Recently Premiered tvN Drama The Devil Judge Drops a Virtuoso Ending to Episode 4 as Audience Acclaim and Ratings Jump

Sorry for not writing about recently premiered tvN drama The Devil Judge (Demon Judge) until now. I am way more interested in this drama from Ji Sung than I was in his wifey and also my darling Lee Bo Young‘s Mine which preceded this because nothing turns me off faster than rich people family makjang. But I didn’t love episode 1, it was a lot of flair and being dropped into the middle of a world built and I wasn’t feeling anything after it. So I paused to see what the general verdict was going to be and that’s turned out to be a great decision because this weekend the drama went from hhhhhmmmm to ON FIRE AND LIT! Ratings started at 5.552% and stayed around there through episode 3 but today’s episode 4 went up to 6.294% and based on the audience reaction and general hullabaloo this drama could have just found its legs. And it’s all thanks to Ji Sung, his acting at the end of episode is apparently award winning stuff (see GIF below) and no surprise, he’s turning into one of the best actors of his generation ever since the incredible 7-personality turn in Kill Me, Heal Me and he’s never looked back since. Yet one cannot rest on laurels and his dramas since haven’t had the buzz but this drama starting from now could be that show which gets both ratings, critical love, and popular buzz. It’s wait and see but I can’t wait to catch up now.


Recently Premiered tvN Drama The Devil Judge Drops a Virtuoso Ending to Episode 4 as Audience Acclaim and Ratings Jump — 69 Comments

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  2. I disliked EP1 too. From the dystopian backdrop to the elite pulling strings behind the scenes to the Greek style temple court to the ridiculous papal-style robes of the judges, I found the whole thing silly, theatrical and somewhat pretentious. None of the acting performances or characters stood out. And Ji sung’s Yohan was your cliche villain/anti-hero with the maniacal Joker laugh and grandeur. I was going to drop it but after this new development, I’ll continue for now.

    • Funny you should mention Joker. I read online that Yohan was described as Batman who wants to be Joker and/or an evil Batman. And that the writer described the show as The Dark Knight + Hunger Games in a courtroom.

    • 1st epsiode was lackluster for me too. But I’m glad I stuck around, the plot and writing sure do seem to be steady and excellent imo. Well it IS dystopian so the writer can play around with what “reality” in that drama is, ep 1 was a bit too theatrical but I think they just wanted to start the drama with a BOOM.
      I’m enjoying it and can’t wait for ep 5 🙂

  3. So the drama started off with 5% and was stuck in that range till it managed to rise to 6% in EP4. Okay, now where are the soothsayers who gazed into their crystal balls and declared that this drama was going to start off with 8%-9% ratings and break 20%? Y’all are frauds. I want my money back. LOL.

    • Yeah tvn loses competition with tv chosun love marriage and divorce rating hit 11%!It will be broke 20% rating for sure.Ahjuma still love makjang drama they are getting bored with dark anti hero theme like vincenzo,mouse and taxi driver.

      • Then now that the competition is over, Devil Judge could rise up in ratings. Unless another makjang pops up to give it a run for its money.

  4. Ep 1 got me confused idk if I’m hgoing to like it or not but because of jisung I try to stay. Until ep kinda get the grip that this is anti hero kinda drama but then the end when yohan said people love this kind of stories makes me doubt him.

    • Ep 1 was a bit vague especially about the motives of Yohan. As of now (ep 4) the drama seems to be actually going in a good direction as we get to understand the characters.If you stopped at ep 1 I would recommend watching till ep 4 and then forming an opinion ! Cheers~

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  6. I’m not suprised by this success, Koreans love extravagant shows. Personally, I wasn’t convinced by the first episode.

  7. Ji Sung is one of the best actors . He may not have the popularity of a Hyun Bin or Gong Yoo but he should. The same goes for Jang Hyuk, Lee Jun Ki .Theses guys are aces .

  8. This drama is definitely to perform better than any of the rom-coms/fantasy/ whatever Song Kang which is available now

    • What is your obsession with Song Kang, anyway? And why are you always comparing him, an up and comer still wet behind the ears to actual veterans and legends???

      • Better to compare him to the other mediocre actors on his mediocre level. The Jang Ki Yongs, Cha Eun Woos, Taecs, Nam Joo Hyuks and so on.

  9. Why do fans are harsher in actresses than actors? I don’t see people criticizing Jin Young’s perfomance. The drama is showing his weaknesses as an actor. I think he isn’t ready yet for this kind of role. Not bashing him, just an observation.

    • Wow.. have u really watched? Hmmm I don’t think so. Jinyoung is really great in this drama! His acting is superb. I’m a kdrama fan since 2008. Jinyoung made me cry it means he did great in his acting. I know he’s an idol, for me he’s in the top 5 best idol actors WHO CAN REALLY ACT. Ohhh btw, he really gave justice in this given role. Need I say more?…

      • And a delusional fan pops up like fungus to dumbly defend her lacking oppa. ‘Have you really watched? I don’t think so.’ Right back at you. If his bland performance made you cry, then your tear ducts are leaky in the first place. Go get them checked ASAP.

      • No, his acting is really not nuanced and his expression of the way things unfolded before him is just the same. Yes, I have watched all four episodes and all of the actors are acting circles around him. He is the weakest so far in the drama.

    • @Mica

      Because the world is sexist and misogynist. Handsome oppa gets a pass for his terrible acting. But unnie is ripped to shreds. Never heard of that Jin-young person before this drama. But he’s not a good actor. His performance does absolutely nothing for me. He’s just there. And to that tear-prone fan, yes, I have really really really watched.

      • I am not his fan but I actually start to like him after watching this drama because he can perfectly potray a classic “hero’s love interest” this good as a man. I didn’t like how woman as love interest usually potrayed in action or superhero movie but after watching Ga-On I kind of understand why this kind of characters actually quite populer.

    • Huh? But his acting actually good for this “kind of role”. Gaon is perfect example of classic “female lead/love interest” of the hero, pure-hearted innocent fella with poor background, too nice for his own good, have this tendencies to do something dangerous or atract dangerous people, need to be saving time to time, easy to manipulated….what else? Oh yeah an eye candy that easy to bully by other strong characters. You know, to make this kind of character not annoying is already an achievement

      • ‘An achievement’ lol. If anything you just prove his/her point that viewers are misogynist bunch who judge female characters for things male characters will be let off with much lesser amount of criticism.

    • I will have to respectfully DISAGREE. I have not seen Jinyoung’s previous works but I do find his acting quite good in Devil Judge. Don’t stereotype this actor, he genuinely has potential. He’s not perfect (but 90% of the time he brings his character to life perfectly) but I would def say that he’s fckn good, or else he wouldn’t have landed a role opposite to Jisung (a legend himself).
      I’ve read non fans says he “acts with his eyes” and after ep 4 I agree. And according to Google this isn’t his first role as a male lead (he has acted in “He Is Psychometric” before)…. so I would say this seems to be a natural progression ?
      (Sorry if I come off as aggressive but I found myself enjoying this actor’s skills and so wanted to voice my thoughts)

  10. I’m loving The Devil Judge. The OTT parts are symbolic and the dystopian world not that unrealistic. Ji Sung is great, of course. I wouldn’t say this is his first drama since Kill Me, Heal Me that could get ratings, critical love and buzz. Defendant had them all, I think, finishing just shy of 30% in ratings. Not sure if Familiar wife had critical love or buzz but the ratings were pretty good.

    Nothing against Love Ft. Marriage & Divorce but IMO this is the much more ambitious and interesting drama.

    • Two totally different dramas, genres and subject matter. Why on earth would anyone compare them and deem one more interesting and ambitious than the other? It’s like comparing DoDoSolSol to Secret Forest or Signal.

  11. I can see why a commenter above mentioned this tvN drama is theatrical & pretentious. Turns out it’s produced by same companies that produced DAYS, Studio Dragon & Studio&NEW. Maybe helmed by same backstage crew. Only difference is the cast, writer & director. Lots of moolah to spend in terms of production sets, costumes, special effects, etc.

    • Studio Dragon produces 70% of the dramas on tvn and is creator for 100% of the dramas on tvn and ocn. CJ owns these channels so its is but obvious Studio Dragon will be working on every single drama airing on their channel. CJ is a conglomerate much like Samsung and they have deep pockets and an ever deeper network of producers, directors, writers and actors. They own all the big writers and directors including KES, PJE, NHK and KEH as well as the director of Goblin. They’ve delivered almost all the biggest hit dramas in recent times including CLOY since when has that ever made them pretentious? Studio Dragon is the one production house everyone wants to work with.

      • Re-reading the 1st comment where the commenter used the word “pretentious” if I’m not wrong (I could be), the word is used to refer the Greek temple style court setting & papal robe costumes of judges. She/he could possibly be referring to the mood of the drama that is pretentious, not necessarily referring to Studio Dragon being pretentious as a production company. That’s just my interpretation of her opinion of the drama.

  12. I can see why a commenter above mentioned this tvN drama is theatrical & pretentious. Turns out it’s produced by same companies that produced DAYS, Studio Dragon & Studio&NEW. Maybe helmed by same backstage crew. Only difference is the cast, writer & director. Lots of $$$ to spend in terms of production sets, costumes, special effects, etc.

  13. By all intents & purposes DJ should be an ideal tvN drama to be shown on Netflix. It remains to be seen whether it can surpass 10% or stuck in the 5-6% range like Mouse. Like someone said, once the ML is married & the drama is not romance based or makjang, it’s hard to hit over 20% coz the shipper/ajumma crowd are not there to carry it over the threshold. Lol.

    • @observer – the only thing preventing me from watching DJ is that it is not on Netflix. It is a pain to watch on Viki and they sub so slowly.

      • Agree @Ophelia. Plus Netflix is so easy to navigate & binge watch. I prefer the format & amount of titles available in Netflix any day over Viki or Viu.

      • Viki subtitles are way better than Netflix ones! They used the Korean words that can’t translated and are better for the subtleties of the language. They respect better that kind of drama too.

  14. Except for Defendant, none of Ji Sung’s dramas went over 20% range including his past public channel dramas. In fact, his most impressive drama in terms of acting 7 personalities KMHM was booted out of my country’s Netflix. I think N did so for k-dramas that are rated lowly amongst subscribers to make way for new ones. Exception was Radio Romance due to be kicked out but KSH’s fandom brought it back to life again. Very impressive work of her i-fans. The King of Netflix by far is Ji Chang Wook with 5 dramas none of them booted out yet. His 6th drama The Sound Of Magic is due to be added soon. So by right, JCW should be called Son Of Netflix instead of Song Kong. JCW Lol.

    • @reigh, you missed the N point. SK dramas are all N originals whereas JCW has only one drama billed as N original which is LITC but he has been earmarked by N to be promoted. His magic drama is also billed as N original. In terms of international popularity & productivity JCW is the Netflix k-drama king so far.

      • Yup, not even HB or LMH can rival JCW in terms of number of dramas in Netflix. Also coz the two acted in less dramas than workaholic JCW. Hate him or love him, you got give JCW credit for his productivity & international appeal. He’s smart enough to launch his own YT channel too.

      • Your beloved oppa hit 1% drama.Hb and lee min ho million better than him.Lol.

      • Someone feeling insecure. Here comes the oppa brigade to spice things up. Get ready for your popcorn, Popcorn. Lol.

    • I’m just happy all my 87 liners are booked this year & next. LMH’s Pachinko on Apple+, JCW’s Sound of Magic on Netflix & JIW’s Bossam rating success. Even SIG’s been offered the web novel role of Han Joon. Some shuddered over the choice of writer Park Hye Jin helming the drama. I also hope LSG’s dating controversy won’t affect his popularity for too long. He’s been laying low lately right after Mouse ended. July is truly the casting bombshell month.

  15. I lukewarm by this it’s like watching vincenzo kind of vibes but beyond evil wannabe dynamics between the two leads, but the acting is not onpar with Shin Ha Kyun and Yeo jin Go.

  16. Seoul and the surrounding areas are back in semi-lockdown. Logically this should translate to more domestic viewers stuck at home watching tv however but it failed to eventuate. Mon-Tue drama ratings are sluggish across all channels, public or cable. Devil Judge being a weekend drama should see its rating rise further when the writing gets better.

    • True but it hasn’t captured any international buzz yet. Neither did the Seo Hyun Jin Spring drama. I wonder if English subtitles in tvN YT channel is a reliable predictor of global popularity regardless of domestic ratings. It’s fascinating to analyse the behavioural trends of i-fans having worked in marketing firm before.

      • @observer

        It needs to be on Netflix to get that international buzz. My Running hypothesis is that nowadays, you need Netflix to have a Hallyu hit and to reach meaningful international audience.

        I do not get why Devil Judge isnt on Netflix and shows like Mine are. It’s prime Netflix fare. Even non-kdrama watchers would be tuning in for a dystopian show.

      • I think the kdrama subreddit activity over a show is a decent metric of its global popularity. Not a perfect measurement tool, but a good proxy

      • @LH, good to banter with you again. I had a long reply but got held up for vetting. It will show up later down below our comments or not. Lol.

  17. I finished the 4 episodes of The Devil Judge and Can’t wait to see the next one… so far…Ji Sung gave his best?
    I hope it will soon be aired at Netflix?

  18. I’ve always loved every drama he is in. This was no different. I enjoyed it from the start! Ji sung is got style .

  19. I think i’ve watched most of dramas Jinyoung has been in so I had high expectations with him but so far something’s lacking – Jisung has been dominating scenes whenever he’s on. Come to think of it but most of the characters aside from HIP has been related to first love so i guess as far as ep 4, he still hasn’t grip the role. But please give credit when due, I love the church scene he had with Jisung and that school bus incident. Overall, he is a very decent actor, worked his way through supporting roles first. And actually yes i’m a fan.

  20. @LH, glad you are back. You have some valid points. Regarding international buzz & Hallyu hit, Netflix certainly helps. The OTT platforms though seem to have changed the buzz factor process slowly but significantly. As an example, using this blog’s most polarising k-drama so far, it has seeped into weibo discussion sites despite Netflix not being in China. It was also massively pirated till it shows up in my rumble account. They do say imitation is best form of flattery. That’s why fake Rolex watches & bootleg K-drama DVDs are staples in Asian night markets. On the Western front, Sex/Life which is seriously bad can score a second season & being a hot topic of discussion worldwide, lol. The main actress let slip that Netflix calculated the number of viewers who finished watching the entire season one in the first 28 days. If it trended upwards to meet a certain target, it will get renewed for further seasons. It seems Netflix doesn’t care whether the writing/acting/quality is good, they only care about viewers numbers. I suppose the same algorithm applies to k-dramas hence some fans popping veins over the fact that their faves’ dramas are more popular but some are not. Netflix it seems favour numbers over quality.

    • @observer

      Good to have another exchange with you too! What is this blog’s most polarising kdrama? TKEM?

      I am not surprised that Netflix favors numbers over quality. I wouldn’t expect it any other way. Netflix is a FAANG company and all of those companies are heavily data-driven and make decisions based on metrics. “Quality” is too vague to be defined as metric, so the thinking may be that high viewership is the output of / a proxy for good acting/writing/quality, although we know this isn’t always the case.

      If a show is not bringing in viewers, it isn’t working, especially since subscriber retention and growth are two of the key metrics Netflix is fixated on. Their stock price has been dropping because their subscriber growth is underperforming.

      • @LH, yay. My reply did get approved. The most polarising drama this year is days. I didn’t mention it earlier to delay the name-calling crowd. it appears they migrated to another post. Lol. Other streaming sites whether Asian-viki, viu, tving, wavve, kakaotv app or Western-apple+, disney+ etc are making a significant dent on Netflix subscribers hence a K-drama may possibly not need Netflix to be a legit Hallyu hit in the near future. The streaming landscape is changing yet again. See you till the next exchange.

  21. I think Jisung is doing a really good job as the titular character and the extravagance of the show really adds to the whole commentary on how anything can be turned into entertainment if the public is engaged enough – even justice. Jinyoung has done a decent job too for the kind of role he’s been given – being the foil to the usually beloved anti-hero character isn’t an easy task and he manages to make his character likeable without being whiny and repetitive. I didn’t like his character in HIP in the early episodes but as the story progressed, so did the character development alongwith his acting so I have similar hopes from TDJ, we still have 12 more episodes to go so I’m not gonna be pretentious and dismiss everything just to sound edgy. I’m at an age that I don’t need ratings and internet reviews to tell me what I can and cannot like. Some of the most beautiful cinnetaic gems have remained hidden due to lack of hype and immature opinions of the few who who watched them, only to be acknowledged later. I’m not comparing this show to them as there are many more episodes left but I’m going to wait with an open mind. I’ve probably seen it all when it comes to dramas and films, from the best to the worst, The Devil Judge so far has been on my good side and I hope it remains so. I don’t care about the ratings, I can make my own opinion.

  22. The drama is so far good,given that the nature of dystopian set can be dragging or makjang, but never encountered anything of such sort yet and it’s too premature to say that certain scenes and set up are for eye candy or unnecessary because the drama had just been premeired last week. Jisung had done a wonderful job in playing the mysterious Judge with rather twisted intentions. Minjung’s character just started to unfold more from episode 4. Given their characters meant to be little light hearted compared to others jinyoung and gyuyoung have done a decent job. Jinyoung’s acting in the whole church sequence with jisung was good. Given the great cinematography, plot and the charaters, drama deserves more recognition. It’s too immature to fight over ratings when both the dramas are of different genres and targeted towards different set of audience.

  23. I’m not a big fan of kdrama but my friends has recommended this drama to me and I’m watching the series …..let me say I don’t really feel like it as a typical kdrama it has an amazing cinematic level plot and through this series they’re showing those greedy and power of rich people and their nasty works for money and someone needs to destroy their rich world for rest of the normal people…for that someone need to take a negative shade to destroy those rich people, showing justice can also be twisted with money and power..and half of the things are happening in our present world what I thought,I don’t know much about the actors but they really fit for the roles and handling the roles very well and both the male leads have a good chemistry and showing their emotions really well…. I like the plot it’s has so many mysteries…this series is a good selection for those who love thriller and mystry,I’m still eagerly waiting for the rest of the ep and I have high expectations for rest of the ep

  24. I didn’t really have big expectations for this drama because I wasn’t familiar with the cast but still decided to give it a chance. Actually, I was surprised. Having watched only the first episode, I can say that all actors did great job. The plot is very exciting and it makes you want to continue watching the drama. The cinematography is top notch and OSTs are very nice. I will definitely keep watching The Devil Judge.

  25. I’ve seen some comments really judging Jinyoung’s acting. And I would like to direct you all the ep 4 especially *SPOILER* the scene when he plays a character caught in the fire *SPOILER*

    He brought that scene to life ! His array of emotions was so flawless and it made me emotional (a rarity in itself)
    I haven’t seen any of his earlier works (tbh I didn’t even know of him until When My Love Blooms) but he seems to be doing a good job in this role. Calm down peeps, if you really want to judge a male actor I would direct you to CEW.

    Peace out

  26. Yes!
    I had never saw a dorama or corean serie. But this I followed by #Jinyoung of #Got7 and the incredible acting of #Ji Sung and the other members plus soundtrack, photograpy, edition and history make it a great show! Impossible left…

  27. I honestly dont mind shows being extravagant dramatic ambitious or pretentious as some commenters have said. I mean we have makjang shows we have penthouse too, and this is supposed to be in some dystopia, the writer has more freedom to build the reality of this world as they like. I also dont mind that jisung’s character was like joker or something that one commenter said, I think he has the perfect character needed for someone who is supposed to carry a trial on national media, he needs all those theatrics to stand out and be the most authoritative figure in the trials. I also read the criticisms about jinyoung, but I dont really see the problem if he is not, say, as intense of a character as kim yohan, it’s precisely as yohan said, for now he is supposed to be portrayed as his accessory, he is to balance the dramatic yohan who has this ambuguous motives. He is there to question and challenge yohan’s ways of doing thing and his ideas. I’m also interested in the elites who set up the controversial courts and pick yohan, when some of them are either in awe of his persona/talents, and some look wary right from the start. I dont know what to rate yet about this drama, but I’ll stick around to see what happens next.

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