I found a TV series that rekindled my love for lawyer shows and it’s Korean. I want it to be better known for personal reasons.
There was a time when I really liked law dramas, going back to The Defenders, LA Law and the original Law and Order. Hell, in Poland I once wrote the English version of a million-dollar contract, using legal language I learned from TV.
But you may think that it would not be interesting to follow a lawyer who represents cases in an unfamiliar legal system. For example, a system where a judge can question a jury of seven, determine that four voted to acquit, and then still sentence the accused to two years in prison.
Nonetheless, Extraordinary Attorney Woo is intriguing on Netflix and the gimmick the show is centered around works.
The gimmick is that attorney Woo Young-woo (Park Eun-bin) is an autistic scholar who graduated at the top of her class, got a near-perfect score on the bar exam, but has trouble negotiating social relationships, opening revolving doors and open bottles.
And she’s obsessed with whales — whales and dolphins — and will bite your ears off if she’s not reminded that others don’t share her fascination.
She is slightly further along the autism spectrum than your average aspie. She’s a bit overly physically awkward. But when she’s socially awkward, she has a group of fiercely loyal people who love her, like her single father, Woo Gwang-ho (Jeon Bae-su), who gave up a career as a lawyer to raise her alone, her childhood friend , Dong Geurami (Joo Hyun-young) who was (by choice) the other weird kid in school, her law school classmate, the lovely Choi Soo-yeon (Ha Yoon-kyng), who stands up for her at work , and Lee Jun-ho (Kang Tae-oh) who is in love with her.
Aside from the considerable merits of the show, and it’s very well done, I wish more people would see it because I grew up with someone on the autism spectrum.
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder often come across as strange and uncomfortable in their surroundings as they struggle with social cues and inappropriate language. Growing up other children make their life hell and as adults many people don’t want to work with them.
Woo Young-woo (same back and forth) goes to work for a large reputable law firm and is given a chance by CEO Han Seon-young (Baek Ji-won), who has ulterior motives that involve a pivotal subplot in the series.
Her photographic memory and attention to detail enable her to rescue cases deemed irretrievably lost by her peers, even when dealing with Tae Soo-mi (Jin Kyung), the top attorney at a rival law firm , who has a connection to her that is revealed in mid-season.
Park Eun-bin is the most amazing actress you’ve never heard of. The writing is great and the special effects add a light touch that doesn’t overwhelm the plot.
I understand that the show’s premise was considered quite controversial in Korea, and there’s a nod to how much more advanced the treatment of autism is in the United States.
Therefore, it surprised many people when it became a hit in Korea in its first season in 2022 and an international hit soon after.
Now there is talk of doing an American remake and all I can say about that is – NOT! The Korean version is perfectly relatable, even if you miss some cultural nuances. Hollywood will only screw it up.
— Steve Browne is a longtime reporter and contributor to the Marshall Independent