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Series / The Devil Judge

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Yo-han: [After Ga-on witnesses wealthy people bask in their corruption] Are you disappointed in the sight of the real world?
Ga-on: It's the real side of the rich.
Yo-han: Do you think the poor are any different? Human beings are equal. In front of greed.

The Devil Judge (악마판사, Angmapansa) is a 2021 South Korean series starring Ji Sung, Kim Min-jung, Park Jin-young and Park Gyu-young. A webtoon adaptation is in the works.

In a dystopian version of South Korea, the courts have become something like a reality show. Kang Yo-han and Kim Ga-on are judges, Jang Sun-ah is Yo-han's greatest rival, and Yoon Soo-hyun is a detective determined to discover the secret Yo-han's hiding.

The series can be watched on Viki with English subtitles.

Contains examples of:

  • Awful Truth: Elijah accidentally started the fire that killed her parents. Yo-han hides the truth from her for years and doesn't react well when Sun-ah reveals it to everyone.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Yo-han also grabs the knife when Ga-on tries to stab him.
  • Blatant Lies: Ga-on tells Soo-hyun he was safe and far away from the terror attack on the Supreme Court. Actually, he was there when it happened and he jumped in front of the bus to protect a child.
  • Bread and Circuses: The whole point of the televised trials is for them to become the "circuses" part. Seoul in the series is an incredibly grim place with people desperately looking for work, riots breaking out, and police everywhere, so the trials become a reality show to distract the people.
  • Car Fu: A man tries to drive a bus into the Supreme Court as revenge because an arrest warrant wasn't issued against a corrupt businessman. He nearly runs over Ga-on and a young girl before Yo-han shoots at him and causes the bus to overturn.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Joo Il-do's company is responsible for at least eleven deaths and many serious injuries, and the only thing he's worried about is how to avoid punishment.
  • Death of a Child: A three-year-old is one of the victims of the Ju Chemical Factory disaster.
  • Dirty Old Man: Chairman Seo (of the Social Responsibility Foundation) is caught touching a trembling waitress inappropriately by Sun-ah. She intervenes before it escalates any further and then takes him to an office so she can punch him in the face, berate him severely for his indecency, and slap him repeatedly.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Ga-on's father killed himself after his money was stolen by a con artist.
    • K's father killed himself after being framed.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Young-min does this deliberately. He drives toward random bystanders and pretends he's about to run them down, nearly kills an old man who can't get out of his way, and he zooms around the city at terrifying speeds.
  • Dystopia: The series is set in an alternate universe where South Korea has become one. People live in daily chaos and society has collapsed to the extent that people voice their hatred of their leaders openly.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: A bus overturns, catches fire, and explodes minutes later.
  • Human Resources: All the hapless people imprisoned in the Dream Home Medical Centre. When they're alive they're experimented on, and when they're dead their bodies are cut up and sold.
  • Idealist vs. Pragmatist: Ga-on is an idealist who believes in lawful justice through constitutional means and trusts the system even if people hate it. On the contrary, Yo-han is a pragmatist who's willing to take advantage of people's vulnerabilities and has been manipulating all his trials to benefit him. He believes that all people are equal in regards to greed and even calls Ga-on naïve. However, Ga-on's ideals get challenged progressively as he discovers the real face of corrupt people and the show shatters his faith in the almighty system he defends.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Dr. Yu tells the court that the water is safe to drink. When he's finished Yo-han offers him a glass of water, then tricks him into thinking it's the same water he just said is safe. Dr. Yu immediately does a Spit Take, and the audience in the court begins to wonder if he was telling the truth.
  • Jerkass:
    • Young-min thinks almost killing terrified pedestrians is hilarious.
    • A firefighter sees Yo-han and Elijah survive the fire. Instead of helping them he steals Isaac's watch and leaves them still trapped in the church.
    • Young-choon conned hundreds of people, including Ga-on's parents, out of their money and got away with it for years. When Ga-on and Yo-han track him down they find he hasn't changed at all and is willing to leave his wife and daughter in a burning house while he tries to save his money.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Young-choon gets away with his crimes for years. Then Ga-on and Yo-han find him and take his money while revealing his true character to his family.
  • Laughing Mad: Young-choon bursts out laughing when he realises Yo-han replaced his money with blank pieces of paper.
  • Literary Allusion Title:
  • Longer-Than-Life Sentence: Yo-han sentences Joo Il-do to 235 years.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Soo-hyun hears a gunshot and barges into the room to find Yo-han and Ga-on standing over Minister Cha's corpse. She jumps to the obvious conclusion, unaware Minister Cha shot herself and the other two were simply the first to arrive on the scene.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • Ga-on walks in on Yo-han strangling Sun-ah. Naturally, he freaks out, unaware that Sun-ah just threatened Yo-han (not to mention kidnapping and forcibly kissing him earlier).
    • Soo-hyun finds Yo-han and Ga-on next to Minister Cha's corpse. She assumes one of them killed her. Actually Minister Cha committed suicide.
  • Out-Gambitted: Sun-ah manipulates Ga-on into getting Yo-han arrested. But Yo-han guessed something like this would happen and already made plans to deal with it. He made sure he had blackmail material on the prison warden and used it to get out of prison.
  • Playing with Syringes: The purpose of the Dream Home Medical Centre. The government uses a non-existent virus as an excuse to drag people away to the medical centre, then experiment on them.
  • Pose of Supplication: Chairman Seo sits like this in front of the cruel Sun-ah who demands he repent for inappropriately touching a woman's thigh. He does so and goes to the extent of hitting his head on the ground and asking her to kill him for his sin.
  • * Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The Christian Kang family, to which Yo-han was adopted into, has children and grandchildren named after characters in the Bible: would-be heir Isaac, his daughter Elijah, and his half-brother Yo-han (John or Johann, romanized in Korean). Both Isaac and Yo-han were born from the same mother, so perhaps this is intentional.
  • Romantic Ribbing: Soo-hyun, who's in love with Ga-on, teasingly proposes to him then follows up with a "just kidding, you punk."
  • Sarcastic Confession: Yo-han asks if Dr. Yu is drinking contaminated water, then pretends he made a mistake. Turns out the water really was contaminated and Yo-han knew it.
  • Serious Business: Elijah and Yo-han turn a game of Jenga into a two-hour-long competition.
  • ShoutOut: Episode nine's title is called "Batman and Robin", referring to the similar relationship Yo-han and Ga-on have.
  • Sibling Murder: Ga-on suspects Yo-han murdered Isaac. Subverted, since it turns out Yo-han wasn't responsible.
  • Skewed Priorities: Young-choon is much more upset about what he thinks is his money being burnt than the fact his wife and daughter are trapped in a burning house.
  • Skyward Scream: Ga-on does this after learning Young-choon escaped prison thanks to the corrupt system.
  • Title Drop Chapter: The final episode is entitled "The Devil Judge?"