Whoa, been a while peeps. Graduate school is NOT like I expected! Why wasn’t I thoroughly warned? Anyways, even though, I was busy doing group projects and keeping “busy” I still created time every weekend to watch this show. This will be an overall review, so let’s dive in.
This show was one of the best show aired this year. From the beginning to the end, my attention was never deterred. I felt like I was part of the con-team that needed to rise up against the guys who believed that money and power is a right, rather than being earned. I yearned for the team to bond constantly, in order to prevent the horrible ordeal happening to the common folks by those in power. This wasn’t a revolutionary show, neither was a perfect show, but there was a satisfying balance to see how the the con-team rose to the occasion each time they’re dealt with a new card or player. Though, the baddies weren’t super scary, it was more whiny baby adults that want things to go their way. Greed, selfishness, envy, power, corruption, dissatisfaction, entitlement, privilege; these were the recurring themes that kept pushing the “villains” towards their goals.
Speaking of villains, I love how they’re different types of villains, though, they vary in power, position and money status, these guys still possess the same qualities at the end. Though, the team had different levels of con, towards, the end, it felt a little bit repetitive because the villains were all intertwined. However, what made it different was the way each con carried was different. It had a level of complexity that towards the end of the show, you had to pay special close attention in order for you not to miss what’s going on. For the second, I got conned while watching, not because I was confused, but because when I think I got the con-team figured out, they come out flashing a different card, and I’m like WHAT? Okay, so, until I figure out how to write coherently, this will be categorized.
A. Different Faces of Horse-shit, aka, baddies of the game.
From Ma Jin-Seok (Oh Dae Hwan) to Choi Chul-woo (Lee Ho Jae), every move the con-team made had to be careful. Each forces they dealt with were not easy to manipulate. These men avoiding to pay taxes are first entitled businessmen with the same mentality, “what has society done for me.” Their mantra was a constant reminder to the task force team and the con team that rich people do ALWAYS get their way, so to say, if they’ve the right connection. It was hard to watch as you see the task team constantly being belittled and lost at every turn, then again, they were the weakest link. I’m sorry, but if it is your job to cough owed tax out of those withholding, then you need a better strategy and tactic.
Personally, it felt like the task team needed to learn a lesson or two from the con team about strategy and confidence. They were too less aggressive and sometimes when they tried to fork out the owed tax from the rich and failed, I just roll my eyes because I don’t see their plan as a knee-tremble. I digress. The villains greed ruined them at the end because they got over-confident and their ambition was too much. I’m not suggesting that having an ambition is bad, but it felt too easy that they actually fell for Jung do and the rest of the teams’ trap once it became a revelation. The idea of their owed tax being paid in full to the government felt like a new challenge for each of them and it was fun to watch because they became active prey to the con-predators. Oh, new name for the conteam, Predacons. hehe! It was like watching Inception and I think that was the genius plan of Jung do, but more on him later.
B. So, why are they relevant?
There were some pondering questions after the show ended, that left an after mouthwash taste in my mouth. So, they were some characters that felt underused, were not necessary in the storyline and some whose presence would’ve been an interesting story, but fell short with the politics of the game, which towards the end actually wasn’t necessary.
1. You guessed it! Chun Sung Hee (SooYoung). Oh my. I thought she would’ve a lot more role in this, but oh, I was wrong. Nearly half of the show, I forget she’s in play, until she pops up and when she’s off screen, I forget again. Her role was just used as a filler and I really wished Soo Young made it memorable. She was flat in this drama and no I will not blame it on the writers that barely wrote her in the drama or gave her a relevant role. Regardless of what role you are given, as an actor, you’re to bring it to life, but Soo Young was lifeless in this.
I know, it seems I’m bashing her, I’m not. I really wished she brought her A-game to the drama because she knows how to.There were some dead weight characters that had more spunk than she did (Bang Mi Na). One positive is that I did like the acting she did with Jung do when she pretended to be his wife during a con job. Hehe. It was fun to see that side of her, I guess we got conned out of that as an audience. Luckily, the romance in the drama that I thought would try to be reignited died two episodes once it was reintroduced. So, that was good because it would’ve been a weak sauce for this drama. Other than that, she did have powerful words that resonated with the characters after she stopped being an annoying roadblock.
- Choi Ji Yeon (Kim Joo ri). This red-headed fox made badass look cool. Love her wardrobe. No, I was jealous of her fabulousness. She was kickass, but I wanted to see more in her acting, aka, needed more lines from her and maybe actually kicking butts. I know, I am demanding, but I need more than looking awesomely well-dressed.
Ahn Chang Ho (Lee Hak Joo). After his horrible rendezvous that landed him in the hospital, he went ghost. Nothing about him from the team or at least show us a motivation from the team to revamp their style. Just like a bad eggs alad, he was pudged out of the show quietly. However, he had more to say than the rest of the team combined.
Yang Jae- Taek (Nam Moon Chul). I didn’t get his purpose. Was he to inspire Jung do to avenge his wife’s death and his imprisonment or…? Yea, I’m clueless because he was a crying mute throughout his airtime, expect that one line. I thought that Jung do’s purpose was to expose the bad guys so that his father gets out of jail. In addition to that one line, he became forgettable after that.
Kim Min Shik (Song Young Kyu). So, it was revealed in the last two episodes that he was murdered instead of committing suicide and the mayor knew about it. OKAY! THIS IS AN AWESOME SIDE PLOT THAT COULD’VE BEEN EXPLORED, NOT THROWN IN AT THE LAST MINUTE. Yea, it was just mentioned and it did an injustice to his character by trying to revive him and giving us false hope.
Lastly, the whole TASK TEAM. I can go on about this team, as you should know by now, but this team was underused it wasn’t funny and when they tried to do something, it felt like a waste on their story. It was more of me zoning out when they come on than caring. But, they are a representation of Baek Sung Il’s (Ma Dong Seok) ambition to fight for what’s right and not be a doormat for a corrupt government. Though, their role was just stare and look sad constantly, they had some poignant moment and Investigator Kim’s (Jung Do won) constant concern for Sung Il towards the end, trolled us big time for the biggest con yet.
Jung do and Sung Il are my top OTP. If you’ve seen this drama, you know why. If not, you need to watch it to know why.
D. Simpleton among the commoners
To be a con-artist is not an easy task. A buddy of mine at grad school (YES, I MADE A FRIEND), told me a story of how an ex-friend back in the day used to be a con-artist, though, he wasn’t part of the con, but he did reap some benefits. Hehe. Well, telling the story of how his buddy did jobs that FBI couldn’t trace until he made a stupid, careless mistake jogged my memory to this show. It is hard to get caught, unless you want to get caught. Not that Jung do wasn’t crafty in his field of work, but with the help of his team and outside forces, he was good at what he did. But, why was Jung do good? Like the story buddy of mine told, it is about reading people and using their own weakness as as way to manipulate the situation. Though, the baddies are all different, they exhibit the same characteristics, which makes sense since they all learn from the same teacher whose greed knows no shame.
This was the lesson Sung Il mastered once he got the hang of the subject. Chairman Choi isn’t a scary old geezer, but a greedy old man that needed a beating. He was smart enough to be a big challenge, but his strength was also his weakness and I was glad that Sung Il was the one that was able to see that after carefully planning. Though, just like in life, there’ll be setbacks at whatever we try to do, it takes patience and resilience to stand up and fight back. We are not entitled to have power, but we’ve the privilege to possess it. Sometimes, we need to go back to the basics in order to see the bigger picture. Oh, snap, MORAL OF THE STORY.
All in all, this was a good drama, it kept me on edge throughout and the little flaws didn’t affect the outcome. It was brilliant from start to finish and the writers did not lose their way for one second. Though, they lost their way with some characters, but the plot was decent. This drama is a fusion of Catch Me If You Can and White Collar. It has sass, jazz and rass. It is definitely a must watch crime comedy.
Photo credit: Some are my personal screenshot and the rest from google images. If you see your screenshot, you are the right owner. Thanks for the lend.