Defendant (2017)

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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,084 users
Reviews: 9 users

Park Jeong Woo is a prosecutor at Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. One day, he wakes up and finds himself a convict on death row. Suffering from temporary amnesia, Jeong Woo has no idea what transpired to land him in prison. He struggles to recover his memory and clear his name before his time is up.
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15 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
5 days ago
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.5
Putting this drama into words is not easy. Spending the last few days, I was trying to come up with one word that can describe Defendant, and after some thought I think I got it. The drama is simply captivating and mesmerizing!

Without being particularly original or unique, defendant feels completely one of a kind. Part a legal-crime thriller part melodrama, Defendant is solely a two-man show. On the one hand, read more it centers on a prosecutor –the hero- who finds himself in prison, is accused of murdering his wife and child and dealing with memory lose on top of everything else. On the other hand, it focuses on a wicked man –the villain- who tries desperately to get away with his crimes. The drama develops partly as a mystery and later as an endless manhunt between the two as the one tries to destroy the other.

First half of the drama takes places in prison. I sincerely appreciated the fact that the drama did not spend time with court and other boring legal procedures but rather looked everything from a different personal-dramatic view of the hero delving deep into his troubled thoughts regarding his indictment. The memory loss plot is just a device to drive the story nothing more, so don’t worry about things dragging out a lot. The amnesia plot was handled in a very refreshing way in my opinion.

Second half of the drama is way more engaging, more dramatic, more lively filled with tension, angst and twists. The acting is luscious and you will never get bored of seeing the turning tables and schemes between the 2 lead characters. The drama is melodramatic without being mawkish, but there are also comic scenes and characters to relieve the tension and they succeeded without ridiculing it. There are quite a few characters implicated in all this making the drama that much more thrilling and mysterious.

While the drama really left a very strong impression that could translate into a perfect 10, specific reasons restrict me from it. Firstly the conveniently written base story. Frankly, there is no drama that is not at least partly convenient, that is how they work, and then the drama is just so good you’ll barely mind the convenience here and there.

Moreover, the main drawback I could address is the slow development of the plot especially in the first half of the drama. I remember me thinking that the drama offered its first real plot development, since the first 2 episodes, in episodes 7 and 8. After that the story really picks up pace. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed every episode. Even in episodes in which nothing much happened, the drama managed to be fascinating, bewitching and easy to watch.

Finally, although more of a nagging stretch from my part, i felt that the drama somehow mistreated its flawless ensemble cast by focusing too much on the 2 leads. It's not that the characters felt unreal, it is exactly that they were so well written that they deserved some kind of story of their own, namely Kwon Yuri's character. All that being said this focus on the main leads just gave Ji Sung more time to be flawless on my screen i shouldn't nag! I hereby reassure you none of these minor shortcomings were enough to reduce, even by little, the awesomeness of this drama!

Despite the great and thrilling plot, best part of the drama for me was the acting. The cast is actually quite large, with almost every character having a significant role to play. I cannot argue that the acting was an overall 10, but as I mentioned already this is a two-man show and these 2 men simply outdid themselves!

I can safely say we all agree that Kill Me Heal Me was Ji Sung’s best work; he demonstrated perfectly his unrealistically good acting skills. Ladies and Gents, I present you, the drama in which Ji Sung managed to outdo himself(!). His acting as a tainted inmate fighting with himself over his charges trying to solve the puzzle was magnificent and astounding. I doubt there is another male actor who can break down crying, act like a lunatic like that and come off as firm but also desperate and emotional as Ji Sung did. He sent chills down my spine, goosebumps. Either acting as a disoriented inmate or a strong and driven prosecutor or an aching father and husband he was immaculate. He knows exactly how much soul and emotion to pour into his performance in every scene. Excquisite! I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again best actor in dramaland.

The duo is formed with Uhm Ki Joon. I’ve seen him before but never like this. He portrays the antagonist but somehow he had such great syngery with Ji Sung, something I’ve never seen before. His portrayal of twin siblings was firstly impeccable; secondly his performance of a despicable criminal was spotless and shivering. A corrupted unstable person who still felt human and somehow mistreated and misunderstood. Undoubtedly, i never saw me having these feelings about such a villain. Heavenly acting by Uhm Ki Joon! A character you’ll love to hate. The two men managed to really make the drama shine 10x brighter than it would have on its own and they complemented each other completely.

The ensemble cast had a few really good actors. Yuri generally gets a lot of shit for her acting, she is considered the female lead, but considering the significance of her character she barely appeared. She served a purpose, and imo she held her own next to acting beasts despite being rather forgettable. I especially liked Uhm Hyeon Kyeong, not a big role, but also a significant and poetic one.

Oh Chang Seok and Kang Sung Min played similar characters that developed in the exactly opposite way, amazing writing here, they were great. All the cellmates were immaculate and adorable too, the drama generally featured some of the best and more likeable side characters I’ve ever seen.

Lastly, my personal favourites, Kim Min Suk who was sentimental and touching, loved him and my endless love and appreciation for Shin Rin Ah, the ridiculously talented young girl who never cease to amaze.

Even if the acting wasn’t perfect overall, it deserves a 10 for the perfect casting and synergy.

Despite your preferred drama genre, defendant is a drama that cannot be easily put to words, it should be watched. Therefore, I recommend it to everyone. It is emotional, exciting, thrilling, mysterious and intriguing. It does not have romance but believe me you won’t even care! I can see myself rewatching it in the future.
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Trang Doan
18 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
20 days ago
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Great actors, excellent plot. This is a must-watch. I did not expect it to turn out this great. Never underestimate Ji-sung's skills in expressing emotions. Cannot skip 1 episode!!!
This drama grabs your attention right in first episode you cannot turn around and escape from it.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (3)Recommendations

Remember-War of the Son put emphasis on a lawyer proofing his father's innocence. Defendant revolves around a prosecutor proofing his own innocence. The father and prosecutor both suffers from memory loss, which makes it harder to prove they are not guilty. The antagonists in both stories are rather similar, they are both sons of rich families who are violent and selfish.
Recommended by Tempest
Both have similar vibes with the storyline of Ji Sung is trying to find justice for his lost lover/wife. Both are fantastic and if you like one you would like the other.
Recommended by AmynaA

Comments (636)

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  • Reply
    OliviaThamara 6 hours ago

    So far, it's the Best Drama of 2017 :D.

  • Reply
    Lavinia Devaraj 7 hours ago

    Amazing Drama with Awesome Performance from Ji Sung & Uhm Ki Joon. Even though the drama is a thriller it does have lighter moments in between! Definitely worth watching.

  • Reply
    MrBanana 11 hours ago


  • Reply
    ARISTO 12 hours ago
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    ali 23 hours ago

    When i saw ji sung in KMHM i say he showes all of acting skills but in defendant he show me his acting skills is unlimited

  • Reply
    XingBack 2 days ago
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    musiq 3 days ago - edited

    I have a question regarding the actress that plays Kwon Yu-ri or Seo Eun-hye 'aunty ,(the public defender) . Was that Sandra Oh from Grey's Anatomy? She sure looks like her but when I searched Google, nothing comes up. Thanks.

    • Reply
      emma 2 days ago

      The actress is Baek Ji Won, not Sandra Oh.

    • Reply
      -CrownPrince- 1 day ago

      now that you've said it, you're clearly right she does look like sandra oh!

  • Reply
    sanasoufi 3 days ago

    This drama is PERFECT! Enjoyed every episode! Will miss Ji Sung, hopefully he'll continue to pick the right scripts!

  • Reply
    yaaah666 3 days ago - edited

    I just got round to watching this drama, I like it so far but i'm still wondering at what episode does it get really good? (i'm on ep5 btw)

    • Reply
      Ranya 2 days ago

      I started to get really invested in this drama at ep 10. The second half was more intense and superb.

    • Reply
      yaaah666 2 days ago

      oooh I look forward to reaching those episodes then! ^^ I'm on ep8 now and it's definitely gotten alot more interesting. :)

    • Reply
      XingBack 2 days ago

      For me it was interesting since ep 1, and each ep kept getting better and better!

  • Reply
    MrBanana 3 days ago

    No offense, but I almost feel offended that people give this 8/10... I mean, how could this type of story been made better? Everything is simply perfect, acting, music, story, writing.... its PERFECT!

  • Reply
    Debra 4 days ago

    LOVE this show! Miss you Ji Sung-please- another drama soon!

  • Reply
    MrBouBou 4 days ago

    I'll really miss this show

  • Reply
    Ragnhild 4 days ago

    Just watch the last episode, and i already miss it. :(

  • Reply
    ali 4 days ago

    The ending & other crime maybe season 2

  • Reply
    Andrew 4 days ago

    This show was fucking amazing


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Jan 23, 2017 to Mar 21, 2017
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    1 hr. 10 min.


  • Score:

    8.9 (scored by 1,084 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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