judge sentences him to ten years in prison. As a betrayed Jung-do is escorted away by the guards, he looks at Sung-il, who grimly stares back. In a flashback, we see that when Jung-do assaulted Sung-il in the police station and pushed him behind a desk, he used their split second of privacy to tell him to find Chairman Choi’s real stash of cash, and to survive by selling Jung-do out.

Two years later, Sung-hee visits Jung-do in the penitentiary. They smile at each other, and Sung-hee says she’s there to tell him something. It’s about Sung-il. Things have gotten progressively worse for him since the incident with Jung-do, she says. He’s even confided in Sung-hee about what really happened between him and Jung-do, and what they planned to do once Jung-do gets out.

Jung-do first focuses on Sung-hee and tells her bluntly that her father, Mayor Chun, could be hurt when he carries out his plan. He knows that she has hated her father since she was a child and lived apart from him since her parents’ divorce, but wonders if she would be all right watching his career be ruined.

Sung-hee tells him her mother’s words about Mayor Chun, that he was the worst husband but still a great man. Sung-hee says regretfully that her father has not been a great man for some years now, and when she thinks of all the people he used his power to hurt, she feels that this is only right.

Jung-do doesn’t argue and finally asks what Sung-hee meant about things being bad for Sung-il. Sung-hee explains with a heavy sigh that he’s changed back to his old self. The scene cuts to the city hall tax office and we see that Sung-il has become quiet and reserved. He’s been demoted to Team Leader, and just doesn’t seem to care much about fixing the system anymore.

Section Chief of Division Two, Commissioner Ahn’s hoobae, now spies on Sung-il for Mayor Chun and takes special joy in demeaning and talking down to him. In turn, Sung-il does as little work as possible in office, while being very apologetic for everything. One of his erstwhile juniors, Investigator Kim, who is now the Section Chief of Sung-il’s old division, watches with growing despair and anger.

When an old man comes to the office, Sung-il looks annoyed to see him again. He’s the elderly owner of the small neighborhood restaurant where Jung-do and the crew would hang out two years ago. It’s obvious the old man comes repeatedly in the hopes that Sung-il would help him with something, but Sung-il is almost callous in how he refuses to listen to the man and escorts him out of the office.

Division Three’s Section Chief Kim gently takes his old boss to task for being cold-hearted to the old man. When Sung-il protests that he doesn’t have any power to help him, his old hoobae tries to explain that even if they can’t help the people who seek them out, they should at least listen to them.

He reminds Sung-il of Park Sang-ho — the man who committed suicide in desperation two years ago — and asks him how he would feel if the same thing happened to this old man. Sung-il’s mind brings up Sang-ho’s death with crystal clarity, but he just says that it has nothing to do with him, so he doesn’t care.

Mayor Chun meets Chairman Choi and assures him that Sung-il has been living a quiet, colorless life. They move on to discuss a poor neighborhood they’re planning on redeveloping, and Mayor Chun voices his qualms about forcing out poor tenants to the streets. Chairman Choi, who has already bought all the buildings in Maseokdong, has no patience for Mayor’s Chun’s sudden attack of conscience.

He tells Mayor Chun that he’s followed the law in acquiring the land, but the mayor says this is not about the law but about human rights. Chairman Choi reminds him of the upcoming election, and piously states that he always followed the law and will continue to do so. If Mayor Chun has any objections, the chairman challenges him to take action according to the same law.

The mayor leaves and Chairman Choi gives his waiting goons the order to drag out the resisting tenants and demolish their shops and homes. We see the elderly shop owner, who had gone to Sung-il for help earlier, sit crouched in a corner with his granddaughter while goons intimidate them and trash their only source of livelihood.

Sung-hee meets Mi-joo and tells her that Jung-do is being released on parole early. Mi-joo finds the shortening of a ten-year sentence to two years bewildering, but Sung-hee doesn’t know how Jung-do managed it either. When Sung-hee asks for her help in gathering the old crew, Mi-joo is skeptical about them wanting to work with Jung-do again, but agrees to try and convince to them. She asks why Sung-hee is doing this instead of Sung-il, and Sung-hee just says that it panned out this way.

Sung-il continues to be obsequious in the office. Section Chief Kim, irritated by his servile behavior, tells Sung-il peevishly to address him with honorifics now that he’s in a senior position to Sung-il. Sung-il immediately addresses him in jondaemal and the new Section Chief looks more annoyed than ever.

Outside the department, Sung-il walks past the old man standing in lone protest against the redevelopment of his neighborhood. Sung-il ignores the man when he calls out to him, but stops a little distance away when he notices the mayor talking to the old man. The mayor takes him by the hand and promises earnestly not to let the greedy violate his human rights.

Then the mayor walks into his office and makes a call to Chairman Choi. He tells the chairman that he’ll be holding a meeting with the residents of the neighborhood under redevelopment, and hangs up. The chairman smiles to himself and says that Mayor Chun is a crocodile.

Mi-joo meets with Hak-joo, Ja-wang, and Madam Noh to convince them to work with Jung-do, but none of them are interested. She points out that though he lied to them, he also took all the blame for their crimes and went to jail. Ja-wang says he’s enlisting, Madam Noh tells her that there’s no profit in it for her, and Hak-joo tells Mi-joo to stop helping Jung-do just because she likes him.

Mayor Chun arrives at the site where the residents of Maseokdong have gathered with the media to have their voices heard. As the mayor walks towards the gathered protesters lobbing questions at him, Chairman Choi sits in his lair and orders his goons to get things started. As the residents wait for Mayor Chun to say his piece, a few of the chairman’s goons, dressed as protesters, take positions amongst the people.

The chairman explains to one of his minions that the mayor is a crocodile, who would never let go of his food. Even though he hunts, says Chairman Choi, there is never any blood on his own hands. At the protest site, one of goons throws an egg at the mayor, and starts a panicked stampede amongst the protestors.

Mayor Chun turns around and walks away in silence, looking disappointed by the residents’ behavior. The elderly shop owner gets pushed into one of the cameramen and knocked to the ground. When the air clears, the police arrest him as one of the troublemakers.

Sung-il and Madam Noh both watch the news where the mayor’s egging gets exaggerated with every telling and by the final version, the anchors are narrating a tale of bodyguards fending off angry citizens from mauling the mayor. Madam Noh recognizes the elderly man and asks Ji-yeon to look into what’s going on.

The mayor gets back and calls Chairman Choi. In a voice of outrage, he asks if the chairman was responsible for what happened. The chairman admits that he was, and asks if he misunderstood Mayor Chun’s phone call earlier. Mayor Chun insists he went there to speak to the Maseokdong residents peacefully, but Chairman Choi cuts through his righteous indignation, and asks why the mayor informed him about the meeting unless he wanted the chairman to do something to disrupt it.

Chairman Choi tells the mayor that he’ll let him pretend to be the “nice one” and take the moral high road, so long as he wins the next election, and they can keep helping each other out.

Jung-do reads about the incident in a newspaper, and decides to put things in motion. He borrows a phone from a prison guard — who looks at him like he’s an adorable scamp — and makes some calls. The first is to Madam Noh, and then to Mi-joo, Hak-joo, and Ja-wang. They tell him that they have nothing to gain from joining his fight, but Jung-do says there is something: The rich and powerful, who ignore the laws of the nation and look down upon its citizens were scared, for the first time, because of them.

He points out how dire the situation at Maseokdong must have been for the protestors to react the way they did. Jung-do reminds them that while they were scammers, there were people out in the world who did real evil and prospered without facing consequences. By the end of one inspiring speech, Jung-do manages to do what Mi-joo’s efforts had failed to before: He gets the crew back together.

When Jung-do gets out of prison, Mi-joo is waiting for him with a smile, and he teases her for not bringing him anything. He thinks she’s joking when she doesn’t even have a cigarette for him, but she swears she quit smoking and he pets her on the head like he’s proud. A moment later, Hak-joo, and Ja-wang pull up and Ja-wang bear-hugs Jung-do, and even Madam Noh comes by, and almost looks pleased to see him again. Back at the Freezer, the crew assembles so Jung-do can give them the low-down on Chairman Choi’s business practices.

A part of his income comes from the large network of loan shark companies he owns, but Chairman Choi is careful not to invest any of his profits from there in other businesses. Our scammers can’t touch his lending business, so Jung-do turns his attention to the chairman’s other big source of income: Kukjin Construction. This company was originally called Woohyang Construction, Jung-do explains, and was a subsidiary of President Bang’s Woohyang Group. Afterwards, that company had changed names several times and become hard to trace, he says.

The scene cuts back to Sung-hee’s visits with Jung-do in the prison, where she brought him all of this information. She told him that about a year ago her team went after Woohyang Construction, when they learned that this was a previous avatar of Kukjin. Unfortunately, Woohyang had done an excellent job of getting rid of all connections with Chairman Choi.

This led Jung-do and Sung-hee to realize that while the chairman was all right with cutting off connections with other Woohyang-related companies, there was a reason he protected Kukjin Construction. It has been dormant for a while, says Jung-do, but recently woke up and acquired the development rights to Maseokdong.

Madam Noh asks who heads this company and Jung-do says it’s President CHA MYUNG-SOO, the chairman’s left hand, while President Bang was the right. They analyze profit reports and realize that while President Cha had embezzled and stolen some money from the company, it wasn’t very much. Mi-joo concludes that President Cha is very scared of Chairman Choi. Jung-do gauges that he must be a man with a lot of pent-up anger.

They come upon a character whom Jung-do had scammed early on. Director JO SANG-JIN was the man who had genially advised Sung-il to leave Ma Jin-seok alone and collect taxes from the “ants.” Turns out that he is a school friend of President Cha’s, and is now Kukjin Construction’s new CFO. Jung-do speculates that Director Jo’s accountancy firm must have tanked, forcing him to take a post with Kukjin.

Sung-hee put away her notes and gave Jung-do one final bit of information: Commissioner Ahn now works as a director at Kukjin Construction. She advised Jung-do to be careful of him. With that, Sung-hee said that she’d done all she could, and now it was Jung-do’s turn to do what he’s good at.

The crew absorb all the information, but then Hak-joo points out that something is missing. Mi-joo and Ja-wang pipe in that something is missing. Jung-do looks around confused and asks what could be missing. Mi-joo just says that it’s someone who used to be by their side but isn’t anymore.

Jung-do tells the crew that Sung-il is back to being his old bland, watered-down self again. Then Jung-do grins and adds, “I hear that’s how he’s living now…just to fool the City Hall people.” In a flashback, we see that when Sung-hee first visited and told him about Sung-il, she explained that he had to live this way.

She told Jung-do that Sung-il ignored injustices, endured insults and the misjudgments of his coworkers, all to lull City Hall into complacency, so that when Jung-do got out, Sung-il could work with him. We see that Sung-il had been diligently working to gather the information Sung-hee brought to Jung-do, in an effort to keep the promise he made. Madam Noh observes with admiration that Sung-il has been living a con for two years.

Sung-il stops by the elderly man’s restaurant to find his young granddaughter crying all alone. Sung-il hugs her and is beyond upset to see what’s happened to the restaurant. He then visits the old man in prison and apologizes for not helping him before. He explains that there was a reason for his silence, but that he wouldn’t ignore what was happening in Maseokdong any longer. With tears in his eyes, Sung-il tells him to rest, and promises to bring justice to the people who did this to him.

Outside, Sung-il finds Jung-do waiting with a car for him. They smile at each other and Jung-do pats his shoulder affectionately before getting in the car. While driving, Jung-do tells Sung-il that they can’t go after Chairman Choi directly since he’ll have his guard up, and Sung-il agrees. Then, Jung-do asks Sung-il what they should do.

Sung-il looks at him in surprise, and Jung-do explains that Sung-il is doing this for justice while it’s personal for Jung-do. “I got caught because I followed my emotions,” he says, and asks Sung-il to “be the navigation system, while I be the driver.” Aww, right in the feels. Sung-il seems to have thought this through already, and he tells Jung-do that they should focus on people instead of the taxes, which would just flow back into the pockets of the rich, so long as Mayor Chun is in power.

In the Kukjin Construction offices, a man turns up and Director Jo is pleasantly surprised to see him. We don’t get to see his face.

Sung-il and Jung-do share a bottle of soju and discuss the Maseokdong project. Jung-do tells Sung-il not to worry too much and that he’ll put a stop to it by destroying Kukjin Construction. Sung-il asks what he intends to do about Mayor Chun, and Jung-do says that they can’t target him since the mayor knows them. Instead, he says with a smile, Chairman Wang will be the one conning him.

Chairman Wang and Secretary Kim come out of prison and are greeted by Madam Noh, Ji-yeon, and a battalion of bodyguards. Secretary Kim asks where the press is, and Madam Noh assures him that a conference has been scheduled. She asks where they should take Chairman Wang first, and the chairman enquires with a keen look: “Yang Jung-do. Where is he right now?”

COMMENTS

So much to unwrap here. First, the long con that Sung-il pulled off over two years. I realize how impressive it is, but I feel just a little depressed for my poor ajusshi. In effect he spent two years in a prison of his own creation. After betraying Jung-do — no matter that it was pre-planned — I suppose this was only natural. Not just because he had a promise to keep, but because he felt like he had to share Jung-do’s punishment.

There’s also this consistent inevitability in the way he keeps getting targeted by the Commissioner Ahns and Mayor Chuns of the world. It’s not enough that he’s quiet and meek, he has to be properly trod upon to be acceptable to them. Something about Sung-il’s innate goodness clearly rubs these hypocrites the wrong way. It’s not enough that he’s going about his job, causing no trouble, they have to demote him and use a spineless worm to humiliate him daily. This hurt especially in the light of how much his team respected him before. His hoobae’s disappointment in him is truly heartbreaking, and I hope the man gets to realize that the Sung-il with principles is still very much alive in his old Section Chief.

I’m glad Sung-hee’s parentage is clearly out in the open now. I almost got the feeling that the show got tired of hinting at it and just threw it out as an exposition bit to be done with it. It’s certainly an angle rife with angst if someone like Sung-hee has been watching her father’s corrupt practices for years and losing all respect for him. I fancy that the mayor knows this and is jealous of Sung-hee’s relationship with Sung-il, who is as close to a father-figure as Sung-hee has likely ever had. Perhaps this is why he had “protected” Sung-il two years ago, but simultaneously ensured that every vestige of what Sung-hee admired in the man was stamped out.

Mayor Chun has fascinated me from the very first episode. I just couldn’t get a clear picture of the man. I love that the show made him opaque, because unlike President Bang or Chairman Choi, the mayor doesn’t have enough self-awareness to know that he is evil. We could all see his guilt and consternation as people got hurt and he reflected on his inability to protect them. It just turns out that he never really tried, because as Chairman Choi puts it: A crocodile never gives up his food. He made excuses for his own inaction and mouthed tripe platitudes to the victims. He reasoned that he couldn’t move against his rich patron, since that would result in him losing his office. In his mind, I guess, Mayor Chun has convinced himself that he has to stay mayor for the good of Seowon, ignoring the truth that he just likes to wield power.

The crew was surprisingly easy to get together again. I have to admit to a slight disappointment there. Especially with Madam Noh, since their last conversation had such a tragic lilt of finality in it. But it turns out “I won’t call you till I die,” just meant “I won’t call you till I’m done with prison.” That they all fell under Jung-do’s spell is completely believable, but I just wish they’d tried harder to avoid answering his phone call. Don’t they know by now that he’s the swindlers’ pied piper?

I really liked the subdued reunion between Jung-do and Sung-il though. They didn’t have to say anything. Their happiness was writ clear on their faces. Jung-do’s willingness to hand Sung-il the reins was the other thing that made my day. He admitted his mistake so simply — acknowledging that his heedless thirst for vengeance was his downfall. It takes a very clear head to analyze one’s own flaws quite so deeply. Jung-do examined his actions and seemed to realize the exact point where he began to make mistakes. It was when revenge was so tantalizingly close that he lost his head, and tried to take on a big mark like Chairman Choi without adequate preparation. At that point, nothing and no one could have stopped him. But two years of reflection had sobered him enough to realize that he needs to keep his own feelings out of this, if the con is to be a success. And that Sung-il is the real heart of their team.

 
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Behold the shampoo commercial!

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i have no idea what will happen episode to episode and i love it.

one thing is for sure, jungdo is one hell of an actor. as smb said in beans of wisdom.... SIG who? give jungdo a daesand instead!!!!

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You know, last week, I suspected that Jungdo going to prison was part of a long con... but the show managed to one-upped me in that expectations. Turns out it was jungdo going to prison that triggered a long con, rather. And that's just good writing, because you realize that Jungdo telling Sungil the ability to con people is truly the ability to adapt to situations was not just put in there randomly for some homilies. It was to set up Jungdo adapting in the direst situations, and making the most out of it.

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This episode really delivered on emotional fronts, since there was no conning going on. It did a good job of letting us know what's been going on the past two years and how everyone's been dealing with their agendas. I imagine the last three episodes are going to a complete whirlwind, as now the gang's back together to take down the baddies once and for all. I just love how unpredictable but logical the story is. And of course -- the ACTING is phenomenal: heroes, heroines, sidekicks, and villains, everyone! I haven't loved an ensemble cast so much in a long time. I absolutely can't wait to dive into episode 14! Thanks for the recap!

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The acting is stellar in this episode. Sunghee's look whenever Sungil was "conning" the office people was ambiguous enough that you couldn't really tell what was on her mind, until you learn that she was in on it the whole time so it was normal that the look was mixed. It wasn't something she took pleasure in seeing, but still something she was accomplice to.
Poor grandpa in prison scene was also on point.

And you nailed it. Unpredictable, and yet also logical. This drama is going to the top of the top of my favorite for than reason alone.

(another good ensemble cast is Bad Guys. I marathoned it this week waiting for 38, and it's soooo great).

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Bad Guyssssssssssss! Bad Daddy!!! Bad Dogs! <333

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Oh I soooo need to watch Bad Guys! I've been wanting to watch it forever. Mainly for Ma Dong-seok and Park Hae-jin! I do love my smart thrillers... Once PU38 ends I think I'll marathon Bad Guys. It'll be such a great thrill ride and everyone says that MDS and PHJ are so dark and intense. It'll be super weird seeing them play criminals after I've seen them in such, uh, kinder roles, ha!

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Oh yes. Please do. It really is a must watch.

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i need a season 2 BAD GUYS to add if i may add it..
the season is really good....

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BG has also been on my to-watch list based on the writer and MDS.

For once, too many well-written dramas and not enough time.

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Bad guys has done many things better than 38 imo. It's more thrilling, and action packed. But there were also a lot more plot-holes. They've gotten much much better at tight writing with Task Force 38. The writing in this drama is stellar.

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That scene where everybody welcomed Jungdo from prison release is some serious squad goals! Plus, that LOOK Mijoo gave him. Wow. Talk about hot. You can't look at somebody like that as if he lights up your whole world, and then say you've got over him.

Anyway: Avengers, time to assemble!!!

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It makes me want to ship Mijoo and Jungdo instead. The actress is doing a really good job in this show!

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Stated this before that was really impressed by the depth of Lee Seon-bin's acting.

For a relative newbie - she's heads above pretty much every top star actress of her generation.

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I'm pretty sure Lee Sunbin and SIG are doing Law of the Jungle together soon. :-)

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Yes, absolutely, that look. I was typing a comment about it when my screen froze again (welcome Windows 10). It said worlds about her feelings, past and present, as well as Jongdo's charisma. I like this actress also. And the reactions of everyone else...love this team.

Thanks a lot, festerfaster, for the great recap. I'm going to miss this show a lot.

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Tbh, you can't really blame Mijoo for looking at Jungdo that way when he came out slow-mo looking like an ad. I swear I subconsciously had the same face she had when he appeared. In fact, my face was even more beatific, it's almost pathetic how easily I fall for his face.

And yes, the reactions of everyone was great. The Ja wang bear hug, the ruffling of Mijoo's hair (why does everyone love to do that? lol), the Hak-joo fake anger, and I also liked the reactions when Mi joo went around trying to convince people. Tough love. Shoving Ja wang into is soup bowl had me laughing, not matter how childish. Or shoving the tray off the table at Hak-joo's place, and all the minions having to suppress their grin. :D

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I have multiple screencaps of that. Mi-joo is so heartbreakingly perfect @[email protected]

Though I'm disappointed that it was Jung-do's words that assembled them all again. :(

I was hoping it'd be Papa Bear's heart that would get them all to come back. Like "We still low-key hate you Jung-do, but this silly tax man thinks the world should be fair and he looks so stupid doing the con alone, we'll just con Chairman Choi to make it stop *grumpy hugs*"

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That's what makes the Jungdo-Sungil combo so great. Jungdo is always going to be a leader, he's natural at it. But Sungil provides the trust that the team needs, and in that sense, completes the "leadership" combo required for the team to follow.

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Yup.. Jungdo is the head and Sung Il is the heart
They fill each other

And I think, 38 gank not really angry with jungdo, its already 2 years, and jungdo doesn't keep Bang's money for himself

And imo, the real reason they want to join forces to Jungdo is because the grandpa's restaurant (and jungdo's charm, no one can resist.. Haha)

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My favorite moment! When mijoo was waiting for Jungdo. That smile that feels.. If there is a hug, it could be perfect

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THAT LOOK indeed. I was thisclose to fanning myself.

That said, I love how the show subverts expectations of how female leads (in love with the same guy) should act with each other - Mi-joo and Sung-hee like the same guy and they know it, but that doesn't stop them being friendly, and genuinely friendly.

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The fact that they managed to create a real emotional journey that commits both main characters in such a way is amazing.

Thank you for the wonderful write-up.

SIG! MDS!

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I know people complained about the pace of the drama, expecting an ocean eleven every moment. But I'm glad for those beats that established the bond between the team, and especially the bromance. They've built something from a common sense of injustice and frustration of the world, into real believable trust between two completely different people. The Misaeng vibe is real in this drama, especially when all the colors get subdued in certain scenes. And then of course, you get the more lighthearted moments, which are tons of fun, and bonding time. But underneath all that, the superglue is really those more subdued moments.

I also like the sunbae in the office, the one that his hot-headed. I kind of chuckled when he asked Sungil to use jongdaemal, and kind of got irritated when Sungil didn't resist and just obeyed. XD

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Yeah, the vibe of this show is really Misaeng-like, mixed with a dash of Grapevine's power struggles and cynicism. But I don't think it's as essentially bleak or cynical as either of those (brilliant) shows, it's ultimately its own beast and that makes me love it even more.

Poor Investigator Kim, he looked like Sung-il had betrayed everything he knew about him when he saw how servile he'd become. Can't blame him for trying to shake Sung-il back to his old self a little, though I hope he gets to know it's not real too.

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Jungdo should have a career as a televangelist with the level of his speeches. He is so good at making them, I can't even tell anymore if he is speaking from the heart or for a specific purpose. In either case, it sounds convincing enough he could probably get the Lucifer himself to follow him back to the heavens.

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Thanks @festerfaster!

I just love this show!!! What a slow, looooong con. What a great team. What lovely twists until we can't tell if a con is a con because we are to believe it is or it isn't, but the opposite is true!!! Who cares if it's believable or not that they can trust JD again after 'being betrayed', I'm just so happy that they are all together again! :)

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I think what's great about this drama, is that whilst the trust was broken for the con they were in, in particular, the bond between the team was never truly broken. Because they are pretty much a family. You might be angry, but you never truly hate them deep down.

They were angry that Jungdo deceived them out of their money, but at the same time, he covered for them when he was arrested and took all the blame (will we find out how he got his 10 years reduced to 2years + parole...). So the money was gone, but the friendship was never gone. It's a bit reminescent of how Mijoo slapped Jungdo in the first episode. There will always be that friendship between the team, no matter what happens.

And now, for this last con, the team has the last piece in the puzzle, which was missing information the last time. Jungdo's motivation. They can trust him now, because they are now all on the same page about the reason why they are doing this. Like Jungdo since the beginning, it is no longer because of the money.

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It's rather poetic that in trying to avenge his family, Jung-do created (however inadvertently) another one. because that's what they are, really - unconventional, but certainly a family, and even if they're mad at Jung-do, they'll still reunite to help out one of their own (Grandpa).

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@Lauren and pogo

Such nice points you've made and they sound about right!

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Now THIS is how you do a 2 year time jump with no communication between the lead characters in a believable and non-jarring way that stays completely true to the characters...

I'm looking at you, writer and director of My Beautiful Gong Shim...

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Haha, yes! I knew there would be a time jump from the preview and was dreading it, but they executed it so well that it didn't bother me in the slightest. Unlike BGS, argh.

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Exactly! BGS's year-long communication cut-off was so lame and so lamely explained. But here in PU38 it was executed so well. Really, who is the writer?! Because I will watch anything of his/hers now. This show is just consistently smart.

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Not just BGS but probably every time jump that ever happenend in dramaland or at least in every rom-com.

This show just manages to invert your typical drama tropes perfectly, be it noble idiocy, second lead jealousy or time jumps. How great that for once we have a drama that still makes us pull our hair out and causes jaw dropping but not due to frustration but by being mind blown all the time.

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I know, every time we think we've fallen into another trope, the drama p much drags us out by the hair going 'lol fooled you! You think you can use the standards of other puny tropey dramas on me?!'

And I love them for it.

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You're so right! For once the year gap was useful for the plot, made sense and was so well made. Regarding useless badly made year gap, beautiful gong shim is the worst of all the dramas I've watched.

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Alot of people wondered why Sunghee was so invested in saving Sungil from the beginning, but you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Sungil was probably one of the first important males in her life who didn't disappoint her. He wasn't like her father, and more so what she imagined her father to be when her mother said he was a good man. He was clean, earnest and law abiding, which was refreshing after being 'taken' by Jungdo. The fact that we were still tossing between whether or not they were father and daughter is an clear show of estrangement between the two.

I think a big reason of why everyone folded so easy was because of the old man. They didn’t care to join Jungdo, no matter the money he was going to offer until the Grandpa was involved which shows that even crooks like them have a heart. That

On Sungil and Jungdo, it is unsurprising that it so subdue with understanding. Jungdo, from what I've witnessed, showed true emotion and was touch by two specific people after his family was torn apart: Sungil and Sunghee. Heck, he trusted the guy to do him in and continue a con which is pretty big in my book. He's liked Sungil since the first con, but was one track minded about his revenge hence the double cross after Bang.

I also love that the show doesn’t have our girls pulling at each others hair like the usual love triangle troupes, because both ladies are so likeable and above it. Heck they seem to even genuinely like each other. Weirdly enough, I also that Sunghee hasn’t fully joined the con, but is aware and is helping even of it was as a go between to keep up appearances. It stays true to her strait laced character, but now with an awareness of the fact that the system she wanted to fully use and depend on is corrupt and broken with need of fixing.

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Yeah, Grandpa is definitely the reason why Madame Noh folded and decided to go back in, same with the others - they weren't interested when they thought the con was yet another game, but him and his restaurant being targeted made it personal.

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I agree with you! Madam Noh is back in the game becos of Grandpa. She is rich but she does not like how the rich team up with the power to exploit the poor, yet get away with their crimes.
Not sure how much she's earned but all her goods bought from Bang's pyramid scheme company were sent to old people.
I really like her character. A lot. Such a successful woman, who does things her ways and doesn't give a shit to rotten cops or evil politicians.

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Mi Joo and Sung Hee are both two feet firmly on the ground - btw neither is wearing heels, is that a coincidence or a symbol of their groundedness? Mi Joo has her own path, she is steadfast and principial. she might face backlashes but she will always pull through. Sung Hee keeps a calm nerve in any situation, she has a cool head and analytical mind. She can find a way through a labyrinth of question marks and come to the right decision. and she is not affected by the temptations of the mirrors in that labyrinth that give fake promises.

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Never was worried about the spectre of a "love triangle" when it became known that Mi-joo had feelings for Jeong-do - as had faith in the writer to stay true to the characters.

Mi-joo was just too cool of a chick to let something like her feelings not being reciprocated get in the way and have her act like the typical spurned harpy.

Also, Mi-joo not having feelings for Jeong-do would also not have felt like it rang true - after all, what girl being that close to Jeong-do wouldn't feel that way?

Not having her feelings be reciprocated by Jeong-do also makes Mi-joo appear more "human" - for a girl who can make men fall all over her, she can't get the guy for which she actually has feelings.

Same goes for Sung-hee, while playing a role as the liaison, not being more deeply involved in the con totally fits w/ her character.

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I also want a little back story on MJ and JD. Like, how did they meet? How did they start working together? During the time that JD first met SH, MJ was already doing a con with him.

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? Reunited, and it feels so goooood... ?

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Hehe... when JD and SI had their reunion, my goofy brain was singing Isn't it bromantic... :D

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I love that the crew gets back together not because they want to help Jung-do enacts his revenge, but because they are driven with a larger sense of purpose, which is to help the oppressed with what power they have as con artists. it's already miles away from the kind of group that they were in the beginning, where they would only do things for money (and perhaps for fun). this growth already happened in episode 6, when they scam people to pay their taxes, and it's nice to see how this sense of social responsibility is all the more solidified in this episode.

aaw, tsk, I just love this show.

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I have this theory that being a Conman is like a virus that can be passed on.

When Jung-do bit Sung-il's bewbies in the previous ep, Sung-il was infected with the Conman Virus. It gave Sung-il the power to fool everyone in a 2-year con.

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I really, REALLY wonder whether that move was choreographed lol.

Now everyone's in on the con - Sung-hee too <3

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I love it when Sung-hee provided all the background file they need for their con, though I think Mi-joo and Jung-do are the only person aware of her involvement.

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I will not make a comment about how I wouldn't mind being bitten by SIG.

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I will not make a comment about laughing and waggling eyebrows.

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And I will not make a comment about how crazy other people must think we SIG fan-girls are.

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Xcuse me, what is "other people"?

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Other DB readers who don't get the appeal of SIG. Trust me, there are some out there. Hard to believe anyone who could be immune to SIG charms, but there sure are some. :/

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Luckily I haven't detected any SIG haters on DB (so far). I hope we're not creating any antis by popping up randomly in comment sections of non SIG related posts.  But nowadays it's not a proper DB article without mentioning either Subway or SIG. ;-)

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@angieya I hear you! That is why I am a lil worried! i have this weird desire to mention SIG or Squad 38 in every single thread. i hope people don't get irritated with our fan-girling and in turn get irritated by SIG!

Though, my cousin is one of the persons who doesn't get the craze. She is not a hater but not really a fan- girl.

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@ObsessedMuch @angieya I think we're fine so far, trust me I've seen obnoxious fan behaviour from fans of certain actors (the very mention of whom tends to bring that breed of fan swarming out of the woodwork) and SIG fans are not even close.

I mean, we haven't:

- trashed any other actors
- tried to claim SIG is the biggest star in Korea/China/ the world (take your pick)
- thrown tantrums at anyone who has the temerity to disagree with our fangirling or point out flaws in his performance (if there ever were any)
- launched personal attacks on other users for not sharing our love of him

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Lol @ pogo is it weird that I didn't even have to guess who you were talking about? The One Who Shall Not be named.

And yes. We SIG fans are awesome if I do say so myself. We don't feel the need to put down other actors just to make him look good. On the other hand we are willing to see the awesomeness in other actors too.

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@pogo @ObsessedMuch are you talking about the fans of a LMH?

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LOL, I've been in the SIG fandom for years now and it really is somewhat accurate when you guys say that majority of his fans are intelligent women, attracted to the cute, yet powerfully alpha male that he is. Of course I could be wrong ^^

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@ObsessedMuch @redfox - shhhhhh, I name no names! ;)

But yeah, the particular 'fans of an actor' I refer to are basically the kdrama versions of Twihards and have been that way for years now - I'd be deeply ashamed if any fellow fan of an actor I liked ever behaved like that.

Thankfully, they are the exception rather than the rule on db and the SIG appreciation club isn't made up of bratty teenagers (or people who are mentally bratty teenagers). I mean, we're in the throes of full-on fangirling and still actually bothered about not annoying people :).

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Lol, I also knew immediately who's name shall not be named and ngl I fear for November and feel sorry for the DB staff already (especially mary) for having to moderate the comments.
Anyway, who's as excited as me that we can continue spazzing after a short break in the Shopping King Louie recaps? (Yes, I'm positive it'll be recapped otherwise they'll be afraid we'll take over every simgle comment section for real lol)

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@pogo: but the one not to be named is not even an actor but a military general in medieval Goryeo! A true fan would at least know the basics.

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well, if Shopping King Louie doesn't get a recap, we'll always have the OT. Which is where Squad 38 used to hang out until the recap was taken up *sends up prayers for all the sleep the recappers must have lost*.

But until then, we have another week's worth of thirst left!

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I'm sorry for making this thread longer than it already is but I've just seen that Shopping King Louie already had its scriptreading! Eek, our +alpha male doesn't need a break at all, huh?

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The fight btwn Jeong-do and Sung-il last week, while sad and hilarious at the same time, was also great in that it was more reflective of what an actual fight looks like.

Most real fights consist of sloppy (often missing) punches, rolling on the ground and underhanded moves.

That was more like a real fight than most fights we see in dramas.

Also, very true that guys, after getting their frustrations out physically, quickly make-up.

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Your comments just remind me that SIG posted a screencap of that moment in his instagram... Muahahaha... Boy must be amuse of himself on how the scene display on screen!

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this is so next beans of wisdom.

but I kinda think he got infected before, in ep 3. at that time, he was still forming antibodies for the virus. but with constant exposure to the sourse of the virus it went deep into his cells. Just when we thought he had become immune, it turned out the virus had not been sleeping at all and we didn´t see it because we were infected too. And while you were reading this post, I destroyed the vaccine.

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*snorts* mary strikes again!

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YESSSSSSSSSSS they're back, Con Avengers Assemble!

They've threatened us with the gang breaking up for real goodness knows how many times now, but I never get tired of watching all the ways Jung-do outmanouevres that, and weirdly enough, it doesn't feel repetitive. We should have known prison wouldn't kill the plan. I mean, he's been in there once already and that never stopped him.

That said, what really hurt was watching Sung-il have to go into, as you said, a prison of his own making - to watch him pretend to be less than what he is, both as a person and a professional, just so his bosses let their guard down. And yes, it's equally believable that Mayor Chun takes it somewhat personally that the daughter who's biologically his, looks up to Sung-il far more than she ever will to him - there's always been that dad-daughter vibe between them, and I've always loved that Sung-hee got drawn into the con via her loyalty to Sung-il, since he's the only person who could get her to set her principles aside for it.

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Thank you for the recap, Festerfaster, loved how your comment section shows how mad your are on behalf of our beloved Papa Bear, and am so with you on this.
Have to said that the plot is a bit repetitive now, but I guess the beginning of the con is kinda the same, it's the end that gets twisted, double twisted, triple twisted, etc.
Am still a bit confused about Sung Hee being the daughter of Major Chun, doesn't seem to do much for the story. It will make more sense to me if Jung Do gets close to her to get to the major (coz on thing I've learned is there's no such thing as coincidence in this show), but it was never shown that way. Also, all the emphasise on Jung Do get paroled so easily gets my hope up that he is actually an op in disguise, could it be?
While watching this episode, keep wondering where Deok Bae, the resident detective, is. Is he directing traffic somewhere? Hope they will let him join the fun on the ultimate con!

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Yeah, I wondered what happened to Deok-bae, myself. At least give us a throwaway sentence telling us he's all right now! Or that the team will take care of him somehow :(

It was a smart move to get restaurant grandpa in the episode this time around - he's someone we and the gang know and like, so it's easy to get invested in his story. But Deok-bae :(

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That picture of Deok-bae demoted to traffic cop is hilarious XD

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I just can see his frustrated face while he cursed his best friend and his mentor's son good-naturedly. I hope the team will bring him in to have a little fun with the last bad guy.

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About JD getting paroled early: Either he is a police officer in disguise or SH emotionally "blackmailed" her dad into pulling strings for JD's early release.

I think JD and MJ were pulling a con on SH when they initially met to probably get to the Mayor. JD backed out when he started liking her. He also probably continues lying to other that SH is just a poor girl so that people who had bad intentions on the Mayor would lay off her.

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Deok-Bae became a prison bae

sorry for my gutter-mouth

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Have to admit that am missing Deok-bae coz having a crush on Oh Man-seok (ever since he added strawberry jam when cooking curry in Running Man, and haven't stopped wondering about the taste of that too!). First thought he was a cameo, but the story development have made him one of the key player I think, will be sorely disappointed if he was left out of the last con. If they keep bringing back the bad guys, shud do that to the good guys too, yea?
One other reason that got me feeling that the big boss of con is actually on the good side (a.k.a police) is they are treating the prison visitations like confessional time. Wouldn't that room be monitored and recorded..?

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Love this show, very happy the team is back together and everyone gets enough screen time, not just the leads. Storyline moves fast, can't wait for them to take revenge

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The moment Sung-il threw JD under the bus, I knew he was going to 'reboot' and it hurt my heart... It was fake, I know but all those insults from people that are jealous of his sincerity were very real... The only way it could all get better is to have them all behind bars no matter the extent of their corruption. Mayor Chun is the most dangerous of the baddies we've seen imo.. Hes puzzling and it personally took me several episodes to really see why no matter how preocuppied for others he sounded, I couldnt buy it! Hes always doing stuff for himself to have influence and the support of rich people but always convinced himself that no one would do more for the citizens than him...

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In the beginning I thought that Mayor Chun was the nicest of all the bad guys because he seemed to have a conscience. But after watching this episode I know now how wrong I was. That guy is actually the scariest because he pretends to be nice and even believes that he is a good person.

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Oh, you golden tongue boy, even Madame Noh isn't immune to your pretty speech and promises. Just make sure you share the success with all your team, or else...

I definitely love Mi-joo's expression when she met Jung-do after such a long time. It's like after she finally let go of her feeling, she has to acknowledge that 'that jerk' is still unbelievably charming and unresistible.

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Oh you have such an interesting approach to Mi Joo's feeling at that scene. And it sounds about right!!!!
Love him or not, you just can deny his charisma...

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poor grandpa... :'( when he cried in prison, I just lost it.

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Me too.. He is such a good actor too. However minor a role, you just need good acting to really shine

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Me too! I couldn't hold all the feels anymore during that part. :'(

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His granddaughter was really good too, especially in the scene where the goons come to trash the restaurant. I always wonder how you make a kid actor cry without traumatizing them.

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And in terms of violence - that was nothing.

Many child actors have had to deal w/ being in scenes significantly more graphic violence - which to me, would be more of an issue of concern than the oft-discussed age gap.

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Same here. I was already :'( faced when he was coming to see Sung-il and getting turned away so cold-heartedly, but the prison scene just got me right in the feels.

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Gah, this drama... Episode to episode it hook me firmly to the show. Between 38, W and recently completed MoTW, they make me run out of all approbation words for the cast, the writer and the production team. Kudos to you all~!

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This episode was a little slower than usual for me, but I did not get bored at all. The scenes with the restaurant grandfather were really goosebumps inducing!

The way Mi Joo was waiting for him! The look. She is like the female version of SIG/ Jang Do. It made me wish to ship them so so much!

And Sung Hee was finally there for a long time in an episode. I love the actress but she doesn't have much role in this show. The other female characters are more bad- ass and have more screen time! For me, Mi Joo could just as well be called the lead of this show, as she is definitely been given more work to do than her.

So I have a question here: how do you define the heroine of a particular show? Is she the one with romantic link with the lead, or is she the one who is given more screen time. I had this doubt in Heartless/ Cruel City too..

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People who read W probably think the same thing... XD

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Lol... And they havery right to! ;)

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* have every

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I ship MJ-JD so baaaaaaad.

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Sung Il the "sleeper" agent. He could take on KGB if he had to now.
Patience is my keyword too. a disappearing thing in the modern world. Right now right here is how modern folks want everything. They make permanent decisions based on temporary conditions, while Jung Do just adapts to those conditions with a permanent resolve. He is flexibly firm. Great quality.

Have you all noticed how many grandpa actors we have in this drama? Say again no country for old men, huh. Yeah, most are corrupt and evil with just one innocent, one ambiguous, but they are good roles for older actors anyway, and brilliantly played. Thanks, grandpas, for giving me chills & tears.

well, the whole cast is absolutely fantastic. Lol at Keyboard "I am going to the army!" Bhahaha.

also, the cases are very realistic as if taken from real life, and I think it is very bold of the drama. this is almost pure Gonzo - mix reality & fiction without any diplomacy or neutrality, bare the face of corruption. Gonzo Power be with you, Jung Do, take them all down. Just stay alive and well though...

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While it certainly was satisfying to see President Bang grovel and apologize to Jeong-do (even if not sincere) and get his just desserts - kinda miss him and his 2 children.

While Chairman Choi is more dangerous (despite his harmless old man attire) and more of a thinker, not as entertaining as the Bang clan.

Don't have a problem w/ Sung-hee being the Mayor's daughter (even if estranged) - since it explains her evading being canned when she made the misstep of going after President Bang and why she was able to scold/lecture the other section chief (along w/ her own team member) w/o any repercussions (the other section chief just took it silently) - along those lines, don't think it was a secret to everyone that she was the Mayor's daughter.

In reassembling the team/gang - the only one can't totally buy getting convinced by Jeong-do's words or the situation w/ the old man and his granddaughter is
Hak-joo, but maybe I'm not giving Hak-joo enough credit.

Regardless, Mi-joo would have done it anyway for Jeong-do and Ja-wang would have eventually fallen in line (really is good-hearted and likes being in a group instead of his usual solitary self).

As for Madame Noh - would think she would have rejoined eventually as well due to Chairman Wang.

Would not be surprised if there was another reason for Chairman Wang to be helping Jeong-do aside from Jeong-do having "saved" him.

Wang and Choi likely have had turf battles and Choi may have had a role in Chairman Wang being sent to prison in the 1st place.

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But, but, but... the team still is incomplete without 우리 favorite smexy police officer.ㅜㅜㅜㅜㅜ

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So does the little girl spend all day at the trashed restaurant crying, coloring and waiting for Grandpa to get out of jail?

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I'm late to the party, but just wanted to add a fist pump-- I'm so psyched that they've evolved into Team #wegotharaboji'sback. This is such an enjoyable ride.

Thanks so much, festerfaster-- you and Saya are really rockin' the PU38 recaps/commentary!

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