3 Forms Of Defamation or Character Assassination As Shown In “One Ordinary Day”

“One Ordinary Day” (2021) is an ongoing Korean drama starring Kim Soo-hyun and Cha Seung-won. It is an eight-part series that explores the society’s twisted system and injustice based on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television show, “Criminal Justice” written by Peter Moffat.

A Korean remake series, “One Ordinary Day” revolves around two men whose lives intertwine following a homicide case: A college guy, Kim Hyun-soo, gets embroiled in the murder of a woman he spent the night with, making him a prime suspect. And a third-rate lawyer, Shin Joong-han, who finds him innocent comes to the rescue to lead the investigation.

In the process, they face a number of trials—all circumstantial evidence at the crime scene point to the key suspect, the netizens increasing rage, media’s scrutiny, and the twisted system for justice.

All these challenges put the accused to an intense psychological pressure and mental torture from the public. Here are three types of defamation or character assassination that he experienced as shown in the series:


1. Media Libel

Libel is a form of defamation through written publications such as the newspaper, online articles, or reports that exposes an accused person to public shame and ridicule.

Struggling to publish a fresh article, a reporter tries to persuade Shin Joong-han, the accused’s lawyer to spill facts about the Chrysantemum case, “I need to write a few lines to keep my job.” The lawyer declined.

However, with different versions of stories from the police and circumstantial evidence, television and online news already insisted the accused as the killer even before the proper investigation launched, “He raped her and murdered her.”

The reporter gets confronted by Lawyer Shin Joong Han, “That article you wrote was the same as a guilty verdict. As a reporter, don’t you have a sense of responsibility or a guilty conscience?”

The reporter responds, “I feel bad, too, but others would’ve written it if I hadn’t.”


2. Interrogation Slander

Slander is another form of character assassination through oral publications such as interrogation, public speech, or private conversations.

Certain about Kim Hyun-soo being the killer based on circumstantial evidence, Chief Detective Park Sang-bum gets obssessed in finding all details connected to the crime even to the point of seeing the accused without the presence of his lawyer, recording a private conversation, and making him wear an expensive shirt for prosecution purposes.

The Chief also works with Prosecutor An Tae-hee to put mental pressure on the accused and squeeze a confession out of him. They sent him to the prosecutor’s office without the knowledge of his lawyer and manipulated him to undergo a polygraph test even if he is medically unfit to take it due to respiratory or asthma issues.

During the public hearing and private meeting, the prosecutor insists:

  • “The accused is guilty of the murder.”
  • “He is still denying the murder.”
  • “He should be isolated and detained.”
  • “There is no hope for you.”
  • “You could be sentenced to death.”

Prosecutor An Tae-hee also believes that the case is not Kim Hyun-soo’s first killing despite his clean criminal record.

However, lawyer Shin Joong Han strongly stands with the accused against injustice and the dirty strategy of the prosecutor, “The prosecution insists that Mr Kim is guilty based on circumstantial evidence alone. The police made a hasty judgment and pegged him as the killer before they even launched their investigation. And based on the results of the police investigation, the prosecutors abused their authority and took the liberty of indicting Mr Kim.”


3. Public Opinion and Abuse

The public opinion is not exempted with defamation or ostracism. It also happens in the form of “cancel or call-out culture” in which someone is punished for behaving outside of perceived social norms.

As the prosecution disclosed the identity of Kim Hyun-soo to the public, along with his full name and photo, he gets brutally abused physically and verbally by heinous criminals inside the correctional facility even if he has not been found guilty of the crime:

  • “You scumbag.”
  • “Do you want to die?”
  • “You little jerk.”
  • “Get lost.”

Such is the case of persons accused of something without full evidence or confirmation.


“One Ordinary Day” is directed by Lee Myung-woo whose filmography “Punch” (2015) and “The Fiery Priest” (2019) achieved top awards such as the “Hallyu Drama Top Excellence Award” (The Fiery Priest) at the 14th Seoul International Drama Awards, and “Special Award for Foreign Drama” (The Fiery Priest) at the 2019 International Drama Festival in Tokyo.

On the other hand, Kwon Soon-gyu is the writer of the show who wrote the “Warrior Baek Dong Soo” (2011), “Goddess of Fire” (2013), and “The Royal Gambler” (2016).

The producers shared that “One Ordinary Day” is a heavy masterpiece that portrays the criminal justice system, conveying a social message, “It is not merely a straightforward crime drama, but instead a drama that showcases in detail the psychology of the various characters entangled in the crime.”

It premiered on November 27th and successfully attained the #1 spot for the most watched show on Coupang Play. It is also drawing much attention from international viewers through the streaming platform, Viu.