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[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Squad 38"

2016/06/11 | 3036 views | Permalink

Due to the chosen focus of OCN and the occasional production in other stations, the crime genre has received quite a boost in the last few years. At the same time, it needs fresh core ideas to evolve, rather than quickly abandoned gimmicks. The production team behind "Squad 38" chooses to focus on something not usually the main topic of crime shows, however. This summer, they bring us to the world of tax evasion.


Baek Seong-il (Ma Dong-seok) is a naive, but hardworking tax collector. He despises tax evasion and readily tackles such cases head on. His personality is the exact opposite of Yang Jeong-do's (Seo In-guk) a master con artist who uses his charms and intellect for personal gain. The two end up working together in order to catch high profile tax evaders by beating them at their own game: fraud.

The Worrying

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Making Taxes Fun

Crime series usually rely on action and mystery for excitement. It might be difficult to logically write in a pile of fist fights over a financial crime and while mystery is doable, the culprits in tax evasion are mostly known. The series will require great skill to make the process of conning criminals thrilling.

Dramatic Escalation

All works have a dip in tone at some point. There has to be an ultimate low before the resolutions. While this is mostly presented as a crime comedy, it will still need this low. The problem is that Korean dramas tend to get too melodramatic, and an upbeat show needs more attention in order for that dip in tone to not go overboard.

The Reassuring

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Production Team

Han Jeong-hoon and Han Dong-hwa have worked together on hit drama "Bad Guys" as a writer and director of photography respectively. The main cast of Ma Dong-seok, Seo In-guk and Choi Soo-young has fans partial to cinema and drama alike. Adding to that the great supporting cast and what the series has shown us through its promotion so far, the potential is clearly there.

Fresh Take on Crime Series

As hard as it may be to make tax crimes exciting, it is at least a creative approach reaching the core of the show's premise. A vampire/ghost-seeing/insert-gimmick-of-choice crime fighter does not make a show original when it is just coating on a run of the mill crime series. It takes more to break repetitiveness.

Final Thoughts

"Squad 38" looks like a fun and light summer drama. It has the cast and crew it needs to be great and its premise sounds like a pleasant change from the channel's usual content. Assuming OCN can resist plot-thinning for future seasons, this might be a packed, fun show.

"Squad 38" begins its run on June 18th and will air every Friday and Saturday at 23:00, on OCN. It is directed by Han Dong-hwa, written by Han Jeong-hoon and features Ma Dong-seok, Seo In-guk, Choi Soo-young and Song Ok-sook.

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Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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