Decoy: the story of one fraud out of millions

The kdrama “Decoy” tells a story about a Ponzi scheme fraud. In my mother language (and maybe in others, I’m not sure) it’s called a financial pyramid. The fraud is simple, you invest money and get profit because more people are investing. All pyramid’s like that always collapse, it never happens any other way. So if anyone tells you they know how to gain a lot of money easily – run.

The victims

The only flaw those people have is their naivety. Everyone wishes to live better, gain more money and support their families. All those people are hardworking but not really bright. It’s not a sin and I’m not going to blame them for anything, they never wished any harm and therefore can’t be responsible for the downfall of the scheme.

Like Na-Yeon’s (Lee Elijah) mother. For fraud people, she was an ideal victim. The one who not only get everything she could into it but also got more people into the scheme. And kudos to the writers, I totally missed the fact that in the present day she talks only with her daughter. I usually pick those things up easily, because it’s stand out suspiciously. But I missed it here because of back-and-forth time jumps. Because of course, in the past, she talked with more people.

Apart from Na-Yeon’s mom, we see many other victims. Young and old, women and men, anyone can be in their place. Some got into poverty. Some end up in jail. Some became a fraud instead. I feel sorry for those people and I found them annoying but I think they perfectly represent real victims of schemes like that.

The mastermind

In the very first scene, we see No Sang Cheon (Heo Sung Tae) as well dressed businessman who thinks very highly about himself and very lowly about his investors. And this is why his backstory was so fascinating because schemes like that have two types of people. The victim-like who really believes it and No Sang Cheon-like, who knows what’s up but thinks they are too smart to be fooled. And every time I see news about another scheme like that collapsing a number of people write “Well, this actually works, you just need to invest in the beginning and leave before it collapses”. And this is why I think this fraud will be with us forever. And the show portrayed the full circle of the pyramid. No Sang Cheon gets screwed, decided to start his own fraud, and goes BIG, then runs, and on the ashes of his fraud the new fraud starts. The writers were pretty smart to show one of the victims who started her own fraud after getting screwed by No Sang Cheon’s.

The detective

Funny how I write about the majority of the story almost in the end but this is a typical detective story. The scheme was a base of it but it was actually a murder investigation story. And when I say typical, I mean it, it has all attributes of the detective story: gloomy lighting, the boards with suspects, the dirty streets, and very poor neighborhoods. The intensive brainstorming and smoking, smoking, smoking. Apart from bad lighting, I love all those things in detectives.

Detective Gu Do Han (Jang Keun Suk) is very devoted to the case and they couldn’t find a more suited person for the job. He can’t be bought like other detectives and officers because he becomes the detective after a personal drama with his sister (who indirectly was a victim of another fraud when someone tried to rob her and participate in another fraud scheme). He’s one smart cookie and watching him and No Sang Cheon trying to outsmart each other was a delightful sight.

The conclusion

Overall I really like this detective story but I think they shouldn’t have split it into 2 seasons only a few months apart and they could have to tell everything in 10 episodes instead of 12. A lot of times I thought the story dragging and I wished to speed it up. But the script is very well written and executed. The story slowly unrolls, showing all sides of the fraud and giving all points of view. It was truly a puzzle with a lot of unexpected turns, especially in the second part.

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