The Good Wife: Episode 11
What’s more important in winning cases? Is it skill? Perceived image? Sheer determination? All of the above? Hye-kyung finds herself asking these very questions as she struggles to find an answer. Tae-joon also has to figure out where he now fits in the scheme of things, and let’s just say “scheme” is the apt word choice here.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
After Hye-kyung leaves the party, she returns to her apartment. She sits in her empty kitchen, contemplating a family photo and living space, and then begins to ruthlessly box up her husband’s belongings.
Tae-joon texts her an picture of him with the kids, happy at the party, wondering where she is. Instead of responding, she calls an apartment broker to show her an empty apartment that’s available right now.
Once she selects an apartment, surprising the broker with her haste to sign the contract, she calls Tae-joon and gives him the address to meet her there. He knowingly chuckles at the implication that she wants to meet with him privately, but before he can leave the party, the congresswoman asks to speak with him. She’s full of flattering praise for his family, but Tae-joon takes a rain-check so he can go meet with his wife.
Lawyer Oh is mildly distressed about the lost opportunity to speak to the city council, but the congresswoman reassures him that the best thing for Tae-joon is his wife. With her by his side, he seems like an incorruptible prosecutor and powerful politician. But without her, he’s just some man who’s had an affair.
As she waits for Tae-joon at the new apartment, Hye-kyung slips her wedding ring off her finger. When he finally arrives, full of confidence that sexy-fun-times are ahead, he’s surprised to see the stack of boxes in the middle of the empty living space. Hye-kyung tells him she’ll send the rest of his belongings later.
He’s dejected, reminding her that she said they’d work everything out for the kids. But when she brings up Kim Ji-yong, he has nothing to say. Stuttering in surprise, he asks who told her, and how many other people know about it, but Hye-kyung wearily points out that he’s more concerned about how she found out than how she feels about finding out about it.
He swears that it happened so long ago that he forgot about it, that it meant nothing to him, and he didn’t want to tell her because it would unnecessarily complicate things. Besides, didn’t they promise to work on their relationship? Didn’t she already forgive him?
Hye-kyung’s not accepting his flimsy excuses, though. Desperate, he explains that there are people scrutinizing their every action to find any reason to attack them and create a new scandal. They need to think about the kids — would it be right to put them through all that again?
Frustrated, Hye-kyung yells at him for using their children as an excuse for his problems. Trying a new tactic, Tae-joon says he’ll do whatever she wants — if she wants him to quit being a prosecutor, he’ll do it. But Hye-kyung tells him she’s heard enough and she leaves. After she’s gone, Tae-joon finds her wedding ring on the counter.
The firm has a new case, and it’s another high-profile one: they’re going up against a major pharmaceutical company in defense of the victims who believe that an antidepressant is the root cause of their family members committing suicide. Myung-hee thinks it will be good publicity if they win win this case right after winning Tae-joon’s — plus it will be good to help the victims’ families in the process, of course.
She puts Hye-kyung in as second chair since she’s previously researched the drug. Hye-kyung is a little stunned and nervous about her lack of experience in court, but Joong-won says that his sister wants someone who will be able to distract the jury from the pharmaceutical company’s charismatic lawyer.
Hye-kyung gives Dan the cold shoulder when they pass on the stairs, much to poor Dan’s confusion.
As she’s busy researching the case to prepare the trial later that afternoon, Myung-hee asks Hye-kyung to meet with their client, Do Han-na. She’s the daughter of the victim who committed suicide and then murdered his wife after taking the antidepressants, and the only family member of the other victims who were willing to sign on to the lawsuit.
Han-na is still worried about how much the trial will focus on her deceased parents and their personal life, asking if there will be a lot of photos of her family at the trial. Hye-kyung gently reassures her that while her testimony may be difficult, they’ll do all they can to win and make it worth her while. Han-na says that she only agreed because she knew her parents would want someone to speak for them and defend their honor.
As soon as Myung-hee and Hye-kyung arrive at the courthouse, reporters surround them. One asks about Tae-joon, and Hye-kyung informs them, with only a slight hesitation, that her husband is her largest supporter. She also explains that this civil case isn’t about the potential settlement money, but to get the drug banned from the market and prevent further deaths.
It’s odd seeing the M&J lawyers on the plaintiff side of the courtroom after being so used watching them go up against the prosecutors. As they settle in, Myung-hee explains that the pharmaceutical company has hired one of the best lawyers, and this is a case where the lawyer’s charms will greatly influence the outcome. Which is why she wants Hye-kyung to take the lead on the opening argument.
Surprised, Hye-kyung protests that Myung-hee would do better as the main speaker. Myung-hee agrees (hee!), but a good lawyer knows to use any resource to help their case. And Hye-kyung’s a resource who will help them win over the jury. Nervous, Hye-kyung excuses herself to use the restroom, where she practices her opening statements in the mirror.
“Jaws” theme song! But Hye-kyung just ignores her mother-in-law’s call.
As she returns to the courtroom, she meets a man struggling to walk up the stairs. She asks if he needs any help, and he reassures her doesn’t — until he realizes he’s left his bag downstairs. He asks if she won’t mind retrieving it for him, and she agrees — but as she searches the waiting area, no bag is to be found.
The man arrives at the courtroom and introduces himself as Son Dong-ho — the pharmaceutical company’s defense lawyer. Ha! The judge and jury arrive, and the judge begins the trial, but Myung-hee, worried about where Hye-kyung is, asks if they can wait a moment. Instead, the judge says that Lawyer Son can begin the opening arguments.
Just as he starts to address the jury, Hye-kyung slips into the courtroom. Lawyer Son greets her, and Hye-kyung quickly realizes that he purposefully sent her on a wild goose chase.
He explains to the jury that he suffers from a disability called “tardive dyskinesia,” which means that sometimes he’s unable to control his muscle movement, so they shouldn’t be thrown off by odd his behavior. He shows them a bottle of pills that help him regulate his spasms, revealing that it’s from the same company that made the antidepressant. He then reveals that his symptoms get worse when he’s flustered, so he tries not to lie — or listen to people who lie.
Hye-kyung keeps objecting, so finally the judge has them approach the bench. She argues that Lawyer Son is using his condition to garner sympathy with the jury only to benefit his client. The judge agrees that Lawyer Son should keep the pharmaceutical company out of any personal explanations of his condition, but also that both lawyers should play by the rules. No fancy dramatics from either side.
As they walk back to their desks, Hye-kyung quietly asks Lawyer Son if he thinks he can win by playing such games. He just smiles at her, pointing out that she’s already upset by his tactics, which means they’re working.
Back at the firm, Hye-kyung continues to ignore Dan, but when she warns her that Hye-kyung’s mother-in-law is waiting for her, it’s enough to make her pause to steel herself before she enters her office. Mom can’t understand why Hye-kyung kicked Tae-joon out right after he was released from prison, assuming that she must be seeing another man.
Hye-kyung seems to know it’s a losing battle trying to explain anything to her mother-in-law, especially when she refuses to listen to anything Hye-kyung might say. She’s just concerned about the children, that’s all — think of how excited they were to have their father back home. Now how will they feel? Hye-kyung is confident they’ll understand, but Mom’s barbed comments still hit their mark.
Chief Prosecutor Choi and Prosecutor Park are enjoying dinner. Or at least Prosecutor Park is, as Chief Prosecutor Choi is on the phone, arguing against hiring Tae-joon back as a prosecutor. Whomever is on the other end of the phone says that he should have won the case, then, which is enough to cow Chief Prosecutor Choi and make him grumblingly accept.
But as soon as he hangs up, he orders Prosecutor Park to find more information on “that woman” so they can convince the disciplinary committee that Tae-joon isn’t fit to return. Oh, speak of the devil! Tae-joon arrives to spoil, er, I mean, join their dinner, making a point that he’s returned to the prosecutor’s office, and has support from many different people (including Prosecutor Park!).
That night, Hye-kyung explains to her kids about her separation from their father. They’re surprised, because they thought with the case over, everything would be better. Aw, they seem to still have hope that somehow their parents will get back together, but Hye-kyung gently tells them she’s not sure what will happen. She needs time to think it over, and also that they should keep news of the separation a secret.
They all start to cry, but it’s even worse when her kids cry as they explain that they want to support their mother and make her happy, because it makes me cry, too. Hye-kyung apologizing, while crying, of course. *sniffle*
A very tipsy Tae-joon arrives back home to his tiny apartment, which his mother has been busy setting up for him. She asks if he saw Hye-kyung on television, where she said that her husband is supporting her. She orders him to straighten things out with his wife. Later, he watches the news interview, rewinding over and over to the moment where Hye-kyung hesitates before saying her husband is her greatest supporter.
The trial continues, and this time Myung-hee questions their medical witness. But Lawyer Son’s supposedly uncontrollable actions are more interesting than the doctor’s dry and technical explanation of how the antidepressant drugs may have attributed to the desire of the victims to commit suicide. Myung-hee can tell she’s losing the jury’s attention.
Lawyer Son has no such problem, because his first question to the doctor is about sex. The jury is in the palm of his hand as he gets he doctor to agree with him that it’s possible the actions the victims took were actions that they were already thinking about, and not a direct the result of the drug.
During a break, a cleaning woman reports to Myung-hee, revealing that the jury room likes Lawyer Son much better since he seems more relatable than Myung-hee. Time to put the victim’s daughter on the stand and win the sympathy vote.
As pictures of the once-happy family are displayed on the screen, Han-na explains to the jury that she’s all that’s left, and she doesn’t care about compensation. She just wants to ensure that no one else has to lose their family members. Hye-kyung can see that they’ve swayed the jury to their side, and steps down.
Lawyer Son’s line of questioning reveals that Han-na’s father worked in an office filled with women, and that the night her mother died, women’s underwear was found in his briefcase. It’s a different size from her mother’s, and Lawyer Son argues that it was a crime of passion based on guilt from an affair.
Han-na insists her parents didn’t have any issues, and Lawyer Son says that such intimate personal troubles usually remain between a husband-and-wife — there’s no need for her to know about it. Besides, if his life was so perfect, then why did her father take antidepressants in the first place?
Myung-hee knows that they’re on the precipice of losing, and as the lawyers leave the courthouse, Hye-kyung confronts Lawyer Son. She accuses him of being too harsh to Han-na. He tells her that skills are what win cases — not good intentions. But that just makes the women more determined than ever to win the case.
Lawyer Oh arrives at Tae-joon’s new prosecution office that looks like it’s barely been set up. He’s pretty much been given a vacant storage room in the basement, likely thanks to Chief Prosecutor Choi wanting to make a point and a power-play. But Lawyer Oh promises that he’ll soon be in a better office, reminding him that the congresswoman wants to see him today — along with Hye-kyung. Tae-joon says that Hye-kyung is busy at court, but he’ll meet with the congresswoman anyway.
When Hye-kyung and Myung-hee return to the firm, they confer with Joong-won, who points out that their tactics so far have been incredibly boring. Jury trials are relatively new (and therefore rare) in Korea, and the strategy that has served Myung-hee in a normal trial-by-judge won’t work here. They need something that will get the jury’s attention.
Joong-won helps them coach their boring doctor witness by asking him about the libido side-effects of the drug. The doctor insists that he won’t lie on the stand, but when Joong-won declares that since the doctor hasn’t completely fulfilled their contract with them so he’ll only pay the doctor half his fee, the doctor reluctantly agrees to review his study on the drug.
The next day at the trial, the doctor admits that one of the side-effects of the drug is a lowered libido, which Myung-hee uses as evidence that the victim wouldn’t have had interest in an affair. That actually catches Lawyer Son by surprise, and as Hye-kyung smirks at him, he silently expresses his admiration for M&J’s new tactics.
Even more eye-catching is their footage of mice on the drug, where they pretty much just tear each other apart. Ugh, so much blood. The jury is definitely paying attention now, and Lawyer Son slips Hye-kyung a note, pointing out that she seems to have figured out that skills are more important than one’s conscience.
While they wait for a verdict, Joong-won reveals that word has already gotten out about the antidepressant’s vicious, libido-lowering side-effects. That means the pharmaceutical company is going to take a beating in the stock market (and also means that they’ll be more likely to settle).
Hye-kyung tells Joong-won that she understands what he means, now, about protecting their clients instead of their own personal beliefs. He protests that he just said it to make sure they got paid, and her belief in their clients seem to have worked for her other cases. Hye-kyung still hopes to one day be able to protect both her idealism and her desire to serve her client.
That just reminds Joong-won of how, in law school, Hye-kyung refused to give up on her “client” during their mock trials, even when it was one in the morning and everyone else was ready to go home. She’s surprised to realize that Joong-won was her opposing counsel back during that mock trial, and at the end, the professor told him he wasn’t cut out to be a prosecutor thanks to her.
Amused, she apologizes for the way she acted back then, but he says he was impressed by her, adding if she figures out how to balance her idealism with supporting the client, to let him know.
Lawyer Son calls M&J to inform them that his clients have agreed on a settlement, warning them they won’t win much if they decide to continue on with the trial. Myung-hee keeps her cool as she sets up a meeting time, but as soon as she hangs up, she high-fives Joong-won and Hye-kyung, who are also thrilled to know that they’ve won.
Joong-won asks Hye-kyung to have dinner with him (as just a “friendly” celebration, I’m sure), and she agrees. But as she’s heading to her office to tell Han-na the good news about the settlement, she runs into the pretty law student who’s been waiting for Joong-won. She’s delighted to meet Hye-kyung because she’s heard so much about her, and she’s even more excited because tonight is her first real date with Joong-won.
A fact he seems to have forgotten until he comes down the stairs to see her there. He apologizes to Hye-kyung, inviting her to join them, but she politely declines. Aw, Joong-won looks a little dejected as he watches her return to her office before he’s dragged away by the law student.
Dan asks if she’s free for their traditional post-win drinks, but Hye-kyung ignores her. As Dan tries to get her attention, Hye-kyung calls her “Kim Ji-yong,” adding that they’re only coworkers from now on. Dan tries to explain why she didn’t tell Hye-kyung about it sooner, but Hye-kyung doesn’t care about her excuses and dismisses her.
Tae-joon and Lawyer Oh meet with the congresswoman, who, with her ceaseless smile, promises that politics is way more interesting than dalliances with women. Pfft. She also promises that it will improve his relationship with his wife, making them partners in this new adventure. Afterwards, Lawyer Oh admits that he thinks the congresswoman has an inkling of Tae-joon’s marital troubles, so he’d better get the problem sorted out ASAP.
Taking offense at how Lawyer Oh phrases his life as a “problem,” he tells Lawyer Oh to relay the message that his wife and his life are nobody’s business, and if the congresswoman doesn’t like how he’s handling it, then she can just forget about him.
Over dinner at a fancy restaurant, the law student brings up the rumors about Joong-won and Hye-kyung. Before he can say anything, she greets the waiter in Spanish and they chat pleasantly, much to Joong-won’s bemusement. This is clearly not the first time she’s been to this restaurant.
Hye-kyung drinks alone, having purposefully ignored Dan on her way out of the office. At least she’s keeping the celebratory drinks tradition alive?
Joong-won surprises his date by seeming unimpressed that her father is a big name in real estate (which means he’s also incredibly rich, too) — that’s not the usual reaction she gets. He says it’s because her other dates are too intimidated, and he calls over the waiter, semi-jokingly requesting the most expensive bottle of wine.
Hye-kyung returns home to find Tae-joon waiting outside. He wants to talk, but she says they’re finished talking. She refuses to look at him as he follows her around the apartment, and he informs her that he’s found a good marriage counsellor to help them reconcile. He admits that he knows she’s angry with him, but they can’t continue like this.
If they can just get through this rough patch, then he can be in a position of power where he can change the country. Sighing, Hye-kyung tells him that she’s never wanted that — all she wanted from him was that he be a good person. He reminds her of how much he’s changed (I mean, he’s no longer hanging out with gangsters like Guk-hyun), but Hye-kyung says he’s never once changed.
Ever since the day of the fateful car accident, she’s believed that he’s been standing up for justice. She gave up her dreams and future to be with him, and Tae-joon says he understands that she would be angry at him for that. But then he tells her that this isn’t the time to be angry — she just needs to listen to him. Ugh.
Hye-kyung points out that he automatically seems to think that she’ll forgive him, and he reminds her that they can’t separate because of the children. But she tells him that the Hye-kyung who took the blame for that car accident years ago, and who thought sacrificing for him for that long was a sign of love, no longer exists. Instead, she’s discovered that she’s more important than he is. Woo! You go, girl!
He tries to stop her from walking away, arguing that they’ve lived together for fifteen years — neither one is more of the victim than the other. But hye-kyung demands to know what he’s done for her. If he loves her, as he says, what exactly has done? Has he even wondered what she’s wanted? Has he ever put her first in his life?
His only response is to angrily demand what it is she wants from him. What she wants is for him to tell her something that will make her believe him. Instead, he brings up Joong-won, declaring that she just wants him to leave so she can be with someone else.
She follows him out to the elevator, and he insists that he only cheated on her one time, but she fell in love with someone else. Who’s committed the greater sin? He was sincere in his apologies, but she was the one who didn’t believe him.
She points out that she’s the one who is always supposed to forgive him when he asks, and to forget when he does anything wrong. She has to stay by his side as “the good wife” so he can maintain his image. He tells her that she’s getting too hysterical and they should talk later. But she calmly informs him that she’s not hysterical. In fact, is the first time she’s been able to see clearly since she met him fifteen years ago. Then she orders him to leave.
Here’s your weekly reminder that Tae-joon is the worst. (Still hella sexy, but then so many manipulative bastards are, alas.) I’m glad that Hye-kyung is finally calling him out on his BS and realizing how blind she’s been towards him. There may have been some actual fist pumps of victory in that final scene when she stands up for herself.
I’ve generally been loving how the show has been able to stay so faithful to the original version and yet still add a fresh take on everything, but for once, I’m not sure how happy I am about it. It largely has to do with how I associated Lawyer Son’s American counterpart with the actor that portrayed him, and feeling that the original show was able to masterfully use Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease as an interesting plot-point and character trait, and so to see an actor portray someone with a disability because the original actor had that disability feels somehow cheap to me. Then again, there is never enough positive representation of disabilities in Korean media, so I’m conversely pleased to see that they kept this character and case (and I think Yoo Jae-myung is excellent in his portrayal). What can I say? I’m a walking conundrum.
My other issue is the law student. She’s very faithful to her American counterpart, but her role feels so… unnecessary. Or, if she is necessary, then I wish they would have tried to make her a little more unique. I suppose I should just be pleased they kept to the Spanish roots instead of foisting awkward English on us, because at least that made it a little original (er, not original-original, but at least fresh by dramaland standards). Then again, she’s one of the most classic drama characters we’ve met — the gorgeous, rich, young (genius, probably) student who’s attracted to the lead, but the lead just so happens to be in love with someone else. So she should actually feel comforting, in a brief second-lead kinda way.
Maybe that’s why she feels so hollow to me — she’s like any other standard k-drama character, and in this show that has given us incredible, multi-dimensional characters that have taken on a new life apart from their American counterparts, she feels too paint-by-numbers. I want her to be more than what she seems, but I also know that she’s really just there to help us get from point A to point B, so it’s ridiculous to be so invested. Again, conundrums.
But those are just minor quibbles and really it has more to do with how much I appreciate the original version. Because, in case it isn’t clear yet, I adore this version (in some ways, more than the original). I’m clinging to it as tight as I can, all the while wishing my wardrobe was as excellent as Myung-hee’s and Hye-kyung’s, and that I had the same pink lipstick Hye-kyung wore in the beginning of the episode because it perfectly matches those hot pink stilettos of hers I so covet. I also wish I had an ounce of their inner strength and poise, and if I ever get in a jam, they’re definitely the pair I’d want to represent me. Basically, if this drama suddenly became “The Good Lawyer and Her Kick-ass Law-firm Boss-mentor,” then I’d be one happy viewer.