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The Devil Judge: Episode 14

The judges of The People’s Live Court begin working on their next trial, determined to expose the government’s heinous actions. Grief renews our youngest judge’s resolve to bring down those in power who play with citizens’ lives, but he questions how far he’s willing to go when our mastermind judge enacts an audacious plan that involves the whole nation.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

At Soo-hyun’s burial, Ga-on watches from afar. We get a montage of their memories together before flashing back to when Ga-on took his oath of office. Soo-hyun and Justice Min looked on proudly and took a family photo with him.

We see a childhood memory that mirrors Soo-hyun’s last moments. Little Ga-on got hurt and cried, which distressed little Soo-hyun. She told him not to cry and comforted him with a hug and an “I love you.”

Once the funeral party leaves, Ga-on approaches Soo-hyun’s grave. Yo-han and Elijah arrive to pay their respects but hang back to let Ga-on grieve. Watching Ga-on sob, Elijah cries and even Yo-han gets teary-eyed.

Yo-han and Elijah bring him back to sleep at the mansion and are by his bedside when he wakes. Ga-on immediately asks if they caught the culprit and hops up, saying he’ll catch the shooter himself. Yo-han struggles to hold him back, but it’s Elijah who gets through to him.

Would Soo-hyun want him to go get shot in the street? She begs him to stay with them for now while they come up with a plan. Holding Elijah’s hand, Ga-on sinks to the floor in grief. Yo-han watches silently with sad eyes.

When Ga-on is calmer, he goes to ask Yo-han what he knows. Yo-han theorizes that Soo-hyun wasn’t the target. The SRF were desperate to cut off the broadcast and cover up the truth, so they tried to literally kill The People’s Live Court. Ga-on breaks down again at the thought that Soo-hyun died in his place.

Yo-han understands how Ga-on feels. “It’s going to be hell, the most painful hell from which you can’t ever escape.” He’s living there too. The only way to survive is to make those responsible pay.

Ga-on pulls himself together and asks if Yo-han caught Jukchang. Yo-han nods. Ga-on stands tall and says he’s ready to do this.

The three judges address the press. Yo-han denounces the government’s coverup of the assault on and murder of civilians in the quarantine zone, as well as the death of a police officer. He vows to hold them accountable through The People’s Live Court.

Jin-joo announces that she will not be participating in the oppressive emergency court. Ga-on argues the trial has already begun with over 5 million citizens voting “guilty” through the app. Anyone who blocks this trial is the true criminal.

The SRF gang argues over what to do about this. President Heo thinks they have no choice but to allow the trial. The whole nation watched an old man get beaten to death with a pipe. Sun-ah says they first need to cut off the tail.

President Heo holds a press conference and blames “overzealous” frontline workers for the tragedy. He warns against conspiracy theories and declares that if the trial gives into that sort of slander, “it is clearly treason against the nation.”

After his speech, President Heo shocks Sun-ah with his arguably most disturbing suggestion yet. Since people are questioning if there’s really a virus, they should give them one. They just have to introduce it into a particularly poor neighborhood.

He has no problems sacrificing some poor people for the sake of the majority. Even Sun-ah looks disgusted, which President Heo doesn’t miss. She doesn’t commit to his suggestion but promises to take care of Yo-han so long as President Heo takes care of Jukchang.

Meanwhile, Yo-han and Ga-on discuss plans for the trial. First up is meeting with a researcher from the emergency relief headquarters. Yo-han asks Ga-on to go with him, then pauses to ask if Ga-on ate. When Ga-on says he doesn’t have an appetite, Yo-han awkwardly says he’s making ramyeon for himself … should he make another bowl? Aw. Ga-on smiles and thanks him, but says he’ll eat with him next time.

Minutes later, Elijah goes up to Ga-on’s room and asks if he ate. She’s making ramyeon. Ha. Ga-on smiles and irritates Elijah by saying she resembles Yo-han; they’re both awkward at consoling people. “But it’s comforting because it’s awkward.”

Once Elijah leaves, Ga-on goes back to repeatedly listening to the recording of Soo-hyun jokingly asking him to marry her and saying she loves him.

In her office, Sun-ah thinks of President Heo’s terrifying suggestion that they introduce the virus into a poor neighborhood. She calls Jae-hee and asks if her childhood neighborhood and the youth welfare center she gave that speech at are quarantined.

Jae-hee assumes Sun-ah’s old neighborhood would be, given how poor it is, but that the welfare center is excluded since it’s with the SRF. Sun-ah tears up thinking of the teenage girl with the abusive, alcoholic mother. Jae-hee is surprised Sun-ah is so worried about others.

After she hangs up, Sun-ah wonders how she got here. “What can I do? I’m already here,” she says to herself as she swigs liquor from the bottle.

Elsewhere, Yo-han and Ga-on meet up with the researcher who admits he’s found no evidence of the virus. President Heo replaced the researchers a month ago and classified key data. The military has taken control.

The dead from the supposed virus are predominantly elderly homeless people who appear to have died of malnutrition and related illnesses. He accuses the Blue House of cleansing the population. Despite the dangers, the researcher agrees to testify in court.

The trial is closed off from the public due to the supposed virus, and a military lawyer from the emergency headquarters is serving as Jukchang’s defense attorney. He has the nerve to call the murder of the elderly man an accident, even when faced with the video footage.

He asserts these are war-like times where frontline workers are risking their lives. This was an accidental death in the line of duty where civilians resisted an evacuation order. Who will be responsible if the virus spreads while they argue over human rights?

Jukchang is so frightened to be back in court he’s shaking, and his eyes grow wide when Yo-han says he’ll question a witness about the virus variant supposedly discovered. The defense attorney is strangely calm about it, which is the first sign of trouble.

Yo-han calls for the witness multiple times, but no one comes through the door. The defense attorney says that, unfortunately, Dr. Yoon passed away from the virus this morning. Yo-han and Ga-on share alarmed looks. While the defense attorney uses his death as proof of the seriousness of the virus situation, Jukchang clamps his hand over his mouth in halfhearted attempt to contain his laughter.

During a recess, Yo-han tells Ga-on and Jin-joo that he has a backup plan to make Jukchang talk. They just need to watch without interfering.

Given the circumstances and his client’s remorse (say what now?), the defense asks for a lenient sentence. The prosecution requests a seven-year sentence. Yo-han turns to Jukchang as he plays the video Ga-on found of Choong-shik’s days as a staffer for President Heo.

When Jukchang plays innocent, Yo-han reminds him that he and other campaign staffers used to violently break up peaceful demonstrations and loot. Didn’t he help get President Heo, the law-and-order candidate, elected?

To the SRF gang’s panic, Yo-han continues pressing. Was Jukchang ordered to drag residents out? Jukchang maintains that he did everything on his own.

Yo-han plays another video of President Heo urging people to take to the streets to restore order. Shortly after that broadcast, Jukchang attacked foreign workers with the same followers who were at the quarantine site.

Jukchang yells that he did it out of love for his country and because he believed in President Heo’s philosophy. Yo-han again confirms that he did everything of his own volition and is therefore fully responsible.

Since Jukchang and his lawyer agree so much with President Heo’s philosophy, the solution is simple. He plays another clip of President Heo arguing that murderers should be executed rather than using up taxpayer money.

Yo-han walks down to the terrified Jukchang and says the price of a life is a life. He shoots down the defense’s emotional arguments – not everyone in difficult circumstances commits crimes. Yo-han puts the question of punishment to the nation. The vote is 75% for the death penalty.

Ga-on and Jin-joo watch uncomfortably but say nothing, even when Yo-han orders death by electric chair in 24 hours. Jukchang begins sobbing. Yo-han tells the citizens that their votes will determine the voltage; more than 1 million of them must vote in favor tomorrow for the death to be carried out.

As usual, Sun-ah is the only one of the SRF gang to remain calm and sus out Yo-han’s plan. The chairmen fight over how to stop Jukchang from talking until President Heo intervenes. He’ll handle it since he knows Jukchang best.

At the courthouse, Jin-joo is horrified by Yo-han’s tactics and argues what he’s doing makes him no different than President Heo. Yo-han tells her she can leave the bench if she doesn’t approve. She appeals to Ga-on, but he stays silent.

After seeing the news that Justice Min is resigning over this latest sentence, Ga-on rushes to his office. Justice Min urges him to stop Yo-han who he calls the devil. Ga-on argues that Yo-han is just trying to get Jukchang to talk, but Justice Min isn’t having it. Is that an excuse for Yo-han to turn the citizens into torturers?

Justice Min tells Ga-on not to believe Yo-han, a man who uses people’s weaknesses. Ga-on counters that the people at the top are hurting innocents and even killed Soo-hyun. “Are you sure?” Justice Min thought they murdered Soo-hyun at first too, but then he thought about when Soo-hyun came to see him because she was worried Ga-on was being deceived by Yo-han.

Ga-on is surprised to learn that Soo-hyun had been digging into Yo-han’s past, including the fire. Justice Min even knows she was looking for Joseph who worked at the church and happened to be in charge of monitoring the CCTV. What if she located Joseph and Yo-han found out?

Ga-on argues this is all speculation just like the claim that Yo-han killed his brother. He’s seen firsthand that Yo-han’s suffering over Isaac’s death isn’t faked. When Justice Min suggests that suffering could be due to guilt, Ga-on has heard enough.

Justice Min leaves him with a final question. What would Soo-hyun think if she saw Ga-on standing by Yo-han and murdering someone via electric chair?

Ga-on sits alone and recalls Soo-hyun’s opposition to Yo-han’s methods and how she warned him not to let Yo-han’s excuses sway him. He then thinks of her face when she saw him next to Minister Cha’s body and how tormented she was over destroying evidence for him.

That night, Jukchang is kidnapped from his jail cell and brought to President Heo. At the mansion, Ga-on asks if Yo-han is truly going through with this. Punishing a criminal is one thing, but turning innocent citizens into murders is another.

Yo-han believes it’s more honest to kill someone with your own hands rather than having others dirty their hands on your behalf. No one is truly innocent. Ga-on disagrees, arguing that there are those who do no harm or fight to protect others with their lives like the researcher Dr. Yoon and Soo-hyun.

“A world where everyone’s hands are covered in blood is hell,” Ga-on says. Yo-han responds he’s always lived in hell, but Ga-on doesn’t want to see him do something he can’t take back. Yo-han says he has no other choice.

Ga-on asks if Yo-han knew there’d be casualties at the quarantine site due to the confrontation. For the residents to fight, didn’t Yo-han predict they’d need a victim? Yo-han doesn’t answer and tells Ga-on to focus on doing something rather than asking questions.

Before the execution, Yo-han goes to the empty courtroom and sits in the electric chair it now houses. When it’s time, Yo-han again checks with Jukchang – now strapped into the chair – whether he committed the crimes on his own.

Jukchang confirms it, so Yo-han tells the citizens to begin. Everyone is hesitant with only a hundred or so citizens pressing the button at first. Ga-on enters the courtroom to watch from the sidelines as Jukchang asserts he did nothing wrong.

We flash back to Jukchang’s secret meeting with President Heo who’d assured him that Yo-han is only putting on a show to get him to talk. All he has to do is endure the chair for a while; President Heo will make sure he doesn’t die.

He wins Jukchang over with his talk of nationalism and promise to make Jukchang’s dream of a steady government job with a nice apartment a reality. President Heo called him brave and hugged him as he cried.

Now, Jukchang is confident Yo-han can’t kill him. And he may not be wrong: the number of participants hasn’t even hit 1,000 yet. Yo-han looks over at Ga-on who shakes his head, although whether it’s a refusal to participate or a warning for Yo-han to stop isn’t clear.

Yo-han addresses the public, asking them to take responsibility and be the owners of this nation. Jukchang laughs, calling it nonsense, but it works. The number surges past 100,000 as people are emboldened to dole out punishment themselves.

Jukchang grunts in pain as the shocks begin but says he can endure it because “he” told him to. He continues to endure as the pain intensifies, and the participants reach 500,000. Ga-on resolutely marches out of the courtroom.

The number just shy of a million, Jukchang cries out in agony on the brink of death. The power goes out. Yo-han is informed the execution has been suspended by the judicial council thanks to Ga-on’s press conference.

Yo-han turns to the screen to see Ga-on announce that the trial has been manipulated. Justice Min stands behind him. Ga-on closes his eyes, clearly struggling with this betrayal. Yo-han stares in disbelief and disappointment.

 
COMMENTS

I had a feeling Ga-on wasn’t going to be able to stomach this latest stunt of Yo-han’s. While Soo-hyun’s death made Ga-on more determined, it also made him feel more guilty for crossing lines. He doesn’t share Yo-han’s nihilistic view of the world that prioritizes winning at all costs; Ga-on has managed to hold onto a shred of idealism and still believes in justice. His reason for fighting to bring down the corrupt elites is to create a better, more equitable society. Instigating a million or so people to participate in murder is in direct opposition to the world he hopes to create through this fight. He also cares about Yo-han and doesn’t want to watch him go too far and become a monster in truth.

I’m not sure how Yo-han will react to Ga-on’s betrayal. Jukchang was about to die and still hadn’t talked, so that plan might’ve been a bust anyway. I imagine Yo-han will find a way to turn this around like he usually does, but Ga-on’s admission could complicate things. Will Ga-on’s sincerity mean anything to him or will he only see Ga-on getting in his way? Yo-han has been sympathetic to Ga-on’s grieving and has even been trying in his endearingly awkward way to look out for him. I do think Yo-han cares about Ga-on, but he’s not the sentimental or forgiving type. His sympathy for Ga-on’s pain likely only goes so far, and Ga-on ruining his plans might be the limit.

While Soo-hyun’s death was undeniably tragic, I didn’t feel the emotional punch I think I was supposed to feel. Unfortunately, the emotional impact of her death is mostly in Ga-on’s reaction rather than in mourning her as a character. There’s always been a disconnect for me with Soo-hyun. It’s not that I disliked her – I just never felt an emotional connection, which was highlighted by her death. I’ve come to realize that my disconnect stems from the fact that her character solely existed for Ga-on and his journey. Every interaction they had focused on Ga-on and his needs. She even became a cop to protect him! I know nothing about her outside of her connection to Ga-on. I didn’t even know she had a family until we saw them crying at her funeral. I wish she’d gotten more of her own arc and independent personhood rather than functioning merely as a motivator for the hero.

Once again, I find myself growing suspicious of Justice Min. Why did he know so much about Soo-hyun’s investigation? Sure, she might’ve told him a few details, but I don’t see why she would’ve kept him updated to that extent. He’s trying too hard to turn Ga-on against Yo-han, and it makes me question whether there’s an ulterior motive there. I might be entirely on the wrong track, but something about him is just shifty. Watch him turn out to be the Big Bad, which admittedly would be kind of a fun twist, although it would put poor Ga-on through the wringer again. Justice Min’s theory about Yo-han having Soo-hyun killed isn’t unreasonable, but it seems unlikely. Yo-han’s style is less assassin in the night and more exploiting weaknesses to get his way. Even if Ga-on didn’t buy Justice Min’s theory, the seed of doubt was planted. And now that Ga-on has messed up Yo-han’s scheme, I imagine things are going to get tense between them as we head into the final week.

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I can't stand Justice Min. What is his problem? So much corruption and he focuses on Yo-han? I don't get it. Wasn't that broken up about Soo-hyun, but watching Ga-on grieve was hard. And as always, I absolutely love Elijah. On a side note: the casting directors must like the interactions between Ji Sung and Ahn Nae-sang since this is the third time they've been in a drama together.

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Justice Min is a righous fool who has a huge obsession on Yo Han,one that was never fully explained(since the first episode he was like that) while being blind to everything around him...He is the Chief of Justice but he acts like he is in the opposition party with no power what so ever.A person like him should never have anything to do with the Justice...

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This was an interesting episode.

President Heo and the other SRF members are greedy, evil people who are hurting innocent people but Jin-joo asked Yo-han a good question after the trial: “Then how are you any different than Heo Jung-se?” While Yo-han isn't greedy, he doesn’t actually care that innocent people are being hurt. He doesn’t care that once he gets rid of the SRF other greedy, evil people will take their place. He’s out for revenge and turning the citizens bloodthirsty in the process.

I don’t blame Ga-on for stopping the execution. This is where I’m conflicted: Ga-on and even Justice Min make some good points, but all they do is talk. Calling press conferences does not save a nation. It does not fix the Justice system.

Is this ultimately Writer Moon’s point?: Evil fighting evil just results in more evil but all the good guys do is talk which is why the system is so messed up. Citizens need to be the light and force change, but they are easily manipulated or checked out.

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I think at the end of the day (and drama) Writer Moon's answer to all of this, is that there is no answer. Humanity can't seem to act and cooperate in a way that is fair for everyone. Corruption is an evil that will always exist. I find that Writer Moon hasn't figured it out either but he does an exemplary job at exposing the problems with the system. As other beanies have previously mentioned, you can feel his frustration through the drama and his characters. It is a dystopian Korea but it's sad because the entire world struggles with these problems at their core.

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You are so right about Soo Hyun she did exist only for Ga On, I was surprised she had a mother honestly. I still liked her character. I am not suspicious of Justice Min, I think he just truly believes the law is the only way, that is stupid and naive, but not actually evil. As for Yo Han, he isn't really different from Heo Jung Se in terms of action, the intention is different. Yo Han is an anti-hero his methods aren't meant to be liked, he just gets things done though. He isn't a better man and doesn't claim to be. As for Jukchang, he murdered a man on live TV to make a point, he should be punished. The question is how, Yo Han decided the how because everyone else was completely unwilling to do so.

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I believe that Jukchang was going to reveal that the President was the one giving him the orders. Unfortunately, Ga-on decided to hold the press conference.

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Hmmm, maybe. I have no idea how Yo Han thought he would talk while being electrocuted though.

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I agree that I also did not have an emotional reaction to Soo-hyun's passing. As you said @quirkycase she seemed to exist just to propel Ga-on's story arch.
Ga-on's ridiculous decision to hold the press conference highlights just how little trust he has in Yo-han. Ga-on still believes that he can exact justice through the traditional application of the law. What Ga-on doesn't understand is that in order to combat these individuals he must employ the same tactics that they use. The President and the others are willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals, they are not abiding by the law of the land.
I do not trust Justice Min. I believe that he knows more than he's letting on.

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I also do not trust Justice Min. But as for Ga-on I have always had trouble with his character. He flickers too much like he can't just make up his mind. The truth is this, just like in Vicenzo, at times it is only evil that can combat evil. Intention makes all the difference. I don't agree with most of Yohan's method but its a dystopic world

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Ga on is the most unstable character, he is book smart but dumb. He is easily swayed by others and can’t seem to think for himself and come to a conclusion. With everything he’s seen and what yo Han did for him he still couldn’t think. He is self righteous and a hypocrite which was so annoying to watch. People a quick to say things they don’t mean but they want to back out, he painted yo Han bad to his friend and he never told her anything about what yo Han told him, if he had said something she might still be alive. He also made yo Han the monster till the end. And the friend also she is so naive that’s why people like that don’t get any chance to move to the top because they feel the world is black and white, people like like believe what they hear rather than what they see, Plant a seed of doubt or lies in them by and it will grow because they keep watering it with their stupid imaginations. The professor was a thorn in my flesh. I knew he wasn’t any good to anyone, the way he kept on trying to destroy the court was so annoying, he was just there as a figure head to destroy ga on’s life which he did perfectly because ga on was a moron. I still love yo Han and I support everything he did, no one brought results except him, we should all understand that we humans are the most corrupt, when out in a situation like yo Han most of us will do the same thing we are not righteous, self righteousness is one of the biggest sin and the most disgusting thing in this world. If you watch the drama well , everyone was evil they just showed it in different ways, even the reverend allowing someone to get bullied and when he retaliate he became the devil. What bull crap. I enjoyed the drama, the man is a great actor he is the best as far as I am concerned, he delivers in ever character he plays.

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U totally get it. And after watching ep15 I just wanted to bash Ga on's head against the wall for being so gullible n stupid

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I think the show has a problem, which I stated in my comment last episode: President Heo is obviously evil, doesn't mean Yohan is not; and at the same time, Justice Min, who stick his ground about the supremacy of law, looks like a lackey of President Heo, but not the third pillar of argument.

This results into comment like @mysterious: "I can't stand Justice Min. What is his problem?" I understand his frustration, because it is not Justice Min's problem, it is [former] Justice Moon (who is currently, the screenwriter of this very show)'s problem.

Under this circumstance, Gaon's turn (again) at the end of this episode looks like a coward. When US intelligence officers doing waterboarding in Abu Ghraib prison, we, as a person with common sense, question them, although those prisoners are suspect of terrorism, probably being hated just as the same as Bamboo Spear.

The only difference is, we know Bamboo Spear's motif: he wants an apartment unit facing Han River from President Heo; we don't know those suspect's motif—Because what happened in Abu Ghraib is not a TV drama like The Evil Judge, it is reality.

This is my biggest problem of this show. We all believe Bamboo Spear deserves that electric chair, because we are shown his motif, but for Justice Min and Gaon, his motif is not known, thus their reactions are understandable. However, in terms of us the audience, because Bamboo Spear's motif is shown, we are guided to believe that Justice Min and Gaon's action is hateful, or at least, not making sense.

This is the biggest failure of the screenwriter.

Last but not least, I hope you don't forget this one thing: Yohan's burning church story is highly probably, at least in part, fabricated. He told us, the audience in Episode 4, already: "Indeed people, like this sort of stories." (Viki translation) This is exactly what Justice Min questions Gaon in the end of this episode.

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Note: Jukchang/주창=Bamboo Spear in my comment. His name, as I stated before, probably originated from a Chinese Idiom "揭竿而起/Raise the bamboo sticks and revolt".

Here's the story: in late Qin Dynasty (some years before 206BC), a group of people was being forced to head to build the Great Wall (or the earliest version of it), and they missed the arrival deadline and resulted being executed. They who believe dead is unavoidable then sharpened the bamboo sticks (竿) at hand into spears (Qin government confiscated all weapons of the land) and revolt. This eventually resulted to the downfall of the dynasty.

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Or should I type: "죽창".

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I'm fine with Bamboo Spear getting the electric chair, but having the citizens vote on it and then having it broadcast live to the nation? That creates a host of other problems, and I think it makes sense for Justice Min and Ga-on to be horrified by it and try to stop it. I don't think we are supposed to view them as hateful or even misguided or Writer Moon wouldn't have included the scene of the little kids playacting an electrocution.

I wish Justice Min was a stronger character, the third pillar of the argument, but I also think it's realistic that he's not. Justice Min types are one of the reasons Justice systems are so messed up. Righteous but myopic and toothless.

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I very much disagree. And I don't think anyone deserves the death penalty, EVER. The US is the only allegedly civilized country that still kills allows the government to kill people, although many states, including mine, have found it to be unconstitutional, and banned it.
The fact that the writer is a former judge fascinates me. He has taken on complex moral issues, and put them in the light, making us think about them in terms of our personal ethics, and of the tenets of a civilized society. As a former prosecutor, and current defense attorney, I am well aware that it is THE PEOPLE who carry out the prosecution of crimes, and the death penalty is the one crime where they also carry out the sentence. It's The State, The People verses the defendant. The prosecutors are representing the citizens, as is the "jury of one's peers," who have to come to a unanimous verdict on both the criminal act and, for capital cases, the death penalty. It can't happen without their assent. So, by making the people carry out the death itself, instead of sanitizing it with a third party, YoHan is showing the innate cruelty of human nature, in addition to the faults in the system.

As the ACLU notes in its many arguments against capital punishment -
A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a violent public spectacle of official homicide, and one that endorses killing to solve social problems – the worst possible example to set for the citizenry, and especially children. Governments worldwide have often attempted to justify their lethal fury by extolling the purported benefits that such killing would bring to the rest of society. The benefits of capital punishment are illusory, but the bloodshed and the resulting destruction of community decency are real.

The children in this drama, acting out what they see on TV while giggling and laughing, is intentional. The drama is intentionally showing the horrors of mob rule, and a barbaric "eye for an eye" legal system. It is also asking some fascinating ethical questions about crime and punishment.

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I disagree. The very notion that everyone deserves to live is flawed at best, stupidly naive at worst. You are basically saying it's fine for psychopaths like Hitler to murder millions and the most they will get is a lifelong imprisonment. You are basically arguing while it's okay for murderers to kill innocents, yet when the victims' family seek payback for their deceased family, they are now barbaric? Like I have commented previously, only a self-righteous moralist who only wants to look good and unwilling to have blood on their hands have this kind of opinion. When you try to kill someone, you should be ready to be killed. When you seek to make someone suffer, you should be ready to suffer as well. That's how karma works. You reap what you sow. Justice where even the worst of sins are instead treated with mercy is a rotten one. Eventually it shall wither and society will collapse. If you argue people have human rights that should be respected, remember to respect the human rights of the deceased as well. They might be 6 feet under by then, but they still were living breathing human beings once.

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I agree with you here. The argument above doesn't work for me. And I wish I had better words to respond to it.

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I both agree and disagree. Everything you say about mob justice and the death penalty is spot on but in terms of how the drama is dealing with it it's definitely not critiquing it. We're supposed to think that the abolishment of the Live Court is a bad thing, we're supposed to cheer on when the people use their app to vote someone guilty, we're supposed to be happy when our Devil Judge lands a blow against his enemies because they're just so completely evil. If anything, it has ended up celebrating mob rule as the only way we can fight against tyrannical dictators. Which makes it, at best, confused.

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“… we're supposed to cheer on…”

Is there an interview or some such with the writer that talks to his intent? Because I didn’t see the drama that way. It seemed to me more cynical comments on the nature of the legal (aka justice) system, hero on a white horse, holier than thou types, etc.

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I'm entirely looking at what I've seen on screen and the way the writer pivoted (intentionally or unintentionally) to portraying Jo-an as a flawed but sympathetic and necessary evil to a corrupted system. Last episode had the cancellation of the Live Court - which was the basis of this 'justice as farce' - dystopia and we were supposed to be upset by that and see that as a bad thing and cheer when they kept going, exposing the lies of the administration. If that wasn't the writer's intention then it's seriously bad writing. Because that is what I saw on screen.

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@leetennant As a favorite writer once wrote (paraphrase) meaning is what you bring, not take from something. My cynical take says more about my current attitudes than anything else, I suspect.

And I don’t think this drama features great or even good writing. And watching this to the end also says something about my current state of mind. Sigh.

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I think one of the issues too @hebang, for me anyway, is that I thought the first four episodes were excellent and it unfortunately gave me expectations of the drama. Often disappointment is worse than dislike.

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I think @shuiyin is messing up the argument.

First of all, you put Hitler as your example, but Bamboo Spear (I translate "Jukchang" by it's actually meaning, because it makes sense, and I talked about it in some other location already) is not Hitler. For Hitler, we need a Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a guy who lead a revolution. In the show, President Heo is the Hitler, not Bamboo Spear.

Secondly, I guess I have mentioned in my initial comment: we know Bamboo Spear's motif. As audience watching the show, certainly we know he is guilty. However, for the judge on the spot, we don't know. The public who watching Yohan's show simply know the case through the proceeding, and it is highly probable Yohan had manipulated the detail, and stirred up public emotion (as well we audience before the TV) so that we believe he should be executed. So, will it be possible we are simply part of the mob who think he should be executed?

About the immorality of carrying capital punishment, I guess @vespertyne's legal argument is strong enough, and I don't think I need to add anything. I just want to point out the obvious: There is a reason when a defendant stands before the court we must assume she is not guilty, because we are not god like Mago (Hotel del Luna Ep.7), and when we are killing a person, the judge doesn't take the reason why we kill that person, despite how much the person being killed deserve to die; the act that we kill is good enough for us to be guilty (That is exactly what Park Chan-wook's Lady Vengeance is asking). Yohan's act of letting the public to do the execution is nothing more to (1)lightening the load of being guilty of killing on his own shoulder, (2) spreading the guilt to the general public, and (3) pushing the violence and terror to the highest hierarchy, i.e. the state, which is the most evil. This is nothing but mob politics to the extreme, with the state is using such violence to its own people, which can be spoiled easily: we have even more examples on this kind of state-tolerated-mob violence, Mao's Red Guards in Cultural Revolution, and the Brown Shirt/SA under Hitler's Nazi Party, they are some good example.

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Like mentioned on my wall I frankly don’t believe Yo Han would put a fire or anything close to hurt his brother as we all saw how much he loved and looked up to him,being the only one in that house he truly cared for and even more killing so many people along with him for no aparent reason…Knowing his character he would have tracked down long time ago the one who started the fire but if it’s Elijah the cause of the accident it makes the more sense why he never mentioned the one who started it or tried his best to hide it…We all know he would die for Elijah and he would never of his own accord let her know who started the fire prefering for her to hate him…

Also,i can't stand Justice Min at all!He is the one who probably irks me the most among all the characters...

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He is a rightous fool who shouldn't be in the legal system at all who is overly obsessed with Yo Han while not seeing at all or worse pretending not to see what happenes around him...He is the Chief of Justice but acts like he is in the opposition with no power what so ever while people are suffering on the streets...
Might be minority but i like Yo Han,dude is savage and get's things done,frankly i bet the ones who were helped by him would stand by him nor care much what he did as long as he at least gave them justice and peace...

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Good point. There is a chance Elijah started the fire and Yo Han is protecting her. Why in other cases he was so crossed with Ga On about visiting the priest? Him being the killer of his brother is too obvious for a drama (please, it can't be true). Ok, Min might have personal vindetta. Let's say because of the "loan-shark" father. Hm, what of Yo Han's mother? Could she be a mother of someone else here? Toooo many versions ;) I really hope that our anti-hero is not throughout evil. And the drama is also too cool to end similar to Voice 3 (even if 2 main anti-heroes that can't stand each other perishing together will be 100% dramatic....no no no please don't).

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I always found it strange that Yo Han never adressed the one who was responsable for the fire as he was the main of the tragedy yet we were shown and he told about the the fire fighter and the 5 villains...Also it is shown Elijah coming from another room right before the fire happened...
I actually even believed Sun Ah might had her hands into it but looking back now Elijah makes more sense for me and explaines Yo Han's tight lip preferring to be treated like a killer by his niece...

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People like Justice Min is the reason why I despise moraliists. All of them only spout about human rights and whatnot. You think this world is built upon our ancestors linking hand to hand and singing Kumbaya? No, every nations are built upon the mountains millions of corpses of people, because that's the price of peace, justice, and stability. Idiots keep saying that peace bought by blood is unworthy, then all might as well be unworthy since everything is technically bought by blood, either yours or others'. Justice Min wants to play nice? Let's see when the SRF eventually kills his family with steel pipe as well. These damned moralists preach self-righteousness all the time but they hold no shred of sympathy and empathy at all in their body. The only reason they follow their so-called moral value is because it makes them look good. Nothing more, nothing less.

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@shuiyin well written and I agree with everything you just wrote!

I'm interested to see how Writer Moon finishes this story.

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Would he still preach if his family was included in the project the 4 have on going,like re-locating them by force with a few broken limbs for his wife and children and shut along millions of others in the forever cells they have prepared for them,i mean "Dream Home" while they take the land...I'm sure the people beside him there would appreciate his preaches of justice...

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Wow, Ga-on is such a tedious character. Self-righteous and at the same time so naive. Would not a judge collect facts, weigh them and then come to a deliberate conclusion? Instead our dumb little puppy sets off in a different direction every time someone tells him something, which he takes at face value without any reasoning/questioning. Also, imo, there was zero chemistry between Ga-on and Soo-hyun. When Soo-hyun got killed, I was happy as she was such a moralist tw*t. (What would have been wrong to tell Ga-on that she came to his rescue because Yo-han told her so?) Judge Min should go next.

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He was mentored by Justice Min so it explains...

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He's not a character, he's just the Candy there to give humanity to our tsundere chaebol. He's Jane Eyre to Rochester, complete with gothic mansion and trauma caused by fire.

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Whoa let's keep Jane out of this and whoever this candy boy is.

Sorry I love Jane and wasn't expecting the hit before coffee. 😉

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🤣 Oh I'm so sorry. I had no idea.
But, you know, I once wrote this whole thing about how Jane Eyre is basically the first kdrama. You should probably never read it.

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I'm tired of Justice Min and I'm really tired of Ga-on. We 14 eps in and you still don't know what side to be on??? Those people killed your girl and let the man that ruined your family free and you still struggling on what to do....I can't.

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Great recap. Your thoughts mirror a lot of mine.

I'm dreading this weekend's final two episodes. I can just see YoHan taking down Seon-ah at the cost of his own life. And I really really wish that wouldn't happen, even though he is a morally compromised character. I'll take him over the Evil Cartel who are using their money and power to do some unspeakably evil, cruel things, including ethnic cleansing, mass fraud, murder and mass incarceration of indigent citizens in what sounds a lot like concentration camps.

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I thought this show will be different than all the dark vigilante dramas we had been treated to lately, but alas, the show missed its chance by not exploring more the characters of Justice Min and Soo Hyun, outside their obsession for yohan and gaon respectively. Yohan maybe charismatic (and Ji Sung especially make him swoony) but he is still a villain, too,, and may even be the most dangerous one because he can influence masses and can incite a bigger mob. He is not above sacrificing innocents , nor does he care about consequences beyond his revenge. Is he a necessary evil, or is there another option? . I had hoped the show can show there is one but alas, the counterpoint to Yohan is weak, and Gaon, who is supposed to represent the audience just ends up to be a fickle minded peson who can get swayed easily and lets his emotions rule him. But then again, maybe that is what the show is trying to say, that humanity is like that today, we are easily swayed by charismatic villains, and we get triggered by emotions, and our society today is not ruled by law and justice, but by sentiment.

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I was already put off by this drama way back when it was revealed that Sun-ah's primary motivation is her obsession with Yo-han, but Soo-hyun's death has pretty much validated my reasons for dropping. I'm so bored of dramas putting no effort into fleshing out their female characters beyond their relevance to the male characters in the story. C'mon guys, fridging is SO '94.

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I'm so angry right now, you have no idea.
I feel like earning a bean for this mess is a disservice to beans.

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I dropped it after the first episode and I'm not regretting it.

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So now that I've had a moment to stop being rendered incoherent with rage... this was the episode where a Korean drama - IN 2021 AND DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC - has a plotline about evil corrupt leaders faking a virus so they can terrorise their citizens and clear out neighbourhoods they want to develop.

They actually discuss deliberately infecting people in slums so that they can 'fake' an outbreak. And talk about how the government is faking medical results to make people think there's a viral outbreak when there isn't.

And tell people that their only recourse for this tyranny is violent mob rule where they fight against their oppressors.

4.5 million people are dead from Covid19 but this drama just told people that they can't believe that, that it's not true, that governments absolutely fake pandemics for their own evil purposes and the only way to fight against it is to fight back.

Never mind that the kind of Trumpesque leader we have is the kind of leader who regularly lies about and downplays the pandemics because health directives such as lockdowns cost corporations money and so they insist on things like 'Living with Covid' and 'acceptable deaths' to make people think the government shouldn't do anything about pandemics at all.

Oh no, this show portrays him as someone who overplays the risk for his own benefit and initiates lockdowns for profit. Because, you know, tyranny or something. It's bullshit.

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Sorry but you are either very young, very naive, or easily influenced by MSM. Situations like this COULD happen and has happened in countries where governments control the media, and high tech billionaire companies censor people’s opinions. I am finding this story hits very close to home, unfortunately!

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Perhaps that is true; the government can, and does lie. But right now, in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed millions of people, to feature this kind of plot-point in dangerous. It validates the trend we are seeing of people undermining, ignoring, and even straight-up denying the existence of COVID-19, which can, and has, led to even more death.

This show isn't just not reading the room, it's shutting its eyes, sticking its fingers in its ears, and singing, "Lalala! I can't reeeaaad yooouuuu!"

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