The South Korean crime drama show ‘The Devil Judge’ follows a crime-fighting duo as they try to restore justice in the dystopian city of Seoul controlled by a corrupt government. Judge Kang Yo-han, renowned as the most ruthless judge in history, heads the city’s newest judicial reform, Live Court Show, where the citizens have the ability to vote on the final verdict for trials. However, his unconventional way of bringing justice instills doubt in his co-worker, Kim Ga-on. As the pair team up to take on the city’s most corrupt, its top businesspeople and politicians, Yo-han faces off against Jung Sun-a, an unexpected nemesis from his past.
In the show, Yoon Soo-hyun, a police officer and Ga-on’s lifelong friend is a significant player in the narrative. Devoted to the untampered truth, Soo-hyun showcases a bright-eyed conscience of justice and ultimately pays an unfair price for it. Her untimely death in Episode 13 pushes Ga-on to extreme measure as he tries to catch the culprit. So, who exactly is responsible for Soo-hyun’s death? Let’s find out! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Who Killed Soo-hyun?
Soo-hyun’s death occupies a gravely important space within the narrative. Soo-hyun has been a close friend of protagonist Ga-on since childhood, and the two have been there for each other through several pains in life. After Ga-on’s parents’ death during his high school years, Soo-hyun soon became Ga-on’s last pillar of support alongside his law professor, Min Jung-Ho.
As such, their friendship marks the single most important thing to Ga-on to the point where he actively suppresses his feelings for Soo-hyun for fear of losing her. The fact that Soo-hyun’s inability to do the same doesn’t cause any awkwardness between them despite her countless love confessions is a testament to their bond. Still, near the end, Ga-on confesses his love for Soo-hyun, and the couple starts their tentative relationship together.
Therefore, when Soo-hyun meets her end the next day, her death is that much more cruel. At this point in the story, President Heo has gotten desperate for control, leading to fake news about the virus’ return and inhumane treatment of the people living in the slums of Hyeongsan-dong. While Ga-on works with Yo-han and Jin-Joo to expose the same, So-hyun continues her investigation into Yo-han’s past, particularly the traumatic Cathederal Fire incident that killed his brother.
After Soo-hyun witnesses Ga-on’s stand against the government as it broadcasts across the city, she starts worrying about his well-being and arrives at Hyeongsan-dong, where she’s shot in front of Ga-on by a bystander. Afterward, Yo-han tries to comfort Ga-on in his monumental grief, since he’s well-versed in the same and tells him Soo-hyun was likely killed by one of their adversaries with a bullet meant for one of them.
However, Ga-on’s mentor, Jung-Ho, instills a different theory in his mind. While Jung-Ho’s dislike for Yo-han has always been apparent, he takes it up a notch by implying that Yo-han got Soo-hyun killed to manipulate Ga-on into dedicating himself to Yo-han’s cause. Furthermore, Ga-on had recently had a fight with Yo-han concerning Soo-hyun’s role in his life, which backs up Jung-ho’s theory even more.
Since Soo-hyun was looking into Yo-han’s past moments before her death, Jung-ho also believes she may have found something incriminating about Yo-han, provoking the morally ambiguous judge to move against her. Therefore, when Ga-on finds evidence connecting Yo-han to the man who shot Soo-hyun, he immediately jumps to conclusions and becomes instrumental in Yo-han’s arrest.
Nevertheless, soon after Yo-han’s arrest, Ga-on learns the actual truth about Soo-hyun’s death and realizes he’s been played by Chairwoman Sun-a, the most powerful woman in town with a vendetta against Yo-han. After Yo-han’s arrest, Sun-a reveals her men had killed Soo-hyun to implant seeds of doubt between Ga-on and Yo-han to destroy the latter man. Worse yet, Jung-ho, the man who was like a father to Ga-on and Soo-hyun, was involved in the scheme all along.
Although Jung-ho is unaware of the plan to kill Soo-hyun beforehand, he makes peace with it in no time. Even though Jung-Ho paints Yo-han as a devil because of his unlawful means, he fails to see his own hypocrisy. Ultimately, he uses his close connection to Ga-on to manipulate him against Yo-han, utilizing Soo-hyun’s death as nothing more than a pawn. In doing so, he gains more power over the broken judicial system and believes he will leave his mark on history. In the end, Ga-on gets revenge on Jung-Ho and Sun-a by uncovering their reality to the people. Still, he’ll have to live with the grief of Soo-hyun’s death forever.
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