The drama tells the story of Ma Yi Deum (Jung Ryeo Won), a prosecutor who goes to extreme lengths to win her cases, and Yeo Jin Wook (Yoon Hyun Min), a former psychiatrist-turned-rookie prosecutor, who team up after getting assigned to a special unit that focuses specifically on sex crime cases. Keep reading to find out what we loved and what we didn’t love about the first two episodes!
Warning: spoilers ahead.
1. Loved: The refreshing antiheroine
Ma Yi Deum is not your average, innocent, easy-to-like K-drama female lead.
Which makes her super refreshing.
With a title like “Witch’s Court,” I knew she wasn’t going to be nice, but I had no idea that she would be an antiheroine. But while she can be devious and heartless to further her career, I love that she never packages herself into anything else for the sake of others.
What’s really great about her is her approach to life. Many female leads with sad pasts tend to act helpless or powerless in the face of their problems, but Ma Yi Deum responds to her hardships with confidence and grit.
She’s all about taking situations into her own hands regardless of the consequences, which is like a breath of fresh air.
2. Hated: The despicable superiors
Even with an antiheroine as the main lead, the show brings us some very easy targets to hate. From the get-go, we’re introduced to some powerful people in the legal world, and it is not pretty.
In the first episode, there’s Ma Yi Deum’s superior at work (Jun Bae Soo) and Jo Gap Soo (Jun Kwang Ryul), a man running for mayor. To the public, they appear to be decent and respectable, but in reality, they do some despicable things: causing rape victims to disappear, sexually assaulting a reporter then trying to cover it up, and more.
The former just appears dumb and disgusting…
but the latter is the one that really scares me.
Jun Kwang Ryul is a chilling and hateful villain. He’s a man with political influence and power whose real ambition goes far beyond mere selfish gain.
According to him, this is a basic rule when it comes to rape cases:
Pressing false-accusation charges on the victims he raped…terrifying.
I hate his ability to appear as a benevolent do-gooder when he’s really just a despicable and corrupt snake behind doors. He definitely seems to be the main antagonist, as he is also directly linked to Ma Yi Deum’s mother and her mysterious disappearance back in 1996. It’s going to be so good when real justice pulls through, because I’m already done with this man.
3. Loved: The compassionate prosecutor
Wow, Yoon Hyun Min is great in this role.
Beyond the fact that he looks so good in a suit, Yeo Jin Wook is a very easy character to like. He’s amiable and hardworking, he intentionally chooses to go to a unit regarding sex crime cases, and he’s compassionate with every victim he meets.
I love that he’s very insightful and observational but also empathetic; it’s more common to see these kinds of characters having colder personalities rather than emotionally intelligent and caring ones. It’s satisfying to see Yeo Jin Wook making keen observations without being judge-y and always thinking about what the victim needs the most. He’s the one viewers can count on to be that moral compass, the one we can trust to really take care of the victims.
Plus, his reactions of incredulousness are actually kind of funny because they probably reflect what most of the viewers are thinking whenever Ma Yi Deum does something unpredictable and unethical. It isn’t called “Witch’s Court” for nothing, but at least we’ve got one pillar of justice to balance it out!
4. Loved: When your partner is also your landlord
This moment adds a great dynamic to Ma Yi Deum and Yeo Jin Wook’s developing partnership. While the former wants to get out of the special unit for crimes agains women and children as soon as possible, the latter is passionate about these kinds of cases. When Ma Yi Deum finds out that Yeo Jin Wook is actually the owner of her apartment unit, it gives him some leverage to get her to work harder on their cases for the sake of the victims involved.
What’s even better is all the banter that comes with the new information regarding her living situation. Here’s to hoping he’ll be able to get her to care more about their cases now that he’s technically her landlord!
5. Hated: Frustrating court arguments
The second episode features the story of a young student who gets charged with raping his female college professor for not approving his thesis. As we learn more about the case, the drama reveals that the student’s actually gay, and that his boyfriend was on the phone while he was with the professor. When they listen to the recorded phone call, they realize that he is the victim, not the professor.
As the LGBT community still faces a lot of stigma in South Korea, the student asks the prosecutors not to reveal his sexual identity, even though the recorded phone call is clear evidence of his innocence, which they agree to do.
The court case starts with the prosecution arguing that the professor demanded sexual favors from the student in exchange for her passing his dissertation, while the defense argues that he was framing her for rape to get revenge. To support this revenge claim, Heo Yoon Kyung (Kim Min Seo), the defense attorney, exposes the student’s sexual identity to the court, showing text messages he had sent to his boyfriend — which were filled with hateful comments about the professor.
Wut the wut…
However, when Heo Yoon Kyung presents her argument, it’s frustrating: she claims that if he were a “normal,” straight man, he would have been able to physically stop her or would have enjoyed her advances; but since he’s gay, she claims that it is clear he does not like women and is framing his professor for rape for not passing his thesis.
It’s a messy, illogical argument — in so many ways — that’s even more ridiculous because she implies that his sexual orientation makes him “not normal.” It was frustrating and sad enough to see how much the young student had to face throughout the episode, but the lawyer’s baseless assumption that the student’s sexual orientation must mean he’s also a misogynist is exasperating.
6. Loved: Team dynamics
While the rest of the unit team has yet to be fully introduced, the show has revealed some quirks about each of the characters and their interactions with each other that make me excited for future episodes.
We’ve got Yeo Jin Wook trying desperately to keep track of Ma Yi Deum, Ma Yi Deum’s adorable friendship with her coworker Son Mi Young, quiet Goo Seok Chan who seems to do all the investigative dirty work, and their charismatic boss Min Ji Sook, who calmly watches over the whole team. And that’s just part of the team.
While these characters might not have a lot of dialogue just yet, their consistent appearance and presence is felt throughout the drama (particularly in the second episode). I’m hoping that as the story progresses, they’ll all learn to work and grow as a team.
It’s about to be a wild ride, especially working with this one.
Catch the first episode of “Witch’s Court” below: