My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 1-2
I’m going to enjoy this one. New conman-policewoman comedy, My Fellow Citizens, is armed with a cheeky premise and a funny cast to guarantee an amusing watch, and if you’re a fan of Choi Siwon’s funny faces, then you’re really in for a treat. This introductory episode shares the background on how our soon-to-be politician with conman roots falls in love with our badass policewoman. While it’s a completely bizarre pairing, they somehow make their relationship work… kind of. That uncertainty on how they make it all work is where the fun begins.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
We’re introduced to our hero and unconventional National Assemblyman candidate, YANG JUNG-GOOK (Choi Siwon), at the televised candidate debate, where he makes an unsavvy argument against the extension of subway lines. He mocks his opponents for making these politically advantageous claims and argues that nobody will use these extra subway stations because everyone commutes via car anyway.
Taking the opportunity to speak candidly, Jung-gook divulges that the true reason for subway extensions is to increase the value of real estate. Dropping all formalities, Jung-gook accuses his opponents for being greedy and demands that they share their samgyupsal aka their wealth. One opponent erupts in anger, and Jung-gooks smiles in satisfaction.
Some time before, we see Jung-gook in his conning element. Adopting the persona of businessman Cha Myung-soo, Jung-gook meets with Mob Boss-Loanshark Park and feigns humility about his profitable business in Venezuela. Jung-gook shows Boss Park a sample of Venezuelan Bolivar and agrees to their terms of business in trading currency.
Meanwhile, a man frantically drives his car through an alleyway, but he gets sandwiched in by a moving truck in the front and a car accident in the back. In a mad rush, the man resorts to running through oncoming traffic and gets hit by car. The driver runs out and holds onto the man, insisting that he go to the hospital with her. Behind the frantic man and insistent driver, we see Jung-gook walk out with the keys to his new car with his payment in Korean won.
When the frantic man — a minion of Mob Boss Park — finally reaches his boss, he delivers the unfortunate news that the Venezuelan Bolivar just suffered currency devaluation. In short, they’ve just become victims of a currency exchange scam.
Jung-gook drives to a parking lot, where he transfers the money boxes into another car, belonging to the insistent driver who held onto the frantic minion. They meet up with another duo — the two who staged the car accident in the back to hold up the frantic minion in traffic — and celebrate their new wealth.
After a short celebration, Jung-gook wraps up the money to incubate for six months, lest the angry mob boss sniff them out. CHARLES (Yang Dong-geun) offers to hold the money for safekeeping, but Jung-gook knows Charles’s bad habits and declines the offer. The other scammer, SEUNG-YI, reluctantly decides to trust Jung-gook but remains suspicious of their other scammer partner.
Turns out, Jung-gook’s scammer partner, Hee-jin, is his girlfriend, and he takes out a ring to propose to her. He assures her that it’s not a scam and seems genuine in his confession of love, and she reciprocates his confession. Before the two lovebirds head home together, Jung-gook has someone to meet.
Jung-gook stops by a barber shop to drop off a bag of money to Mob Boss’s right-hand man, who’s getting a haircut to shed himself of his sins. Turns out that the Right-hand Minion is a part of the con crew, and he convinces Jung-gook to get just one drink before heading home.
Of course, one drink turns into too many drinks, and Jung-gook wakes up next to strangers in the bar the next morning. Realizing the time, Jung-gook rushes home and tip-toes through the house, preemptively apologizing to his girlfriend. But he finds the house empty and immediately assumes the worst when he can’t find the money bags.
Jung-gook can’t reach Hee-jin on his phone, so he urgently borrows the next door lady’s phone to call his scammer girlfriend. When Hee-jin picks up the phone, Jung-gook immediately yells in fury but immediately apologizes because she’s got the upper hand. At the airport, Hee-jin confirms that she’s fulfilling his worst nightmare. She thanks him for the money and hopes that he finds true love.
Devastated by the loss of money and love, Jung-gook falls to his knees and grieves. He throws the next door lady’s phone off the balcony in anger, which earns him an ajumma beating.
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It was love for you, it was a con for me
In denial, Jung-gook drinks away his sorrows and finds himself at the club. He strikes up a conversation with a long-haired dude that he initially mistakes as a woman, and their buddy relationship is cut short by the dude being arrested for stealing drinks. Ha, Jung-gook looks so done.
Then, a high-heel hits the back of his head, and he turns around to find a badass lady kicking some ass. As she knocks out three men, Jung-gook watches with an enamored look, and they make eye contact.
Earlier that day, we find the badass club lady walking up to a honking truck behind her and identifying herself as police officer KIM MI-YOUNG (Lee Yoo-young). At the truck driver’s sexist comments, Mi-young responds that she was too bad at housework, so she resorted to beating up gangsters as a police officer. I love her already.
As she reenters her car, Mi-young answers a call from her boyfriend and says that she’s staking out somewhere for work. Her stakeout partner asks if she’s planning on marrying her boyfriend, and she responds that she’s not dating for fun at this age.
Mi-young and her partner spot their gangster targets and decide to call for back-up. Then, Mi-young spots a familiar car entering the parking lot and excuses herself to deal with this situation with a baseball bat in hand. As she walks through the hallway, she mercilessly beats up a gangster in her way, and the other gangster immediately retreat when they recognize her name.
But Mi-young isn’t chasing down the gangsters just yet. She gets to the end of the hall and breaks into the room to find her half-naked boyfriend with another woman. Mi-young’s cheating boyfriend trembles at the sight of her, and the other woman walks out, annoyed by the dramatics of the impending break-up.
Cheater Boyfriend drops to his knees, begging for forgiveness, but Mi-young isn’t giving him another chance. She notices that he’s wearing the underwear that she bought him and finds this whole situation mortifying and infuriating.
Incredulously, Cheater Boyfriend somehow tries to convince Mi-young to give him a second chance on the mere supposition that she won’t be able to date anyone else as a police officer. He claims that he’s anxious because she chases down murderers, doesn’t come home most nights, and could get killed. He cries that he’s always worried sick about her, but Mi-young isn’t falling for his pity game.
Mi-young tells Cheater Boyfriend that he was wrong to cheat and says that she can’t wish him any happiness. With that, she walks away, with Cheater Boyfriend pathetically following her before he trips over his own feet.
That night, Mi-young glams up to go out to the club and seems to be enjoying herself until she discovers that the man she’s been dancing with all night is married. She immediately throws a punch at this unloyal man and gets in a fight with two of his friends. She throws off her heels, and this is where Jung-gook first lays eyes on Mi-young. She knocks out the unloyal dude and consequently gets kicked out of the club.
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Head over heels
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Outside the club, Jung-gook hands drunk Mi-young her one heel and asks if she wants to get a drink. Over drinks, Mi-young complains about her pathetic cheater boyfriend but seems sad when she remembers that he always observed her parents’ memorial ritual. Mi-young urges Jung-gook to disparage his girlfriend so they can talk trash together, but Jung-gook insists that he had no complains about Hee-jin.
Cut to: Jung-gook yelling complaints about Hee-jin never making sense to him and asking if all women are so cryptic. HA! Mi-young passes out on the table, so Jung-gook lifts her up and rests her head on his shoulder. Drunk but still conscious, Mi-young asks what Jung-gook does for a living. He lies that he runs a family business, and she also lies that she works at a corporate company.
As heartbroken souls, she suggests that they date each other at least until they forget their former lovers and then see if they’re still interested in each other. Mi-young gives him until sunrise to decide, and when morning arrives, Jung-gook agrees to the dating arrangement. That’s when they finally introduce themselves. Love it.
Through beach dates, movie dates, and more, the dating arrangement turns into something real. It appears that they’re happily and adorably together, but they’ve kept their respective jobs under wraps. Mi-young tells her mom (adopted mother maybe?) over the phone that she plans on telling Jung-gook the truth about her job soon, but she’s clearly fearful of the consequences.
That night, Mi-young enters their regular spot — the late night spot where they first had drinks over heartbreak — and the owner lady turns off the lights. When Mi-young sits down, Jung-gook puts a ring box on the table, and the owner lady brings out a cake. Jung-gook gets on one knee and proposes, and Mi-young looks conflicted about not revealing her lie.
Mi-young hesitates and ultimately chickens out about revealing the truth. Instead, she says yes, and the two formerly heartbroken souls promise to make each other happy. They kiss in celebration of their newfound love.
On the wedding day, the families — con crew and all — celebrate the marriage, and on the way to their honeymoon, Mi-young finally drops the truth bomb that she’s a police officer. Jung-gook initially thinks she’s joking, and then comes to a sudden stop when he realizes that he actually just married a police officer in the violent crimes unit.
Jung-gook asks if she also catches conmen, and she brushes that off as the responsibility of another unit. She tries to assure him that she won’t be doing anything dangerous, as she’s just requested transfer to desk duty, which will allow her to have regular hours like any other salarywoman. Jung-gook shakes in shock and asks again, “So do you capture conmen?”
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Do you catch conmen or not?
Two years later, our couple quietly eats breakfast and seem strikingly distant as they head off to work. Our couple complain to their respective sounding boards — Mi-young to her mom, Jung-gook to his Con Hyung — about the difficulties in their relationship.
Mom takes Jung-gook’s side, and Mi-young pettily accuses Mom of not having her back because Mom isn’t her real mom. Mi-young recalls one night when she reached for Jung-gook’s face out of affection, but Jung-gook freaked out and begged for forgiveness. LOL.
Venting to Con Hyung, Jung-gook recalls the wise words of his father — that a conman can have a successful career as long as one doesn’t get caught by the police. He’s playing with fire by living with a police officer and seems restless in his anxiety. Con Hyung tells Jung-gook to relax since Mi-young won’t be in the field, so she wouldn’t run into them.
Unbeknownst to Jung-gook, Mi-young just transferred back to field police work because she was dissatisfied with both her job and marriage. Both Mi-young and Jung-gook reject the option of divorce and simply ask their respective venting sounding boards to just hear them out.
When Mi-young arrives at the police station, we see that Mom is actually the newly appointed police head. Before Mom enters the building, she calls out Mi-young to reach out if she ever needs help and playfully sticks out her tongue at Mi-young. We learn that Mi-young is the team leader for the new unit, which is hilariously the fraud intelligence unit.
Mi-young gets briefed on a new fraud case, in which the swindlers use their sources to identify undeveloped land that would be soon released from the green belt policy. Then, the swindlers convince these landowners to sell that land.
We see Jung-gook’s con team targeting the weakest link of the land owners — a lady who desperately needs money to feed her gambling addiction — and staging a conversation with false information for her to overhear. The lady takes the bait and asks how she can sell her land to their fabricated real estate company.
Mi-young catches on quickly and leads the team out to the field to catch the swindlers before they make their final move. Meanwhile, at the fabricated real estate company, Con Hyung leaves Jung-gook briefly to celebrate his regular barber’s birthday. Jung-gook calls con crew member Seung-yi and warns her not to overdo her role, since they can’t afford any mistakes. Both Jung-gook and Min-young seem determined to pull off their respective missions, unknowingly at odds with each other.
When Con Hyung enters the barber shop, he finds himself sitting next to a familiar face: Mob Boss Park’s minion. Con Hyung tries to flee the shop, but it’s too late. He’s surrounded and beat up by the mob, and a lady walks toward Con Hyung. Seeking her revenge for her father, the Lady Boss, who we’ll later know as PARK HOO-JA (Kim Min-jung) demands to know the whereabouts of Con Hyung’s partner scammer: Yang Jung-gook.
I found this premiere surprisingly hilarious, capable of making me chuckle for longer than I’d expected. I was thoroughly amused by the story and enjoyed how the swift pace of the first episode rode on the momentum of the humor. I enjoy the leads and find the characters endearing and likeable, which is a solid feat that should never be underestimated. The show did a good job of introducing us to our leads with just the right amount of relevant background to keep us curious but invested in how their dynamic will unfold. The concept of a conman falling in love with a policewoman is funny, but them getting married and unknowingly living as enemies is absurd and hilarious. I love that the show owns that it’s completely unrealistic, and hence gives itself the freedom to be playful with this ridiculous concept.
I’m personally a fan of Choi Siwon and his funny faces, so I enjoyed seeing the variety of faces in this first installment. The faces can seem over-the-top, but I’m just so amused that such a handsome guy can make such ugly faces. He has such flexible face muscles, and he’s willing to contort his expressions in the name of comedy. I think he prefers more comedic roles over serious ones because he has the aptitude and commitment to make people laugh. He also balances out the funny faces with a sweet charm that melts your heart just a little bit, and I think that really makes him a very appealing actor on screen.
I appreciate Lee Yoo-young’s character in this and loved her comeback line at the misogynist truck driver. She embodies the concept of the strong female heroine with a solid head on her shoulders and the ability to kick your ass, which is the lady I want to be when I grow up. But while she’s this strong female character, she doesn’t necessarily own her career and abilities with pride, which is a relatable struggle — trying to meet and break societal expectations. I’m curious to see how that struggle manifests on screen, and I’m excited to see the comparison with our other (hopefully) strong female character in this show, who will surely learn more about soon.
I enjoy both characters individually, but they also work well together. They’ve got a good chemistry, and I found it adorable that these two heartbroken souls found each other and filled the void of each other’s heartbreak. Of course, they also filled that void with sprinkles of lies that are too late to amend now. I’m looking forward to seeing how they both dig themselves into deeper holes with each additional heaping sprinkle of lies and how they creatively dig themselves out.