The Devil Judge: Episode 2
Our celebrity judges become the talk of the nation after the unexpected outcome of their first televised trial. But our idealistic young lead can’t shake the feeling that something is off with his shady new colleague. He enlists the help of a friend to investigate what the nation’s favorite judge is up to behind the scenes. Is he playing this high-stakes game in the name of justice or for his own inscrutable ends?
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Ga-on scrutinizes Yo-han as the three judges head back to their offices. Jin-joo jumps at Yo-han’s offer to have dinner together, and Ga-on reluctantly accepts. Back in their office, Jin-joo is on a high after their successful broadcast trial, although she’s slightly disappointed she didn’t get to play a larger role.
Yo-han lives up to his heir status and takes them for a fancy dinner. He shares that he likes to hunt in his free time and describes shooting a charging beast between the eyes as thrilling. He continues the violent imagery, saying that because he can’t taste well, he experiences food through the act of tearing and crushing it with his “fangs.” Ga-on points out most people just call those teeth.
Jin-joo tries to ease the tension and wonders if Yo-han’s taste buds are desensitized due to eating high-end food his whole life. Yo-han gazes into the distance, reliving a memory of a man inside a church putting on a glove and grabbing a shivering child (Yo-han?) by the neck.
Yo-han admits he grew up wealthy, but his father was a vicious loan shark. Ga-on calls his father a heartless jerk, then. Yo-han acknowledges that Ga-on would know since his family was in deep debt. Yo-han callously brings up Ga-on’s parents’ double-suicide and then blasély apologizes for his bluntness.
Ga-on struggles to reign in his emotions and says pretending to care while being heartless is a hallmark of moneylenders. Jin-joo steps in to diffuse the situation, but Yo-han agrees with Ga-on and reveals his father went to confession whenever one of his debtors killed themselves.
Ga-on can’t stand it anymore and excuses himself – he has a weak stomach. As he walks home, a sports car zooms past him. LEE YOUNG-MIN (Moon Dong-hyuk) has “fun” by almost running over a table full of people eating food provided by the SRF.
He then almost hits an elderly man hauling a cart and knocks him over. Ga-on witnesses the incident and rushes to help the man up. Young-min offers his insincere apology and speeds off.
Meanwhile, Minister Cha accuses President Heo of teaming up with Yo-han for that surprise sentence of 235 years. President Heo finds Yo-han impressive and goes on about how hard it is to cry on cue – it’s why he was never cast as a lead during his acting days.
Minister Cha remarks that he’s the lead now, but he’s not so sure given all the “strong characters” who surround him. President Heo thinks it suspicious that she’s so upset over Chairman Ju. Didn’t she orchestrate that trial?
After he tells her that Chairman Seo didn’t seem bothered by the outcome, Minister Cha pays a visit to SRF. Sun-ah intercepts her attempt to meet with Chairman Seo and remains calm while Minister Cha rails against “a mere secretary” for getting in her way.
Sun-ah lets her through, but Chairman Seo isn’t happy to see Minister Cha “throwing a tantrum.” He denies teaming up with Yo-han but thinks winning over the public wasn’t a bad strategy. She’s convinced he and President Heo got to Yo-han and draws battle lines.
On Minister Cha’s way out, Sun-ah stops her. The ruling party’s approval rating went up by 17% after the trial which can only be good for Minister Cha who’s poised for a presidential run. Surely, other companies besides JU Chemicals will want to support a party candidate.
From the look on Minister Cha’s face, Sun-ah hit the nail on the head. Sun-ah then sarcastically apologizes for overstepping as a “mere secretary.” She’s got a killer mocking stare.
Elsewhere, Justice Min and Ga-on discuss the trial after playing some basketball. Justice Min is sure a backdoor deal was made. When Ga-on observes things turned out well, Justice Min reminds him that the process matters. Ga-on promises to look further into it, which Justice Min appreciates although he feels bad for putting Ga-on in this position.
The next day, Ga-on goes to see Yo-han on the pretense of returning the book he borrowed. When he says something is bothering him, Yo-han invites him to sit; he can’t have anything bothering his “precious sidekick.”
Ga-on brings up Jang Ki-young, noting he’s never seen a witness flip on the stand like that. Yo-han argues he might’ve felt guilty, but Ga-on thinks he tried too hard to make Chairman Ju into a murderer.
Yo-han’s gaze turns steely as Ga-on accuses him of going along with the witness’s narrative a little too eagerly. Ga-on presses that although Yo-han didn’t charge Chairman Ju with murder, the admission of professional negligence was due to Ki-young’s testimony.
When Yo-han argues everything turned out well, Ga-on retorts that trials should be constitutional. Yo-han believes the ends justify the means and calls trials rigged games. The powerful use whatever means necessary to escape while the powerless victims mourn. “It’s sad, but justice doesn’t exist in the real world. There’s only the game.”
Outside the office, Ga-on takes out his phone and stops recording. Inside, Yo-han remarks to himself, “He resembles him. He really resembles him.”
Ga-on calls and asks to meet with Soo-hyun whose coworkers assume she’s going on a date based on her grin. They meet up at a convenience store, and Ga-on plays the recording of Yo-han talking about the “doctor.”
Soo-hyun doesn’t find it so strange that the witness changed his testimony. He must’ve done it to survive. When Ga-on implies Yo-han manipulated the witness, Soo-hyun warns him not to disparage the “national hero” in public lest he get hurt.
Meanwhile, Young-min is again being a public menace in his sports car, and a mother and her young son have the misfortune of being in his path. She swerves to avoid his car and hits a sign. Thankfully, both mother and son are alright.
Conveniently, this accident happens right in front of Ga-on again. He and Soo-hyun run to her car and go after Young-min who is still driving like an obnoxious douche. When it turns into a highway chase, Soo-hyun’s car struggles to keep up.
A third car enters the chase. Yo-han flies past Soo-hyun’s car and flashes his lights at Young-min who naturally takes that as a challenge. They drive neck and neck until Yo-han pulls ahead, rolling down his window as he laughs in Young-min’s face. He manages to cut Young-min off, forcing him to stop.
Soo-hyun and Ga-on arrive while both men are getting out of their cars. Yo-han leisurely dons a pair of gloves, ignoring Young-min’s ranting and raving. Then, he pulls a sledgehammer out of his trunk.
Ga-on stops Soo-hyun from intervening as Yo-han advances on Young-min. He raises the hammer and starts gleefully destroying Young-min’s precious car. Young-min recognizes him from TV and asks why he’s doing this. “Because you’re annoying me,” Yo-han replies.
Yo-han then slips a bag of white powder from his sleeve and pretends he found it in Young-min’s car. He lets Young-min touch the bag so it’ll have his fingerprints and makes it clear that he can make this into evidence should Young-min try anything.
Yo-han gifts him a metro card and speeds away in his own sports car. Soo-hyun watches in shock, struggling to process what just happened. “Do you believe me now?” Ga-on asks.
The next day, Soo-hyun goes to see the witness Ki-young for more information. He bitterly asks if she’s going to help him find another job after he lost his for acting on his conscience. With that, he slams the door in Soo-hyun’s face.
Nearby, a man watches and calls Yo-han to report that the woman went to visit Ki-young as expected. Ga-on listens in as Yo-han says that Ga-on suspects the witness, which is natural given his abrupt change of testimony. We cut to Yo-han holding the listening device. “It surprised me too.”
Soo-hyun next interviews the doctor who testified. He tells her about how he almost got into an accident after drinking the water he was given at the courthouse. He’s sure it was spiked, although nothing showed up on his blood test.
That night, Soo-hyun and Ga-on have coffee on his patio. With how much hope the trial has given people, Ga-on is feeling conflicted. Soo-hyun reminds him that the positive outcome is no reason to let whatever Yo-han did slide.
She asks Ga-on to let her look into this. As a judge who worked hard to get where he is, Ga-on shouldn’t be involved. Soo-hyun knows that Ga-on feels indebted to Justice Min and is not happy with Justice Min for putting him in this position.
The following day, Young-min has a meltdown at his company over a cake they’re developing not tasting exactly like he wanted. It turns out he’s the vice president and just as much of a terror at work as he is outside. He raids the secret stash in his office for something to take the edge off, but his little bag of white powder just makes him think of Yo-han’s stunt.
That night, Young-min goes and terrorizes a fancy bar’s employees and leaves in a huff. Yo-han’s spy sits nearby and calls Yo-han. When Young-min reaches the parking garage, Yo-han is there waiting. He barely has to do anything to intimidate Young-min who blusters that he’s not easy prey while looking terrified. Yo-han watches him drive away and corrects that he’s merely the bait, not the prey.
At the courthouse, Jin-joo is disappointed to learn that Yo-han switched out their next case. Instead of the complex case she studied for, they’ll be hearing a simple assault case where the penalty is only a fine.
The young man has committed assault many times but always settled. Despite all the money he used to settle, he’s listed as being unemployed. Jin-joo and Ga-on observe that leaving out his occupation might’ve been intentional if the police wanted to go easy on him.
Meanwhile, Soo-hyun has been scouring the internet for articles on Yo-han, but they all paint him as a saint. However, she did find one negative comment that reads, “Kang Yo-han is the devil.” She tells Ga-on that she already located the poster.
Yo-han calls Jin-joo and Ga-on into his office where the show’s PD enthusiastically greets them. While Jin-joo is thrilled to hear her popularity is growing after the broadcast, Ga-on couldn’t care less about his newfound popularity and cuts the PD off. What does he want?
The SRF is joining with the broadcaster to sponsor a charity fashion show. The celebrity judges are all invited. Jin-joo is ecstatic, especially when Yo-han says he’ll make sure she has a nice outfit for the event, but Ga-on declines the invitation.
At the fashion show, Jin-joo basks in the attention as she and Yo-han walk down the red carpet amid reporters and flashing cameras. Yo-han does his usual saint act, thanking everyone for their support and promising to fight for justice.
Inside, Yo-han brushes Sun-ah off to speak with someone else. She scoffs and turns her attention to Jin-joo. After offering some flattery, Sun-ah takes her to meet Chairman Seo who is a total creep. He checks Jin-joo out and compliments her looks. Then, he starts caressing her shoulder. Sun-ah winces in disgust and annoyance.
Meanwhile, Ga-on visits a priest who knew Yo-han as a child. The priest recalls that Yo-han was quiet with a dark disposition. He refused to even introduce himself on the first day of school. One day, a bird got into the classroom. When it landed in front of his deskmate, Yo-han killed it. After that, he was ostracized and called a monster. Both the rich and poor kids started bullying him.
Back at the event, Minister Cha greets Yo-han, and they pose for photos. As they fake smile and look chummy for the cameras, she brings up her surprise at his trial performance. Will he pull something like that again? Yo-han laughs and says of course not.
He then rescues Jin-joo from the creepy Chairman Seo by asking her for a dance. Sun-ah asks to cut in, so Jin-joo steps aside. Sun-ah takes the lead when Yo-han seems reluctant to dance with her.
The priest continues that the rich kids’ belongings started to disappear, and the poor kids were getting blamed. All the while, Yo-han sat quietly in the back.
While they dance, Sun-ah compliments Yo-han’s trial performance, calling it touching. But those old men at the SRF do hate a twist. When Yo-han argues you can’t please everyone, Sun-ah slides her hand to the back of his head and whispers seductively in his ear, “Someone who only pleases himself is neither charming nor useful.” He removes her hand and says that’s a shame because he’s having fun.
We jump back to Yo-han’s classroom where all the distrust boiled over into chaos. Some rich kids found their belongings (planted) in poor kids’ bags, and the fighting turned physical. Yo-han sat back and watched the show.
At the event, Minister Cha brings Yo-han over to meet her family. Yo-han smiles at her son and offers his hand, “Nice to meet you, Vice President Lee Young-min.” With everyone staring, Young-min has no choice but to be polite. Just as in the classroom that day, Yo-han smiles triumphantly at his handiwork.
“That child was the devil,” the priest concludes. Ga-on reflects on Yo-han’s admission about being raised by his vicious loan-shark father. Sitting beside Chairman Seo, Sun-ah gazes at Yo-han and says he doesn’t seem fully tamed yet.
That night, Ga-on rushes into Yo-han’s office to retrieve the bug, but it’s not there. “Looking for this?” Yo-han asks from around the corner and drops the listening device in Ga-on’s hand.
Ga-on asks why he does things like this. “Because I can,” Yo-han replies. “Possibility is like a drug.” Yo-han suddenly fixes on the wall behind Ga-on. Behind the picture, something beeps and a red light flashes.
“Watch out!” Ga-on yells as he leaps and tackles Yo-han. The wall explodes. They’re sent flying back as the glass windows shatter. Moments later, Yo-han hauls an unconscious Ga-on out of the rubble of his office.
Well, that got intense. Despite – or maybe because of – Yo-han’s saintly reputation, I imagine he has a lot of enemies. Could the bomb have been the work of the SRF? I doubt they’d want him dead since he’s currently useful to them, but perhaps it was intended more as a scare tactic. If it was set to go off at night like that, maybe Yo-han wasn’t even supposed to be there. Whoever planted it had access to Yo-han’s office which either means it was an inside job or orchestrated by someone with a lot of power. Whatever the case, I’m sure Yo-han won’t let the culprit get away with it. He’s clearly the eye-for-an-eye type and enjoys the chase. Everything is a game to him, and he’s determined to win.
Yo-han has very successfully cultivated his image and kept his ruthless side under wraps. He learned to control his “darkness,” as the priest put it, and wield it as a weapon. Although young Yo-han’s behavior was problematic, calling him “the devil” is a bit much. From what we’ve seen, his harmful and manipulative behavior was reactive. The other kids called him a monster and bullied him, so he made them pay. Killing the bird in cold blood was disturbing, but he seemed to think he was helping. Yo-han looked confused when the kids reacted with such horror. He was clearly a troubled child who needed help, not condemnation. Too often, adults label children “bad” and wash their hands of them rather than taking the time to realize those are the very children in need of the most care. In Yo-han’s case, it sounds like his father’s occupational brutality impacted him, and we have yet to see if that brutality seeped into his home life.
Yo-han seemed to be feeling Ga-on out throughout this whole episode. I don’t get the feeling that he dislikes Ga-on but rather that he’s testing him. Even when he goaded him regarding his parents’ deaths, it came across more like an attempt to gauge Ga-on’s reaction than a vindictive attempt to hurt him. He also was more intrigued than angry upon discovering the bug Ga-on planted in his office. I’m not sure if he’s looking for something specific from Ga-on or is merely curious about him. He keeps going on about that strong resemblance, so maybe he’s trying to determine exactly how much of a similarity there is. Whether he’s hoping for similarity or difference is hard to say. Depending on what he finds, maybe he’s considering letting him in on his operation.
I thought Yo-han might use Ga-on and Soo-hyun’s not-so-secret investigation to his own ends, but he let Ga-on know pretty quickly that he found the bug. Maybe it’s just not worth his time when he has so many enemies to exact revenge upon like his new target Young-min. I’m assuming he’s the “unemployed” assailant Yo-han wants to publicly try. Yo-han is burning bridges left and right now, so I’m guessing he only used higher-ups like Minister Cha and the SRF to get this TV program in motion. Now that he’s got power and public support, he has no need to appease the elite and can focus on achieving his own ends. I’m not sure if he’s targeting pre-selected people as part of some grand scheme or if he’s just taking out corrupt, wealthy people in general. Or maybe some of both. From the looks of it, he doesn’t consider himself one of them despite being from a wealthy household.
Ga-on seems immune to his newfound fame, but I’m getting a little worried about Jin-joo. She’s new to this glittery world and getting caught up in the glamour of it all. Now Chairman Seo has her in his sights, which is concerning. Sun-ah’s reaction suggests he’s typically gross toward young and pretty women, so I hope Jin-joo steers clear. We still haven’t gotten to spend much time with Sun-ah, but Kim Min-jung is a scene-stealer. Her brief appearances already tell us she’s ambitious, clever, manipulative, and pragmatic – a dangerous combination. I’m curious whether she and Yo-han have history or just a tacit understanding of each other as similar types of people. For now, all I know is that I wouldn’t want to get on either of their bad sides.
- Premiere Watch: The Devil Judge
- Kim Min-jung antagonizes Ji Sung in new promos for The Devil Judge
- Jinyoung stands against Ji Sung in new The Devil Judge teaser
- Ji Sung commands the courtroom in new promos for The Devil Judge
- Kim Min-jung joins Ji Sung in The Devil Judge
- Ji Sung courted for new drama The Devil Judge