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Whisper: Episode 1

Greed. Money. Power. With the long-awaited comeback of actress Lee Bo-young, Whisper offers up a classic case of corruption and vengeance where the bad guys control the world, leaving honest heroes with a moral quandary: Is it better to desperately fight the corruption head-on with truth and justice, or seek the only chance of survival by embracing the evil, allowing it to consume you?

EPISODE 1 RECAP

  

It’s a dark and stormy early morning as SHIN CHANG-HO (Kang Shin-il) drives along a curvy mountain road. He’s on his way to meet someone who calls him in a panic that their meeting spot has been compromised. Just as he tells the other person where else they should meet, a car suddenly speeds past him, causing him to swerve. If it weren’t for the railings on the side of the road, he would have been sent over the cliff.

As he catches his breath, he hears from the other end of the phone a scream and a crash. The man he’s supposed to meet has just been hit by a car that’s sent him flying into the lake. A hooded man steps out and, picking up a broken fishing pole, and jabs it into the other man’s chest, killing him.

Meanwhile, Section Chief Detective SHIN YOUNG-JOO (Lee Bo-young) secretly rifles through boxes of old files, looking for proof that the powerful Taebaek Law Firm was behind the court cases involving weapons defense — as well as a court case against Shin Chang-ho.

Back at the fishing site, Chang-ho arrives to find his friend, Kim Sung-shik, dead in the water. He weeps as he desperately tries to drag his friend out while calling for an ambulance, but his phone drops into the lake. The police are immediately on the scene nonetheless, but they tackle Chang-ho and arrest him as Sung-shik’s murderer.

  

By late morning, Young-joo has gathered enough possible evidence to show that the defense industry is corrupt. She orders her team to mobilize, and as they leave the station, her mother calls her, letting Young-joo know that he disappeared again. This is not the first time he’s done such a thing, and Mom just asks that when she gets in contact with her father, to tell him to return home after he’s finished chasing after whatever lead he’s been working on.

But Young-joo freezes when she sees Chang-ho, handcuffed and being escorted into the police station. As the waiting press film his arrival and shout questions at him, Young-joo dazedly calls him “Father” as he’s escorted past her. With worry in her eyes, she watches him disappear into the station.

At the courthouse, District Judge LEE DONG-JOON (Lee Sang-yoon) prepares for his next case involving the son-in-law of a Supreme Court Justice. Dong-joon is a man of principle who believes in giving a fair ruling, no matter how powerful the person in the defendant’s seat.

Justice Jang stops by before the trial to remind Dong-joon that it’ll be in his best interest to let his son-in-law, who’s being charged with embezzlement, off with mere probation. This would be especially beneficial since Justice Jang controls the rulings to Dong-joon’s father’s malpractice cases.

  

When it comes to the actual sentence, Dong-joon gives the son-in-law the full punishment available for his embezzlement crimes. He meets Justice Jang’s gaze head-on, knowing he’s gone against the justice’s wishes.

When Young-joo returns to the station, she finds the other detectives watching the news about her father’s arrest. The news station calls her father a previous convict who is assumed to have killed Sung-shik after a falling out over financial matters.

She charges down the hallway to where her father’s case is being discussed, furious that the police have released a statement full of lies. Her fellow detective — and fiancé — PARK HYUN-SOO (Lee Hyun-jin) hurries after her, urging her to take it through official channels instead of just barging in.

But she knows that she only has a day before the case is turned over to the prosecution, and right now, all the evidence against her father has been forged. This is the only way to save him.

She introduces herself as Chang-ho’s daughter, and provides a slideshow of evidence that her father and Sung-shik were friends and colleagues with no animosity between them, so there was no reason for her father to kill him.

However, there is reason for Taebaek Law Firm to want kill Sung-shik and frame her father, since the men were going to produce proof that Taebaek is involved with the defense industry corruption cases. The chief orders her to hand over the proof she has, but Young-joo refuses, telling him she’ll only give it to the police once it’s been aired on the news. She requests they reinvestigate the case from the beginning.

In one of the interrogation rooms, she meets with her father. She tells him that she’s put everything on hold to investigate Taebaek. He’s worried for her safety, though, especially since they just killed a man who was doing just that.

But a couple of detectives arrive to take her father away — they have proof that his DNA was on Sung-shik, as well as financial records that Sung-shik recently deposited $30,000 into Chang-ho’s account. As they drag him out, her father reassures her that everything will be fine — they can’t convict him for a crime he didn’t commit.

Young-joo returns home to her family’s shop, where she finds her mother glued to the TV as the police chief gives a statement that Chang-ho killed Sung-shik over the debt he owed.

  

Young-joo wants to see her father’s bankbook, since she knows the deposit has to be fake, but Mom tearfully admits that it’s real. Their rent was increasing and she couldn’t afford to pay. She didn’t want to take from the savings for Young-joo’s wedding, so Sung-shik loaned her the money. But she swears Dad had nothing to do with it.

Dong-joon arrives at his father’s hospital, where he chides his father for trying to interfere with his ruling by using Justice Jang, then freezes in his tracks when he sees that waiting for him is Taebak’s chief lawyer, CHOI IL-HWAN (Kim Gab-soo). The purpose of the meeting is to set up an arranged marriage for Dong-joon and Lawyer Choi’s daughter, CHOI SOO-YEON (Park Se-young).

  

It’s strictly a business arrangement, but Dong-joon’s step-mother is still thrilled to plan the details of the wedding. Lawyer Choi has Dong-joon’s future all planned out, but Dong-joon firmly refuses to become a part of the family just to become a pawn for Taebaek Law Firm, which he accuses of abusing the law to gain power. He’d rather remain an honorable judge than get sucked into their corruption.

But Lawyer Choi reminds Dong-joon that even though it’s rare, judges can be excluded from reappointment. Just then Dong-joon gets a call, letting him know that he’s received a notice of reappointment. The chairman of the committee that will decide his reappointment is none other than Justice Jang, who definitely has a grudge against him.

  

Lawyer Choi holds out his hand, telling Dong-joon that it’s in both their best interest to work together. Soo-yeon also doesn’t care that it’s just a business arrangement, and tells him to accept the offer. The principled Dong-joon refuses, telling them they’ll need to find someone else.

He confronts Justice Jang, requesting the reasoning behind him being disqualified from his reappointment. But Justice Jang throws Dong-joon’s words back at him, informing he’ll find out when he attends the hearing.

But he still has work to do as a judge until then, and the next trial on his docket is Chang-ho’s. The prosecution is prepared to pile up evidence against the defendant, but Dong-joon is more interested in why Chang-ho, who used to be a respected journalist, refused to return to the news station when they offered him his job back.

  

He could have easily become the chief of the news room if he had agreed to be hired on again. Chang-ho says that he would have to ignore all the rampant misuse of company funds, and so he refused the offer. Dong-joon asks if he regrets his decision, and Chang-ho tells him that’s what his ex-employers want him to feel. Dong-joon decides to postpone the trial, ordering the prosecution and defense lawyers to hand over all their documents for him to carefully look over.

As he leaves the courtroom, he gets a call from someone apologizing for accidentally hitting his car in the parking garage. When he goes down to inspect the damage, it turns out Young-joo purposefully hit his car as a way to meet him and show him the evidence she’s accumulated proving her father is innocent. He tells her to submit the documents through the official — and legal — process, but she desperately tells him that her father followed the letter of the law and look where it got him.

 

Apparently that’s enough to persuade him to at least meet with her, and she shows him that per her father’s phone records, he arrived at the fishing spot a half-hour after Sung-shik’s death. The unmovable Dong-joon points out that estimated time of death can differ by an hour, and if she really wants to prove his innocence, she should find her father’s cell phone. Except it’s somewhere at the bottom of the lake right now. 

Dong-joon realizes that she must have obtained copies of the phone records illegally, and advises her not to submit them as evidence. She doesn’t care, though — she’ll do whatever it takes to prove her father’s innocence. After all, in this world, the bad guys have all the power and influence, so what else can she do but use them? He reminds her that he can’t make a ruling based on evidence he can’t see, but he also promises that he won’t believe all the evidence he does see.

With Young-joo’s words about the bad guys having all the power ringing in his ears, Dong-joon steels himself to enter glossy, granite halls of Taebaek Law Firm. His guide through the building happens to be a corrupt ex-prosecutor who lost his job thanks to Dong-joon’s upright rulings, but even though he lost his license to practice law, he’s still useful to Taebaek. He has Dong-joon check in his phone and watch as a precaution so that he won’t record the conversation, and then shows him into Lawyer Choi’s vast office.

He’s surprised that Laywer Choi knows he’s there about the reappointment case, and Lawyer Choi reminds him that, as Dong-joon said, he’s a “legal thief” who buys information. Even though Justice Jang may be the chairman of the reappointment committee, there are still eight other people that will oversee his case, and Dong-joon is confident they’ll rule justly. But Lawyer Choi reveals that the other judges are all ones that have a personal vendetta against Dong-joon due to his prior rulings. Justice Jang has stacked his deck quite well.

  

Dong-joon wants to know why it has to be him, specifically. Lawyer Choi shows him a ruling he’s written for Chang-ho’s case — all Dong-joon has to do is tap the gavel. Furious, Dong-joon tells him that his ruling can’t be bought, but Lawyer Choi says it’s this or he’s no longer a judge.

Dong-joon goes to his father, pleading with him to write a confession about Justice Jang visiting him. He knows the justice asked for a light ruling in his son-in-law’s in repayment for helping with Dong-joon’s father’s malpractice cases. 

But Dad tells him that Lawyer Choi may decide to replace him as the family doctor, effectively taking away all his other VIP patients as well. He counsels Dong-joon to get married to Soo-yeon, not just so he can be a doctor with an endless list of VIP clients, but also to keep an ear on the ground when it comes to any other potential ways the hospital could benefit.

Young-joo and Hyun-soo are at the scene where Sung-shik’s body was found. Hyun-soo reassuringly tells her that his parents are concerned about her well-being, but she knows better. Hyun-soo’s mother visited her, asking for her to break up with Hyun-soo because being associated with someone on trial for murder would make their lives difficult.

Even so, she tells Hyun-soo to wait for her. She’ll eventually walk down the aisle on her father’s arm. But first, she needs to find his cell phone. It seems impossible to figure out where it might have been washed away in the lake, but she knows there are others just as desperate to find it as she is.

  

It’s a good hunch, because at least thirty men painstakingly comb through the lake looking for the phone while Young-joo and Hyun-soo watch from a distance. The phone is eventually found, and the head gangster orders his men to head out.

Young-Hoo follows the men, but when they come to a railroad crossing that’s about to force everyone to wait for a passing train, she suddenly slams on the gas pedal and speeds forward, crashing into the head gangster’s car and shoving it across the tracks barely in time to keep from getting crushed by the oncoming train.

  

Cut off from the rest of his men, Young-joo and Hyun-soo swiftly take down the henchman in the car with the head gangster. She easily throws him on the ground and retrieves her father’s phone, fighting off his advances to attack her with a knife. As soon as the train finishes passing, the dozens of henchman swarm Young-joo and Hyun-soo’s car as they try to escape — which they manage to do, despite a few broken car windows.

Dong-joon stops by the nursing home where his mother is the director. They’re frantically getting ready for an inspection from the National Health Service for suspicion of overcharging medication expenses, but Dong-joon tells him that he’s taken care of it — as a citizen, he swears, and not because of his judgeship. He merely asked the NHS if it was so wrong for a company to only use medication covered by insurance, since it means pensioners can then have a little extra money to spend on their grandchildren when they visit. Who can argue with that?

  

Mom asks him to live with her instead of in a soulless studio apartment near the courthouse. This seems like a regular request from her, but Dong-joon cheerfully says that he’ll need to stay by the courthouse since he’s convinced the ruling on his judgeship will go well. Mom isn’t as persuaded, especially since her ex-husband told her about the issues he’s facing — and the upcoming wedding. Even he won’t move back home with her, she’s just thankful that Dong-joon hasn’t grown up to be like his unprincipled father.

During his reappointment trial, Dong-joon firmly tells Justice Jang that he won’t be submitting any documents on his behalf. Justice Jang assumes that he’s accepted that he’ll be disqualified, but Dong-joon tells him it’s because he doesn’t believe he deserves to be in judgement in the first place, and especially by the specific people who are in a position to judge him. If he must resign, he’ll become a witness at each of the judge’s family members’ trials.

  

But Justice Jang reveals that no one will take his testimony seriously since he’ll be on trial himself. He cites Dong-joon for using his authority as a judge to coerce the NHS to ignore the medication overcharge from his mother’s nursing home. Dong-joon insists he didn’t coerce anyone, but Justice Jang says that the court will probably view it differently, and as soon as Dong-joon’s judgeship is revoked, he’ll be prosecuted for graft and bribery. 

As he deals with this sudden corrupt twist, Dong-joon is contacted by Young-joo, who reveals she’s found her father’s phone. They meet up at a coffee shop where she plays the recording of that night. It’s clear that her father was still driving when Sung-shik was attacked.

Dong-joon also gets a call from Lawyer Choi, who tells him that he’s been disqualified from his judgeship. Even though Lawyer Choi couldn’t stop him from getting fired, he can at least prevent him from going to jail — if he uses Lawyer Choi’s verdict in Chang-ho’s case.

Dong-joon glances out the window to see a bus transporting prisoners, and imagines himself on the bus. He thinks about Lawyer Choi’s offer, knowing that he’d go down in history not as the principled judge he’s always tried to be, but a corrupt one. The phantom prisoner Dong-joon nods in approval as the real Dong-joon makes his decision. He’ll go with Lawyer Choi’s verdict.

Across the table from him, Young-joo tells Dong-joon that she trusts him because he told her he’ll only make a judgement based on concrete evidence.

  

It’s the final day of Chang-ho’s trial, and Dong-joon reads the verdict. Young-joo reassuringly smiles at her father, but Dong-joon takes a deep breath and says that due to lack of evidence to support the claim of Chang-ho’s innocence, he sentences Chang-ho to fifteen years in prison for murder. Young-joo stands in shock, fighting back tears, as Dong-joon pounds the gavel. To his credit, he can barely look her in the eye as he does so.

Dong-joon gives Chang-ho’s phone to Lawyer Choi, who’s thrilled that Dong-joon has decided to partner with Taebaek, and, of course, marry his daughter. Lawyer Choi takes out the SIM card and douses it in lighter fluid, handing the lighter to a reluctant Dong-joon. As Dong-joon burns the SIM card, he also symbolically erases his past life.

Young-joo is facing her own trial for leaking evidence to the public and assaulting a citizen in effort to get supposed evidence. She insists it was to get her father’s phone, turning to Hyun-soo for support since he was there with her. But he tells the police chief that he only went to try and stop her from recklessly conducting an illegal investigation. His pay is docked in punishment, but Young-joo is fired.

She’s shocked by Hyun-soo’s betrayal, and as she turns in her badge, she tells him a simple “I’m sorry” isn’t enough after the five years they were friends, and the five years they were lovers after that. Gathering her personal belongings, she leaves the station, fighting back the urge to cry.

  

She arrives home to find her mother looking through old photo albums, reminiscing about the past. Mom stops on one photo from Young-joo’s middle school graduation, realizing that it was fifteen years ago — the same amount of time that her husband will be in jail. As Mom cries over the pictures, begging Young-joo to find a way to bring him home, Young-joo sees a news article about Dong-joon’s upcoming wedding to Soo-yeon, effectively making him “Taebak Law Firm’s son-in-law.”

Alone in her room, Young-joo quietly weeps as she listens to her mother sob. With renewed determination, she rereads the article on Dong-joon’s wedding, and then crushes the paper in her hands.

 

Dong-joon’s bachelor party is a depressing affair, as his friends and colleagues point out that he’s just sitting there silently, drinking. He bitterly thanks them for not signing his reinstatement and then prosecuting him for graft — it’s all due to them that he’s getting married. They eventually drag him drunkenly out of the club and haul him into his car where a hired designated driver waits to drive him home. The driver remains hidden but looks suspiciously familiar…

In the morning, Dong-joon blearily wakes up to find himself in a hotel room. His phone ringing is what woke him up, and it’s his mother, wondering where he is. He tells her that he’ll meet her at the hair appointment before the wedding, and then hunts around for the remote to turn off the television that’s currently showing an erotic movie.

  

Just then, Young-joo, fresh from the shower and wearing a bathrobe, enters the room. She slowly advances as Dong-joon looks at her in shock, telling his mother he’ll see her later before he hangs up. Young-joo congratulates him on his wedding, practically spitting out the words “Judge Lee Dong-joon.”

With growing horror, Dong-joon realizes that the movie on the TV is actually footage of him with Young-joo from last night, and she asks him what would happen to a judge who raped the daughter of a defendant who was asking for a plea bargain. He starts to speak, but she tells him to shut up: “I think I need to bring my father home, Judge Lee Dong-joon.”

  

COMMENTS

Lee Bo-young is so badass. I’m ecstatic to have her back on our screens (and reunited with her I Hear Your Voice mother, Kim Hae-sook!). Without a doubt, she’s the main reason why I was so eager for this show, even though I’m happy with everything else so far.

I love that we’ve immediately established Young-joo as a renegade who is willing to break all the rules in order to get what she wants. Even though she is/was a detective, she’s more determined to see justice done than follow proper protocol. Which is in stark contrast to law-abiding rules-following Dong-joon. Even though both of them want the same thing — justice — their techniques for going about it are so different. Young-joo jumps in with both feet and consequences can be dealt with later, while Dong-joon is cautious and wants to take the legal high road.

Or, at least, he used to, until he found himself in the middle of this mess. It does seem like being honorable doesn’t pay, especially when you make enemies out of the most powerful people — or the ones who have nothing to lose. This production team is known for their morally grey characters, who are often unlikable even as we hope they somehow find success and a way out of the traps of prestige and power that constantly ensnare them. And it is no different for the characters of Whisper.

 

It makes me wonder what emotional low Young-joo has reached where she’d decide that rape, of all things, is what will get her the leverage she needs to see justice for her father. There’s really no excuse for rape, no matter how convenient it makes blackmailing someone. I have to believe that it’s not just Dong-joon’s betrayal, but also Hyun-soo’s that’s somehow playing into her decision. Dong-joon’s betrayal was one of honor — she trusted him because he was a “just” judge who went by facts and evidence. But Hyun-soo’s betrayal is more personal. He’s been her friend, companion, and lover for years, someone that you think she could rely on. But in the end, all he could say was “sorry” as she was forced to walk away.

If she’s completely giving herself over to the dark side in order to save her father, are her illegal deeds somehow more morally justified because she’s acting for truth? I can’t really say, and while I’m excited to have a character that will challenge and surprise me, I’m not sure that I totally agree with her methodologies. Then again, as Dong-joon knows painfully well, in order to combat corruption, it doesn’t get you very far to be honest and upright.

I am curious to see just how dark Dong-joon will allow himself to go, and how he’ll justify it to himself. I’m also intrigued by how these two enemies will eventually start to working together to take down the evil law firm that’s ruined so many lives. Sometimes the only way to destroy evil is evil itself, but how far will Young-joo and Dong-joon go down that path? And will it be worth it in the end? I can’t wait to find out!

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Th ending is all it took and I'm sold.

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Also, I really hope the mum won't end up with the same fate as in I Hear Your Voice

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I hope not! But then you have planted the seed of dread! Someone is going to die.

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I looked at both mom & dad and thought "I think they'll end up dead".

The dad is too much in a "risky" position (he could talk) and the mom is physically/mentally weak. I'm not going to bet they'll both be alive at the end ––– I'd love them to be, but I could also see them dying driving our heroine even more to bring the truth to light...

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Agree, after the 2nd episode i feel that someone is gonna die, maybe the dad and the mom will go insane and lose her mind, this so dramatic.

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I though Hero's parents were more in danger.

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That may well be, particularly his mom (but not his stepmom).

I think a high death count is likely...

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@ alua,
You think a high death count is likely from the bad guys and some of the good guys? Though I now realize that many of them might be more characters with gray areas than strictly or completely just good or bad guys (though I'm convinced both the Chief Justice and the head of Tae Baek must be really bad people).

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Riding on your comment to ask everyone who wants to see one of Ji Sung's visits to on over to SBS Catch and watch the video there! They're kind of adorable

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Everyone's acting is on-point on the first episode and its so fast! I like it!

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I have been waiting for this day to happen! Bo Young and Sang Yoon have great chemistry. This is why I am confused at the fact that they are at each others' throats rather than working together as rogue detective and honorable double agent judge while making eyes at each other. That will be another drama ofcourse. Haha.

I kind of wish Dong Joon wasn't in that pitiful half-naked state on the bed while being confronted by badass Young Joo. I want him to at least reach for a robe, wear it, and drunkenly walk to the window, while Young Joo walks in, dressed, but with wet hair, ready to confront him. Rape wasn't an expected blackmail either. I don't know how to feel about that.

Thanks for the recap! Cleared up all sorts of things. New crack drama after long disappointing months.

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Lee Bo Young is AMAZING. Can't get over how she's nailed this role. Who knows, come December it might just be her vs hubby for the Daesang!

Loving this so far. Seeing as it's by the same writer who did Punch, I'm bracing myself for a rollercoaster ride... and hopefully not too many tears during the finale.

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Haven't watch the episode yet, completely forgotten about it until I saw the recap. This one looks promising to hook me for long. The story seems intense and (would be) gripping. The casts are superb and seasoned actors. I'm in.

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I'm glad you're recapping this drama, I was wondering if you would. LSY was my draw, and an article I read on another blog about the first episode. I agree that the acting by all involved is on point, and this drama has some of my favorite veteran Korean actors, especially the one whose son-in-law went to jail. How many episodes will this drama have? I didn't read up on it.

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16 episodes

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Oh okay! Thank you!

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I just rewatched the last ten minutes of the episode, and I couldn't help but smile and laugh when DJ wanted to speak and YJ told him to keep his mouth shut. At that moment, there was thunder outside. I thought to myself, "I know this is a melodrama, but boy, they are really piling it on, aren't they? Between the often dramatic music, and even the weather conspiring to make DJ realize he is trapped (from two sides), there's no mistaking what kind of drama this is. Even the weather reacts after YJ speaks."

Of course I'm being a little facetious, however I still thought it was funny.

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I was thinking that too. Even while I was so shocked out of my mind about the rape blackmail. That was so unexpected. *bring it on show*

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Just saw the Episode 2 and it's going to be a long and twisted ride and I'm all for it. The leads are captivating and I'm hooked already. Bring on episode 3!!!???

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I gave it a chance because of Lee Bo Young. I'm all for unlikable characters and twisted relationships. With good writing/acting, I can accept just about anything, but rape is a dealbreaker for me.

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Blackmailing him by rape is a twisted idea specially that there is so many real victims out there who's people won't take them seriously and struggles to prove it, since it's a drama and many people are watching it doesn't set a good example for those women instead it's hurting them.

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Yes, falsely accusing someone of rape is just a no go for me, and lately there have been so many cases involving sexual assault here in the US and in S. Korea that have been so nasty, this plot just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Even if I could get past that, there is the issue that a sexual assault did take place, just not by LSY's character. No way do I see the drama recognizing that yes, a woman can sexually assault a man.

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I too felt that the sexual assault of a man by a woman in episode one was a very important point, and one that the drama will not address, I don't think. It is my first time seeing a sexual assault committed by a woman (to a man) in a kdrama.

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i'm not trying to excuse this in any way because i agree that there is no excuse for rape & the blackmailing has occurred which is super twisted - but we don't know for sure that she raped him do we? i was thinking about it for awhile after watching this, because i was so shocked!

all she has is the video as proof, so i wasn't sure if they were showing only PG-13 scenes for the drama's sake or if that's literally all it consists of. i mean if someone leaked a video of two people seemingly naked in bed kissing with a rape claim, it wouldn't take much in the media for people to latch onto it. i assumed she was going that route, & maybe later it will be revealed one way or another?

i genuinely hope that what i'm thinking is the case, because i find it more gross that they're supposed to be romantic later if she truly took advantage of him. any time a show goes in a direction where someone falls in love with their rapist i can't deal.

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My thoughts exactly. Even though it's just a drama, I found it quite sad that many people will watch this and reinforce their patriarchal ideas about women and rape.

Tbh, i loved Lee Bo Young (so badass!) , but disliked everything else. It's too melodramatic for me. I may not be watching this one.

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@ Greenfields,

I didn't understand your statement well. Could you please clarify what you meant by "many people will watch this and reinforce their patriarchal ideas about women and rape?"

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I'm not Korean, and nobody I know will watch this but...
Where I'm from, many, many people sympathize with the man when rape/sexual harassment allegations are revealed. An an example, a close friend of mine was sexually harassed during an internship by a much older and influential person in our industry. When the allegations become public, many, many people believed she was a supporter of the rival political party and was simply framing him (who is not in any political party but can be said to be a major supporter), others just generally believed she had made up the allegations for publicity and so on....

That's what I meant. The 'men'ists who believe that women are being given too much power through positive discrimination, that men's voices are not heard in rape allegations, that women abuse 'feminism' as and when it suits them - such people will nod to themselves and say, "This is exactly what I mean."

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@ Greenfields,

Thank you for explaining. I'm sorry about what happened to your friend, and about how that might have affected her. That is really sad, and unfortunate. I hope it comforted her to have people like you who really knew what was going on. I now understand your comment better.

Another question if I may: was this " 'men' ists" a typo? I couldn't make sense of it.

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I also felt that the blackmailing by rape was really pushing it, and was very twisted indeed. I had to watch the beginning of episode two, to confirm that she actually CHOSE AND made herself sleep with him, so she could then turn around and blackmail him with rape. She essentially seduced him, since he was probably too drunk to know what he was doing. Wow, just WOW! He's actually the victim here, and yes, I could see how it would make it harder for the real victims of rape, trying to bring up their charges in the future.

I have a question: when the recapper said that "there's really no excuse for rape," do you guys think she meant there was no excuse for LBY's character to use rape as a tool to twist LSY's character's hand? I'm asking because at first, I thought she meant there was no excuse for LSY to have raped LBY's character. But then she's the one who set everything up, and willingly slept with him, right? (And filmed it of course).

I also thought that she certainly did a lot of work, finding out where the bachelor's party would take place (did she drive around all of Seoul?), and was conveniently ready when he needed a ride. I have got to say that that hotel room was really nice though, really nice and spacious.
I also really like the OST (already), very dramatic in some places. One piece reminds me of the song JW sang with an ensemble of men for Gaksital. I foresee a lot of twists and turns in this drama. It seems that it will be a rollercoaster.

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I think the recapper meant there's no excuse for LBY's character to have raped LSY's (he was too drunk to know what he was doing, like you said)

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Phew... Thank you for clarifying that. My original thought would have been wayyyyy too twisted, and sick.

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Hi, yes, I meant it's unacceptable for Young-joo to actually rape Dong-joon (since it's questionable whether or not it was consensual). Sorry for the confusion!

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Hello odilettante!

And thank you for clarifying that. I was just very confused when I first read that part of your commentary. I think it was in part because I still had YJ's reasoning of the "rape" in my head, the way the public would see it.

I personally felt that the sex wasn't consensual, because the writer made a point to show us how drunk DJ was: he couldn't stand straight, had to be held by two colleagues to the car, couldn't lift his head enough to see the driver, didn't remember coming to a hotel room, and was clearly shocked the next morning being undressed, and in the same room with YJ, seeing the tape for the first time. DJ looked like he had been hit by a truck, as he was taking the facts in. I'm really loving the acting by all involved, sooooo very good.

So going back to my point, I felt that the writer wanted us to see how twisted YJ's idea had been, and how determined she was to save her dad, and hopefully her family in doing so (because I'm assuming that would also emotionally and mentally save and help her mom IF she succeeds). She probably feels she has nothing to lose at this point. I felt bad for DJ in that hotel room scene, especially because YJ doesn't know why he sent her dad to jail. His decision wasn't easy, shown by the fact that he didn't look at her when he had the gavel, and he paused before striking it the third time. He also seemed uncomfortable during his conversation with his FIL, while YJ was showing him the phon and the message. I really like small details like that, when I can figure out what I think they might mean.

The other thing that caught my attention was the look YJ gave the camera as she turned to her side, when the sexual act was over. She was totally acting, and I loved how LBY acted in that scene.

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"So going back to my point, I felt that the writer wanted us to see how twisted YJ’s idea had been"

Yes! I agree. I don't think YJ feels any remorse about her blackmailing yet. She's hellbent on getting her dad out, no matter what method or whom she hurts. She doesn't trust the legal system anymore. What is scary is that it is not pure bitch-slapped revenge, this takes planning and is quite twisted on so many levels. I can understand her turning the sexual assault into her favor - just that this makes her not any better than any other criminal.

Park Kyung Soo gets a lot of heat from viewers from using sexual assault as a plot device in a nonchalant way.

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@ bedifferent,

Thank you for mentioning that the writer gets some flack from the viewers for using sexual assault as a trope in a nonchalant way. It is my first time watching a drama by this writer, so this is interesting information.

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Hi Ivoire. PKS's plot is quite convoluted close to a point of being absurd if he goes to far. If he reins in his twists and turns, his script is quite good.

From one LSY's fan to another, I think Sang Yoon is doing good acting wise. It's better if the script slows down and give him a breather to develop his character. At this point, he just looks very pitiful and nothing like the proud judge in the beginning. There's nothing about Dong Joon that makes me root for him at this point.

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@ bedifferent,

Hi back ?! So I saw that PKS only wrote four dramas so far, have you watched all of them, and if so, are there some in which he reins it in (as you said)? (Talking about his convoluted twists and turns).

Like you, I'm loving LSY's acting so far. I'm also loving LBY's acting as well, from her bad ass fight moves, to her cries (she did those really well in episode one, not overdoing it. They felt so real. I loved the scene in her room, her silent tears. I loved watching her face, sooo good! That is why she's an actress, and I'm not).

I feel the same way about LSY so far. His emotions are on his face and his body language for us to see. I feel that I understand DJ so far. I think all he wanted was to be a good and fair judge, and now as I mentioned earlier he must feel like he has been hit by a truck, hard! It's hard and painful to find yourself having to do things you don't want to do, and things you don't believe in (sentencing YJ's dad to jail, marrying into Tae Baek family, having to work there, etc....). As Debby below said, maybe he had just been naive about certain aspects of life, up to now. And this being a melodrama, well we know what to expect right? Especially from a Korean melodrama.... (brooding, tears, gloominess [is that a word?] Etc...) Basically, storytelling and acting that will pull at our heart strings. I feel that DJ must feel overwhelmed, and I can understand that. I did feel that DJ was proud and standing tall at the beginning of the drama, and now he's feeling the ground under him crumble, and I think he might not know how to take it all. That to me is one of the effects of feeling overwhelmed.

One of my favorite actors is here, the one who plays the Chief judge. I seriously love his acting, and his voice. Those veteran actors always make me feel like they can roll out of bed, walk on the set, and act on cue. They have so much gravitas. I loved him in The King2Hearts (he was a North Korean), in a drama about marriage something (it had 36 episodes). He was an abusive husband and father in that one, and man was he good, and had great chemistry with everyone. I also loved him in King of Dramas as well. When I'm their age, I hope to be as good at my work, or in volunteering (or in both) as they are. I also love the actress who plays YJ's mother. She is really good, and she was LSY's mom in a family drama many years ago. I always feel sooo happy when I see some of those veteran Korean actors, I could watch them for hours, really.

And LSY looks so handsome! I'm glad he can act too. He looks thinner to me in this drama. Does he look that way to you? I feel that he was bigger in Angel Eyes, and I like that he's not bulky. He has a nice physique/body, but doesn't feel the need to be bulky, which I think works for him. He also seems humble and nice in his interviews, though I don't think he can dance to save his life. Yeah... I'm a fangirl ? Can you tell, LOL...

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@ bedifferent,

I have another question for you: you said that you wished the script would slow down and give LSY a breather, so he could develop his character. So do you think the script is fast paced so far? And how would you see that happening? What would that look like?

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I am not 100% sure it was rape...
The purpose was to produce a video to blackmail Lee Dong-Joon. For the video, there was no reason for her to actually have coitus with him, she could as well fake it. Very unlikely that she filmed it like a porn, with camera(s) angled to capture the penetration. More like a couple covered with sheets doing something. it also may be LDJ was too drunk to 'perform'.

after all, she hasn't threatened him with medical examination records done by some friendly doctor which prove oral, anal, or vaginal penetration (the legal def. of rape) only with a video so i think it's early to jump to conclusions.

LDJ is easily coerced by blackmail and threats and releasing such a video would be pretty damning for him. She did not actually had to do it, unlikely that she was interested in him sexually so probably she thought it would be enough just to create the impression it happened.
But we won't know for sure until later...

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I highly doubt that any sexual act, leave alone rape, had occurred. I think that YJ made it look like something happened between them. He was too drunk to do anything, and I doubt that he leads the kind of lifestyle to have a one-night stand.
The video did not show him kissing her; he was just lying on top of her half-naked. I also don't know how she can try to pass it off as rape, when there was no struggle or her saying no.

She was just desperate and used what she felt was a good means to get him to do what she wanted.

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@ crazyahjummafan,

Having read the different comments and reasons why rape might not have occurred, I could see how that could be the case, and nothing would please me more as one of the outcomes of this drama.

As to his position in bed, I will respectfully disagree. I rewatched the last twenty minutes of episode one, and a good portion of episode two (including the beginning). We don't actually see DJ just lying on top of her, however we do see him on top of her, with him supporting himself on his hands, the way some men do during the sexual act. Then, he moved to the side. I feel that that was actually clever, as it looked like he had just been done, and then he moved to the side to sleep.

The second thing is that no, he doesn't actually kiss her, but he came very close to doing it. He brought his face very close to hers (as if he was going to kiss her), and then he stopped himself.

Those scenes I think confused me and lead to think that YJ had probably raped DJ. Like a commentator said, I too was so shocked, I felt that I had to rewatch the scene, and see if it was brought up at the beginning of episode two, since the following episode very often touches on the ending of the previous episode. I feel that the writer intentionally wrote it that way, because I personally found those scenes misleading and confusing, so s/he accomplished his/her goal, I think.

I can get behind the argument that he was probably too drunk to have been able to do anything, as I listed earlier signs that could support that.

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IMO she's doing both. She raped him, and she's using the tape to threaten him with a false rape accusation that he raped her.

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In which case there is no way i can root for her. Just as I Would Not root for a male lead who did what she did.

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Good point!

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My response was to Niyati.

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Promos itself made me unlike the female character and 1st week confirmed what she actually did. Have to save the papa dear even if it demands breaking all laws possible and that's coming from a police officer herself. waaah and then she has the gall to accuse Dong-Joon.
Dong-Joon's error in judgement is turned into double agent is the deal maker here.

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She "has the gall" to accuse Dong Joon because she believed he threw her father in jail as a favor for his future father-in-law. She didn't know that he was facing the impossible choice of either putting himself or her father (both innocent) in prison. I imagine she would feel differently when she found that out. They are going to fall in love right? In mydramalist, the drama was listed (among several categories) as romance.

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All of the viewers know this excuse. That's why i talked about all she did even before being fired from her job. Many of the so called proofs won't even be accepted in court of law. She gathered all he info on the guy but didn't knew he was facing termination from his job too. So all of it was a lousy writing from the scriptwriters point.

Hero and heroine falls in love and that makes everything wrong a right. Reminds of all those shoujo mangas where guy forced himself on girl and later girl falls in love with him. Everything is accepted because its Magical Love.

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<She didn’t know that he was facing the impossible choice of either putting himself or her father (both innocent) in prison. I imagine she would feel differently when she found that out.

I don't think that, to her, that is an impossible choice. Remember, she lost her job for trying to uncover the truth. She is also willing to break the law for uncovering the truth, whether that's beating up a criminal to get a phone or faking a rape (I'm going by the theory that she didn't actually rape Dong Joon).

Her fiancé, meanwhile, bailed – because for him, indeed, it was an impossible choice.

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I agree. He could've gone public with the evidence and let the media coverage and social networks put pressure the corrupt officials.

Instead he gave up his moral integrity as he got scared watching what happens to ppl who try to oppose corruption. He destroyed evidence and helped murderers to frame an innocent person. The guy was brought and selled himself for a good price.

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*sold

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I agree, to Young Joo it is not an impossible choice, because the choice is between her job and her father's freedom. For Dong Joon, it's his own or a stranger's freedom. Frankly, I don't think I have the moral courage to choose differently that what he did were I in his situation. That's the show's big question isn't it? How can you live with dignity and integrity within a system which makes it all but impossible for you to be good?

(This is to reply to Wildfly's comment below, I put it here because somehow I couldn't see the Reply button under your comment)

I don't know if that would have worked. Remember, he, as a famously honorable judge, was already prevented from being re-appointed by a panel of old dudes who all had a personal vendetta against him. What was the media doing then? How could that not make the news?

Speaking of which, can anyone familiar with Korean legal system tell me if it is possible for a judge to reside over a case over which they have some sort of conflict of interest? In Dong Joon's case, shouldn't he have a legal right to ask these judges to recuse themselves? I know it is the case in the US, not sure about Korea though.

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I don't think gall has anything to do with it. She's accusing him, or at least threatening him with an accusation quiet deliberately.

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I like LBY and she is great with action scenes, and I like characters being pressed close and hard on their morals. But yeah...the rape bit is pretty much a dealbreaker for me, too.

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I didn't think deeply about what the video means. Yes I'm aware Young-joo will use it to blackmail Dong-joo, but I thought it would be about a sex scandal (like sex tape leak), not rape. I mean, in asia, a public figure (moreover it's a public servant) is expected to have clean image. By having sex scandal (even if it's not rape), would damage his image, popularity, even his credibility.

This discussion gave me a new perspective that this also could be considered as rape since it's not consensual. I thought something is said as rape if it's not only non-consensual act but also it includes violence.

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@ amaimikan,

Hi! I would just like to point out that YJ told DJ that she would tell the world (or whoever she sends the tape to), that he raped her. So, in the way that she presented it, it was not only about bringing a scandal into DJ's life, but also accusing him of rape. She said that she would claim that she went to see him to plea bargain about her dad's case, and that he raped her.

Part of what is very troubling (and upsetting), is that not only did he not rape her, but if sex happened, she raped him, because he wasn't sober and aware enough to consent to having sex with her. And as you said, rape could involve violence, or the lack of consent by the other person. If you can't in your right mind give consent (as an adult), without being under the influence of drugs or some other substance (alcohol, etc...), then you are or have been raped. We have had such recent instances in the US. I'm glad the different discussions have given you a different perspective. I believe this is part of why the comments' section is helpful, after the recap.

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I didn't pay attention to the promos so I didn't even know what this was about and only tried it for Lee Bo-young.

Oh, she's so every kind of awesome. Shin Young-Joo is such a kick-ass heroine. Yes, yes, a million times yes.

Shin Chang-Ho is in a big mess, and I think if I were him, I'd just run away from it all... because if the Korean law system is that corrupt, there's just no hope for anything at all.

His doctor father: I'm struggling with the actor... he's playing an atrocious father in "Father I'll Take Care of You", and now he's an atrocious father here... I'm getting instant negative reactions now the moment I see him on the screen (because, unfortunately, in "Father I'll Take Care of You" I even find his acting uncompelling).

Anyhow, this better stay good.

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this drama is very dark and nothing gives a warm feeling, I watched 2 episodes, I don't pay much attention to the political dialogues i only read YJ and the Judge dialogues other stuff is boring. Too many bad guys around not a single decent character.

I am sticking around because of the actors I guess, since everyone acting is on point

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LMAOOOOOOOOOOO! Why is your commentary cracking me up? 'Nothing gives a warm feeling' 'Too many bad guys' .. I cannot stop laughing. I am imagining you rolling your eyes and hating it while pressing play for the next episode.

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When I watched the first episode i was about to press the stop button, nothing compelling in this drama expect the actors, i was hesitant to start the 2nd episode i will give few more episodes to decide.

Maybe because my English is not great but example of what I meant is in Defendant we got few characters that made us happy and warmed up the atmosphere like the cellmates and JS's family, MH love for his child and his first love. I doubt that we will find these characters in this drama since everyone is greedy like the Judge father and LBY boyfriend.

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Oh, I definitely get what you mean. This drama is too dark and my life is shitty and depressing enough as it is, I doubt I'd be finishing it. I love you BoYoung, but nah... I can only take so much tragedies and conniving in my life at a time. Dramas are my happy place.

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All the veteran actors are so good and the 4 leads so good looking, story is so fast moving- 1st episode and so much happened already.

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I'm a bit confused about the tape. As Dong Joon was no longer a judge at that point, it doesn't make sense for Young Joo to claim that she went to him in order to ask for a plea bargain.

Also, what actually did happen that night? Did Young Joo helped Dong Joon into the hotel room then seduced him? If so, how could the tape show him raping her? And I imagine there were hotel's CCTV (of her supporting a drunk Dong Joon into the room) that could contradict her story. Overall I find the idea that the tape can be used to blackmail Dong Joon quite unconvincing.

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She didn't go to see him for a plea bargain, she's setting him up for rape and laying out the scenario people would believe...she's blackmailing him

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@Ijaymia. I know that, my question is. Young Joo threatened to say that she was seeing him about a plea bargain then got raped. But that first part (meeting him about a plea) doesn't make sense, since he was no longer a judge at that point.

Her fabricated story was so full of holes I find it unbelievable that he (who used to be a judge, no less) would actually be afraid of the threat.

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I don't remember seeing a date/time stamp; so how would anyone know if it was taken after he was no longer a judge?

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I think some videos have that information recorded in their metadata. Even if this one doesn't, I'm sure date and time can be established by hotel's CCTV (that hotel looks upscale enough to have at least one in the lobby).

And if Young Joo lied and said it happened while he was still a judge, then as someone who reports a crime, she would need to go into all the details of when and where and how - too many places to trip up and expose the lie.

All I'm saying is if Young Joo goes ahead with the accusation, it doesn't look like a strong case, at least not strong enough to scare Dong Joon.

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The questions in your second paragraph echo my thoughts. Thank you!

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@Winky
"Did Young Joo helped Dong Joon into the hotel room then seduced him? If so, how could the tape show him raping her?"
Yes it can. She can say that she was coerced. Blackmailing someone into having sex with you counts as rape. The way the situation is set up, it will look like she's the woman desperate to save her father and he held her father's freedom as the leverage to get her co-operation.

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@Niyati

In order to make the claim that she was coerced into having sex with him in exchange for a favorable verdict, she needs evidence of that coercion doesn't she? Like audio of him demanding sex, for example. Without that, it's just a tape showing two people having consensual sex.

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@Winky
No, because the argument can be made, that what woman in her right mind would sleep with the man who sentenced her father to jail? She would though, if she was being blackmailed.
If the story is spun thusly, "She went to talk to him - but he was too drunk so she took him to the hotel to sober up - he then propositioned her, blackmailed her and in a desperate moment she agreed - then later he backed out of whatever deal they had made. She'd therefore have no reason to record this. She only discovered the sex tape of theirs later. In that situation, having a recording of that conversation might actually prove that she set out to entrap him.

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@Niyati. You're right, I haven't thought of such a way to spin the situation. Although it still doesn't address the fact that Dong Joon was no longer a judge, hence no reason for Young Joo to go see him, unless it can be argued that she was somehow unaware of that.

All in all, I think it is still quite a flimsy story, but I guess if Young Joo does release the tape, and the Chief Justice (whose son-in-law Dong Joon threw in jail) gets involved, then there is some possibility that he will be convicted.

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"Although it still doesn’t address the fact that Dong Joon was no longer a judge"

Agreed.. That's definitely a big plot hole.

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in all honesty, i'm not sure if that counts as rape in korea. where i'm from, it's definitely rape. most cases in korea require proof that "force or intimidation" was used, so coercion is not a defense unless it was physical.
there was even a case recently where a korean soldier raped an american soldier & literally said "i raped her," but the judge was like "well you didn't use force so, not guilty!"

source: https://klawguru.com/2013/06/14/korean-law-on-rape/
source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/10/116_216746.html

but i don't think young-joo really cares about the verdict, she just used it as a tool to obliterate his reputation which is clearly what dong-joon cares about the most...

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@Paramount
Oh wow! That is incredibly horrible. Thanks for the info though. But even within the parameters you described, I think, even if she couldn't legally get him convicted (although, who knows, maybe the drama decides to take creative license on that) I'm sure she could make a convincing case for it and prove him guilty in the court of public opinion. Seeing how important reputation is in Korean society, I'm sure a widely believed rape accusation would significantly Fuck up his life.

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My interpretation of her plan is that:

She is using the tape to force DJ to help her by creating a scandal that would affect his reputation, career, marriage to Taebaek's heiress. It doesn't matter if the court dismisses her rape claim due to insufficient evidence or whether anyone believes her story. Even if she has no case and everyone tears her story apart, the scandal is enough to destroy DJ.

What she meant was "when I tell everybody about this story, do you know what will the reactions be if they remember that I am the daughter of the defendant whose case you resided. Even worse, how do you think it looks to people if they know that we had met in the past when I went to you to plea bargain for my dad?"

She did meet with him several times beforehand, not that night I agree.

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@bedifferent. I agree, that's the only interpretation that makes sense to me. If Korea's pressure on celebrities to live totally unblemished lives is anything to go by, even a whiff of a scandal like this will probably destroy Dong Joon's life.

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Their chemistry is certainly different from Seoyeoung, My Daughter and I love it. The female lead is a strong character that will anything for justice but even if I root for her, I disapprove her method. What can she do then ?

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Ahh... Needs to read the recaps because so much is happening! The show is a bit hard to follow.

Park se young's voice is annoying. I don't think it is natural.

Lee sang Yoon is brooding too much, I hope he gets to turn the tables and have an awesome triumph return.

I like Lee bo young's role. Not the typical candy.

Meaty characters. I like. Only problem is that they put too many things into one episode, hard for me to piece the information together.

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About the show being a bit hard to follow, I felt the same. I found myself pausing quite a bit to be able to read the full subtitles of some scenes, and make sense of what was going on, and linking it to previous information given earlier in the episode.

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I find it difficult to follow, too. I think it's because I don't understand all of the character's motivations- neither the protagonist nor the villains make sense to me. While I'm glad that the LBY is not your typical candy or plot device, I can't connect with her at all. I don't understand why she's that way or why she's willing to go that far.

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In the midst of the political controversies that are sweeping across the world, this drama offers up the harsh reality of politics that we know occurs in the back of our minds but choose to ignore because we believe we don't have the power to do anything about it. The human nature is greedy and power hungry-- it is something we often are not able to avoid and even the greatest of judges as shown in the drama fall victim to it.

I believe that this drama is a great portrayal of what is going on in our current world. Only in the fictional world can our darkest realities be brought to light.

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I think this is one of the reasons I like this type of fiction; because in the real world the truly bad guys/corporations don't get punished with jail time. (Fines don't count.)

Ahh, kinda makes me wish for a 'W' style karma to come out from behind the screen. The world needs it.

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Can we please address the elephant in the room. She isn't just blackmailing him with a rape accusation! SHE RAPED HIM!
He was drunk, incapable of consent. It was rape! Had their genders been reversed, we'd have all been out for his blood! No matter the provocation, no matter her 'wrong things for right reasons' ideology. Somethings are not okay. This is NOT OKAY.
I was all on board to follow this series. I believe I commented before that the plot bore a passing resemblance to the Sandra Brown novel 'Smash Cut'. It too has the - sex as a means to manipulate/blackmail trope. However there was one very vital difference. Whatever happens afterward, irrespective of the characters' motivations, the act of sex itself, is completely consensual. The female character quite openly seduces the male character. There is no drugging, drinking, impaired judgement involved. That's what I set out hoping this drama would do. I can root for a lot of grey characters, I can't root for a rapist. I dont know if I want to continue watching this drama.

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agreed. my heart sank when I read that part

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Yup. I actually haven't seen episode 2, because the rape really, really put me off. What's even worse - as some commentators have already pointed out - many people will watch this and nod to themselves because their ideas of women and rape have been reinforced.

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I just have read comments before commenting myself... But yeah, this is pretty much what I thought, too. Now, I would not be against this kind of darkness in a series IF the said series would handle it properly, meaning the severity of the rape would not be forgotten and totally ignored. However, I suspect latter will happen because Kdrama still does not really seem to grasp that having sex with a person who's utterly drunk is rape regardless of the victim's gender.

Basically, what I'm saying that, if handled correctly, a plot point like this could create intensive, dark drama and an antihero for whom we could root for but whom we would also expect to pay for the crime. Such male heroes are not uncommon, they do unforgivable stuff and yet we root for them even though we know that they cannot really be completely absolved. They will win but will usually pay with their lives for their previous horrid acts.

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Agree 100% I can't imagine the hue and cry if the roles were reversed. Can't get on board with this drama at all. If they end up with each other--ick. That would be messed up.

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Will someone please explain to me why Lawyer Choi desperately wants Dong joon to be his son-in-law? He's not a judge anymore, he's not from a powerful or super rich family and what's more, he's principled so he's not easy to manipulate. Lawyer Choi could have just offered to save his license in exchange of the father's guilty verdict. He didn't need to make Dong joon his son-in-law.

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I think we can answer your question yet other than that who is really pulling the strings and for what reason isn't yet clear at all. At the moment it seems to be Lawyer Choi, but my hunch is his daughter may be a lot more involved in everything than the first two episodes let on.

At the moment, it probably benefits Lawyer Choi to have a son-in-law with a good reputation that he can use as a puppet.

Of course, no one seems to be questioning if Dong Joon becomes a puppet, his good reputation will go out of the door very soon since he'll end up being a lawyer taking on questionable clients/cases.

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Is undressing and positioning a naked person above you also called ‘rape’? I don’t believe she did have sex with him.

Nevertheless I do agree with anyone above, she’s gone too far by choosing this method of blackmailing. Like Dong-joon said, he still could save him in following trials. If only she let Dong-joon explain his motives. She’s too stubborn and I really hate that.

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I don't believe she had sex with him either – we don't know what happened that night, we only know what she wants him to believe / wanted the video to look like.

<If only she let Dong-joon explain his motives. She’s too stubborn

I don't think it would make sense if she let him explain, not this early in the story. They don't have a long-standing relationship of any sort, she has no reason to trust anything he says anymore, nor would it make sense for her to believe him right now (it would weaken her character). Remember, she was through (no explanations asked) with her fiancé after his betrayal – and that was with them knowing each other for 10 years. She's an all-or-nothing person – you either uphold the truth or you don't.

It will be part of the story and the characters' development for this to change, i.e. a hard-fought battle for them to end up on the same page, trust and all, (and that, if well done, will be what will make this drama interesting IMO).

I think, ultimately she is absolutely correct right now (not in her actions but in her accusations): a person that betrays once, for whatever reason, will do it again. I don't think Dong-joo has yet realised what kind of hornets' nest he's landed himself in with his guilty-verdict of her father + marriage into the law firm. There's no way his new family is just going to let him work on innocent little cases that neatly fit his moral compass, every case he'll have to deal with from now will ask him to bend the truth and do something morally questionable. He has to learn that he wants to be a real warrior of justice/truth, he has to be it every time, even if it costs him his title / job / money / life.

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Apologize for posting the post twice, I was gonna reply a few comments above this but ended up posting a new comment. Lol.

Yeah, rape is a crime that whatever the reason cannot be justified, so yeah it would be veeerryy contradictory to her moral values as an ex-police officer who was very recently just got fired for doing things out of order. Raping is too out of character, and it's too evil for her character to do.

Thank you for explaining though, really brightens my views on each character's motives in this drama. Can't wait seeing both of them team up together!

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"He’s not a judge anymore, he’s not from a powerful or super rich family and what’s more, he’s principled so he’s not easy to manipulate."

A lot of Taebaek's attorneys/employees are ex-judges, ex-politicians, ex-government officials. He wants someone who is principled to be on his firm to boost up its reputation. Tae Baek is well known within the judicial circle as a corrupted law firm. Having someone with DJ's reputation becoming a part of his family gives him connection in the judicial system that no other person in his firm can cuz they are all corrupted.

He also wants to prevent his daughter from marrying into the Kang family (spoiler, ignore if you don't know what I mean haha). He doesn't want to lose Taebaek cuz the Kang family also has shares of Taebaek.

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Is undressing and positioning a naked person above you also called 'rape'? I don't believe she did have sex with him.

Nevertheless I do agree with anyone above, she's gone too far by choosing this method of blackmailing. Like Dong-joon said, he still could save him in following trials. If only she let Dong-joon explain his motives. She's too stubborn and I really hate that.

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I think they did have sex, it was just not shown because the big networks' threshold for "salacious" content is quite low. It would be quite silly of Dong Joon to let himself be blackmailed if the tape didn't contain any sex.

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<It would be quite silly of Dong Joon to let himself be blackmailed if the tape didn’t contain any sex

But he seems to be caught off guard at times – Justice Jang's threat about him coercing the NHS to ignore the medication overcharge seems just as silly, no?

He was even aware it might be perceived like this, yet he had no argument against such an accusation – when you think he'd have been clever enough never to do anything that such an accusation, however false, might never arise, let alone have ammunition ready to fight it if it did.

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Things are so far in that video that even if an actual penetration didn't happen, that would still count as sexual violation of Dong-joon. But I would still guess it's unlikely the sex didn't happen because such situation would be quite hard to control. We'll need to see more, but if I were the lady, I would also get hard evidence such as sperm inside me to make sure the accusation sticks.

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So much for an (just fired) ex-police officer though. Raping is too contradictory to her moral values. Steps too far and too evil. But yeah it's still a sexual violation. Poor guy.

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Well, I was not expecting that ending, or that they'd both be out of their law enforcement jobs by the end of the first episode. If this were any other writer, that probably would be a sign to call it quits (not in the least because I do not want to see what the average kdrama writer has to say about rape, much less a man potentially getting raped)...but I trust Park Kyung-soo, and this was a very tense and compelling hour of television up to that point.

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>"It's a dark and stormy early morning..."<
I laughed! Nice one, odilettante!

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ok but that scene where she got the cell phone tho... my jaw was on the FLOOR.
speeding up to push that car over the train tracks & then the fight scenes... i am forever in awe of lee bo young!

i never want to get my hopes up for a drama only two episodes in, & it's very clear that this is going to be a dense, frustrating, melodramatic one. i'm down for the ride so long as there's plenty of twists & turns along the way.

defendant didn't click with me the first few episodes & i felt like it was because they took too long piling on all the misfortunes of the main character. i like that even tho lee bo young's family is experiencing so much horrible crap & they have the powerful people against them... she has still found small ways to (seemingly) flip the tables... only for them to be flipped on her once again! THAT'S the kind of plot that keeps me interested, so i hope they can keep it up!

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The actor playing the head gangster is Kim Roe-Ha. He looked exactly the same as his character in OCN's Voice. That kinda cracked me up a for a bit. I looked him up and discovered he's been in a lot of films/dramas. I only first saw him in Voice.

Anyway, the cellphone fight scene was cool and exciting.

This first episode was compelling. Lots of things happened fast and there were some complicated lines that I couldn't follow. I like the writer behind this drama so I want to give it a chance. Will check out Ep 2 soon~

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Wow. So, the heroine just raped the hero? That's... dark. I would not be against it otherwise but I'm pretty sure the severity of the act will be pretty much ignored by the drama.

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hm. technically, i think what's she did is sexual harassment and blackmail.

I think she made her choice - let her father became a victim or fight dirty. Whisper's world is much more cruel than IHYV's (which i adore, but it is completely unrealistic and naive).

The drama will probably continue to bombard us with moral dilemmas and we won't see white hats fighting cleanly black hats but a more complex setting. I love it to pieces.

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yay, it was even better than i anticipated.

i put aside Tunnel ep2 till the weekend to watch Whisper1-2 in the morning traffic, and i was right. in the (otherwise promising) ep1 of Tunnel i was so pissed off by the character of The Wife who represents all the tropes cliches
i dislike, from pure sue to pixie dream girl and in SWDBS BS only lacks a hamster's wheel in her toyhouse so i was glad that Whisper's kickass, awesome heroine restored my faith in KDrama.
i hope poor Han Hyo-Joo won't have also portray the DiD and the woman in the refrigerator.
Otherwise Tunnel's '80s town has an almost dreamlike quality like a faded black-white photo. nice.

My choice gave me Whisper with an intense plot and a resorceul and desperate heroine i absolutely admire. LBY, you're the absolute best!!!

almost forgot ---------the registration to avistaz.to is open till tomorrow.
it happens once in a blue moon, so if someone of the fans of korean/japanese/chinese dramas/films interested...

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?? Han Hyo Joo isn't in Tunnel or Whisper. (The wife in Tunnel is a little bit reminiscent of her, though...)

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My mistake :p
I thought it was HHJ.

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Was anticipating and I'm happy they gave not disappointed me. Can't wait for episode 3. I also feel people are harping too much on her blaming him for rape, this is a drama. Great show so far.

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I'm torn to give this drama a try well it's on going, Oh my. Another drama who will makes me can't sleep till late hour

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So, part of my comment relates to the 2nd episode, but I'll try to observe the etiquette and only comment in relation to the 1st episode, though I could give more clearly defined examples by discussing both episodes - so, to be continued.

First though, obviously I watched both episodes and while I'm interested enough to continue watching, I don't find it particularly compelling - the plot line has been done ad nauseam. That said, I'm curious to know how these two people will fall in love, which I take from the comments is the idea? I guess in dramaland anything is possible, I'd like to see how the writers make it convincing. Even if you put aside the rape question, and even if these two people didn't have sex of any sort, both of them have each caused enormous damage and destruction to the other already.

But my real comment - which I'll have to continue - is about Dong Joon. I'm curious to know how old he is supposed to be - he looks late 30s, early 40s, and just from a professional standpoint, I would imagine that's what he would have to be, though I guess it could be imagined - though it would be a stretch for me - that he was in his early 30s.

Regardless, I find it hard to believe that, at whatever age he is, he hasn't come across difficult ethical (though maybe not as difficult) ethical situations before. Not that I'm saying judges/people in general shouldn't be ethical, it is just that he strikes me overly self-righteous, without a clue as to who he really is...or how he, like most people, is really very weak.

I find it hard to believe at he can be so naïve about himself. If he was in his early 20s, and from a protected, sheltered background, maybe. But most people by the age I assume he is have learned that they make compromises with themselves and with their lives -and aren't quite so threatened by what appears to be the first moral crisis he's really encountered and I just don't find either that or his behavior overly believable.

Particularly because though he says otherwise, I can't imagine that he really thinks that his behavior regarding his mother's hospice would be seen as just coming from "a citizen" and not a judge. This seems like willful blindfulness to me, and again, an example of how he is presenting himself both to others, but more importantly to himself, as somebody who doesn't compromise who they are.

I personally think this dishonesty with yourself as the worst kind of hypocrisy, and ultimately very damaging, but maybe he does it so he can survive what he does - like with the murder case. I think a lot of people live like this, so they don't have to acknowledge what they might otherwise have a hard time living with. You have a vision of yourself, and if that vision is damaged, what happens? I think that could be the most interesting part of the story - if the writers choose to tell it. But being completely unaware of his behavior, of who he really is, at his age, I still find a...

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Dong Joon is up for judgeship renewal after 10 years of service. His character summary said that after graduating from law school, he quickly climbed the judicial ladder to become district judge (one of the lower courts). So that puts him in his late 20s when he graduated law school. Add a few years of internship and 10 years sitting on bench makes him in his late 30s or very early 40s. I guess late 30s.

Dong Joon is idealistic and very conscious of his judicial responsibilities. Because of his strained relationship with his father (whose ethics he despised), he firmly believed that he will never be compromised or tempted by corruption. Some said it's naive. I think he is too proud. His pitfall is that he thinks he has no weakness and sure of his character. I would say hubris is the word I'm looking for.

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Alternative titles for this show: Dong-Joon's completely awful, no good, terrible work week.

Dude could not catch a break seriously. lol.
I mean it is so good so far, I love it, but I was just like can we please get Dong-Joon a tub of ice-cream, a warm blanket, lose his phone, and start over as a small town lawyer ready to take on the town's chicken thief?

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@ Marissa,

Hi! I seriously LOVED your comment, especially the second paragraph, and the last sentence. That had me LOL ?
I'm anticipating a lot of twists and turns, though I do hope LDJ and YJ will be bad asses as well, and that they will have some support (aka people on their sides, and those willing to switch sides to join them).

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@Marissa Your comment is hilarious :)

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Am I the only one here that feel like ep 1 went too fast with the plotline? I feel like the writer's giving us too many detailed answers that could've been shown as the drama progresses. And there's too many to digest when it's only the first episode.

Btw, Lee Bo Young is amazing. She's the reason I'm watching Whisper.

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I don't really get why the recovered phone recording wasn't brought up in the Young-ju's dad's final trial. Dong-ju stated that no evidence was found backing her dad's innocence, shouldn't she have had the defense lawyer officially submit it to the court? I know Dong-ju has an excellent reputation as being a fair and impartial judge, but if my dad was facing 15 years in prison, I'd make sure that was taken care of...

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The acting and first ep story line already got me. I will be tracking this drama for sure.

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Um, so as much as I like this show, are we all just going to overlook the fact that Bo Young's character just committed sexual assault (at most, rape?) She tool advantage of him when he was drunk, had sex with him, and she video tapped him without permission. So like I know she's supposed to be the one who's side we are supposed to be on, but let's be honest, if the roles were switches and bo young was a guy doing this to a female judge who wrongly imprisoned her father, you know everyone would be screaming "SEXUAL ASSAULT." As they rightly should in said scenario because.... It is. Like she raped him, in many countries this would legally qualify as rape, and I find it very hard to watch the show and believe they are gonna fall in love because.... You know. Sexual assault.

Double standards. They go both ways.

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Just a question. How many episodes does Wisper ave?

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