Drama Casting & News
New ratings battle: The Chaser becomes the chased
by | July 10, 2012 | 62 Comments

The Chaser has made an impressive leap this week, breaking 20% ratings with its latest episode (Tuesday’s Episode 14). By all accounts the dark drama deserves the high numbers, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it got them because I thought it would be in mania drama territory. Yay for them.

The taut thriller about a grieving father out for revenge against corrupt officials has been amassing heaps and heaps of praise ever since its premiere, but ratings-wise it seemed likely to be the dark horse show. It had low- to mid-teen numbers, staying in solid second place next to the long-running MBC Light and Shadow. However, when that drama finally ended its 64-episode run, The Chaser shot to the top; Monday’s episode jumped to 17.9%, and today’s recorded a 20.7%.

I’m super happy for the drama, which has been near the top of my must-watch-soon list; it’s been raved about in the media and now has scored with mainstream viewers. A double victory. (Even if I always read the title as “Chaser: The Chaser,” which cracks me up; the Korean title is “추적자 The Chaser,” and when you translate that you literally get Chaser the Chaser. Heh.)

I’ve only seen the first episode so I can’t speak much to the plot beyond the premise, but it looks like it has the goods: a tightly written plot, solid direction, and fantastic lead actors in Sohn Hyun-joo (the vengeful dad, who’s amazing in anything he does — I’m thrilled he’s able to headline a super-successful show despite not being an idol, a pretty boy, or even a traditional leading man) and Kim Sang-joong (who makes being bad look hot; he’s a total ajusshi crush).

Thanks to The Chaser’s strong performance, it has scored an extension, which was rumored for a while and is now finalized. I think it’s a good thing it’s only a one-episode extension for the drama proper; the second hour will be a special broadcast with the usual behind-the-scenes clips and cast interviews. When you extend a tightly written thriller, you really run the risk of messing with its pacing so the less alteration, the better. Now it’ll end with 17 episodes, followed by the special on July 24.

As for the other Monday-Tuesday dramas:

Medical drama Golden Time premiered this week on MBC, starring Lee Seon-kyun and Hwang Jung-eum, its first episode bringing in a 8.7% rating. I thought that was a safe number for a premiere despite being on the low side of things, but the second episode dropped to 7.8%.

From what I read, Golden Time has been met with generally favorable response, although I’m not sure it’s doing anything new. It may just be doing something familiar, but well. It doesn’t strike me as the type of drama to surge to the top of the pack — not while The Chaser’s on top, at least. Perhaps in three weeks it’ll tick upward with both The Chaser and Big done, although then it has to contend with the rom-com Haeundae Lovers and the blockbuster fusion drama Faith.

I’m going to guess that Golden Time stays where it is, ratings-wise, and picks up a smallish but steady viewership. However, I could see it inching upward if Big remains in its sorta-muddling state of not-quite-enough-drama.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally enjoying Big for what it is, and it’s both gorgeously filmed and a fantastic showcase for Gong Yoo, who is so endearing in all of his character(s)’ guises. But I can see why viewers may be frustrated, too, because it’s just not all there. It has/had all the potential to be there, but it’s like a dish that’s almost done cooking that you take off the heat too soon — you can see where it was going, but it was served before it was done.

So while it’s too bad that the Hong sisters have their first drama that hasn’t been a buzzy, youth-magnet hit, I can see why its ratings are stalled just around the double-digit mark. Monday’s episode recorded a 9.2%, and Tuesday’s an 8.9%. It’ll probably stay in a distant second place.

Via My Daily, Star News, Herald M


62 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. shiku

    I just hope someone decides to sub this now that its getting ratings

    • 1.1 Ivoire

      Amen!!!! I just saw episode 1 yesterday based on a recommendation made on OT and I was HOOKED, only to find out that that was the only episode that had been subbed so far. I searched many places where I know Kdramas are subbed and I even did a google search and came up empty.
      So I really hope it will be subbed to the last episodes and that YesAsia will sell it, because if it is good till the end, I would like to have a copy of it.
      Man, the acting, music, the premise, the directing based on the first episode I saw were soooo good, excellent. I am sooo glad to see some ahjussis pull in big ratings! Yeah for them!!!!

      • 1.1.1 ilikemangos

        same! i was gonna start watching it due to girlfriday’s opinion about it but then realized there was only 1 episode subbed on dramacrazy. D:

        i’ll definitely start watching once the subs start coming in.

        • Arhazivory

          I’m also waiting. Its high on my to-watch list but seems, so once subs are fully out I’ll jump on. I can already feel that it’ll make an excellent marathon.

        • mtoh

          Marathon for me as well…

      • 1.1.2 MsB

        Just let me know where you are watching with subs. I can’t find it

    • 1.2 Lise

      Thought there’d be a chance of that too but with pretty boy Lee Min Hot in the horizon…fat chance ; (

    • 1.3 Kakashi

      YES! now I remember why I’m not watching this 🙂 no subs! It’s funny how we take the subbing for granted, somehow, and only realize that it’s not just done ‘automatically’ when we come across shows that are not subbed… This seems the right place to express my super heartfelt thanks to all the subbers out there, it’s so amazing that I can watch Korean drama in almost real time thanks to you!

    • 1.4 Yz

      First episode was great. There’s really noone subbing this past the first!??

  2. aoiaheen

    I like Kim Sang-joong so much! So glad for him. I think I might watch this. I usually watch only rom-coms and stuff with cute guys ( feeling a wee bit ashamed – hmmm) but i might try something new with this.

    • 2.1 maria

      I LOVE kim sang joong, and wohkd watch him act out a phone book!

  3. supah

    Aww… Golden Time is lovely. A hyper out of place Hwang Jung-eum aside the rest of the cast is doing marvellously. And most importantly this is not any old condescending medical, this is Choi Hee-ra’s blend of naturalistic and genuinely funny, heartwarming (and erm, tearjerking) brand of medical.
    Congrats to Chaser though, at least for that superb veteran cast.

  4. Cassandra

    Now I want to watch this show more than ever. I’ve been dying for subs to come out, but I got a nice surprise when I saw that it’ll be aired locally.

  5. Ivoire

    Thank you for the news! Off to read now…

  6. dugeundugeun

    I feel like Big is not the same as the other Hong sisters’ dramas. It seems like as if the usual angsty-period happened earlier than it was supposed to (see other Hong Sisters’ dramas) combined with the feeling that the potentially good parts of the plot haven’t been established yet. Right now, it’s like the story is just hanging on until the next “big” turning point.
    BTW, I love Kim Sang Joong. Whenever he is mentioned, I think of City Hunter. Hope the subs come out fast for The Chaser!

  7. tt

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, just like i said before Big will never can beat the chaser eventhough Light and Shadow was end, there are many interesting thing in The Chaser for someone that really love drama rather than only beauty, hot and cute cast with meh storyline

    • 7.1 Ivoire

      I TOTALLY 2nd your opinion, yes. I felt the same way after watching only the 1st episode. I already want the DVD, that’s how much I liked it.

      “there are many interesting thing in The Chaser for someone that really love drama rather than only beauty, hot and cute cast with meh storyline”
      As much as I appreciate good looking people (and yes, some of them are talented) in Kdramas, they are not enough for me (as well) to qualify a drama as good. I don’t even need kissing scenes. Give me a good drama which plot is tight, acting is excellent, OST is great and well edited, cinematography is well done and the chemistry between the different actors and actresses is spot on, pacing is well done etc… and I am on board!!! You got me, hook, line and sinker (I hope I got the expression right). On top of that, you (the drama) make me think, guess, give me angst, make me cry because of some of your emotional scenes (that are so well acted by the way), make me analyze the drama, Oh, you are after my own heart, and I would give it willingly.

      I do enjoy a good rom-com, fantasy, etc… drama every now and then, but the thriller/suspense/action/political ones, phew… They get me every time.

      • 7.1.1 tt

        yes the chaser successfully make me cry like han river especially when his daughter start singing in the BG music, ooh poor that daddy

      • 7.1.2 shiku

        I agree I like pretty people but if I was given a choice between them and a well-acted tight plot I would choose the latter every time.

  8. imprise

    big really won’t as big as other hong sister drama, i still remember MGIG still can get 10% despite up against 40% rating Kim Tak Guk, but now how can BIG still dont get double digit rating despite the big competitor was finished and make other competitor EASILY gain 20% rating with so many gap between them…

    average rating hong sister drama:

    1. Delightful Girl Choon Hyang – 24.3%—peak 32.2%
    2. My girl – 21% — peak 24.9%
    3. Couple of Fantasy – 15% —peak 22.7%
    4. MGIG — 14.6% — peak 21.3%
    5. Hong Gil Dong – 14.6% — peak 17%
    6. The Greatest Love — 12.5% (TNMS), 16% (AGB) — peak 17.4% (TNMS) , 21% (AGB)
    7. YAB – 10.1% — peak 11.9%
    8. Big — average 1-12 : 8.3% peak 9.6%

    mmm….seem like big will be least success hong sister drama

    • 8.1 Saima

      YAB averaged at 10.1%?!

      • 8.1.1 Brittni

        You are beautiful was more of an international hit then a korean hit, Its HUGE in japan and america but Korea didn’t really pay much attention. Thats why Jang Geun Suk is Huge in japan and not in his home country.

        • Saima

          I watched YAB a year after it aired hence was oblivious to the ratings. In any case I’ve long since stopped watching dramas based on domestic ratings alone.

      • 8.1.2 Roxy

        I was shocked too when I first found out, given how much I enjoyed the drama and considering its popularity internationally.

        But then again YAB was competing with Iris at the time which exceeded 40% in the last ep. So really, it’s understandable.

      • 8.1.3 imprise

        it even lesser in AGB rating only 9.2%

    • 8.2 boobae

      From this stat, it looks like the Hong Sister series are in a constant decline. Like most Kdramas, start with a bang, and end with a whimper.

      • 8.2.1 bd

        ‘My Girl’ was unwatchable; HGD was just bad.

        MGIAG had its flaws but Shin Min ah as Miho made it well worth it.

        ‘The Greatest Love’ is the most complete Hong sisters romcom – best writing thruout.

        ‘Big’ is all Gong Yoo and I’m not sure he’s enuf to save it.

  9. Kiara

    Sohn Hyun-joo and Kim Sang-joong is like watching old Hollywood actors. There is just something about them that these youngling actors dont have.

    • 9.1 Ivoire

      True and well said! That’s a big reason why I always LOVE watching veteran Korean actors and actresses.

  10. 10 linda

    Congratulations to the chaser. I hope this team win many awards for their performance.

  11. 11 Sabah

    I have been looking for a new drama after finally finishing VP, which I loved. I have been torn between The Chaser or Ghost. Then there is also ‘a time between dog and wolf.’ I started Ghost but now after reading this, I am thinking of switching to chaser.

    I would be much obliged if anyone could nudge me in any direction. I like stylish dramas with something to say. A bit of form but also substance, if that makes sense.


    • 11.1 shiku

      You could also try Ten and Hero both from OCN network than made VP. White Christmas is also good but it makes you think and feels you with dread.

      Time between Dog/Wolf was good too although the writing could be better.

      Chaser only has subs for ep1 so unless you understand Korean or can use Chinese subs it will be a while until we get subs unless the subbing groups decide to sub it.

      The Devil/Mahwang also good and intense

      Story of a man is really good.

      • 11.1.1 Sabah

        Watched Ten but couldn’t find sub for Hero. Watched White Christmas. Will note caution about ‘time between dog…’

        Normally I download raw and get subs from DS. I know they are behind on this one, but if it is good, I will wait.

        Watched story of a man. Will add Devil to my list.

        I am indebted for your suggestions. Heartfelt thanks. : )

    • 11.2 MsB

      Watching Hero now on Hulu. Its fantastic! Ghost is good, it has its moments but then I’m just a sucker for SJS. Time Between Dog and Wolf, I’m biased! I LOVED it! The Chaser, I’ve been looking for it. Revenge dramas are my favorite genre of all! They just tend to have sucky endings! Ten was good and its short!

      • 11.2.1 Sabah

        Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

        I have decided to check out chaser and hero for now, then move onto Time between dog and wolf and thereafter maybe ghost.

        Thank you all, for helping me work things out.

  12. 12 Saima

    I’ve heard rave reviews for The Chaser and A Wife’s Credentials….unfortunately, both are really behind on getting subbed.

    • 12.1 shiku

      True but at least A Wife’s Credentials is up to ep5. This is progress.

      • 12.1.1 oramylove

        so sad… i really like to watch this show… the waiting for the subs is killing me… haaayyyy….

  13. 13 Lise

    Ha ha! Kim Soo Hyun’s (seemingly harmless) RM greeting started all this lolz (HaHa too!)

  14. 14 random person

    Watching The Chaser with Chinese subs. It is pretty exciting and the plot just hooks you – everyone plots against each other, sometimes betraying each other, sometimes working together, all really surprising plot lines. I think the “bad” people in this drama are far more interesting than the good. Their scenes grip me far more than those with the “good” characters.

  15. 15 Eeefu

    Hyun-joo ajusshi is like a scruffy teddy bear – he looks most charming unshaved with teary eyes and slightly beaten…

    He has so many dramas and movies under his belt, but strangely I have only watched The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House and I instantly recognize this is an amazing actor.

  16. 16 ilikemangos

    ah yes, i checked the ratings on the chaser and realized it had like a 5% increase in viewers and i was happy for it.
    Can’t wait to start watching once i get all these dramas off of my watching list.

  17. 17 leonardswench

    I’m about to catch Golden Time, the medical drama based on similar shows like the BBC production The Golden Hour, the video game Trauma Center, and one fleeting episode each in both ER and Gray’s Anatomy that covered the topic of a “golden time” in which medical treatment does the most good for the patient.

    Any roads, about to watch it and we’ll see if the PD and cast can catch magic in the bottle: medical dramas are NOT standard K-fare for good reason, they are mostly sedatives.

  18. 18 leonardswench

    I’m about to catch Golden Time, the medical drama based on similar shows like the BBC production The Golden Hour, the video game Trauma Center, and one fleeting episode each in both ER and Gray’s Anatomy that covered the topic of a “golden time” in which medical treatment does the most good for the patient.

    Any roads, about to watch it and we’ll see if the PD and cast can catch magic in the bottle: medical dramas are NOT standard K-fare for good reason, they are mostly sedatives.

  19. 19 jelly

    Thanks for the recomendation. There are so many drama to watch. I’m so sleep deprived already…but I won’t miss this since everyone is raving about it.

  20. 20 mskololia

    I’ll be happy once TC is fully subbed. Congrats, bad daddy!

  21. 21 mae

    i have been meaning to watch the chaser..hopefully i can catch up with it….i love Sohn Hyun-Joon as an actor because he doesn’t have the common korean actor face…he is unique to me and i love that. Also, my lovely badass ajusshi, Kim Sang-joong..ahhhhhhhhh…..i’m sure he was a lady killer back in his day..ahhhh…pkay enough dreaming….
    Big…i don’t know, i feel like this is the 1st drama the Hong sisters went wrong with….it feels too cliched for me….oh wells….can’t wait for Haeundae Lovers and Faith…

    • 21.1 mihinikki

      I <3 Big. I feel like Dramabeans is the place folks go to hate on it. I know everyone won't like it, but auuggghhh…I love the OTP so much that maybe I'm losing perspective.

  22. 22 edelweiss

    Evil daddy’s onscreen again! Wow! I think I must give it a shot. If its anything along the lines ofCity Hunter, I’m in!

  23. 23 yukisama

    Man, I’ve been waiting for The Chaser to be fully subbed. I’m dying to watch it my kind of show . ^^ I’ve developed a major ahjussi crush on Kim Sang Jung ever since Life is Beautiful.

  24. 24 MsB

    I want to watch The Chaser but cannot find it anywhere. I started watching Golden Time and truthfully, its not like any medical drama I’ve watched before. These interns need HELP!

  25. 25 -K

    I watched the first 2 episodes of Golden Time and I have to say two things, 1) I’m not a fan of medical drams, this show has taught me that and 2) I prefer homeboy yelling and making dinner to insecure and looking for a vein.

    Looking forward to Chaser though, sounds awesome.

  26. 26 MEalways

    I love ‘The Chaser’ from the start.
    I like the quality of the main-stars. They are fabulous and have depth in their acting.

    I hate it so much when Soo Jeong died (basically, in real life I do really hate politics, any kind of politic, aka office, government, etc…). So, you can stomp and taken people life whenever you feel necessary for BIGGER picture, says who?

    But I love all the intrigue between all the main characters how they hate, respect, love, loath, despise, manipulate each others – surprisingly it bound them together, whether they like it or not.

    First I hate ‘the wife’ Ji-Soo (or the trophy, comes to think of it… but that’s harsh and SHE knows it), but now that I understand her reason being so childish, I kind of pity her… I also dislike President Seo very, very much.
    The world should be revolving around him, or else…

    But, I can’t hate Dong Yoon, no matter how much I try. Although I know he’s wrong, I want him to win and becomes the ‘unhappy’ president.

    Talking about bias in K-entertainment….

    He reminds me of someone I look up, admire and respect, but never look at me as a ‘woman’ duh….

    Between the dramas I am watching now, this what my personal preference:
    Top-tie: The Chaser vs Ghost
    Second layer: Gaksital
    Just so-so (I watch the rerun or skip it): Big

    Several first episodes, I like Big. But, now I am getting tired of how it turns out. Maybe romance isn’t my cup of tea… hehehe…

    • 26.1 MEalways

      Oh, I hate when The Chaser, Ghost, Gaksital come to their end.

      I just read the supposed replacement of these dramas, why all are love drama?

      Where the thriller, revenge and noir dramas?

      Please, please, please at least give me one that follow the step of ‘Equator Man’ – ‘Ghost’ – ‘The Chaser’ – ‘Gaksital’…

      Well, should enjoy these to the max while them last…

      • 26.1.1 m92

        i love ghost the most because its has it own suspense, thriller n brilliant script. I don’t know why i’m not too fond with bridal mask. Now, i’m stop watching it at ep 12 n waiting all the episode end,then i will watch it. But, i must admit that all casts show awesome acting especially joo won n shin hyun jun. For the chaser, i will try to watch it. And i’m expecting faith, may queen, nice guy to be hit. For golden time, to the beautiful you it has its own potential.For arang n majistrate, heundae lovers, hmmm its has it potential for being to be hit or big flop especially arang that has showing so much hype.But truly, i still not attracted with arang because of shim min ah already act in my girlfriend is gumiho n seriously i don’t like that drama even they have lee sung gi in it because for me its too childish n cheesy for shim min ah to act cute, innocent gumiho(even i knew many guys fall for her) that sometimes feel not logical.

  27. 27 Linda

    Can’t wait to see this one. I get it about Kim Sang-joong. He was that way in ‘My Man’s Woman.’

  28. 28 Linda

    Can’t wait to see this one. I get it about Kim Sang-joong. He was that way in ‘My Man’s Woman.’

  29. 29 sherry

    let’s not give up hope , please encourage the subbers here :-

    Or anyone knows where to rip the subs off I know this drama is on cable with eng subs already

  30. 30 m92

    truly i’m really dissapointed with big ending. How can they ignore shin won ho even he is not a big star. Its kinda ridiculous to see after a year they swapping body back that little kang kyung joon became like seo yoon jae??I admit that gong yoo acting is superb in big but…???That’s why this time something is missing for this hong sisters drama. Even big has almost similar basic plot with i love lee tae ri, i love lee tae ri has better ending where i can accept that ki bum character appear again at the the end for after a “few years” in that drama.Its kinda logical n acceptable even there is big age gap between geum eun dong n lee tae ri(14 years).Hmmm…thats why sometimes i don’t like major channel because the script always rewritten based on the rating n response(well its all about gong yoo in big?!!). Cable channel always has consistency in it plot especially like queen in hyun’s man etc…Then, based on review, i’m kinda want to try to watch the chaser. i wonder how good it is that everyone bluffing all about.

  31. 31 zas

    i agree with you big was disappointing for me although it started amazingly but after 11 or 12 ep it became boring f, it seemed like they were just dragging it. i am waiting for chaser to be subbed it seems promising and ghost although i dont like the fact that the lead actresses is being side kicked unlike in beginning but the story is profoundly written cant wait for the ending.

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