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With the amount of romance dramas brandishing in KDramaLand 2016, a story maneuvered by a con-artist and his snappy team helping out an employee of the city’s Taxation office in retrieving unpaid revenues from greedy rich people surprisingly caught and glued my attention due to how exciting it propelled a simple premise with its gripping manipulation of the cheats they pulled to complete their missions.

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SYNOPSIS

When his family fell apart after his mother’s boss’ Choi Chul Woo pinned a crime to her, Yang Jung Do became a skilled con-artist in preparation of a payback he will pull to avenge his mother’s death and father’s imprisonment.

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After his release from the jail, he assembled a team to aid his deceit game. Meanwhile in Seowon’s City Hall’s Taxation office, Baek Sung Il, chief of Division II was put on a hot spot by his superiors in his unsuccessful operations to procure the unremitted taxes from rich personalities who proficiently dodged the attempts by the taxation team.  His stress filled life can’t get much better when he was victimized by Jung Do’s trick making him lose hefty amount of his savings.  Luckily his detective friend traced the swindler and he was able to secure back his money but his work situation seemed to be going hopeless after failing to knock down Ma Jin Suk who was under the protection of the city’s Mayor –  Chun Gap Soo.  Ma Jin Suk served Bang Pil Kyu who was the right man of the main villain Chairman Choi who sponsored Mayor Chun.  So we have the fiend ring of Choi, Chun, Bang, and Ma Jin Suk against Jung Do, Baek Sung Il and company.  It looked crazy in picture but it was told very neatly that you won’t be having problems following the character links.

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Left with no option, Baek Sung Il sought Jung Do to claim his initial offer of partnering with him in pulling a scam to the untouchable tax evaders.   They successfully hustled Bang Pil Gyu and Ma Jin Suk but the Mayor and his minion Ahn Tae Wook secured an evidence that hooked Jung Do to serve jail time after failing to take down Chairman Choi.

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After 2 years Jung Do gets paroled and met with his team to device the final con to bring down Chairman Choi and Mayor Chun in a thrilling twist of betrayal and point of no return.

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REVIEW

There was a time when I went gaga over Neal Caffrey in White Collar so I think that’s why I was committed in watching Jung Do and his team plus Seo In Gook is a feast even without topless scenes on this drama.  I love the snappy editing.  All those small cons they created to push the final trick to tame down the villains were visually achieved while narrating it clearly.  There were not moments of indecisiveness on where the story is flowing.  From its kick off “Task Force 38” was strict with presenting what they will do and how they will resolve the conflict.  Adding a well blended team that explained to me well through their conversations about the new world I was introduced to about the politics manipulated by the tax evaders.  On paper and when you get the picture on the premiere episodes, it looked something that will require patience or Seo In Gook devotion to finish but the exciting vibe set each week made me crave waiting on how the reversals will be accomplished.

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The story was on spot on establishing the war between the villains and heroes.   While it builds the conflict from the greedy intentions of the fiends, the showdowns were always fought through strategy and wits.  The writing skillfully incorporated the character sketches and their roles in fulfilling the goodness over wickedness lesson given in the story.

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Seo In Gook and Ma Dong Seok suited their tandem very well in their fight against the clever mafia old men who disregarded law by controlling the city mayor.  The bromance though awkward was refreshing to watch given the difference between their age.  It all goes down to their different reasons but same motivations of making the bad guys pay for their crimes.  The supporting team was superb in their back up.  I especially noticed rookie actress Mi Joo with her dedication to her role, she even overshadowed Soo Young for me as her role and portrayal was not much striking in the duration of the series.  But it was something that doesn’t matter anyway because the 7-man heist team was efficient enough to sustain the story without misplaced plots.

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Task Force 38 is straight to the point with the premise, the conflict, and how the people moving in the story resolved and closed it.  It helped that even with the serious topic, the protagonists were drawn as suave robinhood and upright citizen who only wanted to make sure that no one is above the law in paying taxes.  True it made use of an illegal approach to defeat the baddies by brewing schemes to make them forcedfully pay what they owe which is still technically bad, but it fairly explained the limited options in stopping corruption when the people responsible for it are puppets of organized crime group.  Life really has inconvenient realities that can’t be dealt with by justice.  So as long as you get to the resolution even if the means defy law as long as there are no life threatened, then just settle with it.

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Jung Do and his squad will give you something new in this drama offering if you need a time out from the romcom drama parade this year. -jediprincess

RATING:  B

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