Monday, April 2, 2018

[Switch drama recap] Episode 1

 Writer: Valerie Curl (aka Kaye Taozen)
Editor: Jill Fuller
Photo cr: SBS, Rossi Yan.  Karen Delos Santos

Switch was billed as a satire and that it is. The comedy throughout, coinciding as it does with the more serious side of the plot, defies description. The writers and PD set a fast pace so that not one moment or one scene is wasted and likewise chose a musical score that sounds as if it is straight out of a James Bond 007 movie. Both the rapid pace and musical score set the drama’s tone: one of comedy, satire, and seriousness -  of the real versus the fake.

“A conman’s heart beats slowly”

When Switch – Change the World opens, an illegal gambling casino operation is well under way. Out at sea, a speedboat flies across the sea towards the island with a single house turned improvised casino. Aboard the speedboat, a prosecutor says, more to himself than to the other men aboard the boat, Korean prosecutors are more interested in big cases and advancing their careers than they are with catching con men.

After the speedboat makes landfall, the big game in the casino comes to a close with the winner being accused of cheating. One of the players pulls out a pistol and threatens the others. Words fly back and forth; pleadings of innocence are yelled; a lone female screams; winners and losers alike cower near the floor, looking for a means of escape. But the man with the gun remains resolute and finally fires at the winner.

Outside the Prosecutor, who encounters bodyguards intent on keeping them out by saying the inhabitants are holding an important business meeting, hears the gunshot. The prosecutor, smirking, says, “Rich people must talk with their guns, huh?” and gives the order for his men to enter. The bodyguards, shocked by the sound of the gunshot, come to life when the prosecutor’s men begin pushing their way towards the entrance. After being warned that the prosecutor has arrived, the gunman fires again, shooting the winner who has already packed up all the winnings. The winner falls to the floor, blood spreading across the chest of his white shirt.

Once inside, the prosecutor orders his men to arrest everyone. With this diversion, one of the gamblers in the main - or largest stakes – game crawls towards the stairs and races out, jumping to the ground where his men await. Together he and his men run to their own speedboat. Two of the prosecutor’s men give chase but are unable to catch them.

Returning to the casino, one of the men reports that they failed to capture the fleeing gambler and his men and that they ran “far, far away on a boat”. The Prosecutor, who had been giving orders to arrest everyone, frowns angrily, saying “Far away? Far?” Removing his glasses, he asks in an exasperated tone, “Then, they’re not coming back, huh?” The young officer cocks his head slightly sideways and grins. The Prosecutor likewise grins and tells everyone to pack up and leave. The dead man rises from the floor and helps distribute the millions in cash to everyone, including the fake gunman who holds up a finger heart and says, “I love you,” to the fake prosecutor.

Somewhere on a road that abuts the sea, Prosecutor Baek Joon Soo tells his new supervisor that he’s been reassigned to Seoul with plans to receive evidence on a case. Just then a speeding construction dump truck barrels down on the lone automobile, with its lights flashing and horn honking. Baek Joon Soo puts his boss on hold, turns on his right turn signal, and tries to avoid the truck that seems intent on passing him. The narrow road, however, prevents Joon Soo from pulling over.

Finally, the truck, just before a blind curve, passes a frowning a Joon Soo. But just at that moment another construction dump truck, from the opposite direction, crashes into Joon Soo’s car, sending it flying off the cliff into the sea. As the sea swallows up the car, the dump truck drives off, leaving broken pieces of the car scattered over the road.

 Joon Soo, still conscious, struggles to free himself from the mangled car. Using his feet and legs, he pushes the door open and swims to the surface, albeit with an obvious head injury.

Meanwhile, his doppelganger – the fake prosecutor from the casino bust – mischievously grins while waving a large handful of won in front of his face, like a fan, as Joon Soo slowly crawls out of the sea, only to collapse into unconsciousness on the sand.

Government ID Oh Ha Ra Supreme Prosecutor’s Office

In a building across the river, a thug wields a knife at two young women, making threatening remarks for supposedly sneering at him as a somewhat pugnacious woman confidently walks through the onlookers to confront the thug. “What kind of 18th Century (pun: f***ing bastard) situation is this in 2018? If you create a scene holding a knife, ‘Oppa, you’re so cool!’”, she mocks, “You think girls would look up to you, you loser?” He curses at her, but she replies with a sneering gesture at his manhood. Losing control, the thug lunges at her. She easily trips him. When he attacks again, she throws him down and ties his arms behind his back with her badge and lanyard. When phone call from the Deputy Director suddenly interrupts her, she races off.

At the Prosecution building, realizing she doesn’t have her badge, she defies the rules and leaps over the barrier to race up the stairs. Running and sliding through the hallways, she enters her supervisor’s office. “What happened to Sunbae Baek?” Her supervisor, panicked and fearful, explains Joon Soo’s auto accident and that he’s in surgery. “What do we do,” he asks.

Meanwhile, four people calmly walk through an art gallery, talking about a painting that reminds the owner, CEO Geum, of Kandinsky, a master of abstract contemporary art.

As the two prosecutors race to the hospital, Ha Ra learns from her supervisor that Joon Soo was going to meet Nam Seung Tae. She tells him she doesn’t think it was a “simple accident.” At the hospital, Joon Soo lies unconscious in a bed, oxygen mask on his face and a bandage around his head. Both prosecutors agree that his life remains in danger if it becomes known that he’s still alive, so they arrange to have him moved to a secret location. Using three ambulances to avoid detection, they transfer him to Gapyeong Hospital where he’s hidden in a secure, private portion of the hospital.

Out on the riverbank, CEO Geum dangles a fishing rod over the dark water but fails to land his catch. To his underling, he remarks, “Both people and fish, we all fight hard to survive.” Responding this his boss’ questions, the underling reports that Joon Soo’s car was found in the sea with the door open but no sign of a body. He adds that it’s probable Joon Soo died and lies at the bottom of the sea. Geum, however, remains unconvinced of that conclusion.

The next day, Ha Ra inserts Joon Soo’s phone chip into her own phone. Immediately, she gets a call from Nam Seung Tae. She tells him she can meet with him, but he refuses, saying he trusts no one but Joon Soo and hangs up. Later, Ha Ra reports to her supervisor that not only do they not know who caused Joon Soo’s accident but also that Nam refuses to meet with anyone other than Joon Soo.

After much fretting, Ha Ra races out of the office. Meanwhile, the merry band of fraudsters packs their bags. Sa Do Chan, the leader of the fraudsters, stands atop the balcony, staring at an official looking prosecutor’s badge for Baek Joon Soo. In a flashback, he recalls looking at a video of Baek Joon Soo speaking to the media. Do Chan’s three confederates remark on how much Do Chan looks like Joon Soo. Returning to the present, Do Chan, somberly, throws the fake badge into the furnace and watches it burn.

Elsewhere, the gambler, who escaped the fake raid on the gambling casino, questions the authenticity of the raid. Deciding that it was a fake, they go in search of the fraudsters. They find Do Chan at the Ferry building where he’s engaged in conversation with an amateur con woman. Unable to con his way out of the situation by convincing the gang that he’s Joon Soo, he finally agrees to accompany them to the prosecutor’s office. But, before leaving, he calls one of his confederates, telling him to prepare an interrogation room at the prosecutor’s office for them. That signals the fraudsters, who witness Do Chan’s dilemma, to prepare another con.

The switch begins in earnest…

In their imagined scenario, Do Chan arrives at the Prosecutor’s Office just as two of his confederates, dressed as investigators, come down the outside steps. The two greet him, “Prosecutor Baek, hello.” A short back and forth conversation convinces the gang that Do Chan really is Prosecutor Baek Joon Soo and they go running off.

Back in reality, Do Chan casually leads the gang of thugs out to his car where he’s still unable to convince them of his identity and angrily hands over his car keys as soon as he see his confederates’ car race away. When Do Chan alights from his car with the thugs, he flashes back to the day six years earlier when he was about to take the Bar Exam to become a prosecutor. But at the last minute, he receives a call from Director Bong (who’s now a member of his posse). Something happened to Bong. He tearfully begs Do Chan to save him, saying Do Chan is the only one who can. Worried, Do Chan hails a cab and leaves.

In the present, Do Chan and the gang begin climbing the steps to the Prosecutor’s Office when he decides to call his posse again. Bong regretfully admits they were in a collision and Do Chan will have to wait for them. Do Chan again improvises, saying, “Ah, you’re offsite? Yes, come after you take care of your business.” Turning his head slightly in disconcertion, he continues on and leads the gang into the lobby where he happily greets another prosecutor and boldly strides to the information desk where he announces he doesn’t have his badge. He requests a call be made “to Detective Division 6 and ask them to send someone down.” Before the girl behind the desk can ask who he is, he gleefully replies, “Me? Prosecutor Baek Joon Soo.”

Simultaneously, Do Chan’s posse, back bumper taped on, continue driving to the Prosecutor’s Office just as the receptionist tells Do Chan that she’s “called and he’s coming down”. With that, Do Chan says thanks, to the shock of the gang, and turns to them. Continuing to play his switched role, he asks, “Do you even know now what you guys did?” When the head guy replies that they wanted to make sure he is who he said he was, Do Chan rattles off legal Codes and penalties…one after the other. Their mouths drop open in awed surprise. The head guy meekly asks again, “Are you really a prosecutor?” Do Chan smirks, “I’ll give you my sincere advice, just go on the count of three.”

When they stare at him with a kind of pleading fear, he barks, “I’ll start the count to three. I mean three.” Still he’s asked, “But still, let me confirm.” Sa Do replies harshly, “I warned you. I said I’m going to count to three,” and raises his had to begin counting. “One…two…two and a half…three.” At two and a half the gang almost leaves; at three they jump back, ready to run.

Ha Ra, who had been observing everything, takes a deep breathe and waves her arms a bit to relax, on his count of three runs to Do Chan, yelling “Joon Soo” and wraps her arms around him. Do Chan, at first surprised, looks suspiciously at her friendliness. “Sunbae! A really long time no see. Have you been well? Aigoo…” “You’ve gotten chubby,” pinching his cheeks. Do Chan, then, sees her official badge and realizes he has to play the part of Joon Soo even more convincingly. When the gang of thugs sees the friendly conversation, they take off running for the exit. Do Chan yells at them to stop while Ha Ra looks on, like a Cheshire cat, in amused satisfaction.


  1. Great !!!. Congrat sissies for a magnificent recap. Thank you so much. Our fake Baek Joon Soo are a king of the manipulation. Adore it.Really amazing drama.

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Thank you for sharing with us, Cri!