Defendant (2017)

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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.
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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!

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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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
    MrBanana Mar 20, 2017


  • Reply
    InvalidUser Mar 20, 2017

    i was saving ep 16 for later since last week under the impression it was the last ep. Today I found out the drama is 18 episodes. My life is complete, I am happy :D:)

  • Reply
    RejaulHoque Mar 19, 2017 - edited

    after watching 9 eps i really dont understand the hype behind it. it feels like a 100 word short story turned into 500 word essay. the only impressive thing is Ji Sung acting. sometimes it feels like prison break and sometimes it feels like a tale of two cities

    • Reply
      TeleriFerchNyfain Mar 21, 2017

      I do believe you need to do a bit better to explain your position if you want anyone to understand or agree with you. This show is well worth the hype. I've not seen one so taut & suspenseful with totally logical progression since 2 Weeks. Every episode has lots packed into it, without losing it's veracity or inner rationale. Your dislike seems to stem from your own inability to follow a multi-faceted drama, not any fault of the writers. If you hate complicated dramas (although this really doesn't compare to some I've seen - like Secret or Signal - for plot twists) then fine. But that's just your own taste.

    • Reply
      RejaulHoque Mar 21, 2017 - edited

      See before you went on this rant of yours, you should have read what i wrote properly. I didnt say this was a bad drama or a complicated one infact that it was more simple than they were making it to be. Before hating on someone its better to understand what that person is saying.

    • Reply
      TeleriFerchNyfain Mar 21, 2017

      You said it was complicated, not me. Perhaps complicated isn't what you meant - possibly multi-focused. I stand by my critique, however. BTW, such criticism of a random opinion where nothing was presented to support your statements is hardly a 'rant' nor 'hate'. I'm used to doing reviews and critiques, also to grading such things from students. I'm certainly not hating on you - I'm pointing out that you show nothing in either of your posts to support your position. Ad hominem arguments do not help.

    • Reply
      yaaah666 Mar 23, 2017


  • Reply
    Brook Mar 19, 2017 - edited

    THIS! i will DEFINITELY watch this, i got high expectations, seeing all the positive reviews :D!

    • Reply
      0hellgirl0 Mar 21, 2017

      what are you waiting for it's over T.T

    • Reply
      Brook Mar 26, 2017 - edited

      well. it's not exactly bad that it is over (actually, it's GOOD, because i hate to wait for new episodes) ;) i will watch it but NOT KNOW, i'll save it for later, since i am watching multiple shows already (not only asian dramas)... but thanks for notifiyng me!

  • Reply
    mrwyoo Mar 19, 2017 - edited

    don't know if I want to watch it. the summary is pretty weak and it sounds like every ep will drag on slooooowly. I just finished Voice, maybe I should watch another genre and then come back. if watching the same genre in a row, things become really predictable.

    • Reply
      TeleriFerchNyfain Mar 21, 2017

      Hardly accurate. This drama definitely does not drag at all. Although I agree, watching too much in one genre can get overwhelming.

    • Reply
      0hellgirl0 Mar 21, 2017

      this is better than voice <.<

  • Reply
    Kaytoo Mar 18, 2017 - edited

    Cha Min Ho the great villain of the year!

    • Reply
      Hessa Mar 18, 2017

      The villain in Voice was good too.

    • Reply
      Kaytoo Mar 20, 2017

      I am not watching Voice yet. Is it really good?

    • Reply
      Hessa Mar 20, 2017

      At first, it was very episodic that I was bored. But after showing the villain, it got so much better.

  • Reply
    Chuu Mar 18, 2017 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      TeleriFerchNyfain Mar 21, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Chuu Mar 25, 2017 - edited

      Do YOU realize that I wrote that comment BEFORE episode 17 aired? How was I supposed to know? I just wrote what I think would happened and that it would end in a cliche manner or have a cliche ending.

  • Reply
    Panda Mar 17, 2017 - edited

    this guy randomly got rich in 2 dramas now. im proud
    shopping king louie

    • Reply
      Kaytoo Mar 18, 2017

      When I see him in this drama I thought it will gonna be a comedy. If you watch the new movie of Jo In Sung "The King" he also have a rich guy role there.

  • Reply
    tamago Mar 16, 2017
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    ayowaddupkrease Mar 16, 2017

    when i first heard they were adding 2 eps i was sceptical, but now that 16 eps are out i cant say the same. i dont think ep 15 & 16 dragged at all, and seeing how much plot is left to reveal, the last two eps probably wont drag either

  • Reply
    ali Mar 16, 2017

    That 2 episode Extension was good cause the side charcters Sequel is Specified

  • Reply
    SuperDrama101ohyea Mar 16, 2017 - edited

    I have seen Ji Sung in Kill Me Heal Me and he was amazing in that show and sometimes funny, are any of these shows of Ji Sung is in good and worth watching? I have not seen any of them?
    - Secret
    - Entertainer
    - Protect the Boss
    - Swallow the Sun
    - Save the Last Dance for Me

    • Reply
      Lourdes Mar 16, 2017

      The best one is Secret. The plot is very good. You'll enjoy it.

    • Reply
      SuperDrama101ohyea Mar 16, 2017

      LOL, looks like it

    • Reply
      Mary28 Mar 16, 2017

      I loved secret, but I also watched protect the boss a long time ago and it was so fun to watch.

    • Reply
      Jaylan Mar 20, 2017

      protect the boss will disappoint u
      as usual at the second half of the drama it got bored & the love triangle doesn't make sense to me
      the plot wasn't that good

  • Reply
    SaraXD Mar 15, 2017

    I love the side characters and how they bring lightness to the bundle of misery hahaha

  • Reply
    namopanik Mar 15, 2017 - edited

    (Wait, shouldn't it be already over? I guess it got extension.)
    Could someone tell me how was Kwon Yuri part? Did she have lot of screentime/importance? Was she bearable?

    • Reply
      Panda Mar 15, 2017

      She is okay
      But she feels to fall short in compare to all the cast. Including the 6 yearold actress

    • Reply
      namopanik Mar 15, 2017

      Lol. Kids these days are plain vicious.

  • Reply
    Jinsoo Mar 15, 2017 - edited

    I wish Jeong Woo would stop confronting Min Ho in the middle of his investigation. That would make catching him so much easier. Also, letting his intentions be known to his target is just dumb.


  • 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 2,609 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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