The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Netflix's ‘Devil’s Plan’ expands realm of survival game shows

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Oct. 17, 2023 - 15:57

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“Devil’s Plan” producer Jung Jong-yeon (Netflix) “Devil’s Plan” producer Jung Jong-yeon (Netflix)

“Devil’s Plan,” a Netflix Korea survival game show that premiered on Sept. 26, became a global hit soon after its release. The 12-episode show became the most-watched show in Korea as well as ranked third in the global top 10 non-English TV show list on Netflix.

Twelve contestants with different occupations, including a lawyer, actor, doctor, YouTube creators, Go player and university student, face off in games of intelligence, wit and strategy.

“It was kind of stressful to see the ranking that Netflix reveals every week. I was a bit anxious about whether the viewers would not like the show. But I feel tremendously happy and thankful about how the viewers liked our show,” said Jung Jong-yeon, producer of “Devil’s Plan” in an interview with The Korea Herald on Oct. 13.

Viewers said they were able to immerse themselves in the high-quality games, but also drawn in by the emotional ups and downs among the players as they get eliminated and advance to the next stages.

Jung said he is grateful he was able to offer an immersive experience to a global audience amid the plethora of content available.

“If I had known that this program would be loved by people around the world, I would have been more international viewer-friendly, such as introducing game rules in English or having scenes that international viewers can relate to,” he added.

While most of the players were well-known figures, such as actor Ha Seok-jin, entertainer Park Kyung-rim, announcer Lee Hye-sung and YouTubers Orbit and Gwak Joon-bin, producer Jung said he added two non-celebrities who were recruited through an open casting to add spice to the show.

“Because it’s a new show, it was difficult for me to just add new faces. But I personally prefer the way the program introduces new faces and I kind of expected those ordinary players to show an aggressive play, threatening other well-known players,” Jung explained.

In the show, the contestants form alliances, employing starkly different strategies in each game. Actors Ha Seok-jin and Lee Si-won, the top-ranking players in the show, took risks of being penalized, whereas the other alliance formed by Orbit and Seo Dong-joo focused on acting in the team's best interests to save everyone and help each other.

“What I prioritized was showing the development and growth of the characters. In the beginning, Ha seemed to not adjust well to the game rules and survival reality setting. But, after a few days, I saw him immersed in the play, creating some dramatic and even romantic scenes with his closest ally, Lee Si-won,” Jung added.

“Devil’s Plan” (Netflix) “Devil’s Plan” (Netflix)

Ha, the winner of the game, said the five years of participating in the well-known TvN quiz show “Problematic Men” helped him a lot during the weeklong competition.

“The last five days of the competition felt like five months. The games were very tricky and all of the members felt like family, so it was really hard to see them leave as I advanced to the next stages,” Ha said in a separate interview on Monday.

When asked what was the key to winning, he said, “consistency.”

“You can still learn many things and absorb much knowledge in your 30s and 40s. You should have the mindset that you can still do something faster than a high schooler,” said the 41-year-old actor.

And the 250 million won ($185,000) in prize money? Ha said it is safe and sound in his bank account.