Solomon's Perjury
솔로몬의 위증
jtbc (2016-2017) 12 Episodes
School-Themed, Legal
Grade: A
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

Loosely based on a Japanese drama of the same title, the Korean television series Solomon's Perjury (2016-2017) put its own spin on the basic story of a student's mysterious death on the campus of an elite private high school, with a resulting student trial allowed to take place to try and determine the reason for his death. The producers and casting department hired some of my favorite Korean actors, young and older veterans, to flesh out the story with a distinctive Korean flair.

Scenes From Episode One

They all did an excellent job because I was hooked from the first few minutes of this drama, and marathoned it over only two days' time. Because I am older I tend to avoid a lot of the dramas which primarily have teenage casts, but I'm so glad I made an exception here and watched this one! I liked the smooth interweaving this drama accomplished, with the students' concerns about the boy's death merging with the adult characters' more mature (and sometimes more devious!) concerns as well.

In the lead role was excellent young actress Kim Hyun Soo (My Love From Another Star, Good Doctor) as the smart student who tries to uncover the truth behind the mystery of the dead student's past, and possible suicide vs. murder. With every role I see her in this actress impresses me more and more, and I sense the making of a future STAR as she enters her twenties and thirties.

Kim Hyun Soo, in (left to right) roles:
My Love From Another Star, Good Doctor, Solomon's Perjury

Also, I delighted in seeing other familiar faces, like veteran actor Cho Jae Hyun (Snowman, Piano, New Heart, Whisper) who played legal counsel to the school and the father of one of the boys who might prove to be the key to solving the mystery of the student's death; Shim Yi Young (who played the unforgettably ditzy aunt in The Suspicious Housekeeper) playing a street smart cop here who is put in charge of the investigation; lovely actor Ahn Nae Sang (who played the father I loved so much in May Queen) as a detective and the father of the lead female character played by Kim Hyun Soo; and Kim Yeo Jin (who played the doomed mother in Angel Eyes) who played the girl's kindly mother in this story too. I was also thrilled to see the wonderful young actress Seo Shin Ae playing one of the students; she had played the unforgettably cutie-pie little daughter of Gong Hyo Jin in the Korean drama classic Thank You. She's always terrific to watch! She brings a lot of compassion to her role here.

The young lead male actor, Jang Dong Yoon, was new to me, and in bringing his student character to life delivered a compelling, impressive performance that I will never forget. In many ways he was the one who kept me watching in a marathon, even though I loved all the other actors, too. This boy could draw tears out of a turnip.

The Story:

A troubled male teenage student named Lee So Woo (Seo Young Joo,
May Queen) from the elite private school Jung Guk High School in Seoul, falls to his death on Christmas Day from the rooftop of a school building, in what is deemed initially to be a suicide by the female cop assigned to the case, Detective Oh (Shim Yi Young).

The injuries reported by the coroner lend credence to the idea of suicide. However, questions remain, and the students are badly psychologically damaged by his death. Although he had never been very popular, but pretty much a loner who kept a lot to himself, he was never a bully (unlike some other students on campus), so his death didn't make any sense to the school's student body.

The Soon To Be Dead Student So Woo

So Woo's dead body had been discovered on the school campus, which had been covered in Christmas snow, by a fellow male student the morning after Christmas, as he walked the campus: his name is Bae Joon Young (Seo Ji Hoon), and this discovery is also witnessed in shock by the female valedictorian of the student body, named Go Seo Yeon (Kim Hyun Soo), the daughter of a smart detective named Go Sang Joon (Ahn Nae Sang) and his kindly homemaker wife (Kim Yeo Jin). Joon Young has a not so secret crush on Seo Yeon, which we the audience can clearly see, although it takes her awhile to catch on.

Character Ji Hoon
Mourns His Friend's Death

These two students essentially team up as close friends to privately investigate the reasons why So Woo might have taken his life. For some reason the adults in charge of the school want to put the case behind them as soon as possible. They seem to fear the negative publicity that it would bring to the school, which might badly affect future student enrollments from rich families.

However, could some of this angst be related to guilt about certain nefarious situations going on at the school which the students and parents have no idea about? This concern about negative publicity also comes from the school's legal counsel, Hang Kyung Moon (Cho Jae Hyun), whose adopted son Han Ji Hoon (Jang Dong Yoon) is a student at a neighboring school who had been a personal friend of the dead boy and seems to be mourning his death tremendously. What could he be hiding?

The School Bully Woo Hyuk

Then suddenly a female student named Lee Joo Ri (Shin Se Hwi) claims to have witnessed the student's death that Christmas night, and calls it a murder, not a suicide; she writes secretive letters to the principal and to other students, including Seo Yeon, and indirectly blames them all for his death, while claiming she saw the boy being pushed to his death by someone.

So Woo had obviously been troubled about something, and had threatened to leave the campus for good the day of his death. Joo Ri then directly puts the blame for the boy's murder on a male student known to be a bully, named
Choi Woo Hyuk (Baek Chul Min), and since many other students had previously witnessed him bullying the boy who died it seems like the accusation might have a lot of truth behind it. However, Joo Ri does seem troubled too though, like she has her own poor home situation to hide, and she even ends up backstabbing her best friend (Seo Shin Ae) in the process of blaming Woo Hyuk, even contributing to her getting badly hurt in an accident and ending up in a coma. Could she have her own secret reasons for wanting to seek vengeance on the school bully Woo Hyuk? As nasty as he is, could he really have committed murder? They need proof, not just insinuations.

Seo Hyun And Her Friends
Leave No Stones Unturned

Because of all this controversy tearing the school apart, the admirable female student Seo Yeon and other students decide to hold a student trial on campus and bring forth any evidence they can, to decide once and for all if So Woo had been pushed to his death from the roof of a school building by the school bully, or if he had actually committed suicide because he was unhappy with his wretched life as a past mental patient in a private sanitarium, someone who had possibly stumbled on some dark secrets of the school's faculty which he couldn't deal with properly?

Ji Hoon Has To Decide Whether
To Stand "Trial" Or Not As A Witness

The student trial that results is gripping indeed, and although toward the end I could sense what the main twist in the story was going to be, I still held on fast to watch every episode as it unfolded, although I was sorely tempted to jump ahead and confirm my own suspicions. :)

Will Lead Prosecuting "Attorney" Seo Hyun
Uncover The Truth Of So Woo's Death?

So: who exactly will "Solomon" be? Why would he have committed perjury? Was it to protect himself, the dead boy, or possibly one of the other students on campus -- or off?

If you like a solid mystery, which will keep you guessing up until near the end of the story, then absolutely check out Solomon's Perjury. I can assure you that you will be just as hooked as I was! Enjoy.