Doctor Cha Ep 16 suffers BADLY-WRITTEN ending and STILL ends on HIGHEST rating

Kim Byung Chul as Seo In Ho in Doctor Cha – Photo courtesy JTBC

To say I regret wasting more than 16 hours of my life watching Doctor Cha would be an understatement, as the medical-themed family drama that started off on such a superb note disintegrated into a badly-written mess from a writer who has no idea how to develop characters, or how to construct a drama to keep an audience interested.

With the airing of the Doctor Cha, Episode 16 finale yesterday, that regret deepened even further as the emotional gyrations of the last 15 episodes ended in a last half hour where every plot point is wrapped up ridiculously, and where we are supposed to believe everyone suddenly got the “happy ending” they “deserved”.

Even Doctor Cha (played by Uhm Jung Hwa), who went from a woman who might actually have a backbone in the first half of the drama to a weak-willed, whiny wuss of a woman I detested more than anyone else in the show by the end of it.

And that includes her vile husband Seo In Ho (superbly played by Kim Byung Chul).

But, even with that literal dung heap of an ending, to see Doctor Cha, Episode 16 earn its highest ratings yet in South Korea does not surprise me.

After all, it is likely Koreans tuned into the show last night looking for the same ending most of us wanted — confirmation Seo In Ho would finally get what was coming to him, that Dr. Roy would have his happy ending with Cha Jeong Suk instead of suddenly becoming a secondary character who disappears never to be seen again, and that Cha Jeong Suk would become a stronger woman.

Unfortunately, we got none of it.

The Doctor Cha, Episode 16 ratings

The audience ratings for Doctor Cha, Episode 16, however, do not reflect that as, according to Nielsen Korea, the drama ended up with an 18.54 percent of the audience nationwide, and a 19.38 percent in Seoul.

Both of those ratings are an increase of more than 4 percent above the previous episode’s.

Remember though, those ratings, do not represent the audience’s approval of the drama’s ending. Just how many people watched it.


Min Woo Hyuk as Dr. Roy –– Photo courtesy JTBC

International viewers of Doctor Cha, Episode 16

While opinions of international viewers who watched Doctor Cha, Episode 16 seem evenly split on ‘good drama vs terrible drama’, the distaste a large number of international viewers commenting on My Drama List not only have for the badly-written ending, but also for the drama from Episode 10 on out is clear.

Their comments range from the latest one:

This drama had so much potential at the beginning, but after ep10 they dropped the ball. Felt like we were going in circles. I’m so disappointed in the writer. What a waste of talented actors. I will never watch another drama from this writer. Sighs.


A great, very amusing first half with refreshingly absurd and infuriating characters and situations presented in a comical way that really worked out well.

But, when the second half tried to put logic and redemption in this absurdity and make everyone live happily ever after, the outcome was subpar and disappointing.

Kim Byung Chul, with his drama-queen reactions, his unforced comical expressions and shenanigans was undoubtedly the heart and soul of this drama.


So disappointing. To go from something fresh and great and to fumble it so bad is unfathomable. This show feels like it was written by two completely different people.

The first half story and character/personalities were completely different from the second half. Even the tone and genre of the show was different. The only character that stayed the same was the trash MIL.

Others, of course, commented that they enjoyed the ending, and were happy with the drama overall.

Although even some of those also admitted they had dropped their rating from an initial 10 out of 10 to an 8 out of 10 or below.

All I can say is, after the poor-writing of the last six episodes, I am just happy it is over with and I can now get on with my life while eliminating from my memory Doctor Cha‘s very existence.

Because you know the drama lost its way when even Min Woo Hyuk, the actor who played Dr. Roy, admitted in an interview he hated the ending so much he didn’t even want to film it.

Apparently the drama’s director found it problematic as well.

About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.