TV channel JTBC’s controversial Korean drama “Snowdrop,” starring Jung Hae-in and BLACKPINK's Jisoo, ended with the back-to-back airing of episodes 15 and 16 on Jan. 30.
According to Nielsen Korea, episodes 15 and 16 on Jan. 30 received nationwide ratings of 2.773 percent and (eight place) and 3.393 percent (sixth place) in the general programming cable TV based on total households subscribed to paid platforms in South Korea.
The 3.393 percent is the second highest nationwide rating “Snowdrop” got in its entire run after 3.898 percent for episode 2 on Dec. 19. Episode 14 on Jan. 29 received a nationwide rating of 2.749 percent (10th place).
Based on the number of viewers, episodes 15 and 16 on Jan. 30 were watched by 693,000 (sixth place) and 846,000 people (fourth place) nationwide.
The drama “Uncle,” starring Oh Jung-se, aired its last episode on Jan. 30 and ended in first place nationwide with 7.775 percent.
In the Seoul metropolitan area, episodes 15 and 16 of “Snowdrop” got ratings of 2.734 percent (eight place) and 3.438 percent (fifth place).
Based on the number of viewers, episodes 15 and 16 were watched by 300,000 people (sixth place) and 359,000 people (fourth place). Episode 14 on Jan. 29 was watched by 338,000 people (fifth place).
“Snowdrop” garnered an average rating of 2.74 percent for its 16 episodes.
“Snowdrop” tells the story of political conspiracy and espionage against the backdrop of the 1987 Korean presidential election and romance. In the drama, the South and North Korean governments conspire for political power.
Jung Hae-in is Im Soo-ho, a 27-year-old graduate student who is a North Korean spy sent to South Korea for a mission.
Jisoo is 20-year-old Eun Young-ro, a first year college student at Hosoo Women’s University. They meet during a group blind date after which Eun Young-ro falls in love with him.
Before and during its run, “Snowdrop” was enveloped in controversy after Koreans accused the drama of disparaging the pro-democracy movement and beautifying the former Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP), which, in reality, was linked to torture and killings during its time. The ANSP is now the current National Intelligence Service (NIS).
A day after “Snowdrop” aired its first episode on Dec. 18, a national petition aiming to stop the airing of the drama was filed on the website of the office of President Moon Jae-in, accusing it of distorting Korean history.
The petition ended on Jan. 19 with 365,119 signatories. The Korean government has yet to respond to the petition as required when a petition reaches 200,000 signatories in 30 days.
Complaints were filed before the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) and companies pulled out their sponsorships for the drama.
Lee Kyung-ran, director of the Lee Han-yeol Memorial Museum, likened “Snowdrop” to glorifying the Nazis, who were mainly responsible for the Holocaust, or the killing of about six million Jews in Europe in the 1940s during World War II.
Lee Han-yeol was a student at Yonsei University in the 1980s. In a demonstration on campus on June 9, 1987, Lee Han-yeol was struck in the head by a police tear gas canister. He died on July 5, 1987.
On Dec. 21, a citizen filed a complaint with Korea’s Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission against “Snowdrop” screenwriter Yoo Hyun-mi and director Jo Hyun-tak for violation of the country’s National Security Act, which aims "to secure the security of the State and the subsistence and freedom of nationals, by regulating any anticipated activities compromising the safety of the State.”
The complainant said, “JTBC made a position that a spy who led the democratization movement did not appear, which is absurd.” He added that depicting a spy living in romance in the background of the democratization movement era in Korea is clearly a beautification of spies.
The youth group The Declaration of Global Citizen in Korea filed an injunction on Dec. 22 with the Seoul Western District Court to seek an injunction to stop the airing of “Snowdrop.” On Dec. 29, the court dismissed the application for an injunction.