Last Saturday, August 6, the Orion Cinema Network’s K-drama 38 Task Force came to a conclusion. The series, starring Ma Dong Seok (Dr. Champ, Bad Guys), Seo In Guk (Reply 1997, Hello Monster), and Sooyoung (K-pop idol of Girls’ Generation), was about Baek Sung Il (Dong Seok), a task force chief who works with South Korea’s National Tax Service, and Yang Jung Do (In Guk), a professional swindler, teaming up to swindle the richest members of Korean population who avoid paying their large amounts of income taxes.
The plot concept for the series already put the K-drama at an advantage given that most political K-dramas are not successful. Whether it’s a love story like The Prime Minister and I or far more serious like Assembly, they don’t seem to garner the viewership necessary to be considered successful. However, the K-drama showed the tax collectors supporting the “little man,” going after those who have everything but simply refuse to pay their contribution to society. Many people around the world are able to relate to that, because if the wealthy paid their taxes like those who do not have as much as they do, it would not be such a strain for the lower classes.
As a result, 38 Task Force concluded successfully with a high viewership rating for a K-drama airing on a Korean pay channel. Not only that, 38 Task Force is officially the most successful K-drama the network has aired in its history.
As mentioned earlier, the final episode of 38 Task Force, which is also known as Squad 38 and 38 Revenue Collection Unit, aired on Saturday, August 6. According to the viewership ratings provided by Nielsen Korea, the final episode’s viewership rating for the Seoul National Capital Area was 4.024 percent while the nation’s viewership rating was 4.559 percent. As for TNS Media Korea, the nationwide viewership rating was 6.7 percent. They did not have a viewership rating specifically for the Seoul National Capital Area. It should be noted that the final episode was the highest rated for both viewership rating companies for the nation too.
The final episode did deliver, proving it was worthy of is high viewership. Warning: There are spoilers ahead.
Unlike the other scams committed by 38 Task Force, the final scam or con was not exactly a scam or con. Instead, Baek Sung Il, Yang Jeong Do, and the rest of their team don’t exactly try to scam money for taxes. Instead, they instigate a situation in which all the corrupt people manipulating the system for their own gain are exposed through a breaking television news report. Needless to say, it seemed as if Sung Il, Jeong Do, and company were losing when everything was actually going to plan.
Smart writing in the plot, just like the example used from the ending episode above, was utilized throughout the entire K-drama. The acting by the entire cast was top-notch, as was the direction. Let’s not forget that the concept for the plot is something the common man would relate to, as mentioned earlier.
However, probably one of the biggest reason 38 Task Force was so popular was the casting of Choi Sooyoung. Her acting was really good, but the fact she is one of the members of Girls’ Generation meant that Sones tuned in to watch her first K-drama after graduating from acting college alongside Park Shin Hye and fellow Girls’ Generation member Kwon Yuri.
All the positive details that made 38 Task Force very popular returned tenfold as the K-drama is officially the highest-rated OCN series in their history, as reported by Korean news outlet Joins. The series averaged at 3.3444 percent for the nation, less than 3.247 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area for AGB Nielsen, and 3.363 percent for the nation for TNS Media Korea.
Right now, there is no word of what the next OCN drama will be now that 38 Task Force is done. However, OCN can afford to wait a bit given the major profit they made with 38 Task Force.
For those who want to see what made 38 Task Force so popular, the entire series can be viewed for free, with ads, on both DramaFever and Viki pending region. Also at DramaFever, Jan Omega has reviews for every K-drama he has seen including 38 Task Force.
[Image via OCN]