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Real-life judge behind ‘Miss Hammurabi’

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Updated : June 18 2018

Judge Moon Yoo-seok’s first attempt at script writing has so far been well-received by local viewers for its fresh perspective.
Moon, a senior judge of the Seoul Central District Court, wrote the script of the drama series “Miss Hammurabi,” which airs Mondays and Tuesdays on JTBC. Rather than dealing with large corporate cases or gruesome murders, the series features stories of desperate ordinary people, from the perspectives of three different judges.

Despite being a late-night series on a cable channel, the pre-produced series has seen an average viewership rating of 4.5 percent.

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Poster for "Miss Hammurabi" (JTBC)
The script is an adaptation of a best-selling novel of the same title originally published as a serial novel in a local newspaper. Moon, who wrote the original serial novel, is widely known for his written works, but this was his script writing effort.

“I was sorry that I couldn’t sufficiently tell the characters’ stories due to the limited space (when writing for the newspaper). Talking about making the series into a drama in spring last year, I decided to write a longer version of the story in a script format, regardless of whether it would be used or not,” Moon said, in a statement released by the drama‘s agency.

To Moon’s surprise, the production company suggested going with his script, without a co-writer or a sub-writer. Moon recalled, “I guess the company understood the ‘story’ that the script wanted to tell, despite its crudeness,” he said.

Through “Miss Hammurabi,” Moon is learning the joy of cooperation.

“The ideas and individualities of the director, the production company, the actors and the staff members make my insufficient writing much more abundant and lively,” he said.

As it was his first time writing for a production, Moon was not aware of the technical details of script writing.
“It is hard to use pop songs or jazz tracks as music royalty is very expensive. Not being aware of the fact, I included a lot of songs to express characters’ emotions and some scenes that connect with music. But it was hard to use them in reality. Thankfully, the music director wrote great original songs,” he said.

While working as a judge for some 20 years, Moon has been writing consistently, publishing best-sellers such as “Individualist Declaration” in 2015.

“I am a story addict, who imagines absurd stories even while walking. I have liked comics, novels and films since I was young. I sometimes forget to get off at my stop on the subway, imagining stories,” he said.

“For me, writing is play and leisure. I frankly write stories because I like to read what I wrote. Whether it’s corny or boring, what I write is to my taste.”

The judge also acknowledged the hard work that goes into writing.

“I am sorry when I think of many writers and would-be writers putting in a great amount of effort. In my case, I am being favored for having a profession that the story deals with,” he said.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)



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