The Devil Judge: Episode 15
We get a lot of loneliness and brooding this hour as our young judge rediscovers his idealism and sets in motion events that could be our presiding judge’s undoing. After his shocking revelation to the public, our grieving lead focuses on solving the mystery of his best friend’s murder. Retracing her steps, he uncovers clues that point in a surprising direction and make him question everything he thought he knew.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Yo-han watches Ga-on announce that The People’s Live Court is a sham. When the reporters ask if Yo-han fabricated the trials, Ga-on can’t bring himself to respond. Justice Min jumps in and accuses Yo-han of manipulating the trials to get the results he wanted, even bringing the lawyers in on it.
Again they ask Ga-on for details, but Justice Min rescues him by saying Ga-on already provided a statement to the court. A committee will investigate the situation, and all Yo-han’s trials will be retried.
Yo-han remains composed and announces that he’ll provide a statement later. He thanks the public and signs off. Jukchang cries in relief at his stay of execution and, before he’s dragged off, promises Yo-han that they’ll meet again.
The SRF crew is thrilled at this turn of events, although the chairmen exchange looks when President Heo expresses his disappointment that Jukchang didn’t die. He had no intention of following through on his promise to Jukchang to save him and, in fact, was going to turn up the voltage himself if it looked like Jukchang was going to talk.
In their office, Jin-joo is shocked to learn that Yo-han has been manipulating all the trials. Even if she was used for show, she truly believed in what Yo-han supposedly stood for.
While Ga-on struggles to write his affidavit for the investigative committee, Yo-han stands alone in his office and wonders if he’s being made into a monster again. “I just chose the fastest way for them,” he thinks to himself.
Ga-on goes to Yo-han’s office and says he realized while watching Yo-han in the courtroom that making Jukchang talk was an excuse. What Yo-han really wanted was for everyone to get blood on their hands so they’d be forced to side with him. Yo-han admits as much.
When Ga-on argues using people’s vulnerabilities like that is evil, Yo-han accuses him of being naïve. He merely chose the fastest way to victory. Ga-on says it’s human nature to hesitate and know when to stop. “Otherwise, only monsters will be left in this world. Self-pitying monsters.”
Yo-han chuckles humorlessly at this line of reasoning he’s heard all his life. Does Ga-on find him frightening too? He stalks forward and grabs Ga-on by the throat, pushing him into a wall. “You don’t want to become a monster like me, right?!” Yo-han yells.
Ga-on stares at him with his sad puppy eyes and says to go ahead and kill him if he wants to. Yo-han stares at him for a beat before letting him go. He calls Ga-on weak and tells him to get lost.
“I sincerely wish you would stop,” Ga-on says to Yo-han’s back. He bows respectfully and leaves. Yo-han keeps his eyes shut until he hears the door close.
Elsewhere, President Heo brags to his wife about his brilliant planning, including how he had Jukchang attack Justice Min and made it look like Yo-han was behind it. His wife compliments his strategizing like a mother complimenting her toddler’s fingerpainting.
When President Heo starts ranting about how there hasn’t been enough blood of his enemies, those non-patriots, his wife cautions that he’s getting a little too in character with all that “pure Koreans” stuff. She reminds him they started doing this for the money which is the only thing that matters. Aren’t they a pair?
He agrees their original intent was to turn the presidency into a business, but President Heo thinks having his name etched in history is more important than money. His wife sighs and rolls her eyes.
Meanwhile, Elijah is waiting for Yo-han when he gets home. She saw the news and asks if he’s okay. He smiles at the idea she’s worried about him, which of course she denies. Elijah jokes that if he gets arrested, this house is hers. “It’s always been yours,” Yo-han counters.
Elijah supposes Ga-on won’t be coming back. Yo-han says they’re just going back to how it has always been – the two of them. He wheels Elijah back to her room.
That night, Justice Min calls Ga-on. He still suspects that Yo-han had something to do with Soo-hyun’s death, but Ga-on argues that’s not possible. Yo-han wouldn’t have killed his brother for money and then killed Soo-hyun to cover it up.
“No matter what the world thinks of him, I know he’s someone who deserves sympathy,” Ga-on says. Justice Min comments that Ga-on simply doesn’t want to believe Yo-han did it.
Despite assuming Yo-han is no longer a threat they need to address, President Heo wants to continue with his insane virus plan. Sun-ah tries to talk sense into him, but President Heo is obsessed with this idea of making a historic name for himself.
He declares that it’s his time to take charge now and berates Sun-ah for being a woman who dares not to know her place. President Heo goes on a diatribe about ridding the populace of anyone who doesn’t “contribute” and “leeches” off the government so he can build a new country.
The chairmen and Sun-ah quietly listen to his ranting about the coming revolution, clearly unhappy with how President Heo is going off-script. Sun-ah warns that there will be strong resistance. President Heo notes that he can just use the military to get rid of any protestors.
Sun-ah has had enough of his grandiose nonsense. The chairmen watch in anticipation and glee as Sun-ah marches over to President Heo and slaps him hard in the face. Amidst his whining, she calls him a puppet and warns him not to try her patience.
President Heo looks like he’s lost his mind when he calls his assistant in and orders him to stop this “coup.” He orders him to shoot them, starting with Sun-ah. The man bows to Sun-ah and takes out his gun, training it instead on President Heo.
The chairmen laugh as President Heo falls terrified back into his seat. Sun-ah sends the assistant out and basically puts President Heo, who is now much more obedient, in time out in the corner of the room. Sun-ah sits in his chair and reminds him that it’s all business. Revolutions and history don’t make money.
In a flashback, she meets with the chairmen, and they discuss what to do about the careless President Heo. His histrionics are getting in the way of their economic plans to redevelop the nation.
The men are stunned when Sun-ah shares that President Heo wants to spread the virus, although they’re more worried about property value than lives. It’s time for a new face of the nation.
Later, Sun-ah finds Yo-han brooding in his office and remarks that he’s finally looking lonely. He says she’s brave for coming here, but she’s unworried since he’s not the type to act irrationally based on emotions.
Sun-ah crouches beside his chair and strokes his face; she’ll give him one last chance to choose the Blue House over prison. Yo-han bats her hand away and sighs at how hard she works to have what was always unattainable to her.
When he says he feels sorry for her, Sun-ah’s face crumples. She raises a hand to slap him but stops herself. Sun-ah flips over a lamp on her way out and wipes her tears as she marches down the hallway.
Yo-han fidgets in his office for a bit before making his way into the courtroom for his public statement. Yo-han doesn’t attempt to spin the story and admits all the allegations are true. He wanted to make the powerful who get away with their crimes pay, but he doesn’t feel the law can stand up to their power.
He crossed the line using his anger as an excuse. Yo-han apologizes to the public and announces he’s resigning as a judge and will accept any punishment. He dramatically ends with, “I am a criminal. Please throw stones at me.”
Outside, Yo-han is swarmed by reporters and citizens. He only pauses when Jin-joo grabs his arm with tears in her eyes. He pats her hand and thanks both her and the PD standing nearby. Yo-han drives away to yells of “Kang Yo-han for President!”
Yo-han’s popularity grows with 57% of polled citizens saying they’d support him for president. With that kind of support, the opposition party is trying to convince Yo-han to run on their ticket.
At Soo-hyun’s grave, Justice Min gives Ga-on Soo-hyun’s police notebook. In it, Ga-on finds Joseph’s photo along with where he was last seen. Justice Min supposes Soo-hyun was going to tell Ga-on something about her investigation the night she died.
Ga-on goes to meet with the elderly lady who confirms the photo is of Joseph and explains that she told Soo-hyun he was seen recently in Seoul. When the lady asks if something happened to Soo-hyun, Ga-on lies and says he’s just double-checking something.
Next, Ga-on retraces Soo-hyun’s steps to try to find Joseph. He happens upon Joseph’s house right as he’s returning home. Joseph’s face is beaten up, and his head is bandaged. Joseph recognizes Ga-on as the judge who works with Yo-han and takes off.
Ga-on doesn’t have a hard time catching up since Joseph is injured. Joseph drops to his knees and begs Ga-on to spare his life. Ga-on is thrown when Joseph asks if Yo-han sent him here to kill him.
Inside Joseph’s house, Ga-on promises that he’s not there on Yo-han’s orders. He’ll even move Joseph to a safe location with Justice Min’s help. Joseph believes him enough to start talking.
Shortly after the fire, Yo-han came to see Joseph about the CCTV footage and ordered him to keep his mouth shut and hand over the file. In exchange, Yo-han would buy him a house and give him a lump sum. Joseph agreed but secretly made a copy of the footage in hopes to siphon more off Yo-han later.
A few months ago, Joseph was tortured by a supposed subordinate of Yo-han’s. Joseph confessed to making a copy and handed over the file. Then, a few days ago, a detective came to see him. He didn’t tell her anything, but someone came to beat him up last night.
Joseph isn’t sure who the man Yo-han sent was, but he remembers he parked his car nearby. Ga-on gets a resident’s dashcam footage that clearly shows the license plate of the car. He passes it along to Justice Min who has a friend on the force.
Ga-on couldn’t get Joseph to tell him what was on the original CCTV footage since he was terrified Yo-han would kill him. Despite following this trail, Ga-on still looks like he doesn’t want to believe Yo-han was behind this.
That night, Ga-on pulls up to the residence where the car from the dashcam footage is parked. He slips inside the unlocked front door. Inside, he sees someone bending over a body. The assailant hops out the window before Ga-on can catch them. On the ground is the dead body of Soo-hyun’s shooter.
Ga-on takes the dead man’s phone and sees his only calls are to “YH.” Ga-on presses call and waits with bated breath. He lowers the phone in shock when Yo-han picks up. Ga-on cries and screams out his despair as he thinks of how he believed Yo-han about Soo-hyun’s death.
He recalls Yo-han saying Ga-on needed to cut Soo-hyun out of his life for the sake of the mission. Ga-on then thinks of Yo-han’s advice: to survive this hell, make those responsible pay.
Ga-on strides into the mansion and rushes Yo-han with a knife. Damn. Why is he always trying to stab people? Yo-han calmly grabs hold of the blade. “Are you sure you won’t regret it?” he asks. “I can die if that’s what you want, but you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
As blood drips from Yo-han’s palm, Ga-on is reminded of when Soo-hyun also caught Ga-on’s blade with her hand and begged him not to murder. Ga-on drops the knife to the ground.
“You killed Soo-hyun, didn’t you?” Ga-on asks with tears in his eyes. Yo-han tries to calm him down, saying he understands Ga-on is hurting and needs someone to blame. Ga-on tells him to shut up – he saw the evidence himself.
Yo-han counters that Ga-on knows how misleading supposed evidence can be. Ga-on fires back that he also killed his brother, didn’t he? When he mentions the CCTV footage and Joseph, Yo-han hears ringing in his ears and has a flashback to the fire.
Once he collects himself, Yo-han grabs Ga-on’s shirt and asks intently if he met with Joseph. Ga-on is startled by the desperation in his eyes. Before he can respond, Justice Min comes in with a group of police officers and orders Yo-han to let go of Ga-on.
Yo-han stares at Ga-on in betrayal as the cops arrest him for murdering Soo-hyun. He looks into Ga-on’s eyes and asks if Ga-on really believes he killed Isaac and Soo-hyun, that he used Ga-on and lied to him about everything.
Ga-on eyes are conflicted, unsure what to believe at this point. In comes Sun-ah. She claps at the moving scene and says it’s the first time she’s ever seen that look in Yo-han’s eyes. Justice Min bows and says, “Welcome, Chairwoman Jung.” I KNEW IT.
Yo-han and Ga-on both stare in astonishment. Sun-ah remarks that Ga-on looking like Isaac is a coincidence, but it’s no coincidence he ended up working with Yo-han. We flash back to Ga-on’s swearing-in as a judge and see Sun-ah in the crowd with Chairman Seo.
Sun-ah is apparently the one who got Justice Min on the Supreme Court in the first place. Justice Min tells Ga-on he made a choice for “greater justice” and that Ga-on will understand one day. I highly doubt that. Yo-han sees Ga-on’s budding panic and calls out to him.
When Ga-on tries to run out after Justice Min, Sun-ah stops him. She tells Ga-on that he’s the weakness she created for Yo-han. She walks up to Yo-han and reminds him she promised to make him lonely.
Ga-on sees Jae-hee who he recognizes as the one who killed Soo-hyun’s shooter and realizes that everything was fabricated. He tries to tell the police that Sun-ah is the real criminal, but Yo-han says it’s no use – they all work for her.
Sun-ah corrects Ga-on when he assumes that she even made Joseph lie to him. Although she’s the one who sent someone to hurt him, everything Joseph said about Yo-han threatening him is true. Yo-han shouts for her to stop as Sun-ah walks over to show Ga-on a video on her phone.
It takes three men to hold Yo-han back as he screams for Sun-ah not to play the video. Ga-on holds a hand over his mouth as he watches the CCTV footage and sees the culprit: little Elijah.
We flash back to the church on the day of the fire. Little Elijah played in a back room with her stuffed bear amidst candles on the floor. Yo-han had seen her through the window and had warned her not to catch her bear on fire.
On her way out of the room, Elijah had knocked over a candle by the door. A nearby curtain went up in flames. None the wiser, she ran to the auditorium looking for her parents.
Now, Yo-han cries on his knees for his niece. Sun-ah calls him pitiful for working so hard to protect Elijah from finding out she killed her own parents. Elijah comes out of her room, likely hearing the commotion.
She spots Ga-on and calls out to him. Yo-han begins yelling for her, struggling to throw off the men holding him down. Elijah screams Yo-han’s name and starts to rush downstairs, but Jae-hee grabs her.
Sun-ah says it’s time Elijah knows the truth. Yo-han pleads with her not to tell Elijah. Tears fall as Ga-on watches Yo-han screaming and desperately trying to protect his niece.
With tears in her eyes, Sun-ah says the only thing she’s wanted is to see this look in Yo-han’s eyes. He roars at her before the cops drag him away.
In the silence that follows, Sun-ah leans against the wall for support and Ga-on remains kneeling on the floor. Silent tears course down Ga-on’s devastated face. “That was the moment,” he narrates, “I decided to die.”
Whoa. I knew Sun-ah had planned well, but she’s been preparing this for years. I can’t believe she even orchestrated Ga-on becoming a judge, knowing he’d have a strong effect on Yo-han. She was miles ahead of even Yo-han from the start. But I knew something was up with Justice Min! I always found him shady, but I didn’t expect his betrayal to go that deep. He’s been Team Sun-ah for much longer than I thought and has spent years manipulating Ga-on. Has Justice Min been on her side since before he met Ga-on, or did Sun-ah take advantage of his and Ga-on’s existing relationship? Once again, I can’t help but respect Sun-ah’s skill even though she’s terrible.
Sun-ah quite literally brought Yo-han to his knees with his two weaknesses: Ga-on and Elijah. I never believed that Yo-han had anything to do with the fire, but I always had the sense he was hiding something about that incident. No wonder he’s been so ambiguous about it all and allowed even the household to believe he killed Isaac – it’s better they suspect him than Elijah. If Elijah learns the truth, it’ll likely break her. Not only will she have to live with the fact that she caused the fire that killed her parents, but also that she has been accusing Yo-han all these years while he’s been protecting her. Speaking of Elijah’s parents, I keep forgetting that her mom died in that fire too because all they talk about is Isaac; even Elijah never mentions her mom. I feel kind of sorry for the woman.
Yo-han has been put through it lately in large part due to Ga-on acting stupid. I’m finding it hard to feel sorry for Ga-on right now (although the Justice Min betrayal is pretty bad) since he played right into Sun-ah’s hands with his self-righteousness and impulsivity. Given all he’s seen working side-by-side with Yo-han, you’d think Ga-on would be smarter than that. First, he betrayed Yo-han by announcing The People’s Live Court was all a sham. I don’t have an issue with Ga-on having lines he won’t cross and wanting to stop the execution, but he didn’t have to throw Yo-han under the bus like that. He’s known what Yo-han is all about from day one and still decided to join him, so his self-righteousness after the fact is irritating. I think my main frustration with Ga-on’s character is that he ends up remaining “good” mostly because everyone else shields him or takes care of things while he gets to passively stand in judgment. He never seems fully committed to anything, so his switching sides (again) felt inevitable.
Beyond the annoying flip-flopping, Ga-on made me mad for how he hurt Yo-han. Only he and Elijah even have the power to hurt Yo-han, so it makes it that much worse. He not only threw Yo-han under the bus for a scheme he’s been an active part of but even got Yo-han freaking arrested for murder based on circumstantial evidence. I understand why he thought Yo-han killed Soo-hyun, and with Soo-hyun’s death being so recent, it makes sense that he’d be overly emotional. But he tried to stab Yo-han without even having hard evidence that he killed her! Being emotional is even more reason to take a beat before acting. If Ga-on had just taken a step back, he could’ve seen how suspicious it was that everything pointed so perfectly to Yo-han being the murderer. Instead, he charged ahead with a knife which concerningly seems to be his go-to move. How does he have the audacity to moralize when he’s the one who gets all stabby every time he thinks someone hurt his family? Ga-on is one of those people who seems to always bring the drama. Now he’s talking about dying … In this drama, no character’s death would surprise me. Whatever happens, I imagine not everyone will be making it out of this fight.
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