Defendant

Defendant (2017)

8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 2,609 users
Reviews: 17 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.
(Source: Wikipedia)

  • Native title:

    피고인
  • Also Known as:

    Pigoin;

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Charming92
32 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 21, 2017
  • 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!

Story
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!

Acting
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.

Recommend/Rewatch.
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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DreamingKoreanBallad
23 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 21, 2017
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
This is the truest example of how a drama should start, develop and end. *Drama writers/directors take note* - this drama was pure BRILLIANT!!! From the story, to the acting, even to the music! *I love you baby* ;) Haha, A very enjoyable drama that never made me loose interest not even for a split second - not even during the days in between waiting for a new episode to air. Every read more week I was anticipating this drama, I couldn't get enough of it, I even wanted to watch every episode over again after I saw it (I had to really hold myself back from doing that - and I've never had that problem before b/c I never desired to watch an episode I had just watched over again right away lol) - you can bet I'm going to marathon this drama once again starting tomorrow from start to finish! Yes, it's simply that good! Hey, it even made it into my top 5!

Story: It's about a man who is sentenced to death for killing his wife and daughter and his desperate attempt to prove himself innocent. When your life takes an turn from a revered prosecutor with a loving family to a death row inmate who murdered his family - you know something big is in store.

Cast/Characters: Ji Sung as Park Jeong Woo - I can't praise his role and acting in this drama enough. He really outdid himself in this and I'm so very proud of him, I can't imagine any other actor in this role - it was simply perfect for him! In my eyes this was his greatest work yet and it showcased his best acting abilities yet! I loved his character and his determination to prove himself innocent. You could see every single emotion flash across his face. Brilliant acting.
Uhm Ki Joon as Cha Min Ho - you can't really get a better actor to play the villain role in a drama, I've seen him play many villain roles and this one is my favorite. A great actor for sure! He and Ji Sung were perfect acting partners - and they had great acting chemistry (heck, the entire cast had great chemistry). I love villains who are pure villain - they make you love to hate them. (if that sounds right - a pure villain with no heart one can only loathe but a villain who does have some heart - makes you hate them but in a way care more about their character - even though you can't wait to see them pay for their crimes). I would love to see these two in another drama together again.
Shin Rin Ah as Ha Yeon (Jeong Woo's daughter) this child is brilliant in her acting - she will make you cry, she's so good. She's a natural.
Kim Min Suk as Seong Kyu one of my favorite supporting characters in this drama, I loved the time we had with him in this.
Jo Jae Yun as Cheol Shik - the best side-kick one could ever wish for! I love this actor in every drama I see him in (however I do much prefer him to be our good guy so I can adore him fully!) He always makes me laugh in the dramas he's in - he's like your comedy relief from all the suspense lol and his bromance with Ji Sung in this is so nice! I sometimes wish he was in every drama I watched lol
All of Jeong Woo's cell mates deserve to be mentioned: Moong Chi (Oh Dae Hwan), Rockfish (Jo Jae Ryong), Bundle (Woo Hyun), & Bang Jang (Yun Yeong Hyun). Attorney Seo Eun Hye was wonderful in her role, as was Seok (Min Ho's henchman) in his role. So many actors and they are all so good! More mentions: Tae Soo (Kang Sung Min), Jun Hyuk (Oh Chang Seok), Prosecutor Go Dong Yoon (Lee Shin Sung), & Prosecutor Choi Tae Hong (Park Ho San) I really liked him - such a good mentor and head prosecutor ^^

Music: "I Love You Baby" will have a whole new meaning to you after watching this drama and you'll always be reminded of Cheol Shik whenever you hear this song ^_^ I love how they incorporated this classic hit song into this drama ^^

Re-watch value: 10/10 - You know I'll re-watch this one and right away too! I can't get enough of it, so I have to see it all over again from start to finish - not missing a single second (there will be Zero skip-watching folks). ;)

I HIGHLY recommend this to EVERYONE! It's the best drama of the year so far! Heck, it's the best drama I've seen in a long time - sure others have been good or even really great to excellent but none of them top this one in terms of enjoyment and brilliant story writing and acting! This is a true GEM - a Masterpiece if I ever saw one!
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Make a Recommendation More recs (8)Recommendations

On Lookout we have a prosecutor and a police officer, on Defendant a prosecutor as main characters. In both dramas one of the leads will have to leave their position (but for different reasons). They both are trying to seek for justice for their families, both of them lost a loved one. In both dramas they dont trust the police and the justice system. Also shows a lot of corrupted politicians.
Recommended by userbmc
Both dramas deal about prosecutors, family murder and in both dramas the main leads try to find out what truly happened that lead them to be in the current situation.
Recommended by zuojenn

Comments (753)

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  • Reply
    Marina Apr 30, 2017 - edited

    Is there any romance in this drama?

    • Reply
      imhakunamatata0 May 1, 2017

      None but this drama is definitely a must watch. Coulnt believe it myself that i watched a drama with zero romance in it.

    • Reply
      Marina May 1, 2017

      Thanks!! I'm really curious about this drama, i'll watch it for sure!

    • Reply
      MarjieJoseJavier May 5, 2017

      Not much, but the fatherly love is more than enough to keep you watching. :)

  • Reply
    TheraTD Apr 28, 2017

    This drama is missing a "makjang" genre tag!!!!

  • Reply
    Ivana Apr 27, 2017 - edited

    The best drama of the year!!!!!! 10/10 Its one of a kind. Those that gave it less than 10.., must reallllllyyyyy young. Lets be honest a lot of teens love twilight based or cheese dramas :(

    • Reply
      Jemerald523 Jun 4, 2017

      I only give this 9.5.. Because my eyes still hurt after crying so much from this drama..
      Agree to be the BEST DRAMA of 2017.

      Ji Sung deserves Best Actor/ Daesang Award from this.

  • Reply
    plumpy Apr 23, 2017

    Wow... Amazing!!! Just marathoned this whole drama last night wow it was fantastic.

  • Reply
    Targa Apr 23, 2017 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Liang-Ying Apr 27, 2017

      You are not alone lolz. I'm with you on this.

    • Reply
      Jemerald523 Jun 4, 2017

      This is called drama because of all the things you have mentioned. It is expected to be not 100% realistic.

  • Reply
    Megan Apr 20, 2017

    petition for jisung to get an oscar

  • Reply
    Megan Apr 20, 2017

    best drama i've watched in a while, IM OBSESSED

  • Reply
    InvalidUser Apr 16, 2017 - edited

    ps. I think the music for this drama is perfect I like that action-thrilling music, it just made me feel so complete :DDD

    • Reply
      Narco Apr 19, 2017

      Yup, one of rare shows where their sound producer did a great job. Script can be for oscar but if they sound and production fails, whole movie/show fails too. Great 18 hours

    • Reply
      InvalidUser Apr 19, 2017

      Ikr, however is seems some people have a problem with the sound/music. But truly an great drama and amazing action and actors

  • Reply
    InvalidUser Apr 16, 2017

    everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course but idk why people are pooping allover this drama, I personally enjoyed it a lot , even though I guessed the plot twist with the whole false accusations about jeongwoo from Minho, I enjoyed it a lot, even addicted to this drama every week I counted the days for the next ep to come out. And I say this because I find it hard to be pleased by dramas and this one really stood out for me :)

  • Reply
    InvalidUser Apr 16, 2017 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Jemerald523 Jun 4, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      InvalidUser Jun 6, 2017

      true that~ :)

  • Reply
    Keren Apr 14, 2017 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Dana1004 Apr 14, 2017

    AMAZING CRIME DRAMA!
    I just marathoned it and i'm shocked that the plot pulled me in so fast.
    I don't usually watch dramas without romance and I often drop crime dramas since they get boring BUT this drama is exception! The plot was made so amazingly that almost every episode ends with such cliffhanger or plot-twist that u just crave to watch another episode, until you find youself marathoning it.
    Every character had it's own storyline which was amazing as everything made it seem so real. I actually cried,laughed and experienced every emotion with characters.
    Truly unforgettable drama.

  • Reply
    Sami Apr 14, 2017 - edited

    is there any romance ??

  • Reply
    Hessa Apr 13, 2017 - edited

    For some reason, I find the villain's character really weak and I'm not convinced that he is a crazy psycho. Uhm Ki Joon did a good job playing the role, but the actual role/character was written badly.
    Even now, I'm struggling to finish the 3 last episodes.

    • Reply
      Dana1004 Apr 14, 2017

      Wow....u really mean it?
      I mean ALL of murderers are weak mentally but what Cha Min Ho did was horrible act as a human being.

    • Reply
      Hessa Apr 14, 2017 - edited

      I don't mean weak mentally. I just don't know how to describe it. I just find how the character was written is weak. I don't know why he started to kill and I feel like the writer is trying to make him a psychopath and it is not convincing.

    • Reply
      Dana1004 Apr 14, 2017

      From his childhood he harbored hatred towards his family mostly at his father. But he stayed quiet cause he had love of his life but once it was taken from him, he simply went on loose. He lost his morals and the only thing that lead him through life were his emotions. He never acted rationally but rather emotionally. At first murder he actually felt guilty and a lot...he thought ''should i save him or not'' but after u can see huge change. He became heartless and only revenge and fear was on his mind. Dispose everyone who knew the truth.

    • Reply
      Hessa Apr 15, 2017 - edited
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Meli Apr 13, 2017 - edited

    is this good drama ? like secret starting by ji sung too ???

    • Reply
      Meli Apr 15, 2017

      i start watch whisper, it's about prosecutor and such too, will this be more interesting ? ...

    • Reply
      Iffah Apr 15, 2017

      in my opinion, this is waaaaay better than whisper, however, I did drop whisper, so i've only watched a few episodes of it :)

    • Reply
      Meli Apr 16, 2017

      okay, then let me just watch this show? anyway is there like romance in here? i know the whisper will come out as romance one ahahaha

    • Reply
      Iffah Apr 16, 2017

      Yeah, continue watching it if you want! :) And nope, there's no romance in this one

    • Reply
      Jemerald523 Jun 4, 2017

      Both love Secret and Defendant. But I think this is better but with no romance.

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    18
  • Aired:

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

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

    SBS
  • Duration:

    1 hr. 10 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.9 (scored by 2,609 users)
  • Ranked:

    #17
  • Popularity:

    #257

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