‘Defendant’ Almost Breaks 30 Percent Ratings Closing In On SBS K-Drama Finale

Since it started airing back in January earlier this year, the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) K-drama Defendant has dominated Korean television ratings. Also known as Innocent Defender, the melodramatic thriller starring Ji Sung (Kill Me, Heal Me and Entertainer) and Yuri of So Nyeo Shi Dae (SNSD) better known as Girls’ Generation (Neighborhood Hero and Gogh, The Starry Night), it has kept K-drama fans on the edge of their seats with a dramatic story that has numerous revelations and twists. As a matter of fact, Defendant — along with Voice by the Orion Cinema Network (OCN) — initiated the trend change from light-hearted romcoms to melodramatic thrillers.

Now, Defendant K-drama fans are holding on with baited breath as the penultimate and final episodes are set to air this coming week. We will finally see what happens to Park Jung Woo (Ji Sung), Seo Eun Hye (Yuri), and Cha Min Ho (Um Ki Joon). For SBS, they’ll see if extending the K-drama by two more episodes was what was needed for Defendant to break the 30 percent rating ceiling.

'Defendant' K-drama airing on SBS
'Defendant' is currently the most popular K-drama airing on Korean public television for the first season of K-dramas for 2017. [Image by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)]

K-drama fans of Defendant have to look at the viewership ratings for the 15th and 16th episodes, which were originally the last two episodes until SBS extended it by two more episodes, to see just how close the K-drama got to 30 percent in the viewership. In the 15th episode, AGB Nielsen Korea recorded its highest viewership ratings earning 25.6 percent for the nation and 27.1 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area. In the 16th episode, it was TNmS Media Korea that recorded its highest viewership ratings earning 21.3 percent for the nation and 24.6 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area. It is evident if Defendant is to break the 30 percent viewership rating ceiling, it will do so with AGB Nielsen Korea.

Park Jung Woo and Seong Kyu arguing in 'Defendant'
Park Jung Woo (Ji Sung) finds out that Seong Kyu (Kim Min Suk) is linked to the disappearance of his daughter. [Image by the Seoul Broadcasting System/Screen Capture of Episode 8]

For those following Defendant diligently, with each week releasing two more episodes, we know that the plot has thickened dramatically since the end of episode seven. [WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! Skip To Last Paragraph To Avoid!]

Near the end of that episode, Park Jung Woo was about to commit suicide in his jail cell by hanging. However, he was stopped by Seong Kyu (Kim Min Suk) when he revealed himself to be the one who “killed his daughter.” Jung Woo did not believe him until Seong Kyu started to sing the nursery song his daughter sang on her way to school. Eventually, Seong Kyu got out of prison leaving Jung Woo with even more questions he needs answered.

Ultimately, the hyung/dongsaeng relationship formed in prison between Park Jung Woo and Seong Kyu proved to be too strong as Seong Kyu turned himself in to help Jung Woo. Unfortunately, he was killed by Chae Min Ho.

Will Park Jung Woo be able to prove his innocence and reveal the truth behind the murder of his family? We will find out in the penultimate and final episode of Defendant which airs on Monday and Tuesday, March 20 and 21 respectively, at 10 p.m. KST on SBS. For those who do not have access to Korean public television channels, the K-drama can be viewed on Viki and OnDemandKorea, depending on region availability.

[Featured Image by the Seoul Broadcasting System]